More This Week in English Football – Midweek Roundup & Weekend Preview

Christian Benteke's header gave Villa a much needed win on Tuesday night
Christian Benteke’s header gave Villa a much needed win on Tuesday night

In Tuesday’s battle of the bottom four, Aston Villa were the only side to emerge with a victory, beating fellow strugglers Reading 1-0, thanks to a goal from transfer deadline day signing, Christian Benteke.  That win moved Paul Lambert’s Villa side out of the relegation zone, at the same time consigning Reading to second bottom, four points from safety.  The other fixture that night featured Harry Redknapp’s first official game in charge of Queens Park Rangers and he saw his new club earn a goalless draw away at Sunderland; though with a tally of just five points from their opening fourteen fixtures, QPR will need their new manager to find a way to start winning matches, something they have been unable to do so far this campaign.

The Premiership’s other new boss, Rafael Benitez, watched his Chelsea team play out their second consecutive 0-0 draw at home, this time against Fulham.  While supporters at Stamford Bridge held off from booing the Spaniard prior to the game – unlike they had on Sunday – by the final whistle fans made their disapproval known over the lack of adventure Chelsea had once again shown.  Across London, former Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas oversaw Tottenham’s second successive home victory, this time against Liverpool.  Spurs started the game strongly and were two up within sixteen minutes, after Gareth Bale played provider for Aaron Lennon for the opener, before getting on the score-sheet himself with a deflected free-kick.  Liverpool dominated the remainder of the contest, though the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was from Tottenham’s own players – first Kyle Walker’s clearance off the line from a Luis Suarez shot, narrowly missed William Gallas right in front of the Spurs net; then the Frenchman did get in the way of Michael Dawson’s attempted kick out and the home side were lucky that the ball span away for a corner.  In the second half, the own goal did come, with Lennon and Bale linking up once again, but this time in the wrong end as the ball went in off the Welshman’s head to give Liverpool hopes of a comeback.  However, Spurs held on to win 2-1 and moved into fifth place, a mere three points behind Chelsea in third. Continue reading

This week in: The NFL – Week 13 2012

You didn’t see me throw this challenge flag, right?

For the ninth consecutive season, the Detroit Lines lost their Thanksgiving day home game, this time succumbing 34-31 after overtime against the AFC-leading Houston Texans.  The Lions played a part in their own downfall last Thursday, in particular their coach, Jim Schwartz who threw a challenge flag after Justin Forsett’s third-quarter 81-yard touchdown run.  Detroit had led 24-14 at the time and, while Schwartz was correct in his assertion that Forsett was down early on, the NFL does not allow coaches to challenge scoring  plays, which are automatically reviewable and the throwing of the flag prevented the officials from analysing the replay.  Despite this mistake, the Lions still had the opportunity to win the game in overtime, but a 47-yard field-goal attempt on third down hit the upright and on the next drive, Matt Schaub drove the Texans into Detroit territory to allow kicker Shayne Graham to secure their 10th win of the year.

The other two Thanksgiving Day games were not such close contests: the Redskins led the Cowboys 28-3 at half-time and went on to win 38-31, on the back of a fantastic performance from rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns; while the Patriots scored three TDs in 52 seconds as they racked up 35 points in the second-quarter alone, eventually beating the Jets 49-19.  On Sunday, there were two rematches from the NFC playoffs last January and the outcomes remained the same, as the NY Giants thrashed the Packers, 38-10, and the San Francisco 49ers got the better of the New Orleans Saints, 31-21.  That loss for Green Bay allowed Chicago to move a game clear at the top of the NFC North, after they had beaten divisional rivals Minnesota, 28-10, earlier in the day.

Atlanta extended their lead in the NFC South with a narrow 24-23 win in Tampa Bay, the defeat means that the Buccaneers are now tied for the second NFC wild card berth with Minnesota and Seattle – who gave up 17 fourth quarter points to the Dolphins in their 24-21 loss in Miami.  In the AFC, Baltimore maintained their position in the second seed slot with an unimpressive, but resilient, 16-13 win in San Diego, coming from 10 points behind with under five minutes to play to ultimately win the game in the final 90 seconds of overtime.  Denver recorded their sixth consecutive victory with a 17-9 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Broncos now have a four game lead in the AFC West, with just five weeks remaining of the regular season.  Peyton Manning may end up facing his old team in the playoffs, as the Indianapolis Colts currently occupy the first wild-card position in the AFC, which they consolidated by beating the Bills, 20-13 in Buffalo last Sunday.  In the other games in Week 12: the Cardinals fell to their seventh consecutive loss, as the Rams triumphed 31-17 in Arizona; the Bengals defeated the Raiders, 34-10, in Cincinnati and tied the Steelers for second in the AFC North, after Pittsburgh fell 20-14 in Cleveland; Jacksonville got their first home win of the season, 24-19, over the Tennessee Titans; and, on Monday night, Carolina heaped more misery on the Eagles with a 30-22 success in Philadelphia.   Continue reading

This Week In: English Football – United Move Top and Midweek Action

Darren Fletcher puts United in front, after spending a year on the sidelines

With their new manager, Harry Redknapp, watching from the stands, Queens Park Rangers took the lead away at Old Trafford, but three goals in eight minutes gave Manchester United a 3-1 win and propelled them back to the top of the Premiership. Jamie Mackie had a goal correctly ruled out for offside before half-time, but the Scottish international did put Rangers in front in the 52nd minute, providing the finish after Lindegaard had only managed to parry a cross from Kieron Dyer. The goal was hardly against the run of play, as United had been struggling to get a grip of the midfield – Paul Scholes had started alongside Darren Fletcher in the middle of park, but the veteran looked all of his 37 years and it was only when Sir Alex Ferguson replaced him with Anderson, that the home side began to dominate. Two headed goals from corners – including one by Fletcher, who was starting his first match in over a year after being sidelined with a bowel complaint, which at one point looked like it might end his career – had given the home side the edge, then a third from substitute Javier Hernandez sealed the points for the Red Devils. QPR showed a marked improvement in their performance from their previous week’s defeat against Southampton at Loftus Road, but Harry Redknapp takes the reigns with the club seven points from safety at the foot of the table, still searching for their first league win of the campaign.

United remained top of the Premiership after Chelsea held Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, in Rafa Benitez’s first match in charge of the London club, having replaced Roberto DiMatteo during the week. However, the biggest talking point of the fixture did not revolve around action on the pitch, rather it was in the stands – where Chelsea fans were united in their contempt for the appointment of Benitez and made their displeasure known throughout the game. Banners were unfurled in opposition to the Spaniard; chants rang out from the home supporters of “We want out Chelsea back”; and the boos that greeted the new boss when he took his place on the sidelines before the game, drowned out the stadium announcer as he tried to introduce a minute’s applause for their former manager, Dave Sexton, who had died that morning. While there was some animosity between

On the plus side, Benitez’s appointment created a boon for the linen and marker industries in South-West London

Liverpool and Chelsea during Benitez’s reign at Anfield, this level of opposition to the appointment of one of the seven managers to have won the Champions League in the last ten years is staggering. Although, perhaps it should not be as this pedigree has meant nothing to the club in the past – alongside Rafa, Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Frank Rijkaard in winning the European Cup this past decade, are three men who have been sacked by Chelsea – Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto DiMatteo. This level of anger over the appointment of a new manager is unprecedented – not even former Arsenal boss, George Graham, got such a negative reaction when he took over at White Hart Lane, with Spurs fans choosing to greet his arrival with silence and never sang his name (a traditional chant became “Man in a raincoat’s blue and white army”), but he was positively welcomed in comparison to Benitez.

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This week in: English Football – DiMatteo and Hughes Sacked

DiMatteo paid the price for not winning every game ever for Chelsea

In a move that typified the “what have you done for me lately?” nature of modern football, Chelsea sacked Roberto DiMatteo as their manager this week, a mere six months after he had secured the club their first Champions League trophy.  The Blues had started the season strongly and were four points clear at the top of the league after eight matches, but last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away at West Brom marked the fourth Premiership game in succession from which Chelsea had failed to emerge victorious.  That recent dip in form had seen them drop to third in the table, themselves now four points behind the leaders, Manchester City – whom they host this weekend – and seemingly the final straw for owner Roman Abramovich came with a 3-0 defeat away at Juventus, leaving them third in their Champions League game with just one game to go.  However, DiMatteo would have been within his rights to expect more faith from the Russian after he brought such success to the club last season, when their campaign had looked doomed under Andre Villas-Boas.

Chelsea will be hoping that the formula that brought them two trophies in May will work again this year, as they have appointed Rafa Benitez as the interim manager for the remainder of the season.  Benitez also has unlikely European Cup win on his resume – in 2005 with Liverpool – and he takes charge of Chelsea in time to lead them at the Club World Cup, which will be held in Japan at the beginning of December.  Nevertheless, even if the Spaniard is able to gain more silverware for the Londoners, he may not earn a long-term contract, as Abramovich has been an admirer of former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, although he may now have competition for his services from the Brazilian national team, who sacked Mano Menezes on Friday.

Another, much more explainable, sacking occurred in West London this week, as Queens Park Rangers dispensed of the services of Mark Hughes, who had been unable to gain a single victory in the league this season, despite a large expenditure in the transfer market over the summer.  During last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat against fellow strugglers, Southampton, QPR fans unfurled a banner pleading for Harry Redknapp to come and save them, a wish that appears close to being granted, as the former Spurs manager is on the verge of taking over at Loftus Road.  Rangers away form was the most troubling aspect of Hughes reign, with his side picking up just two points from fifteen matches on the road during his ten month spell in charge.  Redknapp – who was always quick to mention that Spurs had only two points from eight games when he took over in 2008 – will not be in place in time for this Saturday’s fixture, perhaps fortuitously as QPR face Manchester United at Old Trafford, a ground they have not won on since their famous 4-1 victory on New Year’s Day in 1992. Continue reading

This Week in: The NFL – Week 12 2012

Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley celebrate the Packers first touchdown against the Lions last Sunday

Heading into week 12 of the NFL season, all teams have now played 10 games and had their byes, so the race for the playoffs is really taking shape.  In the NFC North, the Packers, who had been written off by many following three defeats in their opening five contests, won for the fifth time in succession, beating Detroit 24-20 to move to joint top of their division with the Bears.  Chicago were without their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, due to a concussion for their 32-7 loss on Monday Night to the 49ers, who themselves were without Alex Smith, after he had suffered the same injury against the Rams.

That win for San Francisco extended their lead in the NFC West to a game and a half over Seattle, who were idle, while both other teams in their division lost: the Rams were beaten by the Jets in St. Louis, 27-13, on the back of a competent performance for the visitors by Mark Sanchez; while the Cardinals were defeated for the sixth time in succession, falling to the Falcons, 23-19, despite picking off Matt Ryan five times.  Atlanta’s 9-1 record makes them huge favourites to take the number 1 seed in the NFC, while below them in the South, the Saints moved to 5-5 with a victory in Oakland, 38-17, over the Raiders; and the Buccaneers kept up their push for a wild card berth with a 27-21 overtime win on the road against divisional rivals, the Carolina Panthers.

With the reigning champion NY Giants having their bye week, Dallas had the opportunity to close the gap at the top of the NFC East to a single game, which they did by beating the Browns, 23-20 in an extra period.  The other two teams in the division met in Washington, as the Redskins routed the Eagles, 31-6, with their rookie QB, Robert Griffin III, throwing for 200 yards and four touchdowns.  While the Cowboys and Giants may end up in a tight race for their division, the AFC East is looking like a foregone conclusion for the Patriots, who racked up 59 points against the Colts last week as they improved to 7-3.  New England did lose one of their best players –  Rob Gronkowski – for the foreseeable future after the tight end broke his forearm in the one-point conversion kick after their final touchdown, but Bill Belichick’s side still has a three game cushion at the top of their division.  The Jets win in St. Louis move them to 4-6, tied with the Bills and Dolphins, after Buffalo beat Miami 19-14 last Thursday night. Continue reading

This week in: English Football – Arsenal vs Tottenham

Rosicky gives Arsenal a 3-2 lead against Spurs at the Emirates last season

When Arsenal and Tottenham last faced each other at the Emirates in the Premiership last February, Spurs took an early 2-0 lead through goals by Louis Saha and former Gunner, Emmanuel Adebayor; a result that, had it stood, would have given them a 13 point lead over their North London rivals in the race for Champions League qualification.  However, goals from Bacary Sagna and Robin Van Persie before the break, then one from Tomas Rosicky and a brace from Theo Walcott turned the game – and ultimately the season – on its head.  Arsenal won the match, 5-2, then proceeded to overtake Tottenham in the table, eventually finishing third and ahead of their neighbours for the four hundred and twenty-sixth seventeenth consecutive season.  Heading into this weekend’s derby, Spurs once again find themselves above Arsene Wenger’s men in the league, as the sides sit seventh and eighth, with a single point separating them thus far.

After a strong start, Arsenal have found themselves in something of a rut and last weekend’s 3-3 draw against Fulham means they have only won one of their last four games, that victory coming against Queens Park Rangers at home.  On Saturday, the Gunners took an early two goal lead against Martin Jol’s team, with goals from summer signings Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, but headers from Dimitar Berbatov and Alex Kacaniklic had the visitors back level before the break.  Following a foul on Bryan Ruiz in the box by Mikel Arteta in the 67th minute, Berbatov gave Fulham the lead from the penalty spot, but it was only to last for a couple of minutes before Giroud got his second of the game.  With the game finely balanced, it was shocking to see many of the Arsenal fans streaming towards the exit prior to the final whistle, a decision which meant that they, like Arteta, missed a last-minute penalty the home side were generously given, after the ball had struck Sascha Riether’s arm in the box.

Tottenham went into their game last Sunday away to Manchester City, on the back of a defeat at home against Wigan and Andre Villas-Boas decided to switch his starting line-up around, preferring Adebayor up front to the club’s top-scorer this season, Jermain Defoe.  AVB’s decision was perhaps inspired by the Togolese frontman’s proclamation that he was inspired to perform against his former team, though it really should have confirmed his previous choice to start with Defoe leading the line, who has tried his best in every game thus far, regardless of the opposition.  As it was, Adebayor barely registered a shot in anger during the match, though Spurs did take the lead – albeit against the run of the play – when Steven Caulker headed in Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick, but he was helped by poor goalkeeping by Joe Hart (who then put in poor performance for England against Sweden in midweek, though his poor headed clearance did lead to this wonder-goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his fourth of the night).  City were not rattled by being behind, however and continued to press, eventually finding their reward through Sergio Aguero and – inevitably – the substitute, Edin Dzeko.  Things do not get particularly easier for Tottenham after the North London derby – their next league fixtures are a grudge match against West Ham and then Liverpool at White Hart Lane, followed by away trips to Fulham and Everton – so it is crucial for them to avoid a third consecutive loss this weekend. Continue reading

This week in: The NFL – Week 11 2012

WR Danny Amendola got the Rams to the 2 yard line in OT, but the play was called back for an illegal formation

For the first time in four years, an NFL game ended in a tie last weekend, as NFC West foes San Francisco and St. Louis ended up with 24 points apiece after overtime.  The Rams scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to open up an early 14-0 lead, but the 49ers pulled to within seven before half-time, only to lose their starting quarterback, Alex Smith, to a concussion.  His replacement, Colin Kaepernick, rushed for a score in the fourth-quarter, before running back Frank Gore added another to give San Francisco a 21-17 advantage.  Sam Bradford drove St. Louis back down the field and got them to First and Goal from the two-yard line, but the Rams then took a timeout with less than 90 seconds to go – a decision that meant, when they then scored on the next play, they were kicking the ball back to the 49ers with more than a minute left to play.  San Francisco duly tied it up to force overtime and twice more St. Louis contributed to their own failure to win the game.  An 80-yard pass from Bradford to Danny Amendola was wiped out because of an illegal formation, then a game winning field goal was also nullified as the Rams had failed to snap the ball before the play clock ran out and were called for a delay of game.  The tie was the first in the NFL since 2008, when Philadelphia and Cincinnati were also deadlocked after 75 minutes.

Last week saw Atlanta’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end in New Orleans, as the Falcons fell 31-27 to the Saints, who have now won four of their last five contests, after starting the season 0-4.  Also in the NFC South, the Buccaneers beat the Chargers in Tampa Bay, 34-24;  and the Panthers lost at home to Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos, 36-14, with the veteran QB tying Dan Marino on the all-time wins (147) and touchdown passes (420) lists.  In the NFC East, the Cowboys beat the Eagles in Philadelphia, 38-23; and the Giants lost in Cincinnati, 31-13, with Eli Manning failing to throw a touchdown pass for the third consecutive week, during which time he has racked up four interceptions.  Seattle improved to 5-0 at home for the season, with a 28-7 win over the NY Jets; the Vikings defeated divisional rivals Detroit, 34-24, in Minnesota; while Tennessee, Indianapolis and Baltimore all had big wins, over Miami, Jacksonville and Oakland respectively. Continue reading

This week in: English Football – Spurs lose to Wigan, City up next

Brad Friedel can’t keep out Ben Watson’s close-range shot as Wigan win at White Hart Lane

For the first time since March of 2011, Tottenham failed to score at home in the league last Saturday, falling 1-0 to Wigan, who were good value for their victory.  Spurs had been kept in the game by two good saves from their goalkeeper, Brad Friedel – who, despite not having kept a clean sheet in the league this year, was again favoured ahead of Hugo Lloris – but his best efforts could not keep out Ben Watson’s close range shot in the 56th minute.  Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the defeat was Andre Villas-Boas’ decision making, as the Portuguese manager chose to withdraw Jermain Defoe – top scorer for the club this season and who had a record of 10 goals in 11 games against Wigan – in favour of Emmanuel Adebayor, shortly after Spurs had fallen behind.  With away trips to Manchester City and Arsenal in their next two games, Tottenham need to start showing the form that helped them win four matches out of five in the Premiership, but many of the players are not performing at a good enough level.  Kyle Walker has dropped from the high standards he set last season; summer signings Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson are both guilty of holding on to the ball too long and losing possession easily; while AVB’s decision to keep starting slow-footed William Gallas in central defence ahead of Michael Dawson is baffling.

For the past twenty years, it would have been almost impossible to do a review of a weekend of fixtures that included Manchester United vs Arsenal without writing about that game first, but last Saturday’s encounter was such a formality for the Red Devils that there is not much to say on it.  Former Gunner, Robin Van Persie, opened the scoring inside three minutes and for the rest of the first-half, Sir Alex Ferguson watched as his team squandered numerous chances, including a penalty miss by Wayne Rooney just before the interval.  It did not cost the home side however, as they doubled their advantage through a Patrice Evra header in the 67th minute and shortly afterwards, Jack Wilshere was dismissed for the visitors after picking up his second yellow card.  It was only in injury time at the end of the game that Arsenal came to life and a well taken goal from Santi Cazorla made the final score 2-1, a result that flattered Arsene Wenger’s men.

United’s victory lifted them to the top of the Premiership table, as they were the only side who had started the weekend in the Top 4 to gain three points.  The previous leaders, Chelsea, were held to a 1-1 draw away at Swansea, matching their result from last season; while the Champions, Manchester City, also shared the points with a goalless encounter at Upton Park against West Ham.  Everton replaced Spurs in fourth place, but were denied a victory when Steve Sidwell scored a last-minute goal for Fulham to earn them a 2-2 draw, with Maurone Fellaini having given David Moyes’ side the lead with two second-half strikes.  The other games last weekend saw Aston Villa and Norwich each secure their second wins of the season, beating Sunderland away and Stoke at home respectively; Luis Suarez got Liverpool a point with a brilliantly taken goal in their match with Newcastle, canceling out Yohan Cabaye’s earlier strike; Reading and QPR both remain winless after their game ended 1-1; and West Brom beat Southampton, 2-0, on Monday night. Continue reading

This week in: The NFL – Week 10 2012

Now that the season has passed the halfway point, it’s time to check in on how the division races are shaping up and who looks like they might be capable of making a playoff run come January.

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears 7-1; 2. Green Bay Packers 6-3; 3. Minnesota Vikings 5-4; 4. Detroit Lions 4-4

Last Sunday, the Bears racked up 51 points – including 28 in the first quarter alone – in their demolition of the Titans in Tennessee and improved their record to a division-best, 7-1. Chicago’s only defeat of the season came against the Packers, who have recovered from a slow start to win 4 consecutive games, last week beating the Cardinals at home, 31-17. Going in the opposite direction is the Minnesota Vikings, who have lost two straight, after falling 30-20 in Seattle on Sunday; while the Detroit Lions moved back to .500

Detroit’s Leshoure scores one of his three touchdowns against the Jaguars last week

for the year, with a 31-14 win in Jacksonville, thanks in part to three 2nd quarter touchdowns from their running back, Mikel Leshoure. This weekend, the Vikings and Lions meet in Minnesota with third place in the North up for grabs; Chicago have a tough home game against the Houston Texans, who are also 7-1; while Green Bay have their bye week, something they are in need of with several players – including Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews – struggling with injuries.

NFC East

1. NY Giants 6-3; Philadelphia Eagles 3-5; Dallas Cowboys 3-5; Washington Redskins 3-6

Following their opening day defeat against the Cowboys, the Giants won 6 of their next 7 games to take a commanding lead in the NFC East, but last Sunday their form left them as they were beaten at home by the Steelers. The Eagles started the year 3-1, but those three victories were by a total of four points and there were signs that their record was inflated, which has proven to be the case over the last month, as they have lost four consecutive games, most recently in New Orleans on Monday night. Although Dallas have struggled thus far, their schedule has been tough – their five defeats have been against the Bears and Giants at home; and away at Baltimore, Seattle and last Sunday in Atlanta – but going forward it gets slightly easier for them, so they cannot be ruled out of a playoff place just yet. Robert Griffin III has given the Redskins hope for the future, but he cannot help this season’s defence, which has given up more than 20 points in every game thus far and ranks 31st against the pass. Washington lost their home contest against the Panthers last Sunday – a result that was supposed to be ominous for President Obama’s chance of re-election, but the rule was disproved – and now have their bye week, while the Giants are in Cincinnati, and the Eagles and Cowboys meet in Philadelphia.

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons 8-0; 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-4; 3. New Orleans Saints 3-5; 4. Carolina Panthers 2-6

Atlanta are the league’s only unbeaten team and although their home victories over the Panthers and Raiders were not convincing, their win over the Cowboys last week solidified their position as the probable number 1 seed in the NFC. This Sunday they face the Saints, who are playing this season under the cloud of the bounty scandal and without their suspended head coach, Sean Payton. New Orleans started slowly – losing all of their first four encounters – but have bounced back to take three out of four, mainly thanks to their QB, Drew Brees, who has helped the offence rack up at least 24 points all but once this year. With consecutive wins in Minnesota and Oakland, Tampa Bay have leveled their record at 4-4, though they have had to deal with a Jekyll and Hyde defence that is ranked first against the run, but last in passing yards allowed. At the bottom of the division, Carolina have struggled thus far and Cam Newton has been less impressive in his second year, but they did gain their second win of the season in Washington last time out. This Sunday they host the Denver Broncos, while the Buccaneers face the Chargers in Tampa Bay.

NFC West

1. San Francisco 49ers 6-2; Seattle Seahawks 5-4; Arizona Cardinals 4-5; St. Louis Rams 3-5

The Seahawks improved to 4-0 at home this season with their victory over the Vikings last Sunday and have another game in Seattle this week against the Jets. Defeat in Green Bay in Week 9 means that the Cardinals have lost 5 straight games – after winning their first four – and their bye week has come a fortuitous time. Neither the 49ers nor the Rams – top and bottom of the division – had a fixture last weekend and the two teams face off in San Francisco this Sunday.

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Election Preview Bonus D.C. Edition And Electoral College Prediction

In the 50 days leading up to tomorrow’s election, I profiled each of the 50 states and previewed what is on the ballot and how they are likely to vote. All of the posts can be found here

51. District of Columbia

Motto: Justita Omnibus

(Justice for All)

About the District

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution allows for the creation of a District, outside of any state, which could act as the seat of the Federal Government, but it does not specify where it should be located. On July 9th, 1790, the Residence Act was passed by Congress that approved the building of the national capital on the Potomac River, taking part of the land for it from Maryland, the rest from Virginia, which later received the territory back. Much of the work on the construction of Washington D.C. was performed by enslaved African-Americans, a fact that Congress commemorated with a plaque inside the U.S. Capitol in 2010.

In August of 1814, during the War of 1812, the British burned several public buildings, including the White House, Capitol and Treasury – most of which were reconstructed quickly, with the exception of the Capitol, which was not finished until 1868. President Lincoln created the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War to ensure that the Union’s capital was not captured by Confederate forces during the conflict. In 1862, Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act that ended slavery in the District, which resulted in many free black people moving there and it saw a sharp rise in population. Shortly after the Civil War had ended, on April 14th, 1865 President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre in Washington, during a production of Our American Cousin.

The ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment in 1961 provided Washington D.C. with three votes in the Electoral College, providing its citizens – who have no Senators and only a non-voting at-large Representative in the House – with their first representation of any form in the Federal Government. The District of Columbia Home Rule Act, passed in 1973, provided the city with an elected Mayor and a 13-member council. Washington has four “Big Four” sports teams – the Washington Capitals (NHL); Wizards (NBA); Nationals (MLB) and the Washington Redskins (NFL), whose last home game has been indicative of the Presidential election result. Since they moved to the Capital in 1937, when the Redskins have won their last home contest prior to Election Day, the incumbent party have kept the Presidency, lose and the White House has shifted between the Democratic and Republican Parties. This has held true for 17 of the 18 ballots that have taken place in that time – the exception being President Bush’s re-election in 2004 after the ‘Skins had lost – which is bad news for President Obama, as the final score on Sunday was Carolina Panthers 21, Washington Redskins 13.

Presidential Race

Electoral College Votes: 3

2008 Result: Obama 92.9% McCain 6.5%

Latest Poll: No Recent Polls

The District of Columbia has voted for the Democratic candidate in every single contest since it was granted Electoral College Votes in 1961. That will not change this time around, as President Obama will win the District’s 3 ECVs this time around.

Electoral College Prediction

The last few days, Fox News and their pundits have been pushing forth theories that early voting numbers for President Obama are far below what they were in 2008 and, even though he is behind right now, this is meant to be indicative that Mitt Romney will win as Republicans perform better on Election Day. I also have a fear that the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey could result in a low turnout and – given that the majority of the ongoing power outages are in areas of the state that were strongly Democratic in 2008 – a surprise win for Governor Romney. Plus, there have been reports from Miami of polling stations being closed to prevent people from being able to cast their ballots yesterday, obstruction that is likely to intensify on the actual day of the election.

However, for my predictions, I am going to try to stick to my feelings of how each state would go based on how the polls were moving – as well as some gut instinct – and the pessimism I have I will put down to my lifelong support for Tottenham Hotspur, who just instill that emotion in their fans…

Romney Wins:

Safe: Alabama; Mississippi; Georgia; Louisiana; Arkansas; South Carolina; Missouri; Tennessee; Kentucky; West Virginia; Oklahoma; Nebraska; Kansas; North Dakota; South Dakota; Arizona; Utah; Idaho; Wyoming; Montana; Texas; Indiana; Alaska.

Swing States: North Carolina; Florida; Colorado

Total Electoral College Votes: 244

Obama Wins:

Safe: Maine; Massachusetts; Connecticut; Rhode Island; Vermont; New York; New Jersey; Delaware; Maryland; District of Columbia; Illinois; Minnesota; New Mexico; California; Oregon; Washington; Hawai’i.

Swing: New Hampshire; Pennsylvania; Wisconsin; Michigan; Ohio; Virginia; Nevada; Iowa.

Total Electoral College Votes: 294