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Premier League Prediction – Week 14

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Well they’re all back then. Moyes, Pardew and Allardyce in the space of a few weeks find themselves back in the Premier League. All safely ensconced in cushty numbers at clubs that they should do fairly well at for maybe a season and possibly two. I don’t feel bad about that. They’re competent managers, they are not exciting or great in the sense of the word when applied to managers, but they are competent.

West Brom want to stay in the Premier League playing a better style of football – Pardew will do that. West Ham want to stay in the Premier League at all costs – Moyes has the ability to do that – seriously he does. Everton want to stay in the Premier League and not look like idiots for spending a lot of money only to get dragged into a relegation scrap – Allardyce does not believe in relegation, just like he doesn’t believe in winning trophies, so they should be fine for at least this season.

That all makes the mix in the Premier League all the more intriguing with the promoted sides showing they are not walkovers, it makes everything below the top six very, very interesting indeed. Which means this period of the deluge of games and points on offer gets all the more intriguing where predictions are concerned. Before we consider the games going on today and tomorrow, let’s recap on what took place in the midweek games. As ever there were points at stake for me – three points for a spot on prediction, one point for a correct outcome and nothing for nothing.

Brighton 1-1 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 0-0)

Leicester 1-2 Tottenham (0 points – actual score 2=1)

Watford 1-2 Man United (1 point – actual score 2-4)

West Brom 2-1 Newcastle United (0 points – actual score 2-2)

Arsenal 3-1 Huddersfield (1 point – actual score 5-0)

Bournemouth 1-1 Burnley (0 points – actual score 1-2)

Chelsea 4-0 Swansea (1 point – actual score 1-0)

Everton 1-1 West Ham (0 points – actual score 4-0)

Man City 3-0 Southampton (1 point – actual score 2-1)

Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool (1 point – actual score 0-3)

Six points for six correct outcomes, but no spot on predictions. Also meaning a 60% correct outcome percentage. Better than average, but not with the points I would hope for. So I can do better. Let’s hope I do with the next set of fixtures …

Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United

Brighton 1-3 Liverpool

Everton 3=1 Huddersfield

Leicester 1-1 Burnley

Stoke City 2-2 Swansea

Watford 2-1 Tottenham

West Brom 1-1 Crystal Palace

Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd

Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton

Man City 5-0 West Ham

There are some really tight affairs in the league this weekend. No reason to believe these results will work out that way especially as it’s the third league match in 8 days for most of the clubs. Will the new managers have an immediate impact? Will the Spurs recover from their mini-slump? How many will West Ham concede this weekend? Can Arsenal make a statement for the top four with a win against their beloved enemy Mourinho?

Let’s see how it goes.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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Among Friends – Summer Update

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Let me see, it’s July. Now there’s no more a summer month than July. Don’t get me wrong August is a very long month and all, but at least with football starting it’s a good hint that summer is about to nip off.

Here we are in the wasteland that is July. I am not a fan of the summer at all. I am certainly not a fan of July – Dr Who is over, no football is really happening and there’s nothing but cricket and tennis – what a wasteland.

Although the blog has been somewhat dormant in June – obviously recovering from the season’s exertions – the desire is to pick up a somewhat regular routine of blogging during these summer months. There’s certainly a fair bit to blog about among friends.

There’s the Premier League Predictions season to wrap up as well as those long held thoughts on what I the season that’s finished before the new one begins. There’s tons of football stuff to consider as well as pre-season gets up and running.

Speaking of seasons there’s my comments on the tenth season of Doctor Who that’s finished. That also sees the completion of Peter Capaldi’s third season in the lead role and it’s a good time to review how things have gone for him and for the programme. Lots of writing there, I can tell you!

There’s also my views on the latest seasons of Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow to share on here. The Arrowverse is more or less well established and it will be intriguing to just leave a thought. Meanwhile Netflix have built a strong Marvel output and with The Defenders about to bring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist together, it’s an opportune time to drop a word on how I found those programmes.

There is no guarantee that I will be able to write about all of that before the summer is through, but that’s certainly the plan. In all of that I also hope to be posting intriguing or hilarious videos that I might come across, as well as the soundtrack of my life as I come across it to share.

So although summer is by no means my favourite season of the year, I am still looking to make the most of it with the input on here among friends.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Premier League Prediction – Week 18 Part 2

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Ahhhhhh you know it. Football is on the go again as the New Year gets going. There’s already been an interesting run of games. Now to fill us up further before the FA Cup begins there is another batch of top flight fixtures to intrigue us. It takes us over the half-way point in the Premier League and there will be a review on that just as soon as this series of games is over.

As clubs finish one set of games and others are prepared to start their next set, let’s review how part one went. Points are awarded in the following way – three points for a correct scoreline; one point for just the correct outcome and zero points for getting it totally wrong. 

Hull City 0-2 Everton (0 points – actual score 2-2)

Burnley 2-1 Sunderland (1 point – actual score 4-1)

Chelsea 4-0 Stoke City (1 point – actual score 4-2)

Leicester 1-1 West Ham (0 points – actual score 1-0)

Man Utd 3-0 Middlesbrough (1 point – actual score 2-1) 

Southampton 1-1 West Brom (0 points – actual score 1-2)

Swansea 1-2 Bournemouth (1 point – actual score 0-3)

Liverpool 3-2 Man City (1 point – actual score 1-0)

Watford 0-2 Tottenham (1 point – actual score 1-4)

Arsenal 3-1 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 2-0)

On the one hand where it came to outcomes I did as well as I have been doing lately with 70% score. Unfortunately I didn’t nab any correct scorelines and so have to settle for seven points. Not that I am settling for that but it stimulates a desire to do better in the next set of fixtures. 

As teams adjust to the crush of games predicting how they will do may vary wildly, but that’s the fun of predicting. So let’s see what the match ups look like on this occasion. 

Middlesbrough 1-1 Leicester City

Everton 2-1 Southampton

Man City 3-0 Burnley

Sunderland 0-4 Liverpool

West Brom 3-1 Hull City

West Ham 1-2 Man Utd

Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

Crystal Palace 1-0 Swansea

Stoke City 2-2 Watford

Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea

Big game is undoubtedly the last one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurs actually pulled a win from the encounter, but Chelsea just appear irresistible at the moment. 

Let’s see how it goes

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

1000 Published Posts and Counting …

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I was minding my own business when a statistic came to my attention. Having completed and posted the last piece predicting the Premier League scores for last week in pressing that Scheduled button and at 12:34pm when it was published I had just posted the 999th blog entry on Among Friends.

Had I not noted that I would have just carried on and the 1000th post would have been the football predictions for this coming week’s Premier League action. With all due respect to Premier League football that would not have been the best way to celebrate 1000 posts on Among Friends.

So it’s just to use this landmark to say thanks to both Blogger at the beginning and WordPress in the last six years for hosting Among Friends over these 1000 posts. I am glad I got into blogging, it’s a great outlet for doing what I love doing – reading and writing.

Among Friends has not had the attention and investment as The Other Place has had where my blogging is concerned. That is not for the lack of ideas and desires for the blog, it is down to the priorities of where and how I invest my time and energies.

It is good to be able to now be able to get something posted on a weekly basis on blog to keep it active. I am working at that pace at the moment with no plans to change that in the short term despite the huge rush of ideas that I still have for the blog.

There is, however, another milestone that also came to my attention whilst noting the landmark of this 1000th post. That milestone is that come October – yeah next month – Among Friends will celebrate its tenth year anniversary! Ten years of Among Friends – wowsers. That’s a big deal worth celebrating somehow, so we will see how that goes.

So with 1000 posts and ten years there is no more fitting a way to cap it off than posting a song featuring my favourite artist that gives a good idea of what motivates all the blogging. Thanks again for your time.

Enjoy.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Not Forgotten – Life Among Friends in 2016

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So much has changed over the years of blogging on Among Friends and so much has remained the same.

Things that have changed include the sort of YouTube channels I enjoy. This year sees the 10th anniversary of Among Friends and in that time I’ve come across fascinating, interesting channels. In fact even over the last year my interest in YouTube football channels has increased considerably. It’s not unusual now for me to be subscribed to fan channels on Everton, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal as well as my beloved Liverpool.

These channels have deepened my love of football. They give a perspective on football that other aspects of the media fail to reach. I am not just reading what a broadsheet says, or some middle-aged journalist who is full of himself to believe he’s an authority on the game. To get the biased and considered opinions of the people who love the game and love their club just adds such richness to following the game. Hopefully in the weeks and months to come I will get to share some of the insights from those channels.

A major development over the last year as well has been my interest in the work of Hank and especially John Green. I can’t tell you where I got into him, but I know once I watched an episode of Crash Course US History which featured John Green, I was sold on the guy. That then morphed into loving the Vlogbrothers channel and the dialogue that takes place there. Then there was the interest in Crash Course US Government and Politics which features a witty character called Craig aka Weezy Waiter. Lately I’ve caught up with what that channel is all about and it is hilarious!

I still watch Dr. Who. As series 10 begins its development in the next few months it’s worth sharing my views on how things have progressed over the last series or two. In as much as I am not put off watching the show and it’s certainly capable of very good stories, I have to say the last series was … Well I’ll write about that, hopefully, and share that soon.

Super heroes!!! Wowsers there has been an explosion of super hero related programmes and movies in the last year or so. Compared to ten years ago the super hero scene on TV and cinema has exploded. There’s much that I could write about the Daredevil series one especially with series two around the corner. There’s also the Jessica Jones series to get into as well, which is worth a comment or two. This week in particular is a huge one if you’re a fan of DC comics as Arrow and The Flash return for the second half of their seasons. Also coming up this week is Legends of Tomorrow, which again is a fascinating development that should be worth a comment or two. All of these are of interest to me.

There’s all this and so much more (movies, music, books, funny stuff, etc.) in the pipeline that I could write about and share here. This is the place to explore all of those things and more. As the last few years would have indicated, I’m not always able to post on here as regularly as I’d hoped. Ideally I would post something on here once or twice a week. With the range of interests I have it wouldn’t be a problem – but it’s all about the time! So as time allows I’ll share the videos that I’m interested in as well as continue to share my views on these cultural matters.

That’s all to look forward to, for the time being, thanks for the visits to the bits and bobs on here, that I’m happy to share among friends.

Enjoy.

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

I Kind of Hate Batman

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Have I mentioned how late I am to things? I am so late it’s not funny.

Crash Course. Nobody told me. I didn’t notice. Not until maybe a week or so ago. Then I noticed and boy did I notice! To use a term that might be somewhat familiar with the site, it is awesome. (Which you’re encouraged not to forget to be.) I love the channel, not because it’s always right, or always entertaining or always good, but because it’s always reminding me of the beauty and wonder of communication as a tool to stimulate thought.

My chief reason for loving the channel is John Green. I love his delivery. I love his humour. It also massively helps that he’s a Liverpool AND Dr Who.

To then discover he did more than just vlogging on Crash Course was a delightful. This video is a typical example of what the guy is like on a subject I like too, namely super heroes. His critique of Batman is superb. Doesn’t stop me liking Batman, but I do so more conscientious of some issues with the concept of the Dark Knight. Enjoy.

Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

Arsenal: The Way You Play vs. The Trophies You Win

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It was a big match for one of these sides ... and it wasn't Chelsea.(Source: http://soomaalidamaanta.net/)
It was a big match for one of these sides … and it wasn’t Chelsea.(Source: http://soomaalidamaanta.net/)

At the Emirates yesterday, Chelsea played Arsenal. A lot of observers suggested that the neutral would be right behind the Gunners against the apparently dreary and boring side from Stamford Bridge. That did not apply to this particular neutral.

There are those who criticise Newcastle United for perpetually failing to be in anyway ambitious other than retaining their status in the Premier League. For a club of the passionate fanbase of the city their remarkable lack of trophies and anything approaching potential to challenge for a regular top 8 place is frustrating. What cannot be denied, though, is that those running the club have by one way or the other stumbled upon the way to meet their minimum objective. That sucks if you believe the game is about winning.

He's the villain of the piece for what he's doing to Newcastle United. But in essence what's the difference between him and Arsenal? (Source: http://static.guim.co.uk/)
He’s the villain of the piece for what he’s doing to Newcastle United. But in essence what’s the difference between him and Arsenal? (Source: http://static.guim.co.uk/)

What’s the real difference, though, between Newcastle United and Arsenal? A club the size of Arsenal and the infrastructure for consistent success sees a regular target of achieving Champions League qualification and has consistently met that target. Is that really something worth boasting to children and grandchildren about? In another season that saw rivals dip out of form and an opportunity to seal their credentials as proper contenders for the titles that matter, what have Arsenal done?

This game against Chelsea may not have necessarily changed the course of the Premier League title, but it would have certainly made a statement that this wasn’t another Arsenal side that flattered to deceive. While others refer to parking buses and the usual boring thing with Chelsea, there’s little in the way of addressing again why Arsenal have failed again to show anything like the qualities to be Premier League champions. You can build the squad, you have the resources, the stadia and the reputation – why can’t that be converted into a title fight to the end? Why can’t that be seen in a promising run in the Champions League?

Sure criticise him for the way his teams play. But when he's producing the goods what can you say? As opposed to others. (Source: http://worldsoccertalk.com/)
Sure criticise him for the way his teams play. But when he’s producing the goods what can you say? As opposed to others. (Source: http://worldsoccertalk.com/)

Meanwhile Mourinho has managed to get a top squad playing closer to their potential and on the brink of sealing that with two trophies – one of which is a main one – this season. The way you play might be nostalgic and wistful and get you all excited about the beautiful game. Yet it doesn’t mean anything if at the end of the season you end up with little to show for it.

Retaining the FA Cup is not a sloppy achievement, it’s not insignificant if they manage to do it. This is Arsenal, though. This is Arsenal who were challenging for the Premier League title .. ten years ago. This is Arsenal who made it to the Champions League final … ten years ago. Is this good enough for Arsenal … ten years on? Seriously?

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden