True story. Over the international break I watched an international match. It turned out to be alright. Of course England weren’t playing – I did say the game turned out to be alright. So international football. It can be alright. Glad it’s over though for the time being.
So, back to club football and back to the Premier League. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way suggesting this is the greatest league with the greatest football in the world. I don’t buy into that hype. I just enjoy watching the ongoing stories told by the ups and downs of the 20 clubs deemed to be the best in all the land.
Before we have a look at the schedule for the weekend ahead, let us reflect on the last time league football was played. It has been a while, but way back then I put some predictions so it’s time to see how my predictions weighed up against the actual outcomes. There are points at stake – three points for getting it spot on, one point for just getting the right outcome and zero points for getting nothing right at all.
Huddersfield 1-2 Tottenham (1 point – actual score 0-4)
Bournemouth 1-3 Leicester (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Man Utd 3-0 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 3-0)
Stoke 1-1 Southampton (0 points – actual score 2-1)
West Brom 2-1 Watford (0 points – actual score 2-2)
West Ham 2-1 Swansea (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Chelsea 1-1 Man City (0 points – actual score 0-1)
Arsenal 3-0 Brighton (1 point – actual score 2-0)
Everton 1-1 Burnley (0 points – actual score 0-1)
Newcastle 2-4 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Hmmmmmmmm … really missed getting a spot on scoreline. Only four points from that set of fixtures. A poor show all in all and the 40% outcome ratio isn’t getting me excited either. But it’s about getting back up again and having a right go at it – ain’t nothing gonna keep me down. (He writes with a sob.)
Another weekend’s football awaits and there is obviously one standout game to consider, but points are still available elsewhere. Here’s how I think the games will end up.
Liverpool 1-3 Man Utd
Burnley 2-1 West Ham
Crystal Palace 0-2 Chelsea
Man City 5-0 Stoke City
Swansea City 2-2 Huddersfield Town
Tottenham 4-1 Bournemouth
Watford 2-1 Arsenal
Brighton 2-1 Everton
Southampton 1-2 Newcastle United
Leicester 3-2 West Brom
It’s odd to see just one outstanding game to watch in a weekend’s worth of Premier League football, but don’t dismiss some of the others, there could be plenty of goals and excitement in them. Especially check out poor Roy Hodgson with Palace to see if he can get Palace actually scoring goals in the league. Sure, it’s against the Champions, but don’t rule it out … (he says, ruling it out.)
Will there be any shocking results to make things more intriguing at this stage of the marathon that is the Premier League season?
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
Just as things were getting good for club football both on the domestic and the European scene, up pops the internationals again. Yeah, just to interrupt things once this weekend’s schedule of matches is done it’s another long fortnight of international football to endure.
So, let’s see how we can make the most of this weekend’s football. But first, there is the issue of checking on how things went in the last set of fixtures in which I set some predictions. Points are on offer – three points for a spot on prediction, one point for a correct outcome and zero points for getting nothing right at all.
West Ham 1-2 Tottenham (1 point – actual score 2-3)
Burnley 2-0 Huddersfield (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Everton 3-1 Bournemouth (1 point – actual score 2-1)
Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace (3 points)
Southampton 1-2 Man Utd (1 point – actual score 0-1)
Stoke 1-3 Chelsea (1 point – actual score 0-4)
Swansea 1-1 Watford (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Leicester 1-1 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 2-3)
Brighton 2-1 Newcastle (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Arsenal 3-1 West Brom (1 point – actual score 2-0)
9 points – that’s a decent return in the context of the season so far. It’s also close to that double figures that has yet to be breached this season. Very happy with the spot on prediction this week too. Meanwhile 70% correct outcome percentage is an excellent return, very happy with that.
Now before the internationals take the spotlight, let’s see how it goes with this weekend’s fixtures.
Huddersfield 1-2 Tottenham
Bournemouth 1-3 Leicester
Man Utd 3-0 Crystal Palace
Stoke 1-1 Southampton
West Brom 2-1 Watford
West Ham 2-1 Swansea
Chelsea 1-1 Man City
Arsenal 3-0 Brighton
Everton 1-1 Burnley
Newcastle 2-4 Liverpool
A mega clash on Saturday evening sees two of the three title contenders face each other and it’s not going to be easy to see who is more likely to win. Other than that, the fixture list has its fair share of matches that appear straightforward, but don’t have to be. The points collected at this stage may prove to be pivotal to clubs as they set themselves up for the break. Will they go in with momentum or with much to regret?
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
There are many reasons why I enjoy Premier League football. One of them is that the game played regularly has twists and turns where over the course of time those who do best in navigating these elements tend to prosper. It’s all in the navigation, though.
Hence this weekend’s fixtures gives another opportunity to see how the navigating is going. Overall things are as they should be, but the season is still young.
Before looking at the games ahead, let’s look at the games before where I applied my idea of the game to ponder how results would turn out. Points at stake – three points for a spot on prediction, one point for the right outcome and zero points for getting it completely wrong.
Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton (3 points)
Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton (0 points – actual score 0-1)
Huddersfield 1-2 Leicester (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Liverpool 3-1 Burnley (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Newcastle 2-2 Stoke (0 points – actual score 2-1)
Watford 1-4 Man City (1 point – actual score 0-6)
West Brom 1-1 West Ham (1 point – actual score 0-0)
Tottenham 4-0 Swansea (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Man Utd 3-0 Everton (1 point – actual score 4-0)
6 points is better than points in recent weeks. 40% correct outcomes is not good enough. But there was a highlight in getting a prediction spot on. Love it when that happens and it is something I want to do a lot more often.
So with things on the up let’s check this week’s fixtures and see if I can keep this progress going.
West Ham 1-2 Tottenham
Burnley 2-0 Huddersfield
Everton 3-1 Bournemouth
Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace
Southampton 1-2 Man Utd
Stoke 1-3 Chelsea
Swansea 1-1 Watford
Leicester 1-1 Liverpool
Brighton 2-1 Newcastle
Arsenal 3-1 West Brom
It sure is a mixed bag of fixtures this weekend. No obvious massive matches to look forward to, but enough intriguing clashes to fascinate. Whether things pan out as I predict …
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
Football is picking up the pace. European action in midweek is followed by league action this weekend and then league cup action next midweek before another set of league games. Lovely.
Something else that would be lovely would be doing well in the predictions. Let’s see how I did in the recent set of fixtures. As ever the points system is the same as the league – three points for a correct prediction, one point for just getting the right outcome and zero points for missing everything.
Man City 2-2 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 5-0)
Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth (1 point – actual score 3-0)
Brighton 1-2 West Brom (0 points – actual score 3-1)
Everton 2-2 Spurs (0 points – actual score 0-3)
Leicester 0-3 Chelsea (1 point – actual score 1-2)
Southampton 1-1 Watford (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Stoke City 0-3 Man Utd (0 points – actual score 2-2)
Burnley 2-0 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Swansea 3-3 Newcastle (0 points – actual score 0-1)
West Ham 2-1 Huddersfield (1 point – actual score 2-0)
Four lonely points picked up. 40% correct outcome percentage is under the barely acceptable standard. Oooohhhh it’s not been a good start to the season for my predictions after a promising first week. Only Crystal Palace have had a worse time of it than my predictions.
Nevertheless, the season is young there are plenty of points yet to pick up. So let’s consider the upcoming set of fixtures starting with the tonight’s B-team clash.
Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton
Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton
Huddersfield 1-2 Leicester
Liverpool 3-1 Burnley
Newcastle 2-2 Stoke
Watford 1-4 Man City
West Brom 1-1 West Ham
Tottenham 4-0 Swansea
Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
Man Utd 3-0 Everton
The Sunday fixtures look a real treat and it’s something that will be a good indicator of the aspirations of the teams involved. Can things work out for the home favourites or is there a surprise in store?
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
OK international football, if you’re quite finished for the time being, we can resume with the football that really matters!
The transfer window is shut. The teams have to settle with their Premier League squads for the time being. There are winners and losers in it all and now we may get a glimpse of how things may pan out. Before that, though, let us briefly reflect on the last time I put the predictions on here and what I got for my troubles. Points system is like the league table – three points for a spot on prediction, one point for a correct outcome and zero points for nothing right at all.
Bournemouth 0-2 Man City (1 point – actual score 1-2)
Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Huddersfield 1-1 Southampton (1 point – actual score 0-0)
Newcastle 2-2 (0 points – actual score 3-0)
Watford 2-1 Brighton (0 points – actual score 0-0)
Man Utd 3-0 Leicester (1 point – actual score 2-0)
Chelsea 2-1 (1 point – actual score 2-0)
West Brom 2-1 Stoke City (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal (0 points – actual score 4-0)
Spurs 3-1 Burnley (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Four lonely points. 40% correct outcome. It’s poor. No point beating around the bush. This ain’t the work of a very good predictor of football. This is not, however, the end of the matter. This is just the spark to pick up the business and go on and improve. I will not be defeated!
So onwards to this weekend’s fixtures. It may not have much in the way of stand out matches, but there are one or two especially on Saturday that should be cause for interest. Here’s my take on how it will turn out.
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth
Brighton 1-2 West Brom
Everton 2-2 Spurs
Leicester 0-3 Chelsea
Southampton 1-1 Watford
Stoke City 0-3 Man Utd
Burnley 2-0 Crystal Palace
Swansea 3-3 Newcastle
West Ham 2-1 Huddersfield
This should be the sort of fixture list where it’s easier to get a few more points on the board. That really would be splendid right about now. I wonder if this will be the occasion where that happens. As ever, it’s just for us to …
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden
No sooner has the football returned at the domestic level than it’s off again for the internationals! Internationals – what’s that all about??
In any case, we’re left with this weekend before the ten days or so of the far less interesting stuff. There are some corkers this weekend as well!
But first there is the small matter of seeing how my predictions from last week turned out. The points system has not changed – three points for a spot on prediction, one point for a correct outcome and zero points for getting it all wrong.
Swansea 1-3 Man Utd (1 point – actual score 0-4)
Bournemouth 2-1 Watford (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Burnley 2-1 West Brom (0 points – actual score 0-1)
Leicester 1-0 Brighton (1 point – actual score)
Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Southampton 2-2 West Ham (0 points – actual score 3-2)
Stoke 1-3 Arsenal (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Huddersfield 1-1 Newcastle (0 points – actual score 1-0)
Tottenham 2-2 Chelsea (0 points – actual score 1-2)
Man City 2-1 Everton (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Wowsers. That was awful. That was shockingly poor. 3 points. Just three points. Whaaaaaaaat. 3/10 correct outcomes is miserably poor. Wowsers. That’s … just … wowsers … something I want to forget in a hurry.
So moving swiftly on, let’s see if I have more of a pulse for the beat of the Premier League with this week’s set of fixtures.
Bournemouth 0-2 Man City: OK. It’s time for City to stop messing around. The Brighton match was nothing to be too pleased with and they stumbled at home albeit with a contentious decision that saw them play with ten men for most of the match against Everton on Monday. But now all that mucking about malarkey has to stop and they must start playing as though they are worthy of being called among the favourites to win the league. Bournemouth as well could do with shaking up already with two games not to put down in the history books. Yet if things go as they should, the home side might be waiting a bit longer to really get their season started.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea: Fans can be impatient sometimes. There are already grumblings going on about De Boer’s start at Palace. You have got to give him a little more time, though. He has only just turned up and his style is markedly different to his predecessor. That needs time. Time is something that Clement knows all about. He didn’t get that time at Derby, but he did well with the time he had at Swansea when he joined. He is still relatively new to management in the Premier League and the loss of some key players to injury or to Everton is a test of his patience too. Not to much between the two teams to tell, really.
Huddersfield 1-1 Southampton: All aboard the Huddersfield Express to Premier League safety. Two games, maximum points, better than even their manager expected. Now their home fans have a dose of a more established league outfit who can give them an example of how to settle in the Premier. Southampton are no mugs. They don’t dice around with relegation too much. They are steady and know how to pick up the points they need to. They could indeed be the first to collect three points at Huddersfield’s expense. Yet it would be foolish to dismiss the home side’s chances with such a bright start to their campaign.
Newcastle 2-2 West Ham
Watford 2-1 Brighton
Man Utd 3-0 Leicester: Mourinho is rightly playing down the start United have made to the season. Despite others raving about records being broken with eight goals in two matches, nothing is won in August. Leicester should prove to offer more than Swansea and West Ham have in all areas of the pitch. Shakespeare should prepare his side not to be intimidated by the Old Trafford faithful getting a whiff of a dominance arising. In as much as they are capable, Leicester, however, should submit to the irresistible force of United.
Chelsea 2-1 Everton: Everton will have mixed feelings after their last game. A point from the Etihad is no mean feat. A point having lead and with a man advantage doesn’t look as impressive especially if you have pretensions to challenge City in the near future. Well no sooner have their European excursions taken their toll than there is another stern test of their credentials as they visit the reigning Champions. The positive in this is at least two of arguably their toughest league fixtures will be out of the way. But will it see them emerge unscathed? Conte, having seen how his team outwitted Spurs n their last encounter will expect his side to display their superiority.
West Brom 2-1 Stoke City
Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal: Got to be the match of the weekend. These two teams are committed to attacking football. Despite last week’s blank, Arsenal are set up to score goals and score lots of them. Their attacking options have been significantly strengthened with the availability of Sanchez. The prospect of Sanchez, Lacazette, Ozil and company bearing down on any defence would be daunting. Considering Liverpool notoriously don’t believe in defence, makes that prospect all the more nerve-wracking for the home fan. It’s just a mercy for the Reds that the Gunners are also somewhat susceptible to a good attack and if there’s one thing this Liverpool team have shown thus far is that they have a good attack. Do not expect a goalless affair.
Spurs 3-1 Burnley
Some tasty, tasty, very, very tasty fixtures in there. Let’s hope I can at least reach the standard set last week as opposed to the standard I succumbed to this week. Will it work out that way? Will those scorelines begin to come in just like I said they would?
Let’s see how it goes
C. L. J. Dryden
Yes, it’s good to have the football back.
From Friday to Sunday the ten Premier League matches produced a decent range of intriguing encounters. Of course some were going to react to the events like the league was won and lost, while others were overly cautious about reading too much into the fixtures.
Yet again, however, I put it out there that I could predict which way the fixtures would turn out, so let’s see how successful or not, I was. The points system, despite some consideration, won’t be changed from last season. So there’s three points for getting the whole thing spot on. There’s just the one point for getting just the right outcome. Finally there’s the not so sweet nothing for getting it wrong all over.
Arsenal 3-1 Leicester (1 point – actual score 4-3)
Watford 1-3 Liverpool (0 points – actual score 3=3)
Chelsea 2-1 Burnley (0 points – actual score 2-3)
Crystal Palace 2-2 Huddersfield (0 points – actual score 0-3)
Everton 3-0 Stoke (1 point – actual score 1-0)
Southampton 1-1 Swansea (1 point – actual score 0-0)
West Brom 1-0 Bournemouth (3 points)
Brighton 0-5 Man City (1 point – actual score 0-2)
Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham (1 point – actual score 0-2)
Man Utd 2-1 West Ham (1 point – actual score 4-0)
In terms of getting the right outcome – 7/10 is pretty good. Regarding the points actually accumulated – 9 points from a possible 30 looks bad on paper, but getting the right scoreline is a higher form of prediction, so being one off the double figures this early in the season is no reason for feeling glum.
However it is a standard set – and hopefully a standard I will surpass more often than not. So it’s on to this weekend’s fixtures.
Swansea 1-3 Man Utd – This will not be as comfortable a game for United as their first one. Swansea will be a lot more competitive. Under Clement they already are developing into something much more akin to the side that was a breathe of fresh air to the Premier League, that should cause some issues for the visitors. But the class of the Old Trafford should see them collect another three points.
Bournemouth 2-1 Watford – These clubs had mixed fortunes in their first fixtures. One thing Watford showed was a never die attitude to keep fighting until the last kick of the game. The challenge will be if they can do it away from home at a Bournemouth keen to get the taste of defeat out of their mouths.
Burnley 2-1 West Brom – Undoubtedly the result of the first weekend was Burnley going to the home of the champions and emerging with all three points. Not even they could have hoped for that. Now there is an opportunity to start their home games the right way, West Brom may prove to be stubborn opposition.
Leicester 1-0 Brighton – This game isn’t actually that easy to predict. The Leicester that played against Arsenal should win this game. Yet there’s more to Leicester than that performance and if plucky Brighton catches them on a good day, it might work in their favour.
Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace – A lot of attention has been drawn again to the suspect defence of Liverpool, this overlooks the fact that in the final third of last season, the defence as a unit played well. Their first home game sees them take on a Palace side still getting used to their new manager’s ways, that may impact the result in the home side’s favour.
Southampton 2-2 West Ham – West Ham will not have like their performance at Old Trafford at all and will be keen to show they are much more than that. This game against the Saints might prove to be just the tonic if they can get their act together. Meanwhile the home side will be looking to start scoring goals against a defence that doesn’t convince.
Stoke 1-3 Arsenal – This is usually a tough fixture for Arsenal. Stoke also tend to enjoy this fixture more than most. Yet there is the sense that the away side are in the better position in terms of squad development. There is also the feeling that Stoke have not improved much from last season and are in danger already of stagnating further unless reinforcements freshen things up.
Huddersfield 1-1 Newcastle – The first match between two teams who came up from the Championship. That means to a degree they know each other well and to another degree it also means they are in a position to cancel each other out. Huddersfield not only have the home advantage but also the boost of already winning a game in the Premier League, but will that be enough to overcome the canny Benitez?
Tottenham 2-2 Chelsea – Spurs could not have asked for a trickier first home game. What makes the game intriguing though, is that they face a wounded animal in Chelsea. Their transfer window that appears to leave them weaker than when they started and a horrific first game of the season including two key players suspended, This game is full of conflicting factors as to who will emerge the victors.
Man City 2-1 Everton – The Toffees get to test out their new line-up with the possible new signing Sigurdsson in the area against the big spenders of the transfer window. The attacking threat of City will be a good test as well. Last season these were the sort of games City struggled to impose themselves on, so it’s just as much a test of their credentials.
It’s another intriguing set of fixtures that’s for sure. On the one hand there is nothing to say that the sides who did poorly last week will continue it. There’s also pressure for those who did well to continue it. There are points to be gained and I reckon this is how they will pan out. As to whether it will …
Let’s see how it goes.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden