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 18

Ryan Gauld - Sporting

Will Ryan Gauld’s impressive mid-week performance give him a spot in Sporting’s team this weekend?

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official – we’ve hit the halfway point of the Primeira Liga season! The “primeira volta” is over and done with, and boy, what an entertaining first go round it was! From the surprise ascension of Portuguese youngsters Joao Mario and Ruben Neves, to club records established by both Guimaraes and Benfica, there’s really been no shortage of surprises so far this season.

But, the more some things change, the more others stay the same: Predictably, Benfica, Porto, and Sporting all find themselves holding down the top 3 positions in the table, and, also predictably, I’m not all that good at predicting.

In my debut prognostication piece for Portugal Futbol highlighting the 17th weekend of play in the league, I foresaw a number of feisty, close encounters. Everything in my research suggested that that would be the most likely outcome, but, basing the majority – if not all – of my bets on available statistics didn’t prove to be as fruitful as I would’ve hoped. Much to my dismay, history didn’t quite repeat itself.

And that was my mistake last week: I listened to my head my more than my heart, and let myself get too caught up in the numbers. That’s a mistake that the best psychics don’t make, and, one I don’t intend to make twice.

Having said that, the foggy crystal ball I used last week did allow me to finish above .500 with a 5-4 record. That’s right – despite a number of faulty assumptions, and, quite remarkably, not a single matchup ending in a draw, I still managed to finish the matchday on top. That, in and of itself, might be the biggest surprise of all.

Something tells me we’ll be seeing a few surprises this round though. I mean, they’re bound to happen. And with a number of players still missing due to African Cup of Nations action, and, a hectic schedule due to Taca da Liga fixtures, the time for a couple of surprise results is now. So, let’s get to it shall we? Here’s my take on the next weekend’s action: Continue reading

Primeira Preview & Prediction (PPP) – Round 17

If he plays for Porto, expect goals from Jackson Martinez.

If he plays for Porto, expect goals from Jackson Martinez.

It seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it? Julien Lopetegui was bringing his brand of Barcelona tiki-taka to Porto, Marco Silva earned a promotion to manage an exciting young Sporting squad, and Jorge Jesus was foolishly putting his faith in a Brazilian named Anderson Talisca no one seemed to know much about. It was the beginning of a new Portuguese season, and, in many cities, the dawning of a new era of football.

Fast forward to today and you might be surprised to learn that months have passed since then, and, when Sporting and Rio Ave tidy up this weekend’s round of results, we will have already marked the halfway point of this Primeira Liga season.

It’s at this point that us fans of the Portuguese league should have a better understanding of our favourite teams and players, and, be confident in our abilities to predict future results. But, frustratingly, this isn’t always the case. As they say, prognostication is a tricky business…

That’s not going to keep me from trying though, and, it shouldn’t keep you from trying either. So, let’s get to it shall we? Let’s see what our psychic minds can come up with.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give to you Portugal Futbol’s 1st weekly Primeira Preview & Prediction column (or, PPP for short):   Continue reading