With an accuracy rate of just 40% for both bets, my prophecy of a at least one win this weekend went unfulfilled. Speaking of prophecies, there are only 25 days to go until the end of the world! (And I still haven't put up that damned towel-rail...) This also means that we only have three more sessions of Grambling left to win that vast fortune which was predicted by our forefathers. Although, we are all going to be dead by Christmas anyway so it doesn't really matter too much.
Game 1: Brighton & Hove Albion vs Bolton Wanderers
Prediction: Home win ( x )
Just out of interest, is a bright-on what a light bulb gets when it is aroused? Okay, enough filament related filth... This prediction came oh-so-close to being a reality. And I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling David Ngog! The Seagulls dominated the first half and could easily have had the points sealed by the break. In the 14th minute, Craig Mackail-Smith raced into the box and crossed only for the ball to be blocked by the hand of Darren Pratley. The referee awarded a penalty but Brighton's Ashley Barnes failed to convert, with Bolton's Adam Bogdan making the save. Did I mention that Bogdan is Ron Weasely? Because he is. Andrea Orlandi and Dean Hammond both saw their attempts on goal hit Bogdan's crossbar in the first half and the game remained goalless at the break. In the second-half, Smith became the third luckless Brighton player to strike the bar but his team soon took the lead; an Orlandi freekick was cleared to the edge of the box where it found Bruno Saltor, who struck the ball into the bottom corner. Wanderers created few chances but Tomasz Kuszczak had to be alert to save from Jacob Butterfield. However, it was just not to be Albion's day. In the sixth minute of stoppage time and with the very last kick of the ball, Ngog struck to claim a point and extend manager Dougie Freedman's (and Bolton's) unbeaten run to five games.
Game 2: Swansea City vs Liverpool
Prediction: Draw ( ✔ )
Brendan Rodgers's lauded return to Swansea failed to live up to the hype as the match ended in a somewhat drab goalless draw. The Reds looked to be the better team from the offset and came close to leading when Raheem Sterling's sterling volley struck the crossbar. Minutes later, Liverpool had the ball in the back of the net via Luis Enrique's back-post shot, but the linesman was having none of it, flagging for offside much to the annoyance of popular Liverpudlian entertainer Cilla Black. Probably. Swansea boss Michael Laudrup changed tactics at half-time and introduced Ki Sung-yeung and the gamble appeared to pay-off with City enjoying a strong period after the break. Cap'n Ashley Williams headed a powerful shot on goal from a corner only to see his former Swansea team-mate Joe Allen clear from the line. Swansea had the chance to take the lead in the dying moments of the match when Allen brought down Ki on the edge of the box, but Pepe Reina saved a fierce shot from Swans winger and most Spanish sounding Spanish-man in the history of Spanish-men Pablo Hernández Domínguez. Reports that he was wearing a sombrero and eating paella at the time have yet to be confirmed.
Game 3: East Fife vs Arbroath
Prediction: Home win ( ✔ )
Billy Brown watched his East Fife win at home for the first time in a hard-fought win at the New Bayview Stadium. The match started brightly when Arbroath's player/manager/tea-lady Paul Sheerin hit a long-range effort forcing Fifers keeper Calum Antel into a fine save in just the 2nd minute. One minute later and the action was at the other end of the pitch, where Scott McBride struck the post with a shot from the edge of the area. Ten minutes later, East Fife opened the scoring; the lively Bobby Barr crossed from the left-wing for Sean Jamieson to score his first goal of the season. But the visitors were to pull level close to the break when a Steven Doris shot deflected off his team-mate Paul Currie and into the net. The Fifers took just two minutes to restore their lead after the interval, via another long-range effort from McBride. The midfielder tried his luck from 25 yards and was rewarded with a cracking goal. Currie was to come close to equalising once again but his strike bounced off the crossbar. Brown said of the match “ni povus estis kvar aŭ kvin ĝis la paŭzo kaj mi estis vere feliĉaj per niaj deziro tie" demonstrating both his pleasure at his sides desire and his fluency in Esperanto.
Game 4: Barnsley vs Cardiff City
Prediction: Draw ( x )
Cardiff moved top of the table following a win at Barnsley coupled with Crystal Palace's defeat in Leeds. The bluebirds took the lead in the 22nd minute when teenager Ben Nugent marked his first league start with a goal. Peter Whittingham provided the assist via a corner and the defender headed home. Stephen Dawson and Marcus Tudgay both squandered chances for the home-side before half-time and six minutes after the break, the visitors doubled their lead. Aron Gunnarsson found himself unmarked at the back-post and headed in from another Whittingham corner. The Tykes were given some hope when Jacob Mellis slotted home in the 71st minute and were even presented with a one-man advantage as Cardiff débutant Simon Lappin received a second yellow card. However, they failed to make the most of their chances and have now taken just two points from their last seven games. Oddly enough, this was Cardiff's first victory wearing their traditional blue shirts this season. Following the furore surrounding the business-minded switch to red in the summer, City have only worn blue as a change strip but amidst poor away form, they had yet to win in their 'old' colours. So... ahem... Despite their fans originally getting shirty about it, the team have been red-hot in their new colours but have given fans the blues in their traditional strips. Please hold your applause until the end!
Game 5: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Prediction: Home win ( x )
Well this was a bit of a damp squib. Incidentally, does anyone actually know what a squib is? According to the Oxford English Dictionary (and by proxy, Susie Dent) a squib is 'a small firework that burns with a hissing sound before exploding.' You cannot say that The Grambler does not educate! The only talking point from the first half was Villa's Andreas Weimann having a shot ruled-out for offside. And in spite of what his name may suggest, Weimann is actually 6ft 2in... The second half had more action with Aaron Ramsey coming close for the Gunners whilst at the other end Brett Holman forced the constenant-friendly Arsenal keeper Szczesny into a fine save. The point earned helped to move the Villains out of the relegation zone but for Arsenal, it was a missed chance to overtake fifth-placed Everton. Speaking after the match, Arsene Wenger said "we played with three strikers, but that doesn't mean you score goals. We are a very offensive team." Meanwhile, Arsenal strikers Santa Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud lurked in the background making mildly rude hand gestures and vociferating various synonyms for both male and female genitalia.
And here's how that SUPER MAGNIFICENT BONUS BET went:
Game: Both teams to score?, Odds
Miton Keynes Dons vs Colchester United: Yes, 10/11 ( ✔ )
Brechin City vs Forfar athletic: No, 7/4 ( x )
Charlton Athletic vs Huddersfield Town: No, 11/10 ( x )
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham: No, 11/10 ( x )
Everton vs Norwich City: Yes, 4/6 ( ✔ )
Hmm, not too well it would appear. It was worth a shot. This segment may return fleetingly where I can be bothered.
Overall, I shall be marking this week down as 'could try harder.' Perhaps next time will be the one. Or the one after that. Or the one after that. And then we are all dead. But it's best not to worry about that for now....
"After all, tomorrow is another day."
"After all, tomorrow is another day."
- Margaret Mitchell