Players: 40 out of 49. Points scored: 230. Highest score: 11 (Mark Young). Average score: 5.75. Prediction of the Week: Jodie Kemp (Manchester City 0-2 Reading).
Results: Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United (5); Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Sheffield United (11); Charlton Athletic 0-1 Chelsea (2); Fulham 2-1 Newcastle United (7); Liverpool 0-0 Everton (1); Manchester City 0-2 Reading (1); Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal (5); Watford 0-1 Bolton Wanderers (12); Wigan Athletic 1-0 Portsmouth (2); Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 Manchester United (0).
Christine Butters (nine points, 1st) piles on the pressure, Dave Taylor (nine points, 4th) wallows in 1-0 heaven and Mark Young (11 points, 5th) thrusts himself into title contention. It could only be The Predictorship.
A rampant Christine eeks out a three-point lead at the summit (145 points) with John Collins, courtesy of three correct scores, and Hope Arnold (both 142 points) keeping the Manchester City starlet honest. Dave (140), who correctly predicted three of last weekend’s four 1-0 scorelines (what a dull weekend it was for net-busting action), and Mark (138), the ninth player to reach 11 points this season, both sneak into the title shake-up. Could it all boil down to a five-horse race?
In the absence of an interesting headline this week, we salute Stewart Newport (eight points, 18th) and the 800 million viewers around the globe who tuned into the Stew-per Bowl, which saw the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears lock horns (metaphorically-speaking).
The game, won 29-17 by the Colts, caused barely a flutter of excitement here in the UK, where football is a sport played with a round ball, no shoulder pads and two nets and it’s acceptable to neither win nor lose. However, insomniacs and anyone unperturbed by the stop-start nature of the beast that is American Football (all three of you know who you are) lapped up the televised “spectacle”.
Before I alienate the entire population of America (but you know I didn’t mean it, right?), here’s some important news about the Predictorship Cup …
There was the small matter of five Round 1 replays to be decided at the weekend, as follows:
* WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (Pete Yoder) 6-7 CLAPTON F.C. (Cathryn Harker)
* PETERBOROUGH UNITED (Steve McHugh) 6-3 BLACKBURN ROVERS (Sally Moon)
* SOUTHAMPTON (Tom Palmer) 3-4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (Simon Gold)
* PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gabe Bevilacqua) 7-2 CRYSTAL PALACE (Dave McAleer)
* WEST BROMWICH ALBION (Mark Young) 11-6 ANKARAGÃœCÃœ (Matthew White)
Congratulations to Clapton F.C., Peterborough United, Philadelphia Eagles, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion, who all go into the proverbial hat for Round 2 (February 17-18).
In alphabetical order, the 16 teams still in with a shout of Cup glory in 2007 are: Bengal Mumbai F.C. (Haresh Mirani), Bunch of Losers (Michael Whitty), Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker), DC Adunited (Patrick Bevilacqua), Hornets Forever (Mark Davies), Living the Dream (Paul Bentley), Manchester City (Christine Butters), Manchester United (Hope Arnold), Newcastle United (Basil Bradley), Peterborough United (Steve McHugh), Philadelphia Eagles (Gabe Bevilacqua), Sheffield Wednesday (Janet Jones), Tottenham Hotspur (Simon Gold), Watford (David Roberts), West Bergholt Wanderers (Jodie Kemp) and West Bromwich Albion (Mark Young).
Expect some more magic from Nick Watson’s re-christened Drawomatic Randomizer 16 soon …
Quote of the Week …
Gary Lineker on Match of the Day: “Reading’s staggering form continues”. Mark Lawrenson: “Yep. I think Stevie Coppell (is an) early contender for manager of the year. And they’re doing their bit for global warming: you don’t need a big car, you just need a two Lita”. (They say a good joke never needs an explanation, but for anyone who doesn’t follow the fortunes of Premiership new boys Reading, striker Leroy Lita scored both goals in their 2-0 win at Manchester City at the weekend.)