PUN-ting ahead 02 (1&2/12/12)

559.  No that is not a random number that I have just stuck in there.  Nor is it the number of runs I am projecting The Proteas will need to score in their 2nd innings to win the final test down under.  559 represents the number of minutes that have elapsed since Fernando El Nino Torres flattered to decieve us into believing he had turned the corner and was well on his way back to form.  NOT!  There are quite a few “season defining” match-ups on the Footy landscape this weekend, so let’s Dive In…..(in the fairest non-studs-up or simulated sense of the term).

FOOTY

EPL:-

Manchester City v Everton

The Etihad has successfully been turned into a fortress by Citeh!  29  of the last 31 square-ups at The Etihad have yielded the maximum 3 points for EPL champions.  So when boasting such a record one would be tempted to just hand these 3 points to Citeh and just thank Everton for turning up.  Indeed you would be forgiven for assuming that Everton are choosing to “boldly do what no team has done in the last 36 visits to the Etihad”, leave as victors!  BUT in this scenario Everton are not just any team….granted they are part of that loooooooooong recent Citeh sequence of  36 victims as the Blue Moon rose to dominance from home base.  BUT if you peel back history to reveal which team is behind door number 37 (as in which team was the last to triumph at the Etihad before Citeh began building that home fort), you will find none other than …… you guessed it ….. Moyes’ Boys!  So Everton can march into the Etihad with some swag because Moyes’ recent record against City is pretty good, seeing as it boasts victories in four successive seasons, before that blip last season.  The Toffees can make it a really sticky start to a potentially tough run of fixtures for the EPL champion, which sees them play Dortmund (away), Manchester United (home) and Newcastle United (away).

PUNdit Pointers

  • Manchester City have scored at least 2 goals in 23 of their last 27 home matches in the Premier League.
  • Everton are undefeated in 21 of their last 23 matches in the Premier League. Manchester City have kept a
    clean sheet in 5 of their last 6 matches in the Premier League.
  • Everton have won 5 of their last 6 matches against Manchester City in all competitions.

So even though the stats show that in 15 Premier League matches between the two clubs at City’s home ground (whether it is Maine Road or the City of Manchester Stadium [aka The Etihad], there has never been a draw,  I am going out on a limb to PUNt that this will end in a SCORE DRAW!

La LIGA:-

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid

You will need to go back to October 1999 to find the last time Atleti won the Madrid Derby.  Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbank grabbed a brace then, in a match which also marked Iker Casillas’s Madrid derby debut.  King Iker has not tasted derby defeat since then as Los Blancos have dominated the capital city.  I would hazard a guess and say that in that period Real have also not gone into a Madrid Derby positioned lower than Atleti on the log (according to www.goal.com “Atletico have not held this big a lead in the points table over Real heading into a Madrid derby since the 1995-96 season, when the former went on to win La Liga”).

BUT that was then and today Atleti enter the Bernabau not only above the LaLiga champions, BUT also closer to pace-setting Barca (only 3 points adrift) than to the 3rd placed Real (with an 8 point cushion).  The Atleti form has meant that this is a derby that will hold greater significance than in recent memory.  It’s only a 3rd of the way into the season but already some have ruled out Real’s chances of retaining their title.  That growing swell of  disillusioned dissent has prompted Jose’to choose to make a pre-match appearance on the pitch so that the the boo-boys can vent against The Only One before the players come out.  Jose will be hoping for a result that starts to claw back at the 11 point deficit that resulted from the Betis defaet last week.  Anything less than a victory will surely see Atletico (aka Los Colchoneros = The Mattress Makers) putting any slim hopes of an epic comeback, to bed!

PUNdit Pointers

  • Real Madrid have won their last 8 matches against Atletico Madrid in all competitions.
  • Atletico Madrid have won 11 of their last 12 matches in La Liga.
  • Real Madrid are undefeated in their last 18 home matches in La Liga.
  • Los Colchoneros have lost 17 of their last 23 meetings with Real, with the rest being draws.

I am almost certain that Real Madrid will not retain its LaLiga title, BUT they should be able to retain the bragging rights of the Capital City starting with what I PUNt to be a HIGH SCORING ENCOUNTER WITH A WIN FOR REAL MADRID.

Bundesliga:-

Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund

Speaking of current champions who are 11 points off the pace and in third place,  Dortmund will try and commence the “claw-back” at the Allianz Arena when they take on the perch-ruling Bavarians aka Bayern Munich.  While Dortmund have been fantastic in the Champions League group of Death (which ironically features both Citeh and Real Madrid), they have been anything but that in the Bundesliga.  Perhaps they still lack the experience and depth to mount a consistent challenge on both fronts.  It is the sort of form that Bayern Munich has seemingly taken for granted over the years as they have been Germany’s sole flag bearer of note in the UCL, in recent memory, even if this campaign has noticed a bit of a wobble.  Bayern Munich are not used to drawing a domestic blank 2 seasons in a row,  BUT that is what Dortmund has managed to ensure when they became back-to-back Bundesliga champions, and devastatingly so in last season’s record breaking run when they descimated F.C. Hollywood.  It is this recent dominance that Dortmund will be banking on when they once again hope to rip-up the script that used to always have Bayern as the heroic last man standing.

PUNdit Pointers

  • Bayern Munich have won 15 of their last 17 home matches in the Bundesliga.
  • Borussia Dortmund are undefeated in 20 of their last 21 away matches in the Bundesliga.
  • Borussia Dortmund have won all of their last four Bundesliga games against Bayern

That 11 point deficit is already massive BUT unlike in LaLiga, Dortmund will still believe that all is not lost because there will be teams out there who can derail Bayern’s juggernaut.  My PUNt here is for the status-quo to be maintained via a LOW SCORE DRAW.

QUICK PUNts

  1. West Ham v Chelsea = With the ghost (Ngozi) of Clattenburg now appeased. The former Pensioners should get back to winning ways BUT only just! BUT ElNino’s drought will extend beyond 10 hours…!! = MARGINAL WIN FOR CHELSEA! (Gaffer RAFA off the mark)
  2. Reading v Manchester Utd = Reading will remember the last time they pulled a shocker over United.  BUT United will have witnessed a Citeh slip-up and will press home (though playing away) the advantage with a = PROFESSIONAL WIN FOR MANCHESTER UNITED.
  3. West Bromwich Albion v Stoke = BORE DRAW
  4. Australia v South Africa (Final Test) = Proteas will do enough to retain their #1 ranking.  Ponting will grab the chance to raise his bat for one last (emotional) time with a decent knock….BUT (just like Schumi last week) he will end his career on a losing note because = PROTEAS WILL WIN THE SERIES DOWN UNDER!
  5. Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic (Telkom Knockout) = SUNDOWNS WIN THEIR ONLY TROPHY FOR THE SEASON!
  6. Freddy Flintoff’s 1st bout in his 2nd sports career will end in much pain for Freddy = FREDDY WON’T LAST THE DISTANCE!

Alright then, there you have it…..until Monday’s look back, hopefully by which time the Proteas will have wrapped things up.  BUT if not….aaaargh well hopefully you will be gracious enough to ….. PardonThePUN-dit!

Be Great!

NB* majority of quoted football stats above were sourced from www.whoscored.com

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