â€œI donâ€™t want to change the world, Iâ€™m not looking for a New England,â€ chirped the late Kirsty MacColl. Well thatâ€™s too bad. The world is changing, New England has been found and Anuradha Shenoy is blazing a trail towards the top of the Predictorship.
Seven days after feasting on 11 points, Anuradha (and you read, did you get it yet?) dines out on another joint top score of the week with nine, an impressive achievement in one of the toughest weekendâ€™s ever witnessed in fantasy football.
Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham, amazingly the only three fixtures that provided correct score joy this week, precisely matched Anuradhaâ€™s accurate guesswork to propel New England to a new high: seventh. Thatâ€™s a combined 29 points for Anuradha in the last three weeks. Mightily impressive.
This weekâ€™s other novenarian (Iâ€™ve no idea if thatâ€™s a real word) is Liverpoolâ€™s Joe Zalewski, who makes his mark with two correct scores and a magnificent â€œbonusâ€ point for predicting a win for away-day specialists Portsmouth at the Villa (aka Mark Youngâ€™s TBICAB). Nobody else took the â€œPompey plungeâ€ on a similar result.
Speaking of impressive predictions, we must salute the Wallers, Gary and Marion, who both had â€˜Reading win against Liverpoolâ€™ on their radars, and the five brave warriors who knew Derby would finally score on the road (at Manchester United, of all places): James Bradley, Janet Jones, Maziar Sattari, Marion and hot-shot Zalewski.
And did anyone foresee Premier League front-runners Arsenal slipping up at the â€˜Boro? Come on, donâ€™t be silly!
On a fixture card that produced eight home wins, no draws and seven scores of â€˜1â€™ for visiting teams (indeed the last seven games on the list), Christine Butters and Alex Iskandar Liew also have to be lauded for evading the madness and making off with eight points apiece. Both swiped three correct scores â€“ unsurprisingly, the same three as Anuradha. Steven Dunlop and Jill Taylor also make a mockery of the average score with tasty eights. Now is there anyone I havenâ€™t â€œbigged-upâ€ yet?
The clue was in the previous paragraph, but no shared spoils spells disaster for Norma No Mates and the six absentees who keep her company on â€˜0â€™ points. Of most concern is Neil Hayes, who has now been AWOL for six weeks on the bounce. Detectives are on the case, scouring the coastline around Cypriarkos for signs of a wrecked canoe and hunting high and low for a complicit wife in Panama.
Premier League Results (Week 18): Aston Villa 1-3 Portsmouth (0); Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland (11); Everton 3-0 Fulham (0); Manchester United 4-1 Derby (0); Newcastle 2-1 Birmingham (10); Reading 3-1 Liverpool (0); Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal (0); Blackburn 0-1 West Ham (0); Bolton 4-1 Wigan (0); Tottenham 2-1 Manchester City (10).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 18): 9 â€“ Anuradha Shenoy and Joe Zalewski.
Average Score (Week 18): 5.70.
Predictions of the Week (Week 18): Gary Waller (Reading 1-0 Liverpool) and Marion Waller (Reading 2-1 Liverpool).
Top of the Table (Week 18):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 136 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 130 pts
3. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 129 pts
4. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 129 pts
5. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 128 pts
6. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 124 pts
7. New England (Anuradha Shenoy) â€“ 123 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 122 pts
9. Watford (David Roberts) â€“ 122 pts
10. Dartmoor Rovers (Jill Taylor) â€“ 120 pts
â€œWell this was a surprise. Liverpool had never lost to Reading, ever, in anythingâ€ â€“ Tim somebody-or-other, BBC sports correspondent, brings us news of Reading 3 Liverpool 1.