Friday, December 02, 2005

Premiership Picks

First, a point mentioned by Drew from Scamboogah! in comments last time. In my Roy keane post I talked about how I'm not very fond of Man U. Then I've looked at my picks, and he's raised kind of an interesting point. I've probably not given the Red Devils the benefit of the doubt over the course of my picks, even though I'd surely admit that Manchester United is the kind of team you don't pick against regularly. It's probably just a human flaw. Like how Bill Simmons always seems to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt in his columns. But anyway, I'll definitely try to separate my own biases from my picks (after all, I'd rather be right than schadenfreud-ish). And I'll say some good things about Manchester United too. Wayne Rooney is fun to watch on the pitch, and clearly the kind of character I support whole-heartedly. He's a yellow card for a dive where he was actually taken down away from going Ron Artest. And that will be fun to watch. Alan Smith was pretty fun to watch when he was at Leeds, and it'd be nice for him to play more. However, I will say nothing good about Rio Ferdinand. That guy can piss up a rope.

Meanwhile, in Italy, an Italian Cup tie between Juventus and Fiorentina yesterday had to be delayed at the start of the second half when tear gas aimed at spectators outside the stadium drifted into the stadium and onto the pitch. With Fiorentina up 1-0 at the half, the players returned to a lovely atmosphere and began wretching. The referee blew the whistle, and both teams retreated to the locker room where some players received treatment for vomiting. From what I can tell from reports, the tear gas was fired outside the stadium, not at fans in the crowd (though I wouldn't be surprised). Fiorentina increased their lead shortly after returning to the pitch, but it wouldn't last, as Juventus scored twice to force a draw. The question must be asked: why does anyone go to Italian soccer matches in person (and my favorite)?

I missed Liverpool-Sunderland (probably one of the easiest picks of the year, damnit) mid-week.

Last time around: 3/10, 2 right scores
Season: 61/123 (below 50% for the first time pretty much all season), 17 right scores

This weekend:

Liverpool v. Wigan Athletic: 1-1. Two of the more difficult teams to read. By all accounts, Liverpool should be playing better in EPL games. Wigan, on the other hand, shouldn't. May as well go with a draw.
Blackburn Rovers v. Everton: 2-1. Everton haven't been playing well on the road lately. Blackburn isn't an easy place to win.
Bolton Wanderers v. Arsenal: 1-0. Yes, Arsenal are the better team, and well rested. But I don't like picking against Bolton at home, no matter who it is.
Chelsea v. Middlesbrough: 2-0. Juggernaut rolls on.
Tottenham Hotspur v. Sunderland: 2-0. Sunderland are really bad; Spurs will hover around a UEFA place.
West Bromwich Albion v. Fulham: 1-2. Fulham have been competitive the last month, and they've been scoring at home and on the road. West Brom, though they've play a bit better lately, I am not so high on.
Newcastle United v. Aston Villa: 2-1. Newcastle haven't played at home in nearly a month, and I see them playing well in front of a big crowd. Also, Villa... not so high on. Doncaster? Really?
Manchester United v. Portsmouth: 3-0. And not just because of the comment above.
Charlton Athletic v. Manchester City: 0-1. Wow, Charlton's fall the last month has been hard, hasn't it? Man City haven't fared much better, but I think they're talent is a little better overall.
Birmingham City v. West Ham United: 0-1. I just don't think this is Birmingham City's year. They'll be in the hunt for the drop. West Ham look good to stay up though.