Mystic Mawky – Week Seven

Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal: An exciting game at the Etihad which will end in a draw as two strong teams show signs of weariness after tough away trips in the Champions League during midweek.

Can Koscielny stop the in-form Sergio Aguero?

Cardiff 1-2 West Brom: Two sides sat side by side in the table meet in Cardiff and I can just see the baggies coming away from this one with an away win. Shane Long will get one of the goals and this is the sort of match where I can see an own goal being scored.

Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis’s reign at Palace has started well but Chelsea are near invincible at StamfordBridge and should turn them over fairly easily.

Everton 2-1 Fulham: Everton come into this game on the back of taking four points away to Manchester United and Arsenal and should do the same here, Fulham are rubbish away from home and Everton should win fairly comfortably.

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton: Both teams have been in good form this season and they should play out an entertaining game at St James’s park, Southampton’s style of pressing high up the pitch should secure them a point at least.

West Ham 1-0 Sunderland: Two sides struggling near the bottom of the table will play out a dull game at Upton Park with only one goal which will most likely be scored from a set piece, seen as West Ham seem to think they’re Spain at the moment and don’t play with anyone up front.

Hull 1-0 Stoke: Home advantage will be the key in this one with Hull just sneaking all three points against Stoke, who will be one of the poorest sides in the league this season but will just manage to stay up.

Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester United: United will put a halt to their losing run, only just though with a stagnant performance at Villa Park. United really need to buck their ideas up or they won’t even make Europe this season.

Norwich 2-2 Swansea: Norwich and Swansea will give the fans a treat at Carrow Road with a four goal thriller, a game that will prove that it’s not just the top teams in the Premier League who can create a classic.

Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool: Liverpool go to White Hart Lane to face a Spurs side who have been struggling lately, having said that I can’t see Spurs losing this game and think that they will grind out a draw.

Pacitto Predictions – Week Seven

Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal: ManchesterCity have been just far too formidable at home to ignore. Arsenal will go two games without a win for the first time this season, and lose grip at the top.

Cardiff 1-2 West Brom: Nobody has really picked up on Cardiff’s slide down the table, but they lay a mere point above Palace and Fulham. Their problems to become more noticeable with a home defeat.

Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace: Easy as you like for Chelsea, they can beat the Eagles at a canter. Tony Pulis will not be focusing on games like this to get them out of trouble; it’s a damage limitation exercise.

Tottenham 3-1 Liverpool: Tottenham to come out like an absolute steam train and punish Liverpool in the first half, even Suarez is kept quiet. I’m still expecting the Uruguayan to score, but it won’t be enough.

Dembele (if he starts) and Lucas could be a key battle; who will come out on top?

Everton 2-2 Fulham: A rejuvenated Fulham go to Goodison Park and play out a cracker of a game, nabbing a point along the way. Meulensteen needs this honeymoon to last.

Newcastle 2-1 Southampton: Despite an excellent performance, the longest away trip in the League for the Saints should just prove too much for a Newcastle side in fine form.

West Ham 1-1 Sunderland: The Hammers & The Black Cats play out a six-pointer where nobody takes home more than one for themselves. A dreary game with a couple of tap-ins for goals, not what either manager needs.

Hull 1-0 Stoke: Two very mid-table sides, and Steve Bruce’s profile is rising all the time. Another efficient win here and I can’t see the Humberside club falling into trouble.

Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United: Goals only seem to get scored in Manchester United’s away games. They’ll pick up a win here against a Villa side that only have 6 home goals themselves this season.

Norwich 2-0 Swansea: Swansea, with their well-documented travel problems with getting to Switzerland, will suffer preparing for this game more than St Gallen. Easy enough win for Norwich.

Mystic Mawky – Week Six

It’s a busy one this week, as the Christmas fixture list starts to kick in. Who will triumph, Pacitto Predictions or Mystic Mawky?…

Arsenal 3-1 Hull: Arsenal will beat Hull comfortably at the Emirates, Hull will have given everything in their win over Liverpool at the weekend and getting a result away at Arsenal will just be a bridge too far.

Liverpool 4-1 Norwich: Liverpool will get back to winning ways a Anfield by turning over an average Norwich side, they will just have too much firepower for the Norwich defence.

Even without Sturridge, Liverpool could have too much for Norwich.

Even without Sturridge, Liverpool could have too much for Norwich.

Manchester United 2-1 Everton: David Moyes’ old club visit Old Trafford and have surprised quite a few people with their performances in the league this season. Having said that I expect United have a bit too much and grind out an unspectacular win here.

Southampton 1-0 Aston Villa: High flying Southampton will just about edge a tight game at St Mary’s against mid table Villa. Southampton’s aggressive defending style of pressing teams high up the pitch will see them through here.

Stoke 0-0 Cardiff: Two of the league’s average sides take on each other at the Britannia stadium and I can see a very boring game with few chances and goals being unlikely.

Sunderland 1-3 Chelsea: Sunderland have beaten Manchester City and Newcastle at home in the league this season but I expect them to come unstuck here against a Chelsea side who have too much firepower up top.

Swansea 1-1 Newcastle: Four straight wins on the bounce for Newcastle now but we all know that winning runs don’t last forever. However, I expect them to get a point in South Wales in an evenly matched contest.

Fulham 1-2 Tottenham: Fulham’s poor run of form will continue at home and they will be beaten by Spur’s side who will show a much greater threat going forward than they have this season against one of the league’s poorer sides.

West Brom 1-2 Manchester City: Standard victory for City, who should win this one at a canter despite their away form being very poor by their high standards so far this season.

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle: Newcastle’s unbeaten run will come to an end at Old Trafford, in one of those away performances, where they just don’t seem to show up.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Cardiff: Tony Pulis will continue the Palace revival by taking a point at home to Cardiff who are faring slightly better than there opponents this season. Will it be enough at the end of the season? Time will tell!

Liverpool 3-1 West Ham: Another game where Suarez will get Liverpool over the line, West Ham have been poor this season and really seem to be missing Andy Carroll. Just can’t see them getting a result at Anfield.

Southampton 1-1 Manchester City: City’s suspect away form will continue this season against a Southampton side that just look unstoppable at home. I think City’s away form will be what lets them down this season and their title challenge will falter as a result.

Stoke 0-2 Chelsea: Stoke are poor and I really don’t rate Mark Hughes as a manager, Chelsea will just have too much quality for them, even away from home.

West Brom 1-1 Norwich: Just can’t separate these two sides and think they will cancel each other out at the Hawthorns in one of those games.

Sunderland 1-1 Tottenham: Struggling Sunderland will take a point away from this game against a Tottenham side that will turn out another of their indifferent performances that have become an all too regular occurance this season.

Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa: Fulham and Villa will play out an entertaining draw at Craven Cottage that will see Fulham claim another point towards survival and Villa consolidate their place in the mid table.

Arsenal 1-1 Everton Everton will claim an unlikely point at the Emirates as Arsenal put in a uncharacteristically poor performance at home, Everton will play an excellent team game a miss a couple of vital chances to win the game.

“The Month That Could Have Been” // West Bromwich Albion – November

It’s that time of the month again where we all sit down and look back at what may have been a terrible or utterly brilliant month for our respective clubs. However, starting this month we welcome two new guest-writers to Team Pitchside; first up it’s Jake Pointon, a fellow Journo’ student who happens to be an avid fan of the Baggies! Take it away Jake…

West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Crystal Palace:

November started off with a routine win for Albion against a struggling Palace side. The game itself was a quiet one, with goals from Saido Berahino and Gareth McAuley providing the only real excitement for the fans.

Berahino’s goal was an impressive finish, and underlined why many think he has a bright future ahead of him. The 20 year-old played out of position on the right wing in this game after coming on as a sub for the injured Billy Jones, and looked a constant threat to the Palace defence along with Stephane Sessegnon.

20 year old Berahino (38) looks a good prospect for the Baggies.

20 year old Berahino (38) looks a good prospect for the Baggies.

After the first goal the defence looked solid – although the struggling opposition offered no real threat, indeed Jerome Thomas was more or less anonymous on his return to The Hawthorns.

McAuley’s header from Brunt’s corner wrapped up the win late on, meaning we started the month off with three points.

Performance Rating: Grade B-; can’t complain really, solid performance against a rubbish team, Crystal Palace are amongst the favourites to go down and you could see why. Definitely Berahino’s best game in the Premier League so far.

Chelsea 2-2 West Bromwich Albion:

We were robbed!

Two goals in eight second-half minutes should have won this game for Albion, but a terrible decision from stand in ref (and Villa fan) Andre Marriner meant that we went home with just one point, instead of a deserved three.

The first half of this game was quiet, with our defence keeping Chelsea at bay until right on half-time when Eto’o pinched the ball off Liam Ridgewell. The left-back’s failure to clear the ball gave Eto’o the chance to poke it in, and the home side had a lead that was probably undeserved up until that point.

However, the second half saw one of our best performances of the season so far; Shane Long in particular was very impressive up front as the lone striker. Long had already given Chelsea a warning as he hit the post from Morgan Amalfitano’s cross, but they didn’t listen and his goal came as he rose above about five Chelsea players to head in after Cech could only push McAuley’s header high up into the air.

Sessegnon then made it 2-1 just after with a scuffed shot that probably should have been saved, but none of West Brom’s fans’ were complaining.

That was until Marriner’s awful decision to award a penalty in injury time when Ramires fell over in the box after Steven Reid looked at him. Hazard scored and that was that.

There was a sense of injustice as a Ramires dive enabled Chelsea to preserve their incredible home record.

There was a sense of injustice as a Ramires dive enabled Chelsea to preserve their incredible home record from the penalty spot.

Performance Rating: Grade A; another very good performance against one of the top clubs. Attacked well when we had the chance to and defended solidly – the few chances the hosts had were well saved by Myhill. Would’ve been a famous win but for that refereeing decision.

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Aston Villa:

Another 2-2 draw, another game that Albion should have won.

This one started off well enough as Shane Long continued his good form by scoring two great goals – both should be contenders for goal of the month if you ask me. The game should have been over before half-time, but Sessegnon decided not to bring his shooting boots. His miss from a couple of yards out was embarrassing really.

After the break, Villa made a triple substitution, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann were both very effective and their combined pace caused us a few problems. Karim El Ahmadi scored a good goal, and then Ashley Westwood smashed in the equaliser from 25 yards meaning this local derby finished honours even.

Performance Rating: Grade C+; the two early goals put us off to a great start and we should have won really. I can’t remember seeing such a poor Villa performance in a derby game before, but we didn’t kill them off and we were punished because of that.

Newcastle United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion:

Our final game of the month came against Newcastle, and it was also our first loss.

The first-half was poor; neither side looked particularly bothered really. Myhill gifted Newcastle the lead when he punched the ball high up into the air instead of away from goal, meaning Gouffran couldn’t miss when it dropped onto his head.

The second-half started off better and Chris Brunt gave Tim Krul no chance, as he smashed in the equaliser from a tight angle. Shane Long could have scored just after that to give us the lead, but he kicked the air instead of the ball as it flew past him from a corner. Almost straight after that miss, we were punished. In-form striker Loic Remy nodded the ball down to Moussa Sissoko, and his fellow Frenchman, slammed the ball into the top corner with the outside of his boot – a fantastic goal.

After that, the game just sort of passed us by, and we never really looked like equalising for a second time.

Performance Rating: Grade D; we didn’t really turn up for this one. Newcastle weren’t particularly special either, bar Sissoko’s wonder-goal; the lack of attacking threat was worrying.

Overall Rating: Grade C; on paper you shouldn’t complain too much about a month where we’ve only lost one game, but when you look into it further it could have been a month to remember.Yes, the penalty decision cost us against Chelsea, but that game and the Villa one, showed a worrying trend of playing well but just not picking up all three points – both games should have been wins really.

The Newcastle game is worth forgetting about, it was just “one of them days”. Overall the performances this month were very good, but you don’t get points for playing well; if you did we would be looking at nine points for the month rather than five.

Jake Pointon

Pacitto Predictions – Week Four

Everton 0-1 Liverpool: A scrappy game with at least one red card, I expect Liverpool to just have enough firepower to secure them the three points.

Arsenal 2-2 Southampton: The proverbial game of two halves. Southampton to go out and grab a lead in their dominant first-half, before a stirring Arsenal comeback.

Fulham 2-1 Swansea: Fulham to show their potential, especially in the first-half, a late Swansea fight-back not enough to deny the Cottagers.

Hull 2-0 Crystal Palace: Easy enough for Hull, who will identify this as a vital three points, and grind out a not, particularly pretty victory.

Newcastle 1-0 Norwich: Another game to go past with little incident, but I can’t see the Norwich defence denying Loic Remy.

Stoke 1-1 Sunderland: Stoke’s stuttering home form to let them down again, Poyet’s side will view this as an excellent point at the Britannia.

West Ham 0-2 Chelsea: Zero firepower against a Chelsea side always means you’re in trouble, Allardyce to be found out tactically wanting in this fixture.

Without a recognisable striker, West Ham have relied on Morrison for goals.

Without a recognisable striker, West Ham have relied on Morrison for goals.

Man City 1-1 Tottenham: The big pitch should help Spurs, but Manchester City should have enough to cancel them out. The result neither side needs.

Cardiff 2-2 Man Utd: An end-to-end game that Manchester United will struggle to see out, letting Cardiff equalise more than once.

West Brom 2-3 Aston Villa: A more entertaining derby than the Merseyside one, with a topsy-turvy game ending in a late, late winner for Villa.

Mystic Mawky – Week Three

Aston Villa 2-1 Cardiff: Home advantage will be the key when Villa take on Cardiff at Villa Park. It will be a tight game but I predict Villa to come out on top.

Chelsea 4-1 West Brom: Stamford Bridge is a tough place to go for any team and wins over Manchester City recently and Schalke in midweek will ensure Chelsea confidence is high, making it all the more tougher for West Brom. Easy Win for Mourinho’s side.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Everton: Having lost their last seven league games and being without a manager, the crisis at Palace continues and Everton should come away from Selhurst Park with a comfortable win.

Liverpool 3-0 Fulham: Fulham are another side struggling for form near the bottom of the league and a bad result here could seal Martin Jol’s fate as manager. Having said that Liverpool should walk it, Suarez and Sturridge will have too much class for Fulham’s defence.

Southampton 1-1 Hull: Two sides who have both overachieved so far this season with both sitting in the top-half of the table. I think this will be a typical mid table clash with both sides cancelling each other out in a boring stalemate.

Norwich 1-0 West Ham: Norwich have struggled so far this season and pressure is growing on manager Chris Hughton, however I can see them pulling off a performance and emerging victorious at Carrow Road.

Tottenham 0-0 Newcastle: A clash at White Hart Lane between two sides who are bad to watch, I can see it being another boring game with both sides cancelling each other out and playing  a game of football chess.

Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City: Despite beating Newcastle in Tyne-Wear derby, Sunderland remain firmly rooted in the relegation zone and Manchester City won’t even have to be at their best to beat them.

Aguero and Manchester City have been scoring for fun.

Aguero and Manchester City have been scoring for fun.

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: A game which could go either way, United have underachieved so far this season while Arsenal have been in outstanding form. A trip to Old Trafford will be another test for them and if they win they’ll have proved everyone wrong who said they would falter in November. A win for United will reignite their title challenge. However, I can see the game petering out into a draw as both sides will be desperate not to lose.

Swansea 1-1 Stoke: A standard clash between two sides in the bottom-half, I think struggling Stoke will take a valuable point away from the Liberty Stadium.

Pacitto Predictions – Week Three

Aston Villa 2-1 Cardiff: Benteke to return to form for Villa, will be too much for the Cardiff defence.

Chelsea 4-0 West Brom: A couple of early goals for Chelsea will kill this as a contest, Chelsea to coast to another three points.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton: A Crystal Palace backline is not going to be able to handle Romelu Lukaku. A late Palace goal to make it interesting but yet another loss.

Romelu Lukaku has been in devastating form this season.

Romelu Lukaku has been in devastating form this season.

Liverpool 1-0 Fulham: A strong, resilient performance from Jol’s side that may save his job for now, depite going down by a goal.

Southampton 2-1 Hull: The Saints to remain in and about the top four with a nervy, feisty game, maybe a couple of red cards.

Norwich 0-1 West Ham: Chris Hughton’s last game in charge for me. Spent too much money to be losing games like this, West Ham to make it more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

Tottenham 2-1 Newcastle: A semi-exciting game at the Lane as Newcastle won’t stick ten men behind the ball, a Lamela goal to win it for Spurs.

Sunderland 1-3 Man City: Through good times and bad times Sunderland still win this fixture. Not this year, team is full of Championship players.

Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal: Arsenal to take the lead, the whole of football cry laughing before Manchester United put themselves in the title race with a win.

Swansea 0-0 Stoke: A dull game, Swansea’s travelling to play a factor in a forgettable goalless draw.