The Predictorship: Week 5 – Full Marks for John

Millwall’s John Collins and our guest predictor, BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson, take the plaudits this week with nine points apiece.

Week 1 leader John climbs five places to third in the table as Lawro moves ominously into sixth, despite only offering predictions for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on the BBC Sport website. Four draws elsewhere, including two goalless affairs, do wonders for the Liverpool legend’s total score.

Jersey United’s Mike Dufficy, who knows a thing or two about this Predictorship lark, becomes the fourth different table-topper of the 2007-08 season. His seven-point haul (which included correct scores for the Latvia and Holland games) is just enough to overhaul last week’s top man Dave Taylor. Both have registered 28 correct results and eight correct scores to date, but Mike’s alphabetically superior surname gives him the proverbial nod.

The Predictorship has been whittled down to 43 teams this week. Basil Bradley, Stuart Claxton, Mark Davies, Paul Dolan, Jodie Kemp, Ronan L’Heveder, Haresh Mirani and Sanjiv Sachdev pay the price for rampant absenteeism and have been loaned out to Blue Square Premier Division clubs to regain match fitness. It’s a long road back from there.

In their absence, there are just two yellow cards this week: Everton’s Hope Arnold (who was utterly devastated when she missed a week last season – Samaritans take note) and Peterborough United’s Steve McHugh are the culprits. Happily for both, last weekend’s selected European fixtures produced five draws and a whopping seven points.

Have you ever wondered what strange thoughts pass through the minds of your fellow predictors? Here, in an FC Camena exclusive, Wycombe Wanderers’ Stewart Newport, perilously close to taking the whole thing far too seriously, offers an insight into the art of predicting.

Before you read on, please note: Owen and Ronaldo DID score for England and Portugal respectively, Scotland NEARLY scored two goals in the last 10 minutes (although Craig Gordon DIDN’T save Lithuania’s penalty) and Berbatov undoubtedly shrugged his shoulders in the first two minutes (and every two minutes thereafter) of the Bulgaria game. Now that’s what I call smart predicting.

* Portugal 2 Poland 0 (Ronaldo double including a header; he celebrates with a visit to a phonebox to get a number …);
* Italy 1 France 1 (last minute reply from Italy following a Henry finger-to-lips celebration in the first half);
* Scotland 2 Lithuania 0 (two goals in the last 10 minutes calm the Tartan army after Craig Gordon saves a penalty);
* Slovakia 2 Republic of Ireland 0 (Steve Staunton looks red-faced following a poor performance and still he has a daft tie-knot in the post match interview);
* Wales 1 Germany 3 (Wales score first, then it all goes pear-shaped following Bellamy getting sent off);
* England 3 Israel 0 (goals scored by Heskey, off his arse from a clearance by the keeper, Owen following a defence splitting pass from Gerrard’s numb toe, which is playing out wide left with the rest of Gerrard through the middle, and a mistimed dive and flap leading to a bullet header from a corner by Robinson, who forgot which end he was playing at and had ventured forward);
* Iceland 0 Spain 2 (not much to say here really, Torres gets one of them though);
* Latvia 2 Northern Ireland 1 (all the good work of the campaign goes to waste, but Healy scores … again);
* Sweden 2 Denmark 1 (match abandonded on 87 minutes after a fight involving some people dressed as vikings in the crowd);
* Holland 3 Bulgaria 0 (Berbatov seen shrugging his shoulders and arms outstretched in frustration in the first two minutes).

European Championship Qualifying Results (Week 5): Portugal 2-2 Poland (0); Italy 0-0 France (3); Scotland 3-1 Lithuania (0); Slovakia 2-2 Republic of Ireland (3); Wales 0-2 Germany (5); England 3-0 Israel (2); Iceland 1-1 Spain (5); Latvia 1-0 Northern Ireland (5); Sweden 0-0 Denmark (2); Holland 2-0 Bulgaria (11).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.

Highest Score (Week 5): 9 – John Collins and Mark Lawrenson.
Average Score (Week 5): 6.17.
Predictions of the Week (Week 5): Patrick Bevilacqua, Neil Hayes and Rob Molloy (Slovakia 2-2 Republic of Ireland); John Collins and Stewart Newport (England 3-0 Israel) – for believing when others didn’t.

Top of the Table (Week 5):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) – 36 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) – 36 pts
3. Millwall (John Collins) – 35 pts
4. Seattle Gooners (Maziar Sattari) – 34 pts
5. Manchester City (Christine Butters) – 33 pts
6. Liverpool Lawro (Mark Lawrenson) – 33 pts
7. Liverpool (Joe Zalewski) – 33 pts
8. FC Squan 1980 (Patrick Bevilacqua) – 32 pts
9. Wycombe Wanderers (Stewart Newport) – 32 pts
10. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) – 31 pts

“Thought I’d enter into the spirit of tedium that is international football. No-one will score more than one goal. Mark these words” – Nick Watson, 100% correct except for Portugal, Poland and Scotland … and Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland … and Germany … and England … oh, and Holland.

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