Premiership Football [Soccer] Saturday Notes


Leeds defeats Manchester United


Shall we start with overwhelming and joyous news about last Sundays deserved FA Cup win by the mighty Leeds United against a certain team from across the Pennines, Man U? Yes, lets. And begin – Leeds beat Man U…… and it was bliss. Jermaine Beckford, who if recent reports are correct is on his way to bigger and brighter things (brighter and bigger than Leeds, you say??? Impossible??), scored the only goal at Old Trafford. United manager Ferguson catagorised Manchester’s performance as “shocking”, music to my ears dear boy!

Sitting in a bar in Queens, bright and early on a Sunday morn, I was the only Leeds fan and the place was packed. Not with Man U fans though, with the local Woodside Celtic Supporters Club contingent, who were there even brighter and earlier to watch the Old firm game. Ah, the wonders of football, blending together diverse cultures and far off places, uniting them under the universal language of football, “Ah, for fucks sake” the bloke next to me screamed as yet another Celtic cross when wayward….. that will be the language then. I digress, the Yorkshire club illustrated that they are on the rise again, and gave US viewers a rare glimpse of their ability. It was a fierce battle, as these two clubs always ensure, but this time Leeds were the better side…. Much to the delight of their more than 9,000 traveling entourage! It’s worth seeing the goal again, and again….. The look on the United fans and players at the end of the game is priceless.

The ever youthful Patrick Vieira looks to make a return to the Premiership after signing a six month contract with Manchester City. City boss Mancini was a Vieira believer and brought him to Inter when he managed them, and now he looks to do the same at Eastlands. Vieira’s presence in Arsenals midfield throughout his 400 game tenure was crucial to the silverware he brought them; three League titles and four FA Cups. I like his style and command; wherever he plays he makes his presence felt, literally. Check out some of these encounters, he a Roy Keane always had a bit of a brew-haha whenever there paths crossed.

Now I know everyone complains about the English weather, not me, but the rest of you’s. But over the last week or so they have definitely had something to complain about. The UK has been hit by some of the largest snowfalls and coldest temps in decades and this had played havoc with this weeks football matches; four Premiership, six Championship, ten League One and a partridge in a pair tree matches are off, with more expected to be called.

With that in mind, here are this weeks predictions:

Hull V Chelsea

Hull has fight, there is no denying that; they grit their teeth and dig in, it is this tenacious attitude that earned them a draw at Bolton last week. Geovanni is back, which will help them upfront, but they are still on their worst losing streak of the season so far (six). The ‘about to commence’ African Nations Cup has really depleted the Chelsea strike-force they are with without Drogba, Mickel, Kalou and Essien. Chelsea are still the stronger side by far, but in the interest of keeping it all interesting at the top of the table; I say draw.

Prediction: Hull 1 – 1 Chelsea

Arsenal v Everton

The North Londoners are still a force to behold and are keeping the pressure on at the top. They could have gone just one point behind Chelsea with a win, had Wednesdays game against Bolton not been postponed. Fabregas is still out; but Denilson, Rosicky and Arveshan are fit and available. Everton still have there ongoing injury worries, with the likes of Arteta, Rodwell and Saha all injured. And again, the African Nations has an impact on both teams players-wise. I think Arsenal will win; they are on great form of late. Look out for a cameo from newbie, Donovan; This Is England Kid!

Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton

Wigan v Aston Villa

After a good start to the season, O’Neill’s Villa have had recent results go against them. They are still a fast-break, counter attacking side with pace and physical presence; and Milner’s return will certainly bolster this. Wigan are somewhat of an unknown quantity: some days good, some days bad, and some days very bad. It can be a coin toss on which side walks out onto the pitch for them as far as how they are going to play. Villa will have the edge.

Prediction Wigan 1 – 2 Aston Villa

Birmingham v Man Utd

The Blues are a side of solid consistency of late. The form team of the Premiership with 11 unbeaten games and their defense is uncompromising to boot. Man U, on the other hand are having troubles (he he). They are not only NOT finding their scoring touch, but without the likes of Vidic and Ferdinand, have leaked goals. Ferguson and McLeish are firm friends, with a similar managerial style and this encounter will be hard fought. With Birmingham at home and on their current form I think they will take all three points.

Prediction: Birmingham 1 – 0 Man Utd

Liverpool v Tottenham

The confidence is beginning to return to Anfield and this is crucial at this juncture of the season if they want to

stay in some kind of running. Torres and Gerrard have been back for a few games together and are beginning to find

their connective touch, but they are still not where they can be. As a manager, Redknapp has never been able to carve

out a win at Anfield and I don’t this will change on Sunday. Although Spurs has flowing, snazzy and creative football

on their side, Liverpool will win.

Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 0 Tottenham

Man City v Blackburn

A good old North West derby. Blackburn have not won in 8 and at Eastlands new boss Mancini has seemingly breathed new life into the club; although I watched last weeks performance against Middlesbrough and it was dull, dull, dull; they got the win but it was very uninspiring. City have a lot of injures and Toure and Adebayor are on International duty, but they also have depth in their squad; which may be strengthened by the addition of new signing, Vieira, who may make his debut on Monday. City need start playing to their potential, and they will in time; and will start with a win here.

Prediction: Man City 2 – 0 Blackburn

Now, let’s just watch that Beckford goal one more time. Ta-ra for now.

[And for a little gratuity]:

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