The wife and I are similar in many ways, but we disagree on the most prudent way to discipline children. Betty is from the old-school, and believes a small slap is perfectly acceptable. I take the opposite view, and prefer the use of a knuckle-duster.
Such actions would not be necessary if it wasn’t for our children being led astray by poor role-models, such as Premier League footballers. Even fully grown men occasionally follow their contentious lead; just last Tuesday I enjoyed a lunchtime roast.
It’s not just the off-field antics that leave a nasty taste in the mouth; the game is still riddled with simulation. There appears to be a growing number of players who embrace the turf more than Jodie Foster.
Peter Crouch tried to point the finger at foreign players after trying to dissect Jon Obi Mikel. As Crouch launched into his astonishing tirade, a sheepish Steven Gerrard kept his head down in the background. I hope that Stevie steps up when Liverpool play Manchester City; I’m hitting the Reds at 11/10.
Luckily, some players are willing to change. Ashley Young may have been guilty of going down easily in the past, but I have it on good authority that he plans to get a grip of himself over the coming months. The inspirational Young will lead Aston Villa to victory over Wigan at 7/5.
Arsene Wenger’s decision to release Ashley Cole was truly inspired. Arsenal’s new left-back has been a revelation this season, but I disagree with his assertion that players need a winter break. That’s just a tired cliché. The 6/5 for an Arsenal win over Everton should be on everybody’s lips.
David Sullivan has claimed that the departure of Steve Bruce was “the best thing that has ever happened to Birmingham City.” He’s obviously forgotten about the glorious Auto Windscreens Shield campaign of 1995. The Blues can crack a managerless Fulham at 10/11.
Sol Campbell does not appreciate terrace banter. The big man has asked for intervention from the FA, the PFA, and somewhat optimistically, the government. I just can’t see Gordon Brown introducing a ministry for the concerns of the slightly deranged. Portsmouth are unbeaten against Boro in their last 10 meets: I’d rather listen to a repeat of the Queen’s speech than miss the 7/10 for a Pompey win.
I try to stay away from the political arena as a rule, but there is something seriously amiss in this country when the likable Al Bangura is threatened with deportation, yet the campaign to remove Robbie Savage is ignored by the suits in Westminster. The 10/11 for a Blackburn win against the luckless Derby is equally perplexing.
Roy Keane has been linked with a move for Robbie Savage in the January window. I’m pleased that the Irishman hasn’t allowed Sunderland’s perilous position to affect his sense of humour. I’ll be laughing like Peter Beardsley’s photographer when I take the 6/4 for a Sunderland win over Bolton.
Jermain Defoe remains understandably unhappy with his prolonged spell on the bench, as he has to keep a continual eye out for a drunken Alan Davies. Tottenham are firing on all cylinders, I’ll happily take a bite out of the 4/7 for a Spurs win against a floundering Reading.
Wayne Rooney allegedly made a few risqué suggestions to a Daily Mirror reporter at Manchester United’s controversial Christmas bash. A stunned Mr McGovern was forced to make his excuses and leave. I won’t be knocking back the 3/1 for a draw between West Ham and Manchester United.
Chelsea have been leaking goals since John Terry met with Emmanuel Eboue’s studs of immediate justice; but they face a Newcastle side who remain impotent on the road. We should all rise to welcome the 4/9 for a Chelsea win.
Alex can consider himself fortunate to be JT’s replacement. The Brazilian could stand back-to-back with Frank Lampard and form a perfect circle. Portsmouth, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool form a 10/1 accer that is the literal definition of perfection.
Your Weekend Predictions
You can copy-paste the list of fixtures below and tell us your predictions in the comments section.
West Ham v Manchester United
Everton v Arsenal
Manchester City v Liverpool
Chelsea v Newcastle
Tottenham v Reading
Birmingham City v Fulham
Portsmouth v Middlesbrough
Sunderland v Bolton
Wigan v Aston Villa
Derby County v Blackburn
Feel free to discuss matches before and after the weekend as well.