Hi there, again, at Joining the Dots. With the likes of West Brom, Stoke and Palace playing this week, let’s just imagine this will be the play-offs to determine who’ll be in the Championship next season. That’s the only way to look at it positively. Here we go:
BOURNEMOUTH V WEST BROM
In a gameweek with such limited scope for joy, I am not pleased to report that we’ll be confronted by Bournemouth v West Brom. If you detect a lack of enthusiasm in my writing, you wouldn’t be wrong. With West Brom seriously struggling for form, well, for above 20% possession of the football, it’s hard to see how they are going to come out of this one with any points. Bournemouth themselves are only 6 points from safety, so they’re not going to be giving any gifts away. Alan Pardew was the lucky victor of the ‘next manager to be fired’ game in midweek, with Southampton’s Mauricio Pellegrino losing his job instead. Pardew is really going to have to bring the best out of Matt Phillips and Salomon Rondon if they want a chance here. And with the writing of that sentence, I am suddenly sure of a Cherries win.
HUDDERSFIELD V CRYSTAL PALACE
If the previous game wasn’t enough of a treat, this one occurs at the same time on Saturday. Those of you with sensitive hearts needn’t worry about sitting through the football this week. Patrick van Aanholt gave Palace a lifeline in their resurgent defeat to Chelsea last time out, and their second half performance did look promising, going by the French Ligue 2 standard of their first half display. If Ligue 1 is full of farmers, what on earth resides in Ligue 2? The pigs themselves? Anyway, Hodgson’s opposition is a Huddersfield outfit who didn’t score a goal from more than 30 shots against Swansea. This could be a dismal affair.
STOKE V EVERTON
Everton make the trip to the Potters, looking for a lovely vase for their aunt. They might as well do, because their toothless approach to recent games makes it likely they won’t leave with much else. Who am I even fooling here? This game is going to be 0-0, 1-0 to one of the teams at a push. And what can I talk about with that knowledge? Guessing the goalscorer? Alright then. Crouch? Of course not. Diouf? Doubt it. Rooney? Not even from the penalty spot. Niasse? Ha. Sobhi? Who even is that? I’ll stick to the 0-0.
LIVERPOOL V WATFORD
The only game of the week where we might see some actual football played, so savour this 90 minutes. It’s also the last Premier League game for a couple of weeks, whilst they put all sorts of obstacles in front of it for you to get through. International games between Poland and Turkey, the fifteenth test match this year between South Africa and India, Ryan Giggs highlight shows. It’s going to be a hard couple of weeks – so enjoy all you can of Mo Salah hitting the woodwork twice before he eventually scores a simple goal, Sadio Mane being generally weird, and Deulofeu diving around with his weirdly shaped head. Who knows? Richarlison may even come out of hibernation.