Predictorship Week 9 – Note Well: N.B. Scores 11

Players: 45 out of 49. Points scored: 324. Highest score: 11 (Nigel Birrell). Average score: 7.20. Prediction of the Week: Charlton 0-0 Watford (Norman No Mates).

Results: Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham (6); Charlton 0-0 Watford (1); Chelsea 2-1 Portsmouth (14); Everton 2-0 Sheffield United (18); Wigan 4-0 Manchester City (0); Blackburn 0-1 Bolton (6); Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool (10); Middlesbrough 1-0 Newcastle (9); Reading 0-4 Arsenal (0); Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham (6).

His team may be propping up the Premiership but N.B. – or Nigel Birrell to his fellow predictors – is now on the cusp of something beautiful with Charlton Pathetic. Four correct scores (the tussles at Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United and Middlesbrough) enable the Predictorship there-or-thereabouts man to rack up 11 points and climb to 14th. At this stage of the season, we should really be making plans for Nigel: his name means champion …

Tractor boy Nick Watson is hitting the headlines once again this week. Not only is he now a solitary point shy of faltering Predictorship pace-setter Hope Arnold, but he attempted to give the bookies a “damn good hiding” last weekend by placing £1 bets on his correct result and correct score predictions. The outcome was not as grizzly as you might expect, and with nine points (six correct results and three correct scores) to his name, he left the bookies with just enough profit for a lukewarm cup of tea and an under-cooked meat pie in celebration of Ipswich Town’s 3-1 derby day win at Southend. Tune in next week for more news about Nick’s fluctuating bank balance.

2005-2006 champion Mike Dufficy and Spanish property tycoon Sanjiv Sachdev take the remaining plaudits this week, slamming home 10 points apiece, and Stuart Claxton, fresh from seeing his Reading boys ritually humiliated by the Arsenal, remains on course for the coveted wooden spoon in 49th.

As we all know, however, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, and while Stuart must be feeling as sick as a parrot with his back against the wall, it’s a season of two halves and, providing he gives 110% and takes each game as it comes, he should be in there with a chance long before the fat lady has treated us to a song.

Want another tea-time teaser? Well you’re in luck! Only one Predictorshipper has a name which, if you swap around their forename and surname, magically reveals the name of a Premiership striker. Who is the footballer in question? For starters, rule out Savage Nicola, Young Mark, Gold Simon and Whitty Michael! Answer next week.

Quotes of the week:

BBC reporter to Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock after the Everton match: “Penalty. Red card. Discuss”. Warnock: “Discuss? Of course I’m disgusted!”.

“It has been a milky performance” – Hopelessly out-of-his-depth football pundit David Pleat on Manchester United’s 3-0 demolition of FC Copenhagen. What do you think he meant?

And another from the archives: “You can’t say my team aren’t winners. They’ve proved that by finishing fourth, third and second in the last three years” – Gerard Houllier, manager of Premiership losers Liverpool, 1998-2004.

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