Predicting Football Matches
This week’s UEFA CL matches revealed that football is the most unpredictable game in the world to the extent that pundits are floored most of the time. Who could ever have imagined that Barcelona would fail to beat Celtic in such a high profile and competitive match?
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the fact that a lot of people stick out their necks and money to make predictions about the game. I’m not talking about organized pool betting as practiced in Europe and elsewhere but the kind practiced in Nigeria based just on sentiments and passion.
I remember discussing with a younger friend of mine who supports Arsenal and he was so adamant that the Gunners would beat Manchester United ‘comprehensively’ at Old Trafford. He dared me to place a bet with him!
He confidently told me that Theo Walcott would do the ‘damage’. The rest as they say is history as the Red Devils won the match and Theo Walcott didn’t even start!
Similarly, my neighbour told me enthusiastically that Shaktar Donestk would deal with Chelsea and that Stamford Bridge (partly damaged by RVP’s goals in recent times) was going to be finally destroyed by the Brazilians in the visiting team. His bold prediction was punctured right at the death by a powerful header from Nigeria’s Victor Moses.
A lot of people (myself inclusive) had concluded that Arsenal would be mauled in Germany by Schalke but it was a match that was evenly contested and needing the home team to dig very deep to get a result. Such was the outcome of the game that had Theo Walcott a little bit luck, he would have scored the winning right at the end.
Leaving CL, everyone thought that Cote d’Ivoire would defeat Zambia in the last African Nations Cup finals. At the end of the day the boys from Kalusha Bwalya’s country took the cup and left big African stars like Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou with muds on their faces.
The current season in the EPL has already produced some shocking results. Manchester United had been beaten by Everton and Tottenham (at Old Trafford). Arsenal lost to Norwich in game most pundits ‘called’ for them.
Another recent shocker is the termination of Juventus unbeaten record by Inter Milan. That, as usual, was largely unexpected by analysts and betting companies.
All these and many more sums up the simple fact that the game is not as easy as many think. A team that one expects to win may eventually lose and the other way round. The good thing is that we are alive and well to keep enjoying the game.
My parting shot: who would win the UEFA CL this year? Any ideas?