Archive for November 2015

Bi-weekly match previews – Jason Pettigrove

There’ve been some fantastic individual and team performances in the Premier League over the last fortnight.

None more so than Liverpool’s demolition of Manchester City on their own patch. Hat tip to Jurgen Klopp for that one.

As the German seeks to continue the good news story a date with Newcastle at St. James’ Park awaits. Traditionally one of the EPL’s more entertaining fixtures.

Let’s look at that one and a few others in a little more depth…

Newcastle v Liverpool

Liverpool are playing as good as at any point that they were under Brendan Rodgers.

The initial euphoria of Jurgen Klopp’s arrival gave way to a dose of reality when the Reds’ seemingly couldn’t buy a win, but the win at the Etihad Stadium and the manner of the same has reignited the fires.

Players look fresh, alert and importantly happy to be stroking the ball around. Whether Liverpool now are anywhere close to where Klopp wants them to be isn’t yet known but fans are certainly buying into the new regime.

Freedom of expression characterises Liverpool’s play and Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have looked exceptional in the last couple of weeks.

Newcastle should be afraid. Very afraid.

Still struggling to properly adapt to Steve McClaren’s way of working, the panache is missing from the Magpies’ management and consequently the style of football is more forced and staccato at times.

The last game at home was lost 0-3 to Leicester with all of the defence and half of the midfield never really getting out of second gear.
Cheick Tiote for one is half the player he was 12 to 18 months ago. No bite or desire, traits that made him a fearful proposition in the midfield.

Fabio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba at the back are not the centre back pairing that is going to get Newcastle out of trouble either.

If this goes to type, then Liverpool will come away from Tyneside with some rich pickings.

Stoke City v Manchester City

Stoke manager Mark Hughes always enjoys the tussles against his former club, especially if he can put one over on them.

City have won only four out of the last eight meetings between the sides and arguably Manuel Pellegrini’s swashbucklers don’t enjoy coming up against aside who don’t mind resorting to the more industrial side of the game when required.

On their own patch, Stoke have managed to stop City from three points on all but two occasions in the last decade.

The Potters are in good form too, losing just one of their last 10 games.

City need to stay in and around the top places so a win in this one is imperative. Fortunately for Pellegrini all of his star names are available, but they’ll have to perform much better than they managed against Jurgen Klopp’s “heavy metal” football.

Fighting fire with fire might well be the order of the day so the destructive abilities of Fernadinho and Yaya Toure in the City midfield could hold the key to this one.

Swansea City v Leicester City

Garry Monk might have been relieved of his duties at Swansea by the time that this game comes around.

Although the Swans continue to play football the right way, they’re not getting results and as seems to be the case so often in football now, the “trigger finger” of the Chairman is never far away.

Just one win in their last 10 at the time of writing, at that to rock-bottom Aston Villa, is a sign of what a poor run the club are enduring presently.
It is worth remembering that before the run started against Watford in September that Swansea were unbeaten in 10 in all competitions including throughout a gruelling pre-season.

Furthermore, Monk is well liked and respected in the dressing room. The old football cliché of giving him time to turn things around should certainly apply in this instance.

All of that said, if the Swans are on the end of a hammering against a rampant Leicester side, then the axe will probably fall.

Jamie Vardy has been headline news for the Foxes throughout this campaign, ably assisted by Riyad Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki amongst others.

It’s certainly not a surprise to see Claudio Ranieri’s side in the upper echelons of the table because the brand of football that they’ve been playing has been a joy.

The visitors have dug in when needed and if they can continue their form until after the Christmas break then they might start to be talked up in dispatches as genuine title contenders – even with the worst goals against record of the top 15 clubs in the league!

Chelsea v Bournemouth

When this fixture was made, there wouldn’t have been a football fan anywhere that would’ve imagined it would be what is termed as a “six-pointer.”

Chelsea continue to work hard to try and free themselves from their current malaise and an expected win against Eddie Howe’s side will be of some comfort.

It will also give Jose Mourinho some breathing space in his efforts to get the Blues back up into the area of the table where they belong.

It makes a change to see a club as high profile as Chelsea are, sticking with their manager when an early-season sacking might well have been on the cards.

This is a game when the Special One has to unleash Ruben Loftus-Cheek. There are murmurings that the talented youngster might want to ply his trade elsewhere if he doesn’t get match time.

After a much publicised spat with Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao still woefully out of form, this is the perfect opportunity for Loftus-Cheek to show Mourinho that he is taking on board all of the pointers.

Bournemouth are their own worst enemies at the moment. Everybody’s favourite “second team” are shooting themselves in the foot time and again.

You simply cannot fault the south coast side for lack of application and effort, they just don’t appear to have that extra bit of quality to get them over the line.
Prior to the Everton game, Bournemouth hadn’t won in eight games and if Remi Garde’s management at Aston Villa has the desired effect, Howe’s team could be staring up at the rest of the league by close of play here.

And rest assured, it will be a very long way back from there.

Don’t forget that the games above can be watched live with our friends at along with the following: Watford v Norwich City, Arsenal v Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United v West Ham, Southampton v Aston Villa and Everton v Crystal Palace. Please check the schedules for full details.

Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury

Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury

Sat 28th November
Wladimir Klitschko v Tyson Fury : World Heavyweight Title

Hughie Fury v Nicolai Firtha : 10 Rounds Heavyweight

Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf

Live on The Boxing channel (CH 500) & Astro 2 (CH 188)

World Wrestling Entertainment – Survivor Series


Sunday night November 22nd from 1AM

Bi-weekly match previews – Jason Pettigrove

Week 13 of the Premier League season has quickly arrived, a third of the season gone already.

The usual suspects, bar Chelsea are clawing their way to the upper echelons of the table, jostling nicely for position as we begin the countdown towards the end of the year.

Jose Mourinho is insistent that he will finish the job that he started and although Norwich have been sprightly and well organised this season, they’re probably, with respect, one of the more accommodating sides in the EPL at the moment. The Blues need to get some rich pickings from a game soonest, why not now?

Sam Allardyce’s tenure at Sunderland has quickly turned sour and an away game at Crystal Palace isn’t the easiest place to go after the international break. Four points adrift of safety already means a win is imperative for the Black Cats.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at a few of the other games from week 13….

Watford v Manchester United

The Hornets have surprised a few teams this season, none more so than high-flying West Ham, the last visitors to Vicarage Road.

A healthy 11th place at start of play sees Watford as the highest placed of the promoted sides and with a partisan home crowd behind them, the hosts will be more than a match for Louis Van Gaal’s side.

Although there are no stars in the team as such, Quique Sanchez Flores can call upon the services of an extremely hardworking XI.

Right-back Allan Nyom in particular won’t give an inch to United’s attack, and in Troy Deeney, Watford can trouble United’s defence.

Five clean sheets in a row for the Red Devils is a little misleading as three of those games were goalless draws.

It does however hint at the task ahead for Watford.

Anthony Martial rather than Wayne Rooney remains the danger man and if the support in attack from the wider areas is there, it could be a long afternoon for the hosts.

Liverpool v Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp has the chance to put a real dent in Manchester City’s race to the Premier League title.
City are expert are playing the “high-octane” football that Klopp sees as the future for the Reds, and clearly the hosts will have to perform much better than they did when losing at Anfield to Crystal Palace last time out.

It is a patent lack of belief in some areas that is hurting Liverpool, something that hasn’t beset a super-confident City side.

Manuel Pellegrini’s swashbucklers have outscored everyone else in the league and have done it in some style too. The table doesn’t lie and City are a deserved leader at this point.

All eyes will, of course, be on Raheem Sterling. The youngster is sure to receive a hostile welcome throughout and how he reacts to the verbal battering could be the key to whether City leave Merseyside the happier.

Fortunately for Pellegrini, he has the luxury of being able to withdraw Sterling at any point and replace him with quality.

Klopp needs to wait until January at least before he can really start putting his stamp on his side but a win here would be a real filip and help the locals buy into this new philosophy.

West Brom v Arsenal

Should Liverpool take points of off Man City then Arsenal can move to the top of the table with a win at the Hawthorns.

The omens are certainly good for the Gunners. Only twice in the last decade have WBA beaten them, of those two just one has come at home way back in October 2005.

Three of the last four played at this venue have been won by Arsenal so Tony Pulis’ really needs to take a look at whether his naturally defensive style of play is going to work for him here.

A 4-5-1 formation won’t benefit him against a side where Alexis Sanchez particularly remains in the mood.

With Mesut Ozil supplying the bullets it could get embarrassing and Santi Cazorla too will run rings around the opposition given half the chance.

WBA’s wide men Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean need to penetrate in behind the full-backs to provide Salamon Rondon with the right kind of service.

Fail to do so and the status quo in this fixture will remain.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United
Fifth placed Spurs play host to sixth places West Ham, with only three goals separating them.

A win for either is a must if they want to keep pace with the leaders, a loss could theoretically see them slide two places and be sat just ahead of the chasing pack of half a dozen clubs just a few points behind at this point.

Along with Leicester City’s incredible rise, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are the only other team in the league to have lost just the one match.

Harry Kane, confidence finally restored, is back to doing what he does best. Sticking the ball in the onion bag.

A hardworking and attacking midfield are finally gelling together making Kane’s life much easier that it was earlier in the season.

Ten goals conceded isn’t two shabby either – only the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal have a better defensive record.

West Ham will be looking to continue their unbelievable away form. Clearly disappointed after a defeat at Watford, Slaven Bilic will be looking to accentuate the positives that saw his side take all three points at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Goals are almost guaranteed at White Hart Lane in what could be one of the best London derbies between the sides in years.

All of the matches above together with Everton v Aston Villa, Southampton v Stoke City, Swansea City v Bournemouth and Newcastle v Leicester City can all be seen via the various sports channels brought to you by

Please check the online schedule for details.

Bi-weekly match previews – Jason Pettigrove

What a topsy-turvy last few weeks it’s been in the English top flight. Finally things are beginning to settle down and the runners and riders are sorting themselves out.

West Ham remain the surprise package of the season so far and Slaven Bilic will be hoping for a change in fortunes against their bogey team Everton in week 12 of the Premier League.

At the opposite end of the table, Chelsea go to Stoke in desperate need of three points, having just been knocked out of the League Cup by the same opposition.

Let’s take a look at a few of the fixtures coming up in week 12, all available via

Arsenal v Tottenham

No better place to start than at the Emirates Stadium and the north London derby.

On of the great fixtures in the English football calendar, as usual no quarter will be asked or given in this one.

Tottenham head into it with a slight advantage in staffing terms if not positionally.

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey are all expected to miss this match and we saw against Sheffield Wednesday just how poorly the Gunners performed with a number of their high-profile stars missing.

Arsene Wenger will expect their replacements to step up and put even more daylight between themselves and their local rivals.

Harry Kane meanwhile has found form at just the right time and could prove to be a thorn in the side of Per Mertesacker et al.

It promises to be a firecracker of a match. Strap yourselves in…!

Stoke City v Chelsea

Just a week and a half after being dumped out of the League Cup by the Potters, Chelsea return to the Britannia Stadium looking for three points that will give the Blues some respite from their worst run of form in over 35 years.

Whether Jose Mourinho remains in charge or not, clearly there needs to be a sea change in attitudes from last seasons Champions.

There are too many stars in the Chelsea team that are not playing for their manager at the moment and although stories abound that the Portuguese has lost the dressing room, the players would do well to remember that they are still professionals and paid as such.

Mark Hughes would dearly love to inflict another defeat on his old club and in so doing, drag them further away from the bottom reaches of the table.

We should see Bojan on show as he continues his rehabilitation from injury, and he might come up against his old colleague Pedro Rodriguez. Both remain keen to prove their worth in England and it could end up as the battle of the ex-Barca men.

Not too long ago, this wouldn’t have been a game for the faint-hearted but Hughes deserves great credit for turning Stoke into a ball-playing, rather than long-ball, team. Entertainment is therefore guaranteed.

Liverpool v Crystal Palace

Back in the day, Liverpool put nine past Palace at Anfield.

No chance of that now of course and if anything, the Reds need to take a leaf out of the Eagles’ football manual because Alan Pardew has the south Londoners playing some sparkling stuff.

Palace certainly won’t be overawed coming to a re-energised Anfield. Outwitting Klopp et al will be used as a motivating factor before the game and Pardew might refer to his old team West Ham’s performance when they were here earlier in the campaign.

Klopp wasn’t in charge at that point and whilst he hasn’t yet overseen the immediate change that the locale desire, there has been enough positives in Liverpool’s play to keep even the most disbelieving Reds fan engaged.

The German asked for time and as long as an accommodating Liverpool fan base can place their trust in the manager in the interim, then he’ll get it right in due course.

Gone are the days of nine-goal hammerings but only three points remain on the table for a win. One goal will do it just fine thanks.

Pardew’s side are just lacking that bit of consistency at the moment. Conceded almost as many as they’ve scored and lost as many as they’ve won, Palace still sit proudly in the top half and a couple of wins puts them right back in the mix.

West Ham v Everton

A cup win on penalties aside, West Ham haven’t defeated Everton home or away since April 2007. The east Londoners only other win against them in the last decade was in December 2005.

It’s a pretty horrific run of form against their bogey side, but the Hammers have been laying to rest a few ghosts this season. Not least a beating of Everton’s Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Anfield – the first time since the early 1960’s that West Ham had managed the feat.

Roberto Martinez’s side are in reasonable form as they venture to Upton Park for the last time.

Gerard Deulofeu, their summer signing from Barcelona, is finding his feet again in the league and is starting to regularly load the bullets for the likes of Romelu Lukaku and others.

The young Catalan will be the dangerman and Aaron Cresswell might well find that his is a busier day at the office as a result.

It will most certainly be a game for the purist as both teams like to play decent, attractive passing football.

Phil Jagielka’s injury could hamper the Toffee’s progress as Ramiro Funes Mori is not up to the required level as yet. Diafra Sakho is a handful at the best of times and the Hammers’ centre forward could profit because of Funes Mori’s inexperience.

Dimitri Payet looks to be one of the signings of the season for West Ham and he continues to oil the wheels of the east Londoners’ European charge.

Time to add another scalp to an ever-growing list…

Other games available throughout the weekend via are; Bournemouth v Newcastle, Leicester City v Watford, Sunderland v Southampton, Norwich City v Swansea City, Man United v West Brom and Aston Villa v Man City.