GW22 – a round of evenly matched games, impossible to predict and expects topsy-turvy results…
I start this piece with a weird logic as to why Chelsea drew and Wigan lost. When eight of the first ten outcomes of GW21 came as per my IKTS predictions, I went into the past performance patterns (PPP).
Typically at EPL
– in most GWs, on an average, away teams win 30% of the games.
– you rarely find a GW with no drawn games.
So when the first eight outcomes didn’t have any draw and two away wins (Arsenal, United), I was tempted to change the predictions for the balance games. However since I had committed to NCNB readers, didn’t change, and ended with +85 in IKTS. Else the natural feeling was Chelsea will win comfortably and Newcastle will win 2-1 over Wigan – just by trends. So, next time do keep these two golden rules in mind.
GW22 doesn’t have any ‘easy-to-predict’ games. Most of the games are played between teams separated by few points. Liverpool, at 25 points, actually have a double header vs two teams who are also at same number of points! Just to re-emphasize my point, EPL can be grouped into three zones
– The top five are separated by six points
– The next three European contenders are separated by three points
– The last twelve teams are separated by a mere seven points
That’s why we love EPL and its unpredictability! So before you punt in your bets, do also remember these are times for tired legs (after three games in last ten days), squad rotation (there are weekend FA games too) and so… expect surprises.
Blackpool 2 – 0 Birmingham
Birmingham seldom win matches away, more rarely do they score. Also, we love Ian Holloway!
Fulham 2 – 1 WBA
Fulham are showing signs of recovery and know they need to win such games, if they are to avoid relegation. Although one finds it difficult to believe WBA will lose five in a row, their weakened defense for this game tilts the balances.
Man Utd 2 – 0 Stoke City
United have drawn just one game this season, at OT. Stoke haven’t beaten United at OT for 34 years and lost their past five encounters there. Even based on past performance pattern (PPP), Stoke are due for a loss. Nani should be back for this one. Probably, the safest prediction for this GW but for punters like us lets keep our banker bonus for a riskier game!
Arsenal 1 – 2 Man City
Both teams have better record while travelling this year. Dig deep and you will find City have a better defense away than Arsenal’s home defense record. City were favorites for the Eastlands tie till they messed up with an early red card. Silva & Ballotelli are injured and this may result in City concentrating more on playing a hard physical game. Chamakh should replace the off colour RVP. More importantly both wouldn’t like to lose this game and slip down the ladder.
Aston Villa 2 – 1 Sunderland
Villa maybe poor away from home, this season, but are a different team at home. Sunderland have just one away win (Chelsea!!!). Villa were good at Stamford bridge and while Sunderland have one of the best defenses in the league this year, am being brave as Villa are due for a win based on PPP (past performance pattern).
Newcastle 1 – 1 West Ham
West Ham are unbeaten in last four games and have the momentum. Newcastle’s unpredictability at home continues.
Wolves 1 – 3 Chelsea
This wont be easy for Chelsea, as Wolves are formidable at home. Chelsea’s celebrations with manager Ancelotti when they took the late lead (third goal) over Villa, demonstrate that the coach and players are firmly backing each other.
Blackburn 2 – 2 Liverpool (Put your insurance here)
These are transition times at Blackburn. Steve Kean is imposing a new formation and style and would pump up the boys to prove his point against Liverpool. With confirmation of four new purchases and rumours of Ronaldinho and Beckham (as potential candidates for those slots), there is a buzz around Ewood Park. The settled eleven would like to prove their worth before the purchases arrive. On the flipside, some of the current crop may already be looking to move out.
Bolton 2 – 0 Wigan (Put banker bonus)
Bolton were impressive vs Liverpool & Chelsea, despite losses. Owen Coyle won’t allow any sort of indiscipline in a game which they need to win to keep Europe hopes alive.
Everton 1 – 1 Tottenham
Despite the gap in standings, this one is tough to call. Without their makeshift striker of late (Cahill!!!), Everton will struggle to score, but Tottenham are due to drop points, based on PPP. That said, Tottenham have scored at least once, in all but one, of their last 12 games.
Blackpool 2 – 2 Liverpool
The GW22 will round off in another fantasy friendly fixture. Based on PPP, Liverpool are due for a draw or two and Blackpool are unlikely to win both games at home this GW. So depending on their results early, do alter this prediction!
Incase you believe on what we have predicted above, I end this piece with a warning given on this New Year’s day by an economist: “Anybody can drop points anywhere, (pause) … anywhere” – quote Arsene Wenger!
Barca corner: Against Levante on last sunday, Xavi completed 156 passes, more than the entire Levante team put together!
Point for thought: Samuel Eto won the treble with two successive clubs in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. Why doesn’t he get his share of media space amongst the best players, he so richly deserves?