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English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Brentford vs Charlton athletic

Brentford have picked up a healthy 14 points out of 30 to lift themselves out of trouble and charlton have won 4 games on the trot and 1 of the form teams in the division but brentford are restricted as they have injury problems so I see an away win today

Prediction : Brentford 1 vs 3 Charlton athletic

Crystal Palace vs Rochdale

Crystal Palace are a yo yo team at the moment by loseing 5 goals in game then scoreing 10 the next game!!! Rochdale are the same as palace there last 6 games read L - W - L - W - L - W . So if stats and recent results are anything to go by palace a due a win and rochdale are gunna lose which is very likely.

Prediction : Crystal palace 1 vs 0 rochdale

Swindon Town vs Huddersfield Town

Swindon Town have got a big task ahead of them today to pick anything up from a inform Huddersfield side. This is a HUGE game for both teams at both ends of the table with swindon battleing relegation and huddersfield battleing to get into the playoffs , And i see huddersfield quality being to much for a poor swindon side

Prediction : Swindon Town 1 vs 3 Huddersfield Town

Plymouth vs Millwall

Millwall most certainly have it all to do tonite against a free scoreing , high flying plymouth side and millwall are missing van del wiel tonight due to supension and he will be a huge miss against a plymouth side that has scored 111 goals this season and I cant see millwall scoreing and cant see there defence keeping plymouth out for 90 minutes

Prediction : Plymouth 3 vs 0 millwall

Notts county vs Peterbourgh

Lets not beat around the bush here Notts county are down no way to say otherwise they are simply playing for pride against a side suffering from a season bout of Hammer syndrome which has affected a few clubs but peterbourgh WILL win tonight against a rubbish notts county.

Prediction : Notts County 2 vs 4 peterbough

Bristol Rovers vs Coventry

Bristol Rovers and coventry are two teams on decent form with rovers still in with a shout of playoffs with coventry still in with a major fight with plymouth for the title but it seems coventry have taken the foot of the gas a little since being promoted and Rovers still have everything to fight for and will raise there game today against coventry

Prediction : Bristol Rovers 2 - 1 Coventry

THE REST

Sheffield Wednesday 2 VS 1 Southampton

Milton Keynes Dons 4 VS 0 Walsall

Carlisle United 6 VS 1 AFC Bournemouth

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

DIV-4

TURN 36 - Wed 8th December

BRIGHTON (6th)...v...SOUTHEND (15th)

WDLWWL.................LWLDLW

Brighton - No injuries. Southend - GILBERT injured. Brighton home: W9 D4 L4 Southend away: W7 D3 L8. Brighton's home form should win this one.

Prediction: BRIGHTON 3 SOUTHEND 1

............................................

SHREWSBURY (7th)...v...WYCOMBE (8th)

DWWWLL........................LLWLLW

Shrewsbury - No injuries with QUARTEY & AYEW suspended. Wycombe - No injuries. Shrewsbury home: W11 D0 L6. Wycombe away: W7 D4 L6. Close match here and I think away team will do enough to earn a point.

Prediction: SHREWSBURY 1 WYCOMBE 1

............................................

BURY (2nd)...v...HARTLEPOOL (3rd)

WWLLWL...........LWWDDD

Bury - LOMIC injured with LINARES suspended. Hartlepool - LEWICKI injured. Bury home: W13 D1 L3. Hartlepool away: W7 D4 L6. Match of the Day here - Bury's home form to edge it in a 5-goal thriller.

Prediction: BURY 3 HARTLEPOOL 2

............................................

EXETER (13th) ...v...ALDERSHOT (5th)

LLWDWD................WDWDLD

Both teams - no injuries. Exeter home: W7 D6 L4. Aldershot away: W8 D3 L6. Tough match here for Exeter but I think they can get a surprise draw.

Prediction: EXETER 1 ALDERSHOT 1

............................................

NORTHAMPTON (14th)...v...ACC STANLEY (11th)

DDWWDD..........................WWDLLL

Northampton - CALDIROLA & ALVARO injured with MUTCH suspended. ACC Stanley - No injuries. Northampton home: W6 D6 L5. Acc Stanley away: W7 D2 L8. Close match but away team struggling lately and home team have good form. - home team to edge it here.

Prediction: NORTHAMPTON 1 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 0

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DAG & RED (12th)...v...TRANMERE (17th)

LLLDWW.......................WWDLLD

Dag & Red - LOPEZ injured. Tranmere - No injuries. Dag & Red home: W7 D4 L6. Tranmere away: W5 D2 L10. Home team on form lately and this should continue here to get 3 points.

Prediction: DAG & RED 2 TRANMERE0

............................................

OLDHAM (1st)...v...GILLINGHAM (9th)

WWLDWD..............WWLWWL

Oldham - TORSIGLIERI injured. Gillingham - BENNETT injured. Oldham home: W12 D2 L3. Gillingham away: W5 D1 L11. Away team will put up a good fight here but both teams' form should determine the outcome here - home win.

Prediction: OLDHAM 3 GILLINGHAM 1

............................................

LEYTON ORIENT (4th)...v...YEOVIL (10th)

WLLWWW..........................LLWWDD

Leyton Orient - RINCON suspended. Yeovil - No injuries. Leyton home: W9 D3 L5. Yeovil away: W6 D2 L9. Home team on form at present and should take all the points in a 6-goal feast.

Prediction: LEYTON ORIENT 4 YEOVIL 2

............................................

CHESTERFIELD (16th)...v...BURTON ALBION (19th)

WDDWLD..........................LLWLDL

Chesterfield - ZAMORA & CAMARA injured. Albion - McGRATH injured. Chesterfield home: W7 D4 L7. Albion away: W6 D3 L8. Chesterfield's league form should be the difference here.

Prediction: CHESTERFIELD 1 BURTON ALBION 0

............................................

STOCKPORT(18th)...v...ROTHERHAM (20th)

LLLLDW.......................LLDLDW

Both teams - no injuries. Stockport home: W4 D6 L7. Rotherham away: W3 D4 L10. Both teams struggling and I think an equally balanced match to produce a no-score draw.

Prediction: STOCKPORT 0 ROTHERHAM 0

............................................

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

For Glory !

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Middlesborugh lift the Championship league trophy expect that again tonight ?

So. Its all come down to this at the start of the season there were 20 hopefuls and as we have took little step by steps thoes 20 faded into 3 before there were only 2 left their heads held high with a sigh of relief. But there's just one small thing left to play for... The League Title with it comes the bragging rights and the fear in the back of the minds from teams in division one the table never lies is always said and it certainly has not done a "pinocchio" on us spectators watching DIV2. Its fair to say the two stand out teams the two giants of Division 2 deserve to be promoted as they have been. They look now to seal of a great season with one team looking to win league title and have the next week off, while the other hope to mount a last second surge and steal the title under the noses of their rivals. Enough of me giving the introduction lets get down to business..

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Table never lies

Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough are in the driving seat sitting top of the league which they have been for some time now they are the team that will win the league with victory over forest tonight a win would leave them with 81 points 7 clear with 6 points to be taken form 2 games left. Its fair to say Forest were perched on the division 2 throne for some time to. Middlesbrough took advantage of a bad october for forest and jumped in ahead of them. Middlesbrough them selfs have had a bad time of it lately for the first time this season they lost back to back league games and thats why we find ourselfs in the situation we are in now, The riverside is harder to win at for away teams then it is to bust out of then guan tomino bay Middlesbrough have only lost their once this season. They have the best squad on paper in Division 2 and they even beat some teams in Division 1 hands down, Its no surprise they are here and as expected at the start of the season they are on the brink of winning the league title.

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Will good home form win them the title ?

Forest: Nottingham Forest will feel hard done by, after all they were the kings of division two up until that rocky patch in october. With 62 goals scored they have simply pick and destroyed teams defensives scoring how and when they want to. Only losing 5 games in the process. They havent lost since October putting thoes run of bad games behind them its also fair to say if you looked at the two teams (Forest and Boros) then middlesbrough looked the more likely to win the league from the start but that just hasent been the case. Big Mo's man managment has been key and he needs to be credited for keeping up with a more superior Middlesbrough for large parts for the 2nd half of the season and a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough last season could pay mind games with one or two people tonight. Should they win tonight they will still be one point of Middlesbrough but the momentum will be all in their favour. But the title will still be out of their hands,leaving them to rely on someone else could that be their biggest downfall ?

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Forest like putting the ball in the back of the net will there amazing goal difference win the title at the death ?

So there we have it to amazing teams that deserve their promotion to division 1 its just the title left some will say both deserve it but of course only one can win it who it is depends largely on tonights game... I can see Middlesbrough rough patch of form coming into this game were as forest's wins built up

Prediction......

Middlesbrough 0- 1 Forest

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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As we head into the final couple of games, there are still plenty of things to play for. The league title is still alive to 3 sides, still plenty of sides fighting for Europe, and realistically only 2 teams fighting to save themselves from the dreaded relegation. This could, and should, be an extremely important round of fixtures.

Chelsea vs Sunderland

Chelsea must win here tonight if they are to stand a chance of finishing in the top 4. Sunderland look secure in 8th, and look likely to be competing in the SMFA Shield next season. Both sides are on good form, with Chelsea looking good at home, and Sunderland also doing well away from home. I'm going for a Chelsea win, with the superstars they have available to them

Prediction

Chelsea 2 - 0 Sunderland

Stoke City vs Blackburn Rovers

Both of these sides will not go down, and probably wont get into Europe. They both have 43 points, 56 goals scored, 55 conceded and have +1 GD. They are both evenly matched, and I'm expecting a boring old game. If anyone is going to nick it, I'd say it would be Blackburn

Prediction

Stoke 0 - 0 Blackburn

Everton vs Liverpool

Everton will probably not finish in the top 4, so their main aim here tonight could be to prevent their biggest rivals from winning the league. Liverpool will feel they need to win the remaining 3 games to win the title, but this will be a big game. With Liverpool still pushing for the title, I think Liverpool will be determined enough to win. Messi could be the man that decides this game.

Prediction

Everton 1 - 2 Liverpool

Newcastle United vs Wigan Athletic

Newcastle will be looking to win this match to help secure their current 4th place. Wigan must win this if they're to finish in the top 10, but a draw would be a good result for them here. Newcastle have got the stronger team, but will be without their main defender Chiellini. Despite his injury, Newcsatle should still have the fire power to comfortably win this game. New boy Nasri should have a good chance of scoring in this game if he gets a start.

Prediction

Newcastle 3 - 0 Wigan

Manchester City vs Bolton Wanderers

Man City look certain to go down, which nobody would have predicted at the start of the season. Unless they can win their remaining 3 games, and WBA get beat in all them, they'll be playing championship football next season. Bolton would like a win here tonight to try and force their way into the European places. Despite having the likes of Ronaldo and Villa in their side, I think Bolton will steal a win and send City down

Prediction

Man City 1 - 2 Bolton

Birmingham City vs West Bromwich Albion

If Birmingham win this, they'll be safe from relegation. If West Brom win, they'll be confident of staying in the top flight. Birmingham have recently been on good form, and would be expecting a win tonight in this West Midlands Derby.

Prediction

Birmingham 2 - 0 West Brom

Fulham vs Aston Villa

Villa must start winning to stay in the top division, while Fulham will now just be looking to finish as high as possible. Fulham have nearly guranteed European football for next season, so manager Dom Latouche will be looking to finish higher than his previous club, Arsenal. Fulham have been in good form recently, but Villa will fight for some points here.

Prediction

Fulham 1 - 1 Villa

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Man U will be desperate for a win here to keep them favourites for the league title. Spurs have played a bit better recently, and saved themselves from being embarrasingly relegated. United are the side on better form, have a better squad, and have something to play for. With Rooney on fire and home advantage too, I'd expect the Red Devils to get a comfortable win here, and complete the double over their London rivals.

Prediction

Man U 3 - 1 Spurs

Wolves vs Arsenal

Wolves must keep winning to try and stay in the top 10 and qualify for Europe. Arsenal are safely in Europe now, and will go out and try and entertain their fans. With a better squad, I'd expect Arsenal to win and try and show that Wolves' 3-0 victory against them earlier in the season was a fluke.

Prediction

Wolves 1 - 3 Arsenal

Blackpool vs West Ham

Blackpool have been out of their depth in this league this season, and have been the whipping boys. Already relegated, they'll be looking forward to next season and try to come back into Div 1 as soon as they can. West Ham have been playing brilliantly, and many would say they have been vastly over-achieving. They'll still fancy themselves for a chance of the title, and should cruise to a win tonight

Prediction

Blackpool 0 - 3 West Ham

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

DIV-1

TURN 37 - Sat 11th December

SUNDERLAND (9th)...v...BLACKPOOL (20th)

Sunderland home: W6 D5 L6. Blackpool away: W2 D1 L15

Blackpool have already been relegated to Div-2.

Sunderland have good form and had an excellent season. Home team to win comfortably.

Prediction: SUNDERLAND 3 BLACKPOOL 0

............................................

BLACKBURN (12th)...v...CHELSEA (5th)

Blackburn home: W5 D6 L7. Chelsea away: W6 D4 L8.

Chelsea are one of the teams who are chasing 4th spot.

Chelsea must win this match to keep their 4th place alive. AWAY win to take it to the last match of the season.

Prediction: BLACKBURN 1 CHELSEA 3

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LIVERPOOL (3rd)...v...STOKE (14th)

Liverpool home: W12 D4 L2. Stoke away: W6 D6 L6.

Liverpool had to win last week to keep up their title hopes. However, they should have a home win here against a Stoke side who had a good season

Prediction: LIVERPOOL 2 STOKE 0

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WIGAN (13th) ...v...EVERTON (6th)

Wigan home: W6 D5 L7. Everton away: W9 D3 L6.

A tricky match here for Everton as they chase 4th spot. Wigan had a good season but stuttered lately. Everton's form should be enough to edge it to give their fans a thrilling final week to look forward to.

Prediction: WIGAN 1 EVERTON 2

............................................

BOLTON (11th)...v...NEWCASTLE (4th)

Bolton home: W6 D5 L7. Newcastle away: W7 D4 L7.

Bolton are another team who've had a good season. Newcastle's form has been good and they chase a brilliant 4th spot. A win here would guarantee the Toon 4th spot. A draw to take it to the wire.

Prediction: BOLTON 1 NEWCASTLE 1

............................................

WEST BROM (17th)...v...MAN CITY (19th)

West Brom home: W6 D3 L9. Man City away: W5 D1 L12

Man City have already been relegated to Div-2

A West Brom win here would guarantee them to stay in Div-1. Too close to call. A tense no-score draw.

Prediction: WEST BROM 0 MAN CITY 0

............................................

ASTON VILLA (18th)...v...BIRMINGHAM (15th)

Aston Villa home: W5 D6 L7. Birmingham away: W4 D6 L8.

Birmingham are already safe. Villa however are 4 pts from safety and need a win here to take it to the last match. Home win here

Prediction: ASTON VILLA 2 BIRMINGHAM 1

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TOTTENHAM (16th)...v...FULHAM (7th)

Tottenham home: W7 D1 L10. Fulham away: W7 D6 L5.

Fulham had a great season to date. Tottenham need a point here to be safe from relegation. Spurs to draw and stay in Div-1.

Prediction: TOTTENHAM 2 FULHAM 2

............................................

ARSENAL (8th)...v...MAN UTD (1st)

Arsenal home: W8 D4 L6. Man Utd away: W12 D4 L2.

Arsenal had a reasonable season. Man Utd on the other hand can be crowned Champions if they win here. Utd's brilliant away form to continue - champions!

Prediction: ARSENAL 0 MAN UTD 1

............................................

WEST HAM(2nd)...v...WOLVES (10th)

West Ham home: W10 D5 L3 Wolves away: W7 D2 L8.

Great season for Wolves who surprised me. West Ham need to win here to keep their title hopes alive. Home form to decide this one - Hammers will be hoping that Man Utd slip up at Arsenal.

Prediction: WEST HAM 4 WOLVES 1

............................................

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

EC7046 Division 2 Review

& Preview: Week 37

championshipnpower.jpg

Well after 36 hard fought games we’re down to the final week of the season. Players have come and gone, battles have been fought on and off the field, and now it’s time for everyone to stand up and be counted. Unless you’re Barnsley that is. Barnsley, you can sit down seeing as you’ve already been relegated. But everyone else can stand up. With 2 teams still challenging for the title, 7 battling for a playoff position and a shot at life in division 1, and 3 still clinging to division 2 life by their fingertips everything is still up for grabs. First the Jellyfish™ will break down the key division 2 battles being fought, and then will come the predictions.

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And as the pressure mounts what better to accompany this review than the Prodigy

with ‘Breathe’? – “Breathe the pressure, come play my game I’ll test ya”

The Breakdown

Race for the title: With Boro and Forest already promoted the only question left at the top is who will get the title. After Boro managed to neutralise high-scoring Forest by fighting them to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night you could be forgiven for thinking that the title race is all but over given that Boro now lead Forest by 4 points with just 2 games to go.

Ordinarily that would be the case but Boro and Forest have had such cracking seasons that their success has spilled over into the Cup and Shield competitions. On Monday night Boro play West Ham in the Cup semi-final, and the following Monday Forest play Birmingham in the Shield semi. So the question here is whether Boro or Forest will rest key players ahead of those games. Forest have the luxury of waiting until the last game to see if they need to go all out or not, but for Boro a decision has to be made, one that could cost them the league, the cup, or both.

The final schedules for both teams are:

Sat 11 Dec: Sheff Utd. (10) vs. Boro (1); Forest (2) vs. Norwich (18)

Mon 13 Dec: Boro vs. West Ham in the Cup Semi

Wed 15 Dec: Boro (1) vs. Preston (17); Ipswich (4) vs. Forest (2)

Mon 20 Dec: Forest vs. Birmingham

(each team’s current league position in brackets)

So both play a team up in the first half of the table and also both play one in the bottom four, with Boro playing the higher placed team first and Forest second, and Boro have that extra game in-between. So, although Boro seem to have it in the bag it really could come down to the last game of the season. Fortunately Forest have to travel to high-flying Ipswich, something Boro will be well pleased about, but a closer look at that tricky fixture reveals that if Ipswich win this Saturday they’ll have sealed their playoff place and consequently might chose to field a weakened team to be in top shape for the playoffs. Even though things look rosy for Boro, if they can’t beat Sheff Utd then with fitness problems arising from Monday’s cup game they could be heading into the last match of the season in pretty bad shape. Yep, it’s not quite as cut and dry as it looks and it’s still all to play for!

Those four elusive playoff spots: With only 4 playoff spots up for grabs there’s technically still 7 teams in the mix for a piece of the action. Doncaster, who it has to be said have had an amazing season, are the only team to have secured their spot so far. Ipswich too can only be stopped by Burnley, and only if they both lose/win their last remaining games. Unlikely you’d think, but Ipswich do play Forest on the last day so they’ll be hoping to have it in the bag by beating Reading before then.

The top of the table looks like this:

div2playoffs.jpg

So what to make of that? Well here’s the 2 sets of games left for the playoff hopefuls:

Sat 11 Dec:

Derby (11) vs. Doncaster (3)

Cardiff (16) vs. Ipswich (4)

Preston (17) vs. Bristol City (5)

Leicester (19) vs. Watford (6)

Reading (12) vs. Burnley (7)

Hull (9) vs. QPR (8)

Wed 15 Dec:

Doncaster (3) vs. Hull (9)

Ipswich (4) vs. Forest (2)

Bristol City (5) vs. Leeds (15)

Watford (6) vs. Derby (11)

Burnley (7) vs. Swansea (14)

QPR (8) vs. Barnsley (20)

It’s interesting to note that all teams have away ties on Saturday, perhaps making things just that bit harder for them. Also, Bristol City and Watford face ties against teams fighting against relegation, so maybe those games would also be tougher than you’d expect. Even so, you would reckon on all teams getting results here, with perhaps the exception of QPR who face a tricky tie at Hull. If (and this is only an if) this is the case and those teams win then that still means that all of them bar Hull can grab a playoff spot on the last day, if results go their way. I know, a lot of ifs and maybes there. But wow, still so much to play for right until the last game of the season!

Mid-table obscurity: Alas, nothing to play for here as Sheff United, Derby, Reading, Portsmouth, Swansea, Leeds, and Cardiff will all be playing division 2 football next season, along with Plymouth, Coventry, Man City, Blackpool, and then one from Villa, West Brom, and Spurs, and one from the MK Dons, Southampton, Charlton, Carlisle, Huddersfield, and Bristol Rovers.

Relegation:Well finally Barnsley have been put out of their misery and are now down. That leaves 3 teams, Preston, Leicester, and Norwich fighting to be the one who avoids the drop:

div2bottom.jpg

They have the following remaining fixtures:

Sat 11 Dec:

Preston (17) vs. Bristol City (5)

Forest (2) vs. Norwich (18)

Leicester (19) vs. Watford (6)

Wed 15 Dec:

Middlesbrough (1) vs. Preston (17)

Norwich (18) vs. Sheff Utd (10)

Reading (12) vs. Leicester (19)

If you’d expect Norwich and Preston to lose points to Forest and Boro then that would suggest that Leicester may be in the driving seat, but with a tricky game against playoff chasing Watford it’s all still up in the air. If Preston can somehow beat Bristol City on Wednesday and Norwich and Leicester both lose then it’s all over and they’ll stay up at the expense of the others. Big games indeed, it’s all to play for.

So, without further ado here’s Jooles the Jellyfish’s™ predictions for this weekend’s games:

Reading vs. Burnley

12th vs. 7th

What a funny season Reading have had, never quite managing to hit their groove until it’s too late. Right now they’re on a solid run, having only lost once in the last 14 league encounters. Unfortunately though they’re playing for nothing but pride here. Not so for Burnley who desperately need a win to keep their division 1 dreams alive. Given that, really Burnley should win this one, especially as Reading’s squad lacks depth beyond their top few players. That said Burnley are missing their two first choice wingers, which will reduce the effectiveness of their favoured 3-5-2 approach. Expect a super tight game here, though Burnley’s greater desire should tip things in their favour.

Prediction: Reading 1 - 2 Burnley

41_1243862356.jpgLeicester vs. Watford 83_1200424529.gif

19th vs. 6th

Wow, a massive game here, that’s for sure. On the one hand for Leicester relegation beckons, on the other hand Watford’s great season could crumble to nothing if they can’t arrest their bad run of form. Leicester though aren’t going without a fight, as their feverish activity in the transfer market can testify. Bad news for Watford who’ own recent transfer activities has seen them invest in future talent when right now they desperately need lads you can just do the business (anyone else thinking RVP here?). What is Leciester’s problem though, why can’t they gel? They’ve won just 3 times in the last 23 games, a shocking record. And yet with the recent flurry of new signings (such bad timing for Watford!) they’ve got the players to still turn this season around and with their need just that bit greater than Watford they will likely just do that. Sorry Watford, home win here, but only just.

Prediction: Leicester 3 - 2 Watford

Derby vs. Doncaster

11th vs. 3rd

It all started so well for Derby didn’t it (they were top of the pile at one point), and then somewhere along the way, well, the wheels just fell off. By contrast Doncaster have had an amazing season, often punching way above their weight to be the first team to secure a playoff berth. In fact, with a team rated with just an average of 85 just how did they do it? Incredible, surely a candidate for overachievers of the season in Div 2. So really the big question here is how much do Doncastor want to secure home advantage in the playoffs. Do they rest key players or go for it to hold onto 3rd spot? Hard to say, and so this game is difficult to predict. Doncaster have lost just twice in the last 15 games, whereas Derby come into this game having lost 3 in the last 5. Even so, Derby will likely want to give something back to their home fans this season, and expect Derby to come out and shine, not that it really matters either way.

Prediction: Derby 2 - 1 Doncaster

Hull vs. QPR

9th vs. 8th

Another huge game here, well, kinda. Well, probably not really. For the loser their season is over, whereas a draw really does no-one any favours. In truth though, both sides only have an outside chance of making the playoffs, with QPR needing Burnley, Watford, or Bristol City to drop points, and Hull needing, well, a mathematical miracle. With two of the league’s top scoring teams here (only Forest have scored more than Hull), and the league’s top two goal-scorers on show, Hulk and Di Natale, one thing this game is guaranteed is goals. Even though Hull have had a tremendous run of form of late, winning 7 on the trot prior to Wednesday’s defeat to Portsmouth, really you’d have to fancy QPR to win this one given that their top defender is rated 8 more than Hull’s best defender. And therein lies the story of Hull’s season, and while Hull’s shot at division 1 will likely come to end here it will QPR who keep their faint playoffs hopes alive.

Prediction: Hull 2 - 4 QPR

Barnsley vs. Portsmouth

20th vs. 13th

There’s nothing really to be said for this game, except I’ll make an effort out of general respect. Barnsley are already down and as Portsmouth are destined to languish in mid-table mediocrity really only pride is on the line. Annoyingly, the only game that Barnsley haven’t lost in the last 15 was when they beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside, the only team to have done so this season. Unlike Barnsley Portsmouth have been in a great vein of form recently, winning 4 of the last 5 to pull themselves clear of the relegation quagmire. Still, with their fate now sealed don’t be surprised to see Barnsley shed their inhibitions and play like they should have done when it mattered: Home win.

Prediction: Barnsley 2 - 1 Portsmouth

Cardiff vs. Ipswich

16th vs. 4th

Cardiff have hovered just above the drop zone for some time now and they will be mightily relieved to have won on Wednesday to finally have their feet firmly planted in division 2. Similarly though, their brief early-season flirtation in the top two aside, Ipswich too have hovered for most of the season, albeit in the playoff spots rather than the drop zone. So really there has been a gulf between these two sides all season, and not just in the league but within their squads as well. Really if Cardiff want to turn things around next year they have to make some major dealings in the transfer market. By contrast Ipswich, it is fair to say, are one of the masters of transfer market and their policy of investing in young talent is starting to reap rewards. With everything to play for here it’s hard to see Ipswich failing to secure their playoff spot, all the more so given that they play title-chasing Forest on the last game of the season.

Prediction: Cardiff 0 – 4 Ipswich

55_1203646337.gifNotts. Forest vs. Norwich 54_1197121760.gif

2nd vs. 18th

Yes, Norwich have it all the play for. Yes, they’ll give it their all. But, that said, it’s hard to see any result here other than a home win, with Norwich edging closer to division 3 and Forest hoping, just hoping, that their title shot will remain alive. Indeed, that’s Norwich’s only hope, that Forest will be too busy looking out for the Boro score that they can sneak in and steal a point or three. It won’t happen though. It just won’t happen. Easy home win, with goals (and probably injuries) galore.

Prediction: Forest 5 – 0 Norwich

70_1202930968.gifSheff Utd vs. Middlesbrough 50_1201894192.gif

10th vs. 1st

So here we have it, just a ridiculously huge game at Brammel Lane. And believe me, United’s manager 3lton would love so much to put a huge dent in Boro’s title ambitions. That, I think would probably make his season. And yet all Boro need to do is win, and the title is theirs. Famously, at the start of the season 3lton predicted Boro to finish 5th and so perhaps Boro have a score to settle here too. With Boro’s first team being rated at 91, compared to Sheffield’s team at 88 you could be forgiven for thinking that Boro should just edge this. Then again, that’s exactly what Middlesbrough themselves thought prior to being pummeled by Sheffield in the English Shield earlier this season, the biggest defeat for Middlesbrough in their entire history! So, this game really could go either way. Accordingly the most likely result will be a draw, making things really interesting for the last game of the season. Unable to bring myself to actually put down a draw, however, I’m going to plump for a narrow away win, jellyfish’s prerogative, with Casillas getting the winner (oh you laugh, but mark these words!).

Prediction: Sheff Utd. 1 – 2 Boro

61_1202841277.gifPreston vs. Bristol City 13_1202400808.gif

17th vs. 5th

Another one of those playoff versus relegation battles here, with both teams still having everything to play for. Neither have fully sealed their fate yet, though Bristol City have as good as. A tough one to call as it’s been well documented in nature that someone fighting for their life will always fight that bit harder than someone just fighting to win. That said, Bristol have really stepped up their game of late, though they can be unpredicatable, winning comfortably one week then losing the next. Actually, no, they’re quite predicatble – they beat the poor teams (recently Leicester, Barnsley, Cardiff, Sheff Utd) and lose to the better ones (recently Reading, Derby, Hull, Forest). On that basis, despite Preston’s best efforts, expect an away win here.

Prediction: Preston 0 – 2 Bristol City

Leeds vs. Swansea

15th vs. 14th

15th versus 14th. Not much to say here then really, which is a bit of a surprise given that both of these clubs have been so active in the transfer market. Leeds have made 68 transfers in and out this season (more if you include the P/E), while Swansea have made an cool 100! Now if only all of that hard work could be translated to results on the field. Still, maybe these teams have been consolidating this season and could be amongst the ones to watch next year. With each having solid goalkeeping talent in Akinfeev (Swansea) and former Liverpool shot-stopper Reina (Leeds) they’ve perhaps taken a leaf out of Middlesbrough’s book and have started building from the back. The recent signing of 94-rated Andrea Pirlo from Milan won’t harm Leeds’ cause either, but for now these two will likely slug it out in a game that will be as uneventful as their season. A bore-draw will be the likely result but do keep an eye on these two next season, surely it can only be better than this one.

Prediction: Leeds 1 – 1 Swansea

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Divison 4 - The Penultimate round of Fixtures

Southend United vs Stockport County

Both of these sides have nothing to play for, apart to try and finish as high up the league as possible. Southend's play-offs were killed off last week when they were well beaten 3-0 by Brighton. Both sides arent on good form, so should be a tight (and boring) match. Home advantage could be the difference

Prediction

Southend 1 - 0 Stockport

Wycombe Wanderers vs Brighton & Hove Albion

This is one (of many) of the playoff battles. Brighton currently are a point ahead of Wycobe. If Wycombe lose tonight, they will probably be out of the race for play offs. Brighton look could for a top 6 finish, as there GD will act as an extra point. This could be a classic, as both teams have good enough players to challenge in division 3. I think this will be an exciting game, that will see all 3 points go to the away side.

Prediction

Wycombe 2 - 3 Brighton

Hartlepool United vs Shrewsbury Town

Hartlepool will definatly feature in the playoffs, as automatic promotion looks highly unlikely. Shrewsbury will still feel that they have a chance of the play-offs, but they need to win here tonight. The visitors here are in poor form, having lost 3 on the bounce. Hartlepool could start to rest players tonight in preparation for the playoffs, which could give Shrewsbury a chance.

Prediction

Hartlepool 2 - 0 Shrewsbury

Aldershot Town vs Bury

A point for Bury in this match will secure them automatic promoting, but they'll be after a win to keep the pressure on league leaders Oldham. Aldershot currently sit in the final playoffs spot, and they'll be looking to remain there come the end of the season. A win for them would be a big boost, and then they'd feel confident of reaching the playoffs. Both sides are on decent form, but I fancy Bury to steal the win tonight

Prediction

Aldershot 1 - 2 Bury

Accrington Stanley vs Exeter City

Both of these sides can mathematically still finish in the promotion zone, but realistically, they won't. Accrington were looking good to finish in the top 6 only a couple of games ago, but since then, they've bottled it. With 4 defeats in a row, they'll be kicking themselves for this poor run at such a crucial time in the season. Exeter on the other hand have been good recently, being undefeated in their last 5 matches. I think it'll be a close game, but Exter should get the points on the form they're on.

Prediction

Accrington 1 - 3 Exeter

Tranmere Rovers vs Northampton Town

Tranmere currently sit near the foot of the table, and will stay in that area come the end of the season. Northampton must win to have any chance of pushing for the playoffs, otherwise they'll be preparing for next season in the last division. They're on good form so should challenge here. Tranmere have been the under-achivers of this divison. With the squad they've got, I'd have expected them to be possibly challenging for the title, instead of trying to avoid finishing as the worst team in England. I think this will be a tight game

Prediction

Tranmere 1 - 1 Northampton

Gillingham vs Dagenham & Redbridge

Both of these sides need wins here to stay in the playoff race. Gillinghams back to back defeats have came at the wrong time, and have severly hampered their chances of a top 6 finish. D&R have won 3 on the bounce to give them a a chance. Gillinghams home form could be the key to this match

Prediction

Gillingham 2 - 1 D&R

Yeovil Town vs Oldham Athletic

A win for Oldham tonight could see them lift the division 4 title. Yeovil must win to stay a chance of the playoffs. This should be a tight battle, as both will be determined for a win. No win in 3 for Yeovil isnt what's needed, whereas Oldham have picked up their form again. Both sides have good players, but Oldham should win as they'll look to wrap up the league title.

Prediction

Yeovil 1 - 3 Oldham

Burton Albion vs Leyton Orient

Burton have recently appointed new manager William Trafford to try and lift them off the bottom of the table. Leyton Orient have hit good form when it matters, with 4 wins in a row. A win for them tonight will nearly gurantee a top 6 finish for them. Burton's attack has significantly imprved recently, with Eastwoon and Bothroyd signing. Leyton themselves have improved their defence, with Yussuf coming in on loan from Fulham. I think Leyton should win tonight, but anything can happen.

Prediction

Burton 1 - 2 Leyton

Rotherham United vs Chesterfield

This is one of the meaningless games tonight, as both sides sit in the bottom half of the table with no chance of reaching the playoffs. The two sides will probably go out and try and entertain tonight, and I think it'll be a good game

Prediction

Rotherham 2 - 2 Chesterfield

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Div 3 | Turn 37

Throughout the season, there have been many ups and downs, but this season is coming to a close. Each game counts, and we heading towards a tense finale. Different situations to each team, we could have our Div 3 league winners tonight, or maybe our first team to get relegated, still all to play for…

The table as it stands..

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As you can see tonight's game could be alot. Plymouth could win the title, Either Swindon, Millwall or Notts could get relegated, Carlisle, Southampton, Charlton could all secure a play-off place.

Colchester United Vs Bristol Rovers

A vital game this is for both teams. Bristol Rovers are ever so close to the play-offs and a win here would possibly put them in those positions. Colchester are near the relegation zone and a win here would guarantee them safety. Last time these two teams met, Bristol won easily, 4-0 was the score. But due the situation both teams are in, I can see Bristol nicking all three points..

Colchester United 0-1 Bristol Rovers.

Charlton Athletic Vs Shorpe United

A must win game for Charlton, as I win would guarantee a play-off spot. Shorpe will only look to finish high, but there chances of going to Div 2 were gone as they lost last week. Shorpe’s star man, Beasley is absent, making the tie look favorable to Charlton as they’re at home and have the better team. A comfortable win for Charlton which see’s them secure a play-off place.

Charlton Athletic 2-0 Shorpe United.

Rochdale Vs Brentford

Brentford are safe from the drop, and are in a mid-table position, they’ll be looking to finish high. Rochdale are a point from safety, and are in trying there best to stay in Div 3. A win for Rochdale still won’t gurantee there place in Div 3, but they need to use this home tie to there advantage, and I can see them doing just that.

Rochdale 2-1 Brentford.

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Rochdale star man needs to perform tonight, but can he with all that pressure on his shoulders?

Huddersfield Town Vs Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace should be preparing themselves for next season to try and push there club to Div 2. For Huddersfield Town though this game is important, as they sit in 7th place, one point off the play-offs. Both teams are evenly matched and with no big absentees this game is set to entertaining one. They’ll cancel each other out causing a draw, in Huddersfield eyes it will seem like a loss.

Huddersfield Town 1-1 Crystal Palace.

Millwall Vs Swindon Town

Just looking at the table now, my word this game could change things. 18th comes up againt 19th , what a juicy encounter we have here. Millwall are all fired up, with Van Der Wiel fit to play and new signing Luiz Alvaro has arrived just in time. Comparing the two teams, Millwall look far superior, but knowing the SM engine anything could happen. Both teams are set to go all guns blazing, and only god knows who will come out on top. My prediction though will go to Millwall. It’s so tight, that one it’s possible one of these two teams will go down tonight.

Millwall 2-0 Swindon Town

Southampton Vs Plymouth Argyle

Southampton need a win, but a draw would suit them aswell. Plymouth are ever so close to win the Div 3 title, and 3 points here would guarantee that. St Mary’s is always a hard place to come to, but both teams look fairly even. I’m going for a draw.

Southampton 2-2 Plymouth Argyle.

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Is the celebration party scheduled tonight?

Walsall Vs Sheffield Wednesday

11th comes up against 12th, these two teams can pretty much relax. Both have nothing to play for. I suppose they’ll be fighting who finishes higher, but in all honesty I can see this being a interesting match. Both will have nothing to lose so I’m expecting to see some nice free flowing attacking football. I’m going for a draw though.

Walsall 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday.

Peterborough United Vs Milton Keynes Dons

High flying Milton Keynes play Peterborough in London Road. Milton Keynes Dons can rest thee players and look ahead and get ready for the Play-offs as they’ve already secured a spot. Peterborough haven’t had the best of seasons under Chazza, but hopefully they can kick from the next season. Milton Keynes Dons to win.

Peterborough United 1-2 Milton Keynes Dons.

AFC Bournemouth Vs Notts County

It’s still possible for Notts County to stay up, but they will need results to go in there favor. Bournemouth are safe, and have nothing to play for except reputation. A loss for Notts County and they’re out, it’s simple. My prediction will be a draw though.

AFC Bournemouth 1-1 Notts County.

Coventry City Vs Carlisle United

Important games for both sides, Coventry need a win to keep up with Plymouth, and take the title. Carlisle United are yet t secure a play-off place and a win will pretty much do this. Dan Griffin absent may be the deciding point in this tie, but as Coventry are at home, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. My prediction will be an entertaining draw; I expect to see some cards shown in this match.

Coventry City 2-2 Carlisle United.

Leading Goalscorers in Div 3:

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Most MOM:

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I would like to wish everyone good luck. It was a great season, and this is probably the best set-up I've participated in since my time on SM. I would like to congratulate Jooles, Dudeskin, craig, garymack, JamesO'D, Dom Latouche for being consistent with the predictions. A great effort by you guys, EC7046 is up there where it is now partly due to your brilliant work!

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

English Cup Preview

'The Semi-Finals'

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English Cup

Just four teams now remain in this historic competition, the EC7046 Cup. As might be expected the first division is well represented, with Sunderland, Bolton, and West Ham flying the flag for the top-flight clubs. Middlesbrough remain the sole representative from outside of the top flight and although they already have secured their division one place for next season, as cup underdogs they’ll no doubt have the full backing of all sixty lower league clubs and probably quite a few division one clubs too. Two North East sides remain in the competition and both were fortunate to get home draws, though with tough games for both an all-North East final still lies a over a distant horizon. Best of luck to all sides, now just two games away from cup success, and for Middlesbrough and perhaps Bolton (if they can climb from 11th to 10th in the league) also just two games away from an elusive SMFA spot.

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You “ready to go”? - Republica

76_1200385608.gifSunderland vs. Bolton 7_1281618273.jpg

9th Div 1 vs. 11th Div 1

Having already secured their SMFA spot Sunderland will be now going all guns blazing to add some silverware in their first season, something that so-called big clubs Man City, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham, and possibly even Chelsea and Arsenal have already failed to do. On their way to the semi finals Sunderland have managed to overcome Crystal Palace, Notts Forest, Liverpool, and Oldham, scoring nine goals in the process, conceding just two, and needed one game, that against Liverpool, to go to penalties to progress.

Bolton have had a somewhat easier route, beating Fulham, Derby, Bristol Rovers, Sheff United, and Newcastle along the way, scoring fourteen goals (at least three in every game apart from the 1-1 draw with Newcastle) and conceding five (at least one in every game bar one). So from that you’d expect goals in this game, and indeed in the two previous league meetings that was the case, the first ending in a 2-2 draw and the second with Bolton coming out on top 2-1. On their day though Sunderland can a tough side to beat and come into this game only losing twice in recent weeks, to Chelsea and West Ham. Bolton, perhaps with one eye on the cup, have been in bad form of late, losing four out of the last six, though in the cup anything can happen.

Fitness is a bit of an issue for both of these teams. Bolton will likely be unable to call on the services of top 95-rated striker Diego Milto who inexplicably comes into this game with a fitness rating of 68, despite not carrying any recent injuries. Surely just bad management there. Sunderland though have a host of top players sidelined, with 91-rated Luis Suarez and Marek Hamsik, and 90-rated Javier Pastore all having to sit this one out, with a few other players also well below peak fitness. Ordinarily Sunderland would probably be expected to win this one as at a push they can bring a win for the big games, even though they have been beaten by Bolton earlier this season, but Sunderland’s successful SMFA push in the league perhaps might have taken its toll. As always though the wildcard is Bolton’s 4-2-4 approach, which could reap rewards or cost them big. Expect goals here, and an pulsating cup semi that really could go either way but should just be edged by Bolton.

Prediction: Sunderland 2 – 3 Bolton

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Key man Darren Bent. Not bad for a little fella. He would just love to put on over on his old club

50_1201894192.gifMiddlesbrough vs. West Ham United85_1193758928.gif

1st Div 2 vs. 2nd Div 1

Regardless of the outcome here it has to be said that both of these clubs have had cracking seasons. Middlesbrough have surprised many by securing promotion to division one at their first attempt, and to make it to the cup semi-final at the same time is a great achievement. West Ham though have even surpassed Boro’s success and in addition to still competing in two semi-finals, the English cup and the SMFA Shield, they also finished second in division one, an incredible achievement given the resources of the clubs around them. That said, all of that hard work could unravel so quickly here, and if both teams don’t keep their focus they could still end up empty handed, with West Ham perhaps pipped to a SMFA Shield win by Spurs, and Boro if results go against them might still finish second in the league to Forest.

West Ham have made their way to this semi-final with wins over Wigan, Birmingham, Milwall, and Sheffield Wednesday, scoring seven and conceding just one along the way. Indeed, West Ham’s stinginess at the back is perhaps the central cause of their success, having conceding just 35 goals in the league all season, the meanest defence in the whole league aside from Nottingham Forest. In early rounds Middlesbrough have beaten Bury, Wycombe, Ipswich, Tranmere, and Watford, scoring fourteen and letting in just two. Notably though they have yet to face any division one opposition, and indeed this game will be only their second ever match against a top-level club, the previous one being a 1-0 win over Wolves in the Shield. Just how they will equip themselves here, and also next season, remains to be seen and no doubt many of the division one clubs will be watching careful to see if Boro are title contenders or relegation fodder as Son of Pluto has recently questioned.

West Ham come into this game in peak fitness, having careful rested their players after controversially risky throwing away the title by playing a second string team against Wolves last game, not that it mattered as they and Man Utd won anyway. West Ham manager Infernito has also taken the unprecedented and brazen step of already announcing his line-up, of Stekelenburg, Bosingwa, Freidrich, Godin, Clichy, Parker, Khedira, Mata, Misimovic, Diamanti, and Falcao, suggesting that he’ll adopt his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. As for Middlesbrough’s potential formation that is anyone’s guess, as often the players, and even the manager himself don’t know until just prior to kick-off. Overall West Ham have a better team, but with Xavi, Casillas, Samuel, and Ronaldinho, all rated higher than the Hammers’ top players, surely the key to this game here will be whether Boro’s players can step up and perform or if West Ham can play as the tight unit they have for most of this season and shut them down. It’s a tight call really over who will win out, and consequently expect a tight game here, one that may even go to penalties.

Prediction: Middlesbrough 1 - 1 West Ham United

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Key Man: Xavi. If he shines then he and Boro can be simply unstoppable

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Premier League Predictions Turn Thirty Eight and Review of the Season

Well it's been a very dramatic first season for Division One with plenty of shocks and also quite a few success stories. Now the last game is about to be played, but thankfully for most teams, mainly those down the bottom, everything has been decided with Villa, Man City and Blackpool already relegated and so the rest can save on the pressure of any final day relegation misery. The top of the table is also very much sown up with Man united already crowned as champions and below them the three other teams who will enjoy Champions league football next campaign in West ham, Liverpool and Newcastle. The only prize on offer is a possible Europa league spot for Bolton wanderers if they can win and hope Wolves lose. but now for the last predictions of this season and still the pride of victory to play for for every team.

  • Sunderland vs Blackburn Rovers

Sunderland have already confirmed their place in the top ten but will want to finish higher up the table then they currently are. Blackburn are truly in mid table obscurity as a win will only see them jump into 11th from 11th but losing could see them drop to 14th. With not much to play for I can't see much happening here.

Sunderland 1 - 0 Blackburn

  • Chelsea vs Liverpool

For Chelsea it has to be considered a very disappointing campaign, they have never really challenged at the very top at any stage and because of that they have now fell out of the illustrious top 4 positions. Liverpool who they play in the last game are just 6 points above them but are also 2 positions and safely nestled in 3rd place, although they could slip to 4th if results go against them. After a late improvement I can see Chelsea turning up here whereas 'Pool will still be reminiscing over what could have been.

Chelsea 3 - 0 Liverpool

  • Stoke City vs Wigan Athletic

Both these clubs are pretty much where they would have hoped to be come the end of the season, nestled safely in midtable, even if they wouldn't let it on to the fans. Stoke have had some good results especially early in the season beating the current top two clubs away from home. Wigan recently appointed a new boss and his duty was simply keep us up and with 2 wins and 2 draws in his first 6 games his done his job well. In this game I see Stoke just edging it.

Potters 2 - 1 Wigan

  • Everton vs Bolton Wanderers

Everton have definitely done very well this season in fact early on they were challenging right at the top but a poor run mid season put pay to any title hopes, and now they have to settle for Europa league football. They play Bolton who still have a chance of snatching a Europa league place themselves, but they will need to win and that will be tough against a solid side in Everton. I've got to back Everton to finish on a high.

Everton 4 - 1 Bolton

  • Newcastle United vs West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle having just been promoted have enjoyed a very successful first season back in the big time, topping it off by securing Champions League football for next season when some had tipped them to go straight back down. They face WBA who themselves are new to this league but in comparison did not fare as well and have generally been struggling all season and are very lucky that bigger clubs have had truly disastrous seasons below them. With the chance to go 3rd I see the Toon putting on a show here.

Toon 5 - 1 WBA

  • Manchester City vs Aston Villa

Well it is ironic these two sides face eachother at this late stage, both had been blessed with good solid squads which should have been strong enough to challenge for a top 4 place. Man City in particular is truly unbelievable that they have done so badly, a side with Ronaldo, Villa, Robben, Silva and Van der Vaart to name a few should never be anywhere near the bottom let alone 19th! However Villa shouldn't be let off lightly, there first team is still very capable of getting a top 10 spot with players such as Fabiano, Pandev, Young and Milner. Two big losses from the league that's for sure and in this game I see it being a very dour atmosphere.

Citeh 0 - 0 Villa

  • Birmingham City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Brum like Stoke and Wigan will be very content with where they've ended up, they haven't had a massive budget so were always gonna find it hard to get any higher. Well now on to Spurs....where do you start, probably at the top. The squad that was bestowed upon him was certainly in the top 5/6 of the league and with that you'd expect a top half finish at the very least but instead with all that talent and riches to spend he managed to finish 2 points above WBA! It clearly isn't good enough and if Man city or Villa's manager's had actually tried Mr Cliffs might find himself in a much worse position then he already is. Purely on form this will comfortable for Brum.

Blues 3 - 0 Spurs

  • Fulham vs Arsenal

This is yet another ironic fixture to end a very intriguing season, with young Dominque welcoming his former club Arsenal to the Cottage. The story of how he ended up at the small west London club is very vague and entrenched with speculation and of course many wrong-doings that I won't go in to. The guy who got into Arsenal following La Touche's shock exit is Mr Snooky who it has to be said hasn't fared that well in the league currently without a win in 4 games but there is a semi-final place ahead which is nice. This should be an interesting game with plenty of goals.

Fulham 4 - 3 Arsenal

  • Manchester United vs West Ham United

Under different circumstances this might have been a final day title decider, however that crown has already been given. Following a great season Utd are now in with a shout adding two more trophies to the League to complete a possible Treble! The front two have definitely helped contributing 45 goals between them with Rooney getting the golden boot. The side they face in West ham haven't had a bad season either, finishing 2nd above many other great teams. They have had recent disappointment though in losing to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup semi final, however there's still a chance of silverware with the second leg against Ajax coming up. This game could have been a memorable fixture but instead it will just be quite tepid with both sides having important Cup games coming up and will want to avoid injuries.

Man U 1 - 0 West ham

  • Blackpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

They started as the worst side in the league and as it has turned out that's where they have finished, rock bottom a massive 18 points adrift. The team they play in Wolves had a quite unbelievable start to the league season going a monumental 13 games before winning a league game picking up just 2 points in the process, but instead of throwing in the towel they dug in and a spectacular end to the season resulted in them currently getting to 10th in the table 2 points above 11th. They face a dire Blackpool side and will want to win to absolutely make sure of the Europa league place.

Blackpool 0 - 2 Wolves

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

SMFA Cup and SMFA

Shield Previews

Semi Finals, 2nd Leg

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SMFA Cup

Not a lot to say really after the cracking job both teams did in the first leg, practically booking their place against one another in the final. I suppose you could see it coming a mile off, and some final it will be. So really these semis are theirs to lose now. With commanding leads though it’s hard to see it happening.

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If you’ll indulge me, here’s the Kinks with ‘Well Respected Man’, dedicated to Son of Pluto in honour of his achievement of winning the division 1 title, as well as still challenging for the SMFA Cup and English Shield. Some season mate, well done.

109_1285937129.jpgInter (0) vs. Chelsea (3) 21_1273244606.jpg

Inter inexplicably left out Frank Lampard last game in favour of 85-rated Greg Halford. With poor AI management like that Inter really have got no chance and though Chelsea may not dominate this game like they did they first one in fairness they don’t need to. Watch those injuries and bookings though Chelsea, you’ll need your best team out for the final!

Prediction: Inter 1 – 2 Chelsea

49_1204432433.gifMan Utd (3) vs. Napoli (2) 746_1281861730.jpg

Unlike Chelsea Man Utd haven’t quite sealed the deal here, but with three away goals Napoli need to pull a shock 2-0 win to progress, otherwise they’re going to have to hit three or more themselves, something they’ll unlikely do. A 2-0 win isn’t out of the realm of possibility though, as Shakthar came close to doing when they stole a 1-0 win here last round. You just can’t see Napoli doing it though, and Man U will march forward to set up an all-English final.

Prediction: Man Utd 2 – 0 Napoli

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SMFA Shield

As with the SMFA Cup there was a solid showing from both remaining English teams in the SMFA Shield first leg. While West Ham with their final place seemingly assured can perhaps take their foot off the gas a little, Tottenham still cannot afford to relax, and though they have the upper hand a slip in concentration could see their cup dream, and season, over. Let’s hope they keep things tight and make it a clean sweep in the finals for the English boys.

255_1190226140.gifDynamo Moskva (0) vs. Tottenham (1) 80_1217330011.jpg

While Tottenham came out on top a week ago make no mistake here, this game still hangs precariously in the balance. 1-0 really is such a slender lead and it should not be forgotten that Dynamo have won every home game so far this season in this competition. It will be interesting to see if Spurs sit back and try and hold onto this advantage or if they push forward to seal the deal. In all fairness the 1-0 lead doesn’t reflect their total dominance in the first game, the failure of which to convert into more goals being something that might come back to haunt them here in Russia. Being the better team Spurs should progress, but Dynamo still have fight in them and Spurs will discount them at their peril.

Prediction: Dynamo Moskva 1 – 2 Tottenham

85_1193758928.gifWest Ham (4) vs. Ajax (2) 180_1289684987.jpg

Let’s see, what would Ajax have to do to progress here? Basically they’d have to steal a 3-0, 4-0, or 4-1 win, and against one of the meanest defences in the English leagues you just can’t see that happening. If West Ham are bold, which they can afford to be, they might rest a few key players to avoid having them suspended for the final. Even then expect West Ham to win again, particularly as they’ll want to put yesterday’s Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Boro behind them. West Ham to march on into the final, the only question being whether Suprs will manage to join them to make it an all English affair.

Prediction: West Ham 2 – 0 Ajax

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Ok people this is it the final game of the season with the championship sown up It is all about the relegation superfight fight with no one relegated but 3 teams have to go down will be notts county , swindon , rochdale , Colchester united , Millwall but only one thing is for sure there will be 3 broken hearts tonite...

Colchester United vs Charlton Athletic

This is a huge game for Colchester who are staring relegation in the face with defeat here but lets not forget it is a HUGE game for charlton too as they need the points to get in the play offs. Colchester are on a poor run of form with 2 wins from 9 and charlton are on brillant run unbeaten in 10 games winning 7 of them and they have not injury or fitness worries , so sorry colchester fans you WILL be going down tonight.

Prediction : Colchester United 0 vs 3 Charlton Athletic

Brentford vs Huddersfield Town

Brentford are safe from relegation for another season as there manager has completely turned this team around and has done a wonder job for the season. Huddersfield still have everything to play for with a win ensureing they stay in the play offs. I see a tight highscoreing match with the away team edgeing it.

Prediction : Brentford 2 vs 3 Huddersfield Town

Shorpe United vs Rochdale

This is a big game in the relegation fight for rochdale who are in pole position to survive. Shorpe are in mid table safety with nothing to play for and rochdale with EVERYTHING to play for. Shorpe are on terrible form winning 2 from 7 and rochdale picking there form up at the right time winning 3 from there last 6 games. With shorpe haveing a new manager as well as having nothing to play for then I see rochdale winning this at a canter.

Prediction : Shorpe United 1 vs 3 Rochdale

Crystal Palace vs Millwall

Crystal palace are in mid table obscurity and millwall are in a relegation dogfight. Crystal palace are in a little slump after 3 straight losses and millwall are mini recovery after winning 2 of the last 3 games. Crystal palace have 2 injury worries and millwall have none. Millwall win need there big players van del wiel , fairas , davids , viera all on form to get anything out of this game.

Prediction :Crystal Palace 0 vs 1 Millwall

Swindon Town vs Southampton

Swindon Town have fallen bottom to the table and in free fall after loseing 12 of there last 13 games and southampton are in a poor run of form too but southampton are the much superior side in terms of quality and in fight!!!

Prediction : Swindon Town 1 vs 1 Southampton

Plymouth Argyle vs Walsall

Plymouth sealed the title last week and will be be in division 2 next season full of confidence and they can litterally treat this as a freindly but they will want to bow out from division 3 on a high so they will go for it today and walsall have done a terrific job this season staying in midtable with a team lacking in quality but I think plymouth edge this one out.

Prediction : Plymouth Argyle 2 vs 1 Walsall

Sheffield Wednesday vs Peterborough United

This is a clash of the midtable obscurties with nothing to play for so dont exoect a great game. Sheffield wednesday and peterbourgh are both on a decent run winning 4 of there 8 games and they both have full strength squads so there is little to chose so I see a boring flat 0-0

Prediction : Sheffield Wednesday 0 vs 0 Peterborough United

Milton Keynes Dons vs AFC Bournemouth

Milton keynes dons and Bournemouth are both playing for nothing really as MK dons are secured in the play offs and bournemouth somehow survive relegation for this season. MK and bounremouth have no injury worries but Mk should romp home with a victory to secure 3rd spot.

Prediction : Milton Keynes Dons 4 vs 1 AFC Bournemouth

Notts County vs Coventry City

Well one big game for notts county here who are doing remarkably well since they were dead and buried a few weeks ago and are actually one of the form sides in the table , there manager deserves to be knighted if he can truly pull off a great escape! But I see them loseing at the final hurdle

Prediction : Notts County 3 vs 4 Coventry City

Bristol Rovers vs Carlisle united

Bristol rovers and carlisle have done so well this season just to get in the playoffs it has been a brillant season for the pair of them particularly rovers after that dreadful start they had under previous manager. Both on very good form but since the play off race is so tight then they both need a win secure playoffs , It will be a nervy affair tonight with a goal swinging it to the Home side.

Prediction : Bristol Rovers 2 vs 1 Carlisle united

Prediction table for the relegation fight after tonights games

16 . Rochdale (36 points)

17 . Millwall ( 35 points)

18 . Colchester ( 32 points)

19 . Swindon ( 29 points)

20 . Notts county (28 points)

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Division Two

Previews and Predictions

As the final turn comes up, everyone waits in anticipation to see who progresses to the higher divisions and who falls to make way for teams from the lower divisions.

Here are my predictions for round 38 of division two:

Reading VS Leicester City

Reading have been able to secure a spot in mid-table while Leicester will today be battling for their lives to avoid the drop. Gozzy Raikkonen or gozgoz (as he is commonly known) will be going all out to secure a win today and will be praying that Preston lose against 'Boro. His team boasts of players like ex Bremen striker Claudio Pizarro and Veteran keeper Frank Rost.

Reading are quite comfortable in twelfth and having secured their place in mid-table, don't have much to play for. Will their players get complacent against Leicester? I think so.

Having got just three wins in their last twenty four games coupled with the fact that Reading's players will underestimate them, I shall go with an away win.

Reading 1 - 2 Leicester City

Watford VS Derby County

After a shock win against Doncaster, not many teams doubt the ability of the young Derby team and their manager. Had they not gone through that run of 1 point in 9 games(Thank you Jooles :P), perhaps they would have been challenging for promotion right now. Watford have only recently started slipping up, and having once also being seen as title contenders, they are now fighting to maintain their promotion push against Burnley. With the versatility of O'shea and striking prowess of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, not too many teams can keep them out.

Derby have Varela out with what is believed to be a groin problem and on loan winger Eden Hazard will be taking his place for the final time this season.

Overall, I see Derby winning this and Kylan hoping for promotion next season.

Watford 0 - 2 Derby County

Doncaster Rovers VS Hull City

Hull City, the Arsenal of division two will want to crush Doncaster's promotion dreams and they certainly have the firepower to do it. Having narrowly missed out on promotion this season, life must be very bitter right now. Once again, a team with nothing to lose against a team with everything to lose will be going head to head in a very enticing fixture. Doncaster suffered a massive shock defeat to Derby on Saturday and having slipped up, will need to win this one. Some say it's the Brazilian - Portuguese combination which has helped Hull so far, others say it's just tactical genius. But whatever it is, I don't see them going down easily at Doncaster. In fact, I don't see them going down at all.

Doncaster Rovers 1 - 3 Hull City

Queens Park Rangers VS Barnsley

Barnsley have a manager who's an amazing scout and was able to get some of the world's best talents like Gotze, Arnautovic, Funes Mori and Ezequiel Munoz. His tactics though, have to be questioned. When you have such young players and young legs, even with the stamina and heart they have, they need a leader on the pitch. And their oldest player Neidermeier, can't exactly be called the best leader.

QPR on the other hand, have been able to mix up youth and experience quite well, with players like Zanetti and Di Natale combining with youth like Afellay, this is a team which will look to be firing on all cylinders today especially with the confidence from the 7-2 win they got against Barnsley the last time out.

A hat-trick for Di Natale is what I'll predict. There certainly is the incentive of taking over Hulk and getting the most goals in division 2.

Queens Park Rangers 5 - 1 Barnsley

Portsmouth VS Cardiff City

It will all be a fight for pride (and money :o) today as Cardiff take on Pompey at Fratton Park. Just two points separate these two and this will just have the effect of a friendly. Having managed to get away from relegation contenders Preston (7 points separate Cardiff and Preston), the Pompey fans will be thankful their team has not had a consecutive relegation.

Word is that the club is now out of debt and progressing smoothly.

The Cardiff manager seems to have forgotten about Cardiff, with start striker Ezequiel Lavezzi getting a little "NMF" logo near his name, he'll be hopeful his manager does not play him, for he too has a niggling groin problem as Varela found out the other day. (I have said too much >.>)

Portsmouth 1 - 1 Cardiff City

Ipswich Town VS Nottingham Forest

Jooles will be hoping and praying Ipswich can pull off the type of shock that saw The Blades chop up his beloved 'Boro. Forest's manager Al-Hendy has however, no intention of letting anything like that happen. "Notting"ham as he fears his rival fans will call him if he loses the league, will be going all out to break down Ipswich's wall, and tell Connor Wickham exactly why he should join them. Samuel Eto'o will be looking to get onto the end of things, with the Russian Dinho, Yuri "jerkoff" Zhirkov providing the balls from the left wing.

Ipswich town with their own little attacking left back in Fabio Coentrao and future Spanish number one David de Gea, will be hoping to keep out Forest and inflict a little damage of their own with Brazilian sensation Silva Neymar.

Ipswich Town 2 - 2 Nottingham Forest

Norwich City VS Sheffield United

Sheffield are buzzing with confidence after their 2-0 win over 'Boro while Norwich are languishing down in 18th place, with just 1 point separating from 17th place Preston. Sheffield have built up their team very well over the course of the season and can now boast of stars like Alex, Gomis and the antithetically named Trasch.

Norwich have everything to play for, and a win for them today and a loss for Preston will see them having escaped relegation, but only just.

A loss for Sheffield may see them give up the 10th place to managerial rivals Derby County. That is of course assuming Derby win.

Overall I see the confidence and quality of the Sheffield players, being just too much for Norwich to handle.

Norwich City 2 - 4 Sheffield United

Middlesbrough VS Preston North End

Ahh, 'Boro having once been seen as unbeatable are now seen as very beatable as Sheffield United proved proved in the last round. Having just won twice in their last 7 games, Preston will be taking their chances against them.

But is this exactly what Jooles wants? for Preston to attack 'Boro? They certainly have a class keeper in Iker "The Lass" Casillas who can quite easily stop all of Preston's shots. Not to mention the defensive prowess of Samuel and Carragher. However they will be going into this with a weakened squad as Jooles revealed today:

I hadn't checked Rat's fitness, and he's only at 70%! After the brusing semi-final win Elderson was one of the few players a peak fitness, and even though he was rated just 84 he would have been Preston's 4th highest rated player.

So Boro head into today's must win game against Preston at less than optimal fitness. It could be too tight for comfort. Let's hope Ipswich bring their game to make sure that they finish 3rd.

Indeed, will the epic battle between 'Boro and Nottingham ever end? (Yes it will, today -.-)

Preston are fighting to avoid the drop, and 'Broro, for the title. With their highest rated player being their 87 rated Goalkeeper Dzhanaev, Preston will "go down faster than a $5 hooker on happy hour" (Quoted text is courtesy of fury)

Middlesborough 3 - 1 Preston North End

Bristol City VS Leeds United

Leeds separate Cardiff and Pompey down in 15th place while Bristol are guaranteed a playoff spot. There's nothing to play for but pride today. Leeds have gone on another bad run of form and really, this can't be justified seeing the quality of the players they have like Reina and Pirlo. They're safe for this season and Bristol will certainly be licking their lips at the thought of having to play a very easy game against them. Certain big players may be rested but it will still be an easy win for Bristol.

Bristol City 3 - 0 Leeds United

Burnley VS Swansea City

Burnley need to get into the promotion places and have a very realistic chance of doing so with a win against Swansea. Swansea on the other hand, sit comfortably in mid-table. With last years top scorer in the Turkish premier league, Mamadou Niang will look to get a couple of goals against a relatively weak Swansea. Mainly the incentive for Burnley may just be too much for Swansea to overcome.

Igor Akinfeev however, will not be too keen on allowing Niang any pleasure. Swansea will also be looking to Lucas Barrios for a few goals.

Overall if Swansea get their tactics right, they have a very big chance of beating promotion hopefuls Burnley

Burnley 2 - 1 Swansea City

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

DIV-4

TURN 38 - Wed 15th December

SOUTHEND (14th)...v...WYCOMBE (5th)

LDLWLD.......................WLLWWW

Wycombe are playing for a Play-Off spot and will be fired up to do so. Southend are safe so all eyes will be on Wycombe.

Prediction: SOUTHEND 0 WYCOMBE 1

............................................

BRIGHTON (7th)...v...HARTLEPOOL (3rd)

LWWLWL....................WDDDLL

Brighton are also playing for Play-Off place. Hartlepool are guaranteed a Play-Off position so they can rest players here. Brighton to edge it.

Prediction: BRIGHTON 2 HARTLEPOOL 1

............................................

SHREWSBURY (8th)...v...ALDERSHOT (6th)

WWLLLW.......................WDLDDD

This should be a cracker - both teams playing for a Play-Off place and BOTH teams need to win to be sure. lately tho - both have struggled, can't decide.

Prediction: SHREWSBURY 1 ALDERSHOT 1

............................................

BURY (2nd) ...v...ACC STANLEY (15th)

LLWLWD.............DLLLLL

Bury have already been promoted so they have earned thr right to rest players if they wish. The away team may get a shock result here against 2nd placed Bury.

Prediction: BURY 0 ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1

............................................

EXETER (11th)...v...TRANMERE (17th)

WDWDDW...............DLLDLL

Exeter mid table. Tranmere, however, need a point to save them from bottom.

I think a no-score draw is on the cards here.

Prediction: EXETER 0 TRANMERE 0

............................................

NORTHAMPTON (10th)...v...GILLINGHAM (12th)

WWDDWW.........................LWWLLL

Home team have an outside chance to get Play-Off place. Need a win tho and results elsewhere to help out. Away team on bad run. Home win here.

Prediction: NORTHAMPTON 2 GILLINGHAM 0

............................................

DAG & RED (9th)...v...YEOVIL (13th)

LDWWWW.................WWDDLL

A Dag & Red home win may earn them a Play-Off place. Home team form too strong for struggling Yeovil .

Prediction: DAG & RED 3 YEOVIL 1

............................................

OLDHAM (1st)...v...BURTON ALBION (20th)

LDWDWW..............WLDLLL

Oldham crowned Champions so may rest players here. TOP vs BOTTOM.

An Albion win may take them off the bottom. Shock result here to spoil the party atmosphere.

Prediction: OLDHAM 0 BURTON ALBION 2

............................................

LEYTON ORIENT (4th)...v...ROTHERHAM (18th)

LWWWWW........................DLDWWD

Leyton Orient are guaranteed a Play-Off place. Rotherham need a draw or better to keep off the bottom. Score draw here.

Prediction: LEYTON ORIENT 2 ROTHERHAM 2

............................................

STOCKPORT(19th)...v...CHESTERFIELD (16th)

LLDWLD.........................DWLDWD

Chesterfield are safe. Stockport however, need a draw or better to stay off the bottom. Score draw here.

Prediction: STOCKPORT 1 CHESTERFIELD 1

............................................

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

Division 4 playoff semi-finals

It is that nerve biting, fist clenching, agonising time for four managers in division 4. The playoffs are here.

This season all the teams were over a clear 10 points from the automatic promotion places, maybe suggesting they are weaker than the others. The gap from 3rd to 6th was only a meagre 3 points, with two teams only missing out by goal difference :eek: so this should be very tight. These four clubs stumbling into the playoff were Leyton Orient, Aldershot, Hartlepool and Brighton.

Hartlepool vs Brighton and Hove Albion

Hartlepool do not go into this encounter run out favourites, Brighton were only 3 points away from them this season, so things seem very close. Hartlepool have a very good team, for this early on, with two 87's. Yet the team hasn't got a consistent performer or scorer and this has shown with them not winning in 6 games and losing their last 3 :eek:, maybe something to do with them adopting the 4-4-2 formation of late. But they do have home advantage.

Brighton on the otherhand have more higher rated players and these seem to be performing well, with Lanzafame netting every other game on average. Brighton fans will be glad to hear then that he did not score last game ;). Brighton prefer the 4-3-1-2 formation, but who knows if either team will keep the same formation for such a crucial game.

I feel that home advantage won't be enough and Brighton 4 wins in 6 will carry them through against a stuttering Hartlepool.

Hartlepool 0 - 2 Brighton and Hove Albion

Leyton Orient vs Aldershot Town

Finishing 1 point above Aldershot, Orient have the home advantage. They will be looking to make it count with 5 of their last 6 games wins, only losing their last after putting out a reserve team. Their rating is not that great, with their highest forward being 80 rated Radiola. But he has performed admirably netting 13 times this season. They seems to favour a 4-3-3 wingers style, so we will see if this remains the same this game.

Aldershot are not on the best of runs, only picking up 7 points in the last 6 games, but they home their superior attack will be able to trouble Orient and their 84ish defence can thwart the weaker Orient attack.

Goals seem to be hard to come by for Aldershot of late and i think this will tell. Yet, this will be the closest of the two matches i feel.

Leyton Orient 2-1 Aldershot town

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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Division 3 | Play Off Semi-Finals

If you lose, you’re out. If you win, a place in Div 2 can be seen as a possibility, but even then it’s not guaranteed.

Milton Keynes Dons Vs Southampton

Milton Keynes Dons will be using home advantage to win. Southampton need to play to there level best, as they only scraped a play-off place. Both these sides have met twice in the league, with Southampton winning at the Dons, and drawing at St Marys. Southampton surely could do this again? The answer is highly unlikely. MK Dons look prepared and have signed Dempsey & Etuhu from Spurs on loan, surely that’s huge boost. On the other hand, Southampton haven’t improved there squad at all, and are relying on Makoun to pull the strings. I’m going for a comfortable win for MK Dons. They probably have the best squad in Div 3 after Coventry.

MK Dons 2-0 Southampton.

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A possibility?

Bristol Rovers Vs Charlton Athletic

Two forumers go ahead to ahead in a nail biting, jaw dropping, excitement filling encounter. Both teams in the league are level on 67 points, only the goal difference of 3 separates them. Now they will face each other for the right to play in the play-off final. These sides have met twice in the league before, with Charlton coming out on top in both occasions. This match surely going to be much tighter than before. Charlton’s star defender Kroldrup is NMF, but may be risked. Bristol Rovers have a fully fit squad to choose from. I can see this being an end to end match, with Bristol Rovers nicking it, in last few minutes.

Bristol Rovers 1-0 Charlton Athletic.

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Which manager will be crying tonight?

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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PLAY-OFF SEMI FINALS

Ipswich Town - Burnley

Burnley needed to win in the last game of the season to guarantee a place in the play offs and done just that thumping 5 past Swansea city that finished a respectable 13th place in the league. Ipswich Town had already guaranteed that they finished in the playoff places with a few games to spare but beat a very strong Nottingham Forest team on the last day of the season to guarantee 3rd spot .

Based on league form through the season Ipswich would fancy themselves as favorites but Burnley manager Hazr Poland has done a great job in recent weeks bringing in players Arda Tunan and Quagliarella which have been revelations since joining and have one of the man reason why Burnely managed to reach the playoffs and with Haltin Altintop they have one of the best midfielders in the league who managed to score a very impressive 14 goals this season 4 more than Ipswich’s top goalscorer Sergio Canales

Ipswich Argentinean manger Gonzalo Higuain instead of going for expensive big name he has went for the younger players like Neymar and De Gea that have had great seasons and have got big rises in the recent weeks.

Based on the first team line up for this match Burnleys team looks stronger with much more experienced players with higher ratings and many people including Alan Hansen has repeatably said that Ipswich are going to win nothing with kids which is harsh giving the season that they have had.

Overall I see this being a tight game but with Burnleys forward line and Ipswich defence leaking a few goals of late I think Burnley will just nick it with a late goal.

Ipswich Town 1 - Burnley 2

Doncaster Rovers - Bristol City

Doncaster Rovers had to wait until the very last game of the season to guarantee their place in the playoffs with a nervous 1-0 victory. Bristol City where already guaranteed a place in the playoffs and rested key players before this game.

Bristol City’s manager is still relatively new to the job with this play off semi final only going to be his 16th game in charge but he’s the main reason that their in the great position they are in. One of the first things he done was bring in Keane and Pavlyuchenko and this has giving Bristol city one of the most feared forwards lines in this division. They are the form team in the division and many peoples dark horses to go all the way and win the play offs.

Doncaster Rovers are the big surprise to be in the play off semis. Many people had tipped them to finish in the bottom half of the table or even go down but manager Manveen Chohan has done a great job with the players at his disposal. Kevin kuranyi is the main man for rovers and he has to have the game of his life it they are going to have any chance of pulling this off..

Doncaster have had a great season but I see this being the end of the road for them with Bristol City being far to strong for them.

Doncaster Rovers 0 - Bristol City 4

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

Division 4 Playoff Preview & Prediction

So the play off finals are upon us. Three matches will be played at Wemberly at the same time. Dont know how it will happen, but it will get done. 90,000 capacity will inspire all teams togive thier all. Here will be the previews and predictions on tonights games:

4-leyton-orient-744.gifLeyton Orient - Brighton & Hove Albion BHAlogo.jpg

Leyton finished 4th in the league and after beating Aldershot on penalties, will be heading to the match in high spirits. Brighton after sneaking into the playoffs, on goal difference, are the suprise pack. Brighton have the stronger side, but will start as underdogs. They too will be confident ahead of this tie, after a 1-0 win over 3rd placed Hartlepool.

Niether team has any injuries or suspension to worry about. Both teams plan to field a full strength squad, unless there is corruption or bribery involved of some sort.

Yussuf has been called in on loan for Leyton from Fulham. This gives Leyton more support in defences.

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Could Ayila Yussuf be the X-Factor for Leyton?

Promotion will mean everything to the winning club and its fans. Leyton are

likely to stick with the 4-4-3 Wingers formation. It has brought them success before, as they will look to Thiago Rabiola to add to his tally of 13 goals and 6assists. He will be them main man, as leyton will also look to AM's Igalho & Lipiller to play through balls in. These AM's share 13 goals & 17 assists between them. Victor Sanches might also be required to play a huge part. his average rating of 7.21 prove his consistency as he will be expected to play his part in defence.

rabiola1.jpg

Rabiola has been working hard for this 1 moment. Can he produce?

Brighton are expected to stick with thier attcking 4-3-1-2 formation. It brought them a win against the strong Hartlepool, as they will look to carry on the success. Brighton will look to inform loaned in striker Franco Di Santo. The youngester has produced 7 goals and 5 assists this season. Brighton will also expect Captain & AM ,Lanzafame, to produce the goods once more. He has only played 14 games since his transfer from Juventus. In thos 14 games he has ammased a whopping 7 goals and 6 assist. Possibly the buy of the season.

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Lanzafame will look to impress after his wonderful form.

PREDICTION:

Epic Encounter. Two heavy weights class, to seek redemption. A packed stadium at wemberly wont make the situation any easier. Leyton, have time & time again produced the results, the question is can do they do it is the heat of the moment? Brighton are in form, and have a quality side. It is ahrd to scrap them from the match. the match will, for these reasons, end in a draw.

But expect Brighton to win out on penalties.

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

Division 2 Playoff Preview & Prediction

So the play off finals are upon us. Three matches will be played at Wemberly at the same time. Dont know how it will happen, but it will get done. 90,000 capacity will inspire all teams togive thier all. Here will be the previews and predictions on tonights games:

ipswich_town__92262_thumb.gifIpswich Town - Bristol City 4-bristol-city-707.gif

Ipswich finished 3rd in the league and after only scraping a victory agaisnt lowly rated burnley. leyton wont exactly be happy, with last nights performance, but the saying goes: "Any win is a good win." They will use this motivation to try and win tonights epic tie & encounter. Bristol too, did not find it easy making it into the final. Yesterday they only scapred through, also winning on penalties. These indications only confirm what a match this sets out to be. Ipswich will enter the match on the back of better form as they have 4 wins from 6 matches, whilst Bristol has 3 wins.

Bristol have also however been hit with the devasting news that FWD/WINGER Eric Jendrisek will miss the all important match through Injury. He suffered a concussion in the semifinal win. A positive note, is that is is expected to return for preseason frendlies next season. He will be missed after showing so much promise at schalke. Ipswich have no concerns to worry about as they will field the strongest team possible for tonights encounter.

Jendrisek_MichalCizek.jpg

The Slovakian International will be missed.

Promotion will mean everything to the winning club and its fans. Ipswich are likely to stick with the 3-5-2 formation. It doenst look like the ideal formation, as they only had 39% of possession last week. Infact they are lucky to be here, and should relish the opportunity. Ipswich will look to play through younsters Sergio Canales & Silva Neymar. Both players have been the best for thier club so far this season. Canales has a brilliant 9 goals and 8 assists to his name while Neymar is follwing him with 7 goals and 9 assists. Ipswich will also look to the defence for thier help. Fabio Coentrao has been in top form this season. 6 goals and 2 assists so far. Ipswich will hope he and Bonucci also seek out the defensive duties whilst also attacking from the back.

sergiocanales20100202_275x155.jpg

Canales will look to put the icing on the cake to a wonderful season.

Bristol are expected to stick with thier attcking 3-5-2 formation. This is the same formation used by Ipswich, and hence looks to be a close game. This formation however brought success to bristol unlike Ipswich. They won 58% of possession in thier semi-final encounter. Bristol will look to play balls to Roman Pavlyuchenko. The striker has been in top form after leaving Roma. He has scored 9 times and has 7 assists in only 11 matches! The deadly combination of he and robbie keane will test the defence of Ipswich. Baraja has announced he will retire this season. He has had a gerat final season. He has scored 8 and has assisted 2. His wish was to get promotion. Brad Friedel must also ensures he keep a clean sheet. He will have to stop the posing threat of Ipswich's Hazard, Neymar & Canales.

47553.jpg

Baraja:

I want my team to make division 3. Yes i am retiring. doesnt mean i wont give my all. I will run around as if i am 20 yrs old. Anything to bring victory. I will give 110% on the pitch tonight. Win or Loss, i will have Bristol in my heart for life.

Roman-Pavlyuchenko---Spur-001.jpg

Can Pavlyuchenko keep his amazing streak going?

PREDICTION:

This clash proves to be a youth vs Experience clash. Ipswich has the young talent, yet Bristol have the experience. Hazard and Bonucci will play thier final matches at Ipswich before returning to Liverpool. Ipswich will need to produce something special to win tonight. With a 3 man defence, it will be hard to stop Robbie Keane & Pavlyuchecko. Expect both to get thier name on the score sheet.

2-1 win for Bristol.

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

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English Cup Final

Sunderland VS Middlesbrough

After eliminating those that stood in their way, the giants from England, battle it out under the eyes of 90,000 spectators at Wembley.

Will it be a leg breaking battle? or will the teams show too much respect to even put in a pathetic little tackle? That's what I will be analysing.

With players like Samuel and Carragher in 'Boro and Otamendi in Sunderland, this just may turn into a very fierce battle. Not helped by the fact that Mr. Dawson, manager of 'Boro seems to love the idea of hard tackling.

Both managers change their formation and tactics in order to counter that of their opponents but when in doubt, they revert back to old faithful. The 3-5-2

Here's a basic 3-5-2 and how it can be countered:

3-4-1-2-v-4-4-2.jpg

The 3-5-2 in this image is against a 4-4-2. The three defenders are able to deal with the two forwards fairly easily, with their 4 mids taking the other 4 out of the game. The formation however is the more advanced form of the 3-5-2 called the 3-4-1-2.

The 3-4-1-2 is used when you want to wreak havoc in the third half of the pitch, whereas the 3-5-2 is used in order to control the game. Essentially, the CB (centre back) pushes up in 3-4-1-2 to mimic the midfield shape of a 3-5-2. This can only be done however, when the team uses the offside trap and and so the tactic can backfire.

An example of this was Mexico's 3-4-3 shape used in the WC. Marquez, their main CB used to push up in order to have more control over the midfield.

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How do you counter a 3-5-2 then?

It's quite simple. Just drag the three centre backs out of place and their team will crumble.

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According to Zonal Marking:

when the three-man defence faces a 4-3-3, the Red's three-man defence is overstocked against the lone striker. If the Reds' wing-backs mark the Blues' wingers, then they are left with no attacking width and will see little posssession. If the job is left to the centre-backs, the defence falls apart.

Now, the person who wins the match will be the one who wins the tactical battles and that will have to be Sunderland. Middlesbrough have a far superior team and David Jones will just have to predict and effectively counter 'Boro's formation.

We had a chance to talk to the 'Boro manager Jooles Dawson, and here's what he said:

I can't believe how huge this game is for me! Aside from getting the cup, if we can win then we get to play in the charity sheild next season, and will get an SMFA Shield spot too, both of which would be crazy to think of having started the season iin division 2!

True indeed, the 'Boro fans must be ecstatic. Never would they have imagined this could happen when Mr. Dawson took over. And now, in his 56th game with the club, he has a chance of snatching the double.

The main men for 'Boro will be Casillas, Xavi and Samuel. However, Sunderland too have two or three players who could inflict some serious damage. Gonzalo Higuain with his pace will be looking to get in behind the defence and Suarez with his excellent finishing skills and reactions would make an excellent 'fox in the box'

Hamsik, who arrived in a P/E with Napoli will be pulling the strings behind them, with cover being provided by Italian international Ricardo Montolivo.

Perhaps if they had an Essien type player, Xavi could be taken out of the game, but I just don't think he can be cancelled out, unless Sunderland put two players on him.

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Liverpool using this tactic to take Robben out of the game between them and Real Madrid.

However, Sunderland can use Pastore, Hamsik and Montolivo in a 4-3-3 with Sanchez and Higuain as the wingers, and Suarez up front.

At the end of the day, I see Middlesbrough running out winners with Jooles predicting the formation Sunderland are going to use by double bluffing about his own formation.

And in answer to my original question, yes I do think Samuel will be looking to break a few legs to impress a certain Spaniard's girlfriend.

My prediction:(yes yes, I know. "Thank God" :rolleyes:)

Sunderland 1 - 2 Middlesbrough

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

SMFA Shield

Final Preview!

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SMFA Shield

And then there was one. Who’d thought of the eight English teams that started out in this competition that Spurs would be the last man standing. One by one they fell, first Man City and Fulham, then in the quarter finals Blackburn, Villa, Everton and Sunderland, and finally, dramatically, in the semi-final West Ham squandered a 4-2 advantage to be the last English side to fall from grace, leaving just Spurs. Spurs, mind you, who only squeaked into the final by a whisker, with Gareth Bale living up to his reputation and producing a wonder goal in the 89th minute of the second leg to put Tottenham through 2-2 on away goals. One can only imagine how Spurs manager touched himself after that one, and if you have that frightening image in your head then it doesn’t bare thinking about what he’ll do if Spurs actually go on and win the thing! Be afraid, be very afraid!

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Let’s face it, there’s only Ben and Kylan who’ll bother pressing play on this one, Chas ‘n Dave

and the Spurs boys back from 1981 (and Ossie – check out 1.56-1.59. ‘He come from

Tottingam’ You think he’d be able to say the name correctly!) In fact, does anyone ever

press play? You should do, the Jellyfish™ has mighty fine taste in music.

180_1289684987.jpgAjax vs. Tottenham 80_1217330011.jpg

Well, if he won this game it would be the icing on the cake to what has been a simply glorious season. Oh, hang on, strike that. That was the intro for SoP at Man Utd, not Benno at Spurs. Rather, it’s fair to say that it’s not been the season of dreams at Spurs, but instead one of broken promises and shoddy performances. Was all the talk at the start of the season just that, just talk? Fortunately things are now happening at Tottenham, the club is going places, or perhaps more specifically they’re not going places, like down. No, things started to change for the better ever since they got rid of that loser BC Cliffs and brought in the new manager Benno. Now he knows what he’s doing! Cliffs could learn a thing or two from him (so I hope you’re reading this Cliffs)! First he saves them from the nightmare of relegation and being stuck in the division two quagmire playing against losers like Ronaldo and David Villa. And then he goes and gets them to the final of the SMFA Shield, something no other English manager has ever done in the history of EC7046!

And this is what it’s all about. Europe! Spurs’ barmy army on the march through Europe, visiting exotic places all along the way. Get your passports ready lads and lasses, I mean, for the final they’ll get to travel all the way to, err, Wembley. Still, it’ll be a nice trip for them, having not been there in a while. But wait, that’s a bit unfair. On their journey to the final Tottenham have visited a fair few towns and put the home clubs in their place. In the group stages Spurs topped their group, ahead of FC Schalke, Fenerbache, and Panathinaikos, despite losing a couple of games along the way. In the first knockout round they easily overcame Borussia Dortmund, and then in the quarter-finals they hammered Blackburn to set up a semi-final clash with Dynamo Moskva. And in the second leg, trailing 2-1 and just as it looked the European dream was over, up pops Gareth Bale and the crowd go wild! The lad’s been on fire in Europe this season, and rumour has it that Spurs manager Benno has been hoping that Ajax will be signing Inter fullback Maicon (if Studge or SoP haven’t got there first) just so he can put him to the sword once more.

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Maicon, one of the best on the world and he’s made to look third rate

Spurs have certainly taken some stick this season. “Whipping boys. Not fit for division 4. Worse than Man City.” Just some of the insults hurled Tottenham’s way as their season stagnated, died, and then stunk to hell. Their domestic season that is. In Benno’s own words,

People have slated me through out this season for my poor league standing, However they some how never seem to recall Tottenham being in a major European final nor acknowledge that it does take some doing. This final is for the fans who have followed us through out the season through thick and thin, through mostly bad times and some good. It is important we do not underestimate Ajax, they deserve to be here and pulled of probably the biggest SMFA Shield upset this season beating west ham. That Upset will take some beating in next few years.

So what of Spurs’ opponents in the final? Well looking at Ajax’s squad, they’re no oil-painting. The first team comes in with an average rating of just 88, with just midfielder Danny De Zeeuw and former Man Utd and Newcastle shot-stopper Edwin van der Saar rated at 90 or above. It’s quite surprising that Ajax have made it here at all, given that they barely limped through the group stages, coming in second behind West Ham, and only then by beating Sampodria in the very last game to steal in ahead of them and French outfit Auxerre. From then on in though Ajax have been the banisher of many an English club’s dreams, first knocking out hapless Fulham, then Aston Villa, and then plucky West Ham. Will Spurs be the fourth English club to be asked to check-out by this rampaging Dutch side?

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Ajax star man van der Saar shows his pleasure at being told he

can leave the oppressive environment under SoP at Man Utd.

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But then he had to be physically restrained upon being told the news that it was Dudeskin’s

Newcastle that he’d be heading to. He’s a much happier camper now though.

If there’s one thing you can say about Spurs it’s that they’re not a club that stands still. In and out has gone Forlan, Kanoute, Pazzani, Gago, Melo, Westermann, to name a few. In their place has come Cole (Joe, not Cheryl), Benzema, Lloris, Frings, Adebayor, Stevie Gerrard, and undoubtedly the biggest future star of all, Schweinsteiger. Either the man has ambition, or has money to burn, perhaps a bit of both. But can they gel? Will Benno be able to fashion a successful team out of this lot, for the final, and for next season? One thing that immediately stands out is the attack-heaviness of these stars. Up front they are just fine, and in midfield they are a powerhouse, but what of at the back? And here lies Spurs’ problem. Bale aside, as let’s face it, he doesn’t tend to spend too much time defending if he can help it (and Benno agrees, usually playing him way up the pitch), Tottenham have a couple of 89-rated defenders, and the rest are at 88 or less. Will it matter against Ajax? Probably not, but it could, it gives the Hollanders just a glimmer of hope, and will certainly delight the division one boys next season unless the problem is fixed.

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Would you believe it, our team of researchers searched all over the web for a picture of

Gerrard, and all they could do was come up with one of his missus, Alex Curran. Oh well.

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Same with Spur’s other midfield maestro, Schweinsteiger, but tell me though, can

you find a single thing wrong with this picture of his missus Sarah Brandner?

Okay, so down to business, how’s it going to play out? Well, I know it’s been said every round so far, and Ajax have proven it wrong in every round too, but with the team Ajax have it’s hard to see them winning here. Van deer Saar might keep them in the game a bit, but it’s a one-man team, and even taking Tottenham’s (considerable) defensive frailties into account, it’s hard to see Ajax’s 87 and 85 rated strikers Sulejmani and Ebanks-Blake doing the business. And if there were any doubt that Spurs would not win this, surely that doubt was wiped away not only with Bale’s life-saving strike in the semi, but also with Ajax’s near-impossible comeback against the Hammers. If it were West Ha here in the final it would perhaps be a different story, but it’s not, they blew and, and with the lads Spurs got, with the ‘home tie at Wembley, and with the sheer belief that Benno has in his boys this cup has got Spurs’ name written all over it. You’ll never hear the end of it mind, but surely that’s a small price to play to make the lad happy?

Prediction: Ajax 1 – 3 Tottenham

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Expect to see scenes like this one when Spurs picked up the UEFA Cup back

in 1971. Benno has been growing his sideburns espcially for the occasion.

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

SMFA Cup

Final Preview!

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SMFA Cup

Come on, be honest, from the moment Arsenal and Liverpool exited the competition all you saw, all you wanted, was a Man U/Chelsea final, right? Well by some minor miracle they managed to avoid each other in the draw until now (dudeskin’s hot balls again?), to set-up the mouthwatering clash that all armchair fans and hardcore fans alike have been waiting for. What a showcase for division one of the EC7046. Hold onto your seats people, it won’t get much better than this. After all, next year, if you’re lucky (?!) it could end up being Newcastle vs. West Ham! Now there’s something to look forward to.

EU1CDSP7FRk

Just to get you all hot and sweaty and pumped up here’s ‘Deceptacon’ by Le Tigre, as

performed by Mr. Latouche (left) and Kylan (right), especially for the finals (they’ve

been practicing for weeks bless ‘em!).

49_1204432433.gifMan Utd vs. Chelsea 21_1273244606.jpg

Well what a season Manchester United have had, their best ever in EC7046. Not content with just the league title, notorious trophy-grabber Son of Pluto has asked his boys to bring home the SMFA Cup and the English Shield too, a dream that is still very much alive with United making it to both of these finals. If reports coming out of the United camp are to be believed though, SoP, a notorious control freak, is reportedly furious at not making a clean sweep of the trophies, being particularly put out with United failing to win the English Cup, the division three title, and most especially the fourth division playoffs.

Chelsea manager ‘theduffman’ by contrast is just happy to be here. No, that’s not fair, he expected to be here, and expects to win, but also he needs to win else Chelsea will end up with as much silverware, well, as much as Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Everton, and those notorious wooden spooners, West Ham did this season. Suffice to say, for both teams, it matters. A lot. In fact, to show their commitment to the cause both sets of squads have reportedly gone all out and in recognition that the match will be played in the 92,000 seater Maracanã in Rio, Brazil, have all gotten ‘Brazilians’, just for the occasion. Except John Terry that is. He already had one. And Son of Pluto. He already had one too.

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Rooney taking one for the team

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Rooney’s lass (the one he gives money to, out of wedlock)

Actually, it does kinda look like Rooney on the right doesn’t it?

Chelsea made their way to the final by topping out in group A, overcoming stiff opposition from Marseille, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-German. Only Marseille were able to beat them and even then that was when Chelsea had already qualified and could afford to take their foot off the gas. Then, after pushing aside FC Porto in the first round, and Valencia in the quarter-finals, Chelsea faced their toughest test so far, eventually beating current champions Inter Milan 4-3 on aggregate.

Unlike Chelsea, United have made hard going of it more-or-less all the way through to the final. They only just limped on through the group stages, losing their opening two games, first to Athletico Madrid, and then Roma. With many a fan calling for the manager’s head SoP remained cool, partly due to his ability to see into the future, and United squeaked through courtesy of a 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg, nervously waiting for the news that Roma could only draw 0-0 in their last match before being assured of their progression. After destroying Real Madrid 6-3 in the first round and beating Shakthar and Napoli here they are now to set-up a repeat of the 2008 real-life final.

Man U come into this game in glorious form, having lost just 3 games in the last 38. That Wayne Rooney is the key to that form is no secret, with Rooney scoring all but one of United’s goals during that period, and getting more than half of the assists as well (honest!). The goal he scored against Man City which he began himself by first clearing off the United line, then dribbling the length of the pitch past six City players (yes, they’d bothered to turn up that day, unlike the rest of the season) including de Jong (twice), before drilling in a bullet of a cross right from the corner flag, only to make it into the box and convert it himself with a spectacular overhead kick will long live in the memory of the 76,000 Cocknies who, having made the journey up from London, were at Old Trafford that day to support their team. Yes, ‘one-man United’ will be hoping that their one man is on form for this game. Unfortunately Manchester have had their request turned down by the SMFA for Rooney to be able to take all five penalties should the game go that far. Unlucky for Chelsea really if he takes them like this duffer.

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What a tart

To be fair, Chelsea’s form, while dodgy through the mid-season when theduffman had been abducted by aliens for scientific testing (just don’t ask about the anal probe, it’s still a touchy subject), has picked up of late. It still ain’t great though. Chasing hard on Newcastle’s tail Chelsea managed to close the gap in the league, but inconsistent form has cost them a top four spot and an SMFA Cup place next season, just one more reason they must win this game, their only chance of being back in the competition next year. It wasn’t necessarily the games they lost, losing just three league games in the last sixteen at the hands of Man Utd (3-1), West Ham, and Newcastle basically the top three finishing teams this year. Actually the last one was a biggie, a huge loss as victory would have given them, not Newcastle an SMFA spot. But it was all the draws against weaker opposition that cost them, drawing against Fulham, Birmingham, Stoke, and Blackburn. So Chelsea’s form is quite simple to predict: They beat to weaker teams, draw against the average teams, and lose to the strong teams. They had it in them once though to beat the best, notching up a 1-0 win over Man Utd. earlier on in the season, so don’t write them off just yet.

Chelsea come into this game full of confidence. Theduffman really believes they can win this, declaring to the press,

I have high expectations for my side and with the disappointing league campaign I feel it is mine and the players duty to the fans to deliver them the SMFA Cup, I know we have strong opponents in Manchester United but I feel if the fans get behind us and everything goes according to plan in training we have enough about ourselves to Bring the Cup Home with us, I expected a free flowing attacking fixture which should be brilliant for the neutral audience, the result where have to see on the night.
With no injury or suspension concerns Chelsea will be able to field a full-strength side for the final, and while Sniejder and Essien will look to sew up the midfield it will be the link-up between Ozil and Drogba that will be the key to unlocking United’s defence.

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He the man

Certainly the recent injury picked up by Pique will not help matters for United, and with 96-rated Vidic and 94-rated Evra being the only defenders rated above 90 for United it would seem that United’s best form of defence will be attack (and Chelsea’s best form of attack will be attack). It seems though that SoP hasn’t quite picked up on the hole left behind by Pique’s absence. Just yesterday when exiting the groinal grooming parlor and proudly sporting his new Brazilian (and no, I don’t mean Luis Anderson), he stated,

Man Utd are looking forward to an all English final, the outcome of the match will be close with both sides scoring a win over each other in the league. We are excited about playing Chelsea and of course want to win the inaugural SMFA Cup final, but also realise a one off cup game comes down to luck as well as skill, I think we are going to have a full squad to pick from. All I can say to the Chelsea manager is good luck and lets have a fair and exciting game with plenty of incident and goals.
And it doesn’t take a genius to work out where he’ll be expecting those goals to come from, with Mr. Rooney accounting for some 43% of all goals scored by United’s current squad (these are the real stats here), with just ten of the current players having scored this season, the latter an incredible stat really for a team of United’s depth. Only Mr. Berbatov joins Rooney in the double figures, and United were lucky that Rooney’s two injuries this season (both to his knob) were just for three days each. So given that, here’s a top tip for you right now – if you want to increase your title chances next season then just encourage every team to use aggressive tackling against Man Utd. Once Rooney’s crocked for the season it’s game over at Old Trafford! Then you just settled the title amongst all the other teams, though admittedly you all have to play 5-a-side given that your own players are injured too or suspended due to the million reds they’ve picked up.

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Deadly in the box. Ouch! Sorry Mrs. Rooney.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing battles in this game will be for command of the midfield, with Essien and Sneijder going up against Alonso and Cambiasso in the center of the park. It is just possible that Cambiasso’s timely arrival might swing this game United’s way, though you can guarantee that other key battles will involve Terry and Rooney, and Vidic and Drogba. Sounds amazing already doesn’t it? And seeing as both managers have indicated that they’re looking for an exciting open game this should be a truly fascinating encounter, almost too close to call. Really United have had things going their way for most of this season (did they actually win the league or did others lose it?), but it’s been a long hard season for them and this might just be one game too many. It’ll be close, it’ll be thrilling, but Chelsea might just put one over on United here, perhaps needing extra time to do it. Sit back, open a few tinnies, and enjoy this one at your leisure over the score centre.

Prediction: Man Utd 2 – 2 Chelsea

(Chelsea to win on penalties)

67cL9I_12XQ

Here’s the actual Le Tigre girls if you prefer them to Dom and Kylan. I know

I do, especially that Kathleen Hanna. Dudeskin guest stars on the right.

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

English Shield

Final Preview

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English Shield

First off, an official announcement: the Jellyfish™ would just like to pass on his deepest apologies to the managers of Man Utd, Arsenal, Notts Forest and Birmingham for his lapse in timing of the English Shield semi-previews, and the oversight that occurred as a result (no previews). If it’s worth anything he was otherwise engaged with a rather fetching lady jellyfish at the time. Well it appeared to be a lady jellyfish, but now I come to think of it, err jeez, well I hope really it was. But yeah, sorry about that lads, it shouldn’t have happened for big games like that, but really, how often have they been on a Friday?

And so here we are, the last competitive game in what, as I’m sure you’ll all (mostly) agree has turned out to be a rather splendid first season in EC7046. And at the end of it all, sat at the top of the pile, are Man bloody U, division one champions, SMFA Cup holders, and now the greedy buggers are not content with their lot and want one more. Really, is there a single one of the other 79 managers who don’t want Forest to burst their bubble? I mean, come on, how hard can it be against a team that plays the same 3-5-2 every single game? So come on Forest, we’re all rooting for you here. Now on with the strictly neutral preview (the Jellyfish™ is nothing but a consummate professional).

s7EKBhEcC7A

Well seeing as Nottingham Forest have made it all the way to the

final of the Shield, and Nottingham had a Sheriff, clearly the only

appropriate song would be ‘Sheriff Fatman’ by Carter USM. Top tune.

55_1203646337.gifNotts Forest vs. Manchester United 49_1204432433.gif

2nd Div 2 vs. 1st Div 1

Man Utd this, Man Utd that, Man Utd blah blah blah. Is anyone else sick of reading (or writing) about bloody Man Utd, their one-man team, and their boring boring 3-5-2 formation? And now they’ll be up again next season in the Charity Shield and SMFA Super Cup (against Spurs! A gimmie if there ever was one!). Will it ever end? It’s a good job Boro don’t have to bother playing them in the season opener at Wembley, that’s for sure. So instead maybe we’ll do a something a little different here and make the focus all about United’s opponents Nottingham Forest. After the season they’ve had they deserve it. If you want the Man U side of things just look back and read one of the million previous reports on them. Believe me, it’s all there.

Really it’s rather fitting that Forest are here, with one last opportunity to put the icing on top of what has by most standards been a rather fine old season. To recap, Forest finished the season having scored a barmy 96 goals in the league, bettered only by free-scoring Plymouth, and matched only by Forest’s Shield final opponents, Man U. They topped the pile though in least goals conceded, letting in a measly 34 goals, a feet even the mighty Iker Casillas, the World’s number one shot-stopper and surely the greatest goalkeeper (and lover) the world has ever seen, couldn’t match (clearly he must have been let down by his defence. Anyone else thinking Carragher here?). And they finished the season in second with a whopping 78 points, enough to win any other division except the third, spending the season running cheek to cheek with rivals Middlesbrough, a competition that ran until the final game.

Indeed, for many the division two race was the story of the season in EC7046. Whether Boro won it or Forest threw it away is a question that will be debated for generations to come, but against Boro Forest certainly held their own, first bringing an end to Boro’s incredible unbeaten run, and then holding Middlesbrough at the Riverside. Forest’s feet of taking four points against the eventual champions was something that only Leeds also managed to achieve. But it was perhaps the points that Forest lost that manager BigGameMo will look back upon and rue, most particularly that dark week in mid-October when Forest lost their focus and also lost three games on the bounce. After that they pushed hard, losing only one in the rest of the season (the crucial final game), but the damage had been done and Boro weren’t about to relinquish their lead (though they sure tried their best).

In hindsight it was perhaps the pending transfer of then league top-scorer Balotelli and the bringing in of former Inter and Barca star Eto’o that unsettled the Forest boys. Balotelli had practically carried Forest through the first half of the season, but ultimately the Vulcan revelations that rocked the league were too much and he did the right thing and teleported out of there.

Recalling the breaking of the Vulcan scandal at Forest:

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Balotelli…………………………………..…………………Spock

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Balotelli, a provocative young man

For some reason Eto’o never quite seemed to spark in the way that Balotelli did, or he did, near the end of the season when under his influence Forest started to record some crushing victories, but his form was in no way as consistent as Balotelli’s. But did Mo do the right thing in signing him? Absolutely. Eto’o was without doubt one of the transfer coups of the season and will serve Forest in much better in the dizzy heights of division one more than the tempestuous Balotelli ever will.

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The potential match-winner?

So are Forest a one-man team, as United have given the appearance of being for much of the season (Tuesday’s SMFA Cup final excepted)? Well while Eto’o clearly stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries Forest haven’t had the season they’ve had without more to back it up. The rock at the back for Forest is Helton, who along with Heinze and Cris, all 90-rated players, have been chiefly responsible for maintaining the tightest defence in the league. In midfield Simplicio has been a revelation, especially in the goal scoring department, and Rodriguez and in particular Zhirkov have been chiefly responsible for providing the ammunition for Eto’o. Rated just 89, Jovanovic supports Eto’o upfront, but therein lies the difference between Man U and Forest: where Man U has strength in depth Forest have first teamers who might not even make it onto the United bench. Lastly mention must be made of Forest’s terrible luck with injuries, and while no team goes by untouched, Forest, it must be said, had more than their fair share. One wonders if they may have even stolen the title if they hadn’t had such a busy physio room but now we’ll never know. Even at this late stage of the season they are without the services of Cris and Chantome, whereas United have a full squad at their disposal with the exception of Pique who is nursing a sprained ankle.

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Surely the link-up between Zhirkov and Eto’o will be the key to unlocking Man Utd?

United made it to the final via victories over Peterborough, Walsall, Sunderland, West Brom (on penalties), and Arsenal (also on penalties), scoring an impressive 23 goals and conceding just six along the way. Forest reached the final by knocking out Watford, Everton, Reading, giant killers Rotherham, and Birmingham, scoring thirteen and conceding just three. What’s interesting is that while both teams inevitably rested key players for the Shield games, preferring to concentrate on the league, Forest were by far and away the team to throw caution to the wind. Their team averages along the way were 82.3 (2nd Rd. vs. Watford), 84.2 (3nd Rd. vs. Everton), 85.2 (4th Rd. vs. Reading), 87.0 (quarter finals vs. Rotherham), and 90.1 (semi-final vs. Birmingham), showing not only that they were prepared to ride their luck in the early rounds (well, basically all the way up the the semi), but also that the effort they put into their Shield campaign was carefully calibrated.

Interestingly Forest and Man Utd inadvertently played one another just last week through an SM scheduled friendly. The shares were spoiled that night, 1-1, though understandably both teams took it easy, all the more so given that that was their second game played that day! Will it be so tight in the final? Well, it could be. With United manager SoP likely to set his stall out with his trademark 3-5-2 really this game is Forest’s to win. If they can unlock the 3-5-2 formation, perhaps with the use of a 4-3-3(W), 4-2-3-1, of 4-4-2(diamond) then Forest could just edge this one. Forest though have often favoured the 3-5-2 themselves, and if they do here it is hard to see how they can come out on top against United’s superior quality. Consequently, it’s hard to back against yet another United trophy win here, perhaps with Berbatov taking his turn as the match-winner. Let’s hope that Forest give it their all though, and set tactics to push hard should they be trailing at the back-end of the second half (something way too many teams have seemed to neglect in big games this season, much to their detriment). Best of luck to you Forest, you’re going to need it.

Prediction: Notts Forest 1 - 3 Man Utd

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When Berbatov’s on form he’s outstanding.

Forest will be hoping today is not one of those days

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How United celebrated against Forest in days gone by. Not

a pretty picture. Check out how young Giggsy looks!

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Re: English Championship 7046 Previews & Predictions Thread

premierleaguelogo.gif

Premier League Predictions - Turn One


Stoke City vs Birmingham City

Stoke finished last season in 14th place and as far as there concerned a good job done all round in keeping the club in the league. Birmingham's manager however was appointed near the end of last season and had just 11 games to make his mark and what a mark he did amassing 26 points in that time to see them finish in a safe 15th place. The last two meetings between these two have been draws and I see it going that way again.

Potters 1 - 1 Blues

  • Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion

Strange season for Arsenal under control from Dom Latouche for much of it but then came the shock appointment of Mohammed Najaf who in the most part had a very good run. West Brom promoted last season had to at least survive and a 17th place finish was exactly what they needed. Great start game for Arsenal here and I would be amazed if they didn't take advantage of it.

Gunners 4 - 0 Baggies

  • Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers

Very good season for Liverpool last campaign and the reward Champions league football back at the Kop, they have also acquired some extremely fine players Messi being the big star. Blackburn another club who had a change of management midway through but again it didn't cause many problems with the new man guiding them to an 11th place finish just missing out on Europe. At home with everyone fit 'Pool should cruise this.

The Reds 3 - 0 Rovers

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sunderland

Turbulent start for the Wolves boss as they went for what seemed an eternity without winning a game but in the end he came through and secured Europe for the black country club. The away side finished a place above their hosts and will themselves be happy with 9th and Europe this campaign. Previous meetings have gone with the home side which should continue here.

Wolves 3 - 1 Black cats

  • Nottingham Forest vs Chelsea

Great work by Forest last season gaining promotion whilst being pipped to the title by Middlesbrough, this isn't the tie they would have wanted first up especially missing striker Kanoute out suspended. Chelsea by their standards had a poor season finishing outside the top four and will want to make a statement here. If they get it right Chelsea should edge it.

Forest 1 - 2 Chelsea

  • Ipswich Town vs Tottenham Hotspur

Ipswich did it the hard way last season finishing 3rd but winning the play-offs to gain entry to the big time, they don't have the strongest first team but will hope talented youngsters such as Neymar will see them through. Spurs like Chelsea had a poor season however on a much larger scale, they started as outside title favourites but somehow finished down in 16th place and probably thankful of Man City and Villa's even poorer season lest they could have been for the drop. Purely off previous form and which set of fans will be most jubilant I see Ipswich holding the away side.

Tractor boys 2 - 2 Spurs

  • Everton vs West Ham United

Good solid season for Everton finishing in 6th place and comfortably in Europe, however early on they were looking good for top four. West Ham though had a quite amazing season challenging right at the top and only being pipped by Champions Manchester United, but they've built and now have an even better squad to try again this year. West Ham fared well against Everton last season but won't win this time.

Toffees 1 - 1 Hammers

  • Newcastle United vs Manchester United

Newcastle had a truly amazing first season back in the Premier league, many though they'd struggle to stay up yet alone finish 3rd in the league, superb management by Dudeskin and the squad has also came on very well too. They face the Champions and will be in for a very tough test in this first game. Both games were won 4-3 by the away side last time but this time Utd will win more comfortably.

Toon 1 - 3 Red Devils

  • Middlesbrough vs Bolton Wanderers

Middlesbrough had a great season eventually claiming the Championship league title but most importantly promotion to the Prem, they've also added some real talent to the squad in Xavi, Casillas and to a lesser extent Samuel. Their first game is against Bolton who would have liked to finish higher last season but will would have been content with 12th. Tough game for Boro up against real class in Milito and Mascherano but they should be good for a point.

Boro' 3 - 3 Bolton

  • Wigan Athletic vs Fulham

Last season Wigan started as potential relegation suspects but thanks to Stuart good leadership they avoided that and finished safely in 13th, however he has now departed and new man Phillip Gibbon has taken charge, but the club will still be content with midtable. Fulham had a fairly average start but midway into the campaign they decided to have a switch and appointed Dom Latouche after his shock exit from Arsenal, in the end it turned out quite well as he guided the small London club to an 8th place finish. Close game this but will just go with Wigan.

Wigan 2 - 0 Cottagers

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