Well we're not quite half way through the Premier League season, but after week 15 certain scenarios are starting to take shape that could just have a good chance of holding on. It was another dramatic week of footy, but hey....that's what we all hope for and expect right?
Arsenal gets STOKE'd:
So many people would love to see Arsenal have a break out season and these past few years we've seen glimpses of that sort of potential out of Wenger's squad. However, the Gunners continue to be that team who shoots themselves in the foot (pun maybe intended?) when it comes down to crunch time. Hanging out around the bottom of the Top 5 in a season that has been a little bit scatterbrained should give Arsenal the perfect opportunity to jockey themselves into a position to make a run for it come Spring of 2015. This week against Stoke City should have been the perfect chance to make up a little ground.
As most of you know though...that didn't happen. Arsenal didn't just have a disappointing draw with Stoke City, they lost to Stoke City. Not to mention they gave up three FIRST HALF goals to Stoke City, a team who has really had it's offensive struggles.
The Gunners have the goods, but their lack of consistency just keeps bringing them down. Some people are worried about their defense, but I just don't see that really being a huge issue. In the games they've won (including Champion's League), they have shut down potent offenses quite nicely. The problem is the fact that we don't know if they are going to come to play each game or not.
The Merseyside Whirlpool:
Both Liverpool and Everton continued to struggle this week and yes...I know it is starting to make me sound like a broken record. I had both of these teams rounding out the Top 5 in my preseason predictions and I have to admit, I am still a little stunned by their constant stumbles.
Liverpool only managed a 0-0 draw against an abysmal Sunderland side and Everton lost a 1-0 game to Man City. It's hard to decide which team showed more promise, since Liverpool does continue to at least pick up points, but then again....it was against Sunderland. Everton didn't manage to take any points from their match, but hey, Man City is a Top 3 team right now. Neither team could find the back of the net though which kind of speaks volumes for how their respective seasons have gone so far.
Still plenty of soccer to be played, but this has to be one of the more frustrating seasons for Merseyside fans from either side.
The Red Devils Join The Party:
There were plenty of great jokes about Manchester United at the start of the season when they couldn't seem to buy a win, even against weak competition, but all that has seemed to change as Man U now finds themselves at the grownups table with their two biggest Premier League Rivals.
After an exciting start for Southampton, a recent run that has seemingly brought them back down to earth put Man U in a position to leapfrog the Saints for third place. They would have to do it on the road at St. Mary's stadium and do it....they would. It was a hard fought match, but a brace from the recently criticized Robin Van Persie would be enough for the Red Devils to beat Southampton and take three points back to Old Trafford.
If this trend continues, it makes for a pretty exciting Top 3. As I mentioned earlier, just above Man U are their two biggest rivals, Chelsea and Man City. It's the sort of Championship run that TV stations dream about.
Alright, time for my three matches of the week. As always, please do play along and give me your predictions as well!
Burnley v. Southampton
After a recent trip back from the clouds, this should be the perfect match for Southampton to get back on track. Burnley is still getting used to the competition level in the Premier League and Southampton has the better team if they haven't let their last few matches bring them down mentally. My prediction is a 2-0 win for Southampton.
Arsenal v. Newcastle
Newcastle kind of has something in common with Arsenal and that's a lack of consistency. Their last two games include a draw with Burnley and a win over previously unbeaten Chelsea. I am not sure if Arsenal's loss to Stoke City will ignite a fire under them or bring them down, but I am pretty sure that Newcastle will be feeling pretty cocky after handing Chelsea their first loss of the season. Since the game is in Emirates Stadium though? My prediction is a 2-2 draw.
Manchester United v. Liverpool
This match is very interesting because it will show us if Man U has just been a pretender these past few weeks or if they really are in the hunt for a title. Liverpool is struggling, but they have the talent if they figure out how to use it and a win against Man U would be great for team morale. If Liverpool wants to take three points though, they would have to do it at Old Trafford and I am not sure they have the ability to do so. There is a good chance this match ends in a scoreless draw, but I am feeling like gambling a bit, so with that said.... My prediction is 2-0 Manchester United
So there are my thoughts on Week 15 and my predictions for Week 16. Time to chime in with yours now!
Thanksgiving is over and Christmas music is at full blast everywhere you go. Thankfully for us footy fans, the Premier League is at full blast as well. This week we got to enjoy some midweek Premier League action and now here on Thursday, we find ourselves only a day and a half from some more.
The story lines unfolding this year continue to get more and more interesting, but year after year we expect that right? Let's start by talking a little Southampton:
Is the fairy tale nearing it's end for The Saints? Well...it is starting to appear that way, as the team who has been mired in second place for quite some time now, finally dropped to 3rd after a 1-0 loss to Arsenal. It wasn't much of a surprise either, as Southampton has been struggling against weaker opposition the past few weeks and has finally started to look like a team holding on. Although Arsenal hasn't been performing to the standards they would like to be, their talent and experience found a way to shut out Southampton and possibly exposed the Cinderella story even further than they already had been.
For those of us (like myself personally), who don't hold any real bias toward any of the top teams, it's a little disappointing, as Southampton has been exciting to follow this season. But who knows? Maybe I am giving the fat lady the go ahead to rock the mic too early. My gut on the other hand tells me otherwise.
Who has cursed Merseyside? Although Liverpool did get a much needed three points this week against an outclassed Leicester City, their 8th place position is still a far cry from where they expected to be right now.
There is another team in Merseyside however who might actually like to be in Liverpool's position....well at least in a relative sense. Everton continued to struggle this week with a draw against Hull City, an opponent that recently lost to Burnley and shouldn't have been much of a struggle for the Blues. That result however barely scratches the surface. Everton's lackluster season so far includes only four wins, only one of them being against opposition currently ranked higher than them on the table (West Ham), as well as a 1-1 draw against Sunderland.
What could the light at the end of the tunnel be for Everton though? When you look at each match they have drawn or lost, they haven't been blown out. In some matches, one might even argue that they were the better team despite losing....that is one of the cruel aspects of this game. I am just not sure they have the firepower to overcome the mediocrity they've been exuding throughout the season so far. Seems crazy with names like Mirallas, Lukaku and Eto'o on your roster, but plain and simple......it's just not working.
Not sure if all of this Merseyside disappointment will prove to be a bonding element for the Red and the Blue (I highly doubt it actually), but I am guessing both sides are at a point where they would do pretty much anything to lift this curse. Maybe Liverpool just needs to send Balotelli packing?
Don't call it a comeback. No really....don't, Manchester United still has a ways to go and their stumble into the top four hasn't been all that pretty, but let's be honest.....you're all thinking it.......the Red Devils just might be gaining steam. Now as I stated earlier, I am not biased to any of the big names in the Premier League, but given the fact that I did predict Man U to have a potential Championship season, I am at least happy that I am starting to look less like an idiot right now, although I am sure someone could find something else to point out that would suggest otherwise.
Van Gaal and the boys squeaked out a win against Stoke City this week which has lined them up for a chance to jump Southampton this weekend for a cozy spot in third place. This would leave them with only their two biggest rivals ahead of them (Man City and Chelsea) and it would give us the potential for an absolutely epic march for the title.
I am not sure if they can keep up their recent spell of good luck, but with Southampton on the way down and discombobulation still alive and well at mid-table, now may be the best time for the Red Devils to get hot.
Alright so time for my three matches of the week and my predictions. I would love for you all to play along and give me your predictions as well. Comment down below with what you think will happen and I will be sure to give you a shout out in my next blog entry.
Match 1: Stoke City v. Arsenal
Stoke is known for hanging in many of their matches and they did give Manchester United a pretty good match this week. Arsenal on the other hand is coming off of a 1-0 win against Southampton which on paper looks really good this year, but for obvious reasons that can be found above, I am not sure it's as big of a win as it appears.
It's hard not to love Arsenal, as well as their amazing fans, but even if I was a betting man, I wouldn't even think of putting any money on them quite yet. My prediction for this game is a 1-1 draw.
Match 2: Man City v. Everton
The bumpy road for Everton doesn't get any easier this week as they take on 2nd place Man City. To make matters worse? The game is in Manchester. "Citeh" has been looking good lately and even this week when they went down 1-0 to Sunderland early, there wasn't any panic as they went about demolishing the "Lads" in a dominating fashion.
Given Everton's struggles this season, I don't see this one being close. My prediction is 3-0 for Man City.
Match 3: Southampton v. Manchester United
My thoughts on this match won't come as much of a surprise after what I said earlier in this entry. My gut tells me Southampton is on it's way down and although it hasn't been pretty, Man U is on their way up.
I don't see this being a match full of goals, but I do see a Red Devil win even if the match is being played in Southampton. My prediction is a 1-0 win for United.
Like I said, I would love for everyone to play along, so hit me with your predictions!
For us yanks, the final Thursday in November is more or less the official kick off party for the holidays....and hey it also works as a "hype man" for insane stampeding shoppers, but that's another story. Now for the most part, the day will consist of stressed out families, American football, a table full of food that would make Brazilian Ronaldo (Circa 2006) blush, as well as prayers that your jeans will spontaneously turn into sweat pants.
With all that going on, sometimes it's easy to forget what the holiday is about. No I am not talking about the historically disputed origins of the day, but rather the simple sentiment of recognizing what you are actually thankful for. Now I do realize it is only those of us in the United States that celebrate this particular version of the holiday, but since I doubt you actually care what I am thankful for, I decided it would be a good time for me to speculate what some of your favorite teams and/or personalities might be thankful for this year. With all that said.....Happy Thanksgiving and here we go.
What is Bayern Munich Thankful For? Answer: Borussia Dortmund
12 games into the Bundesliga season and as expected, Bayern Munich leads the league by seven points. Two of Bayern Munich's standout players just happen to be former BVB players, Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski. In their last meeting on November 1st, Lewandowski popped in a goal against his former club which most certainly was a cruel reminder to Dortmund fans of the offensive powerhouse they lost to the biggest name in German football.
Much like Lewandowski's path to Bayern Munich, Dortmund star, Marco Reus is also looking for a new team and it's no shock that Bayern Munich has been mentioned as a potential suitor. It's kind of sad really that a team like Dortmund who at times - especially in Champion's League - has shown to be quite the exciting squad in in many ways starting to look like Bayern Munich's feeder team to most of the world. Borussia Dortmund's CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke was even recently quoted as saying "Bayern Munich wants to destroy us..."
So as Bayern Munich search for their third straight league title, this Thanksgiving they have the team that they stopped from winning their third straight to thank.....Borussia Dortmund.
What is Manchester United thankful for? Answer: A crazy Premier League Season so far.
It's hard to believe that with only five wins that Manchester United FC is actually in the Top 4 of the Premier League standings. With all the high hopes that the team had before the season started regarding new Manager, Louis Van Gaal, it's safe to say that their record as it stands would be somewhat disappointing any other season.
2014 is a tad bit different though. With teams like Southampton in second place and teams like Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool in 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th respectively, the battle for the top isn't full of the names we are used to seeing. Now don't get me wrong, there is a lot of soccer to be played yet, but while Manchester United's shaky start would in most season's put them in a precarious position, this season they find themselves right in the hunt regardless.
I am not sure what the rest of the season holds or if anyone will be able to catch a streaking Chelsea side who currently holds a 13 point lead over the Red Devils, but if the boys from Old Trafford have anything to be thankful for this year....it's the fact that the Premier League has been completely unpredictable so far.
What is Jurgen Klinsmann thankful for? Answer: Landon Donovan's retirement....and low expectations.
It's kind of incredible that we view Jurgen Klinsmann's time with the USMNT as a success so far. I mean even myself, who just so happens to be a critic, still views the last World Cup campaign as a success. I mean really!? Our boys showed a ton of heart and damn if it didn't feel good seeing cities across the Nation go bonkers for the beautiful game, but the fact that one win in the tournament constitutes as a success in a country who is all about winning and dominating at everything they do seems absolutely mind boggling to me.
One of the hot button topics during the year for Klinsmann happened to be his leaving Landon Donovan off the squad. It's one of those subjects that finds itself in the realm of politics and religion....if you are around other sports fans......don't bring it up. I am not sure if it was strictly business or if there were some personal elements to the decision, but Klinsmann's son's infamous tweet didn't make things any better. When Klinsmann added Donovan to the squad for a post-World Cup friendly against Ecuador, watching the two of them interact was like watching a divorced couple at......well Thanksgiving dinner actually, even though it was Donovan's final match in Red, White and Blue.
To be fair, Donovan doesn't always make things easy on himself. His soccer-less sabbaticals and snarky comments certainly made it easier on Klinsmann to leave him off the team. However, when you go back to that 1-0 loss to Germany or the Chris Wondolowski whiff against Belgium, one can't help, but wonder if things had been different if Landon Donovan had been on the squad. Thankfully for Jurgen.....he won't have to worry about that anymore.
What does Chelsea have to be thankful for? Answer: Diego Costa.
Diego Costa has been dare I say.....en fuego this season and Chelsea is reaping the rewards. The Brazilian has scored 11 goals already and his closest teammates, fellow Brazilian, Oscar and Belgian, Eden Hazard both sit seven goals behind him.
Chelsea has been a perennial contender for quite some time now, but for a good part of this season so far, it feels like Chelsea is on a whole.....'nother.......level. Perhaps it is because we've gotten to use to seeing them "park the bus", but bringing Diego Costa in was a gigantic game changer and their six point lead at the top of the table is evidence of that.
Sure Costa is surrounded by a good squad and yeah maybe he should feel a little thankful he ended up being signed by Chelsea, but let's not forget, he did score 27 goals for Atletico Madrid last year in La Liga play, so it really does feel like Costa finds a way to work his magic no matter where he goes.
There may be no "I" in team, but I would be willing to bet that most everyone involved with Chelsea is pretty thankful that Costa is wearing blue this season.
What are millions of traumatized USMNT fans of all ages thankful for? Answer: Mix Diskerud's razor.
Ok, so I think it's pretty awesome Mix was trying to get involved with the whole Movember trend, obviously charity of any kind is awesome, but DUDE.....it's also called "No Shave November" and I would hazard to guess that a full beard would have been a little less on the creepy side than that lip caterpillar.
In the USA's second to last match of the year against Columbia, fans on twitter immediately reacted to Mix's facial decoration, some joked, others screamed, but most agreed that it had to go. Can't say I didn't feel a little bad for the happy-go-lucky youngster who has shown a lot of promise in being the future of the USMNT's offense, I mean he grew it out with all the best intentions, but I think we can all agree that we were thankful for the fact he shaved it off. It will no longer haunt our nightmares.
I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday! On behalf of everyone at Who Are Ya Designs.....Happy Thanksgiving!
It was an unfair and disappointing ending to the USMNT's 2014 this week against Ireland. The result wasn't unfair; Ireland's Goalkeeper, Shay Given put on a keeping clinic, especially during the second half and the so called Irish "B Team" looked like sharks at a feeding frenzy against an American side that was sloppy to say the very least. Consistent performers from the past few years like Geoff Cameron looked silly turning the ball over often and American keeper, Bill Hamid struggled after an amazing MLS Season with DC United. The 4-1 result wasn't unfair, but it's unfair that a season that made leaps and bound or so it felt, ended in such an ugly way.
I am still not sold on Klinsmann. There were times when I thought I was on board during the World Cup and other times where I feel like we are being scolded by him for being American. I know this isn't a popular opinion, but his constant bashing of the MLS really rubbed me the wrong way as someone who has been a supporter of domestic leagues since I was a kid. Given the fact that he would then turn around and do something like...gee I don't know....adding an NASL prodigy to the squad for a friendly almost made me wonder if his strong opinions against the MLS were just part of some maniacal plan even if I had no clue whatsoever what that plan might actually be.
I still believe the decision to leave Donovan off the World Cup squad was a bad one, we could have used his natural ability and ability to perform in clutch situations in matches like the one against Germany and of course Belgium. However, that said, I did love the team that Klinsmann put together for the reason that it felt like a brand new start for a country that is slowly starting to grow up in the world of soccer. I loved Klinsmann's cheeky attitude throughout the tournament and the fact that at times it seemed he started to turn a little more Red, White and Blue than he was before the tournament when he famously said "we can't win the World Cup".
The game against Ghana felt like a dark cloud had been lifted. I remember being in traffic headed down to Seattle for a viewing party when I heard Ian Darke blare over my iPhone that Dempsey had scored just seconds into the match. I then remember the crash back to reality when Ghana tied the match, but that only made Brooks' goal and his reaction of disbelief even more goosebump inducing. Remembering it right now is bringing the goosebumps back all over again.
Even though we didn't win another game in the tournament after that, I still felt like the matches against Portugal, Germany and Belgium still had so many positives. We hung in there with teams that made up the "Group of Death" and then we advanced. Nobody really believed we could and then we did. Crowds came out in the masses for each match and for those couple months in the summer, soccer was American.
After the World Cup, came the match against Slovenia during a somewhat tumultuous time for the opposing team. Klinsmann sent a bunch of youngsters and most everyone - including myself - felt like it was a disaster waiting to happen. To my surprise, it was actually one of the more exciting matches I had seen the USA play. Not because we particularly dominated, but because we beat a European team somewhat on the rise on European soil and our group of kids played a spirited match without most of the veterans. That match was a perfect companion to the World Cup in my opinion, because it started to solidify my belief in Klinsmann and that maybe there was a method to his madness.
Then came the match against Ecuador, the final game for the USA's all time leading goal scorer, Landon Donovan. Klinsmann and Donovan put disagreements aside so that arguably the best American soccer player that we have seen got to have his last dance in Red, White and Blue. It was one of the few times that we saw some emotion out of the often dry Donovan and although the game ended in a 1-1 draw, it was an exciting one all things considered and I continued to believe that the USA was headed in the right direction.
After that, I felt like a bit of the negativity that was going around pre-World Cup started to creep back in as Klinsmann once again belittled the MLS and evoked a strong reaction from MLS Commissioner, Don Garber. Again, I know this isn't a popular opinion, but I fully supported Garber's reaction and if you would like to know why, there are a few posts from me that I wrote earlier in the year that explain why I feel the USA needs to do soccer our way. The promotion/relegation reared it's terribly ugly head again, talk of doing away with the salary cap did as well and personally it grew tiring for me.
I am not saying that negativity was the reason that the final two games of the season turned out the way they did. A lot of that has to do with trying out new players and also respecting the MLS Playoffs that are currently happening as well, but I do feel like the results combined with Klinsmann constantly reminding us of his opinions on domestic soccer in the USA ended 2014 in an unfair and disappointing way.
Believe it or not, I am an optimist and I am just as excited as anyone about the Gold Cup this year. I guess what it all boils down to is that I feel like a large amount of steam that we had built up for the sport in this country did dwindle out as the year ended and in some ways we are back at square one or at least back to pre-World Cup. Maybe that was inevitable, I don't know, time will only tell.
On the bright side, we have a lot of fun young players to watch in 2015 including DeAndre Yedlin and Mix Diskerud and if we can have a good showing in the Gold Cup, I have faith that momentum will build once again. I just hope that we can keep it going next year.
No matter what, as always I Believe That We Will Win.
Here's to more memories in 2015.
Another Premier League week has passed and another one is on the horizon. I have to say...I am a little proud of myself, after last week's predictions turning out ok, having another awesome week has me just a little cocky. Let's review...
So the only pick I had wrong...by a little bit. Burnley finally got their first win of the season against Hull City. Now I had a 1-1 draw in a match where Burnley would lead most of the way. Turns out Hull City didn't have it in them to tie the game late and Burnley was able to win the match 1-0 much to the excitement of their fans who have been waiting three months for a victory.
As for Liverpool and Chelsea. Well I didn't give Liverpool quite enough credit, but I was pretty close. I had Chelsea winning 2-0, while the actual result ended up 2-1 in Chelsea's favor. All in all...not bad.
Now the match I am particularly proud of is OBVIOUSLY Swansea City and Arsenal. I pretty much called this one perfectly as the Welsh side continues to grit out an exciting 2014-15 season so far. My prediction was that Swansea would just do enough at home to beat Arsenal 2-1 and sure enough...that's what they did. A big thank you to Swansea for making me look awesome.
Enough of my gloating though, time to move on. Everton continued to struggle this week and only managed a draw against a Sunderland side who has been the punching bag of the Premier League for what seems like an eternity, Southampton nabbed another three points against Leicester City to stay in second place behind Chelsea, Man City also under-performed against a weak QPR side (albeit a weak side that has shown life recently) with a 2-2 draw, and in an unlikely twist Manchester United performed as they should have (kind of) against another bottom of the table team, Crystal Palace and managed a 1-0 win.
In all honesty, besides Liverpool/Chelsea and Swansea City/Arsenal, the week was made up mostly of fixtures that should have been lopsided, but instead made the supposed better team look ordinary or worse. Chelsea and Southampton are benefiting in a huge way from matches like that this year, as they continue to pad their points totals at the top of the table.
The biggest upset of last week was probably Stoke City beating Tottenham. However with Tottenham's struggles being....well......real........I highly doubt that there weren't a fair amount of people who might have seen this one coming. Stoke is another one of those sides who can look stellar against a good side one week and then look like a third division team the next. Tottenham's blah season so far may bode well for USMNT youngster, DeAndre Yedlin as the team could definitely use a spark. Obviously I am skeptical of how much time he'll actually see on the pitch, as the Premier League/American Player track record isn't a great one (just ask Jozy), but Tottenham's lackadaisical play can't hurt Yedlin's cause when he starts playing across the pond next year (or at least that's when we are told to expect seeing him dawn a Spurs kit)
Alright so time for my matches of the week...and remember, if you think you have the brains to beat the blogger....you better comment below with your predictions. Especially given my recent form which - dare I say - is en fuego. Knock me down a few pegs.......I dare you. You have some extra time with the bye week, so think it over and do it.
Stoke City v. Burnley
Both of the team's are coming off of wins....whoa wait......back that up.......that can't be.......no really! Both of these teams are coming off of wins and both would obviously like to get on a bit of a streak. All signs point toward Stoke City beating Burnley, but as I stated earlier, Stoke City tends to play to the level of their opponent and for that reason, I am calling this a dr.......ahhh I can't do it, I just switched mid typing, something came over me and I saw Stoke City winning 2-0, so yeah my prediction is (after divine intervention?): Stoke City 2 - 0 Burnley
Manchester City v. Swansea City
Swansea City is coming off of a big win against the Gunners, while Man City has to be disappointed with their 2-2 draw with QPR. The Swansea swagger we've seen this year should still be alive and well against Man City, but you'd have to think a little bit of it will be missing as the Welsh side will be on the road for this match. I still love this Swansea team and I feel like Man City is still suffering from a championship hangover just a bit...yeah even three months in. I don't think Swansea will come out of this one with all three points, but I do believe they will nab one. My prediction: Man City 2 - 2 Swansea City.
Manchester United v. Arsenal
The Gunners can't be happy with their last match against Swansea, but on the other hand, at least both sides were equally matched when it comes to the standings so far this season. Manchester United managed their fourth win of the season, but it was a 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace and....yeah that's about all I have to say for that one.
I think Arsenal will bounce back from their loss with a good match and see them leading this one wire to wire. The Red Devils will get a goal back late to make the scoreline better, but it won't be enough to manage a result. My prediction: Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal.
So to recap, I have Stoke City beating Burnley 2-0, Man City and Arsenal will finish tied at 2, and Arsenal will manage a win against Man U 2-1.
Time to Beat the Blogger! Comment below with your predictions.
Well hey, this week wasn't so bad for me, mind you my featured matches were a little easier to predict, so I won't pat myself on the back...at least not while you're looking.
The only real upset this past weekend was Newcastle's win over Liverpool. In fact the 1-0 was the same as the score in the Liverpool/Real Madrid Champion's League match in which Liverpool sported a "disrespectful" starting lineup. So yeah, there you have it...Newcastle is as good as Real Madrid.....or something like that.
The "Big 3" continue to pad their point totals even though their wins weren't as convincing as expected and both Merseyside teams who carried high hopes into the start of this season still find themselves with Manchester United and Tottenham sandwiched between the likes of Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.
Another story as of late is Robin Van Persie's sluggish form. I even joked on twitter that the flying header during the World Cup must have taken more out of him than we realized as it was the last real highlight we saw from the Dutchman. I mean talk about the injury time equalizer against Chelsea all you want, but that was hardly representative of how RVP's season has actually gone so far. It's amazing to me that people will point to Man U's defense as a problem, yet they held their rivals to only one goal and much of that was without Smalling after he was sent off. In a match like that, you wold think stars like RVP, Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria would step up at some point, especially under a manager like Van Gaal. I am not sure if it is too many egos or too much hype over Van Gaal coming into the season, but let's be honest, the guy was supposed to be a savior after the mess that was Moyes, but Van Gaal hasn't been that much of an improvement, if one at all. To me, it is a must that Van Gaal gets his countryman, RVP looking like the RVP of the past.
That all said, it is time for my featured matches of the week. Please do comment below with your predictions to see how you match up with me!
Liverpool v. Cheslea
Liverpool will definitely want to forget their match against Newcastle and move on as soon as they can, but with Chelsea being their next opponent, that will be a daunting task. Liverpool has been mediocre at best in my opinion so far this season and the signing of Balotelli hasn't helped at all, in fact his antics just seem to make things even worse. Chelsea on the other hand has been brilliant, besides their draw with Manchester United and I look for them to have a solid win against Liverpool. My prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool
Burnley v. Hull City
Here is a fun one between two teams that seem to have an allergy toward winning. While Hull City has banked three points twice this season, Burnley is still looking for their first win. I do believe that Burnley's never give up attitude will prove to be fruitful one day, but I don't believe it will be this match. Burnley will have the lead going into the dying minutes of the match when Hull City breaks their hearts and leaves them still without a win. My prediction: Burnley 1-1 Hull City
Swansea City v. Arsenal
This should be the match of the week in my opinion. The Gunners will travel to Liberty Stadium for the match that could springboard Swansea into the top five. Although it's obvious that Arsenal has the better team on paper, I am actually going to go a little out on a limb for this one and call a Swansea City win at home. My prediction: Swansea 2-1 Arsenal
So to recap, I have Chelsea beating Liverpool 2-0, Burnley drawing with Hull City 1-1 and Swansea squeaking out a win against the Gunners 2-1 at home. Time for you to comment with your predictions!
I have been watching and playing this sport since I was a child and so I should know better than to try and predict scores, as I am abysmal to say the least. However, maybe it's the masochist in me that loves to subject myself to the potential of looking like a complete noob who hasn't watched a soccer match since the 1994 World Cup.
Moving on though. One of our readers who commented on last week's blog post did resoundingly well with their predictions. "Ferg" called the draw between Chelsea FC and Manchester United (only was off by a goal on each side), nailed the Everton/Burnley match and was only off by a goal for the Leicester/Swansea match. So with all that said, I tip my figurative cap to you Ferg on a job very well done.
10 weeks in and the Premier League still has an uneasy feeling to it. Chelsea has seemed like an unstoppable force as of late, while Man U floundered about near the bottom of the table, yet the match didn't really reflect that at all. I am not sure if the Red Devils are finally getting things figured out or if the Blues are plateauing after a red hot start.
Perhaps the most interesting story as of late though has been Southampton. They currently sit just four points behind Chelsea in second place and honestly their wins have looked pretty good. We're not talking about a team who has had a few luck bounces and squeaked out a couple crazy wins, Southampton actually looks like a team that belongs near the top of the table. Mind you, their two losses have come against Liverpool and Tottenham, which may suggest they have had a soft schedule to start out, but their win against Arsenal is still a standout match.
Then of course you had that Monday match....a match that I would think had Aston Villa fans salivating given their rough go lately. Finding someone who believed the one win Queens Park Rangers could pull out a victory against Aston Villa would be about as impossible as a Fernando Torres open net attempt, but hey....that's why we play each match right? QPR did manage to get their second win against Villa (which makes this USA soccer fan feel really bad for Brad Guzan) and yes there were reports from hell of snowballs knocking the devil unconscious for a period of time. What.A.Week.
So now that I have recapped last week, why not do a little pick em' once again this week? Sound good? Hopefully this week I will fair a little better, but if Ferg participates again, I highly doubt that. So here goes nothing.
Match #1: Everton v. Swansea City
Everton and Swansea City are both coming off of wins against teams that they were expected to beat for the most part. Both sides fared very well against their recently promoted counterparts and are looking to continue with the good vibes this week.
Obviously Everton has Tim Howard between the pipes which is almost always an advantage, but where Everton has underachieved so far this season, Swansea has overachieved and could very well provide an upset against Everton, if you can even call it that.
However, since I am boring and a coward, I predict that Swansea will be en route to a 2-1 win when Everton scores a stoppage time goal to tie the match up 2-2.
Match #2: Arsenal v. Burnley
So many Arsenal fans out there that I decided to include this match this week even though it should be a walk in the park for The Arsenal. Although Burnley never seems to give up and I give them a ton of credit for pushing the attack often this season, it's no secret that the team has a little ways to go before becoming relevant in the Premier League.
Obviously it's easy to pick a winner here, but the score could be a little harder. I don't expect a Germany/Brazil style blowout, but I do expect a buzz-saw nonetheless. I predict a 4-0 win for the Gunners.
Match #3: Manchester United v. Manchester City
How could I not include the Manchester Derby right? The reigning champs have been hanging out in familiar territory near the top, only behind Chelsea and Southampton, while the Red Devils have been slowly clawing their way up the table, now finding themselves in eighth place after last week's draw against Chelsea.
The best part about a rivalry match is that you can basically throw any sort of statistics out the window. Although Citeh should be favored to win this match, nothing is certain when so much pride is on the line.
I do feel that Man City will pull out a win though come Sunday and although I believe it will be late, it will be a decisive one. Man City beat Man U 3-1.
So to recap...I have Everton and Swansea City drawing 2-2, Arsenal beating Burnley 4-0 and Citeh winning the Manchester Derby 3-1 over the Red Devils. Now it's time for you to give me your predictions in the comment section!