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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

THE BIG MATCH (Match 14)


The Big Match


(match -14 - wed 11th Dec 2013)

Liverpool [3rd ] v  ARSENAL [4th]

A rueful Liverpool boss Dan Malone went on the record this week to question his own wisdom in fielding a first team starting 11 in last nights shock English cup defeat at Brentford. After enduring a gruelling goalless  120 minutes, the division one thoroughbreds crashed out of the cup as  Merkal Bergara clinched a dramatic 5-4  penalty shoot-out victory for the hosts amid jubilant scenes at Griffin park. Trudging off at the end of the match there was a notable air of fatigue amongst the Reds with rotund top scorer Wayne Rooney looking particularly eager for the chance to rest on the long journey back to the North West. Mondays defeat sees the 3rd placed Liverpool continue to suffer a dramatic dip in form and comes on the back of a shock 2-0 away defeat at the ever combative West Brom. Liverpool fans will no doubt be expect some changes for the game with both a recall for Feghouli and Bonucci in place of the ailing Rooney and David Luiz on the cards.

Powered by the mercurial Ronaldo, last seasons division 2 champions Arsenal have made an excellent return to division 1 storming into the top four and cantering through the group stages in the SMFA shield. Whilst enjoying an enforced break from cup duties, they like Liverpool suffered the ignominy of a surprise league defeat at the weekend losing at the Emirates by 3 goals to 2 at the hands of division one basement dwellers Nottingham Forest. 

Verdict.. In what promises to be an edgy affair at Anfield , a weakened Liverpool are still unlikely to be able to withstand the Arsenal onslaught. Despite drawing at half time, I expect the Gunners to wind up winning the game by 2 clear goals as they move into third place with a memorable 3-1 win.

Prediction 1-3



We are just over a third of the way through the season and the contenders for promotion to the promised land [The Premier] are starting to rise their way to the top, today we see the top four clubs go head to head with each other across two mouthwatering ties.

Swansea [3rd ] v Newcastle [1st]

First up we have top of the table Newcastle taking on third place Swansea who coincidentally are under relatively new guidance after long serving manager Zak Cleur stepped down two games ago, both clubs have a forward who is scoring quite freely in the league this season with Cisse [7] & Lewandowski [11] for Swansea and Newcastle respectively, Newcastle were on a five game winning run but that was halted at Huddersfield and again at Preston, have Championship managers worked out how to beat that tired old 3-5-2 formation or is it just a momentary blip on Newcastles fine start to the season? Swansea kicked off life under their new manager with a 3-1 win over Watford, the formation used was the much maligned 3-5-2, they switched it up to a 4-2-3-1 for the cup game against Reading but were soundly beaten 2-0, I think they will go back to the 3-5-2 formation that produced that win against Watford, I think this game will be full of goals with Newcastle taking the three points.

Prediction 2-4


Huddersfield [2nd ] v Portsmouth [4th]

Next up for the armchair football fans is the tasty tie of Huddersfield- Portsmouth who lie 2nd and 4th respectively, Huddersfield who I have a fine affinity for as I had a successful stint as boss when I was there taking them from division three all the way to the promised land, I do think Amhad will lead them back to the top as he is a class manager but back to today's game I think this will be a tough tie, Huddersfield are unbeaten away from home but have suffered two defeats at the Galpharm so that alone gives Portsmouth a fighting chance to steal the three points here but Portsmouth will have to stop the rot that is starting to set in which has saw them lose five games on the bounce, three of which have been in the league, that run has saw them score a paltry three goals, conceding a sixteen goal mountain in the process, how much of this can be put down to the fact they have a bundle of players out through injury and suspension I don't know but for me I can only see one winner today and that is a home win for the mighty Huds.

Prediction 3-1



Southampton [16th] v Barnsley [14th]

Two of the most exeperienced and arguably the most talented in the division. While Steve at Barnsley has done brilliantly with Barnsley year in year out and Rick has underperformed in every aspect and lucky to be in a job. 
Southampton had a poor showing last time out and played off the park but still managed to get a point. They look poor tactically and if Rick doesn't  get it right then Steve will take him and his players apart I'm sure. 

Barnsley have had a uncharacteristically poor start , They have been unlucky in games with suspension and injuries but his players haven't performed for him. Think Pienaar will be the key if he plays well then Barnsley should win. 

Prediction 0-3


Rotherham [2nd ] v Birmingham [9th]

This is the clash of the well mannered old school vs the rougher new school. Stewart and Veigas are 2 completely different managers and have vast styles of managing. Stewart is a man who likes to keep control on everything including the club's money while keeping a balance to the playing staff.

Veigas is a very rough diamond when it comes to managing I personally like his style quite a lot. He has a solid setup with Rio Ferdinand at the back with plenty of pacey attacking wingers on the counter like Johnson and Cerci who have bagged a dozen goals between them. They have a good set of attacking players with a attack style manager. 

Prediction 2-2


Millwall [4th] v Gillingham [6th]

Both come into the game in the play-offs and on the back of a win on the weekend. Both teams have very similar philosophy's of having an experienced team and having a good finisher. They are not pleasing on the eye both teams admittedly but both tactically are strong. I would say Millwall's midfield is outperforming every team in the division and in fact most football league.

Prediction 2-1



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