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Premier League: 5 Things

Remi Garde

The past few days have witnessed a marked shift in the DNA of the Premier League; Aston Villa added to their French legion by appointing Remi Garde as manager, Wayne Rooney’s dwindling physical prowess became more obvious than ever, and Arsenal continued their rampant surge towards the summit – here’s five things that defined the top-flight this weekend.

1. Wayne Rooney is no longer a central striker

It’s been obvious for the last couple of years, to anyone with eyes at least, that while Sir Wayne of Roon-shire remains an excellent technical footballer, his physical traits are on the slide.

Despite this, Manchester United insist on using him as a lone striker, with the more dynamic Anthony Martial shunted onto the wing to accommodate the shop-worn  30 year-old, who would be better served as a number ten playing just behind the French starlet.

2. Jamie Vardy could be an ideal foil for Harry Kane

Jamie Vardy nipped in with yet another eleventh hour winner this weekend, scoring for the eighth league match in succession to secure Leicester City’s latest thrilling victory, the Foxes edging a five goal thriller against West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Vardy’s pace, work-rate and close control, aligned with cultured end product, places him among the front-runners for an England forward berth; he’d be a perfect partner for Tottenham’s Harry Kane, with Rooney’s aforementioned transition into midfield allowing this thrilling front two to blossom.

3. Sunderland’s fluky Derby win papered over some large cracks

The Mackems and their fans rejoiced just over a week ago, as they defeated North-East neighbours Newcastle United with assistance from one of the shoddiest refereeing displays in years (courtesy of the incompetent Robert Madley).

Karma was well and truly dished out the following weekend, as Everton destroyed Sam Allardyce’s terrible troupe 6-2, a scoreline that flattered Sunderland who were abysmal for 85 of the 90 minutes. They can’t rely entirely upon inept officials to save them it seems.

4. Chelsea should have strengthened in the summer

John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are a few of the many Chelsea players whose stars have dimmed strikingly this season. Meanwhile Eden Hazard, the 2014-15 PFA Player of The Year, has become a liability in amongst the chaos.

Controversial events behind the Stamford Bridge scenes, woeful results and a trigger happy owner could combine to spell the end of Jose Mourinho’s second spell with the club any time soon; a 3-1 home capitulation against Liverpool the latest in a string of dysfunctional defeats for the Blues.

5. Remi Garde will need to hit the ground running

The 3-1 scoreline of Aston Villa’s latest defeat, this time at the hands of Spurs, failed to tell the whole story; the league’s bottom side were completely outclassed, looking every inch a second-tier team in the process.

New managers usually enjoy a honeymoon period, and former Lyon boss Garde will hope to witness something better when he officially takes charge of his first match for the club at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon. The opposition? League leaders Manchester City!

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Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier League: 5 Things

A pivotal weekend of Premier League action saw pressure heaped on one of the world’s most successful coaches, while a couple of other situations became vacant. Meanwhile, the shackles were torn off the top-flight’s top striker. Kureen looks at five things we learned from the past couple of days.

1. Aguero is back to his brilliant best

For 44 minutes Newcastle United more than matched Manchester City at the Etihad, leading 1-0 and spurning a trio of gaping opportunities to extend that lead.

Enter Aguero to bag a record equalling 5 goals in the 16 subsequent minutes of play, joining Messrs Shearer, Cole, Berbatov and Defoe in achieving the quintet. Disappointingly for home fans, the diminutive Argentinian forward was subbed off in the 62nd minute with the outright record seemingly within his grasp.

2. Aston Villa are now a club in crisis

The summer signings looked excellent on paper, and an opening day win at Bournemouth built up expectation. One point in seven games since then have provided a reality check for the Midland club, with only Rudy Gestede shining among the off-season acquisitions.

Villa are backed for a narrow away win

Manager Tim Sherwood faces the chop just eight games into a new campaign, with the next eight fixtures unlikely to ease that burden – trips to Chelsea, Southampton, Spurs and Everton, as well as home matches against Arsenal, Manchester City and Swansea are on the horizon.

3. The title race is wide open

The manner in which Arsenal dispatched Manchester United 3-0, coupled with three point hauls for a host of teams near the summit, once again highlighted the lack of consistency in the English top tier this term.

No team looks untouchable, with the returns to form of talismanic South Americans Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero probably sufficient to ensure some sleepless nights for opposing defenders.

4. The manager merry-go-round begins

Liverpool ditched Brendan Rodgers after a 1-1 derby day draw at Everton, with Dick Advocaat stepping away from his role at Sunderland after they let a two goal lead slip in their 2-2 draw with West Ham.

Plenty of other managers are under the cosh; Jose Mourinho, Steve McClaren and Tim Sherwood will all be crossing fingers, toes and tracksuit bottoms that their owners have more patience than the fat cats at Anfield.

5. Leicester and Palace could challenge for Europe

Two clubs that continued their wonderful starts to the season are Crystal Palace and Leicester City, both of whom find themselves in the top five as we head towards another international break.

The Eagles look the more complete group, with Yohan Cabaye pulling strings for the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie to prosper. The Foxes are full of confidence as well, but are less likely to remain as prosperous when they inevitably suffer a couple of injuries and/or suspensions.

Let us know your thoughts on the weekend’s action – should Brendan Rodgers have been given more time? Comment below, and if you’re feeling good natured like our Facebook page.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier League Preview: 5 Things

With another weekend of bombastic fixtures, the Premier League season is well and truly taking shape already.  

Number 5

Just over a month in, there have already been a handful of shocks and surprises. We take a look at five things we should know a little more about by the beginning of next week.

City Spurred back to winning ways?

Manchester City were a mite unfortunate not to take at least a point against West Ham last weekend, but coupled with a disappointing display against Juventus in Europe it placed some pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini – you’re only ever two bad results from a crisis when fickle oil tycoons control your destiny!

An emphatic 4-1 League Cup spanking of whipping boys Sunderland was a timely reminder of how dangerous the Citizens can be when wounded. This weekend they face a Spurs team who crashed out of the same cup competition at home to fierce rivals Arsenal.

Tottenham have looked a shadow of their former selves so far this term, but with home advantage and their own burden to bear after the mid-week shambles, I expect them to respond with a decent home display.

Conclusion: Harry Kane to score early, as Spurs dig deep for a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea defeat = McClaren chop?

Wally with Brolly McClaren

Steve McClaren is a man under pressure only 8 matches into his reign as Newcastle manager. Of those only one has resulted in a win (against lowly Northampton Town in the League Cup), two draws and five defeats, the most recent of which was a humbling home reverse against Championship team Sheffield Wednesday.

Chelsea have been hit and miss (as has Diego Costa with his fists), but their 2-0 win against title rivals Arsenal last weekend provided evidence of a return to form. Despite the dough-faced Spanish striker’s rough house tactics, Jose Mourinho’s men were good value for the result.

A Newcastle defeat might be expected, but Mourinho has never won a match at St James’ Park, so it would be another unwelcome feather in McClaren’s already overloaded cap.

Conclusion: Newcastle have stepped up against the better sides they’ve faced, but their toothless team will have no joy today – Chelsea to win 3-1.

Brendan’s last bow?

Another manager under intense scrutiny is Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. The affable Northern Irishman has never really recovered from losing star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona just over a year ago.

On paper Aston Villa provide ideal opposition, having collected only one point from their past five league outings, but the Villains have previous at Anfield, collecting eight points from their last four visits to Merseyside.

Both teams will be desperate to pick up the win, and although on paper The Reds have a far superior group of players, they have yet to gel.

Conclusion: With Benteke seemingly unfit to take on his former club and Daniel Sturridge not match ready, Danny Ings will step up as his side sneak a priceless 2-1 win.

Foxes to finally lose against Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger Statue

Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes have been one of the surprise packages of the season, winning three and drawing three of their opening half a dozen fixtures.

In Jamie Vardy they have a forward brimming with confidence as they continually defy the odds to comeback late in games, their philosophy to outscore the opposition and hit them on the break.

Arsenal haven’t quite reached their apex, with the spotlight firmly placed on a lack of signings. Delectable approach play is too often undermined by profligate finishing… Why didn’t they go for Charlie Austin or Alexandre Lacazette?

Conclusion: Arsenal will click, and as long as their strikers are on song they’ll take three points back to North London: 2-1 away win.

Rooney to end goal drought?

He might be banging the cup goals in, and striking penalties home for England, but Wayne Rooney’s Premier League form has been lacklustre thus far, outshone by the dazzling potential of £40m+ teenage acquisition Anthony Martial.

True, Rooney is playing a number ten role, but he looks bereft of confidence when it comes to burying chances; Alan Shearer’s 260 goal EPL record appears ever more distant with each blank display.

Step up Sunderland, a team conceding goals by the bucket load. Although the Mackems have pigeon-brained Younes Kaboul suspended, the rest of their back-line isn’t much better, so if Rooney is going to break his duck he couldn’t have chosen a more fitting opponent.

Conclusion: United will ram home three goals, two from Rooney, as they complete a routine 3-0 rout.

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Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Transfer Window 2015: How did your club do?

With the Summer transfer window now slammed shut for Premier League sides, it’s time to reflect on the increasing, surely unsustainable spending that’s occurred during two crazy months.

Arsenal

Total spent: £11m
Notable addition: Petr Cech (Chelsea, £11m)
Notable departure: Abou Diaby (Released)

Arsenal addressed the need for a top quality custodian by acquiring Chelsea’s second choice stopper, Petr Cech, who promises to add stability to the set-up. Unfortunately they still look a striker and midfield destroyer short of challenging for the title, and an additional central defender wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Aston Villa

Total spent: £52.5m
Notable addition: Jordan Amavi (Nice, £10m)
Notable departure: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32.5m)

Christian Benteke’s departure was inevitable, but Fabian Delph’s transfer to Manchester City was a little more contentious, with the England midfielder, having rejected City’s initial advances, pledging his allegiance the Villains, only to perform an about turn and join the Eastlands club less than a week later. Villa have raided France, bringing in some promising talent; most notably Jordan Amavi from Nice.

Bournemouth

Total spent: £23.8m
Notable addition: Max Gradel (£6.8m, Saint-Etienne)
Notable departure: Brett Pitman (£1.2m, Ipswich Town)

The Cherries have picked up from where they left off last season, playing aesthetically appealing football and getting decent results along the way. On paper their squad looks short of quality, although the likes of Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are astute additions. With Eddie Howe at the helm anything seems possible, and perhaps their best piece of business was retaining the talented Callum Wilson.

Chelsea

Total spent: £69m
Notable addition: Pedro (Barcelona, £21.4m)
Notable departure: Petr Cech (Arsenal, £11m)

A quiet, by Chelsea standards, transfer window, coupled with some disappointing results, has emphasised the need to reinvigorate a declining squad. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic in particular have looked as if they’re on the slide. The ultimately fruitless pursuit of Everton’s John Stones will have left Jose Mourinho bitterly frustrated.

Crystal Palace


Total spent: £25.3m
Notable addition: Yohan Cabaye (PSG, £12.8m)
Notable departure: None.

Palace have quietly assembled one of the most thrilling squads in the Premier League, having enjoyed an excellent transfer window, whilst remaining under the radar. Their capture of Yohan Cabaye could be one of the deals of the summer; the diminutive playmaker already having made an impact for the Eagles.

Everton

Total spent: £21.75m
Notable addition: Ramiro Funes Mori (River Plate, £9.5m)
Notable departure: None.

Everton have decided to keep their powder dry for the most part this summer, adding five new faces without spending (relative) big bucks. Keeping John Stones away from Chelsea may prove a short-term victory; that said, a reported £40m offer for the defender was exorbitant, and unlikely to be matched in future, less frenzied times.

Leicester City


Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz, £7.2m)
Notable departure: Esteban Cambiasso (Released)

The unexpected departure of manager Nigel Pearson left a gaping hole in the Foxes’ recruitment drive in the early weeks of the window, but that soon picked up when former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri took the reigns. The ‘Tinkerman’ has made half a dozen useful signings, the best of which looks to be talented Japanese marksman Okazaki.

Liverpool

Total spent: £80.5m
Notable addition: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa, £32.5m)
Notable departure: Raheem Sterling (Man City, £49m)

The Reds started the summer as if they planned to purchase an entirely new squad, perhaps with one eye on the impending departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. Benteke has the ability to become a club legend, and the signings of Danny Ings, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne provide value for money, although none are exactly marquee purchases.

Manchester City

Total spent: £154m
Notable addition: Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg, £55m)
Notable departure: James Milner (Liverpool, free)

The Citizens have resumed the spendthrift stance that was temporarily foiled as a result of the club besmirching FIFA’s “Financial Fair Play” regulations. Stockpiling players once again, they appear to have all bases covered, and anything less than European glory will probably result in Manuel Pellegrini receiving his marching orders.

Manchester United

Total spent: £115.8m
Notable addition: Memphis Depay (PSV, £24.4m)
Notable departure: Angel Di Maria (PSG, £44.8m)

A whirlwind deadline day saw United secure the services of prodigiously talented teenage attacker Anthony Martial from Monaco for an initial £36m and a deal to trade David De Gea to Real Madrid thwarted by tardy paperwork. Despite all of that, their best business was agreed before the window opened, with exciting winger Depay swapping Holland for England.

Newcastle United

Total spent: £48m
Notable addition: Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV, £13m)
Notable departure: Jonas Gutierrez (released)

The Toon Army have (finally) been treated to a host of exciting additions, as well as a much needed revamp in coaching set-up and management. Wijnaldum is, literally and figuratively, the biggest name addition to the group, although both Chancel Mbemba and Floran Thauvin have impressed thus far. Aleksandar Mitrovic should become the number nine supporters have long craved… If he can stay on the pitch for long enough.

Norwich City

Total spent: £12m
Notable addition: Robbie Brady (Hull City, £7m)
Notable departure: Mark Bunn (Aston Villa, free)

Norwich haven’t managed to attract anyone particularly exciting to Norfolk, but what they have done is embellish their midfield with stable top-flight performers. Irish full-back/winger Robbie Brady is a gifted player who deserves the chance to fulfil his undoubted ability, but there is a feeling that the Canaries will end up relying heavily upon the jet-heeled Nathan Redmond.

Southampton

Total spent: £42.5m
Notable addition: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord, £10.5m)
Notable departure: Morgan Schneiderlin (Man United, £27m)

Saints have had a wonderful knack in recent seasons of getting top dollar for outgoing players and replacing them with better, cheaper alternatives. Jordy Clasie may prove to be another coup, although he’s not in the Schneiderlin mould just yet. Nataniel Clyne is a loss, but hanging on to Spurs target Victor Wanyama on deadline day was vital, while the late addition of Virgil Van Dijk is savvy.

Stoke City


Total spent:
£29.8m
Notable addition: Xherdan Shaqiri (Inter Milan, £12m)
Notable departure: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea, £8m)

The evolution of Stoke City continues apace, with the addition of skilful innovators such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel to the ranks. Mark Hughes has assembled a quality squad at the Britannia Stadium. The departure of the brilliant Asmir Begovic has afforded the promising Jack Butland an overdue opportunity.

Sunderland

Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Fabio Borini (Liverpool, £10m)
Notable departure: Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace, £9m)

The Mackems don’t appear to have sufficiently addressed their leaky defence, conceding 13 goals in their five league and cup matches so far this season. The additions of Fabio Borini, Jeremain Lens and Yann M’Vila have at least given Dick Advocaat’s men a previously absent cutting edge.

Swansea City


Total spent:
£15m
Notable signing: Andre Ayew (Marseille, free)
Notable departure: Nathan Dyer (Leicester City, loan)

The Welsh side have been among the shrewdest Premier League operators this summer, picking up high calibre signings with minimal or zero transfer fee attached. Andre Ayew has immediately settled, while Eder provides important backup for on song target man Bafe Gomis.

Tottenham Hotspur

Total spent: £51.3m
Notable addition: Son Heung-Min (Leverkusen, £22m)
Notable departure: Aaron Lennon (Everton, £5.2m)

With Spurs fans crying out for additional fire power, Daniel Levy was only able to conclude deals for support acts and defenders. The club have done well to trim much of the fat from an inflated squad, but may rue the as of yet fruitless pursuit of West Brom’s Saido Berahino.

Watford


Total spent:
£31m
Notable addition: Etienne Capoue (Tottenham, £6m)
Notable departure: None

The most active top-flight team in this transfer window, the Hornets made no less than 15 signings during the summer. On the surface it appears to be a case of quantity over quality, although the likes of Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami at least have the capacity to supply sufficient ammunition for Troy Deeney and co. to trouble the scorers.

West Bromwich Albion


Total spent:
£33m
Notable signing: Salomon Rondon (Zenit, £12m)
Notable departure: Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa, £1m)

The Baggies have had a successful window, retaining the services of star striker Saido Berahino against his will, while adding real quality in the shape of Salomon Rondon, Johnny Evans and James Chester. Tony Pulis has steered clear of panic deals, upgrading key areas. With Rickie Lambert now on the books, Albion have a mouthwatering three-pronged front-line available if they can get Berahino to stop sulking.

West Ham United


Total spent: £35.6m
Notable addition: Dimitri Payet (Marseille, £10.7m)
Notable departure: Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough, £5m)

A new manager and a dozen additions to the playing staff may seem excessive, but the Hammers needed revolution rather than evolution this term. Multiple deadline day deals so often spells impending disaster, but the quality of players such as Alex Song and Victor Moses can’t be questioned. Dimitri Payet holds the key to unlock any defence in Europe.

Did we nail it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

New York calling for designer Diamond (with your help!)

Madelaine Diamond is a woman on a mission; to become the British face of the Fiesta Stylista New York fashion week campaign, run by Stylist Magazine in conjunction with Ford Fiesta.

11218210_10152884356166277_2950763138048015552_nIn order to achieve her lofty ambition of representing the UK at New York Fashion Week (and winning a cool £10,000 in the process), Maddie needs to pile up Instagram “likes” for the image on the left – where red is the integral theme set for entrants. To assist her progress please click and like here!

As things stand she has 730 votes, and finds herself in 12th position, the final slot of the dozen available for a place in the semi-final of the competition, with voting live until August 2nd.

The 20 year-old Brighton University student from Ryde, Isle of Wight, is no fly-by-night briefly orbiting the fashion stratosphere, having interned at a slew of companies within the industry during the past 18 months.

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier Predictions: Round 10

Meg was certainly mystical in round 9, ending my two-match winning streak with a narrow 8-7 victory. This time I’m taking on one of the Midlands’ hottest young acting talents, and long-time suffering West Brom fan Dave Towns!

*All matches kick off at 15.00 on Saturday, May 2nd unless stated.

Leicester City vs Newcastle United
12.45, Saturday


Dom: 3-0
How different the landscape is from just over a month ago. Back then Leicester languished a full 17 points beneath Newcastle, but with a win here they would close the gap to just one, inflicting an eighth successive defeat on their fellow basement dwellers. That’s what will happen, as victory will see Foxes gaffer Nigel Pearson refrain from all talk of ostriches.

Les FerdinandDave: 3-0
Newcastle have been dragged into a relegation dogfight since Alan Pardew ditched the club to join the more ambitious Crystal Palace. Leicester manager Nigel Pearson went on an ostrich related rant during the press conference after his side’s 3-1 mid-week loss at Chelsea, but he’ll have more to smile about this time.

Aston Villa vs Everton

Dom: 3-2
Tim Sherwood has given Villa players and fans their belief back. Suddenly the erstwhile out of sorts Christian Benteke is once again a force to be reckoned with. Everton have gone on a blazing run of form recently, but are in mid-table limbo with Europa League ambitions, thus the Villains should prevail.

Paul McGrath

Dave: 2-0
Everton are already getting the sun cream out, whereas Villa are into squeaky-bum time. It’s now or never for Tim Sherwood’s improving side, and I can see Everton obliging by rolling over.

Liverpool vs Queens Park Rangers

Dom: 3-1
Brendan Rodgers has received plenty of flak for failing to build on last season’s success. Inflated transfer fees saw the £65m Luis Suarez windfall spent on the likes of Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli. Terrible travellers QPR are seemingly resigned to relegation.

Former Liverpool Football Club and Engla

Dave 1-2
This really is last chance saloon for The Hoops. Lose at the weekend and they might as well start planning for life in the Championship. Liverpool are dragging themselves over the finishing line like a dog with no hind legs, so don’t be surprised when Rangers take the points.

Sunderland vs Southampton

Dom: 1-1
Dick Advocaat’s impact on Sunderland has been negligible, despite yet another Tyne-Wear derby success. When 82 year-old Jermain Defoe, and (alleged) child molester Adam Johnson are your best players you’re in trouble. Saints have been brilliant all season, but the Mackems’ desperation will earn them a precious point.

Marian Pahars

Dave: 0-2
Southampton are playing with pride and remain in contention for a Europa League spot. Sunderland seem to be excited by the prospect of hosting Bristol City next season, a loss here could see them cut adrift of safety.

Swansea City vs Stoke City

Dom: 1-2
Swansea have reached a record 50 Premier League points in another excellent season, but Stoke have really impressed me this term, with Mark Hughes getting the best from a host of previously inconsistent players – the future is bright at the Britannia stadium.

Roberto Martinez

Dave: 0-0
This is the game that Tony Cottee will be watching for Sky Sports, and the former West Ham goal-sniffer is in for a long afternoon, with nothing set to happen in this for 90 minutes..other than the ref possibly dying from boredom.

West Ham United vs Burnley

Dom: 1-1
Burnley’s season has fizzled out, with Danny Ings’ dry spell seemingly consigning them to playing their football next season in the second tier, although the out of contract forward will have no trouble finding a new club. West Ham have similarly fallen off a cliff in recent months, expect a dissatisfying point apiece.

Leicester City programme Rio Ferdinand Steve Claridge

Dave: 0-1
Much like the Swansea/Stoke match this has snooze-fest written all over it… but a caveat will arrive when James Collins nets a blinding own goal in the 80th minute to provide three precious points for the Clarets!

Hull City vs Arsenal

Dom: 2-2
Two teams in decent form meet at the KC Stadium, and a point will be satisfying enough for both. Ultimately Hull won’t be relegated and Arsenal will easily qualify for the Champions League.

Thierry Henry sticker

Dave: 1-3
Hull’s good run is set to come to an end. Arsene Wenger will wear a massive coat and not notice anything apart from the penalty claim that the ref (correctly) turns down.

Manchester United vs West Brom
Saturday, 17.30

Dom: 3-1
United will be a force again next season, with such a vibrant second half to their campaign confirming that Van Gaal was certainly a shrewd appointment. West Brom are all but safe, so this loss won’t be of great consequence to their season.

William Prunier

Dave: 3-0
I never bet on West Brom, they always prove me wrong. Except this time, probably. Man United to come out of the blocks quickly and Pulis to have no plan B.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Sunday, 13.30

Dom: 2-1
Chelsea have ground out some important results in recent weeks, a trait that looks set to continue with a narrow victory against Palace. With so many wild card players, the visitors are always good for a goal, although newly crowned PFA player of the year Eden Hazard should sparkle in the face of lumbering opposition defenders.

Dimitri Kharine

Dave: 2-0
Chelsea will seal the Premiership title at Stamford Bridge. The champagne will be flowing by half time and no-one will realise that make-weights Crystal Palace are even there.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City
Sunday, 16.00

Dom: 1-1
It’s a strangely transitional phase for both of these teams; Spurs have never fully reached their potential since selling Gareth Bale, while City overspent on mediocre players in the summer, and the likes of Toure and Kompany seem to be on the decline. A draw will sum up where they’re at.

Spurs

Dave: 1-4
Spurs tend to struggle against the top teams, particularly Manchester City. Despite Manuel Pellegrini clearly being on his way out, the visitors will have a field day against Tottenham’s high line, with Eric Dier in particular exposed.

Mystic Meg’s victory last weekend sees her slot into equal third in the Premier Predictions table, Kureen still leads guest pundits 66-62, with only a few weeks of the season remaining.

1. DJ Rees: 11 Points

2. Just Mike: 9

3= True Geordie: 8

3= Mystic Meg: 8

5. Dom Kureen: 7.33 (average)

6. Damian Clark: 7

7. Kelvin West: 6

8. Jonathan O’Shea: 5

9. Nightshade: 5

10. Rik Waller: 3

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

John Carver and 10 other terrible EPL managers

John Carver’s reign as full-time Newcastle United boss has thus far proven little short of an unmitigated disaster, achieving the worst sequence for the club in 28 years by losing seven league matches in a row.

John Carver

Carver has previous failures on his CV; his track record was equally inept during his stint in the hot-seat, with just three points yielded from five matches as Leeds United’s interim boss, a similarly short and unsuccessful term at Sheffield United, and a woeful spell at Toronto FC, which ended with the club in the MLS relegation zone and Carver given his marching orders.

Mentioning that he’s a Geordie who worked under the great Sir Bobby Robson in virtually every interview may have been a ploy to garner sympathy from the Tyneside natives, but has in fact had the opposite effect, with the Toon Army soon tiring of JC reminiscing about getting the rub to justify his appointment.

Carver isn’t alone though, here’s a rundown of ten other terrible Premier League managers.

Iain DowieIain Dowie

Dowie has successfully led two teams to the Championship, as well as directly causing the relegation of a third. His top-flight career peaked in the mid-2000’s, as he tried admirably to save Crystal Palace from going straight back down, while at his next job, Dowie hopelessly kept Charlton in the relegation places, despite being given extensive funds, before getting sacked halfway through the 2005/06 season.

At Hull City, Dowie was brought in to keep the Tigers in the top tier, but once again, the former striker could not inspire any sort of survival. These facts speak for themselves and Dowie has to be considered one of the least inspiring Premier League managers ever.

Terry Connor

One in, one out: Terry Connor was out of his depth as a manager.
One in, one out: Terry Connor was out of his depth as a manager.

 

Terry Connor was Wolverhampton Wanderers’ assistant manager when Mick McCarthy was given the boot in February 2012. Despite having zero experience as a senior manager, Wolves entrusted Connor with keeping the club in the Premier League.

The 50 year old, who is back as McCarthy’s assistant at Ipswich Town, took over with the club in 18th position, yet by the end of the season, Wolves were at the bottom of the table. Connor failed to win a single game in his 13 games in charge, leading Wolves to seven consecutive defeats and life in the Championship.

Luiz ScolariLuiz Scolari

Scolari makes the list as he had a talented squad and excessive funds at his disposal; and this is without even mentioning his previous achievements, including a World Cup! His stint with Chelsea was in fact Scolari’s first (and only) job as manager of a European club and this may explain the reason why he didn’t even last until the end of the season.

The Brazilian boss endured a horrid run of form with the Blues and was replaced with interim manager Guus Hiddink in February 2009, who arrived to adjust the error of Scolari’s ways and win the FA Cup.

Les ReedLou Reed

Les Reed holds the record of having the shortest managerial reign in Premier League history, when he left Charlton Athletic by mutual consent, after just 41 days. He is regularly voted as the Addicks’ worst manager of all time and it’s to no surprise.

Reed’s stint of seven games produced one victory, one draw and five defeats, one of which was an embarrassing loss to League Two’s Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup. He was swiftly replaced by Alan Pardew in December 2006.

Juande Ramos

The first of two former Spurs managers in this list did initially win the hearts of his supporters by clinching the League Cup over Chelsea in 2008. Yet, in his second season in charge, the former Sevilla head coach lost his way in spectacular fashion, amassing 2 points from the opening 8 league games.

That mark remains Tottenham Hotspur’s worst ever start to a Premier League season and an inability to speak English did not help matters for the increasingly forlorn gaffer. Surprisingly Ramos’ next coaching position was at the helm of Real Madrid.

Steve WigleySteve Wigley

Steve Wigley replaced the equally inept Paul Sturrock as full time Southampton manager in August 2004. Many were surprised with Wigley’s appointment as his only previous experience was that of a three year spell of non-league Aldershot Town.

Wigley lasted a total of 14 games, with the Saints’ board realising their mistake and the 51 year old quickly returned to his duties with the club’s youth teams. he managed only one win during his time as manager  but that was against bitter rivals Portsmouth.

Steve KeanSteve Kean

Blackburn Rovers fans reading this will surely be satisfied that bumbling Kean’s torrid Ewood Park tenure has been acknowledged. The Scottish coach miserably led Blackburn to relegation during the 2011-12 season, and somehow managed to evade “Kean out” demands for many months before finally getting the boot in early 2013.

The 45 year old, currently without a job, splashed £8.25m on the exceptional Jordan Rhodes, but still couldn’t inspire the Blue and Whites towards a play-off place, suffering 30 defeats in just 60 games all told. His ignorance to the fans’ calls to resign just beats Paul Ince to a spot in the list.

Jacques SantiniJacques Santini

Who? I hear you ask. Santini is the first of two Spurs managers in this list (and Christian Gross could also have been included). The French manager had worked wonders at Lyon and tried his luck in the Premier League with Tottenham.

However, he only lasted five months in the job and was soon replaced by his assistant, Martin Jol, who went on to do very well. The French boss had a decent record as Spurs manager but announced his resignation after just 13 games.

Alan ShearerAlan Shearer

A harsh choice perhaps, considering that the Geordie legend was afforded only eight matches in charge of his beloved Newcastle United, and inherited a squad choc-full of has-beens, ne’er weres and rotten to the core characters.

It was little wonder then that his final stats in charge read 1 win, 2 draws and 5 defeats, albeit three of those reverses were at the hands of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United respectively. Still, it was 1-0 losses to Fulham and Aston Villa that truly put paid to the club’s survival hopes, as Hull City escaped by a single point.

Brian KiddManchester United

After stints as manager at Barrow and Preston North End, Kidd became an assistant at Manchester United from 1988-98. While there, he learned from one of the all-time greats: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Did Kidd take what he learned from Ferguson into the head job at Blackburn? Of course not. Instead he got Rovers relegated in 1999 — just four years after they were champions.

The most painful part for Kidd is the knowledge that the stinging words of Sir Alex were swiftly proved accurate. Fergie never forgave Kidd for walking out of United and in his autobiography, he described his erstwhile right-hand man as a worrier who could not evaluate a player and talked behind his back –something which was difficult to deny after Kidd oversaw a host of terrible signings, such as £9m dud-duo Ashley Ward and Jason McAteer.

Agree with our list? Feel that we missed out some truly horrible bosses? Let us know in the comment section below.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier Predictions: Round 9.

Having comfortably vanquished the former Pop Idol stud Rik Waller by a score of 10-3 last time out, Dom Kureen this week takes on the psychic, oft’ psychotic might of Mystic Meg, a former National Lottery show staple – surely the most qualified predictor of the season.

Mystic Meg
*All matches kick off at 15.00 on Saturday 25th April unless stated otherwise.

Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, 12.45

Dom: 2-1
Even without Fraser Forster in the net Saints are just about keeping things ticking along in their pursuit of a Europa League berth, and their home comforts should see them through to a narrow victory against a Spurs team for whom 30-goal Harry Kane continues to flourish.

Meg: 1-1
I see the number one playing a large part here, why is there a puddle under my seat? Tottenham have players who can bewilder and bewitch in the same breath, while their more southerly counterparts are punching above their weight. A tie seems apt, but wait – there’s a building burning nearby, I see humans and a dog… But this is about football, so I’ll quickly erase that image.

Burnley vs Leicester City

Leicester City

Dom: 1-2
Burnley are struggling to trouble the scorers, with biggest fish Danny Ings’ goal drought leaving them relying on the likes of Ashley Barnes for goals from midfield. Leicester’s own midfield dynamo, Esteban Cambiasso, has really stepped up in recent weeks, and a run of three successive victories has given the Foxes hope – they’ll continue to prosper on Saturday.

Meg: 0-0
Oh dear, I can envision fans falling asleep as two nervous sets of players see out a stalemate. The colour red shall be flashed on two occasions to break the malaise a little, but it will be a desperate afternoon which shall do little for either team.

Crystal Palace vs Hull City

Dom: 2-0
Hull are one of my tips for relegation. With a horrible run-in and miserable recent form, Steve Bruce’s Tigers cut an increasingly impotent figure. Jelavic has chipped in with 9 league goals, but the likes of Abel Hernandez have “expensive flop” written all over them. Pardew’s Palace suffered a setback at the hands of West Brom last weekend, but will return to form here.

Meg: 2-3
Oh my goodness, I just saw who shot Phil Mitchell back in 1998! I’m not sure if it was a YouTube repeat or a delayed message from my crystal ball; I’m an insomniac in the late stages of dementia, so I will go for 3-2 to the second team you said.

Newcastle United vs Swansea City

Dom: 1-1
Oh my sugary lemons, Newcastle are a club in turmoil. Six defeats on the trot at the inept hands of John Carver, an owner selling the best players and refusing to invest, fans staying away, and exaggerated attendances. The Toon might just scrape a valuable point to keep their heads above the parapet, especially if Siem De Jong returns.

Meg: 1-5
One Northern English squad, one from Wales. I see a lot of empty seats, a podgy northern man pretending to be a manager on the side-lines, and a Swansea team without a fit recognised striker notching 5 against their troubled opponents. I also see that the price of milk has risen to 66p in my local supermarket, disgusting.

Queens Park Rangers vs West Ham United

Dom: 2-0
QPR have shown signs of life in recent weeks, particularly in their 4-1 romp at West Brom, and are relying on Charlie Austin to continue his white-hot form. The Hammers have had their flip-flops on for months now, with calls for manager Sam Allardyce’s head. It’s no surprise as his team are currently rudderless, having been among the top 4 during December.

Meg: 2-2
I may sound like a lout when I say this, but come on yooooo Hammmas!!! We won the World Cup. 2-2 the prediction may be, but big Sam’s pearly street Gods will gain 52% possession. I see a 6 foot 5 inch Geordie donkey with a terrible ponytail being crocked in the stands as usual… no that can’t be right – Liverpool paid £36m and West Ham £17m for him? Damn crystal ball’s broken again.

Stoke City vs Sunderland

Adam Johnson

Dom: 2-1
The disturbing news for Sunderland is that star player and former England winger, Adam Johnson, has been charged with grooming an underage school girl for sex. Even Black Cats fans must surely condemn the player for what amounts to rape. The game itself will be played under a dark cloud, with in-form Stoke ensuring that the Mackems lurch deeper into the relegation mire.

Meg: 1-3
Disgusting scenes often perversely act as a catalyst for siege mentality, this will be the case with Sunderland. A terrible team now void of their best player, the poor relations of the North-East will smash and grab their way to victory over an impressive Stoke team, as former stable mates Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe go head-to-head for the first time in years.

West Bromwich Albion vs Liverpool

Dom: 2-2
Liverpool’s away form is patchy to say the least. The result of this one will ultimately depend on which version of the Reds turn up to the Hawthorns. West Brom’s worrying sequence of defeats finally came to an end at Selhurst Park last weekend, with their shock win over Crystal Palace taking them to 36 points, probably just one or two short of safety.

Meg: 0-4
I see trees of green, red roses too. The red roses shall arrive for an Oscar worthy display from the travellers, who will arrive in their caravans and depart in sports cars that they stole from this most aesthetically appealing area of the Midlands. Brom have a new manager, and I predict that they will have blueprints for a new Tesco Express approved within the next 4 months.

Man City vs Aston Villa
17.30, Saturday

Dom: 2-1
City have had a peculiar and disappointing season. Their summer transfer signings have fallen flat, particularly the £32m acquisition of Mangala, a leaden footed central defender who should retire and become a WWE wrestler. Villa’s progress to the FA Cup final gave their long suffering fans something to cherish from a wretched season, and the return to form of star striker Christian Benteke will see them safe with something to spare.

Meg: 1-2
Oh what’s this? A bunch of oiks who celebrate victory as if they’ve just spent the night with Brooke Shields, and defeats by grumbling into their pillows – oh it must be an Aston Villa match! A big Belgian will score two by shrugging off an out of form Belgian defender as the away fans gush freely into their underpants, but this is between two English teams… That seems all kinds of wrong.

Everton v Manchester United
Sunday, 13.30

Dom: 1-3
Everton are on a roll; with all fears of relegation out of the way they can now focus on winning the Europa League, for which they would be rewarded with a Champions League spot. Taking a more conventional method of qualification for the elite club comp are Man United, who were very unfortunate to lose 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last time out. With Rooney, Mata and Herrera in scintillating form and Toffees minds elsewhere this has a whiff of away win.

Meg: 4-2
I am a lady of rich tastes – I drink sparkling camel milk, I wash my hair with pumpkin dust, and I predict 4-2 home wins. That is the power of Meg.

Arsenal vs Chelsea
Sunday, 16.00

Santi Cazorla

Dom: 2-1
Last weekend was  an excellent one for both sides; Chelsea all but sewed up the league by sneaking victory over Manchester United, while Arsenal qualified for the FA Cup final via an extra time success over Reading. With Alexis Sanchez back to his best Arsenal will fancy their chances of turning over the champions-elect.

Meg: 0-0
Oh deary me, horses and women? Oh gosh that’s an impressive girth – like my fourth husband or Jeremy Beadle’s special hand (bless his soul.) The game’s highlight shall be a 72 year-old mystic lady streaking across the field with her bosoms flapping in the wind like out of control beagle ears – thank you for the ticket Mr Terry, and thank you for last night!

Another good result for the home team means that Dom leapfrogs Damian Clark for a spot in the top four, with Rik Waller flaccidly drooping at the foot of the table, Kureen in the process taking an overall lead of 59-54 against guest pundits.

1. DJ Rees: 11 Points

2. Just Mike: 9

3. True Geordie: 8

4. Dom Kureen: 7.38 (average)

5. Damian Clark: 7

6. Kelvin West: 6

7. Jonathan O’Shea: 5

8. Nightshade: 5

9. Rik Waller: 3

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier Predictions: Week 8.

Last time out Dom comfortably overcame the might of former UK Gladiator Nightshade, winning by a personal high 10 points to 5. This time he takes on the wit and wisdom of ex-Pop Idol Rik Waller, hoping to make it back-to-back victories.

Rik Waller

*A correct outcome gains one point, an exact result three points. All games kick off at 3pm on Saturday 14th March unless stated.

Crystal Palace vs Queens Park Rangers
Kick-off: 12.45, Saturday

Bobby Zamora

Dom: 2-0
Alan Pardew must be on cloud nine; a few months ago he was being booed by his own fans as Newcastle United manager, now his name is sung from the Selhurst Park terraces, and with good reason. Pards has revitalised his old team, and they’ll slam another nail into the QPR coffin this afternoon.

Rik: 1-1
Hulk Hogan! Now that I have your attention I have a gig next month in collaboration with an Isle of Wight artist called Jonty not Bonty (his real name is Jonty Chodeflap, hence the change!) – with half a dozen people now tolerating his existence, and my three supporters “livin’ it large” we hope to at least account for five of the seats in the Dog and Duck pub in Fratton this time without getting heckled off the stage before we get to our third ballad!

Arsenal vs West Ham United

Dom: 3-1
The Hammers have reverted to last season’s tactics of drilling the ball long at every opportunity, this despite Andy Carroll once again being on the sidelines. Big Sam looks like he’s out of ideas, just as Arsenal’s league form appears to be gaining consistency – wrong time, wrong place for The Irons.

Rik: 10-2
During my last set of night terrors, Nasty Nigel seemed to be barking “ten two, ten two” at me, in hindsight it may have been Auntie Joan leaving a message about the time, oh wait wasn’t I supposed to scrub her shoulders in the tub around that time? Never mind, I’m stuck with the prediction now – just my luck.

Leicester City vs Hull City

Hull City

Dom: 2-2
A draw doesn’t really help either of these basement dwellers, but seems the logical result. The Foxes have played quite well recently, just lacking bite in the final third. Hull are hit and miss; a frustrating 90 minutes at the King Power Stadium will encapsulate their season.

Rik: Abandoned (Bomb Threat.)
All my life I was told what I can’t do; “You can’t sell your teeth to the Science Museum in London Rik”… “You can’t wear a cape to the Job Centre”…  Well screw you mother, I will go for a 6-1 win for the Lancashire Hot Pots, either that or I’ll call in a bomb threat, do we get extra points for that?

Sunderland vs Aston Villa

Dom: 0-1
Spare a thought for the supporters of these two sides, who have been subjected to the ugliest football in the division. Worse still, Black Cats star man Adam Johnson was recently arrested on charges of sex with a minor, meaning he could miss a chunk of games even if found innocent, something that would spell disaster for the Mackems.

Rik: 1-0
With Benteke and Johnson probably sitting this one out both sides are without their main sources of creativity, or at least that’s what I read on Ceefax. Benteke is one funny name though, doesn’t sound like he’s from Aston at all, so come on Sunders.

West Bromwich Albion vs Stoke City

Dom: 2-1
A last gasp defeat to bitter rivals Aston Villa in their previous league encounter dampened some of the enthusiasm surrounding Tony Pulis’ appointment and subsequent upturn in fortunes. No problem, the Baggies will return to winning ways against Stoke, virtually guaranteeing safety in the process.

Rik: 2-5
Stoke have found a second wind lately, I thought I’d found a second wind with the old singing lark recently, but it was just a very tuneful burp. Stokers to win in some good style – go the young’uns!

Burnley vs Manchester City
Saturday, 17.30

Dom: 1-3
Manchester City’s title aspirations are surely dwindling; Chelsea will open up an 8-point lead if they win their game in hand. Burnley are still in the midst of a relegation scrap, with their small squad beginning to wilt in recent weeks. City should romp home.

Rik: 4-0
Man City are getting what they deserve. As I once told Simon Cowell; money can’t buy you everything, certainly not class anyway. City are going to get trounced! Let us make it trend: #cityisbadinfootballl!

Chelsea vs Southampton
Sunday, 13.30

John Terry

Dom: 3-1
The Blues will be gagging to put things right after their embarrassing Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday, where their players acted like infants to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off. Saints’ form is hit and miss at the moment, so despite their excellent league position they’ll struggle at Stamford Bridge.

Rik: 1-0
I used to know a lad from Southampton, Dave something. Anyway very funny story about Dave; so Dave owned a bicycle and he forgot to tie it up and someone did away with it. The sad thing is that Dave was never the same after that, never really spoke much and always sitting in golf course bunkers with his middle fingers raised defiantly. Funny how everyone knows a Dave right?!

Everton vs Newcastle United
Sunday, 16.00

Dom: 2-0
Everton’s Europa League exertions on Thursday may have offered a pleasant distraction, but their domestic form is cause for concern, with the Toffees sitting only six points above the drop zone. Newcastle have given up on their season (again) and with a dozen injuries and Papiss Cisse’s lengthy ban to boot it’s hard to see where the goals will come from.

Rik: 0-0-1?
0-0 looks like a shocked face when you write it! Or maybe something else like ring doughnuts (num num!) I read the form guide and these two teams are not so good, so no goals for the two teams and maybe just the one for the ball boys or some American tourists. One lump or two? 0-0-1.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday, 16.00

Harry Kane Adebayor

Dom: 2-2
I’m not convinced that either side has a defence worthy of Champions League football, but both possess talented attackers. Spurs’ Harry Kane in particular is fresh from two consecutive player of the month awards. Kane will score again, but Rooney’s due a couple.

Rik: 0-0 5-6
I’m torn between 0-0 and 5-6, they both seem like the obvious outcome when you add up corner kicks and divide them by numbers. Ok, my therapist said be decisive: 5-6. Linekar with 2 and Gazza to cry tears of joy again. As for Cantona, let’s just hope he doesn’t punch all of the fans again!

Swansea vs Liverpool
Monday, 20.00

Dom: 1-2
Swansea’s home form has been decent this term and Liverpool have lost a few away, but where The Reds appear to be getting stronger with each league match, their Welsh counterparts are just bubbling along contentedly in mid-table, and will have no answer to Raheem Sterling’s pace and trickery.

Rik: 3-0 for Anne
Swans in the sea or Liver in a pool? It all sounds eerily familiar to a wonderful meal I had under the stars one evening – my Tinder date ‘Anne’ didn’t show up, but funnily enough there was another Anne with exactly the same face, height, blood type (O Negative, as in “Oh she’s so negative!) and whose phone’s screen saver was the same photo-shopped profile pic I’d used on the app (Jared Leto’s face with Jared Leto’s body and my hair.) 3-0 it is, but only for for Anne.

The Premier Predictions league table is still led by DJ Rees. Dom’s win last time means that he goes level with Damian Clark, as Nightshade brings up the rear.

1. DJ Rees: 11 Points

2. Just Mike: 9

3. True Geordie: 8

4= Damian Clark: 7

4= Dom Kureen: 7 (average)

6. Kelvin West: 6

7. Jonathan O’Shea: 5

8. Nightshade: 5

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier Predictions: Part 7.

Welcome to the seventh edition of Premier Predictions, with Dom Kureen this time taking on the might of former UK Gladiator ‘Nightshade’, aka Judy Smith.

Gladiators

Last time out Damian Clark beat Dom 7-3, moving fourth in the table in the process.

*A correct outcome gains one point, an exact result three points. All games kick off at 3pm on Saturday 1st March unless stated.

West Ham United vs Crystal Palace
Kick-Off: 12.45, SaturdayCrystal Palace

Dom: 1-3
Hammers fans are far from happy, with seven draws in eleven games ensuring a plummet down the table, as well as a disappointing cup exit. Going into some tricky fixtures they’ll target a win here. Unfortunately for ‘big Sam’ and his motley crew, Palace are rejuvenated under Alan Pardew – they’ll win with something to spare.

Nightshade: 3-3
Who knows? West Ham are out of steam, Palace have a perfect away record under Pardew. Lots of goals, lots of errors and some disgruntled home fans!

Burnley vs Swansea

Dom: 2-1
The Clarets don’t know when they’re beaten, and despite receiving a season’s worth of good fortune in their excellent draw at Chelsea, morale should be high at Turf Moor, they’ll need it to see off a fading Swansea team.

Nightshade: 0-2
Burnley were very lucky last week, this time they’ll come back down to earth with a bump, Danny Ings can’t score every week, and Bafe Gomis is due a goal for the Swans.

Manchester United vs Sunderland

Dom: 4-2
Sunderland are starting to look stale under Gus Poyet, despite protestations to the contrary from players. United are hardly storming along, but their attacking prowess will inflict yet more suffering on Black Cat supporters.

Nightshade: 1-0
United are so up and down that I’ve decided to go for a tight home win, although I could just as well have rolled a couple of dice with these two teams.

Newcastle vs Aston VillaGabriel Obertan

Dom: 1-1
Terrible teams alert! Villa have been horrendous for a long time, while Newcastle are virtually unwatchable under the leadership of interim gaffer John ‘Charver’, a man with all of the tactical nous of an inebriated 12 year-old playing Football Manager on his brother’s PC.

Nightshade: 0-1
Newcastle are so bad under Carver that defeats seem the logical prediction virtually every week that he’s their head coach. Tim Sherwood should get a good response from his troops after last week’s disappointing 2-1 home reverse against Stoke.

Stoke City vs Hull City

Dom: 2-1
Stoke are all but safe after their triumph at Villa Park last time out, one more win will secure their top-flight status for another year. They should beat a Hull team capable of upsetting the best, but their inconsistency will haunt them here.

Nightshade: 0-4
One outrageous prediction for me! Hull are the kind of team who can produce brilliance on rare occasions; I’m banking on them doing it at the Britannia Stadium – come on you Tigers!

West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton

Dom: 1-2
Saints’ defence for once looked leaden footed when they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool last Saturday. They should bounce back at the Hawthorns, despite the Baggies’ vast improvement since Tony Pulis’ appointment.

Nightshade: 1-1
Tony Pulis and West Brom looks like a marriage made in heaven. A point at home against an excellent Southampton team should provide further proof that the Baggies are destined to beat the drop this term.

Liverpool vs Manchester City
12.00, SundayMan City

Dom: 1-3
A home defeat against Barcelona exposed City’s flaws in certain areas – is James Milner really good enough to start those kind of matches? Liverpool are no Barca though, and despite improving in recent weeks they’ll disappoint their fans tomorrow.

Nightshade: 2-1
City followed a 5-0 hammering of Newcastle with a 2-1 home defeat against Barcelona. Liverpool, also in decent domestic form and poor in Europe, will kill off Pellegrini’s title tilt, ultimately costing the Chilean his job at the end of the campaign.

Arsenal vs Everton
14.05, Sunday

Dom: 2-0
Arsenal were woeful in Europe in mid-week, smashed 3-1 by Monaco in front of their own fans. Everton on the other hand are doing rather well in the Europa League, but suffering a terrible run in the league – all of this points to a Gunners home win, and then some serious work to do in their second leg in France.

Nightshade: 2-2
“Come in Mr Wenger, your time is up!” Despite being a revolutionary Premier League manager, Monsieur Wenger has a team that are treading treacle. With morale on the floor, this is an optimum time for the Toffees to take a point at the Emirates.

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur (League Cup)
16.00, Sunday (Double points game)Eden Hazard

Dom: 2-1 aet
Spurs have developed one of this season’s revelations in the shape of Harry Kane. A gem of a striker, he’ll nab another goal to take this one to extra time, but Chelsea will find another gear to seal silverware before focusing on more pressing matters.

Nightshade: 2-4
Tottenham destroyed Chelsea earlier this season, 5-3 at White Hart Lane. They will do that again here; a hat-trick for Eriksen and one more for Kane. Silverware for Spurs!

The Premier Predictions league table is still led by DJ Rees. Dom’s defeat last time means that he slumps into the bottom half of the table, while Damian Clark sits in mid-table, having secured a comfortable victory.

1. DJ Rees: 11 Points

2. Just Mike: 9

3. True Geordie: 8

4. Damian Clark: 7

5. Dom Kureen: 6.50 (average)

6. Kelvin West: 6

7. Jonathan O’Shea: 5

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.