Thursday, 6 February 2014

Mid season report card.

During the pre-season, we gathered a panel of somewhat esteemed soccer pundits - Robert Muhumuza, Lumala Paul, Rodney Kayonga, Agano Kiravu and Barnabas Kalenzi- to give us some thoughts and predictions on the upcoming season; how summer transfer signings would pan out, how new managers would get on and more. Now that we're over half way through the European football season, we reckoned it would be a good time to look back on these prophecies to see who had their finger on the pulse and who needs to pull their finger out..

First, some acknowledgements;

1. Overwhelmingly spot on consensus.

Even as far back as August, our Panel predicted that David Moyes just wouldn't cut it as Fergie's successor. What we didn't know is how spectacularly he would underwhelm. He was described as a boozer, 'having the worst accent on the British Isles', being the 'Michelle in Destiny's Child' and more. Only Paul and Barnabas were sparing in their judgement of him; and that can be put down to the former being cowed after suffering years of humiliation at the hands of United - and the latter being a United fan. Overall we were pretty spot on here.

The subject of Pep Gurdiola and Bayern also brought an overwhelming consensus, with everyone agreeing that Bayern was pretty much an overwhelming force of nature that would go on to steamroller everyone with or without Pep. I must say no one fore saw the ease with which they'd crush their opponents; bar a couple of Jerome Boateng brain-farts at the Allianz Arena against City, they've been perfect!

The Panel also got Juventus' continued domination of the Serie A absolutely spot on. Then again, so would Stevie Wonder have done, in all fairness.

2. Overwhelmingly offside consensus.

Back in August, we were all so sure Wayne Rooney was on his way out of Old Trafford and off to the Bridge. How wrong we were? Whether the thug really wanted to leave; or he was leveraging for a new contract, we'll never know. What we know is that Moyes and United were so desperate they acquiesced to all his ridiculous demands and he made the club his b***h. They went short of allowing him to vet the Matchday squad! The Editor here predicted, though, that United wouldn't do 'an Arsenal' and sell him to Chelsea. That's about the only thing the Editor got right.

3. Most eerily accurate prediction.

The very verbose Agano picked Roberto Soldado to be the flop of the season and Spurs to fail to cement a Top Four slot. He didn't even pick other candidates - he was so sure; and so chillingly accurate. Is he a seer; or is did the rule of unforeseen consequences, along with his deep seated distaste for Spurs -as a Gooner- inform this decision? Either way, kudos.

 4. Most spectacularly boozer prediction

This would have to unequivocally go Rodney. He was so offside about the season's potential flops, he might as well have been punditing about another sport - supposedly an American one. I'll let him speak for himself;

"It would be between Fabregas, Thiago, Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo for Man Utd. But seriously, I'll say Llorente at Juve DEFINITELY!! Higuain might also be one not to watch. Negredo at City as well
NB:Please don't save these predictions as they might make me sit down end of season."

Notice how he used the word 'definitely'? With CAPS LOCK and everything.. 

Now for the report card:

Robert Muhumuza - B+

Got most things predictions right and was especially adamant about Moyes being the wrong man to lead United post-Fergie. He got the Cavani one wrong though. Solid punditry, if not unspectacular.

Agano Kiravu - A+

Easily the best panelist we've had on here. He got the wrong read on the Rooney situation, but so did everyone. He was unerring accurate about Luis Gustavo not moving to Arsenal, Penaldado flopping, Tevez and Llorente forming a formidable partnership; and the Suarez u-turn. Brilliant!

Lumala Paul - C+

Was a bit lukewarm on Bayern's chances of extended dominance and didn't really think Ibra's ego would accommodate Edinson Cavani  but was otherwise he was pretty on-point, especially in his Arsenal analysis. He only gets a C+ because of how shockingly he neglected to see the Moyes' shambles coming from a mile away. That can't be tolerated.

Barnabas Kalenzi - A

Solid views on the Neymar-Messi and Cavani-Ibra partnerships. Particularly impressed by his prediction that Arsenal's place at the high table wouldn't be wrestled away by Liverpool or Spurs as was popular opinion. His being a United fan gives him allowed him some latitude to be optimistic about the Moyes era. That he wasn't overly so is a plus.
(Editors note; We were not  been threatened in any way, shape or form by Mr. Barnabas Kalenzi during this review process.)

Rodney Kayonga - F 

"This is a new Rafa; he walks around with his top buttons on his shirt undone, relaxed. No homo. He can do something with this team and its kinda his last big chance. Juve will be the usual  Juve. Their only worry could be Buffon. Both teams at least UCL quarters, maybe semis if the draw is kind"

 Like the rest, he had his note worthy moments; saying correctly that Wenger is the best manager in EPL, Cavani's seamless gelling with Ibra just like in Uruguay with Suarez and Forlan, to mention a few. Then things went awry; in a show of Benitez-philia, he foresaw Napoli giving Juve a run for their money and both teams getting to the quarters or semis.

And then there was his already noted spectacular failure in predicting the Flop of the season. Just poor.

Thanks for reading.


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