The Star (Nairobi)

23 February 2013

Kenya: Tusker Look All Set to Exact Revenge On a Limping Gor

The league hasn't even started but Tusker have already hit the ground running. After a very effective pre-season which saw them beat Tanzanian giants Simba and Yanga in friendlies and reach the final of the Mapinduzi Cup.

Tusker also begun their continental campaign with a 4-1 whipping of St Michel of Seychelles. Robert Matano is being very serious from the word go and knows every game and every point counts towards defending their league title and instilling confidence in his team. Purchases ranging from Jesse Were to Moses Arita show just how serious Tusker FC are taking this season.

Tusker lost the FKF Cup final to Gor last year. Gor nearly cost them the league title by beating Tusker in the league late in the season and Gor thrashed Tusker 3-0 in the Top 8 tournament. So Matano is out for serious revenge! Sadly for Gor Mahia they will not be at full strength today.

Rama Salim is just recovering from a bout of malaria and I wish him well. Moses Odhiambo has an ankle injury and neither have trained for the whole week.

Edwin Lavatsa has a toe injury while David Owino is recovering from a hamstring injury - both are facing late fitness tests. Coach Zdravko Logarusic however says he isn't sure he wants to risk them in this tie at the expense of next weekends return match against Anse Reunion in the Confederations Cup. Everything right now is looking in Tusker's favour but this is football - a game of taking chances.

Arsenal Vs Aston Villa Today 6pm

My prediction: The Gunners....2 Villa....1

What can I say? A wounded Arsenal after the Blackburn game and FA Cup exit should have performed better against Bayern Munich. Bayern were a much stronger team and deserved the win at Emirates but Arsenal should have at least put on a more solid display.

That game was very unimpressive from a Gunners point of view. I know Arsenal are weak in defense and defensive midfield positions, but we aren't weaker than Blackburn.

We aren't useless but sometimes we play like we are. We give up way too easily and it's irritating. Manager Arsene Wenger says we mustn't let the defeats to Blackburn and Bayern define the rest of our season but how can't we?

We literally exited two competitions in four days! That's pretty definitive to me. Aston Villa are a point above the relegation zone but Blackburn aren't even in the league, so I can't exactly dismiss them.

Villa have had a difficult time since the New Year with losses to Southampton and Newcastle in the league, Bradford City and Millwall in the FA Cup. But why does this sound so familiar?

Because Arsenal have been almost in the same boat. We need to win this game in order to save face and inch closer to Tottenham who are currently warming our fourth position. What these boys need today from Wenger is a pep-talk! That's it! A motivational speech that allows them to believe in themselves again.

QPR Vs Manchester United Today 6pm

My prediction:QPR....1 The Red Devils...2

Maina Kageni calls QPR a Quarter pound of rubbish! Sadly, despite all the stars in their team and the January acquisition of Christopher Samba, they still are. Aren't United such a lucky lot.

At a time when psychologically every three points see their paws on the premier league trophy, they find themselves up against Harry Redknapp's confused bunch of has-beens.

Samba couldn't believe that QPR lost 4-1 to Swansea and has called on his new teammates to rise up against United. In their last ten games they've won two - ironically one of those wins was against Chelsea - lost four and drawn four. Something is fundamentally wrong with QPR and so there's no way of predicting what will happen in this game.

Actually there is: Annoying Manchester United continues to get the job done. I can't believe there are some people saying they haven't clinched the league title yet; they have.

I'm not saying this because I like them; it's just a cold hard fact. Twelve points clear of second placed Manchester City with 12 games to play.

United must lose four games and draw some while City must win all their remaining matches for the result to be any other way. Sir Alex has built a solid team with a winning mentality and while I admire it; I don't like it. Still this game is a no contest.

Manchester City Vs Chelsea Sunday 4:30pm

My Prediction: The Citizens....2 The Blues...2

If ever there was a contest in the premier league at this stage it would be the race for second place. City are currently four points ahead of the Blues and if Chelsea were to win this one then the quest for second spot would look interesting.

If City wins then I think that second spot is sealed. City surprisingly gifted Man United the title when they lost 3-1 to Southampton in their last league fixture.

Roberto Mancini had his big guns at his disposal so I really don't know what went wrong for the Citizens there. Chelsea on the other hand haven't had an inconsistent season like this one in years.

Losses to teams like Newcastle and QPR and then massive wins against other teams. I hope Rafa Benitez and the Stamford Bridge hierarchy realizes that it's the old boys saving them each week.

Frank Lampard, John Terry and the likes are keeping the team afloat. Yes Terry had quite a long injury break but a team needs more than just skilled players. It needs experienced players with a winning mentality and that's what these Mzees have.

Their influence on the younger players is amazing and when I see the likes of Oscar scoring freely, I attribute that to the support he gets from experienced players. I'll be sentimental about this result today and go with a draw.

Supersport/DSTV Cup:

Tusker Vs Gor Mahia 4pm Nyayo Stadium

My prediction: Tusker FC...2 K'Ogalo...1

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