I hope to make this something of a regular feature, but that will depend on how busy I am and also, to be honest whether the games hold any interest for me.
This evening in the Premiership we have another London derby with QPR taking on West Ham. The Hoops are stuck at the bottom of the table and brought in 12 players, spending approx. £22m in the process. Giving a cursory glance over the new players who have come in, I would say that there should be some optimism among fans. Of the notable players their is included some very experienced and competent Champions League winners such as Jose Boswinga (Chelsea – free), Ji Sung Park (Man Utd – £2.7m) and Julio Caesar (Internazionale – free). Other experienced players include keeper Robert Green (West Ham – free) and the occasionally prolific striker, though at times troubled with serious injury, Andy Johnson (Fulham – free). Added into the mix is some raw talent who other, larger teams have been looking at including the pacey winger Junior Hoillett (Blackburn – £3.3m), Esteban Granero (Real Madrid – £7m) and the much touted Stephane Mbia from L’OM for approx. £5.3m.
With so many coming into the team it is understandable that it may take some time for everyone to gel together, but Sparky’s men will need to do so soon. He may point to the fact that his side have drew with Chelsea, lost to last year’s champions Man City and were very unlucky not to have gotten at least a point against Spurs, they will need to start putting points on the board and quick. Already, it could be said that they will be looking for 40 points and safety but who knows?
West Ham go into this game 10th in the table and a win this evening will put them 7th or maybe 5th depending on goal difference.There season so far has been somewhat interesting as they have avoided pplaying against all of the larger teams thus allowing them to build up a decent points total but they have been hockeyed by Swansea in August and by Wigan at home in their last game so it really depends on what team decides to turn up this evening. Their are still large doubts about this team and it is well known that while Big Sam did get the Hammers up from the Championship, the faithful at Upton Park are not entirely enamored with the teams playing style.
Paddy Power has QPR as slight favorites at 13/10 and so do I, however, I can see this being a score draw.
My Prediction: QPR 1-1 West Ham.
Elsewhere, in La Liga Getafe play Mallorca in the bride’s maid game in Spain that is it’s Monday night slot. Getafe are in the drop zone with a paltry 4 points from 5 games though a win this evening will move them straight up to 11th. The Madrid team was hockeyed 4-1 by Barcelona in their last game, though that is nothing to be ashamed of and to be frank, is the norm nowadays. Further, they have beaten their city rivals Real 2-1, but they have shipped goals Sevilla (no shame there, to be expected) and newly promoted Celta Vigo which must be pretty worrying for them as they must be favorites to be in the relegation battle this season.
Real Mallorca are unbeaten this season and Joaquin Caparros’ men are looking like they may be able to mount a challenge for a European place, even a Champions League spot especially as the money appears to have dried up at Malaga and Valencia are in transition with much maligned former manager Unai Emery having been replaced by the renowned Mauricio Pellegrino. Caparros is at a team that has experienced a huge amount of trouble in the boardroom which has on occasion spilled into trouble in the dressing room, however, compared to his experience in Switzerland I am sure he welcomes board room strife.
Caparros has form in developing great teams that attack on the break and work well as a tough, well organised unit whether at Sevilla (pre-Juande Raoms) or at Athletic Bilbao (pre-Marcello Bielsa) and as Sid Lowe has noted ‘[h]is direct, fearless approach has blown away doubts even as there were many. It has protected the dressing room from external problems and, with the results, reinforcing his authority. It has brought the unity which has always been his obsession.‘
Paddy Power has Getafe edging Mallorca at home, however, the visitors haven’t lost away all season and I fancy them to get something out of the game.
My Prediction: Getafe 0-1 Mallorca.
If you don’t have a sky subscription, don’t want to stream any of the above from a dodgy Russian or Arab feeder site or you are not interested in any of the above fixtures then you could do no worse than the Bundesliga round up on ITV4 this evening at 10pm which has become a main stay in the FC household.