Stephen Goldsmith writes, I listened with interest to Martin O’Neill telling me he was an advocate of the winter break today during the pre-match presser.
There was a small turn out due to most of the written media witnessing our dearest friends up the road in Ukraine Thursday night, and it appeared to make Martin open up more than he has done in the past. Anecdotes of Peter Shilton and Pat Jennings came pouring out but I can honestly say, hand on heart, a lot of my attention was lost once he mentioned the winter break In a favourable manner. It was then I remembered that a similar agenda was presented by myself regarding the Salut! Predictions League when laptop and family issues became too heavy over the Xmas period and it was about time I tried to salvage it. That was if anybody wanted to salvage it.
I can sense mixed opinions as to whether it should continue or not. A lot of ‘I’m not really arsed’ e-mails were followed by ‘but here’s my predictions just in case’. I think you all miss it and you’re just mad at me. Observe my ‘sorry’ eyes and forgive me. Anyway, Sixer was particularly keen to recommence and as he’s the Salut! godfather he wins. Am I babbling? I’m babbling, so here they are – fresh predictions in a feature risen from the dead:
West Brom v Sunderland
Malcolm: the starting line up of Graham and Fletcher will pay dividends as Sunderland sweep into a 2-0 lead with a goal from each. The Baggies pull one back before Fletch gets his second. West Brom get a consolation but the points are in the bag. 2-3.
Jake: we’re due to put in a performance, aren’t we? 1-2.
John Mac: we do show some fight away from home and Fletcher has good form against Midland sides. The fact he’s due a goal and may well have company means a win for the lads. 1-2.
The rest: Goldy 2-2. Sixer 1-2. Robert 1-2. Jeremy 1-2. Colin 1-2. Bill 1-2.
Newcastle v Southampton
Goldy: Southampton seem to be coping with the departure of Nigel Adkins. In fact, if this new bloke continues to impress it will be a case of ‘The king is dead, long live the king’. Europa League can’t be good for the league form for any midtable side with a modest size squad. Draw written all over it. 1-1.
Colin: I see the Saints bursting the pst-Europa bubble. A single goal should do it. 0-1.
Bill: Barcodes are looking better post-January but they still seem on shaky ground – and I’m not talking about St. Usurer Park! Southampton are starting to pull clear of the relegation zone. Honours even here. 2-2.
The rest: Jeremy 1-1. Sixer 1-2. Robert 2-2. Malcolm 2-0. John Mac 1-1. Jake 1-1.
Reading v Wigan
Sixer: Adam Le Fondre keeps to stereotype and comes off the bench to score an equaliser with two minutes to go.
Robert: both teams need a win and Wigan have record of picking up crucial points this time of year. 1-2.
Jeremy: Lots of haphazard defending here, lots of goals. 2-2.
The rest: Goldy 0-1. John Mac 1-1. Jake 2-2. Malcolm 2-1. Colin 2-2. Bill 1-2.