The highlight games for this week’s midweek action are WATFORD versus CHELSEA and MANCHESTER UNITED versus ARSENAL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 14 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.
Please note all prices quoted below were correct at the time of publication
All these midweek Game Week-14 set of fixtures are available to view on the Amazon Streaming Platform.
NEWCASTLE v NORWICH
19.30 in England.
Newcastle didn’t have a shot in anger last Saturday, in the early afternoon kick-off at the Emirates. There were a few tame efforts but in truth, Eddie and the Magpies were outplayed by Mikel’s Gunners who inflicted a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline.
After a goalless 1st-half, Arsenal took control, scoring twice after the break to leave the away team with 7-defeats from the 13-outings, the other 6, being drawn. Those good at Math will have quickly worked out that Newcastle have 6-points and sit at the foot of the table, now 6-points from safety.
The Toon Army were staggered at the price of the beer and there were choruses of, ‘Hoo Much?’ When ordering a couple of bottles of Broon Ale.
The faithful and all others connected with the Tyneside club are looking forward to the January Transfer Window, when the new owners and The Joker, spend some of their Oil Dollars on players.
After going on a 10-game streak, without a victory and earning just 2-points from those 10, with 8-defeats, Norwich are now unbeaten in 3, following Saturday’s goalless draw against Wolves.
Dean Smith again included Billy Gilmore from the start, which begs the question, why didn’t Daniel Farke use the Scottish Midfielder more?
Saturdays draw against Wolves, was on the back of 2-wins, meaning a total of 9-points have been accrued. That leaves the Canaries in 19th-place in the table, 3 away from safety.
James from Swinton, nowhere near Carrow Rd, is happy at the moment, with none of his teams losing over the weekend. At the same time as Jimbo’s new club, Norwich were playing out a goalless draw, James first footballing love, Barnsley FC, drew against Peterborough by a 0-0 score.
Then finally on Sunday, the Little Blunt was down the Lane to watch Sheffield United live and a couple of goals were scored. Jim was straight into Spoons.
Last Wednesday, little Jim’s beloved Sheffield United inflicted a defeat on Reading by a 1-0 score. A Reading team that included Andy Carroll and Danny Drinkwater, no wonder the Berkshire club have fallen foul of Financial Irregularities. Those two must be on a tidy few Bob a week.
Sheffield United then sacked Slavisa Jokanovic, after the Reading game and replaced him with the ex-Barnsley player and manager, Paul Heckinbottom. James from Swinton is over the moon with that appointment but keeps shouting, ‘You Reds!’ at the Lane.
Paul’s reign at Bramall Lane started well, with a victory by a 2-0 score. More on Mr Heckinbottom next time. Jim’s not bothered though, 2-pints of the fruit stuff and the lad will say anything.
One player that stands out for Norwich, is Mathias Normann, a 25-year old Norwegian Midfielder. Whilst the player is certainly proving his worth at Carrow Rd, the name. Normann evokes memories of a wonderful time for John Newsome.
Back at the beginning of 1990, John, who had just turned 20 and was about to enjoy his 21st-birthday, enjoyed numerous special nights in the local called The Norman. Granted, an ‘N’ less but regardless, an endless amount of fun, throughout a person’s life.
Many of the youth venture to Ibiza and frequent the legendary Beach Club, or go down Beach Rd in Malia, as well as other haunts such as Ayia Napa or Magaluf.
Imagine these places, in Barnsley? Most will scoff at that! Barnsley? Are you joking?
However, The Norman, in the centre of Monk Bretton, Barnsley, back in early 1990, was a legendary place to be of a Bank Holiday Monday. The car park, the size of 2-tennis courts, was packed to the edges, with youths, aged 18-30.
Bear in mind too that the Premier League wasn’t invented at the time, there wasn’t any wall to wall football or sports news outlet.
It was a primitive time.
Sun shining, music blaring, drinks on tap.
A momentous occasion in one’s life.
This was a time when pubs weren’t allowed to stay open for the hours on offer now.
A different period in history when one was young, carefree and single.
Now, John is old, carefree and single!
Back then, Mr Newsome was young, careless and alone.
However, a great time in one’s personal journey.
Meeting your mates, at The Norman, whoever turned up, there were no mobile phones to text folk, a game of pool, then into the legendary car park to fail with the opposition. You didn’t think you were about to fail but you did!
There are levels in relationships, one person fancies another, that person then fancies someone else but a Bank Holiday Monday at The Norman often levelled the playing field.
An attraction that was way off the scale sometimes produced an affectionate embrace. Different times, simple times, nice times!
The in-house DJ played Unbelievable, by EMF, Nothing Compares To You, from Sinead O’Connor, All The Man I Need, by Whitney Houston, I’ve Been Thinking About You, Londonbeat and the Kings of Wishful Thinking by Go West.
The chat-up lines on offer were from those tunes, ‘Hi love, nothing and I mean nothing, compares to you, you are unbelievable and I’ve been thinking about you, yes I’m the king of wishful thinking but am I all the man you need?’ ‘No? Ok then, another pint please bar-person!’
It was The Norman, (1-N!) from 11 until 3-ish, a 200-yard walk to The Sun, a quick pint in the sunshine, then around to the Butchers Arms. It’s dancing time now, Kareoke was new but a blast of Elvis was sometimes offered, sometimes asked. ‘We’re caught in a trap!’
It’s 5-ish, about 8-pints in, the sunshine was like a drug, Beach Club Ibiza had nothing on this, this is Monk Bretton, Barnsley, a part of Bernslai, that was first mentioned in the Doomsday Book back in 1086.
Another 100-yard walk to the Pheasant, a game of pool and a rinse, then along to the Working Men’s Club.
Joan and Malc were in playing bingo, hoping for a big win. The turn was about to perform but you were kicked out if making a sound when the caller was on.
Joan and Malc just laughed and we were on our way, past The Norman, down to the Full House. It’s 8.00 pm now, there’s a wobble on but it’s still light, Ibiza is light still at 8.
After a rinse in the Full House, it’s a mile track down the hill to Antonio’s. Back in the day, Antonio’s was a gay bar and halfway between Monk Bretton and town.
Although it was 1990, the boys and girls didn’t care if one was gay or straight, nowt to do with anyone else, just live life the way one wants and to the full. Stigmas are for other towns, Barnsley was with it!
A little kiss was on the cards and maybe a smooch on the dance floor but things were becoming hazy.
It’s 9.00 PM by now, it’s time to bale, home James, or John, a walk (or stagger !) up the hill and bed, ready for the next Bank Holiday Monday in Monk Bretton.
Not a patch on The Norman!
It was February 2020, when Norwich last visited St James Park, just before the season was suspended due to the Coronavirus situation. Neither team, that were under different managers at the time, could produce a goal, with the game finishing in a drab draw by a 0-0 score.
888 Sport offer Newcastle at slight Odds On 19/20, the draw at 51/20 and 14/5 for Norwich to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 13/5 that Allan Saint-Maximin Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 10/11 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
LEEDS UNITED v CRYSTAL PALACE
20.15 in England.
Leeds United earned a creditable point from a goalless draw against Brighton at the Amex in the late Saturday afternoon kickoff.
Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling and Robert Koch are all still missing from the starting eleven, however, Marcelo Bielsa was able to call upon Junior Firpo, who was given the first 45-minutes.
Leeds remain just outside the relegation places, in 17th, with 12-points from the 13-fixtures completed.
The Marching On Together crew were in full swing today on the South Coast and no doubt a few beverages partook before the kickoff.
Let’s hope the Whites faithful didn’t wreck the place afterwards. Marching On Together!
Crystal Palace suffered a first loss in 8 on Saturday, succumbing to a defeat against Aston Villa, or as they are now known, Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, by a 2-1 scoreline. Out of those 7-unbeaten fixtures, 2 were victories and 5, were drawn.
This tells one of two stories, one being, either Palace are hard to beat or B, the Eagles were close to losing 5 of the 7. Either way, Steven Gerrard got the better of Patrick Vieira with Palace conceding a goal in both halves.
Marc Guehi did score in the 95th-minute but ultimately just a consolation for Crystal Palace, who sit 11th in the table, on the same 16-points as Villa and Brentford but above both on goal difference.
When these two met at Elland Rd last term, in February, the combined age of the managers was 138, with Marcelo Bielsa being 65 at the time and Roy Hodgson at 73.
The Argentinian old stager got the better of the English pensioner, with Leeds United inflicting a defeat on Crystal Palace by a 2-0 scoreline. Jack Harrison scored at the start of the 1st-half, with Patrick Bamford adding number-2, at the beginning of the 2nd.
The combined age between the two current managers now, as reduced dramatically to 111, with Mr Bielsa, now 66 going head to head with Mr Vieira who’s aged 45.
888 Sport offer Leeds United at 29/20, the draw at 23/10 and 39/20 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 2/1 that Raphinha Scores Anytime and 21/10 that Wilfried Zaha Scores Anytime.
WATFORD v CHELSEA
19.30 in England.
Watford suffered a defeat against Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Claudio Ranieri made an emotional return to the place where the Italian masterminded the Foxes historic Premier League title win back in 2015/16. Unfortunately, for Mr Ranieri, the lad couldn’t inspire his new boys.
After Leicester had taken the lead, Watford were awarded a penalty that Josh King, coolly converted. The parity didn’t last long, with the Foxes scoring twice more, to take a 3-1 lead at the break.
Emmanuel Dennis pulled a goal back on the hour mark but Leicester quickly restored their 2-goal advantage, with the Hornets conceding a 4th, soon after Dennis the Menaces goal.
With no further action in the snow, it was a 5th-defeat in 7 for the Hornets, 4 of those losses have been under the guidance of Claudio Ranieri. The Italian has won 2, meaning currently a 33% strike rate.
In last week’s column, a draw was predicted by John Newsome following Watford’s stunning victory against Manchester United. That probably says more about where United are at the moment.
However, despite predicting a draw, John also mentioned the following, ‘Watford’s last 6-games have the following result pattern, Lost-Lost-Won, Lost-Lost-Won. That suggests a loss is on the cards, however, it’s not an exact science.’
The defeat did occur, leaving Claudio’s boys in 16th-place, with 13-points, basically a point a game.
Chelsea somehow failed to beat Manchester United on Sunday, a United team that are definitely in that dreaded transition period. After a goalless 1st-half that the home team were in complete control, Jorginho made a horrendous error on the halfway line attempting to control a long punt upfield from a United player.
The ball ran away from the Italian Midfielder allowing the away team to score a surprise breakaway goal. Jorginho did make up for his error, coolly converting a penalty to make the scores level.
The penalty was a rare one, where the on-field referee, Anthony Taylor, pointed to the spot after Thiago Silva was fouled in the box. Rare because there was no need for VAR to get involved, it was a straightforward penalty.
With no further goals, the game finished in a draw by a 1-1 score. With Liverpool and Man City both achieving victories, Chelsea’s lead at the summit was cut to 1-point.
Thomas’s Blue Engines sit at the top with 30-points, with Pep’s High Flyers in 2nd, with 29 and Jurgen’s Reds 3rd, with 28-points.
With West Ham, who sit in the final Champions League position of 4th, suffering a defeat against City, there is now a gap of 5-points between, Liverpool and the Hammers, meaning the Top Three are pulling away from the chasing pack.
Thomas Tuchel will have been scratching his head all Sunday evening, thinking, ‘How come we didn’t beat that lot when Liverpool and Man City hammered them?’
It was November 2019, when Frank Lampard’s Chelsea headed the short distance North, to Vicarage Rd, to take on Watford, under the guidance of Quique Sanchez Flores at the time.
Frank’s Blues got the away-day victory by a 2-1 score, with goals from Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic, before Gerard Deulofeu replied for the Hornets.
888 Sport offer Watford at 8/1, the draw at 4/1 and Odds On 1/3 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 14/5 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 23/20 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
WEST HAM v BRIGHTON
19.30 in England.
West Ham suffered a defeat on Sunday at the London Stadium, against Man City. The Hammers conceded in both halves, then scored a consolation very late on but ultimately lost the game by a 2-1 score. Manuel Lanzini with the late strike.
That leaves David Moyes Boys in 4th-place, with 23-points, the same 23 as Arsenal, who are a place below having an inferior goal difference.
Brighton played out a goalless draw, on Saturday evening at the Amex, against Leeds United. That’s now 6-draws from the last 8-fixtures, with the other 2, being defeats.
There were a few grumbles and moans from the Seagull faithful come the final whistle against Marcelo’s Whites which seemed to irk Graham Potter a little.
The point gained on Saturday leaves Harry’s boys in 9th-place, with 18, from the 13-fixtures completed. Last season’s fixtures between these two, both ended in draws.
At the London Stadium, the day after Boxing Day, Neal Maupay opened the scoring to give the visitors a half-time lead. Ben Johnson replied on the hour-mark before Lewis Dunk scored to restore Brighton’s advantage.
Tomas Soucek equalised soon after and with no further goals, the game finished in a draw by a Desmond 2-2 score.
888 Sport offer West Ham at slight Odds On 9/10, the draw at 13/5 and 3/1 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 11/4 that Pablo Fornals Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 5/6 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
WOLVES v BURNLEY
19.30 in England.
This fixture is one of the oldest games in English football history, dating back to the first encounter in September 1888.
The First Division, as it was known back then, was founded in 1888, with both teams in the inaugural Top Flight.
Wolves got the home victory by a 4-1 score, however, the game wasn’t played at Molineux, that ground came along a year later. Wolves gained a point from a goalless draw, against Norwich, at Carrow Rd on Saturday.
Bruno Lage’s Gold and Blacks have suffered just 1-defeat in the last 8-fixtures, with 2-draws and 5-victories, which is a great return. The point achieved, leaves Wolves in 6th-place, with 20-points from the 13-completed.
John Newsome awoke in his mansion on Sunday morning, rubbing his eyes, not believing the deluge of snow that had been put down in Barnsley and across the North of the country.
November has been one of the mildest in history, yet in the final few days of the month, the white stuff fell, causing chaos on the roads.
Turf Moor has always been a coat colder than any other football ground and with the snow falling on Sunday, in Burnley and surrounding areas, the home fixture against Tottenham was postponed.
The Clarets remain in the relegation zone with 9-points from the 12-games played, now a fixture less than the others due to the postponement.
With Leeds United only managing a draw and Watford suffering a defeat, it means Burnley have a great opportunity to overhaul both teams in the coming weeks.
Sean’s Clarets smashed 4-goals past Nuno’s Gold and Blacks at Molineux last season to get the away-day victory.
Chris Wood scored a 1st-half hat-trick before Ashley Westwood rounded off the rout, late on to give Burnley the brilliant win.
888 Sport offer Wolves at Odds On 17/20, the draw at 49/20 and 7/2 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 18/5 that Raul Jimenez Scores First and slight Odds On 4/6 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Alisson- Liverpool
RIGHT-BACK- Kyle Walker- Man City
CENTRE-BACK- Virgil Van Dijk- Liverpool
CENTRE-BACK- Ethan Pinnock- Brentford
LEFT-BACK- Andy Robertson- Liverpool
MIDFIELDER- James Maddison-Leicester
MIDFIELDER- Thiago Alcantara- Liverpool
MIDFIELDER- Ilkay Gundogan- Man City
FORWARD- Ivan Toney- Brentford
FORWARD- Diogo Jota- Liverpool
FORWARD- Jamie Vardy- Leicester
STAR MAN- Jamie Vardy- Leicester
SOUTHAMPTON v LEICESTER
19.30 in England.
Southampton suffered a defeat against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday by a 4-0 away-day score.
Wreck-It Ralphs men were completely outplayed by the home team and conceded 3-goals in the 1st-half and 1 after the break. The defeat leaves the Saints in 15th-place, with 14-points from the 13-fixtures. 15,14,13.
Leicester got the victory against Watford, in the Sunday snow, by a 4-2 scoreline, with 4 of the 6 goals coming before the break. The two Jim’s, Maddison and Vardy scored the Foxes goals with Jamie Vardy scoring twice, after the Hornets had converted a penalty.
Watford scored a 2nd on the hour mark but the 2-goal advantage was quickly restored when Ademola Lookman added a 4th for Leicester to give Brendan’s Wonderful’s the victory over ex-Fox Claudio Ranieri.
The 3-points gives Leicester 18 from the 13-fixtures played and leaves them 10th in the table, behind Brighton and Manchester United, who have 18-points too.
Mr Vardy has 9-goals this term, 2 behind Mo Salah at the top of the goal-scoring charts. Alan Shearer mentioned on Match of the Day 2, that Jimmy V is 34. The Sheffield Superstar is actually 35 in just over a month, on the 11th of January.
Four days after the beautiful Danielle’s 35th birthday. In a twist of fate, the two were friends back in Hillsborough as youths.
Danielle, by the way, will be the one and only Mrs Newsome, she doesn’t know that yet and John has to overcome the restraining order but everyone is invited to the wedding. Even Jimmy V!
Lennon the puppy scarpered lively on Sunday afternoon when the final whistle was blown, with Rod Stewart taking off his Watford shirt in anger and throwing it in the pooches direction.
Sir Roderick soon calmed down, when he found out that his beloved Green and White hoops had got a victory against Aberdeen (who?) in the Scottish Pub League.
Celtic beat the Dons by a 2-1 scoreline, however, the Glasgow rivals, Rangers, now under the guidance of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, also got a victory against Livingston (who?) by an away-day 3-1 score.
The ex-Gunner and Ger’s player, Giovanni takes over from Steven Gerrard at Ibrox. Rod’s Greens sit 2nd, in the Pub League, with 29-points, 4 adrift of Rangers.
Sir Roderick poured Penny and himself a glass of wine and settled down to watch Top Gear not knowing where Lennon had gone to but could hear a distant howl coming from the yard that resembled one of Roderick’s famous tunes.
‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be’ Woof Woof!
Jan Vestergaard was shown a Red Card in the 10th-minute at St Mary’s last season, giving Brendan’s Wonderful’s 80-minutes with a man extra.
Unfortunately, Leicester couldn’t take advantage and after a goalless 1st-half, a Jonny Evans goal cancelled out a James Ward-Prowse converted penalty to give both teams a share of the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
888 Sport offer Southampton at 7/5, the draw at 12/5 and 19/10 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 14/5 that James Ward-Prowse Scores Anytime and 23/20 that Jamie Vardy Scores Anytime.
ASTON VILLA v MAN CITY
20.15 in England.
Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, got a great victory over Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace on Saturday by a 2-1 scoreline.
When these two Midfield legends of the game have met previously, there’s usually a lot of kicking on legs involved but both remained calm and composed in the dugout.
Matt Targett, scored the opener for Villa after 15-minutes to give the away team a lead at the break.
John McGinn added a 2nd after the restart and although Villa conceded late on, it was ultimately just a Palace consolation, with Stevie G getting the better against his old foe.
The victory gives Aston Villa the same 16-points as Crystal Palace from the 13-fixtures played, leaving them in 13th-place.
Man City, not only beat West Ham, in the snow of the Etihad but cut the gap at the summit of the Premier League table, to 1-point away from Chelsea, ironically due to the Blues failure to beat Manchester United. Thanks, Numpty Neighbours!
Ilkay Gundogan scored the opener before the break, with Fernandinho adding a 2nd, in the 90th-minute.
Despite the late goal, there was still time for West Ham to pull 1 back but ultimately just a consolation, with City holding on for the victory by a 2-1 score. That gives Pep’s High Flyers, 29-points, 1 adrift of Chelsea and 1 more than Liverpool.
At Villa Park last season, Man City got the away-day victory by a narrow 2-1 score. All 3-goals were scored before the half-time cup of tea, with John McGinn giving the home team an early lead. Phil Foden and Roadie Rodri got the City goals.
John Stones was shown a Red Card in the 44th-minute, however, Dean Smith’s Clarets couldn’t take advantage of the extra man, in the 2nd-half, leaving Pep’s High Flying Blues with the win.
888 Sport offer Aston Villa at 15/2, the draw at 21/5 and slight Odds On 1/3 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 5/1 that Gabriel Jesus Scores First and 13/10 that Man City Win To Nil.
EVERTON v LIVERPOOL
20.15 in England.
Everton suffered a defeat away at Brentford on Sunday, the 5th from the last 6-fixtures, with the other being a draw.
That’s just 1-point from a possible 18, which is simply not good enough and the Toffee faithful are becoming restless with Rafa Benitez.
Andros Townsend’s high boot on Frank Onyeka initially went unpunished, however, the dreaded VAR intervened and informed the on-field referee, Darren England, that a penalty should be awarded.
Brentford converted and with no further goals, it was another defeat, this time by a single 1-0 score.
Everton slip to 14th in the table, with 15-points from the 13-fixtures, now below Aston Villa and Brentford, who both jump above following victories. 13,14,15.
Toffee Rafas and this morning’s papers may just have the headlines, ‘Mr Benitez is down the concrete!’ Watch this space.
Liverpool outplayed Southampton at Anfield on Saturday, getting a comfortable victory by a 4-0 scoreline.
Diogo Jota scored twice in the 1st-half, with Thiago Alcantara adding a 3rd, before the half-time cup of tea.
Thiago was superb throughout the game and got a deserved standing ovation when Jurgen took him off on the hour-mark.
Virgil Van Dijk had already made it 4-0, with a rare goal.
The easy victory gave Liverpool 28-points and temporarily lifted them to 2nd, however, Jurgen’s Reds dropped back to 3rd following Man City’s win on Sunday.
When these Merseyside giant’s met at Goodison Park last term, the game finished in a very entertaining draw by a Desmond 2-2 score.
Sadio Mane scored for Liverpool after 3-minutes, with Michael Keane equalising for Everton midway through the half to take both teams in level at the break.
Mo Salah restored the Reds lead in the 2nd-half until Dominic Calvert-Lewin equalised for the home team and with no further goals, the Derby finished in Mr Tutu’s favourite scoreline. Richarlison was shown a straight Red Card in the 90th-minute.
888 Sport offer Everton at 13/2, the draw at 39/10 and Odds On 2/5 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 11/4 that Mo Salah Scores First and Evens 1/1 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
TOTTENHAM v BRENTFORD
19.30 in England.
As mentioned earlier, the North of England, over the weekend, experienced heavy snowfall, resulting in Tottenham’s fixture against Burnley, at the coldest football ground in the Premier League, Turf Moor, being postponed.
At least Spurs didn’t lose but it was another weekend where Harry Kane failed to score. Not be long now before Harry’s off to the Etihad.
With both Wolves and Brighton only managing draws, Tottenham remain in 7th, despite not playing, with 19-points from 12-fixtures.
Brentford got a great victory against Everton on Sunday at The Wellard Stadium. Ivan Toney converted a 1st-half penalty, awarded when Frank Onyeka was kicked in the face by an Everton player.
The on-field referee, Darren England, failed to award the kick and had to be prompted by the VAR at Stockley Park. That’s now 4-goals so far for Mr Toney.
The victory by a 1-0 scoreline, lifts Brentford above Everton into 12th, with 16-points from the 13-games played. These two London clubs have met several times over the last few years, however, all have been in Cup competitions.
The last encounter was in January 2021, the Semi-Final of the Carabao Cup, with Jose Mourinho’s Spurs getting the victory by a 2-0 score.
Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-Min with the Tottenham goals that took them to the Final but not with Dracula Jose, who was sacked before the showpiece event at Wembley in April.
888 Sport offer Tottenham at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 31/10 and 17/4 for Brentford to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 11/4 that Harry Kane Scores First and 13/5 that Ivan Toney Scores Anytime.
MANCHESTER UNITED v ARSENAL
20.15 in England.
Check out the time of this kick-off between Carrick’s Wheels and Mikel’s Gunners. What’s meant by that is Arsenal’s last fixture against Newcastle, finished at 14.30 on Saturday, some 28-hours, before United’s game against Chelsea ended.
It’s strange that Arsenal kick off first over the weekend, then last in the midweek Amazon Jungle fixtures. Added to that, Manchester United played in the Champions League, whereas Arsenal had the week off. No wonder managers get the hump!
Manchester United, with Michael Carrick at the wheel, following Ole’s sacking, somehow managed a draw against Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, by a 1-1 scoreline.
It’s not unfair to say that if it had been a Boxing Match, the referee would have stopped the fight at half-time, with Carrick’s Trollies getting a heavy beating.
When under the cosh, early in the 2nd-half, from a Chelsea corner, a punt upfield by Alex Telles, resulted in a mistake by Jorginho that allowed Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to run through on goal.
The Blues goalkeeper wasn’t sure if Jadon would pass to Marcus or score himself, Mr Sancho wasn’t passing and neatly slotted the ball home, to give United the surprise lead.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka fouled Thiago Silva in the penalty area, which resulted in the on-field referee, Anthony Taylor pointing straight to the spot.
The girls and boys at Stockley Park weren’t needed, which was lucky really, as they were watching some soppy Christmas film on Channel 5.
Thomas’s Blue Engines equalised and with no further goals, both teams shared the points.
Michael Carrick left out Cristiano Ronaldo from the starting eleven, which would have definitely upset the superstar.
The German maestro, that is Ralph Rangnick is heading to Old Trafford, as interim manager before a permanent one is appointed at the end of the season.
That permanent one is rumoured to be Mauricio Pochettino, however, John Newsome isn’t so certain and Michael could just be given the job after a few months watching Ralph.
Ralph, aged 63, is regarded as a high-class coach but is not seen as the long term replacement to Ole.
Mr Rangnick is coming in to steady the ship and get United playing something like.
There was talk that Double R, influenced the team selection for Sunday’s fixture against Chelsea, however, that might just be hearsay.
If anyone wishes to go back over the past few weeks and read this column, it was stated that Bruno and Cristiano have struggled to play together and it was an obvious thing to do in dropping Cristiano or Bruno.
Michael Carrick dropped Bruno Fernandes for the midweek Champions League fixture against Villarreal and then ‘rested’ CR7, against Chelsea. It didn’t really need a German coach to advise Mr Carrick of what to do. It appeared obvious to John Newsome.
After the game at Stamford Bridge, Michael came out and said that United were unlucky not to win, intimating that his boys were the better team.
Regular readers will know, the utmost respect that this EveryTip contributor has for Mr Carrick, however, on this occasion, Michaels red-coloured specs gave a different perspective on the game.
Yes, United were unlucky just to draw, it should have been a defeat, with Chelsea being the dominant team. Ralph will oversee proceedings at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.
The point gained at Stamford Bridge gives Manchester United 18, the same as Leicester and Brighton but sit 8th, ahead of the two, with a better goal difference.
Michael will probably be in charge of this fixture against Arsenal until Ralph as his work permit agreed.
In that early Saturday game against Newcastle, 2nd-half goals from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were enough to give the Gunners the victory by a 2-0 score. In truth, Mikel Arteta’s men were simply too good for Eddie’s Magpies.
Arsenal sit 5th in the table, with 23-points from the opening 13-fixtures, which means a 3rd of the season has now been completed.
Paul Pogba fouled Hector Bellerin to concede a penalty at Old Trafford when Arsenal last ventured North to the Red Side of Manchester.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted the spot-kick and with no further goals, Mikel got the victory over Ole by a 1-0 score.
888 Sport offer Manchester United at slight Odds On 19/20, the draw at 53/20 and 27/10 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 23/10 that Bruno Fernandes Scores Anytime and 21/20 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
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