The highlight games for this weekend’s action are CRYSTAL PALACE versus LIVERPOOL and EVERTON versus ARSENAL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 14 EPL matches, with his unique and insightful commentary. You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
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CRYSTAL PALACE v LIVERPOOL
Early Saturday Afternoon football live on BT Sport kicking-off at 12.30 in England.
The football continues with both Palace and Liverpool playing their 3rd-fixture in the space of 6-days.
Crystal Palace played out their 2nd, 1-1 draw on Wednesday across town at the London Stadium.
After gaining a point from another London club, Tottenham, on Sunday, Roy’s Boys earned a point from the same 1-1 scoreline against West Ham on Wednesday.
Christian Benteke had a mixed evening, firstly being shown a Yellow Card on the half-hour mark, scoring the opener 3-minutes later, then receiving another Yellow and subsequently a Red Card and an early bath, midway through the 2nd-half.
Before Christian’s early exit, Palace had conceded an equaliser so can’t really blame Big Ben’s sending off as the reason for losing a goal.
The 10-men held on for a great away-night point that gives the Eagles 18 for the season so far and leaves them in 12th-place in the table, 10-points behind today’s opponents.
Liverpool leapfrogged Tottenham to the summit of the Premier League table on Wednesday with a convincing victory over Jose’s Spurs by a 2-1 scoreline (predicted by this EveryTip column!)
Mo Salah scored the first goal after 26-minutes with a fortunate deflected shot that looped over Hugo Lloris into the net.
Against the run of play, Tottenham equalised that took both teams in level at the break.
Liverpool had 79% possession in the 1st-half and were completely dominant with Spurs only touching the ball once in the Reds penalty area, however, the once did result in the Tottenham goal.
In the 2nd-half, again, Jurgen’s Reds had basically the same amount of possession but Tottenham did have more chances and were unlucky not to take the lead after hitting the post.
Roberto Firmino scored the winner late in the game, getting a great header from a corner that the ‘keeper had no chance in saving.
The victory took Liverpool clear at the top of the table with 28-points, 3-more than Jose’s Spurs and 4-more than the chasing pack, who all dropped points.
Out of the top 10-teams, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and Wolves were the only teams that had a victory with Tottenham, Leicester and Chelsea all losing and Southampton, West Ham and Man City only managing a draw.
Everton and Manchester United were probably the other real winners from the Amazon Jungle, both gaining points over their nearest rivals.
There’s been a debate over the past few months that Jurgen has been at the forefront regarding whether there should be 5-substitutes, not 3.
Several clubs want 5-introduced but this week, following a vote, where there needs to be a majority of 14 from the 20-clubs, it was decided to stick with 3-substitutes from 7-named.
A few see it as a distinct advantage to the so-called big clubs, which it would be, that they can change half of their team to either go for a victory or to rest certain players.
For example, Liverpool or Man City are comfortably winning 4-0 after 60-minutes.
Jurgen and Pep can replace 5 of their stars to rest them and bring on 5, who are almost of the same standard.
Sheffield United, Fulham, West Brom and the others at the lower end, cannot.
The other scenario offered up is time-wasting.
Save the 5-substitutions until late in the game to break up the play.
It happens now with 3, so will definitely happen with 5.
Jurgen and Pep claim it’s to prevent injury.
A question for the masses.
In the recent fixture, Liverpool v Tottenham, with the game poised at 1-1 and Jurgen, wanting 5-substitutes to use to prevent injury, how many substitutions, from the 3, currently, on offer, did the German gaffer make in the 90-plus minutes?
The answer is none, zero and zilch!
Jurgen did not make a substitution but soon as Roberto Firmino scored what turned out to be the winner in the 90th-minute, Klipperty wanted to bring on a few, obviously to waste time but the final whistle blew so none were made.
That surely dispels the myth that 5-substitutes are needed to prevent injury and is just an excuse for the big clubs to have another advantage over the small.
Fortunately, the ruling hasn’t gone through, so it is 3-substitutes for the foreseeable future until Jurgen, Pep and Dracula get their own way.
At Selhurst Park last season, along time before the Coronavirus had ruined the World and folk were able to be mask-free, Jurgen’s Reds got a great away-day victory against Roy’s Eagles by a 2-1 scoreline.
After a goalless 1st-half, Sadio Mane scored within minutes of the restart.
Wilfried Zaha replied for Palace in the 82nd-minute.
Unfortunately for Roy’s Boys, the parity didn’t last long with Roberto Firmino scoring what turned out to be the winner 3-minutes later to give Liverpool the victory.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at 11/2, the draw at 10/3 and slight Odds On 1/2 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 that Mo Salah Scores Two Plus Goals and 11/4 Liverpool Win Both Halves.
SOUTHAMPTON v MAN CITY
The Amazon jungle is back after showing the midweek games, streaming this fixture at 15.00 in England.
Southampton had the chance to go to the top of the table on Wednesday with a victory against Arsenal and when Theo Walcott scored early on, it looked to be going the way of the Saints.
Theo would have been delighted with that after spending over 10-years at the Emirates.
Unfortunately, the bad dog walker was on show and Wreck-It’s men couldn’t hold on to the lead, conceding an equaliser just after the break.
Arsenal were then reduced to 10-men and Southampton had half an hour with a man advantage but couldn’t make that payment and both teams settled for the draw and a point each.
With 24-points, the same as Leicester, from 13-games, the Saints sit in 3rd-place in the table with a slightly superior goal-difference over Brendan’s Wonderful’s and 4-more than Pep’s visiting City, which is simply brilliant for all connected with Southampton, 12-months on from the disastrous 9-0 defeat against Leicester at St Mary’s.
Man City somehow let slip 2-points at the Etihad on Tuesday by allowing the 2nd-worse team in the Premier League to earn a point from a 1-1 draw.
Maybe Pep felt sorry for West Brom and the Bearded Wonder that is Slaven Bilic, who is now on his way to the Job Centre for Christmas.
Ilkay Gundogan scored for City on the half-hour mark after immense pressure which looked that it would then open the floodgates for a goal-fest.
That didn’t materialise as after, Ilkay’s notch, Ruben Diaz, unfortunately, deflected a shot past his own ‘keeper to gift the Baggies an equaliser and take both teams in level at the break.
In the 2nd-half, Pep’s Low Flying Blues had numerous chances to score but couldn’t beat West Brom’s goalkeeper who had an inspired game.
Sergio Aguero saw 15-minutes game time at the end after injury and the sad loss of his father-in-law.
Unfortunately for City, Sergio and the rest could not find a winner and West Brom held on for a great point.
Man City now have 20-points, the same as Wolves and lie 9th in the Premier League table with the fixtures coming thick and fast over the festive period.
In last week’s column, it was pointed out that in the games John Stones as played recently, 6 in total, City haven’t conceded a goal.
John wasn’t in the 18-man squad on Tuesday, with Pep giving the Barnsley Boy a well-earned rest, however, City conceded so Johnny Boy may return for this trip to the South Coast which is a massive test for both teams.
Last season at St Mary’s, this was a post-lockdown game, with Southampton getting a surprise 1-0 victory that dented City’s hopes of retaining their title.
Che Adams with the solitary winning goal early on in proceedings.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 6/1, the draw at 7/2 and slight Odds On 4/9 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
(Remarkable Odds considering the current situation of both teams!)
Bet 365 offer 7/5 that Danny Ings Scores Anytime and 11/10 that City Score in Both Halves.
EVERTON v ARSENAL
Early Saturday evening football with this game starting at 17.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
Everton probably got the result of the midweek games, in beating Leicester, at the King Power Stadium, by a 2-0 scoreline.
With Richarlison in the starting eleven, the Toffees will always be a match for anyone and the Brazilian didn’t disappoint by scoring the opener after 20-minutes.
Ex-Barnsley Boy, Mason Holgate scored a rare goal midway through the 2nd-half to add a 2nd and seal the victory against Brendan’s Not So’s.
The victory and 3-points took Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues up to 5th in the table, with 23-points, a point less than the Foxes.
Although Dominic Calvert-Lewin didn’t score against Leicester, the Sheffield Superstar 2, is still at the top of the goal-scoring charts with 11-goals, joint with Nice-One Son and Mo Salah.
Arsenal earned a point from a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Wednesday with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalising an earlier Saints goal just after the break.
That was Pierre-Emerick’s 1st-Gunners goal since the winner against Manchester United at the beginning of November in Game Week-7.
Gabriel received 2-quick Yellow Cards just after Aubameyang’s strike that resulted in a Red and the lad putting the kettle on for his mates.
Mikel Arteta had pointed out in the press conference that he was the man in charge and the criticism should be put firmly on him.
Whilst almost correct, Pep 2 doesn’t cross the white line, the players do, so although Mikel picks the 11, the players are the ones who should bear some of the criticism and not just lay the blame with the manager.
That goes for every team, not just the Gunners.
At least the Gooners will have been proud to see their old boy Theo Walcott score a goal against them.
To see Arsenal sit in 15th-place in the table, with 14-points, only 5, above the relegation zone, must send shivers down Arsene Wenger’s back.
Be careful what you wish for when the faithful want rid of their manager.
Last terms fixture between the two at Goodison Park was almost 12-months ago to the day on the 21st of December, with both teams being under the guidance of caretaker managers after Marco Silva and Unai Emery shared an Uber to the Job Centre.
As Christmas was fast approaching, the Toffees and the Gunners wanted to quell the impending excitement of the visit of Santa Claus and entertained the fans to a drab 0-0 draw.
Although at the time no one could foresee that the global pandemic would prevent spectators from attending games, a lot would have wished that they weren’t allowed in that afternoon.
Bet 365 offer Everton at 5/4, the draw at 5/2 and 21/10 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 11/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
NEWCASTLE v FULHAM
Saturday Night Live, so to speak, with Newcastle’s Chevy Chase entertaining Fulham’s John Belushi, at St James Park with a 20.00 kick-off in England live on Sky Sports.
Newcastle were part of the most entertaining game of the midweek being on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline against Leeds United at Elland Rd.
Jeff Hendrick put the Magpies in front midway through the 1st-half but Leeds quickly equalised taking both teams in level at the break.
Ciaran Clark then made it 2-2 following a 2nd-goal from the Whites and with 13-minutes left, a further 3-goals by Leeds was hard to fathom by Steve Bruce, with the goals conceded coming from counter-attacks following Newcastle corners.
The defeat leaves Big Brucey’s Black and Whites with 17-points in 14th-place, the same 17 as Leeds United but with a slightly inferior goal difference.
A slight anomaly to the position is Newcastle have only played 12-fixtures, not the 13, most others have, due to the postponement of the game against Aston Villa when the Coronavirus took over the training facilities on Tyneside.
In Game Week-13s EveryTip Premier League Preview, a prediction of a 0-0 scoreline was given for the fixture between Fulham and Brighton.
Whilst it’s almost impossible to predict the result of games, never mind the correct score (Man City 1-1 West Brom being a case in point!)
The result and score in some games shout out with a 0-0 scoreline being written all over Brighton’s trip to Craven Cottage.
Scott Parker, the Ronald McDonald man, will still see the result as a positive and the point gained is a point nearer to safety, however, still leaves Fulham in the drop-zone.
Again, this fixture last season was almost 12-months ago to the day, taking place on the 22nd of December.
To show just what the difference is between the 2019/20 campaign and this belated 2020/21 season, the games taking place over this weekend are Game Week-14, whereas last term, this Decembers weekend fixtures were Game Week-18, so in theory, the Premier League are only 4-Game Weeks behind.
As with the Everton v Arsenal game, the Newcastle and Fulham players didn’t want to overexcite the fans with Santa on his way, so again didn’t provide any goals resulting in a 0-0 final score.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 8/5, the draw at 11/5 and 9/5 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that Andy Carroll Scores Anytime and 7/2 that Newcastle Win To Nil.
BRIGHTON v SHEFFIELD UNITED
Early Sunday Afternoon football with this fixture kicking-off at Midday in England live on Sky Sports.
As mentioned above, it was an easy choice to predict a 0-0 scoreline in the Fulham v Brighton fixture.
The point gained leaves Graham Potter’s Seagulls with 11, for the season so far, just 2-above the relegation zone, so Harry needs to keep an eye on things and get his boys to pass forward and not sideways and in training this week, show them what the White rectangular things with netting at the back are for.
Although no one is allowed out on Saturday nights anymore, to prepare for the resulting Sunday morning hangover, there won’t be many diving out of bed early this weekend to get enthused about this midday fixture.
Sheffield United took an early lead against Manchester United on Thursday but to use a horse racing expression, there should have been a stewards enquiry regarding the goal.
Last season, the Blades borrowed Dean Henderson from Manchester but this term Hendo returned to his parent club.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to put Dean in goal instead of David De Gea and after just 5-minutes, must have regretted that decision when Mr Henderson thought he was still a Blade and allowed his ex-teammate, Oliver Burke, to close him down and flick the ball to David McGoldrick to blast home into an empty net and give Sheffield United an early lead.
The stewards gave Deano the benefit of the doubt and the Cardboard Blunts, who remain in Tier-3 for the Christmas period, soon watched their team fall behind when Manchester United scored twice to leave Happy Chris and his Blades trailing at the break.
The Grey Devil’s then added a 3rd early in the 2nd-half and were comfortable for the majority of the game until Ole decided to take off his best player.
That inspired the Blades who did score a 2nd and had chances to equalise but Manchester United held on for the victory inflicting the 12th-defeat from 13-games on Sheffield United.
With just 1-point gained from a draw against Fulham (who must be gutted they are the only team not to beat the Blades!)
Happy Chris is hoping for a Happy Christmas and some much-needed victories over the festive period.
One thing to take from the defeat against Manchester United is the Blades did compete and never gave in but just lacked a bit of class that is needed by every team in the Premier League.
Probably the only saving grace from the Coronavirus is that the Sheffield United fans aren’t allowed into the Amex and Little James doesn’t have to seek out his passport.
James from Swinton is so excited about the impending visit from the Big Guy in Red and can’t wait to open his main present, hopefully, a new Barnsley FC strip so he can run around his home on the 25th in his first footballing loves kit.
Seven more sleeps, Jimbo!
When the Blunts travelled the long-distance South last term, again, almost 12-months ago to the day, Ollie McBurnie scored the only goal, early in the game, that resulted in a 1-0 victory for Sheffield United.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at Odds On 7/10, the draw at 11/4 and 4/1 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 15/2 for a 0-0 Scoreline and 2/1 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
TOTTENHAM v LEICESTER
Early Sunday Afternoon start time of 14.15 in England live on Sky Sports.
Following the very entertaining midday game between Brighton and Sheffield United, it’s hoped that the football fraternity haven’t fallen asleep and are ready for potentially the fixture of the weekend.
Over the past few months, it’s been a constant narrative of this EveryTip column that, although Tottenham sit in a great position in the Premier League table and have some brilliant results under their belts, the victories have all been against teams in the lower half of the table and have not achieved a win against a team in the Top-10.
Once that statement has been put forward, a counter-statement as to be added as immediately, the Eagle-eyed reader will say,
‘Spurs have beaten Southampton, Manchester United and Man City!’
Whilst correct, these teams were not in the Top-10 of the Premier League when the fixture took place and as of now, Jose’s Boys have not beaten a team who are in the top half of the Premier League at the time of the game kicking-off.
This pattern continued on Wednesday when Tottenham headed to Anfield and took on Liverpool who were 2nd behind Dracula’s LilyWhites, on the same points but a slightly inferior goal difference.
Liverpool outplayed Spurs and inflicted a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline on Jose’s men who could only muster 24% possession throughout the game.
After going a goal behind, Tottenham’s one and only venture into the Reds penalty area did result in Son Heung-Min equalising.
After the break, Spurs managed a couple of counter-attacks and in truth, were unlucky not to score when Steven Bergwijn hit the Liverpool woodwork with the goalkeeper beaten.
Unfortunately for Jose and his Merry Men, Tottenham conceded a 2nd and ultimately lost the contest by a 2-1 scoreline (as Predicted in EveryTips Game Week-13 Preview), resulting in Liverpool going clear at the top of the Premier League table by 3-points and Dracula coming out of the shadows.
Dele Alli saw 3-minutes of action following his cameo appearance on Sunday against Crystal Palace and his recent shopping trip for garlic.
Leicester had the chance to go above Tottenham on Wednesday but Brendan’s Not So Wonderful’s suffered a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline at the King Power Stadium against Everton.
It was a rare occurrence that the Foxes didn’t score with Jamie Vardy and the rest, drawing a blank in front of goal.
Leicester conceded a Toffees goal in each half with the defeat leaving them still with 24-points and 4th in the table, a point more than Everton and Manchester United, with the Zebra Devil’s playing a game less and the visitors to the King Power on Boxing Day, so Brendan really needs a positive result against Spurs to stave off Ole’s Wheels.
Rod Stewart, wearing his Everton Shirt, with ‘Stewart’ and the number ‘75’ on the back was happy as Larry.
Lennon the pooch was happy too when the final whistle was blown and knew the Toffees shirt wasn’t heading his way following a rare Leicester defeat.
Big L even got a couple of extra doggy treats when Rod found out that his beloved Green and Whites rivals, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers had been beaten in the Scottish League Cup, sponsored this year by EuroDisney, with it being a Mickey Mouse competition.
Celtic had been dumped out of the Cup a few weeks back losing against Ross County (who?), so to see Rangers also lose, with St Mirren (who?) progressing, Rod was over the moon and started warbling,
‘You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul,
You’ll be my team until I grow old’
Touching his photo of the victorious Celtic players from the 1967 European Cup.
Lennon in the background barking,
‘You’re already old Roddy Boy!’
The Semi-Final lineup of the EuroDisney Mickey Mouse Cup North of the Border consists of,
Livingston (who?) v St Mirren (who?)
St Johnstone (who?) v Hibernian (who?)
That’s equivalent to the English League Cup Semi-Final being,
The Dog and Duck v The Rose and Crown and The Kings Head v The Moving Inn.
He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.
This was the penultimate fixture of the protracted 2019/20 season back in July when the Foxes headed to the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium and came away with their tails between their legs following a defeat by a 3-0 scoreline.
The unfortunate James Justin scored an own goal after just 6-minutes with Harry Kane then scoring twice to give Spurs the winning goals before the half-time whistle.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Evens 1/1, the draw at 11/4 and 5/2 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/2 that Son Heung-Min Scores First and 6/5 that Jamie Vardy Scores Anytime.
MANCHESTER UNITED v LEEDS UNITED
Late Sunday Afternoon football with this fixture at Old Trafford kicking-off at 16.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to rest, drop, replace David De Gea and put ex-Blade loanee, Dean Henderson between the sticks against Sheffield United on Thursday.
Whether out of sentiment or sincereness, the move almost backfired when Deano made a horrendous error after just 5-minutes to gift his old pals an opening goal.
Luckily for Big Henderson, his new pals, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial dug the ‘keeper out of the mire by scoring goals to give Ole’s Elephants a 2-1 lead at half-time.
Marcus scored his 2nd and United’s 3rd, 6-minutes after the restart and for most of the 2nd-half were completely in control of the game.
Ole then decided to replace Bruno Fernandes, who was running the contest, bringing on Donny Van Der Beek with 10-minutes remaining when in hindsight, should have left the Brazilian playmaker on.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Sheffield United scored a 2nd late on in proceedings and could have easily snatched an equaliser to match last seasons tie between the two at Bramall Lane when the game finished in a 3-3 draw.
Luckily for Ole’s Wheels, Manchester United held on for a victory by a 3-2 scoreline.
The win leaves the Grey Devil’s with 23-points, the same as Everton, who are a place higher in 5th due to a better goal difference, however, United have played a game less than all around them, so a victory from that extra fixture, could, in theory, put the Red Devil’s 2nd, behind Liverpool.
A point to mention is Fred and Scott McTominay were left out of the starting eleven, with Scott coming on as a substitute in the 90th-minute and Fred honing his driving skills as the designated for the coming festive period.
It makes a difference United fans, take note, Ole!
Leeds United got back to winning ways on Wednesday, in brilliant fashion, beating Newcastle at Elland Rd, by a 5-2 scoreline.
Marcelo’s Whites had lost the previous 2-fixtures and went a goal behind against the Magpies, with the Cardboard faithful fearing another defeat was on the cards.
Cardboard Osama was livid.
Leeds quickly equalised through Patrick Bamford who was the first to react when the ball came back off the crossbar, heading into an unguarded goal.
After the break, Rodrigo put United in front but as with earlier on in the game, the sides were quickly back level, when Newcastle equalised.
After that, Leeds took control and scored 3-times, with goals from Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and a superb solo effort from Jack Harrison resulting in a 5-2 victory for El Loco and his Whites.
What will have pleased Mr Bielsa is that there were 5-different goal-scorers and Leeds don’t need to just rely on Patrick.
It was also significant that the Newcastle goals came from set-pieces that was discussed in the last column.
Marcelo needs to work on this over the festive period, as other teams will pick up on the fact that Leeds concede from set-plays.
The victory gives the Whites 17-points and leaves them 13th in the table, the same 17 as Newcastle.
For the youngsters out there or just the Premier League followers, it’s worth pointing out that these two teams are bitter rivals, with the Manchester United fans hating Leeds United’s faithful with a fierce passion and vice-a-versa.
It would have been great to see Marcelo Bielsa go head-to-head with Sir Alex Ferguson, who it’s worth mentioning turns 79-years old on New Year’s Eve, however, El-Loco will have to contend with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, provided Ole is still residing in Manchester.
The date of 21st February 2004, won’t resonate with many but this was the last time these iconic teams met in the Premier League.
Leeds headed back East along the M62, with a point following a 1-1 draw.
Alan Smith equalising 3-minutes after Paul Scholes opener in the 64th-minute.
Sir Alex’s Red Devil’s consisted of Tim Howard, Gary Neville, John O’Shea, Mikael Silvestre, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Quinton Fortune, Ryan Giggs, Kleberson and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Ole Gunnar got a run out in the 2nd-half as he did on most occasions under Fergie.
Wes Brown and Roy Keane were the other substitutes introduced by Sir Alex.
Eddie Gray’s visiting Whites included a debut for a young 19-year old goalkeeper called Scott Carson, Gary Kelly, Didier Domi, Steven Caldwell, Dominic Matteo, James Milner, Erik Bakke, Seth Johnson, Stephen McPhail, Jermaine Pennant and Alan Smith.
Remarkably, over 16-years later, both Scott Carson and James Milner have seen Champions League action in the past month, although in Scott’s case, only as an unused substitute on the Man City bench covering for Ederson but still a great achievement to remain at a top-level club after so many years.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at Odds On 13/20, the draw at 7/2 and 7/2 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Edinson Cavanni Scores First and 13/10 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
WEST BROM v ASTON VILLA
Sunday Night football with a 19.15 kick-off in England live on BT Sport.
As exploits in the Amazon Jungle go, West Brom’s fearful trip to the Etihad on Tuesday turned out to be very favourable in terms of the result.
Wearing a very fetching orange and yellow strip, Slaven’s Baggies earned a great point from a 1-1 draw over Pep’s Blues.
With only 23% possession throughout the game and conceding a City goal on the half-hour mark, West Brom must have feared the worse for the remaining hour that was ahead.
However, Semi Ajayi had his speculative shot deflected past the Man City ’keeper to equalise just before the break.
Although there was immense pressure from Pep’s Boys in the 2nd-half, some inspired goalkeeping from Sam Johnstone, who produced several top quality saves, earned West Brom a point and postponed possible talk of Slaven’s demise at The Hawthorns, at least for the time being.
Slaven Bilic has been sacked from his job as manager of West Bromwich Albion.
Just as this was being written and after possibly the best result of the season, Sky Sports revealed that Beardy Bilic had indeed been dismissed from his position at The Hawthorns.
It would be easy to re-write the original paragraph but it was left in to show just how fast-moving a story can develop, especially after gaining a great draw at the Etihad.
Red Adair (Google him kids!) aka Sam Allardyce is on his way to the Midlands and will be in charge of the Baggies for this visit of Aston Villa.
Ironic really, as whilst in charge of West Ham, a few years back, Slaven Bilic replaced Big Sam in the Hammers hot seat, so Sam is just returning the favour.
All the best Slaven but get rid of the beard.
The point gained gives the Baggies 7, from the 13-games but still leaves them 2nd-bottom of the table, or if the glass is half full, 19th.
Aston Villa 0-0 Burnley, wasn’t much of a surprise as not many goals are predicted, when Burnley are on show.
Jack Grealish had a decent enough game and was enthusiastic throughout the contest but couldn’t provide any clear cut assists for his teammates.
The point earned, gives Villa 19 from 11-fixtures, note 11 as Dean’s Claret and Blues have had 2-games postponed so will feel that the position of 11th is a false one.
These two teams have met a few times over the past 4-years but all as Championship fixtures, notably the Play-Off Semi-Finals in 2019, which saw Villa, come out on top and eventually get promoted.
It was January 2016, the last time the Midlands sides competed against each other in the Premier League, with the game finishing in a very entertaining 0-0 draw.
Tony Pulis was at the helm of the Baggies against Remi Garde (remember him?) in charge of the Villa.
Bet 365 offer West Brom at 14/5, the draw at 11/4 and slight Odds On 10/11 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 12/1 for a 0-0 Scoreline and 10/3 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
BURNLEY v WOLVES
Early Monday night football with this game kicking-off at 17.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
After the drab goalless draw against Aston Villa on Thursday, Sean Dyche’s Clarets have the distinction of having more points this season than goals scored.
Burnley have 10-points from 12-fixtures but have only scored 6-goals in the 12, the lowest in the league.
The Clarets are out of the relegation zone and have played a game less than the others around them due to their opening fixture against Manchester United being postponed because United were useless in Europe last term and not much better this time around.
After suffering a defeat in the previous fixture against Aston Villa on Saturday, then spending the 1st-half of the tie against Chelsea on Tuesday defending, it was a surprise to see that Wolves eventually beat Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at Molineux.
After the break, Chelsea’s dominance paid off when Olivier Giroud scored to put the Blues in front.
The goal, that was eventually given by Goal Line Technology, which is a brilliant innovation, seemed to kick Wolves into life.
Nuno introduced Adama Traore on the hour mark with the Spaniard providing some much-needed pace into the home side.
Daniel Podence equalised for the Gold and Blacks, 5-minutes after Adama’s entrance.
With 95-minutes up on the clock, it looked like both teams had settled for a point until Supermarket Man Pedro Neto, scored a superb winner to give Nuno a victory over Frank and Wolves getting the 3-points from a 2-1 scoreline.
Wolves have 20-points, the same as Man City and sit 10th in the table after the 13-fixtures.
At Turf Moor last season, this was a post-lockdown contest in July.
Both teams got a share of the points following a 1-1 draw.
Raul Jimenez had put the away side in front midway through the 2nd-half and with 5-minutes of injury time up on the clock, it did look as if Wolves would get all 3-points until Burnley were awarded a penalty, promptly despatched by Chris Wood to knock the stuffing out of the cardboard Gold and Black faithful.
Bet 365 offer Burnley at 13/5, the draw at 11/5 and 23/10 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/2 that Pedro Neto Scores Anytime and 5/1 that Burnley Score in Both Halves.
CHELSEA v WEST HAM
Monday Night Football with this London Derby, starting at 20.00 live on Sky Sports, bringing Game Week-14 to a close.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea won’t like to be compared to London Buses but after going 17-games unbeaten in all competitions, like the Big Red People Carriers, 2-defeats have come along in quick succession.
Following Saturday’s loss against Everton at Goodison Park, Chelsea then headed to Molineux and despite taking the lead, in the 2nd-half, when Olivier Giroud’s shot was given as a goal by the Technology on offer, Frank’s Blues then conceded 2-goals to ultimately lose the game by a 2-1 scoreline.
A victory in either fixture would have seen Chelsea go top of the table, however, because both were defeats, the Blues haven’t added to the 22-points currently earned that sees them slip down the table to 7th after Game Week-13.
Probably the most damning factor in the defeats is that Chelsea have allowed Manchester United, who are rubbish, to leapfrog them.
Frankie Boy won’t be happy with that and may need to shake up his starting eleven, possibly dropping Timo Werner, who hasn’t scored in 8-games and hopefully having Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech available after injury.
Kai Havertz doesn’t look the same player as in the early part of the season.
Olivier Giroud will always score goals but Frank shouldn’t have to rely on the old boy.
Two fixtures back, it would have been an easy prediction to make, giving the home side the nod but after West Ham’s 4-points from the last 2-games which as seen Moyes Clarets go within a point behind Chelsea in the table, it could mean the Hammers have the advantage.
Sebastian Haller equalised an earlier Crystal Palace goal, to give West Ham a share of the points from a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
That leaves the Hammers with 21-points from the 13-fixtures so far, in 8th-place and as mentioned just a point and a place behind today’s hosts.
Michail Antonio looked to be ready for a return to action against Palace but was left out of the 18-man squad for precautionary reasons with this fixture against Chelsea in mind, so don’t be surprised if David throws Michail straight into the starting eleven.
When the Hammers headed over to West London last season, this was also a Game Week-14 encounter, that took place at the end of November.
After a goalless 1st-half, Arron Cresswell, scored the only goal of the game, just after the break to give West Ham, still under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini, the away-day victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
Manuel only lasted a further 5-games before he was down the concrete and replaced by David Moyes, for the 2020 New Years Day fixture.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at slight Odds On 4/9, the draw at 4/1 and 21/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer Evens 1/1 that Olivier Giroud Scores Anytime and 3/1 that there are Over 4.5 Goals.