The highlight games for this weekend’s action are LEICESTER versus MANCHESTER UNITED and ARSENAL versus CHELSEA . Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 15 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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LEICESTER v MANCHESTER UNITED
This early Boxing Day fixture kicks-off at 12.30 in England live on BT Sport and kick-starts a great day of live TV footie.
What a brilliant game to get the post-festive football off and running with Ole’s Zebras visiting the King Power Stadium to take on Brendan’s Wonderful’s. Probably the best day of the year to watch football.
In the olden days, long before the Coronavirus stopped the fun, Boxing Day was a day to get out of the house having spent the previous day indoors, putting batteries in Toys that had ‘Batteries Not Included’ on the box.
The kids would be shouting, ‘Daaa-d there’s no batteries in this Evel Knievel bike!’ The best toy of the 70s ever!
So Dad, having been given the clue of ‘Batteries Not Included’ but choosing not to heed that warning, had to nip down to the local shop, that he knew would be open on Christmas morning in the hope of finding some Double AA batteries.
The shopkeepers were aware of this phenomenon and the normally £2.99 4-pack of Double AA batteries, were now £8.99 for 2, as the shopkeeper knew that Dad’s life wasn’t worth living if he returned home, without the batteries. This phenomenon only happens on Christmas morning.
Come Boxing Day, Dad is ready for the boozer and a few liveners talking with his mates as he’s fed-up of talking to the wife and kids, then a stroll down to the ground to watch his beloved team lose.
He’s not bothered that the manager of his team picked the wrong formation or only used 2-Subs, not the permitted 3, leaving the star-striker on the bench because the lad has indulged in a bit too much Turkey the day before.
The midfield general is in the stands, not being able to play, because he picked up his 5th-booking of the campaign, in the previous game, knowing that the 1-game ban would allow him to have a good Christmas Eve in the local nightclub, ‘Japanese Whispers’ and Christmas Day on the food and drink.
‘Sorry boss’ he says with a wink, as he walks off the pitch, that last outing, with the thought in his head that he’s not playing on Boxing Day.
The Dads still happy, he’s back in the boozer asking who’s won the King George VI at Kempton and realises the horse he’s backed at 20/1 fell at the final fence whilst 50-yards in front of the rest and after cursing the said horse and its jockey, ‘The useless little ……..’
Dad orders another few pick-me-ups to take away the hurt of going back home to the wife and kids. The good old days.
This year, although there will be a limited few allowed in the stadiums on Boxing Day, the Tier-3, folk at least have the option of watching football in between talking to the in-laws who are constantly saying, ‘Are you not going to the match today?’
After the 5th reply of, ‘No dearest Mother-in-Law, I’m not allowed to because we are in Tier-3 and Boris won’t allow fans in our ground, so I’m staying at home and watching the football on the TV’ The frustration sets in and the reply is, ‘Aaaaaaahhhhhh!’ The Mother-In-Law looks at her daughter and enquires, ‘What’s up with him?’
After the cold Turkey from the day before, as been warmed up and turned into a Turkey Biriyani and a few glasses of Sherry, just to be polite, the football is on the 55-inch.
Leicester surprised everyone on Sunday by going to the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium and beating Tottenham by a 2-0 scoreline.
With 1st-half time running out, the Foxes were awarded a penalty which Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy converted after a recent miss against Wolves.
After the break, Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld put past his own ‘keeper to give Brendan’s Wonderful Human Beings a 2-0 lead that was easily held on to without a bad dog walker in sight.
The victory lifts Leicester above Spurs into 2nd-place with 27-points, 4-behind Liverpool at the summit, with today’s Boxing Day opponents just a place and a point away from the Foxes.
Rod Stewart had a mixed day, Lennon scarpered early doors when Toby scored the own goal and Roddy took off his Tottenham shirt with ‘Stewart’ and ‘75’ on the back. The 75 stood for how many times Rod swore at the telly.
The crooner’s favourite team, Celtic, did eventually win the Scottish Cup after trailing 2-0 at one point against Hearts (who?)
Hearts pulled 2-goals back taking the game into extra-time and with both teams scoring in the added time, the tie was decided on penalties with the Green and White Hoops gaining the victory with Hearts missing 2 of their 5-kicks.
Lennon was wary as he edged his nose into the front room seeing the Tottenham shirt thrown away but spotting Rod smiling, the dog knew that it was safe and maybe even a few doggy treats were on offer. ‘Baby Jane’ on in the background. He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.
This next sentence might need to be read a couple of times as on first perusal, it maybe is hard to comprehend. Scott McTominay scored 2-goals in the first 3-minutes against Leeds United on Sunday.
Yes, the much-maligned Scott surprised everyone and in a blink of an eye and a mirror image of Paul Scholes, the midfielder bagged a couple of goals to settle the nerves of the cardboard Red Devil’s.
Bruno Fernandes made it 3-0 before 20-minutes were up and Victor Lindelof added a 4th after half-hour of play.
Leeds did score the 5th-goal of the half and had chances throughout the game to equal Manchester United.
After the break Dan James, a surprise starter made it 5-1, with Bruno adding his 2nd and United’s 6th from the penalty spot, with his usual hop, skip and a jump kick, which looks brilliant when it works, however, not so good when it doesn’t. Even with it now being 6-1, Leeds United still attacked and did manage a 2nd-goal themselves.
Ole’s Wheels held on for a famous victory by a 6-2 scoreline, which could quite easily have ended up 10-6.
It’s the first time that Manchester United have scored 6-goals at Old Trafford, since the 8-2 victory against Arsenal in August 2011 (cheers Ian!).
It’s just a shame that there were only the cardboard Red Devil’s in attendance to witness the goal-fest.
The win lifts United to 3rd in the table with 23-points, the same as Everton in 4th but with a better goal difference and just a point behind today’s hosts.
So a victory from either team will take them 2nd behind Liverpool and United have the advantage of only playing 13-games not the 14 that others around them have.
Scott, Fred and Dan James get the weekend off from criticism but without the lorry reversing and not to be seen as backtracking, Leeds United were the ideal opposition for Manchester United at Old Trafford, let’s just see how Fred, Scott and Dan get on against Leicester.
When these two met last term at the King Power Stadium, this was the final fixture of the protracted season with Ole’s Wheels coming away victorious following a win by a 2-0 scoreline. After a goalless 1st-half, Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring for United to settle the nerves.
At the time, it was a case of winner finishes in the Champions League places with the Red Devil’s having 63-points and the Foxes with 62, before kick-off.
With Chelsea gaining a victory in their final fixture, the winners between Leicester and Manchester United were in the Top Four and the loses were playing in Uzbekistan on Thursday Nights.
United left it late to seal the victory with Jesse Lingard (remember him?) scoring in the 98th-minute to give Ole the win over Brendan and gain entry into the Champions League.
Before Jesse’s strike, ex-United defender, Jonny Evans was shown a Red Card and just beat his mates into the baths.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at 19/10, the draw at 13/5 and 13/10 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/4 that Bruno Fernandes Scores Anytime and 13/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
ASTON VILLA v CRYSTAL PALACE
Free to air festive football with this Boxing Day game kicking-off at 15.00 in England live on the Council Telly (BBC).
Aston Villa comfortably beat their Midlands rivals on Sunday evening with a professional display against the Baggies now under the guidance of Sam Allardyce. Sam usually goes into a club and immediately works on the defence.
Whether the Big fella hadn’t had the necessary time to hone the Baggies defenders or the task is simply too much was evident as Villa blew West Brom away with a couple of goals from Anwar El-Ghazi and a Bertrand Traore strike, giving the Claret and Blues the 3-0 victory.
Ollie Watkins did have a goal disallowed when the dreaded VAR, watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, decided that Ollie’s big toe was in an offside position. The brilliant win lifts Dean Smith’s boys up to 9th in the table with 22-points.
Villa have only played 12-fixtures not the 14, the others have so will be dreaming of a higher position if victorious in the 2-games in hand, however, one of those is against Man City.
That’s for the future, for now, Dean will just be concentrating on the visit of Crystal Palace for this Boxing Day freebie on BBC 1.
Dean Smith called off at the shops afterwards and asked for 10-Bees, the shopkeeper, knowing that Dean was the ex-Brentford boss, nicknamed the ‘Bees’ gave him 11. On enquiring why there was 11, the shopkeeper replied, ‘It’s a free-bee!’ You can have that one, Merry Christmas!
The Magnificent Seven, well that’s what Liverpool were on Saturday in the early kick-off when the current Premier League Champions came to Selhurst Park and put 7(seven)! past Roy’s Boys who, despite the scoreline, did put in a bit of a performance.
That’s what used to happen in the past when a team scored 7, the vidi-printer on BBC-1 would spell out the word because the folk of the 70s and 80s couldn’t compute 7 or 8 as a number and needed it as a word. Crystal Palace 0 Liverpool 7 (Seven)! 3-(three) goals in the 1st-half and 4-(four) after the break, totalling, 1-one, 2-two, 3-three, 4-four, 5-five, 6-six, 7-seven.
Roy won’t worry too much as most will lose against the Reds, maybe not by 7-(seven) but will lose and the performance wasn’t too bad, just that Liverpool were awesome.
The defeat leaves the Eagles still in 13th-place with 18-points which basically, come another 25-fixtures, is about where Crystal Palace will be.
When a team is in front of goal they have to score, the Reds did, the Eagles didn’t, with Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlupp, Eberechi Ezri and Luka Milivojevic all flattering to deceive and Christian Benteke sat in the stand unable to play against the club that somehow paid £32 Million for his services a few years back, due to his misdemeanour against West Ham last weekend.
At Villa Park last term, this fixture took place post-lockdown in July with Aston Villa coming out on top following a victory by a 2-0 scoreline.
Trezeguet scored the opener in the 4th-minute of 1st-half injury time to give Deans Clarets a half-time lead.
The Egyptian then added his and Villa’s 2nd after the break and with no more goals, Aston Villa ran out winners by a 2-0 scoreline.
Christian Benteke received a Red Card late in the game, so late, in fact, the referee had already blown the final whistle.
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at slight Odds On 19/20, the draw at 13/5 and 11/4 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and 7/4 that Aston Villa Score in Both Halves.
FULHAM v SOUTHAMPTON
Another 15.00 kick-off in England live on Sky Sports, after the leftover Turkey as been devoured.
Fulham came away from St James Park with a point following a 1-1 draw against Newcastle late on Saturday evening with the cardboard Cottagers hitching a ride back on the Amazon Parcel transporter.
Scott Parker’s men were helped along the way when Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie got his face in the way of a header that was going wide and inadvertently directed the ball into his own goal.
After a brilliant counterattack, the Magpies were awarded a penalty when Callum Wilson was upended in the area by Joachim Andersen.
Joachim had received a Yellow Card just after the break and after the challenge on Callum was sent off.
The big Dane received a straight Red Card for the offence but would have ultimately taken an early bath if the referee had deemed it only a Yellow.
Joachim now misses this Boxing Day clash against the Saints with a few of his teammates wondering whether the lad did it on purpose.
A nice Turkey dinner in the Andersen household on the 25th, with a few Danish pastries thrown in for good measure.
The point gained by Fulham, the 3rd in a row from 3-consecutive draws, gives the Cottagers 10-points but still leaves them in the bottom three following Burnley’s subsequent victory against Wolves.
Sean Dyche’s Clarets also have a game in hand over Ronald McDonald’s main man.
Although Fulham haven’t lost in 3, they haven’t won either and could have done with at least one of the draws being a win.
It is mathematically better to Win-1, Lose-1 and Draw-1, from 3-fixtures than Draw-3.
The positive Scott can take from the games is one of the draws was against Liverpool, who have just smashed 7, past ex-Fulham boss Roy Hodgson’s Eagles.
Southampton hosted the White Paisley Prints from Manchester on Saturday with Pep’s Boys wearing a very nice Paisley adorned white away kit.
Wreck-It’s Saints matched Man City with effort and commitment but didn’t have the added class to gain the victory and suffered a defeat by a 1-0 scoreline.
The goal conceded in the 1st-half, a 1st-half that also saw the departure of Danny Ings through injury which obviously depleted Southampton.
With City having the early goal advantage, the Saints were always chasing the game but couldn’t get the all-important equaliser and suffered their 1st-defeat in 4-games.
After the weekend’s fixtures, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s boys sit 7th, with 24-points, a point more than Man City who have played a game less.
It was November 2018, the last time Southampton went to Craven Cottage and came away with nothing from a 5-goal thriller.
Both teams were under the guidance of different managers with Fulham having Claudio Ranieri at the helm and the Saints being governed by Mark Hughes.
Stuart Armstrong gave Southampton an early lead, however, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle replied for the Cottagers to take Fulham in at the break, leading 2-1.
In the 2nd-half, Stuart scored his and the Saints 2nd to level matters but within 10-minutes, Aleksandar scored his 2nd but significantly, Fulham’s 3rd to ultimately give the Tinkerman a victory by a 3-2 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Fulham at 21/10, the draw at 23/10 and 13/10 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 17/2 that Ademola Lookman Scores First and 5/2 that James Ward-Prowse Scores Anytime.
ARSENAL v CHELSEA
Late Boxing Day afternoon football, with this game at the Emirates kicking-off at 17.30 in England live on Sky Sports, on the proviso that the dishes have all been washed and cleared away.
How many times has the term relegation-threatened Arsenal been used in the 27-years of the Premier League?
The Gunners suffered another defeat late Saturday afternoon coming away from Goodison Park with nothing following a loss by a 2-1 scoreline.
Since convincingly beating Manchester United on the 1st of November, Mikel Arteta’s boys have lost 5 out of the 7-fixtures and drawn the other 2, so 2-points from a possible 21 on offer.
Whilst it’s too early to say Pep 2 is Queen and David Bowie (Under Pressure!) the lad may just want to contact Slaven Bilic and ask for advice on how to fill out the Job Seekers Allowance form.
Rob Holding was proud as punch being handed the Captain’s armband for the trip to Merseyside.
Twenty minutes into proceedings, Big Rob deflected the ball past his own ‘keeper Bernd Leno to gift Everton the lead.
Nicolas Pepe equalised for Arsenal when awarded a penalty and with 45-minutes up on the clock, it looked like the Gunners would go in level at the break.
However, Mikel’s strugglers conceded a goal from a corner seconds before the referee blew his whistle for a cup of Bovril and with no goals in the 2nd-half, Arsenal registered another defeat.
Whilst it appears a light-hearted suggestion that the Gunners are relegation-threatened, Pep 2 just needs to keep an eye on the situation with the Gooners seeing their team sit in 15th-place, with 14-points, just 4-more than Fulham who sit in the drop-zone.
It’s not conceivable to think Arsenal would go down but stranger things have happened. Manchester United back in 1973/74. Too good to go down?
With several goals predicted in the fixture between Chelsea and West Ham, after 77-minutes, it looked like there would be just the 1 offered up, scored by Thiago Silva in the 10th-minute.
Then, Tammy Abraham recalled to the starting eleven in place of Olivier Giroud, scored twice in the space of 2-minutes, late in the 2nd-half, to give Chelsea a convincing victory by a 3-0 scoreline.
Timo Werner did have several chances throughout the fixture but is on a bad run of form at the moment, now going 10-games, in all competitions, without notching.
The win lifts Frank’s Blues up to 5th, with 25-points, above Tottenham, who have the same points but a slightly inferior goal difference and sets up a brilliant Boxing Day contest against the London rivals Arsenal.
At the Emirates last season, this fixture was played, almost exactly to the day between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve on the 29th.
Frank’s Blues left it late but got a great post-Christmas 2-1 victory against Mikel’s Gunners, this time last year. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given Arsenal a 1st-half lead.
Chelsea had to wait until 80-minutes were up on the clock to get the equaliser with Jorginho, who was a 1st-half replacement for Emerson, scoring a rare non-penalty goal.
Tammy Abraham then scored the winner for the Blues to inflict a first defeat on Pep 2.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at 13/5, the draw at 13/5 and Evens 1/1 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Tammy Abraham Scores First and 2/1 that Chelsea Score in Both Halves.
MAN CITY v NEWCASTLE
BT Sport are showing this Boxing Day fixture at 20.00 in England, long after the Grandparents have gone home to draw the curtains and get settled.
Paisley Park came from nowhere to win the Porsche Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday, half-hour later, Man City must have been inspired by the horse’s great run and took on Southampton wearing a very fetching White away strip with a Paisley pattern imprinted on the shirt.
Whilst not a Man City fan, the top wouldn’t look out of place on any football supporters back and Noel has already ordered a few for the kids and his brother Liam, (technically the same!)
Following 2-draws from the last 2-fixtures, one being against the Numpty Neighbours and a surprise stalemate against West Brom, Pep Guardiola needed a much-needed victory and whilst there weren’t many goals, Raheem Sterling with the solitary strike, Man City were professional and got a great victory against Southampton at St Mary’s by a 1-0 scoreline.
Over the past few weeks, this column has highlighted the fact that when John Stones plays, City don’t concede. It could be seen as bias with Johnny Boy being a Barnsley lad but the stats don’t lie.
Before the Southampton game, from the start of November, Pep picked John in 6 of the 10 fixtures in all competitions. In those 6, City won-5 and drew the other, all without conceding a goal.
In the 4 that John didn’t play, City drew-3 and lost the other, conceding goals in the defeat against Tottenham and the draws against Liverpool and West Brom. Admittedly in the other draw, City didn’t concede.
Pep brought back John against Southampton and immediately that Stones name appeared on the team sheet, bets were placed that City would Win To Nil, which is exactly what happened.
A few have scoffed at the idea that John Stones makes City solid but as stated, the stats don’t lie and it’s now 7 from 7 since November the 1st, that when Barnsley Boy John plays, City haven’t conceded a goal. Watch out for the lineup against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
The cardboard Toon Army watched their beloved Magpies earn a point from a 1-1 draw against Fulham late on Saturday evening. The unfortunate Matt Ritchie scored an own goal when the ball hit his nose and deflected into the goal.
In the 2nd-half, following a Fulham corner, Newcastle broke away and were awarded a penalty when the Cottagers Big Dane Joachim Andersen upended Callum Wilson in the area. The Fulham defender was shown a Red Card for the offence.
Callum brushed himself down and coolly slotted the spot-kick home, his 8th-goal of the season, with 4-penalties in that tally.
Newcastle lie in 12th place in the table with 18-points, however, only 13-fixtures played not 14, like the rest, so will feel they could be higher. Andy Carroll was left on the bench again trying to get his hair better than Gareth Bale’s.
When Steve Bruce took his Magpies to the Etihad last season, back in July, the Toon Army weren’t in tow, unable to travel because the Coronavirus had got a grip of the Worlds fun.
Luckily for them, the TA’s didn’t get to see their beloved Black and Whites being hammered by Pep’s Blues. Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez gave City a 2-0 lead going into the break.
The David of the Silva’s and Raheem Sterling added number 4 and 5 after the unfortunate Magpie, Federico Fernandez scored an own goal to put the Blue Moons 3-0 ahead, ultimately resulting in a victory for Pep over Steve by a resounding 5-0 scoreline. At the time, City were still in contention to retain their Premier League title.
Bet 365 offer Man City at massive Odds On 1/9, the draw at 9/1 and 16/1 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/2 that Sergio Aguero Scores First and 2/1 that there are Over 4.5 Goals.
SHEFFIELD UNITED v EVERTON
BT Sport are also showing Everton’s night out in Sheffield with the same 20.00 kick-off time in England, provided the kids are still on the new PlayStation 5, or in Jimbo’s case in Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, his new ZX Spectrum.
Sheffield United doubled the points tally on Sunday gaining a valuable one from a 1-1 draw away against Brighton at the Amex.
It looked like the Blades would be up against it when John Lundstram was shown a Red Card for a challenge in the 40th-minute.
The referee had initially pulled out a Yellow Card but after talks from the dreaded VAR, the on-field referee Peter Bankes was advised to look at his pitch-side monitor.
Once this happens, it’s usually inevitable that a decision will be overturned, the Yellow Card was cancelled and upgraded to a Red, with John Boy getting to put the kettle on for the half-time cuppa.
Before John’s exit, Happy Chris Wilder had made a substitution taking off John Fleck and bringing on Oliver Burke on the half-hour mark, with no sign of an injury, the Wild-man must have thought his initial lineup was wrong.
Chris was happy when his 10-men scored the opener on 63-minutes, even happier as it was from an inspired substitution from the Blades boss bringing on Jayden Bogle who scored after 9-minutes of making his first appearance.
Unfortunately for the Blunts, the bad dog walker was on display and Sheffield United couldn’t hold on to the lead conceding a Seagulls equaliser with time running out.
There was a bit more excitement with both teams coming close to getting the winner but in truth, a 1-1 draw was probably the right result.
The point gained doubles Sheffield United’s total to 2, from the 14-played, leaving them the strongest side in the division, holding everyone up at the bottom.
Little James will be over the moon with his Christmas presents of a tangerine to go with last year’s apple and a piece of coal.
Jimbo’s lovely girlfriend got him the Barnsley strip and Jim was overwhelmed running around his garden in Swinton wearing the kit of his first footballing love before somehow changing his allegiance to the Blades. he lad must have had a bump on the head sometime in the past.
Everton got a professional victory beating Arsenal on Saturday evening by a 2-1 scoreline with all 3-goals coming in the 1st-half.
Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin thought he’d scored midway through the opening period but on further inspection, it was an Arsenal defender who converted the ball from Dominic, which was going wide, into the net, so an own goal was the outcome.
The unfortunate Tom Davies (not King Gary!) conceded a penalty with a rash challenge and although the dreaded VAR took a look at the incident, Tom’s expression gave away his guilt and Stockley Park weren’t needed.
Arsenal scored the penalty and with 1st-half time running out, Yerri Meena got his head onto a corner to score the Toffees 2nd, just before the referee blew for a cup of tea.
With no more goals after the break, Everton held on for the victory that lifted them temporarily to 3rd but finished the weekend in 4th, with 26-points, the same as Manchester United, however, with a slightly inferior goal difference, giving United the 3rd-place berth.
This was the penultimate fixture of the protracted 2019/20 season when the Toffees headed to Bramall Lane last term, in July.
Richarlison scored just after the referee had blown his whistle for the start of the 2nd-half, which turned out to be the solitary winning goal.
Happy Chris did pick ex-Blade/Toffee Phil Jagielka in his 18-man squad but didn’t allow for sentiment and left Phil on the Socially Distanced bench.
Bet 365 offer Sheffield United at 10/3, the draw at 14/5 and slight Odds On 3/4 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 8/5 that Richarlison Scores Anytime and 2/1 that Everton Win To Nil.
LEEDS UNITED v BURNLEY
Boxing Day is over and some will say, ‘So is the festivities for another year!’ The miserable ones that is.
There is still the New Year to see in, which the Eves celebrations, will be a poignant affair, after the year that everyone as had, especially this EveryTip contributor, who let’s just say, as had it tough but still provided his column to the masses, despite several setbacks.
The football isn’t over though and this brilliant old fashioned fixture at Elland Rd kicks-off at 12.00 in England live on Sky Sports.
Whatever else anything can be said about Leeds United, one thing that can’t is the Whites are not entertaining. On Sunday, after just 3-minutes against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Leeds were losing 2-0. Not a goal behind but 2, conceded after just 3-minutes on the clock.
Marcelo Bielsa has instilled a philosophy into his boys that doesn’t waver whatever the situation. Patrick Bamford was a threat throughout the contest and could have scored to half the deficit, however, Leeds then conceded 2-more before Liam Cooper scored to take the Whites in trailing 4-1 at the break.
Marcelo surprisingly took off Kalvin Philips at half-time which appeared to be tactical rather than an injury to young KP. The change in personnel didn’t change the fortunes of Leeds who conceded 2-more, one being a penalty to trail 6-1 going into the final 20-minutes.
Stuart Dallas then scored a brilliant goal curling the ball into the far corner, leaving David De Gea helpless. Time ran out for a comeback and the Whites finished on the wrong end of a 6-2 scoreline which could have quite easily been 10-6.
Marcelo Bielsa won’t change his footballing philosophy and will continue to send Leeds United out to play in the style he trains throughout the week.
It’s just whether that philosophy, that will see other results like the one against United, will keep the Whites in the Premier League.
Leeds stay in 14th-place with 17-points and are comfortably away from the relegation places, which a positive result against Burnley will extend that scenario.
Burnley inflicted a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline (as predicted in EveryTips Game Week-14 Preview) on Wolves in the early Monday Night kick-off.
Ashley Barnes scored in the 1st-half to give Sean’s boys a half-time lead. After the break, Chris Wood smashed home a 2nd, from 2-yards out to settle the nerves of the cardboard Clarets.
With time running out, Burnley’s Josh Benson fouled Fabio Silva in the area with the referee having no hesitation to award a penalty.
Stockley Park, rumoured to be watching Elf, weren’t needed as the Clarets calmly accepted the decision, so the dreaded VAR went back to watching Will Farrell in the hit Christmas movie.
Although the penalty was converted, Burnley held on for the victory which the points gained gives them 13 for the season so far and lifts them up to 16th, above Brighton who drop a place.
Sean Dyche’s men have only played 13-fixtures, not the 14 that the others around them have.
There is continued talk of a takeover at Turf Moor which Sean says he’s not privy to but will want the matter sorting and have the possibility of a few new faces in January so that Burnley can stave off relegation.
Surprisingly, Leeds haven’t taken on Burnley in the Premier League with all the recent games between the two being played out in the Championship.
Before November 2004, when both were Division-2 clubs following Leeds United’s relegation from the Top Flight that year, it was October 1982 the last time the Clarets headed East on the M62 to West Yorkshire, with both teams literally in Division-2. Leeds with the home-victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Leeds United at Odds On 2/3, the draw at 3/1 and 15/4 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 15/4 that Patrick Bamford Scores First and 11/8 that Leeds Score in Both Halves.
WEST HAM v BRIGHTON
Early Sunday Afternoon post-Christmas football with a 14.15 start time in England live on Sky Sports. Hopefully, there’s no more Turkey on offer.
West Ham suffered a defeat against Chelsea on Monday Night Football, losing against the Blues by a 3-0 scoreline.
The Hammers conceded from a corner after 10-minutes but for the next 65, matched Chelsea and were unlucky not to equalise. However, in the end, they didn’t register a shot on target.
Unfortunately for the travelling cardboard Bubbles, West Ham conceded 2-goals in quick succession to ultimately lose the game at Stamford Bridge.
Michail Antonio is still injured when it was expected that Mich would be ready for the trip across London. The defeat drops David Moyes Hammers down to 10th in the table, still with 21-points but following a defeat, Brighton may just be the side to take on to get back on track.
How bad must Brighton feel on Sunday Afternoon being only the 2nd-team out of 14, that haven’t beaten Sheffield United?
The Blades were reduced to 10-men with 5-minutes of the 1st-hour remaining, that should have given the Seagulls an advantage in the 2nd-half.
The advantage didn’t materialise and the 10-men of Sheffield scored against 11-man Brighton.
Graham Potter decided to rest Danny Welbeck but then decided Danny was needed and introduced the ex-Manchester United and Arsenal striker on the 66-minute mark.
Danny didn’t disappoint and equalised for Harry’s men with 3-minutes remaining then had the chance to get the victory in injury time but his effort hit the bar.
That was the end of the excitement with Brighton doing what only Fulham out of the 14-fixtures had done and that is draw with Sheffield United whereas everyone else had beaten the Blades. The point gained leaves, Brighton, with 12-points, in 17th-place, just 2-above the relegation zone.
When Graham Potter’s Seagulls ventured to the London Stadium last term, fans were allowed to travel with the fixture taking place at the start of February.
Forgotten Hammer, Robert Snodgrass, who did see a minutes action recently against Leeds United, scored a double to put West Ham 3-1 in front early in the 2nd-half.
Issa Diop had scored the Hammers opener on the half-hour mark, with Robert scoring his 1st to give West Ham a 2-0 lead at the break.
Angelo Ogbonna gifted Brighton an own goal within 2-minutes of the restart then Robert restored the 2-goal advantage.
Midway through the 2nd-half, Pascal Gross and Glenn Murray scored in quick succession to give parity to the scoreline and with no more goals, the game finished in an exciting 3-3 draw.
Bet 365 offer West Ham at 13/10, the draw at 23/10 and 21/10 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 8/5 that Michail Antonio Scores Anytime and 10/3 that West Ham Win to Nil.
LIVERPOOL v WEST BROM
Late Sunday Afternoon football, after the batteries in the toys, are starting to run out. With this fixture kicking-off at 16.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
Feel the way my heart keeps thumping.
Notice how my two eyes shine,
See the way my feet keep jumping.
Jumping with joy, I’m some lucky boy-
I’m in seventh heaven.
It’s easy to guess, my baby said yes,
I know I’ve just thrown a great big seven.
For she is the prize, what lips and what eyes.
She knows that I’ve got all the stuff, got all the things.
She thinks that I’m an angel enough without wings and that’s why I’m in the seventh heaven, heaven! Having a heck of a time.
Jurgen’s words after Saturday’s brilliant 7-0 away-day victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
First-half goals from Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino gave the Reds a 3-0 lead at the break.
Jordan Henderson added the 4th before Jurgen introduced Mo Salah who started from the bench and replaced a very unhappy Sadio. The next 3-goals that totalled the 7, were from Roberto, Mo and Mo.
Mo Salah bagging two, as offered up in the EveryTip’s preview for Game Week-14, having only seen just over 30-minutes game-time.
The victory confirmed Liverpool’s top-spot for Christmas with the chasing pack being also-rans over the festive period.
Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton, did win later on Saturday so temporarily went 2nd in the table behind the Reds with 26-points.
That did change after Sunday’s fixtures with Jurgen’s Reds still top, 4-points above Leicester who now lie 2nd, after the Foxes brilliant victory against Tottenham. Frohe Weihnachten Jurgen.
Sam Allardyce is back at the helm of a football club, this time West Brom have decided they need the services of Big Sam to try and get them out of the relegation places.
Mr Allardyce’s 1st-assignment was to get a positive result from the visit of Aston Villa and whilst shoring the defence is Sam’s initial remit, the Baggies conceded a goal after 5-minutes to trail at the break 1-0.
What made it worse was not only did West Brom trail by a goal, they were also a man light after Jake Livermore was sent off in the 36th-minute, once again with the Yellow Card being upgraded to a Red after intervention from the VAR.
Villa controlled the 2nd-half, scoring 2-more and inflicted a 3-0 defeat on West Brom that leaves the Boing-Boings 2nd-bottom of the table with 7-points, 5-away from safety.
January is fast approaching so Sam may be able to get some much-needed new recruits in to try and climb the table.
Sam Allardyce is a past master at situations like this so don’t bet on West Brom going down just yet, however, this visit to Anfield will be a daunting tough ask.
Here’s one for you, right!
Who were the last team to beat Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League? Answer-Crystal Palace.
Who was the manager of Palace back in April 2017, when the Eagles beat Liverpool by a 2-1 scoreline?
The odds will be pretty high for a Baggies victory but it might just be worth a £1.
Back in the Spring, this column did an in-depth article about Liverpool’s All-Time Premier League Best Eleven, published April 20th, 2020.
This week on BT Sport there is a brilliant documentary on the plight of Jean-Marc Bosman, introduced by David Ginola.
A wonderful, yet sad insight into the life of a man who changed football forever.
Back in April, John Newsome’s EveryTip column wrote this when detailing one of Liverpool’s Best Eleven, that is Steve McManaman.
‘In 1995 an unknown Belgium footballer Jean-Marc Bosman took on the Belgium Football Association.
Whilst at his club RFC Liege, where his contract ran out in 1990, Bosman wanted to move to the French club, Dunkerque.
At the time, even though a players contract had ended, a transfer fee was still demanded by the holding club, therefore Dunkeque had to pay RFC Liege a fee.
In this day and age, it’s inconceivable to even contemplate this to happen but before 1995, that was the norm.
Dunkeque refused to pay a fee so RFC Liege refused to let Jean-Marc leave.
Also, now being out of contract, Jean-Marc had his wages cut.
Feeling this was an injustice and rightly so, Jean-Marc took on the authorities and in 1995, some 5-years later, the Courts ruled that once a player’s contract had expired, the player was free to sign for any club he wanted without the need for a fee.
This became known as the ‘Bosman Rule’ so when a player leaves a club without a fee, he’s gone on a ‘Bosman’.
In 1999, Steve McManaman was one of the first high profile players that allowed his contract to run down, without signing a new one with Liverpool and joined Real Madrid for nothing, taking advantage of the Bosman ruling.
At the time, 21-years ago, it was deemed that Steve was being a touch ruthless towards his employers, who had nurtured his talent since he was a youngster, by leaving without Liverpool receiving a fee.
In today’s overpriced and inflated transfer market, Steve McManaman would be valued at around £80 Million, bearing in mind that Real Madrid paid £90 Million for Eden Hazard last season.
Steve signed a 5-year deal with Real for a reported £54,000 a week, a cool £14 Million over the 5-years. A lot of money now but a fortune in 1999, setting up Steve for life.
In his 1st-season in Madrid, Macca won the Champions League, scoring a goal in the final, in his 2nd-season, Macca did what he had not achieved on Merseyside and won a Top Flight title, in his 3rd-season Macca won the Champions League again.
It’s fair to say that Steve McManaman was a success in Spain, being included in several Real Madrid All-Time Elevens.
Steve came back to the Premier League at the start of 2003/04, signing for Kevin Keegan’s Man City, again for nothing, having been released by Real Madrid.
After a career that started as a 16-year old apprentice at Anfield, a 27-year old at the Santiago Bernabeu and a 31-year old at the Etihad, that saw, not 1-penny spent in transfer fees, Steve called time on his playing days in May 2005.
Out of all the achievements El Macca gained throughout his time as a footballer, a last-minute equalising goal scored for the Reds, against Celtic, in the UEFA Cup back in 1997, is in itself, enough to give Steve McManaman the Number-7 shirt in this Liverpool Premier League Best Of.’
This was purely down to the sacrifice of one Jean-Marc Bosman.
It would be thought that BT Sport’s documentary with the excellent David Ginola, speaking in his native French to Mr Bosman, was a celebration on Jean-Marc’s brilliant life and how one man took on UEFA, won and became a superstar.
Not so, although the likes of Steve McManaman, Sol Campbell and a host of big-name players (and small names too) benefited immensely from the Bosman rule, Jean-Marc lost everything and was seen as a pawn in a game between the solicitors and UEFA.
JM was 26-years old in 1990, in the prime of his footballing career but due to the court case, that lasted 5-years, Jean lost out on playing, subsequently lost his marriage, his home, became an alcoholic and suffered from depression, bearing in mind this was 1995, not 2020 when it wasn’t as acceptable for a male to be depressed.
Jean-Marc Bosman sacrificed his own career and nearly his own life to pave the way for the modern player who earns millions, yet Jean is penniless, even having to move back in with his old mum.
FIFA, UEFA and the PFA should now come together and find a way of compensating Jean-Marc.
Sol Campbell was allowed to leave Tottenham and join Arsenal for nothing. Imagine Tottenham not allowing Sol to join Arsenal unless a fee was paid, then reducing Big Sol’s wages.
There would be uproar, yet that’s just what happened before the Bosman Rule. Even if the powers that be don’t want to help JM, then the football fraternity should at least offer up a testimonial and provide financial and emotional support for Jean-Marc Bosman.
A real pioneer for the modern game.
It was December 2017 when this fixture between the 2-nostalgic clubs, last took place at Anfield.
The Baggies, under the guidance of Alan Pardew, got a great result, holding on for a well-deserved point and surprisingly preventing Liverpool from scoring in a 0-0 draw.
There should be goals today at the Hawthorns, however, Big Sam will have a defensive master plan up his sleeve, hoping to prevent Jurgen’s Reds from scoring.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at massive Odds On 1/8, the draw at 8/1 and 16/1 for West Brom to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/10 that Mo Salah Scores Two Plus Goals and 2/1 that Liverpool Score a Penalty.
WOLVES v TOTTENHAM
The final fixture of the Game Week-15 with this game kicking-off at 19.15 in England live on Sky Sports.
Get the Chocolate Orange and Baileys on standby!
Wolves headed to the cold of Turf Moor on Monday night and came away with nothing following a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline.
After conceding goals in both halves, Nuno introduced Fabio Silva on the hour mark, giving the youngster 30-minutes to make an impression.
Twenty-nine minutes later, Fabs was fouled in the area to earn a penalty.
Young Fabio dusted himself down and dispatched the spot-kick to give the cardboard Wolves hope of getting something from the trip.
Unfortunately for Nuno and all connected, time ran out, with the 3rd-defeat from 4-games being the result.
The loss leaves the Gold and Blacks still with 20-points, in 11th-place in the Premier League table, which is just what Tottenham like.
Once again, as of the narrative of a Spurs preview, Tottenham have failed to beat a team in the Top Half of the table, this time succumbing to a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline against Leicester at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
After conceding a penalty on the stroke of half-time, Jose’s men went in at the break trailing by a goal to nil.
Toby Alderweireld then scored an own-goal to leave Tottenham with a mountain to climb which didn’t happen and resulted in a 2nd-defeat in succession after losing against Liverpool in midweek.
When all of the Game Week-14 fixtures were complete, Tottenham now sit 6th in the table with 25-points.
What will irk Dracula more is that, both his previous clubs, Chelsea and Manchester United have overtaken Spurs, with United having a point more, sitting in 3rd and Chelsea in 5th, with the same 25-points but a better goal difference than Jose’s LilyWhites.
That won’t go down well in the Mourinho household and the cat as gone into hiding.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min weren’t their usual selves against Leicester, Jamie Vardy coming out on top adding to his goal tally that leaves him with 11, the same as Nice-One Son and 2-more than Big Harry.
Wolves are 11th in the table so Tottenham will be expecting a victory.
Jose got the better of his fellow Portuguese counterpart Nuno when these 2-met at Molineux back in mid-December 2019.
Lucas Moura gave Tottenham a 1st-half lead then baby-oil man, Adama Traore levelled the scores midway through the 2nd-half.
With 90-minutes up on the clock, it looked like the points would be shared, however, Jan Vertonghen scored in injury time to give Jose the Portuguese bragging rights.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at 13/5, the draw at 11/5 and 23/20 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 15/4 that Harry Kane Scores First and 7/1 that Tottenham Win Both Halves.
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