Friday, 27 February 2009

Weekend predictions…

Alright folks,

Damn you Lawro, damn you… the BBC’s very own nodding monkey (“I agree with you Al”) got five right results last weekend and one perfect score, I only managed five correct results but with no perfect scores. I’ll put it down to him playing safe and indeed to Bolton deciding to play football against West Ham. Who could have seen the latter coming? Anyway, on with some quick predictions for the weekend…


Arsenal v Fulham: Okay Arsenal, you always fuck me over when I predict a home win but do I learn my lesson? You’re darned straight I don’t. 1-0.

Chelsea v Wigan: Teams managed by Steve Bruce obviously have some issues. Playing against smaller sides or indeed other middling Premier League foes; his Birmingham team and now the Wigan squad he presides over tend to range from rubbish to barely passable. But put them in against a big team and all of sudden they look like they actually enjoy playing under the fat-headed, wonky-nosed Bruce. They’ll most likely give Chelsea some trouble but eventually, as is generally the case with Chelsea, they’ll nick one towards the end. And then another. 2-0.

Everton v West Brom: Okay, at this stage my enthusiasm is waning (Lawro just shites on to a BBC hack who transcribes the conversation into something resembling English, I have to shite on by myself), so I’ll go for Everton 3-0 because Jo has just bundled his way into my Fantasy League team.

Middlesbrough v Liverpool: What with a win over Real Madrid in midweek and Rick Parry packing up his office over the coming months it’s been a pretty good week for Rafa who had looked dead and buried twice in the last seven days. First after the terrible draw against City and then on Wednesday afternoon when everyone and their dog ‘knew’ he was leaving before the end of the week. They have to win here surely? But then Pool have followed up key wins with weak draws all season. Much like my Arsenal blind spot above though I’ll back them to buck that trend this time out and beat Boro two-one.


Aston Villa v Stoke: Jesus fixture-list what are ya doin to me! Stoke did of course win the reverse fixture 3-2 thanks in the main to the Delapidator (surely he should be in the Irish squad what with Glenn Whelan being so god awful… another day, another argument). Okay, I’ll go for a Villa win, but I’ll state now that Martin O’Neill deserves to either (a) fail to get to the Champions League or (b) get knocked out in the preliminary stages by Artmedia Bratislava. All because of the heap of shit side he sent to Moscow last night. Himself and Harry Redknapp are a (adopts Liberties accent) bleedin disgrace so they are.

Bolton v Newcastle: Ah Bolton, my old foe. 1-1.

Hull v Blackburn: Fat Sam better haul his fat ass into gear if he’s going to save Blackburn. Then again they were pretty decent at Old Trafford last week and in another stadium would have had Ronaldo sent off and a penalty (well definitely the first bit, Pedersen over-compensated to put it mildly when pushed over by whichever Brazilian brother was playing full back for United). Hull are on 29 points which is pretty horrific considering their start to the season. They should get a point here; in fact they’ll get three. 2-1.

West Ham v Man City: Could be a decent game this, well it will be if City can actually function outside of the City of Manchester Stadium. If so, they might grab a point against a West Ham team who may have a hangover from their FA Cup exit during the week (no trophies, no relegation… it’s almost like Curbs never left). Eh… 2-2. Come on Premier League, some entertainment would be nice this week.

Carling Cup Final

Man United v Spurs: United to play the youth side; ‘Arry offending most of his side with snide comments and flirting over the England job. Not an easy one to predict, though for once and it hurts to say this, United have somewhat of a moral high ground here. At least they’re treating a competition which deserves contempt (the League Cup) with contempt by playing second string sides the whole way through the tournament. Spurs however have treated a European competition like the fucking under-18s reserve league and built up the Carling Cup to some Holy Grail. One-all after full time and then abandoned due to the trophy being mislaid in a skip somewhere in Peckham. After someone shat in it. Twice.

Anyway, later folks, have a good weekend.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Bendtner Update…

He’s still shit

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Admit it, you’ve missed him…

Well folks,

First off, congrats to Kopblog for their win at the Blog Awards... the Academy goes for the safe choice eh, now me and Mark know how Mickey Rourke feels.... I mean, worthy winners, well done lads*.

Ahem, anyway, moving onwards and upwards... in honour of Jose Mourinho bounding back onto our screens tonight here’s some choice moments of ‘his’ from Gift Grub. Included are absolutely no clips of the Setanta Spitting Image-esque show featuring Mourinho and Wayne Rooney which is frankly, well, shit. How are they both produced by the same bloke with such different results? Then again, even Apres Match had a dodgy three or four years before the return to form last summer at the Euros. So, without further ado…

Shaddaup a ya face

The technicolour overcoat

Back to school

Sign a little player or two

Don't stop me now

Oh and I’m going for 2-1 to Inter tonight. Mainly because I hate the very thought of Unireh (sic) winning anything else this season rather than any football reasons. Come on Zlatan...

(*It's actually an excellent site. The jilted hopeful approach is way more fun to write though.)

Later, JJ

Friday, 20 February 2009

Jumpin Jebus, tis the weekend…

Hey folks,

It’s that time of the week again when I get to pit my wits against your Lawrensons, your Grays, your eh… random betting slip monkeys. Wait a minute, I’m a random betting slip monkey… anyway, before this identity crisis goes any further we’ll move on. Over at the BBC, Lawro’s gone for a whole heap of one-all draws so I’ll try and keep myself away from that malarkey. Watch out for the cartoons by the way.


Arsenal v Sunderland: I sat through a shockingly bad 90 minutes between these two earlier on in the season before Sunderland took a one-nil lead, only for Cesc Fabregas of all people to grab an equaliser with a header from a corner. This time around, and with Sunderland possibly taking the foot off the pedal with safety nearly secure (four more wins in the next 13 games and they’re good to go for 09/10), I can see Arsenal taking this one handily enough. 3-1.

Aston Villa v Chelsea: Martin O’Neill is, according to most British papers, some cross between Jesus, Matt Busby and Barack Obama, such is the publicity machine that has attached itself to the former Norn Iron international of late. He’s done brilliantly with Villa this season but as the league draws towards its close they have to hang on to a Champions League place and not go the way of Martin Jol’s Spurs a few years back, by choking (or indeed in Spurs’ case, shitting themselves and vomiting heavily after some dodgy lasagne) at the final moment. I think they might get beaten here with Chelsea in good humour following the arrival of Hiddink and their pampered prats in the dressing room desperate to play in the Champions League midweek. 1-2.

Bolton v West Ham: Liquid football galore eh? Hmmm… I’ll say away win, 0-2.

Man Utd v Blackburn: And the beat goes on. There won’t be a betting slip in the country with a Blackburn win down for this one, maybe seven people in total will go for a draw, but everyone else is well aware this will finish 2-0 or worse for Fat Sam's men.

Middlesbrough v Wigan: It’s pretty hard to predict results when you absolutely don’t care what happens. Let’s watch some cartoons instead eh. Anyway, there should be a goal or two here and both are not actually that bad to watch but only one is in dire need of points so with this in mind, and with Antonio Valencia no doubt whiling away his hours in his replica Madrid shirt thinking of next season, I’ll go for Boro to get a win at last. 2-1.

Stoke v Portsmouth: Remember what I said about predicting scores for games you don’t care about… here’s some Blackadder. Oh and eh… 1-1.


Fulham v West Brom: Lesson in life – if someone sounds like a crafty cockney they may well be a crafty cockney. Unfortunately northern monkey Phil Brown didn’t realise this and bought £5 million in dodgy goods (or Jimmy Bullard as he was christened) from Roy Hodgson a few weeks back. After a poor performance at Old Trafford I’d say Fulham will be back to their tight as a duck’s arse defensive ways this week and grab a win here. 1-0.

Liverpool v Man City: Can’t see anything but a home win here considering City’s defensive record and Torres inching his way to full fitness. The only chance for the away side I can see is if Pool do their ‘go one nil up then jump in the nearest shell you can find’ trick before conceding a late equaliser. The way City’s defence are playing at the moment though it’s hard to think they’ll only give away one goal. 3-1.

Newcastle v Everton: F**kin ‘ell Joe Kinnear is getting out of ‘ospital. Perhaps there’ll be an inspirational talk from the great man while he leans on his walking stick and with Everton wallowing in their crapulence of late I can see them coming unstuck here actually. 2-1.


Hull v Tottenham: What with ‘Arry complaining about the whole ‘playing games’ element of the football calendar, the one competition he doesn’t show contempt to at the moment is the Premier League. Which is why he’d better feckin win here. He should do though, 0-1.

Have a good one, JJ

PS: If it’s a really slow day in work, here’s some Thundercats.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Vidic vs Anelka

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

We rule…

Well folks, it's been a good Tuesday. I woke up this morning and the sun was shining, I went into work then skived off for a while to write a blog on Nicolas Bendtner being shite and then the cherry on top of that day came from the folks over at the Irish Blog Awards. As the old Kurgan saying goes “There can be only one”… (yes, my Highlander obsession is getting out of hand).

Best Sport and Recreation Blog - Sponsored by
- ('ave it!)

Later, JJ

“He’s like the security guard on the front gate who considers himself head of the corporation…”

Hey folks,

Okay… it’s a long headline but I don’t get to use enough Red Dwarf quotes in the blog so I thought I’d throw that in. It came to mind when reading Nicolas Bendtner’s quotes yesterday about the fact that he should play “every minute of every match” for Arsenal. In all honesty, forget Ronaldo, forget Joey Barton, forget Robinho or even Antonio Cassano… if there is an example of a delusional footballer with ideas above his station and a shite attitude to accompany it, then it’s Bendtner.

First of all, and let’s just get this out there, he’s a horrific player. Essentially he’s Neill Mellor on a diet; no touch, not very good in the air, at a push you could say he’s not bad on long balls if defenders give him enough space but his home is certainly the lower reaches of the Premier League or one of the weaker European championships. It’s not necessarily all bad then, but it’s the idea that he believes Arsenal are a better side when he plays that is laughable.

Even his own team-mates think he’s shit. Bendtner was of course talking in the wake of Arsenal signing up Andrei Arshavin who, miracle aside, will probably not make too much of a mark for the side in the coming months. He has barely played since November (when the Russian championship finished up), is arriving in a foreign league for the first time ever, and doing so two thirds of the way through the season to boot.

It’ll hardly be easy but even at that it wouldn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Arsene Wenger plump for him instead of Bendtner in a few weeks’ time as he finally grows weary of the Dane ballooning shots into the corporate boxes. With Eduardo back and with Arsenal fans already wondering why Carlos Vela still stands behind Bendtner in the forward pecking order, this utter fool of a player should be banished back to the reserves soon enough.

Though, thinking about it, could it be that we were wrong about Wenger all these years? Could it be that he’s sacrificed Vela all season because deep down he’s a closet long ball merchant and he’s sees Bendtner as his Tony Cascarino to Adebayor’s Niall Quinn? It’s about the only hope the long Danish streak of piss has of staying in the side I’d say.

Shite, shite player.

Rant over, JJ

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ze Pixie Headed Little Irish are Winning

Howdy folks,

Scanning up and down the tables of the European qualifying groups for the 2010 World Cup it’s hard to ignore the fact that Ireland are currently looking in a healthier position at this stage of proceedings than they have done for some time. Okay, there’s no Andy Reid, alright Stephen Ireland is still absent and the moments of play that we can describe as ‘enterprising’ tend to come along once every 70 minutes.

But… Ireland are getting results and despite some of the negativity which seems to be prevailing around the side from a lot of the press, I think Trapattoni is being unfairly labelled as overly defensive.

Two workmanlike central midfielders are certainly vital to his tried and tested gameplan but this is a side which plays with two wingers and two men up front, something which very few sides have the cajones to do these days. More often than not, sides are employing a one winger system with three central midfield grafters across the line, the winger and furthest central-mid player switching sides every now and then. It’s a system played up and down the Premier League anyway, with some sides (Liverpool, Man City, Everton) benefiting from one or more of these central midfielders having a creative streak.

This is of course where the Irish side falls down in that Whelan and Andrews are incredibly average players, and while Stephen Reid is a little better he’s hardly Pele. Hence the need for two imaginative wingers; indeed should McGeady manage to tame that cruel mistress known as ‘the cross’ within the next year or two he could be one of the better players in his position across Europe, or at the very least a far better option in wide areas than England are blessed with.

Overall, Ireland deserved to win last night even though they relied upon a huge dollop of luck with the penalty. But then again fuck it; we’ve had to deal with years of dodgy deflections going against us, stupid defensive mistakes costing us, inept managerial appointments, Brian (insert spitting noise here) Kerr’s siege mentality and all other manner of factors which served to piss on our qualification hopes.

On the Andy Reid matter, well Mark summed it up well before, while hopefully Stephen Ireland will sign up to give us added guile in the middle and we may even see Darron Gibson grow into a decent player should he get a loan spell next season just in time for the crucial autumn qualifiers.

It’s a lot of wishful thinking I’ll admit, but in short, if that’s a bandwagon passing by I’m jumping on. Roll on two weeks holiday in 2010 in front of the TV drunk as a poet on pay day.

Later, JJ

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Crossbar Challenged

Afternoon people,

It’s only in the last two years that I’ve actually begun to like Soccer AM. When I say like though, that doesn’t mean I can actually sit through it. It’s three frickin hours long after all. But instead, now that there’s no chance of seeing Tim Lovejoy’s gimpy visage on the screen each week, the show is a little more accessible and in between the generally inane, often jaw droppingly stupid* interview styles of Helen Chamberlain and Generic Laddish Male beside her (I haven’t the time nor the inclination to memorise the name of whatever chump they have in with Chamberlain), there are some moments on the show which are genuinely decent.

After initial misgivings I’ve even begun to like Tubes; maybe I haven’t seen the gag often enough to be sick of it but moments such as this with Ian Brown are pretty funny in a hungover-on-a-Saturday-morning kind of way. Skill Skool is also very decent (oh and the Soccerette thing has its merits obviously…) but chatting with a mate the other week we were both struck by how completely hypnotic the whole Crossbar Challenge phenomenon is.

Just how is it that a load of professional footballers kicking a ball from the halfway line in an attempt to hit the bar can be so entertaining? Maybe I am as stupid as many of my teachers thought but frankly I’ve watched about 50 of these and still I want more. Is anyone else as dumb as me? It’s been going on for five years now so obviously there are others out there.

Anyway, here’s some more, and some more… and some more. Idiotic? Yes. Entertainment for the dumbed-down generation? Absolutely.

Later, JJ

*Interview style example:
Generic Laddish Male to Ray Winstone: “Is it true you’d sacrifice all your roles just to get an England cap?” Winstone: "Eh... 'course yeah."
Seriously, how many levels of stupid is this fucking question? Good luck on the shopping channel chief.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Big Phil gone…

Heya folks,

Well, didn’t see that coming, okay they’ve played shite of late and only got one point against the rest of the ‘big four’, but seriously… out of the blue (no pun intended) or what?

Who should replace him? Is it the right decision? How the hell is Avram Grant being linked with the position? These question marks and more…

Later, JJ

Friday, 6 February 2009

The weekend innit

Alright folks,

Well it’s time for a few shoddy predictions from myself followed by plenty of guffaws once the final scores come in.

Man City v Middlesbrough: Hobinho, as it’s pronounced in Brazil, may not like getting his shins kicked by Boro’s youngsters but as the away side can’t score it’s most likely that City will pull through for a 1-0 here.

Blackburn v Aston Villa: Fat Sam’s men to get stuffed at home. 1-3.

Chelsea v Hull City: Peter Cech is, in every respect, looking more like Cartman in the Special Olympics each day. Expect him to conceded one maybe but Chelsea should get this out of the way in the first half. 3-1.

Everton v Bolton: Everton should be tired after the trudging win midweek against Pool and Bolton are superb on the road which is pretty logical as they have less of their own fans slagging them off relentlessly for 90 minutes. Which is nice. I’ll go for 1-1.

Sunderland v Stoke City: Awful, awful, and lots more awful. 1-0 and it’ll be a scrappy goal as well.

West Brom v Newcastle: Insomnia gone and Kinnear pondering a new deal, and what with West Brom being marginally better than shite of late (only marginally mind) they might just fancy this. Bad teams with confidence usually bugger things up though so in short I think Newcastle will get three points here. 1-2.

Wigan v Fulham: Meh… 1-1

Tottenham v Arsenal: My Robbie Keane thoughts are below so I’ll stick to a general prediction here of plenty of goals and some horrific defending. A notch down on the last one, I’ll go 3-3.

West Ham v Man Utd: I want it to be 1-0, and at half time it might be but by the time 90 minutes creeps around it will be 1-4. Oh, and Ronaldo to come good in this game as he has to at some point this year.

Elsewhere, before I predict Liverpool and Portsmouth, we haven’t given our two cents worth on Robbie Keane as yet at ODF. To be honest, as a Pool fan, my feelings on the whole matter have gone up and down for most of this week. Sheer disbelief was for starters when he wasn’t on the bench against Chelsea, absolute disgust then followed as it became clear that for quite some time Rafa had been putting a personal vendetta with the club’s hierarchy above success for the side (how else can you explain Keane’s non appearances against the likes of Hull or Stoke, along with a shabby cameo at Wigan and numerous others before).

It’s a type of arrogance which led to the end of Houllier I thought when Keane’s departure became official. Then Xabi Alonso snapped me out of comparisons with Oul Ged today when he reminded all of us of just how bad a side Pool were before Rafa came along, how meek they were in Europe and how utterly toothless they were against the sides around them (except for Man United bizarrely, something which Rafa only put to rest this season). Houllier actually had around about as much money to spend as Benitez and did so with continued stupidity. Think of the side Rafa inherited and compare it to the team which someone else would take over should Benitez jump or be pushed before next season. Three words: Traore or Skrtel?

Basically, all sides have come out of this week the worse for wear. Keane bottled it by not staying the full season, Benitez meanwhile is fooling no one with the beaten wife act (‘oh they forced him upon me’), and then there’s Rick Parry whose reputation surely took one final hammer blow before a hoped-for resignation in the summer. It’s a sorry mess which will unfortunately only serve to make United’s inevitable title victory all the sweeter for those at the Theatre of Prawns.

As for this weekend, some commentators, including the generally superb Dion Fanning, have suggested that it’s Rafa’s dream to play without Gerrard and of course he now has the chance.

The side that will line up against Pompey will (with the exception of Carragher whose career he turned around) be a Benitez team through and through. Hard working, often uninspired, perhaps now we’ll see just whether or not his ideas about the game are sound or has he just been lucky to have Gerrard to save him so often. My only hope is that at the very least he lets Ryan Babel off the leash alongside Torres and gives the fans some hope that something out of the ordinary might happen. Being that Pompey are shite and I want to go into the weekend feeling slightly happy, I’ll say two nil to the ‘Pool.

Have a good one folks, JJ