NLD – Now (the) League (table looks) Different – Dan Raywood blog

So it turned out to be one of the most one sided, well from a goals perspective anyway, north London derbies for years. The result leaves the red side of North London happy and the Wembley tenants of Spurs less than happy.

In a way, you could see it coming. Great results and performances against Liverpool and Real Madrid were followed by a scraped win against Crystal Palace, and Arsenal unbeaten team aside, a team needs to have an off day at some point.

Apparently today was one of those days. Spurs looked disorganized and only Hugo Lloris played well in my view. The majority of the game was played in midfield or in Spurs’ half, and then the Arsenal offense had figured out how spurs were going to play and used that in their own tactics: playing through the middle and on flanks against two left backs who did not have the strength of Rose and Aurier.

Spurs will go back to the drawing board ahead of the away game against Dortmund on Tuesday night. Arsenal now find themselves in the top four a point behind Spurs, and without the distraction of a champions league tie ahead of them. Spurs will just be glad that they have already qualified from the champions league group, and can focus on giving Son, Llorente, Foyth and a returning Eric Lamela (played today for the under 23s) a chance to get some game time.

As for me, I’ll be looking forward to the rest of the weekend and glad I got so many chores done during a dismal game.

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FA Premier League Predictions – Week 12

The international break is over and fans can put their qualification woes behind them and concentrate on the league. It seems a long time ago that we were enjoying week 11, well that is unless you were a West Ham or Arsenal fan of course, but safe to say a new manager for the Hammers brings new hope…oh yes maybe not, they appointed David Moyes. Im sure Hammers fans must have been so thrilled at the prospect of the man who took Sunderland down being appointed as manager of their club.

Anyway, week 11 was not as good as previous as I managed only to chalk up four correct results and nothing else. Week 12 might prove a little easier as we see the North London derby in the lunchtime kick off, Palace and Everton meet up in the battle of the two strugglers, Man City travel to Leicester in some of the key games amongst Liverpool looking to get a win over Southampton. So lets see how well I do this week.

  1.                                  Arsenal     2-2 Tottenham         Arsenal suprise and hold rivals
  2.                       Bournemouth     2-0 Huddersfield    Cherries net a home win
  3.                                Brighton     1-1 Stoke City           All square on the south coast
  4.                                 Burnley      2-1 Swansea City    Dyche’s men do it again
  5.                      Crystal Palace      2-1 Everton             Doom again for the toffees
  6.                       Leicester City      0-2 Man City           City stroll to another win
  7.                             Liverpool       3-0 Southampton   Reds cruise to storming win
  8.                               Man Utd       2-2 Newcastle Utd  Rafa ruins Pogba Ibra returns
  9.                               Watford       2-0 West Ham          Watford ruin Moyes start
  10.                          West Brom       2-2 Chelsea               Chelsea held at the Hawthorns

Going for some interesting predictions this week. Crystal Palace look to start a winning run whilst in the north London derby, it looks certain to be honours even in a surprise turn of events. Rafa Benitez returns to Old Trafford to spoil the party of the returning Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the United squad

Having struggled to get a win against the Saints in their last four attempts, Liverpool lok certain to net a big win as the combination of Mane and Salah proves too much for their south coast visitors.

Never Appoint Your Heroes – Dan Raywood

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 11

It was more of the same last week as I predicted two correct scores and four correct results. Sadly a late winner from United denied a fifth correct result, damn you Man Utd.

Hopefully this week will again prove fruitful in the predictions department although there some games that could blow it out the water such as the Sunday games featuring both Manchester clubs

  1.                                 Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd    Chelsea close gap on Mourinho
  2.                                 Everton 0-2  Watford    More misery for the Toffees
  3.                       Huddersfield 1-2  WBA         WBA hand hosts a second straight loss
  4.                               Man City 2-2 Arsenal     City held to tough draw against Arsenal
  5.              Newcastle United  2-0 B’mouth     Tough trip for Cherries another loss
  6.                                Stoke C   1-1 Leicester   Close draw between strugglers
  7.                  Southampton 2-1 Burnley         Saints win a close tie against tough Burnley
  8.                               Swansea 2-0 Brighton    Swans keep gulls grounded with home win
  9.                           Tottenham 4-0 C.Palace     Spurs dominate London rivals
  10.                            West Ham  0-3 Liverpool  No post Euro game woes for Red in London

 

So there we have it, more doom for Everton, Man Utd drop points in the league but not costly as City draw. Palace stay rooted with another defeat. Liverpool have a better trip to London after a Champions League tie against Maribor as they beat West Ham.

Now lets see how things look on Sunday evening…..

FA Premier League Predictions – Week 7

Week six saw more positive outcomes as the Premier League hit week six. I managed six correct results and one perfect result as Man City roared on ( I was a bit optimistic in that Palace might score against City) Tottenham nearly letting the Hammers ruin that six correct results. It was those Hornets at Swansea that nailed the perfect result. Im sure my Watford supporting friend Simon Nobbs was glad to see that after the battering by Man City previously. My team Liverpool, giving me another 90 minute roller coaster ride as they held on to beat Leicester City.

So to week seven and the final round of September matches including the first October games. It’s also the an International break after this round, so Premier League predictions gets a week off.

  1. Arsenal             2-0 Brighton
  2. Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester City
  3. Chelsea             2-2 Man City
  4. Everton             2-0 Burnley
  5. Huddersfield   0-2 Tottenham
  6. Man Utd           4-0  C.Palace
  7. Newcastle Utd 0-2 Liverpool
  8. Stoke City         1-2 Southampton
  9. West Brom       0-2 Watford
  10. West Ham        2-1 Swansea

 

An interesting weekend ahead, post midweek European football for our British representatives.With Chelsea and Man City facing off against each other, will either suffer post Champions League hangover. Im going for a draw as they will no doubt cancel each other out. Man Utd will add to the Palace misery with a hammering at Old Trafford. Roy Hodgson is having a behind closed doors friendly against Bromley as a way of team building, well it couldn’t happen surely? Well at the weekend it will.

Liverpool will roll on post Russia trip with a win at St James. Whilst the reds defence is a bit shakey, don’t expect another classic goal fest. Tottenham will also be victorious on the road as their charge for Premier League glory starts to take shape.

Europa League representatives Arsenal and Everton will be bagging wins again, good news for Everton as they look to get their season going. For Arsenal they look to be uniting at last.

Bournemouth and Leicester who are both at the wrong end of the table will end up taking a point each on the South coast. The visitors who nearly took a point off Liverpool last week, will be disappointed not to get nothing more.

Saints overcome their disappointment from losing last weekend as they beat Swansea, whilst Watford win and West Ham take three points at home.

Behind The Scenes – Q & A with Joe White

It has been a while since the first Football Behind The Scenes Q&A, so I thought I would have another one. This time with Joe White, the Arsenal fan and member of The Gaygooners and Campaign Manager of the Pride In Football organisation and seemingly good and decent bloke. I asked him if he would be interested and he happily accepted. Here is the Q&A.

Hi Joe

Thank you for taking the time to take part in this Q&A.

  • As an Arsenal fan and part of the most well known Gay Gooners, how did you get involved with the group and how proud are you that the club are proactive in the LGBT community?

It’s absolutely great for Arsenal to be so supportive of the Gay Gooners, and the wider community through Arsenal for Everybody – seeing the pitch side displays in February highlight that the club supports us through LGBT History Month and Football v Homophobia’s month of action and is superb to see.

I actually got involved with Gay Gooners through an event with Pride in Football, the LGBT fans group network and a national campaigning platform. I was still at university in Manchester then, and thought it would be difficult to get involved with Gay Gooners whilst there – how wrong I was! There’s a great bunch of Gooners across the country who go to games home or away and meet up socially too.

  • Arsenal has a proud record of working with the LGBT community, do you feel that other clubs need to do a bit more to work with their LGBT fans?

I think Arsenal do some fantastic work, as do other clubs such as Manchester City and (as much as it pains me to say) Spurs. Clubs can be proactive at engaging with their fans even if there isn’t an LGBT fans group though – Pride in Football is always happy to help in setting up new groups or helping clubs to engage more. It’d be great to see every group across the Football League with a fans group and getting involved with the campaigns that are progressing across the fans networks.

  • How did you become part of Pride In Football, how did it come about?

There was a fans meeting at Wembley back in 2016 and I’d attended hoping to learn more and get involved – everyone involved was so welcoming and it really is like a second family. Regardless of who you support, there’s always a lot of laughs when we meet up and friendly team-based humour.

  • You are the campaign manager for Pride In Football, how long have you been carrying out the role and what campaigns do you hope to see carried forward.

I’ve been in the role since June 2016 now, and we’ve focused on engaging with more fans and clubs as well as working with leagues, the FA and looking forwards to helping LGBT fans who want to go to the World Cup in Russia. This June we hosted a weekend conference at the National Football Museum, covering issues for LGBT fans and the progress we have made since 2013 when Gay Gooners were founded as the first fans group in the UK.

Going forwards we definitely want to see more engagement with the Football League and non-league clubs as well as putting pressure on governing bodies around fan safety abroad, especially in countries with anti LGBT laws. Seeing UEFA include sexuality and gender identity protections into competition bidding this year is a really progressive and promising sign. There are other issues focused around encouraging people to report instances of LGBT-phobic language in the stands – we’re trying to get people to Call It Out.

  • Gareth Thomas recently said that football risks being left in the dark ages unless more is done to tackle homophobia in football. Do you agree or do you think he was being unfair.

I think football in recent years has made some important progress – and the fact that there’s a discussion being had about challenging homophobia in football is a testament to that. I think the important thing for any sport is to not take progress made for granted. There’s still a long way to go at all levels of the game and fans are leading the way on that. Proud and Palace (Crystal Palace’s LGBT fan group) co-ordinated a joint Palace fans message before the start of the season focused around how homophobic chants about Brighton aren’t acceptable – “there’s 99 reasons to hate Brighton, but homophobia isn’t one of them”. I think Gareth Thomas raised some important issues, and gave a platform to some of the issues we’ve been facing.

  • Last year we saw a Radio 5 Live survey which saw 82% say they would have no issue with their club signing a gay player, whilst 8% said they would stop watching their team. If this is the case, why is it that there are players are not keen on coming out? Is it down to team mates or fans and even possible press reaction that stops them?

 I think the focus on when a top male player is going to come out doesn’t actually help – the priority should be making an atmosphere in the stands that would support an openly gay player. There are plenty of examples in the women’s game of players coming out and it not being an issue. I think that the men’s game can learn a lot from these examples and establishing support networks ready for when a player feels ready to come out – but it needs to be the player making that choice.

It’s hard enough to come out as LGBT without the media focus and pressures of being an elite athlete – concerns about being able to play without abuse from both home & away fans, sponsorship deals drying up and then selection concerns. It’s completely natural to imagine the worst case scenario, and I think this is where LGBT fans can create an atmosphere where players know that their fans, their clubs, their leagues and the governing bodies would be nothing but supportive.

  • Do you think that more education at younger levels can help improve attitudes and reduce homophobic incidents in the future.

I think education at all levels will help reduce homophobic incidents – the case of the Leicester fan receiving education on why and how his homophobic chanting impacts on fans, staff and potentially closeted players was an important step and approach. We don’t seek for immediate bans, we want football to be inclusive to everyone but repeat offenders need to realise they are breaking the law and clubs will impose bans if necessary. It’d be great if people realised the reason we are there is to enjoy the match and to support our team just like everyone else – homophobia, biphobia and transphobia has no place in the beautiful game.

Week 4 – Premier League Predictions

It’s that time again, another round of Premier League predictions that see players returning after the international break. It will be interesting to see how I do this week, having forgot about week and leaving it too late, but hey it’s all a bit of fun really isn’t it.

So here goes.

  1. Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool      Liverpool to edge tight game
  2. Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth             Arsenal back on winning ways
  3. Brighton 1-2 West Brom                 Brighton find it tough again as West Brom surprise
  4. Everton 1-2 Tottenham                  Tottenham win as Kane shines in September
  5. Leicester 1-2 Chelsea                      Burnley defeat seems an age as Chelsea march on
  6. Southampton 1-1 Watford             Both teams remain unbeaten
  7. Stoke City 1-1 Man Utd                   Stoke resistance ends United’s 100% streak
  8. Burnley 2-0 C.Palace                       Burnley pour more misery on struggling Palace
  9. Swansea 1-2 Newcastle                  Magpies overcome Swans to steal the points.
  10. West Ham 0-2 Huddersfield          Huddersfield continue their unbeaten run.

 

No doubt these may upset or be joyful with these predictions.