Friday 26 October 2012

Week 11: No longer available on Ceefax

For two weeks running, The Grambler has given us five correct predictions out of the seven games.  And you know what they say; Good things come in threes... Three is the magic number... Three times a lady...

On that basis, we can expect another set of 71.42857142857143% accurate predictions this week!

Game 1: Wigan Athletic vs West Ham
Prediction: Away win

The town of Wigan (not to be confused with the town of Wogan in Togo, which I imagine would be like the scene in Being John Malkovich where he ends up in his own head.  Only with Terry Wogan.) is well known as being more interested in rugby than football.  But under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez, the Latics have become known as a feisty side with an 'against-all-odds' survival record.  With five points from eight games this season, it looks like their fans could be in for more of the same.  West Ham have perhaps been this season's surprise package.  Having spent last season in Championship, they gained promotion the hard way via the play-offs.  Many expected them to struggle back in the Premiership but four wins and two draws from their first eight games sees them sit 7th in the table, level on points with Spurs in 5th.   The sides have already met once this season when Wigan visited Upton Park and won 4-1 in the League Cup, prompting Sam Allardyce to declare "we couldn't defend a fish supper tonight."  No comment needed there, really.
Reliability balls: 6/10
Odds on this result: 23/10

Game 2: Bury vs Walsall
Prediction: Draw
Bury have spent most of the season sitting at the foot of the table, but on Tuesday night they finally won a game; a first victory of the campaign.  This allowed them to leapfrog their defeated opponents Hartlepool but could it be the start of a winning streak?
Walsall started the season brightly, winning five of their first nine, but have not won a league game since September, causing them to slip back down the table.  A win here could push them close to the play-off places but they will have to make-do without Dean Holden, suspended after his sending off at Sheffield United.  Bury took all six points against their opponents last season which will give them some confidence.  They are also the only football team, in my knowledge, to have a former Prime Minister as mascot.  I shudder at the thought of some poor guy having to dress up in a novelty foam David Cameron costume in years to come...
Reliability balls: 6/10
Odds on this result: 12/5

Game 3: Inverness Caledonian Thistle vs St Johnstone
Prediction: Home win
Following a mediocre start to the campaign, Inverness have found their feet in recent weeks.  Three wins a row, and five games without defeat, have pushed the Highlands club to fifth in the table, ahead of title favourites Motherwell.  Boss Terry Butcher has expressed his delight at the number of goals his side have claimed, with Andrew Shinnie leading the way on seven so far.  That should give his career a leg-up.  Not to be outdone, St Johnstone also had a poor start to the season, but have gone on to win their last five matches.  They now sit second in the SPL, which is the equivalent of 14th in League One.  A win for the Saints on Saturday would see them set a new club record for the most consecutive wins.  The ghost of Roy Castle will be watching on anxiously.  This game could go either way.  Or it could end in a draw.  Some wonderful insight there for you.  Reliability balls: 5/10
Odds on this result: 13/10

Game 4: Chelsea vs Manchester United
Prediction: Home win
A game that will no doubt be hailed as an early title decider by the red-tops.  Or worse still, a TITLE DECIDER!!!  Chelsea have only dropped two points in the league this season in a goalless draw with QPR but showed that they do have frailties on Tuesday night, with a 2-1 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.  But any fans deflated by one European defeat can show their support for the club and boost their belief in the team by purchasing the Official Chelsea Christmas Countdown Gnome!  I bought four.  United are currently four points adrift of their opponents at the top of the table and will be wary of ending the day seven points from the top spot.  Sir Alex of Ferguson rested a number of players on Tuesday night, as his side faltered to a 3-2 victory over Braga.  His leaky defence will be an urgent concern but the starting eleven should include anti-racism t-shirt hatin' Rio Ferdinand.  Should the referee invoke little known FA rule 8.2, subsection F, paragraph 3 line 2 (which reads "and should any game reach its 72nd minute, and the officials feel the urge, the result may be decided by the quality and/or novelty factor of gnomes available in the club shop") Chelsea already have this tie in the bag.  Man United's gnomes are crap.     
Reliability balls: 6/10
Odds on this result: 13/10

Game 5: Livingston vs Greenock Morton
Prediction: Away win
Livingston currently inhabit the sixth spot in the league and already look set for a season un-threatened by relegation whilst failing to trouble the promotion contenders.  In nine games this season, they have taken 12 points leaving them ten points adrift of the top spot already.  Morton could be an outsider bet for promotion to the SPL, currently sitting third in the division on 18 points, just four behind the leaders.  The Greenock side's run of five straight wins was halted last week by a 2-2 draw when visiting Dunfermline.  Livingston have only won one at home this season whilst their opponents have managed two wins on the road.  The last time these two sides met at Almondvale, the fans were treated to a spectacularly entertaining goalless draw and they will no doubt hope for more of the same today.  Reliability balls: 6/10
Odds on this result: 9/5

Game 6: Accrington Stanley vs Bristol Rovers
Prediction: Away win
Stanley had made an optimistic start to the season and were inhabiting the upper-reaches of the table until  the end of September.  Failure to take a single point from any of their last four games has sent them back down the division to 16th so they will be looking to get things back on track.  Accrington may however have to make do without their manager Paul Cook (or their cook Paul Manager, I get mixed up) as Chesterfield made an approach to lure him away to the Proact Stadium on Wednesday morning.  Bristol Rovers have faired worse in the league this season.  Just three wins in thirteen has left them just three points outside of the relegation zone.  Shows what happens when you give up on a good thing to go chasing money, eh Mark McGhee?  As with a number of teams, I cannot claim to know too much about Rovers, so turning to the ever-reliable Wikipedia for information: "Should you cast your eyes over the Tote End of the the old Eastville Stadium during the 70s, it would often resemble the famous bar scene in Star Wars."  Right...
Reliability balls: 4/10
Odds on this result: 2/1

Game 7: Stoke vs Sunderland
Prediction: Away win
Known for their free-flowing total-football style which is often compared to that of Barcelona, Stoke have now graced the Premiership for a number of years and picked up many new fans along the way, including Arsene Wenger.  The Potters have only been defeated twice this season yet somehow have only won once.  Probably a result of other teams 'parking the bus' when they come up against Stoke.  Also, legend has it that Tony Pullis always wears that hat to hide an ill-advised tattoo declaring his love for Lesley Joseph which covers his scalp.  Sunderland have a fairly similar record this season under former-messiah turned regular-manager Martin O'Neill.  With one win, one loss and four draws to their name, one could easily predict that this game is destined to end in a draw.  Having pinched a point at home to rivals Newcastle last week, the Black Cats could move into the top half of the table with a win this weekend.
Reliability balls: 5/10
Odds on this result: 3/1

The past few weeks have seen some pretty poor odds appearing around these parts, partially a result of semi-believable predictions and partially a bookmakers conspiracy to stop The Grambler.  However, this week's spectacular mix of away wins and downright ridiculous predictions gives us odds of 1,993/1.  

Place your bets now!

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