In last week’s Preview, we acknowledged the fact that our prediction skills were lacking somewhat, so we thought that we’d give Paresh, the newsagent at Wanstead tube station, a chance to have a go instead. Paresh let us down. He got two right, which is no better than our recent efforts. Paresh has expressed his remorse over this sorry performance, but we are afraid that now we have no option but to go and buy our wine gums elsewhere. A sad day.
We will however, persist with our plan to give members of the London public the chance to prove that their clairvoyant skills are of a higher standard to ours. Originally we wanted to ask the dude who sells the Big Issue on Regents Street, but he claimed ignorance of footballing matters and pointed us in the direction of a local newsagents. Paper-sellers have had their chance though, so we asked two people that we know who actually PLAY football, Simon and Lucy. Here are their details…..
Name: Lucy Mills
Occupation: Academic Publishing
Supports: Man Utd (FYI my family is from Lancashire and I was taken to Old Trafford aged 9)
Plays for: Clapton Orient Women
Favourite place in London: Spitalfields and Brick lane
Name: Simon Fawell
Plays for: Queen Mary Old Boys FC
Position : Centre-half
Favourite place in London: The City when it’s quiet on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
And here’s what they had to say…….
Chelsea vs Middlesbrough
Simon – Boro look like they can score goals and Hasselbaink in particular will be keen to put one over his former employers. It won’t be enough to stop the Chelsea steamroller though and the Blues will chalk up another comfortable victory on the road to a second Premiership title (yawn). Home win.
Lucy – I keep a close eye on a few of the London teams, mainly because they have been very entertaining of late, but also because their players make up most of my fantasy team and they have been earning me some points. I don’t want to give away the secrets of my fantasy team but let’s just say that it’s good when Chelsea keep a clean sheet (as they did last weekend) and I am happy when Lampard grabs a goal (as he did last weekend). I fancy Chelsea to see off Middlesbrough quite easily tomorrow. Home win.
Bolton v Arsenal
Simon – A trip to the North West is never easy and should show whether Arsenal’s recent revival is the real thing or brought about by a run of easier games. Bolton will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat at Fulham and should be good for a hard fought point. Draw.
Lucy – Arsenal have put a good run together recently and are looking like the confident attacking team we all know and love (hate?). Henry is his effortlessly skillful self again and has shrugged off his tiredness to score some great goals. I am also really impressed with Van Persie, he is looking better and better with every game. Bolton have looked a little shaky in recent weeks but I think Nolan is still doing a great job for them and he could bag a goal. Bolton are an old school fighting team and they could give Arsenal a hard time, but I think class will overcome grit on this occasion. Away win.
Tottingham vs Sunderland
Simon – Sunderland really aren’t very good. For Spurs, Martin Jol is threatening to finally bring Tottenham out of their seemingly endless transition period having built up a decent squad of players that will prove comfortably stronger than the Mackams. Home win.
Lucy – Oh dear, Mick McCarthy is having a tough time at the moment and I don’t think it will get any easier this weekend. Sunderland will do their best to defend but they keep giving away silly goals and Tottenham’s current form shows they can score and dig out results. Edgar Davids scored a great goal last weekend and I fancy him to up the ante this weekend too. I also quite like Mido, he’s a classy and entertaining player and he could be the difference between these sides. Home win.
West Brom v Fulham
Simon – Despite their league position, Fulham are actually playing some really decent stuff after the horrors of last season’s 4-5-1 dirge. Only a combination of bad luck and some questionable refereeing, particularly away form home, has prevented the rather higher points tally those performances merit. The Hawthorns, where West Brom seem to consistently flatter to deceive may just be where Fulham’s luck changes. Away win.
Lucy – Fulham have been a bit inconsistent but they have good players such as Malbranque who can make a real difference. I fancy West Brom on this time though as they have more to prove. I am impressed with Nathan Ellington (another possible acquisition for my fantasy team) and he could give West Brom the edge here. Home win.
Charlton vs Manchester Citeh
Simon – Both sides a the Valley started the season very brightly, only to slump into mid-table and find themselves desparately in need of a win to arrest the slide (City are without a win in 3 and Charlton have lost their last 4 in the league). Neither will get it from this game. Draw.
Lucy – I am excited by both these teams, Man City especially. I think the up-front combo of Cole and Vassell is very effective and I am hoping he will put one away this time. He is also in my fantasy team and although he missed a few chances last weekend I think his hunger for goals will pay off. Charlton have gone off the boil recently but having rested Danny Murphy a bit last weekend he could run the midfield as usual and cause some problems for Man City. I have a feeling it will be a close game as these teams are evenly matched and there is a risk they could cancel each other out. Away win.
Birmingham vs West Ham
Simon – Birmingham now have the vast majority of their squad fit, hopefully putting an end to Steve Bruce’s endless excuses. Sadly for the rest of us, the return of David Dunn and Muzzy Izzet may well give enough steel through the middle of the park to scrape past a Reo-Cokerless West Ham at St Andrews. Home win.
Lucy – West Ham are not as strong away from home and I think Birmingham will win this one. I like West Ham a lot (I live in the East End) and I think Anton Ferdinand is solid in defence but with the aged Sheringham their only inspiration at the moment they are lacking attacking options. I think Muzzy Izzet (what a great name) will do the job for Birmingham. Home win.
Thanks very much to Lucy and Simon, who would like to point out that both their respective clubs are always on the look-out for new players and that anyone interested should contact their websites (the links are at top of this post).