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2015/16 Prediction League Results – Championship (Bottom Two)

Following the predictions for the cups and the premier league, Gareth is leading Charlie, Josh and Martyn. With only one league left, can anybody overtake me?

The Championship has a slightly different scoring system to the Premier League. To account for the fact there are more teams in the second tier, we split the competition into zones. The zones were as follows: 1-2 (promotion), 3-6 (play-offs), 7-12 (mid-table), 13-18 (lower mid table), 19-21 (struggles), 22-24 (relegation).

Our points system:

  • 10 points for correctly predicting Champions / Relegated Sides
  • 7 points for an otherwise correct prediction
  • 5 points for correctly guessing the promoted sides 
  • 3 points for getting a team in the right zone

Specific to the bloggers:

  • 10 points for predicting Forest correctly
  • 15 points if Martyn or Josh predict Forest correctly
  • -15 points if Martyn or Josh predict Forest wrong by 5 or more places

Again, higher points took precedence. If one of us predicted Burnley in 2nd or going up via the play-offs, this would only bring 5 points as we hadn’t predicted them as Champions. 

As well as predicting the league, and who would win the play-offs, we once again predicted points required for survival and to win the title, as well as the top goalscorer and an “outlandish” prediction. The methods used to work these out and the points gained were the same as for the Premier League.

As usual, we’d lose two points if we changed anything during the course of the season. That hasn’t been a factor so far, but, as we’ll see later, it will be here.

As we enter the final week of results, the order of our bloggers will change. From now on, I’ll be releasing the results in reverse order. So, I apologise as I announce our loser …

Martyn

MG's Champ Table

Martyn’s table isn’t too bad – he just misjudged Forest’s season so badly it cost him any chance of victory. The rest of the table is full of 3s with no 7s, which implies Martyn was good at getting teams in the right zone, if not the right position. From his table, Martyn scores 26 points. 

Does he score any more points? Well, to put it simply, no – although he was close. He said 88 points would be required to be Champions, while in reality it was 90. Martyn said 43 points would be needed to stay up, but it ended up being 49. His prediction of Chris Martin being top scorer was decent right until the end, without ever looking like coming good. His outlandish prediction was that Lewis Dunk would score 10 goals – he ended up with 4.

Adding his 2 points from the cups, 26 from the Premier League and the 26 from The Championship gives Martyn a final total of 54 points.

And in third place, the Bronze medal …

Josh

JS's Champ Table

It’s fair to say that Josh had a shocker when predicting the Championship. Halfway through the year, he changed his predictions, to bump Reading and Brighton into the play-off zone. He immediately lost four points for that, but recovered 3 when Brighton finished third. Quite possibly my favourite prediction out of everyone’s was Josh’s guess that Fulham would be celebrating promotion (indeed replacing Leicester!). Way, way too many zeroes for Josh, he was rescued by the correct assertion that Bolton wouldn’t survive. It means that Josh scores 23 points from his table.

And he doesn’t pick any up from the other predictions either. Tyler Walker didn’t get anywhere near the 20 Josh predicted, scoring none! Benik Afobe left the league in January, and hence was never in the running for the top goalscorer. However, he was closer with the points required. 47 and 82 were quite close to 49 and 90, but not enough to gain points.

Adding 2 points from the cups, 34 from the Premier League and the 23 from the Championship gives Josh a total of 59 points.

And the updated table…

CH MJ table

Please turn up in a couple of days to see who out of Charlie and Gareth will be crowned 2015/16 Prediction League champion.

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2015/16 Prediction League Results – Premier League (Josh and Martyn)

To round off the first week of results from our prediction league, we will take a look at Josh and Martyn’s Premier League tables.

Our resident Nottingham Forest fans were leading at the conclusion of the cups, with 2 points each, but have since seen both Charlie and Gareth overtake them. Can they regain the lead through their predictions of the top league?

Before we take a look at the details, refresh yourself with the scoring system by following this link.

Josh’s table:

Josh's Table

In Josh’s world, Leicester would be preparing for life in the Championship, Louis van Gaal would (probably) still be in a job and Everton fans would be digging out their passports. Too many zeros for Josh’s liking, he’ll probably be rueing the fact he missed the mark with many of the key teams from this season. The correct prediction of Villa’s dismal season at least makes sure Josh scores 34 points from the table.

Will he add to that? Well, reports of Steve McClaren speaking in a Geordie accent are, sadly, all fake so we can’t give him 20 points for that. Josh was 10 points away from correctly predicting points required to be champions and 4 away from survival points, so nothing there.

What, then, about the top goalscorer? Josh said Wayne Rooney. I was very tempted to deduct points for that.

Martyn’s table:

Martyn's table

Martyn recently said Josh knows nothing about football. Sadly for Mr Gray, their respective tables don’t show this. Martyn’s outside the box predictions have only resulted in a lot of 0s, and relegation for the eventual champions. From his table alone, Martyn scores 21 points.

However, there is better news for him with the extra predictions. He was close with his prediction of 37 points required to stay up (it was 39), miles away with his suggestion that 92 points would only just guarantee you the title and the fastest red card was in the 17th minute and not the first, yet he was spot on with Harry Kane being this year’s top goalscorer.

The five points on offer there means Martyn scores 26 points.

Which, when all summed up means that Gareth is leading after the cups and EPL, followed by Charlie, then Josh and Martyn bottom. Here is the full table:

EPL table

With a bigger league and a tighter scoring system which should offer more points, the Championship will determine which of us comes out on top. I’ll be back next week with the results from that, once the play-off final takes place.


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My Goodison Greats: Players (part I)

It’s no surprise that I’ve become hooked to Sporcle in my hours spent alone, given that it provides quizzes to fill my brain with yet more useless trivia. It was upon this site that I stumbled across Everton players who played under David Moyes. It took me a couple of attempts to get all 106 (who remembers Mark Hughes making a single appearance in the 2006 league cup?) however it did remind me of many a player I had once loved seeing live. It gave me the idea to write an article based around my favourite XI players I saw under David Moyes but then I thought, why stop there? Why not include the Smith and Martinez era to produce my favourite XI from across my years of going to Goodison Park?

I’ve been going to Goodison Park on a fairly regular basis since my first taste of live football on Saturday 12th December 1998. That match was a 1-0 triumph over Southampton with Bakayoko netting after 31 minutes. I remember the score line and opposition, but little else (I looked up the date and scorer) about the match yet it captivated me enough to go time and time again. I’ve been fortunate enough to have season tickets in two stands and have family willing to take me / sit with me at matches. It is hard being a football fan, especially an Everton fan, at times however there are more positive memories than negative ones from my times spent sat at the Grand Old Lady.

The only criterion for my team was that they have to have been players I have seen while sitting at Goodison Park. That being said, I won’t adhere to that strictly as let’s be honest, who can remember everyone we’ve seen live compared to those we just saw on TV? For example, I can’t recall ever seeing Wayne Rooney on the Goodison pitch wearing an Everton shirt however I’m fairly sure I would have done at some point. This will be an article most will disagree with and I’d like to hear your views on exactly the same topic, maybe with players included from generations prior to the ones I have seen. Rather than tell you the side straight away, I shall go through position-by-position all the players I considered so as not to leave anyone out. All deserve at least a mention.

Manager:

There are only 3 to choose from here and I can tell you, it certainly won’t be Walter Smith! David Moyes did a lot for Everton football club, he came in when were battling relegation every year and turned us into a club worthy of a place in Europe. There were plenty of blips when he initially took charge, in his second season we finished 17th and we yo-yoed between top 6 and bottom 6 most seasons. However, once he had got consistency in players we started to finish in the top half more often than not. He would be a worthy manager of this side. Moving onto Roberto Martinez, after the best first season anyone at Goodison could hope for, the second has been tough. The growing number of calls for his head is a tad unfair, after all Moyes struggled in his second season. I think Martinez will turn this around, and his mentality towards football can help us become a forward thinking modern football club while retaining the old Everton values. For that, Martinez gets my nod as manager and the side will play his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Manager: Roberto Martinez
Assistant: David Moyes
Far, far, far away: Walter Smith

Martinez will be just as happy I've selected him as manager

Martinez will be just as happy I’ve selected him as manager

Goalkeepers:

This was the easiest category to reduce to two candidates yet one of the hardest to select. Despite enduring goalkeepers who fall out of lofts, slip on baths and bet on matches illegally (ok, Simonsen wasn’t at Everton when he did that) these 17 years have seen two great goalkeepers grace Goodison Park, Nigel Martyn and Tim Howard. These two eclipse anyone else, although it’s worth mentioning Jan Mucha and Joel Robles who have both made heroic performances as second choice keepers.

On his day, Tim Howard is basically unstoppable (as Belgium found out at the World Cup). TH is a world-class shot-stopper; he keeps most things out even though he has a tendency to push into the danger zone. Unfortunately, he has a crazy side and has cost Everton a lot of goals during his 9 years here. Nevertheless, his time has been more positive than not. He battles OCD and Tourette’s every day and the twitches must make it hard to be a professional goalkeeper yet he’s been consistently one of the world’s best for a while now.

Nigel Martyn wasn’t perfect either, but put in multiple heroic performances for Everton. It’s no surprise that Moyes heralded him as his greatest ever signing. During the season in which we qualified for the Champions League, it was Martyn who kept us in the upper reaches of the table as we lost the attacking impetus provided by the outgoing Thomas Gravesen. With Martyn at the back, we had a goalkeeper we could rely on and he made a huge impact in just 3 seasons. One match I remember was a 0-0 draw at Anfield, except it would have been 6 or 7 if it weren’t for Big Nige. It’s tough to call between the two of them.

I’ve decided to give the Englishman the nod. My reasoning is based around the fact Martyn had to play with a worse defence and still managed to take us into the Champions League. Howard has been at Goodison longer yet I don’t think I will remember him as fondly as I remember Martyn. It was a short but very sweet stay at Goodison.

In Goal: Nigel Martyn
Warming the bench: Tim Howard
Useful back-ups: Joel Robles, Jan Mucha
Released: Steve Simonsen, Paul Gerrard, Richard Wright, Thomas Myhre
Others I didn’t see live: Iain Turner, John Ruddy, Carlo Nash, Stefan Wessels, Sander Westerveld

My goalkeeper

My goalkeeper

Right Back:

If we’ve seen many goalkeepers in my time at Goodison, then right-backs have been in short supply. In fact, I can only think of 3 worth considering: Steve Watson, Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman. Phil Neville played at right back but was more effective in CM so I shall leave him until then.

Let’s start with Steve Watson, probably best remembered at Everton for his performances in right midfield. After all, it was from there that he scored a hat trick in the 4-1 victory over Leeds when I sat in the Gwladys Street end. He was a versatile player, playing mainly at right back but also in midfield, at centre back and even upfront. Always giving his all for the team, I recall him not possessing the most quality but being someone to rely on.

Tony Hibbert or Vladmir Putin? The jury's out

Tony Hibbert, the average legend

Tony Hibbert will be very fondly remembered when he decides to hang up his boots. He is a true English defender, rugged without much skill but incredibly effective, with his best asset being his perfect slide tackling. However, none of that is what Hibbert will go down in Everton history for. Instead, his dreadful scoring record – over 300 competitive appearances, not a single goal. Occasionally he pops up in the box and we all get ready to riot, only for him to let us down. I will miss going to Goodison and screaming “shoooooottt” every time he gets the ball when he decides to depart. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this wonderful servant.

He would get my nod in the side if not for his replacement, Seamus Coleman. Coleman had a strange start to his Everton career, dealing with a hole in his foot, making his debut at left back in Europe and being at fault for 5 goals and then making his premier league debut and being the catalyst for a 2-goal recovery against Tottenham. Early on, he couldn’t remove Hibbert at right back and so played in right midfield, with his crazy runs and great crossing becoming a regular highlight and he quickly became my favourite player. When Moyes moved him to defence, he went up another gear and then under Martinez he’s found his best form. He’s a goal threat going forward, a pivotal part of our team and his defending has improved ten fold from what it was. By far the classiest right back to grace Goodison Park in my time, and quite possibly of all time.

Attacking the right flank: Seamus Coleman
In reserve: Tony Hibbert, Steve Watson
On standby: Phil Neville

An easy choice for the right back berth

An easy choice for the right back berth

Centre-Backs:

When I started thinking about Everton centre backs, my thoughts jumped to the dream team of David Weir and Alan Stubbs, the first combination I remember and responsible for cementing David Moyes’ reputation as a defensive manager. Both are unassuming figures but stalwarts at the back, stopping more attacks than not. Both were Everton captain at one point or another and both have since coached at Finch Farm, including being interviewed for the managerial post. Despite all this, neither made my team.

Partners before and after retirement, but not in my team

Partners before and after retirement, but not in my team

My first pick is someone who I first watched during the televised cup match Sheffield United v Arsenal. Playing in midfield and with floppy blonde hair, Phil Jagielka caught my eye almost immediately. When we signed him a few years later I was ecstatic but I had no idea just how good he actually was. Since then he’s become the first name on our team sheet, the most reliable player we have and the finest leader in the squad. Our captain, England regular and the best defender I have ever seen live. During our 1-0 win over Manchester United a couple of seasons ago he was at his absolute best, stopping everything he could with every part of his body. He reads the game incredibly well and is very rarely out-thought. In fact, the only player he has consistently struggled against is Luis Suarez, which is no bad thing! I stand by my assertion that without his horrific injury we would have won the 2009 FA Cup.

The second was a lot harder. Even ignoring the inconsistent Heitinga and promising Duffy (who still wasn’t given enough of an opportunity by Moyes/Martinez for my liking), I was left with Sylvain Distin, John Stones, Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott. Distin has been a wonderful servant for Everton however his recent performances have left a lot to be desired and is now straining the squad rather than helping it. Distin main attribute, his pace, meant he could always keep up with the fastest strikers allowing him to be the perfect foil and partner for Jagielka. But then, Yobo, Lescott and Stones have all struck up wonderful partnerships with Phil leading to the assumption that Jagielka is the better defender. Both Lescott and Yobo left Goodison in murky circumstances following very successful stints here. Unable to ship Yobo off, we loaned him to Turkey for two years before they (Fenerbahçe) eventually signed him. Lescott refused to play and wrote a transfer request in order to move to Manchester City, where he won the league. For me, Lescott was the better defender of the two and, for both Everton and England, was part of an incredibly successful partnership with Phil Jagielka. On top of that, he once scored 10 goals in a season. For those reasons, I forgive the manner of his exit and Lescott gets the nod ahead of Yobo, Distin and Stones.

I’ll place John Stones on the bench because of the sheer potential he possesses. He still makes a lot of mistakes but is very good on the ball, excellent at crossing and has pace. He could quite easily become an Everton and England great in the future.

Potential

Potential

Defensive rocks: Phil Jagielka ©, Joleon Lescott
Sitting on the bench: John Stones
Coaching staff: Sylvain Distin, Joseph Yobo, David Weir, Alan Stubbs

Rocks at the back

Rocks at the back

Left Back:

With a respectful nod in the direction of Valente, Pistone, Naysmith, Oviedo and the very promising Garbutt there was only ever 2 possible players for this role. Leighton Baines, the 5th member of the Beatles, or the Rhino himself, David Unsworth. Both were great at taking penalties and both gave everything to Everton but were very different players.

If Baines is the flair, then Unsworth is the pragmatic. A very apt defender, he got the Rhino nickname due to his no compromise style of play. He played at Everton in 2 stints, winning the FA Cup in his first and the hearts of the fans in both. I remember his second much more vividly, especially his penalty taking ability. He was another member of the hard grafting David Moyes early units; indeed he was one of the leaders of an experienced defence containing Stubbs and Weir. He got Moyes’ reign off to the perfect start by scoring after 16 seconds of the new mans first game and was one of the most consistent players in the early days. He’s remained an Everton fan, and has been spotted at multiple derby matches.

One of many Unsworth penalty goals

One of many Unsworth penalty goals

All perfect except he’s been bettered ten fold by the emergence, development and growth of Leighton Baines. Take all of Unsworth’s better attributes, minus the strength, and add to them skill, attacking prowess as well as the best left foot you could hope for and you have Leighton Baines. He has the x-factor quality you want from a star performer, he brings the crowds back time and time again. Electric going forward, solid at the back – him and Coleman work wonders together and shouldn’t be separated. Unsworth threatened but in the end, it was an easy choice.

Tearing up the left flank: Leighton Baines
On the bench: David Unsworth
For the future: Bryan Oviedo, Luke Garbutt
More than adequate reserves: Gary Naysmith, Alessandro Pistone, Nuno Valente

The best left back I've ever seen

The best left back I’ve ever seen

So, so far we have a team of Martyn, Coleman, Jagielka, Lescott and Baines managed by Roberto Martinez. Check back next week for the completion of my team!