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.

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Not long left – Transfer Deadline Day

So it’s that time again, yes the Transfer window deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) and despite the window open since early July, there is always excitement for some come 31st August or the 1st/2nd September if the last day of August falls on a weekend. There have been a fair few transfers to say the least including the record breaking Neymar deal, which of course set up a transfer fallout. I’m sure there are a few managers though who will be glad to see 23:00 hours tomorrow night.

Some fans will be anxiously checking the BBC or Sky transfer pages as well as keeping an eye on the Sky Sports Deadline day show that will be running throughout the day.

Arsenal fans will be hoping and praying for some transfer movement. So far Alexandre Lacazette appears to be the only incoming player whilst a number of players seem to be departing the Emirates stadium. Given their performance on Sunday, many of the Arsenal fans will be hoping that Wenger is going to be surprising them with some transfer deals that don’t feature players departing. With the likelihood of over £40 million added to the transfer, it cannot be said that there isn’t any money to spend on signings.

Conte will be hoping that he can strengthen the squad further especially with having to find someone to replace Matic, who was sold to Manchester United. One player who could be heading to the Bridge is Danny Drinkwater. The Leicester City player has also asked to leave the club. Leicester wont want to sell and if they do, it will be no doubt have to be the best part of £40 million as reported in the media.

Liverpool will be hoping to complete the Oxlade Chamberlain deal before the deadline and given the player’s preference being towards Anfield. The club had also been linked with Thomas Lemar of Monaco, who is rated at £75 million. It will be interesting to see where that option goes if the Ox moves to Anfield. The Virgil Van Dijk saga could come to ahead come tomorrow. The long running transfer story saw Liverpool chasing then apologising and then the Dutch player wanting to leave by putting in a transfer request. Will he stay or will he go and if he does, will it be Liverpool, given interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.

Another saga at Anfield is the Philipe Coutinho saga. Barcelona have put in several bids only each time to be rebuffed by FSG and the Brazilian had not featured in the season due to a back injury. Whether this was genuine who knows, but on international duty, the youngster was cleared to play.

Divock Origi looks certain to head out on loan looking for first team football in a pre World Cup season. German club Wolfsburg look his likely destination.

Man Utd I imagine will have a quiet deadline day having brought in several players including the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Manchester club have started well, although have yet to be really tested and Lindelof has yet to really feature, which would be a concern given the £31 million they spent. Januzaj and Rooney were the notable departures from Old Trafford.

Last seasons runners up Tottenham, have been relatively quiet so far. Only two players in so far by the name of Paulo Gazzaniga and Juan Foyth. Serge Aurier is a player though that could be heading to Tottenham from PSG for £23 million especially with his work permit being approved.

Crystal Palace go into the deadline day looking to strengthen their squad. They have had a nightmare start to the season. The South East London club will be hoping to sign Liverpool defender Mamadou Sahko. They have had a number of bids rejected by the Anfield club who would be prepared it seems to sell for £30 million. The fans hoping for the club to up their bid.

Will Everton make any further changes. They have been busy spending, but have also been spending over £100 million although £75 million would have that covered by the Lukaku transfer. They have spent £20 million plus on a number of players including Michael Keane from Burnley, Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea for £45 million whilst Wayne Rooney returned on a free transfer.

The other side is the question of Ross Barkley, will he stay or will he leave. He has been linked with a departure and despite his current injury, it is surely only a matter of time before the midfielder heads out of Goodison, with Chelsea being a favourite.

Whatever happens tomorrow, some fans will be no doubt be gripped and glued to their phones or tablets more happier than others whilst some might see their coming season imploding on the lack of transfer activity.

FA Premier League Predictions

So the Premier League kick is getting closer and this season I will be providing weekly predictions for the 2017/18. The new season is certainly going to be an interesting one especially with the transfer window still open until the end of August. With players being bought and sold during the summer, it will be interesting to see how things move along the coming weeks.

It will be entertaining to see how my predictions turn out each week, but you can only predict what’s ahead. The Premier League season kicks off on Friday night at the Emirates where Arsenal entertain Leicester City, Watford host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, whilst newly promoted Brighton host Manchester City on the Saturday tea time. The Sunday fixtures see a visit to Newcastle United who host a  Tottenham side not only looking to go one step further this season by winning the league. The only down side is playing away from the Lane. The opening weekend is completed when West Ham travel to Manchester United. West Ham travel to Old Trafford with the likes of Joe Hart and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

Week One

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

Im sure there will be differing opinions and thoughts on the opening weekend but be free to share your predictions. Come Tuesday will I be wishing I had put money on or be looking like the least likeliest person to do your lottery numbers.

 

Football Fixtures release review

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the domestic football season came to an end, but here we are yet again with the release of the Premier League fixtures. No doubt some will be happy with the opening few games whilst others will be looking towards the run ins their respective clubs will have to get through to either stay in the league, qualify for Champions League/Europa League and the grand prize of the Premier League title.

The opening set of fixtures sees Premier League Champions Chelsea kick off their defence with a home game against Burnley. It’s a repeat of last seasons opener and the blues will be hoping to have a repeat the same which saw a 3-0 win. The Blues find themselves though with a mix of the top six thrown in. Following Burnley it’s a trip to Wembley in the London derby at Spurs. By the end of September, they would have hosted four of last seasons top seven. Chelsea have a relatively good Christmas period as they have back to back home games where they face Brighton & Stoke City with the return trip to Everton just before Christmas. If Chelsea are in the hunt for the title come April, it will be a good run seeing how tricky March is. Trips to the Etihad and Turf Moor are mixed in with games at home against Palace and Tottenham. April brings West Ham and Huddersfield to the Bridge alongside trips to Southampton and Swansea. The final two games see a visit from Liverpool and a trip to Newcastle Utd.  Liverpool have started are currently unbeaten in the league against Chelsea since 2014. Results between Conte’s men and Newcastle have been even with a mix of wins and losses although United fans will be keen to forget their last visit to the Bridge.

Staying with Newcastle Utd, their return to Premier League football sees them host runners up Tottenham. It will be interesting to see how Spurs line up in the coming season, will players join or even leave, one thing is for sure is that the Magpies wont be fussed and will be looking to open their return with three points and Premier League security under the managerial guidance of Rafa Bentez. they follow that up with a trip to fellow promoted club Huddersfield Town. The Magpies will be looking to repeat the victory that they managed in the Championship last season. Newcastle Utd see a mixed bag affair for the Christmas fixtures. Pre Christmas Eve fixture sees a trip to West Ham, where the visitors will be hoping that they grab three points at the London stadium. Boxing Day and the final fixture of the year sees two home games in the shape of Manchester City and last seasons Championship runners up Brighton. A couple of juicy fixtures no doubt as many enjoy the festive period. Their  New Years Day fixture sees a trip to Stoke, possibly not the best journey for anyone with sore heads.

New boys Brighton kick off their top flight return with the hosting of Manchester City, not the easiest start for the club but as the old addage goes, everyone has to play each other at some point in the season. It’s a double dose on the road as they travel to Leicester City and Watford. These are certainly winnable games in the league. Christmas and New Year looks challenging as the Seagulls have the return  fixtures against Watford pre Christmas Eve, a trip to defending Champions Chelsea and a return against Newcastle Utd.

Their run in mind you is a bit trickier, they host Tottenham and Man Utd, before going to Anfield on the final game of the season. Certainly not the best run in if looking for Premier League survival.

Manchester City have a mixed start in terms of opponents. Having faced Brighton on the opening day, they find themselves facing Everton and Liverpool at home with Bournemouth sandwiched inbetween. Finishing wise Man City have a reasonable run in. Only Tottenham from the top five are in City’s possible title push. Finishing with newly promoted Huddersfield, who could be battling relegation or even securing mid table safety.

Liverpool kick off their campaign with a trip to Watford. Bogey team Crystal Palace are at Anfield next in back to back home games which sees Arsenal heading up next. It’s first of two games running which see top team clashes. Last season Liverpool came out top and unbeaten against Utd Chelsea Arsenal Spurs and City. This season they will look to repeat it once again. Pre Christmas sees a trip to Arsenal following home games against Swansea and Leicester City. Liverpool, hoping to be challengers once again for the title will see visits to Chelsea with home games against Stoke and a final game at home to Brighton. It will be interesting to see if  any summer signings make a huge impact during the season.

Manchester United will be hoping to go better than last season, where draws proved the end to United’s title and top four challenge. This season West Ham, Swansea, Leicester and Stoke are the opening opponents for the Europa League champions. Christmas looks certain to bring festive cheer, although a new look Everton might be a bit more tricky for United, who could be seeing the return of Ronaldo, if reports are to be believed. Whilst May might be easy, April could be tricky. Man City and Arsenal stand in the way together with Bournemouth and West Brom.

Tottenham will find themselves having to deal with a different stadium for their home games. With the renovation of White Hart Lane,  last seasons runners up will be hosting their games at Wembley.  Champions League is one thing, but 19 games might have an effect on their title aspirations. Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea are the first three visitors to Spurs temporary home. It’s natural to think that Spurs might struggle, but there is no guarantee that their opposition will necessarily have any advantage. Christmas for Spurs is Burnley, Southampton and West Ham. It will be interesting to see what presents they get.  Tottenham’s run in sees Watford, West Brom and Leicester in the run in.

Finally its Arsenal, who this season will be having Thursday night football. Having played Leicester and Stoke, it’s the tricky visit to Liverpool followed by a visit from Bournemouth and a trip to defending champions Chelsea. West Brom and Brighton are next. Christmas sees more return trips for the Gunners who will be hoping to have a happy Christmas. Arsenal’s run in, which could see them either challenging for the title or a top four place looks fairly easy as Man Utd look the strongest of the opponents Huddersfield and Stoke.

It is looking very interesting in the coming season, especially with the chase for Champions League football. There will be no worries about top four spots as they will all be automatically qualifying for the group stages.

Changing Lanes – Dan Raywood Spurs blog

It’s been a few weeks since the end of the football season, and add a week since the last Spurs game of the season at its home – White Hart Lane. I was not able to attend the victory over Manchester United, but the scenes were incredible both during and after the match.

Since then, work has commenced in full on the new stadium, and today 19 June, I took a first walk past the building site that is the switch from old to new stadium. What was surprising to me as a visitor to the area and a local resident was the increase in development of the new site. The old Shelf side/east and west stands are all but gone, while all that remains of the north stand/Paxton Road is the scaffold feature that runs across it’s roof.

On the south stand, or Park Lane end which housed the most vocal supporters and away fans, most of the stand remains, although from what I could see most of the seats had been removed. Also gone was the Spurs Shop, so up the road in Enfield would likely be the nearest point of call for merchandise.

There are many ways to keep up with the development, but what surprised me was the speed at which the new development had stepped up. There were many words written about the last game at the Lane and how many were over-reacting to the last game. Yes there was a ‘Trigger’ factor as each stand has been rebuilt in the last few decades, including the Paxton Road stand since I first visited in the mid 1990s, but this doesn’t take away fans’ memories of attending the stadium and what they had seen, and who they attended with.

Around two years ago, I did a stadium tour of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. In there, many sections of seats date back decades to its original construction. The reason? Well nostalgia for one, but also because there was a desire from supporters to keep these old seats. After all, wouldn’t you want the opportunity to sit in the same seats that your parents or even grandparents sat in?

Sadly the rush to get a world class quality stadium is apparent in top level football and Spurs feel the need to follow what Manchester City, Arsenal, Reading, Leicester City, Bolton, Middlesbrough and others have done. It’s a shame, but a need that must be met to keep up financially, and a fantastic stadium will be waiting in a year’s time.

As for Spurs, last week I attended the showing of a film about the history of Tottenham Hotspur and the area of N17, and how the ground grew and changed around the club’s development. It had raised over £6,000 by last weekend for charities supporting young people in North London, and was a fantastic presentation narrated by Flav from Spurs podcast The Fighting Cock, with plenty of history that even this Spurs history junkie could devour! It’s well worth a view if you are a Spurs fan, or just interested in how a club grew up in a community, and became one of its focal points.

30 Years a Lilywhite – Dan Raywood guest blog

So another season is over, and it is one that is magnificent for Spurs for a number of reasons. Firstly, we finished second for the first time since the 1960s, and of course we ended the curse of St Totteringham’s Day that has long lingered over N17. That postcode is also significant, as Spurs will not call White Hart Lane home for a year, as the new stadium takes shape and Spurs relocate to Wembley Stadium for next season.

The last game and following pitch invasion and ceremony were all lavishly done. A final victory at the stadium over a half hearted Manchester United – who probably have most eyes on the Europa League final – was followed by a parade of legends in the rain, and choir and opera singers of some terrace chants. Amusing of course was the pitch invasion, with one claim from The Spurs Show podcast that to clear it, all they needed to do was give the microphone to Pat Jennings!

I’m writing this an hour ahead of the final games of the season, where Spurs finish off against a relegated Hull City. The season has been a good one from my point of view – Spurs were generally excellent despite struggles in the Champions League and FA Cup when we hit Wembley. The winners Chelsea are led by a terrific coach in Conte, while the on-off form of West Brom, Southampton and Bournemouth has showed that this remains the best league in the world.
On the downside, Arsenal and Manchester United look to be in disarray. United will buy their way out of trouble, but Arsenal face a divided fan base over the future of manager Arsene Wenger. See my previous post for my view on that situation.
The main down point of the Premier League season has been it’s end. A strong title race between Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City was over after one defeat by West Ham over Spurs, while the relegation places were confirmed over a disastrous Sunderland, too defensive Middlesbrough and resurgent Hull City. All three will struggle to hold on to the few big names they have and I don’t know how fast they will return with Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion claiming the promotion places.

The last things to confirm are the final fourth place in the league to play in the Champions League next season – that is in Liverpool’s hands. Also I’ll be hoping Everton don’t score so Harry Kane can claim the golden boot, one trophy for Spurs to boast about this season!