The irrepressible Mike Dufficy stands on the brink of Predictorship immortality.
In the 40th and penultimate week of the season, Mike has a 10-point lead over Dave Taylor. As any mathematician worth his salt will tell you, it means the Channel Islander needs 11 points to secure his second league title in three seasons, and thatâ€™s on the ridiculous assumption that Dave bags a record-shattering 20-point maximum next week (which he wonâ€™t). If the title does go to London, Iâ€™ll eat my hat, grab a Chelsea flag and streak naked through the streets of Bury St. Edmunds during the rush hour.
Daveâ€™s spirited but ultimately futile attempt to make a contest of a title race that was effectively decided light years ago brings him a second 12 of the season (his first was in week 9), a score made possible by 1-0 wins for Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. Christine Butters, whose previous best this season was 11 points in week 20, matches Daveâ€™s dozen with maximum points for 2-0 wins for Chelsea, Fulham and Middlesbrough. Both Christine and Dave rack up NINE correct results (the only game that eluded them, and everyone else bar predicting wizardess Marion Waller, was Wiganâ€™s shocking victory at Aston Villa).
Jill Taylor, otherwise known as Daveâ€™s other half, and Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansenâ€™s other half on â€˜Match of the Dayâ€™, both record 11s. Jill, the only upwardly mobile predictor in the top 13, makes a triumphant return to the top 10 in 8th, her highest placing of the season. Fourth-placed Saleel Sathe, Nick Watson and Joe Zalewski each find the back of the net 10 times. Nick and Trevor Morris are the second and third predictors this week to reach a new seasonal high â€“ 16th and 28th respectively.
In stark contrast, Norma No Mates, the Derby County of The Predictorship, fires a blank as all 10 fixtures are decided one way or the other. Youâ€™ll easily spot the other players who failed to turn up for duty this week. They include Stewart Newport, AWOL for a 15th consecutive week and perilously close to expulsion after his 19th yellow card of the season. (You get your marching orders after 20 yellow cards, a rule that will be more stringent next season.) Stewart will, however, be spared the ultimate humiliation as the end of the season is nigh.
Prediction of the Season â€¦
Once again we need your help to determine the destination of the prestigious â€˜Prediction of the Seasonâ€™ award. Simply make your selection from the 20 beauties below (all of them unique correct score predictions for the given week), either by leaving a reply to this post or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You CAN vote for your own prediction if you wish. The result will be announced after the Predictorship Cup final on 17th May, so please get voting!
1. Week 2: Dave McAleer (Portsmouth 3-1 Bolton)
* A four-goal gem in an otherwise abysmal week of predicting (average 4.43)
2. Week 6: Gary Waller (Derby 1-0 Newcastle)
* A solitary win for the Rams this season. Here it is
3. Week 9: Ted Warland (Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham)
* Fortress Anfield breached twice by Robbie Keane
4. Week 9: Simon Gold (Newcastle 3-2 Everton)
* When are Everton ever involved in five-goal thrillers, home or away?
5. Week 10: Christine Butters (Scotland 3-1 Ukraine)
* McCulloch, McFadden, Miller: Scotland run riot at Hampden Park!
6. Week 10: Matthew White (Faroe Islands 0-6 France)
* Six for Les Bleurrrgh, but just one for the man Henry
7. Week 10: Simon Gold (Denmark 1-3 Spain)
* The third international barnstormer of the week
8. Week 12: Wendy Nathan (Manchester United 4-1 Middlesbrough)
* A subtle variation on the week 11 result Aston Villa 1-4 Manchester United
9. Week 16: Gary Waller (Bolton 1-0 Manchester United)
* Gary bravely opts out of a Man. Utd. win against vastly inferior opposition
10. Week 17: Rob Molloy (Liverpool 4-0 Bolton)
* Is that the same Bolton who beat Manchester United in week 16?
11. Week 23: Sally Moon (Huddersfield 2-1 Birmingham)
* League 1 downs Premier League basement boys in the FA Cup
12. Week 27: Marion Waller (Manchester City 1-3 Arsenal)
* Predicting queen strikes gold. No more cries of 1-0 to the Arsenal
13. Week 28: Gary Waller (Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City)
* City beat United at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby. Well I never!
14. Week 30: John Collins (Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal)
* Premier League no-hopers stick it to title contenders â€“ almost
15. Week 30: Janet Jones (Liverpool 3-2 Middlesbrough)
* Reds down an impotent Middlesbrough at Anfield â€“ but only just
16. Week 31: Rob Molloy (Bolton 1-3 Liverpool)
* Purple patch for Molloy as he monopolises â€˜Prediction of the Weekâ€™
17. Week 32: Rob Molloy (Middlesbrough 0-2 Cardiff)
* Championship side cruise to Cup victory against a woeful â€˜Boro
18. Week 32: Joe Zalewski (Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea)
* You needed balls of steel to back the Yorkshiremen in this one
19. Week 35: Marion Waller (Bolton 2-3 Arsenal)
* One of the best games of the season. Of course it had to be Marion Waller!
20. Week 35: Mark Lawrenson (Derby 2-2 Fulham)
* Hands up those who thought it would be a boring 0-0 draw
Premier League Results (Week 40): Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan (0); Blackburn 3-1 Derby (3); Bolton 2-0 Sunderland (2); Fulham 2-0 Birmingham (3); Manchester United 4-1 West Ham (0); Middlesbrough 2-0 Portsmouth (3); Reading 0-1 Tottenham (3); Arsenal 1-0 Everton (6); Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City (8); Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea (8).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 40): 12 â€“ Christine Butters and Dave Taylor.
Average Score (Week 40): 7.26.
Prediction of the Week (Week 40): Hope Arnold, Simon Gold and Wendy Nathan (Blackburn 3-1 Derby); Marion Waller (Aston Villa 1-2 Wigan).
Top of the Table (Week 40):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 288 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 278 pts
3. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 275 pts
4. Liverpool Reserves (Saleel Sathe) â€“ 273 pts
5. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 270 pts
6. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 269 pts
7. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 265 pts
8. Dartmoor Rovers (Jill Taylor) â€“ 263 pts
9. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) â€“ 262 pts
10. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 261 pts