Friday, April 22, 2005

Premiership Picks

First, an ode to the European system of professional sports. The system of extra-national tournaments and intranational relegation and promotion deserves praise. In the three highest levels of soccer, there are between 3 and 5 games (about 10% of the season) remaining. Because teams are still jockeying for spots in Europe or fighting for promotion/playoff spots/avoiding relegation, the vast majority of teams still have something to play for. In the Premiership, every single team still has a reason to play its best players this weekend. In the Championship, 7 out of 24 teams have nothing to play for, and 6 of 24 in League 1. So out of the 68 teams, 55 still have a reason to play. Considering how I live in a city where the basketball team had nothing to play for, oh, around New Years', I think the system overseas is excellent.

But now onto this weekend's picks.

The midweek games weren't too kind to me. 3/10, 1 right result. For the season, I'm 26/78 right result, 6 right scorelines.

Everton v. Birmingham City: 2-0, Toffees looking good after the midweek win over ManU
Chelsea v. Fulham: 3-0, another clean sheet ties the record for shutouts. With a Chelsea win and an Arsenal draw or loss, Chelsea clinch the title.
Aston Villa v. Bolton Wanderers: 2-2, Slight slip for Bolton. Villa's been scoring a lot lately.
Blackburn Rovers v. Manchester City: 0-0, I like Blackburn's defense.
Crystal Palace v. Liverpool: 0-1, not tremendous news for either team.
Middlesbrough v. West Bromwich Albion: 1-1, Baggies playing well enough to avoid relegation.
Norwich City v. Charlton Athletic: 1-0, no real idea here, but Norwich playing much better recently.
Portsmouth v. Southampton: 2-2, neither team climbs.
Manchester United v. Newcastle United: 3-1, unsure why I'd give Toon a goal.
Arsenal v. Tottenham Hotspur: 2-0, Chelsea's title celebration at home against Bolton next week.