Well, it’s been a while since Mystic Matt has been able to post anything (apparently it’s quite hard to type when your fingers have been broken by burly men DEFINITELY NOT UNDER ORDERS FROM PUTIN), but after a lengthy recuperation at
Nigel Farage’s house (where no Russians are allowed. Or Albanians, Romanians, Poles, Indians, Pakistanis, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, or Presbyterians, but Germans are apparently fine)… he’s back!
So without further ado, some predictions for the most exciting ties in the Premier League this weekend. Which necessarily precludes any mention of Aston Villa, since there’s more chance of Mystic Matt actually getting one right than the Villains scoring any time soon…
Manchester United vs Leicester City: 2-1 (Rooney, Fellaini; Nugent)
Let’s have a look at the facts for a moment. The last game between these two teams ended 5-3 to Leicester, after a United collapse that made the Twin Towers look fairly sedate in comparison, and United have not improved at all since then. It is one of life’s great mysteries how the Red Devils are fourth (if you turn to the last page of the book you might see the words “David de Gea” in bold print, right before “off to Madrid”); their midfield is insipid, their forward line one-paced and their defence laughable. Then again, Leicester aren’t exactly pulling up trees; with Uchoa’s goals drying up of late, Kasper Schmeichel nursing a broken foot and Paul “2 England Caps” Konchesky anchoring their left flank they may not be able to capitalise on United’s shitness. The difference between the two teams will be Fellaini, who seems to be excelling in Louis van Gaal’s “lump it up from the back” system; United to once again edge a result and continue their mystifying rise up the table.
Liverpool vs West Ham: 1-3 (Lallana; Carroll (2), Sakho)
Sturridge is back! STURRIDGE IS BACK! But will probably only feature from the bench, and after such a long injury will probably barely touch the ball, let alone score. The mid-week game with Dirty Chelsea (which I’m definitely not still bitter about, no sir, not me) left pretty much all of the central midfielders in the squad exhausted (save Can, now a centre-back, and Allen, who has severe talent-knack), and perhaps just as worryingly Mamadou Sakho, the subject of my latest player-crush, has a groin injury. This may mean Glen Johnson takes the field to slow down every Liverpool attack, or possibly Dejan Lovren, who plays like Djimi Traore without any of the lovability. Meanwhile, for West Ham, Andy Carroll will be relishing the chance to batter some weary defenders about, Alex Song (why is he at the Irons again?) is poised to boss the midfield and Adrian is relishing a quiet afternoon of shots whistling past the post from various diminutive Liverpool players. West Ham won the reverse 3-1; expect them to strive for that scoreline again.
Southampton vs Swansea: 1-0 (Pelle)
Southampton are third. I’ll just give you a moment to process that-third. And, what’s more, and unlike a certain red-shirted Mancunian team, they actually deserve it. With a superb defence marshalled by the excellent Jose Fonte and screened by the considered strength of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin, it’s hard to see Swansea scoring. The loss of Wilfried Bony will hit the Swans hard; Batefembi Gomis might have a physique like the Ivorian but seems to lack his killer touch in front of goal, not to mention Bony’s understanding with their other attacking threat Gylfi Sigurdsson. Of course, where Saints fall down is in the lack of depth in their squad; with Wanyama injured (along with Toby Aldeweireld, another major factor in their defensive solidity), Swansea might feel a little more optimistic. Still, Saints should have enough to beat the Welsh team, and stay ahead of Man Utd in the process.
Nasty Chelsea vs Man City: 1-1 (Hazard; Lampard)- 3 broken toes, 1 bruised ankle, 3 stamps missed by the referee
And, finally, onto the game that many are billing as a title decider. We know how Mourinho approaches these games; expect Ramires and Matic in front of the defence kicking anything that moves, surrounded by teammates who also kick anything that moves, with a couple of sly elbows thrown in for good measure (not bitter!). Facing the massed ranks of the Chelsea bus will be a team that had struggled somewhat without Yaya Toure, the lack of verticality in their midfield making it too easy for teams to nullify David Silva and leaving Sergio Aguero isolated. Vincent Kompany has been shaky since his return from injury, though he should be confident of keeping 90-year-old Didier Drogba quiet with Costa (probably) out for his cowardly stamp on the magnificently hirsute Emre Can. Honestly, I’m not expecting much excitement from this game, though there’s always the chance that Mourinho, Dr Evil-style, will renounce his wicked ways and allow some form of entertainment to seep through…