The Star (Nairobi)

10 November 2012

Kenya: Gor Mahia Thrive Under Pressure and I See Them Running Away With Premiership Title

Photo: Capital FM
Kenya: Tusker FC retained their domestic league crown 2012.

The Kenyan Premier League comes to a fascinating conclusion today and the winner will be crowned. Leaders Gor Mahia have one last hurdle to climb after going 25 games unbeaten. Will they crumble at the final hurdle or will they go all the way?

Coach Zdravko Logarusic has just been what the doctor ordered for K'ogalo. He has taken a bunch of most raw players; given them confidence, taught them to run and think at the same time and developed them into champions in waiting.

Logarusic himself said Moses Odhiambo is probably his only experienced player, but as a team, they are doing wonders. Dan Sserunkuma can't stop scoring; and I wish he gets the 'Golden Boot' while all areas of the squad remain on point.

Thika coach John Kamau, however, says Gor must not underestimate them because they want to finish 4th. He says they will withstand the pressure of playing in front of the green army.

Thika tend to play well on great pitches and none is greater for carpet football than City Stadium. But I think Gor have waited too long - 17 years - and fought too hard this season to see them slip now.

I won't analyse the Tusker and AFC Leopards matches because I'm confident Tusker will beat City Stars while Ingwe will struggle against Chemelil in Awendo; they too will likely win.

But they lost their opportunity to win the title when they let Gor go top. Logarusic told me on Simba Super Soccer this week that the boys tremble in the dressing room before a game but since they tend to thrive under pressure, I'm confident that they will thrive today. Brookside vs Brookside.

My Prediction:

K'ogalo 2

Thika 1

Arsenal Vs Fulham, Today 6pm

My Prediction:

The Gunners 2

The Cottagers 0

Another day, another game for Arsenal to struggle through. I almost don't know how to analyse Gunners' matches anymore because nearly every single member of our squad is inconsistent right now.

The only two players that seem to have their heads on straight are Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott. And Walcott's performance almost entirely depends on whether Arsene Wenger will play him in the centre or on the wings.

Walcott is so effect in the centre that I don't know why Wenger would ever play him wide again. But then again the coach is as inconsistent as everything else at Arsenal this season. Thomas Vermaelen; captain and Mr experience has also been inconsistent so I am worried but not completely deflated.

Even though we ordinarily struggle during London derbies, we've only lost one this season to Chelsea. We acquired three points against both West Ham and QPR. Dimitar Berbatov, Mahamadou Diarra, John Arne Riise and Brede Hangelaand are some of the big names we will be up against.

Not to mention shot stopper Mark Schwarzer who Wenger wanted to buy last year. Tough game if the Gunners are mis-firing like they usually do. But we can grind out the points. Hopefully, we learned from giving up a two-goal lead to Schalke midweek. Grrrr

Aston Villa Vs Man United, Today 7:30pm

My prediction:

Villagers 1

Red Devils 3

If you are able to predict the exact time in which Man United will be awarded a penalty, I'll give you a present. Okay let me be serious. Man United taught Arsenal a lesson last weekend and I do agree with Sir Alex that the result could have been a lot worse.

In fact I tweeted after the game that the 2-1 score-line was merciful. Wayne Rooney's penalty attempt back-fired as I expected. But then again I think Sir Alex was being merciful by not giving it to Robin Van Persie to rub into our wounds.

Overall United are looking good. Hopefully they've recovered from the trauma of a 15 minute black out at Braga. Tee hee. Villa, however, will be no match.

Villa have beaten Sunderland and Swansea this season and sit just above the relegation zone. They've lost to West Ham, Everton, Southampton, where they were thrashed 4-1; Fulham and Tottenham. Not threatening at all to a Man United on fire.

Chelsea Vs Liverpool Sunday 7pm

My Prediction:

The Blues 1

The Reds 1

On Thursday night when Liverpool were losing 1-0 to Anzhi Makachkala; I tweeted how Liverpool consoles me as an Arsenal fan. When things at Emirates look so bad; I tell myself; we could be Liverpool. And then I feel better.

In their defence, Arjun Vidyarthi tweeted how it was their second string side playing in Russia. To which my husband tweeted; which is your first string side? I guess throw in Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard to any Liverpool team and that's their first string side right there! I wonder if there is a way that Liverpool can refuse to travel to Stamford Bridge and just award the three points to Chelsea as they rest and look forward to their next game.

I'm just kidding. I would be really frustrated if I was a Scouser. Liverpool aren't playing bad football; they're just not lucky. To the contrary; even when Chelsea are having a bad game, they get a little bit of luck thrown their way; although luck must have taken a break last week when they turned out against Swansea.

Perhaps luck won't be on their side again today and Liverpool can take advantage of that. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard missing could do damage for the Blues. With a lot of luck; Liverpool can actually win this. Or at least draw.

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