Predictorship Special – Your Indispensable Guide to Predicting

Put an end to hours of deliberation, consideration and procrastination with this essential guide to what you should be predicting each week for the Premiership’s 20 clubs. Put the following into practice and rise like a phoenix to the top of the league in no time at all. If you are not entirely satisfied with this service, be sure to return to your chosen method of predicting within 28 days. This does not affect your legal rights. So let’s make a start with …

ARSENAL
Forget “1-0 to the Arsenal”: they’ve had three 1-1 draws and three 3-0 wins at home this season. Despite their unpredictable away form (Manchester City – lost, Manchester United – won, Reading – thrashed), always go for a win unless they’re playing Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United (despite what it says above). Seriously consider increasing the margin of victory if Henry is “on fire”.

ASTON VILLA
Rock solid under Martin O’Neill. Five 1-1 draws – including away at Chelsea and Arsenal – and only beaten by Liverpool so far this season. Draws are unfashionable in the Predictorship but a guaranteed success with the Villa, re-christened TBICAB (work it out!) by “Baggies Boy” Mark Young. Food for thought: they’ve also achieved three 2-0 home wins this term. Hmmm.

BLACKBURN
The first of the Premiership’s “who cares?” teams. The Rovers never seem to win but are always there or thereabouts in mid-table. Did they really walk away with the Premiership title in 1994-95? Never plump for a win, home or away, unless they’re facing a team below them in the table. Even then, Robbie Savage is likely to throw a wobbler and get sent off, so err on the side of caution.

BOLTON
Big Sam has two aces up his sizeable sleeves: Kevin Davies, the most boring, no nonsense striker in the league, and El-Hadji Diouf, the dirtiest, saliva-shedding thug in the footballing world, and it’s beyond comprehension how they always seem to strike when Bolton need them most. Good for a goal or two against any team outside the “big four”, they’ve yet to score more than two goals in a game and have only conceded more than two against Manchester United. You do the maths.

CHARLTON
Ripe for relegation. Bent (of the Darren variety) is always likely to stick one in the back of the net sooner or later, but if you award their opponents at least one more goal than them (increase the margin when they play away) you won’t be too far wide of the uprights. Five points from the last 60 away from home says it all. Reliably pathetic after Christmas.

CHELSEA
The most despised team in the Premiership should collect three points every week, which makes Lampard and Co. a delight for predictors across the globe. What will it be this week? 2-0, 3-0, maybe 4-0? They’ve already conceded six goals this season, so if you’re feeling bold why not credit an opposition defender with getting up at the back stick and nodding one home. No? 2-0 it is then.

EVERTON
Solid like Aston Villa, so 1-1 – especially away from home – is a good bet. They’ll never leak too many goals and will occasionally give their Merseyside rivals Liverpool a good tonking. Have just started losing 1-0. With Tim Cahill injured and Andy Johnson unable to hit a banjo with a barn door (as they don’t say anywhere), Everton will be brought to you today by the numbers “0” and “1”.

FULHAM
Unglamorous and nearly impossible to predict from week to week. Your guess is as good as mine.

LIVERPOOL
This season has been one of underachievement so far, as losses to Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal and the worst away record in the league prove. Still, if you’re vying for the Predictorship title it’s best not to take any risks, so go for a shaky win unless they’re entertaining any of the above-mentioned giants. You might want to think again if Gerrard is injured, suspended or “not up for it” or Crouch is taking on the appearance of a daddy long legs in a soapy bath.

MANCHESTER CITY
Personally, you’d have to pay me to watch City. Three 0-0 home draws, seven goals all season (just three away from Manchester) and not a lot of talent. Joey Barton’s bare-faced cheek was the most exciting thing to happen to City since Stuart Pearce introduced mascot “Beanie” to the touchline.

MANCHESTER UNITED
Just do the sensible thing: 3-1, home or away, unless they’re playing Chelsea (predict a narrow win for the Reds), Arsenal (2-0 at a stroll – ignore this season) or Liverpool (1-0 or 2-0). When Rooney fully regains his scoring touch, expect some vidiprinter-busting scores like 5, 6 and 7 (seven). Will you have the balls to follow suit and bag a prediction of the week?

MIDDLESBROUGH
Another of the “who cares?” brigade. “Talent” like Mark Viduka, Yakubu Aiyegbeni and, er, Massimo Maccarone should produce a hatful of goals whatever the opposition, but the ‘Boro have netted more than once in only one game since the start of September and have been humiliated by relegation candidates Watford and Sheffield United in the process. Not as good as you think they are.

NEWCASTLE
They’ve neither scored nor conceded more than two goals in any of their 12 league outings so far and are prone to 2-0 away defeats. With Shearer retired, you know exactly what to do.

PORTSMOUTH
Nwankwo Kanu (excuse my Nigerian) has turned into a gangly-legged hitman and predicting threes and fours for Harry’s mob is not as absurd as it once was. Beaten at home just once this campaign. Throw caution to the swirling south coast breeze if you can’t make up your mind, but remember a ceremonial thrashing at the hands of a big club might never be far away.

READING
Leaking goals home and away of late, and scoring a few too, so let your imagination run wild.

SHEFFIELD UNITED
Like Newcastle, the Blades tend not to concede or score more than two in any given 90-minute period, despite Neil Warnock’s insistence on all-out attack with some, all or fewer of the dozen strikers at his disposal. Embarrassed a gaggle of Premiership clubs in Cup competitions in recent years but can’t cut the mustard in the top flight. Be adventurous and predict 0-0 at Bramall Lane.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
The first three games of the season sum up these underachievers: Bolton – lost 2-0 (away), Sheffield United – won 2-0 (home), Everton – lost 2-0 (home). Quite literally unpredictable. Clues: four games without a goal earlier in the season and never more than two a game, with or without England reject Defoe. Take this information, do your homework and try to fathom them out.

WATFORD
Marlon King is on the treatment table and out for the season, which will give you an excuse to predict heavy defeats away from home without feeling guilty or being answerable to Predictorship chairman David Roberts. One win and six draws (three of them goalless) so far this season.

WEST HAM
When you’ve stopped chuckling at the absurdity of signing two Argentinian “world-beaters” who have done nothing to turn the bubble-blowing Hammers into a half decent club, consider this: three wins, two 1-1 draws, seven defeats and six blanks. Yawn. Now start chuckling again.

WIGAN
Arguably the most boring team in the Premiership, although disposing of Charlton in a five-goal thriller last time out and thrashing Manchester City 4-0 could be a sign of better times ahead. 1-0, home or away, will do nicely when they take on teams below them in the table.

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