â€œPerhaps something, but very possibly nothingâ€. Steven Dunlop saw it coming.
Seattle Goonersâ€™ Maziar Sattari and FC Squan 1980â€™s Patrick Bevilacqua chalk up average-busting totals (11 and 10 respectively), but far too many predictors are left licking their wounds after a horrid weekend. You know those sliced shots that end up closer to the corner flag than the back of the net? Now you get the grizzly picture.
First the good news. Four correct scores (from the games at Birmingham, Derby, Sunderland and Arsenal) elevate Maziar to God-like status when the weekly average struggles to climb above 4.7. His 11-point return is good for a six-place leap up the table to 17th. Itâ€™s a welcome return to form after his table-topping antics in weeks 2 and 3.
Patrick adds â€œwise manâ€ to his CV with three correct scores (Birmingham, Derby and Arsenal) and now stands on the brink of the top 10 (13th). Like Maziar, Patrick has also seen better days this season with an early trip to the runner-up position, but itâ€™s amazing what a bit of confidence can do in the bleak mid-winter.
West Bromâ€™s Mark Young, who owns four (Birmingham, Derby, Sunderland and Liverpool) of the weekâ€™s 46 perfect scores, and Tottenhamâ€™s Simon Gold, who plucks a phenomenal eight correct results out of the Christmas stocking, nab nine points apiece.
Now for the bad news. Nineteen predictors (out of the 41 who showed up) fail to get beyond four points and four sorry souls â€“ including yours truly â€“ have to make do with just two measly points. Sheffield Wednesdayâ€™s Janet Jones and Liverpool Lawroâ€™s Mark Lawrenson, meanwhile, make an unscheduled trip to the Predictorshipâ€™s â€˜Hall of Shameâ€™ leaderboard, which records scores of one point or less with deadly accuracy.
Arsenal-Chelsea, Liverpool-Manchester United. Two goliath v. goliath encounters, one tasty Sunday afternoon, presumably arranged by the FA to spare long-suffering husbands and boyfriends from an uncomfortable afternoon Christmas shopping with their lady friends. Hey, I donâ€™t make the rules!
Only Saleel Sathe and his Liverpool Reserves walk away with a 100% record from the two fixtures as the 1-0 result returns to The Predictorship with a vengeance this week. Hereâ€™s the full rundown of 82 predictions from 41 predictors, with seven players going for the correct Arsenal-Chelsea result and four plumping for the final score at Anfield (both shown in bold). Donâ€™t you just love it when it all adds up?
* Arsenal win: 21 (1-0 x 7; 2-0 x 2; 2-1 x 11; 4-2 x 1).
* Chelsea win: 5 (0-1 x 1; 0-2 x 1; 1-2 x 3).
* Arsenal-Chelsea draw: 15 (0-0 x 4; 1-1 x 10; 2-2 x 1).
* Liverpool win: 11 (1-0 x 4; 2-1 x 5; 3-2 x 2).
* Manchester United win: 16 (0-1 x 4; 0-2 x 1; 1-2 x 6; 1-3 x 3; 2-3 x 2).
* Liverpool-Manchester United draw: 14 (0-0 x 2; 1-1 x 7; 2-2 x 5).
Remember folks, the next fixtures you receive from David will be the bumper Christmas triple-header, after which your league position will determine whether you play in the Preliminary Round of The Predictorship Cup or not. Itâ€™s a time for guts, determination and nerves of steel.
Fabio Capello. He deserves a mention for taking on the England job.
A very happy Christmas to all who inhabit Predictorshipland and best wishes for 2008.
Premier League Results (Week 19): Birmingham 1-1 Reading (12); Derby 0-1 Middlesbrough (15); Fulham 0-1 Newcastle (1); Manchester City 4-2 Bolton (0); Portsmouth 0-1 Tottenham (0); Sunderland 1-1 Aston Villa (5); West Ham 0-2 Everton (2); Wigan 5-3 Blackburn (0); Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (7); Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United (4).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 19): 11 â€“ Maziar Sattari.
Average Score (Week 19): 4.78.
Prediction of the Week (Week 19): David Roberts and Jill Taylor (West Ham 0-2 Everton).
Top of the Table (Week 19):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 140 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 135 pts
3. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 132 pts
4. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 131 pts
5. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 131 pts
6. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 129 pts
7. Watford (David Roberts) â€“ 128 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 127 pts
9. Dartmoor Rovers (Jill Taylor) â€“ 127 pts
10. Philadelphia Eagles (Gabe Bevilacqua) â€“ 126 pts
â€œAs we approach the festive season, (Blackburnâ€™s Roque) Santa (Cruz) scores a hat-trick but still ends up on the losing side. The gameâ€™s (Wiganâ€™s Marcus) Bentâ€ â€“ Gary Lineker signs off on â€˜Match of the Dayâ€™.
You want more seasonal footballers? In the week TURKEYâ€™s Tuncay Åžanli blasts Middlesborough to victory at Derby, what about Jason EUELL (Southampton) and YOUL Mawene (Preston), Juan Pablo ANGEL (New York Red Bulls), NOEL Whelan (unattached), GIFTon NOEL-Williams (Elche CF), Roy CARROLL (Rangers), JESUS Navas (Sevilla), KASPAR Schmeichel (Cardiff), Mario MELCHOIR (Wigan) and SLEIGHton Baines (Everton)? (Sorry about the last two.) And will Lampard junior, Chelseaâ€™s FRANK, be INCENSED at a refereeing decision at the weekend? OK, thatâ€™s enough.