Premier League: Who will grab the title?

There is plenty of speculation around who will win the Premier League this year with it looking to be a very tight affair. Brendan Rodgers recently told the press that he felt Liverpool were out of the title race after a falter in their form. However, after handing Arsenal a lesson in determination in a 5-1 victory, the players have convinced me their manager may have been wrong.

So here’s a look at the teams I feel have a chance at winning the title this year. As a QPR fan, I will try to be as unbiased as possible in my predictions.

 

Manchester City – Champions

With their form in front of goal looking strong and an incredible home record, I really feel that City will fire their way to the title. Their goal difference alone will be enough to win the title, drawing on points with the runner up.

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Chelsea – Runner Up

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea was always going to be in contention for the title. Having been the first team to beat City at home in the league in just over a year, Chelsea have a great chance of winning the title, but City’s goal difference is far superior and I predict they will just lose out on the title on goal difference, finishing second.

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Liverpool – 3rd

Having started the season on top form, Liverpool have been said to fall out of the title race. However, Chelsea’s 1-0 win over City and their 5-1 victory over Arsenal have lobbed them back amongst the teams in with a chance. They won’t be far behind City and Chelsea, but with the help on Suarez’s boot, I can see them finishing comfortably at third.

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Arsenal – 4th

I honestly thought Arsenal were going to win the title just about a month ago. However, they have been really unlucky with injuries striking them at a vital time in the season. For this reason, I can’t see them winning as many games as the teams placed above them and I predict a fourth place finish.

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Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I will write a new blog with the reader’s view!

 

The home nations autumn test update

WalesWRU vs ARU

Current form so far: LW

Wales 15 – 24 South Africa

Wales 40 – 6 Argentina

The loss against South Africa in the first week was a gruesome and a hard hitting game. With both teams making many errors throughout the game,  it was hard to watch at times. Regardless of the loss, Wales proved themselves against Argentina in their next match.

Looking at Wales’ poor Autumn Test form, before the win against Argentina, Wales had not won an autumn international since 2009. This poor record was demolished when Wales ran rampant against the Argentinian squad. Tries by Phillips, North, Falatau and Owen, all converted along with four well struck penalties by Leigh Halfpenny was enough to end their torment.

Remaining fixtures:

Wales vs Tonga (Friday 22nd November 2013)

Wales vs Australia (Saturday 30th November 2013)

EnglandERU vs NZRU

Current form: WWL

England 20 – 13 Australia

England 31 – 12 Argentina

England 22 – 30 New Zealand

England had an impressive autumn test in their three games. Starting with a home tie with Australia, England impressed the home fans with a victory over Australia. Two converted tries from Robshaw and Farrell, with two penalties from Farrell, was enough to earn the victory over the Aussies. A good start.

Building on this, Argentina were up next. Although they held strong for the start of the match, the pressure of playing England overcame them and they ended up losing the game. With tries coming from Launchbury, Twelvetrees, Ashton and Morgan, and a penalty kicked by farrell, England overcame their second test.

Their final test match of the Autumn came when world champions New Zealand visited Twickenham last weekend. England proved to really push the All Blacks and put on an impressive showing where they took a 22-20 lead before conceding a try and penalty to lose the game.

IrelandIRU vs ARU

Current form so far: WL

Ireland 40 – 9 Samoa

Ireland 15 – 32 Australia

The Republic of Ireland began their autumn tests with a massive victory against Samoa, a tough opponent for most due to them being an extremely physical side. Two tries by Kearney, tries coming from O’Mahony, O’Brien and McFadden along with three penalties kicked by Jackson was enough to dominate this one.

Following the victory, Ireland faced a tough test match against the Wallabies. In the end, Australia proved to be too much for the Irishmen and ended up losing the game, with New Zealand still to face, can Ireland pull off an upset?

Remaining fixture:

Ireland vs New Zealand (Sunday 24th November 2013)

ScotlandSRU vs SARU

Current form so far: WL

Scotland 42 – 17 Japan

Scotland 0 – 28 South Africa

Scotland, like Ireland started their test by scoring more than 40 points in their first game to claim a first victory. Tries coming from Laidlaw, Dickinson, Weir, Lamont and two from Seymour as well as two penalties struck by Laidlaw was plenty to put Japan down as a victory for the Scots.

However, their test took a rotten turn when South Africa visited Murrayfield. South Africa completely blocked Scotland out, showing a fantastic all round play to score 28 points and concede none. It looks ominous for Scotland for their next test match against Australia on Saturday.

Remaining fixture:

Scotland vs Australia (Saturday 23rd November 2013)

Impressive Djokovic

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

I don’t know a lot about tennis as a sport, but I have heard the name Novac Djokovic floating around.  He beat Tomas Berdych to set up the deciding rubber in the Davis Cup. he beat him in straight sets going 6-4, 7-6 and 6-2. By defeating Berdych, Djokovic also earned a 24th successive victory, an impressive feat. In order for the Czech Republic to retain this title, Radek Stepanek, the world’s number 44, will have to beat Dusan Lajovic, the world’s number 114 in the final match of the cup. If Stepanek were to win, then Serbia would be the new Davis Cup champions.

Having watched Wimbledon only a few times in my life, there is not much I can comment on without a wider knowledge of the sport. However, I do know an impressive scoreline when I hear one and to have won 24 times successively is impressive in itself.

Keeping this one short and sweet, so I can post another blog tonight!

Referee Refusal Ruffles a few Feathers!

When it comes to comparing football and rugby, it is safe to say that people involved with rugby have a lot more class and respect for one another. But it is hard to compare the sports, more the attitudes of the people involved.

A red card was dealt by referee Alain Rolland back in the Rugby Union World Cup 2011. This decision was later and still is labelled by many as controversial. Rolland gave Wales captain Sam Warburton a straight red card for this tackle on Vincent Clerc in the semi-final where France went on to win the game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLpptT_nCp0

In what was a tightly contested affair, the game ending 9-8 to France, the card was issued just 18 minutes into the 80 minute match. Rolland received a lot of criticism from everyone in Wales as well as its coaching staff. If I remember correctly, even the commentators were shocked with his decision.

One of the many reasons for the outrage was the choice in referee in the first place. In my opinion, a referee who is both Irish and French should not be officiating a game where Wales and France were involved, especially in a world cup where Wales knocked Ireland out in the quarter finals. But that is my opinion.

ImageWarren Gatland

Ahead of the Autumn Test match against South Africa on Saturday, it has been widely reported that Warren Gatland, Wales first team coach, will not take the opportunity to meet with Alain Rolland before the game.

Although I understand the resentment towards the referee, I also disapprove of his decision. Gatland must show his professionalism and not hold grudges. Especially as it is the referee in a game as big as the one on Saturday. In a massive game like facing South Africa, Wales cannot afford the official to have any excuse for a bias towards the away side. But that also depends on the referee himself. He will hopefully be trying to prove his professionalism as a referee and not allow off the pitch events to have an effect on the way he officiates. But only time will tell I suppose.

Good luck to Wales on the weekend, hoping for a win. My prediction is a tightly contested game with the final score leaning in South Africa’s favour at 10-13.

The resignation of Ian Holloway

Ian Holloway. Always has been, and will be, a legend in the eyes of most football fans across the country, both for his successes and his attitude towards absolutely everything,

As a manager, he has had successes with Queens Park Rangers, guiding them to the Championship back in 2004, Blackpool, having been promoted with them to the Premier League, and Crystal Palace, winning promotion to the Premier League.

He has not enjoyed any success with Palace in the Premier League and has resigned as manager.

His opinion on the matter:

Holloway

Ian Holloway

“We need to be able to shut up shop in this Division, we need to defend a little bit better.

“I believe the club is in a fantastic position. I’m very proud of my work with Steve (Parish), I’m very tired as well, to be honest with you.

“Am I the one with the energy left? Am I the one who can believe we can stand and beat Arsenal or get a draw there, I think that’s really important that you keep your dignity and with the changes in the squad, I have to hold my hand up that we didn’t keep that spirit that got us up.

“We’ve had a good grown-up discussion about what we feel, and we both still care immensely about Palace.”

I’d imagine this news has hit Palace fans hard in the past couple of days, or maybe some are happy to see him go. They currently lie 19th in the League with 3 points taken from 24 in the first 8 games.

Palace are rumoured to have Tony Pulis lined up for the job. I’d like to know people’s opinions on this after he was constantly criticised for his tactics at Stoke, is he the right choice for Palace?

Personally, I think he would be the better option for Palace, especially after how he made Stoke an established Premier League teams. I mean, Stoke are even doing well under Mark Hughes!