For much of this season, Royal Blue Mersey’s writer prediction league has been a tight affair, with things changing little from week to week, and no single match holding particular significance.
February’s matches completely changed that though, and Everton’s trip to play Tottenham this week holds massive implications for RBM’s friendly competition.
Last week, Everton defeated Sunderland 2-0 — a victory that all of our writers predicted. However, only three writers correctly predicted the score, as you can see in our predictions recap below (correct guesses are in bold).
Tom, Tyler, and I all correctly predicted that Everton would win by a 2-0 scoreline. Unsurprisingly, no one picked Idrissa Gueye as their opening goalscorer, depriving us of a potential extra point on that front. More surprisingly, no one picked him as the man of the match either. Our readers voted the Senegalese midfielder as the Toffees’ MOTM, so we picked up no points there either.
This leaves us with a more clearly-defined prediction league table than we’ve had all season.
Tyler, with his four points this week, jumped over Calvin into first place. By picking up four points myself, I also closed the gap on the former leader — with those moves, we’ve got a pretty clear set of front-runners in Tyler, Calvin, and myself.
Sean, Darren, Tom, Brian F., and Chris are all still close enough that they can make up the difference in the remaining 12 weeks of Premier League football, but time is definitely starting to run out on them — particularly with the top three in such good form over the last month.
With such a tight race at the top and a quickly fading mid-table group, this week’s match against Tottenham was always going to be important to the fate of our little league. But, even more importantly, we have a huge discrepancy in picks between our writers for Sunday, meaning we’re going to have some big-time winners and big-time losers among us by this time next week!
Five writers foresee a Spurs victory, five a draw, and only one writer — current league leader Tyler — has picked an Everton victory for Sunday. An Everton victory would give him an automatic two-point boost over the rest of the pack, with a potentially even greater advantage if any of his other picks come through.
A Spurs win will see Calvin vault back into the lead, and bring me to within a point from Tyler — all, of course, depending on the other variables as well.
Despite relative confidence across the board that Tottenham will score first, the lingering injury to Harry Kane has our writers hesitant to predict that he’ll score the first goal. Only Brian L. and Mike are forecasting that the English striker will open the scoring.
Christian Eriksen and Romelu Lukaku both also got two votes for opening goalscorer. The rest of the votes were split among Dele Alli, Tom Davies, Victor Wanyama, Ross Barkley, and Son Heung-min.
Four writers, buoyed by his excellent performance against Sunderland, guessed that Morgan Schneiderlin will be Everton’s man of the match. The Frenchman narrowly missed out on the honor last week, losing by a fraction of a point to Idrissa Gueye in the RBM poll. The Senegalese midfielder earned two MOTM votes this week. Joel Robles, Lukaku, and Barkley also received votes.