Graham's Weekly Predictions

Saturday, 30 January 2010 · 10 comments

So the time has come for battle to recommence!  The War in Iraq may be some brief entertainment on the six o'clock news for a little titillation as we return home from work, kiss the wife and sit at the table to eat our dinners.  But it is this weekends wars, fought on the green fields of Blighty that occupy the hearts and minds of this land.  Here, for your passionate deliberation, are my predictions for the weekend:

Saturday 30th January 2010
Birmingham 1-1 Tottenham
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Fulham 1-0 Aston Villa
Hull 2-1 Wolves
Liverpool 2-0 Bolton
West Ham 2-1 Blackburn
Wigan 0-2 Everton

Sunday 31st January 2010
Man City 3-0 Portsmouth
Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd

Yes, people this weekend is the battle to end-all battles - well, at least 'til next weekend.  It is the always-eventful Wenger-Fergie yearly-rematch.  The Blind Professor versus the saviour of Wrigleys Spearmint Gum factory.  Who will come out on top?  Both are in a good run of form but I can see Man Utd taking a point at the Emirates.  No Rio and a defence about as solid as OJ Simpson, they'll definitely concede but the midgets of Arsenal will have to score by passing their way through the middle and, if their accuracy is as good as at Stoke, the best they can hope for is just the one.  Rooney to score for Man Utd.

The mark of the stoopid


Some men who are in love tattoo the name of their loved one on their arm to show their devotion, others may tattoo the name "Mum" then their are others who are so devoted to their football team that they get the badge of their loyally supported club emblazoned on their chest even if the wife thinks its nothing more than a pubescent act.  But there is one man that has gone even further than this.  His name is Chris Atkinson and he supports Man City.
When news broke out of Man City's audacious bid to sign Kaka for £100 million, Mr Atkinson was so overwhelmed with excitement, he decided to add the name of

This season's Championship is like a box of chocolates...

Friday, 29 January 2010 · 0 comments

January is already bidding us a swift exit. It’s where a football season in years gone by might’ve started to show signs of taking shape. Man Utd would be a million points clear at the Premiership summit, with Arsenal and/or Liverpool fighting over the scraps. Occasionally, this order would swap round. Villa would finish mid table. And rest.
Wind back to now, and witness the change. Certainly within the Premierships’ ranks. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool, the omnipresent “Big Four”, have conducted themselves with about as much dignity as a Dad dancing at a Disco over recent months.

Victor Moses pulled out of Palace match

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 · 1 comments

Crystal Palace's most saleable asset, forward Victor Moses, has been pulled out of tonight's match against table-toppers Newcastle, in order to prevent him from being injured prior to a hopeful sale.
The teenage star has been linked with a host of elite clubs, including Liverpool, Man City and Barcelona, following a terrific start to this campaign.  Manager Neil Warnock is less-than-enthused about the prospect but understands the situation the club is now in, "I'm devastated, shocked and hugely disappointed.  No doubt we're going to lose players in the next few days because that's what the administrator does."
Palace, who went into administration on Tuesday (the Football Association later

Michel Platini: Football Friend or Foe?

Sunday, 24 January 2010 · 0 comments

Michel Platini has never been one to shy away from controversy, the former French striker & the current president of UEFA is a regular when it comes to back page comments, regardless of who they affect & how.
To start off with, the fellow doesn’t exactly have the easiest job in the world; he’s both indirectly & directly responsible for the wellbeing and integrity of some of the best footballers in the world... & their respective clubs. Subsequently it becomes difficult to clearly establish whether or not he is a friend or a foe to the game.

Liverpool: Camera-shy or simply shoddy(!) this season?


This season has been a major surprise for Liverpool supporters (but not to the management according to a recent interview with Benitez) who expected their much-loved team to continue the form of the second-half of last season and really challenge for the title.  The loss of Alonso, such an integral component to last season's challenge, was keenly felt and was a cause for some worry for most Liverpool supporters but the club assured fans that the purchase of Alberto Aquilani would improve the attacking play to such an extent that Alonso would not be missed.  Although he was injured for the first half of the season, Benitez felt confident that the side could cope until his new recruit was ready to fill in the creative hole left with the departure of Alonso.
Unfortunately, this season has not been a particularly happy one for the club and its

Today's FA Cup Action


Today sees only two matches in this weekend's FA Cup action with Stoke taking on a free-scoring Arsenal side brimming with confidence and lowly Scunthorpe tackling Roberto Mancini's miserly Manchester City.   This year's FA Cup has not thrown up too many surprises with only Reading and Leeds being the non-Premiership sides to shine against their more illustrious, and richer, opposition.  But Scunthorpe, who lie fourth-bottom in the Championship only four points clear of the last relegation place, offer an interesting conundrum considering Reading's win against Burnley yesterday.  Can the odds be upset again today or will form, and class, win out? 

Big Match Centre's Predictions:

Scunthorpe 1-3 Man City, R4, 16:00
Stoke          1-2v Arsenal, R4, 13:30

FA Cup Replays Overview

Thursday, 14 January 2010 · 0 comments

The FA cup replays continued this week; most results were as expected, with one notable exception - Liverpool being dumped out by an out of form Reading team. Reading, having taken just 1 point from their travels this season, earned a replay against the former champs & looked certain to be heading out, trailing 1-0 in injury time. A clear penalty by Benayoun late in injury time followed by a coolly taken penalty ensured extra time. Leading up to the penalty Liverpool were under pressure & earlier in the half Reading should have equalised when McAnuff had a 1-on-1 chance with the keeper.
Overall the loss was a shock to the Merseyside giants, but on the night Reading did look the better team & thoroughly deserved the win & now it’s left to Rafa to salvage what he can from the season...
IN other results, well done to Newcastle man Peter Lovenkrands for scoring a hatrick in their 3-0 dominating victory over Plymouth, Newcastle have had a harsh year-and-a-half and it’s good to see the club doing well on the pitch.
A narrow 1-0 win saw Birmingham beat Notts Forest in an encounter Forest dominated . The chances were there for the visitors but for lack of finishing & missed chances, a 60th minute Baarry Ferguson goal gave the win to the home team.
Bristol & Cardiff managed a replay after a 92nd min equaliser by the home team saw Welsh hearts broken by their local rivals – more on this after the tie has concluded.
The theme of late goals continued as struggling Portsmouth defeated Coventry. Leading 1-0 until the 90th min, a Stephen Wright OG in the 90th saw extra time & a relatively uneventful extra time was bought to a conclusion with a 120th minute goal by Pompey man Mokoena.
Late goals were definitely the order of the day as Derby dumped Millwall out of the competition, goals either side of extra time & a 5-3 victory on penalties gave the home team the tie in a scrappy, low selling game
Final tie of the night saw the other Sheffield (united) defeat home team QPR.  Four goals in the 2nd half saw a 0-1 cushion for united change to a 3-2 increasingly nervy victory. An eventful period of 20mins in the 2nd half saw the goals flowing & had the visitors 2-3 up for the final few minutes.

Omar Malick

Is Brian Laws the correct appointment for Burnley?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 · 2 comments

Burnley have confirmed the appointment of Brian Laws as their new manager after the departure of Owen Coyle to rivals Bolton. The news comes as a shock to many in the game, coming so soon after he was sacked as manager of Sheffield Wednesday following a poor run of form in December. The big question on everyone's lips today though is, “Is he the right man for the job?”
Under Coyle, Burnley have played some attractive football evident

Barca facing Elimination from Copa Del Ray

Tuesday, 12 January 2010 · 0 comments

Sevilla, holding on to a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Catalonia, host a Barcelona side Pep Guardiola will pack full of his first team stars after selecting a side bereft of regular first-teamers Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry, Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique, who all started on the bench.  His team will be full of confidence after thrashing Tenerife 5-0 on Sunday although the Barca coach was quick to voice his concerns about his dominant side: "until we scored the first it was very even and the only difference was Tenerife failed to score. They had three clear chances and we were in trouble but after the first went in the game was different" he said in the post-match press conference.

Michael Owen: Right or Wrong to sign for United?

Monday, 11 January 2010 · 0 comments

Summer 2009, Michael Owen is on the market and out of contract. His agent sends a brochure detailing his strengths and achievements as a player and England's currently-playing highest goalscorer is desperate for a club.
Knowing he is way down the pecking order for a place in the World Cup squad, with Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and even Darren Bent ahead of him in Fabio Capello's mind, was it the right decision for Michael to join United? When he signed in the summer, some pundits thought that this could be the perfect platform for Michael to display his talents and give Capello no option but to take him to South Africa. One of the many arguments put forth being that his name alone carries a certain

Togo players leave as African Cup of Nations starts

Sunday, 10 January 2010 · 0 comments

The players of Togo's African Cup of Nations squad will fly home today after being told by the organiser's that it would be in their best interests to return home.  This comes after the Togo team bus was attacked by Angolan rebels killing three and injuring nine others.
There have been calls for the tournament to be called off amidst such a terrible act of cruelty and violence, with the Togo players (whom Emmanuel Adebayor of Man City captains) being most vocal in their wishes to have the tournament cancelled,.  After the attack, the Togo

Inter Milan's Chivu in hospital after fracturing skull

Wednesday, 6 January 2010 · 2 comments

Christian Chivu, Inter Milan's left-footed central defender, is apparently stable in hospital after a clash of heads in the 1-0 win over Chievo.  A nasty clash of heads resulting in a fractured skull meant the Romanian star had to spend over an hour in surgery to relieve a haematoma and remove bone fragments.  When asked, Jose Mouriunho was hopeful, but admitted, "he will be out of action for some time."
The win keeps Inter eight points ahead of their local rivals AC Milan, but the news of this shocking injury to one of the stalwarts to their defence is a blow to not only their league hopes, but their chances of success in the Champions League.  Chelsea are their opponents in the next round of the competition and if Inter are to hurdle this difficult obstacle they are going to need all their best players available.

The woes at Pompey


Currently languishing in 20th place in the Premiership, Portsmouth seem to have it all to do this season. Their current on-pitch form has not been helped by the ongoing financial troubles at the South Coast club.
As of the 5th of Jan 2010, players & staff have not been paid for the month of December, which makes it the 3rd wages delay of the season, the news of this latest delay was further compounded by the FA’s announcement to withhold funds of up to £7million pounds to the club and

FA Cup weekend

Sunday, 3 January 2010 · 49 comments

Not too many surprises from the third round of the FA Cup, although congratulations have to go to Nottingham Forest for a fine attacking display against a resolute Birmingham as well as Coventry who managed to pull off a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park against struggling (and almost penniless) Portsmouth.  The most interesting result came at the Madejski stadium where struggling Reading produced a powerful and commanding display against a full-strength Liverpool team that can only consider themselves very lucky to be playing a replay at

Premiership January Sales

Friday, 1 January 2010 · 3 comments

Happy New Year to all Big Match Centre readers and many thanks to you for coming back!  Well, as another decade passes and we head into the New Year, the January Sales gossip begins its yearly ritual.  Who will your club buy or recruit on-loan during the half-season?  Here's our guide to who we think might spend and on whom:

Many pundits thought the loss of Van Persie would deal a crucial blow to Arsenal's hopes but the Gunners have played some scintillating football and scored some wonderful goals in the process.  Still light upfront, it is likely that Wenger will spend money on a big striker with Marouanne Chamakh the more likely target.  Other possibilites (but less likely) are Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Andre-Pierre Gignac, the Toulouse striker.

About Us

Bringing you all the important daily news, gossip and big match reports from the week's most important games.
Expert analysis and opinion of the week's hot topics covering the English Premiership and La Liga we want to hear from you!
Written and edited by Graham Matheson, a Liverpool and Deportivo La Coruna fan.
Omar Malick, an Arsenal fan and season-ticket holder since being brainwashed as a child by his equally deluded father. Omar writes on all the unsavoury aspects of a game with all the moral equilibrium of an arms dealer at an arms fair.
Tom Parmiter, the resident expert on all things Championship

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