Premier League Weekend Forecast From a Reawakening Fan

Three weeks in to her football re-birth and Charlton Athletic follower Jen Offord thinks she is getting the hang of things. Having become disillusioned with the beautiful game

after seeing Alan Curbishley and the Addicks part ways, she has made a conscious effort to try and fall back in love with the sport. This week she casts her eye over the upcoming weekend fixtures…

Against all odds, I’m enjoying my casual stroll through the unfamiliar territory of Premier League football. I feel like I could almost once again contribute some views in an office-based conversation about football. If I just speak authoritatively enough, I reckon they could almost believe I know something. Learning is fun, apparently, so much so that I found myself alone on Saturday afternoon, voluntarily watching Final Score. Something I have only ever done under duress, if memory serves. Not in a violent way you understand. Just knowing that I couldn’t really argue with someone who actually cared about knowing the football results, that we should really be watching The World’s Funniest Animals instead. It was comforting to see that Garth Crooks is still involved, even if I didn’t recognise the other two whippersnappers. I was beginning to feel like a pro.

Garth Crooks is a regular on the panel at Final Score, discussing the day's play as it happens on Saturday afternoons

Garth Crooks is a regular on the panel at Final Score, discussing the day’s play as it happens on Saturday afternoons

Until I realised I had made some pretty duff predictions in last week’s post. About pretty much everything it seems. North London was very much red on Sunday, as Arsenal defied my evidence-based prediction and beat poor, beleaguered Spurs at White Hart Lane. It wasn’t personal Gooners: I actually sort of nearly support Arsenal (if I were to support a good club, and accept them having once been based in Woolwich as a tenuous geographical link), I just couldn’t argue with those stats. Well, we can learn a lot about stats on the basis of that tepid 1-0 victory.

This week, Chelsea, who have won the most games so far this season (20) and are correspondingly, at the top of the league, will have a pop at Arsenal on Sunday. I don’t much care for Chelsea, and I reckon Arsenal fans probably don’t much care for Chelsea fans either, though I’ve absolutely no evidence on which to base this assertion – so I reckon this might be fun.

We’re yet to see whether or not my very non-committal (which is how I shall be framing them in the future) prediction (it was a question really) about Sunderland avoiding relegation will be accurate. But I was right that Cardiff couldn’t beat Everton, and I rather fear this prediction – that they will lose to Liverpool on Saturday – will also prove to be correct. If I’m honest, it’s not top class punditry on my part, Cardiff are second from bottom of the table and Liverpool are second from top. Meanwhile, Everton will be looking to gently nudge North London losers Spurs, out of the “coveted” Europa League spot, fifth in the league.

Sunderland fans will be hopeful Jen Offord's prediction of Premier League survival comes through come May

Sunderland fans will be hopeful Jen Offord’s prediction of Premier League survival comes through come May

Hull City once again find themselves involved in some kind of fracas, with winger George Boyd appearing to gob on Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart. He’s probably quite lucky that Hart didn’t take exception to that and, I dunno, push him away with his head, or something.

Deeper still into mid-table obscurity, because that’s the really interesting part of the Premier League, after all. Aston Villa will take on Stoke on Saturday. “But who will win and does anyone apart from your (my) mate Stef, even care?” I hear you cry. Well, in their last league fixture Stoke beat Villa 1-0 at home, but Villa apparently have a pretty bad home record this season having lost eight of their home games compared to five of their away games. As now comprehensively proven I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure this is basically the opposite of what is supposed to happen. But I’m not going to make a prediction, I’m just going to blind you with numbers and let you draw your own conclusions.

Fabian Delph guided Aston Villa to a surprise victory over league leaders Chelsea last weekend

Fabian Delph guided Aston Villa to a surprise victory over league leaders Chelsea last weekend

Finally, Manchester United probably didn’t cheer anyone up on Sunday, because they lost 3-0 to Liverpool. They certainly didn’t cheer up manager David Moyes, who seems to be getting a bit of jip in the press this week. But he’s risen above it, said its all ok – he and Van Persie love each other really, and his job’s totally safe. This feels a bit like when a Prime Minister says they have “total confidence” in a disgraced Cabinet Minister, or someone in a soap opera asks their significant other to trust them – it’s so ominous, it’s almost Shakespearean. They may yet find themselves at the centre of another tragedy on Tuesday – the greatest since the demise of Hucknall’s dreadlocks even – if they don’t come out on top in the Manchester Derby. I’m off on holiday for the next two weeks so I’m just going to shout “I THINK MAN CITY WILL WIN” and run away. Don’t judge me.

And that’s all for this week. Hopefully it’ll help you engage in some workplace banter. But I definitely wouldn’t repeat any of my predictions, even if you do it authoritatively.

Do you agree with Jen’s predictions for this weekend’s fixtures? Is the top four a shut shop now? Are Everton, Man Utd and Spurs all now battling for Europa League football next season?

Follow Jen Offord @inspireajen

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