Players: 38 out of 49. Points scored: 173. Highest score: 8 (Christine Butters, Simon Gold). Average score: 4.55. Prediction of the Week: Haresh Mirani (West Ham United 1-0 Manchester United).
Results: Arsenal 2-2 Portsmouth (0); Aston Villa 0-1 Bolton Wanderers (4); Charlton Athletic 0-3 Liverpool (3); Newcastle United 2-1 Watford (8); Reading 1-2 Blackburn Rovers (4); Wigan Athletic 0-1 Sheffield United (0); Everton 2-3 Chelsea (0); Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (7); West Ham United 1-0 Manchester United (1); Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough (4).
They’re not the three kings and they don’t come bearing gifts of gold, frankenstein and myrrh, but Haresh Mirani, Dave Taylor and Hope Arnold are this week’s Christmas crackers, locked in combat on (one-eyed, one-armed, one-balled) Horatio Nelson’s score of 111.
Haresh gets a loud bang, a plastic toy, a joke and a multi-coloured party hat for leading the Predictorship for the very first time with 27 correct scores, but only by a lick of paint from Dave (23 correct scores) and Hope (20). It’s tighter than a Scotsman on New Year’s Eve (allegedly).
Fourth-placed Christine Butters is stalking the leaders on 110 points and claims this week’s highest score (8) with Cathryn Harker and Simon Gold, who goes three better than the five similarly-coloured rings in the song Twelve Days of Christmas. But that’s nothing when we can boast 49 predictors a-predicting.
Nick Watson’s week goes from bad to worse. First he breaks a toe playing football (credit where credit’s due for deciding not to have an out-of-fashion metatarsal injury) and has to stuff himself with painkillers and then he cruelly discovers he’s slumped from second to fifth after bagging just three points.
“If you’d have offered me top spot at Christmas at the beginning of the season I’d have performed a swift amputation,” said the Tractor Boy when submitting his scores. Well thankfully there’s no need for Nick to hack off an arm or a leg in the name of sport – a positive sign as he limps along the rocky road to recovery.
The Predictorship is on holiday until the weekend of January 6-7, aka Predictorship Cup Preliminary Round weekend. If you’re not one of the top 16 predictors in the week 17 table, you’ll be taking part. Watch this space for news of the draw.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone in the Predictorship. However, this is not the time to celebrate or take your eye off the ball. The Predictorship is not won by Christmas and there’s still a long way to go. Rally the troops, massage those tired limbs and come out fighting in 2007.
Until then, here are some Predictorship-related songs to get you in a festive mood: ‘Little Saint Nick’, ‘Gold Lang Syne’, ‘Silent White’, ‘Joe Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘Harker the Herald Angels Sing’, ‘Mary’s Molloy Child’, ‘A Hayes in a Manger’, ‘We Three Kings of Leyton Orient Are’.
Festive brainteaser …
Who, according to BBC1’s Final Score on December 16, is the only footballer to have played in the Premiership, Championship, League 1, League 2, Conference, Uefa Cup, Champions League and World Cup? If you’re thinking of Gary Speed, who played his 500th Premiership game last weekend, or 40-year-old Steve Claridge, who has racked up his 1,000th league appearance, think again …
Quote of the week …
“Gary Speed has never played better, never looked fitter, never been older” – Bobby Robson, England manager, 1982-1990