'Saturday/Saturday' English Premiership Football Predictions: MagsBarmyArmy Reports!

Big shout out and tasty props to Sachin Tendulkar this week and his achievement within the cultured confines of the gentrified game of Cricket. Yeah, cricket: once described by dear Kobe Bryant as the game where you ”run between the poles?” Our Kobe isn’t the smartest lad: they are wickets mate, wickets; not poles!

Being a bit of a right hand, medium paced off spinner and wicket keeper (with cat like reflexes I may add) in my day, I always had a soft spot for the noble art; although in the US it’s about as relevant as a ham sandwich at a bar-mitzvah. Anyway, the pint sized Sachin created history this week by scoring a double century in one innings of One Day International cricket.

I can see the glazed expression on your face, some explanation is needed. One Day International (ODI) “is a form of cricket, in which 50 overs (six balls to an over, my friends) are played per side between two national cricket teams. The Cricket World Cup is played in this format. One Day International matches are also called “Limited Overs Internationals (LOI)”, because they are limited overs cricket matches between national sides, and if the weather interferes they are not always completed in one day”. All that aside, it is a stunning achievement; the 36-year-old hit 25 fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 200 off 147 balls. Fellow International cricketer Rameez Raja paid tribute to him by saying; “He’s been a great ambassador for India and world cricket. He is a great role model because for someone who has played international cricket for 20-odd years there isn’t a single scandal against him. It shows the character of the man and he still has the passion and enthusiasm of a 10-year-old.”

Alright, Cricket, Smicket: back to business, Football.

It’s starting to heat up in the Premiership (not that it was ever cold) – with only about ten or so games left for most clubs, it is tight at the top.

Birmingham V Wigan
McLeish’s Birmingham return once again to their fortress home stadium of St. Andrew’s, and are looking to complete a double over Wigan this season. Wigan’s season has become increasingly precarious of late, they are hovering two points above the relegation zone and Manager Martinez needs to turn it around, and sharpish. Wigan are frustrating to prediction, early in the season they showed glimpses of skill and poses, but that seems to have withered. Their pitch also looks like their recent performance, tired and ragged; this is due mainly to the fact the Rugby League team share the ground. All that said; Birmingham will prevail – doubt it will be pretty but…..

Prediction: Birmingham 2 – 1 Wigan

Burnley V Portsmouth
Complete disaster at Portsmouth. This week saw the south coast club enter into the record books as the first Premiership Club to enter into administration with debts of over £60m. They will automatically been docked nine points, which basically secures their relegation fate. Its been a revolving door or owners for them this season, coupled with not paying players wages on time and allegations of other financial misconduct the future doesn’t look bright. Burnley have proved very difficult top beat at home this year, they have lost only one of the last seven league games there, however, they have begun to leak goals and are perilously posed near the bottom of the table. I think Burnley have more to gain right now and Portsmouth’s hearts have already been broken. Look to see a home win for the Clarets.
Prediction: Burnley 2 – 0 Portsmouth

Chelsea V Man City
Battle of the money –bags, this one; the Premierships biggest spenders duke it out at the Bridge. The intrigue in this one is cranked up to eleven, not only for the fact that it has serious implications for the top of the table, but for various and some would say even more intriguing reasons. The managers, Ancelotti and Mancini are old foes from their Milan days and this is the first time they have met since taking over at their respective clubs, no love lost. John Terry and Michael Bridge meet head on for the first time since the seeding drama has played out in the trashy British tabloids, (if you missed it; Terry is alleged to have bedded Bridge’s ex-girlfriend while they were teammates and Terry was married: classy), so again, no love lost here either. Tevez is back from Argentina and will feature, while conversely Adebayor is out, serving his red card ban. Man City were unceremoniously tossed out of the FA Cup this week, but Stoke and the wolves are beginning to bay for the head of Mancini. They are still intent on finishing in the top four to secure a Champions League place for next season, but it isn’t going to be easy and a trip to Stamford Bridge won’t assist them any. Chelsea are home are simply awesome: they are on a stretch of 37 home games without defeat and have taken 37 from a possible 39 points at home this season. Everything would suggest a home win, but I reckon Man City can keep it interesting and give themselves a boost in the process.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 2 Man City

Stoke City V Arsenal
Wenger’s Arsenal still have injury concerns with a long list of stars still out; Arshavin (hamstring), Diaby & Djourou (both knee), Gallas (calf), Gibbs (foot), Merida & Van Persie (both ankle). Stoke are one of two clubs in the Premiership that haven’t yet been beaten this year, and their confidence will be boosted even more having just dispatched of Man City midweek and with the knowledge that they have already beaten the Gunners in the FA Cup this season. They are a very physical side and Arsenal will have to match this if they have any chance of claiming all three points. This match has huge implications for the top of the table also and Arsenal really need to carve out a win if they have any chance of hanging on to the coat tails of both Man U and Chelsea. It is games like this that Wenger will and must show his worth.
Prediction: Stoke City 1 – 3 Arsenal

Liverpool V Blackburn
Liverpool are back in the safe haven of Anfield on Sunday, and they need it. Last weeks draw with Man City looked nervy and their prowess in front of goal has left little to be desired recently; only scoring three goals in their last five games. Torres needs to get back on song, as does Gerrard. Kuyt has stepped up in the interim, but much more is needed if Liverpool want to finish top four, as Benitez has promised. Their win away this week in the Europa league win have done wonders for their confidence, having had multiple goal scorers in Romania. They need to translate this into the Premiership. Blackburn have only won once in the last 22 encounters at Anfield, which doesn’t bode well and although Big Sam’s men have surd things up and moved 11 points above the relegation zone this one will be tough. Benitez needs and wants the points more than Allardyce.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 0 Blackburn Rovers

Tottenham V Everton
The mighty blues of Merseyside have been the giant killers in the Premiership, successfully beating both Chelsea and Manchester United. Their fortunes went south during the week however when they were battered by Sporting Lisbon and limped out of the Europa League. Moyes at least has Distin and Heitinga back available for this match and will hope to return to winning ways. Tottenham made it through to the next round of the FA Cup in midweek and Redknap will want to continue this spirit. The striking partnership of Defoe and Pavlyuchenko have scored ten out of Spurs’ last twelve goals, with the Russian getting two last Wednesday. This is a tough one to call; there will be goals, no doubt about that, and just because Tottenham are at home I will go for them.
Prediction: Tottenham 3 – 2 Everton

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