Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 22


Can Nani s Sporting rebound this weekend after two discouraging performances? Photo: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Can Nani’s Sporting rebound this weekend after two discouraging performances? Photo: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

It’s alive! It’s alive! After 5 mediocre to subpar weeks, my prediction record is alive! And I’m the king of the world!

OK, I know I’m getting a little ahead of myself here on Oscar weekend, but, I can’t help it – I had a great week! My overall record has improved to 21-24 thanks to a round that saw me go 7-2 with my predictions, including correctly guessing the exact score of three games. The only 2 teams that let me down were Sporting and Penafiel; THAT my friends, is quite the achievement. It’s almost like I know what I’m talking about.

But, I’m not naïve. I’ve experienced a 1-8 week before and I know the same thing could easily happen this week, thus sinking me like Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic. I hope that’s not the case though.

I want to show you all the money – by money I mean sharing bragging rights of course – but, at the same time, I’m realistic and I expect to be brought down to Earth a little. Gravity rules. What goes up must come down.

I just don’t want to come too down. I consistently need more wins than losses if I’m going to play this prognostication game well, and, in case you haven’t noticed, I do want to play this game well. In fact, I want someone to hand me a shiny gold statue for “Best Performance by a Portuguese Prognosticator” when the season comes to a close. But that can only happen if I have more weeks like last week. And, that’s gonna be tough given the unpredictability of Liga NOS.

If the previous Valentine’s round was all about identity, then, this Oscar edition, should, appropriately, be all about drama: In the reverse matches of round 22 played earlier in the season, a man was sent off in 7 of the 9 games, radically changing the outcome in nearly every one. Now, while I don’t necessarily expect the same kind of thing to happen this time around, that fact, in and of itself, sets up some very intriguing rematches to follow.

I suspect this week, like every other week in Portugal, will be fun to watch. Get your popcorn ready; the features are about to start. Here are my previews and predictions for round 22:


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Why Premier League Clubs Should Target Jackson Martinez


Jackson Martinez - PortoJackson Martinez is a Colombian striker currently plying his trade in the Portuguese Primeira Liga with FC Porto and has been prolific ever since his arrival in 2012. In his first season at Porto, Jackson managed 31 goals in 40 appearances across 4 competitions, scoring 26 of them in the Liga, helping Porto to yet another league title. In his second season, he managed 29 goals in 51 appearances, however, he was unable to prevent a rather unsuccessful season for Porto as both Lisbon clubs finished ahead of them in the Liga table and they had to settle for a third-place finish and a play-off to reach the group stages of the 2014/15 Champions League. As for this season, he has already managed to rack up more than 20 goals. A clinical, reliable finisher if ever there was one. Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 21


Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

Will Hernani return to haunt his former club?

It’s the weekend of love in the Liga NOS and around the world, and, dare I say, I’m in quite the jovial mood with regards to my predictions. But, much like being in a relationship, that feeling of warmth can dissipate rather quickly.

Now, I’m still fighting an uphill battle with a 14-22 overall record up to this point, but, things are starting to improve and I’m starting to show a little consistency in this game. Last week saw me go 4-5 for the second round in a row and, with the exception of that disastrous 1-8 result a couple of weeks ago, I’ve pretty much been hovering around the .500 mark. I don’t know about you but that’s a lot better than I expected when I decided to give this series a go.

This is a new round though – the 21st round of play in the newly named Liga NOS – and, from the looks of it, it’s going to be quite an interesting one to take in.

Last week was all about unpredictability what with all the changes in personnel over the days prior, and well, we certainly got some in the results. In particular, it seemed like no lead was safe as, of the 21 goals scored in total, 8 of them came in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was quite the spectacle and reminded me of why I love this league and Portuguese football so much.

Building on the events of the last couple of weeks, and, the idea of unpredictability itself, the theme for this week seems to be identity. Or, to put it another way – who are we and what are we made of?

This is, in a lot of ways, a make or break weekend for every team in the league. Teams like Academica, Arouca, and even Guimaraes may just find themselves sitting disheveled on the couch eating a tub of ice cream asking “What if…?” at the end of the season if they don’t turn things around as soon as possible. And, what of Penafiel and Sporting? Will they be able to bounce back and continue to play well following heartbreaking results?

This weekend, perhaps more than most other weekends, will go a long way towards determining what the league table looks like at the end of the year, and, I think many of these clubs are aware of that. So, don’t be surprised to see a number of cagey matches over the next few days. Teams will not only be looking to be cautious with their opponents, but, in a philosophical sense, they’ll be looking to discover themselves as well.

Here are my picks for this Valentine’s round of play:     Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 20


Can Marco Silva's Sporting side defeat Benfica and push for the title? Photo: SAPO Desporto

Can Marco Silva’s Sporting side defeat Benfica and push for the title? Photo: SAPO Desporto

Hello again Primeira Liga fans, and welcome to another edition of the Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP)! This weekend marks the 20th round of play, and boy, there are some exciting fixtures on the schedule. One game in particular should have your eyes firmly planted on it from start to finish. I’m sure you already know which one I’m referring to. If you don’t, you will by the end of this article.

Last week was a bit of a bounce back week for me – if, in fact, you can even call a 4-5 week a “bounce back” week – in that I rebounded after that horrendous 1-8 record the weekend before. But, if we’re perfectly honest, there really was nowhere to go but up, so, I’m not really sure I should be celebrating. A 10-17 overall record leaves much to be desired. Continue reading

Joao Pereira Completes Hannover Move


Photo: Hannover 96

Photo: Hannover 96

Joao Pereira

Valencia to Hannover 96

It was announced Thursday that Valencia right-back Joao Pereira had completed a free-transfer move to Bundesliga side Hannover 96. Pereira had fallen out of favor under Nuno Espirito Santo at the Spanish club, and had not made a league appearance yet, despite being the undisputed first-choice in the previous two seasons. With departure almost certain this windown, Arsenal had been touted as a possible destination, but Pereira opted for a move to Germany. Pereira’s contract is a short-term, six-month contract. Continue reading

Jonathan Rodriguez to be a Revelation for Benfica?


Jonathan Rodriguez, pictured at right, is highly touted as a star for the future. Photo: SL Benfica

Jonathan Rodriguez, pictured at right, is highly touted as a star for the future. Photo: SL Benfica

Peñarol’s twenty-one year old Uruguayan striker, Jonathan Rodriguez has been the hot topic for Benfica transfer news since the departure of Enzo Perez to Valencia and has now been confirmed to be joining, awaiting his medical. With a misfiring Lima leading the line for Benfica, it could be the perfect time for the fresh legs of the young Uruguayan. Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 19


Paulo Fonseca's touchline ban can only hurt Pacos Ferreira's chances against Porto this weekend. Photo: Publico

Paulo Fonseca’s touchline ban can only hurt Pacos Ferreira’s chances against Porto this weekend. Photo: Publico

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. You won’t find a better analysis of last weekend’s Primeira Liga action than Charles Dickens’ introductory sentiment in his classic A Tale of Two Cities. It was as if the Portuguese soccer world turned on its head overnight: All the minnows became giants and all the winners became losers. All, that is, except for the Lions of Lisbon, who were the only top-five team to escape the round with a victory.

Depending on where you pledge your allegiance, you were either thrilled or distraught; no doubt most neutrals loved the results as they blew what was once a foregone conclusion of a title race wide open to a three team race that, if last week’s scores are anything to go by, could go either way down the stretch.

As Portuguese football fans, we were treated to a number of curious results and shock upsets that thoroughly entertained us in one way or another; as Portuguese football prognosticators, however, we were made complete fools of and left to pick up the pieces of our shattered confidence.

My confidence in particular has left the building along with Elvis: I only correctly guessed the winner of one match (Sporting over Academica) and came away from the weekend with an embarrassing 1-8 record. I now have an overall record of 6-12. Yikes. I guess my new approach didn’t pay off huh?

Something tells me I wasn’t the only one cryin’ like a hound dog when it was all over though. I mean, who in their right mind would’ve tipped Vitoria de Guimaraes to drop points at home against last place Gil Vicente, or, Benfica, Porto, AND Braga to lose to the likes of Pacos de Ferreira, Maritimo, and Boavista? It’s insanity I tell ya – insanity!

But, let’s be honest, that’s what makes betting – even just friendly betting with no money involved – fun. Nothing is a sure thing no matter how much we’d like to believe it is, and, it’s the mystery that keeps us engaged.

Speaking of a mystery, who knows how my picks will play out this week? If I have another terrible showing I might just revert to flipping a coin or pulling teams out of a hat to see if my record becomes more respectable. But, for the time being, I’m taking one more chance without literally resorting to chance. Here are my inclinations for the 19th round of play: Continue reading