Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It is with regret that I must inform you that due to some unfortunate and unplanned housing difficulties arising from my recent relocation I will, from tomorrow, be without an internet connection for an unknown amount of time – probably a couple of weeks. So not long after getting the site ticking over again it looks like I’ll be forced into taking another break which is a real shame because I’m loving all the football that’s happening at the moment and writing about it is currently a lot of fun.

However, I want to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year. I really do appreciate all the support I get from you and hopefully you all have a great festive period with your families (and the busy fixture schedule!). All being well I’ll be back in the New Year sometime so please do check back regularly so that when I return we can get straight back into it and catch up on all that we’ve missed.

Take care everyone, and once again, Merry Christmas!


One Response to Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  1. Maurice Baker says:

    No need tomiss out on a good few predictions though:

    Birmingham v Chelski
    This has been a tight game.
    It has been played three times in the last five years and there have been only two goals.
    Birmingham haven’t scored and when Chelski have scored they’ve won.
    Chelski are unbeaten in their last seven visits to St Andrews, winning five.
    In games home and away, Chelski are unbeaten in 14 against Birmingham, scoring 25 goals.
    Chelski come into the match with very mixed away form and Birmingham come into the match with strong home form.
    Birmingham, though, will fancy their chances, especially as they are at home on Boxing Day for the sixth time in eight years and they have won their last three on this day.
    But they should take head: Chelski are unbeaten on Boxing Day for the last five years.
    Lawro thinks the pressure is on Birmingham, as their fans will have developed expectations during their magnificent unbeaten run.
    But he also expects Chelski to end that run!
    Birmingham last beat Chelsea in December 1985, when they won 5-1 at St Andrews in the old Second Division.
    Forecast: 0-2.

    Fulham v Spurs
    Both teams won last weekend; Fulham beat Man U 3-0 and could be unchanged with Johnson still unavailable with a long-term problem, while Spurs will be buoyant after winning 2-0 at Blackburn with two goals from Crouch.
    Spurs haven’t beaten Fulham at Craven Cottage in the last five years, though they have twice managed a draw.
    Spurs away form isn’t good, but how ‘away’ is Fulham?
    Fulham’s home form is solid as shown by the recent demolition of the Champions.
    These teams met on Boxing Day last year, at WHL, and it ended goalless.
    That was the first time in five games that Spurs had failed to win on Boxing Day.
    By contrast, Fulham last won on December 26 in 2003 at home to Southampton.
    Fulham are big and strong and difficult to beat at home, but Spurs are probably still smarting from the spanking the Arry has given the party miscreants.
    With one eye on the transfer window, some Spurs players might believe they are playing for their future.
    Forecast: 1-1.

    West Ham v Portsmouth
    Now this is interesting, as the bottom two teams face each other.
    This fixture has been played four times in the last five years and West Ham have not yet won.
    It was 0-0 last year, but in the preceding three years, Portsmouth took the points.
    In fact, West Ham have beaten Portsmouth once – at Fratton Park last season – in eight meetings home and away.
    West Ham’s last home win against Portsmouth came in 1993 when they went on to win promotion to the EPL.
    Their last home win against Portsmouth in the top flight was in December 1958, when they won 6-0.
    Lawro refuses to get off the fence and opts for a draw, with a late stab at the prize for stating the obvious: “Quite often when two teams who are scrambling for a victory meet, they cancel each other out and the match ends in a draw.”
    But West Ham have never beaten Portsmouth at home in the EPL, in four attempts.
    Forecast: 1-1.

    Burnley v Bolton
    There is no recent history of this match.
    These teams haven’t met in the League since 2000 in the old First Division.
    On that occasion Bolton won 2-0 at Turf Moor with the teams drawing 1-1 at the Reebok.
    As recently as 1988, they met in the old Fourth Division!
    Burnley haven’t won on Boxing Day for three years while Bolton have lost four and draw one of their last six Boxing Day fixtures.
    Bolton have struggled away from the Reebok, but Burnley have drawn the last three at home.
    This could be something of an old-fashioned encounter.
    We might even see some tackling.
    Lawro is on the fence again!
    Bolton have won two and drawn one of their last three visits to Turf Moor.
    Forecast: 2-1.

    Man City v Stoke
    Life after Mark Hughes begins on Boxing Day when Roberto Manciti takes charge for the first time.
    Man City won 3-0 last year, Robinho scoring all three goals.
    That was Man City’s sixth win in seven home games against Stoke.
    Stoke have improved away from home but still haven’t done well recently.
    Man City are unbeaten at Middle Eastlands, but who knows what we’ll get with Manciti in charge of Hughes’ Man City team.
    Lawro thinks that this match isn’t going to be much of a problem for the new manager, but there are other issues further down the line.
    Stoke have failed to win in their last EIGHT Boxing Day games, drawing four and losing four.
    Forecast: 3-0.

    Sunderland v Everton
    Everton like the Stadium of Light and Sunderland have yet to work out how to score against them there.
    This match has been played three times in the last five years and Sunderland have not scored.
    Each time Everton have and taken the points home.
    But Everton have been papering over the cracks since Jagielka got injured last season.
    Sunderland are at home on Boxing Day for the eighth year in succession; in the previous seven they have won two and lost three.
    Everton are looking for their third successive Boxing Day win.
    Everton are unbeaten in their last nine League games against Sunderland, home and away, winning eight.
    Forecast: 1-2.

    Wigan v Blackburn
    Wow, what a history there is for this match!
    Played in four of the last five years, this fixture has produced a total of seventeen goals.
    Blackburn lost 3-0 last year but prior to that had three consecutive years when they had scored 3.
    Unfortunately they once conceded 5, but prevented Wigan from scoring in the other two years.
    However, we never know what we get with Wigan and Big Sam has tightened Blackburn up.
    Blackburn have scored only one goal in their last six EPL games.
    But Blackburn have a good festive record: they are unbeaten in their previous seven Boxing Day fixtures, winning two and drawing the other five.
    When these teams met at Wigan 12 months ago, the home side won 3-0, but all three goalscorers, Heskey, Valencia and Cattermole, are no longer at the club.
    Lawro predicts another fiesty Lancashire derby.
    Wigan are at home on Boxing Day for the sixth time in seven years.
    Forecast: 1-1.

    Liverpool v Wolves
    There’s no recent history to this fixture either, but you know the script.
    This is a must win for the Scousers, who have developed a flakey aspect to their performances.
    These teams have never met on Boxing Day and when they last played each other, in 2004, Liverpool won 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a last-minute winner from Hyypia.
    Liverpool have won five of their last six Boxing Day games while Wolves last won on this day in 2006.
    Wolves just pick and choose who they turn up against.
    Could it be a mark of disrespect to Liverpool for Wolves to play a full strength team, thinking they might get something.
    Now Lawro is starting to mix it: “Not only do Liverpool desperately need to win this game, they also need to sit down and analyse why Rafa persists in picking so many defensive players despite a run of form that has seen his team win just three of their last 12 games. That situation needs to change and quickly, or he will have to suffer the consequences. Liverpool selected what I consider to be seven defensive outfield players at Portsmouth. There was the back four plus Mascherano, Lucas and Insua, normally a left-back, playing in midfield. With that selection, Rafa is then asking Gerrard, Kuyt and Torres to go and win the game. I know that Wolves won at Tottenham but I don’t think they are that strong on the road and I think Liverpool will win this fixture. Verdict: 2-0.”
    And what might those consequences be Lawro?
    Wolves last won at Anfield in January 1984, their only victory there in 22 visits.
    They have won three of their last four EPL games and face a Liverpool side that lost 2-0 at Portsmouth last Saturday.
    This is a bit nerdy, but Fernando Torres needs one goal to become the fastest striker in Liverpool’s history to reach 50 League goals.
    His 49 have come in 70 games and 61 starts.
    The record current belongs jointly to Sam Raybould (1902) and Albert Stubbins (1949) who achieved the feat in 80 games.
    Forecast: 2-0.

    Arsenal v Aston Villa
    This is a Lawro ‘interesting’ match.
    Villa won last year, 0-2 after two years of 1-1.
    The two games before that Arsenal had won 3-1 and 5-0!
    Aside from the blip against Chelski, Arsenal have been strong at home.
    Villa have been the form team in the EPL, winning their last two away matches – one at Old Trafford!
    Aston Villa will be confident going into this game, having remained unbeaten in the last three meetings home and away against Arsenal.
    This really is a big match for the Gunners.
    With their game in hand in early January, three wins could see them move into second spot.
    Aston Villa’s credentials as serious contenders will be right in the spot light here.
    Lawro thinks this will be a cat a mouse game, with Villa sitting back looking to hit Arsenal on the break.
    He doesn’t think they’ll succeed, as he’s gone for 1-0.
    But Villa have gone 373 minutes since they last conceded a League goal.
    Forecast: 1-2.

    Hull v Man U
    Hull have been good to patchy at home, unbeaten in the last five.
    Man U will want to put defeat to Fulham behind them.
    Man U put out an under-strength side against Hull in the last game of last season and were too good then, winning 0-1, Gibson scoring one of his trademark goals.
    Just six years ago, Hull’s Boxing Day fixture was against York; now they entertain Man U.
    It is a daunting prospect given that Man U have only ever lost once in 17 Boxing Day games in the EPL and that was at Middlesbrough in 2002.
    Man U’s record on this day is 14 wins, two draws and one defeat.
    Overall, in 18 League meetings, Man U have won 11 while Hull have won four, most recently in November 1974.
    Forecast: 0-2.

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