Premiership Predictions


So, the first weekend of fixtures since the transfer window closed and fans across the country get a chance to see what their managers have splashed out on – or not, as the case may be – in January. After nearly a week training with their new teammates, the big money January movers will know that they have to perform this weekend – first impressions are just as important in football as they are out in the real world, and especially interesting will be the Suarez-Torres face off at Stamford Bridge…

Stoke City vs. Sunderland (Sat, 12.45pm)
Steve Bruce didn’t waste too much time reinvesting some of the money he received from the sale of Darren Bent, and in Sessegnon and Muntari he may well have added some real quality to his midfield – how quickly they can bed in and get going though, is another question. And, despite the potency of the Gyan/Welbeck partnership, I think Stoke at home will probably be able to strangle the life out of the Black Cats a little, and expect them to maintain their strong home record in the Premier League, though probably not in enthralling fashion.
Prediction: 1-0.

Click through for previews of the rest of the weekend’s action…


FA Cup Predictions (4th Round)


Such is the magic of the FA Cup, it’s probably madness for me to even try to predict any of this weekend’s results – there will be one or two ‘cupsets’ at least. However, I’m going to give it a go anyway, but to give myself a fighting chance I’ll be selecting just five of the fixtures to preview and predict, involving teams whose form I actually know a little bit about – so despite the tagline of this post, this hopefully won’t be too much random guesswork…

Click through for predictions for the weekend’s Cup fixtures…

Guest Blog: Good Riddance to Bad Commentators


Here’s an article I wrote for World Football Commentaries which takes a look at the scandal that errupted around Richard Keys and Andy Gray’s sexist comments last weekend. While the pair have been rightly lambasted for the derogatory comments towards women, I feel that the focus on the sexist aspect of their comments has actually overshadowed the fact that they were guilty of a crime much more widespread and just as potentially damaging to the future of the game.

Click through to find out why I think it’s good that they’ll no longer be commentating for Sky Sports…

Premiership Predictions


Well… it’s been a while since I dusted off the old prediction hat and made some wild stabs in the dark concerning the outcomes of a round of Premier League fixtures, but now seems like a good time to revive the famous TTIAO predictions for one week at least. Let’s hope I haven’t lost my knack…

Saturday Fixtures, Kick-off 3pm unless stated.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Liverpool (12.45pm)
Liverpool were made to look quite good for the first half of the Merseyside Derby last week, but when Everton got going properly in the second half we once again saw the familiar Liverpool of the season so far – lacking any real cutting edge and any real fighting spirit, and they may have been lucky to draw the game in the end. Wolves, on the other hand, seem to have found some form. They very nearly upset Manchester City in a 4-3 thriller last weekend and McCarthy’s side are fulfilling their potential, as they have some really talented players, and I think they may frustrate Dalglish today.
Prediction: 2-1.

Click through for the rest of this weekend’s predictions…

Mixed Feelings: Farewell to Pienaar


Thank god he's gone?

So Steven Pienaar has signed for Tottenham Hotspur for £2.5 million. As an Everton fan, I’m obviously disappointed. Pienaar was voted the club’s player of the season last season (although in my opinion Leighton Baines should have just pipped him to that accolade) and in his time at the club, he has been a consistently top performer for us, but he’s also always played with great passion and commitment: to the fans, it looked like he wanted to play for the club.

Now that he’s rejected a contract offer from Everton, signed for another club, and a direct rival at that, we can be quite sure that he no longer feels that way. It’s disappointing therefore, but there are positives to it as well – even despite the transfer fee, let’s face it, £2.5m is a snip for a player of his quality. Ultimately though, it could well be a plus for Everton that Pienaar has left the club – to find out, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Click through for the full article…

Merseyside Derby Preview


Mikel Arteta would love a repeat of the last derby...

It’s a big day for me. I start my new job tomorrow, my first ever ‘proper job’, I will no longer be a student, I will be entering the real world. But that’s not really why it’s a big day. Of course, that’s important, but there’s something else that happens before that. At 3am on Monday morning New Zealand time – that’s 3am on the morning I start my new job – Everton will line up against Liverpool at Anfield. That’s right; it’s Merseyside Derby Day.

And it’s a big one too, even by the scale of Merseyside Derbies. Both clubs are having poor seasons. They will line up tonight 12th and 13th in the Premier League table, level on points but Everton on top due to superior goal difference. Unfamiliar territory for both clubs in recent seasons, and so it’s not just bragging rights at stake. Both clubs need to get their seasons back on track, both will be looking to kickstart the New Year.

But what’s gone wrong for the Merseyside clubs this season? Click through to find out…

Happy New Year!


Best wishes for 2011, from They Think It's All Over...