When it comes to making Premier League predictions, Paul Merson is known throughout the land as someone to bet against. It is with his laughably poor tipping record in mind that I look towards our trip to face Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium with a glimmer of hope this morning.
Of course, given the cavalcade of stars available to Pep Guardiola, their scintillating display at Watford last weekend and their stunning start to the 2017/18 Premier League season in general, the fact that Merson has tipped them to win is hardly surprising but if there is one man capable of stopping a team in their tracks just by siding with them on a betting slip, it’s the “Magic Man”.
Just last weekend, the former Arsenal midfielder managed to predict a paltry three correct results out of the ten Premier League games that were played, which, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, is a pitiful record to have when attaching the word magic to your nickname.
I could allow myself to go on a self-indulgent rant about the fact that his presence of Sky Sports’ payroll is an absolute disgrace given his general attitude towards the job but I’ll save that dissertation-length piece for another day. For now, let’s just say that his confidence in City giving us a good thrashing is the only thing that’s given me any hope of us upsetting the odds all week.
His reasoning for what should be the most straightforward of predictions veers wildly into the realms of stupidity inside the first paragraph when he claims that “Roy Hodgson isn’t very good at setting up teams to win” which really, is the primary job of any football manager on the planet. Yes Paul, he took charge of an England side who lost to Iceland but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is the only Three Lions boss in history to win all ten qualification games in the lead-up to a tournament or indeed, that he has won eight league titles with different clubs during a 41-year career.
I won’t pretend to be Hodgson’s biggest fan but I do find the sense of collective amnesia being used by “Proper Football Men” over his achievements to date a little distasteful. The man took Fulham to the final of a European competition, I’m not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I do feel that would be a rather tricky task if you weren’t very good at setting up teams to win.
I would love nothing more than for Roy and his players to prove the masses wrong tomorrow afternoon.
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