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Word Association Prediction: Sparta Prague v Liverpool

February 17, 2011

If Arsenal-Barcelona last night proved one thing (and it probably didn’t) it was that football can be more about the result. Football can be about creating a feeling, sustaining emotion. Hats tipped and all to Mr Rohan Ricketts, for correctly calling the score and the scorers, but imagine if he had accurately foretold the real patterns in the game, the lulls and waves? How the game would feel?

Anyway, welcome to the first attempt at a very different kind of football prediction. One that does away with the need for money, and, with it, the reward of money.

Here’s how it works: remember that gubbin about the monkeys and typewriters coming up with Shakespeare/Bacon/Marlowe? Well, all this monkey needs is a team-sheet and his version of Microsoft Word. By listening to the Freudian instructions the computer gives when it doesn’t recognise a players’ name (so, eg. Xavi becomes ‘Avid’), the overall timbre of the match becomes evident.

Tipsters, hipsters, lend me your tweets. This is Word Association Football. Literally.

Liverpool: Reina; Wilson, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson; Lucas, Aurélio; Kuyt, Meireles, Rodríguez; Ngog.

Sparta Prague (4-4-2, probable): Blazek; Kusnir, Repka, Brabec, Pamic; Sionko, Matejovsky, Vacek, Keric; Kweuke, Pekhart.

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gents. Mind the little’uns at the front there. First up is Liverpool’s first game in Europe under Kenny Dalglish. Like cheapskate honeymooners, stag-weekenders  and Kafka enthusiasts who almost completely missed his point, the Liverpool squad, including baby Raheem Sterling, are spending two nights in Prague. And it doesn’t look all that promising.

Reina; Wilson, Crasher, Scrotal, Johnson; Lucas, Aurelian; Cut, Meritless, Rodriguez; Agog.

In goal, amazingly, Pep will be his same old self, and he will have to be, if a risky central pairing of Crasher and Scrotal is not to be breached. The midfield is puzzling, Meritless (hoping not pointless) pushing up with the Cut that goes both ways (that was a gimme…). And that Aurelian? WAF had to get the dictionary out for that one: a Roman Emperor apparently. Which begs the question: how overlooked is Fabio Aurelio if Microsoft considers him less likely to be referred to than a squad player from AD 275? The attack, in the absence of the big January signing and the little January signing, will continue Agog.

Sparta Prague (4-4-2, probable): Blazek; Kushner, Replay, Barbed, Pumice; Sink, Matejovsky, Vice, Karmic; Weaken, Eckhart.

A gift from the cyber Gods in the Sparta team: that Replay (presumably after a hard fought battle, going by the likes of Vice, Weaken, Barbed and Pumice). Pity that this isalready over two legs. Still, you can’t say it’s wrong…


Liverpool to be lucky to get time and possession, with little technical flair up front. And, of course, that second leg.

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