The highlight games for this weekend’s action are CHELSEA versus MAN CITY and SOUTHAMPTON versus LIVERPOOL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 17 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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Daylight turns to moonlight, and I’m at my best
Praising the way, it all works and gazing upon the rest
The cool before the warm, the calm after the storm
Oh the cool before the warm, the calm after the storm
I wish to stay forever, letting this be my food.
Oh but I’m caught up in a whirlwind and my ever-changing moods
Bitter turns to sugar, some call a passive tune
But the day things turn sweet, for me won’t be too soon
The hush before the silence, the winds after the blast
Oh the hush before the silence, the winds after the blast
I wish we’d move together, this time the bosses sued
Oh but we’re caught up in the wilderness and an ever-changing mood
Teardrops turn to children, who’ve never had the time
To commit the sins they pay for through, another’s evil mind
The love after the hate,
The love we leave too late,
The love after the hate, the love we leave too late
I wish we’d wake up one day, and everyone feel moved
Oh but we’re caught up in the dailies and an ever-changing mood
Evil turns to statues, and masses form a line
But I know which way I’d run to if the choice was mine
The past is our knowledge, the present our mistake,
And the future we always leave too late
I wish we’d come to our senses and see there is no truth, oh
In those who promote the confusion for this ever-changing mood, yeah
EVERTON v WEST HAM
New Year’s Day football live on BT Sport with a start time of 17.30 in England.
This game is scheduled to be the first Premier League fixture of 2021. However, after Monday’s postponement of Everton v Man City, due to an outbreak of Covid-19, this may also be postponed.
The Toffees could quite easily have been top of the pile at the start of the New Year, the ‘quite easily’ bit would have entailed, Carlo’s Blues defeating Pep’s Blues by an 11-0 scoreline. Added to that, Liverpool losing against Newcastle.
With the fixture against Man City being postponed, the Toffees faithful will be dining out on that hypothetical proposition and everyone in the Blue side of Merseyside will have fake league tables made up, which show Everton at the top of the table, going into 2021. The city of Liverpool is still in Tier-2, that has allowed a certain number of fans into the stadium.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus on Merseyside, that has seen the postponement of a match could change that and all in Liverpool may just find themselves in Tier-3, which, although does spoil the fun, is the answer to stop the virus from spreading. Coronavirus is no laughing matter and should not be taken likely.
The Toffees finish the year in 4th-place in the table, with 29-points, the same 29 as Leicester. If this fixture goes ahead, it will see David Moyes head back to Goodison Park, where the Scottish manager spent some 11-years in charge until a moment of madness from Sir Alex Ferguson took Big Dave to Old Trafford.
Sir Alex didn’t make many errors of judgment but that, along with Kleberson and Eric Djemba-Djemba (so bad they named him twice!) are in his top-3 mistakes of all-time. Fergie!
West Ham decided that because the Big Fella with the sleigh and the reindeer’s had delivered the presents a couple of nights ago, the excitement was too much so weren’t going to provide anymore and played out a drab 0-0 draw at St Mary’s against Southampton.
That’s really all that can be said with the point gained giving the Hammers 23, from their 16-fixtures played, leaving them truly in mid-table-10th.
With Everton not playing on Monday, freeing up space from the usual preview of their game, it’s worth revisiting a story that has been told in this column a couple of times but no apologies are offered to re-tell the tale, bearing in mind that the current Toffees boss, Carlo Ancelotti, was the manager of AC Milan at the time and my best pal.
Little H is now 2-years gone, after sadly passing away back in December 2018, aged just 51. A little exert from the trip to Milan, to see AC v Juventus, back in May 2009.
‘Unbeknown to Little H and me, all the tickets for the match had the purchaser’s name on it and had to be shown at the turnstile, along with a matching passport.
Although we had a legitimate passport, we didn’t have our own names on the tickets as we had bought them from touts. There were Italian names on the tickets and worse, one of the tickets had a woman’s name. I gave Little H that one, Maria Rose.
We had been told that we had no chance of getting into the stadium, some lads we had met on Saturday night said they had purchased some tickets from touts the previous season and were refused entry. They ended up watching the match in the bar we had bought the tickets on Saturday.
I have to admit, Little H and I were extremely nervous approaching the turnstiles and virtually knew we weren’t going to be allowed in.
We caught the tube to the stadium and walked with all the fans up to the ground. The turnstiles were all electronic but about 15 yards in front of the entry, were barriers with the security checking the tickets and passports.
We found the entrance and nervously approached the security staff, who straight away, they refused us entry because we had not got the relevant passport, we tried arguing but they wouldn’t listen.
It didn’t matter to them, the tickets had already been paid for so the club had the money, they didn’t care whether the seat was filled or not. As there was a big queue and 85,000 fans trying to get in, we were ushered away. Little H said he was going to the box office to see if he could get some more tickets.
I just shook my head, there was a forty-foot electronic screen saying, in big letters ‘SOLD OUT’ so I knew this was a futile effort but Little H knew best. I just told him I would stand and wait. As I was waiting I watched the security staff to see if anyone else were turned away.
A couple of lads, who had obviously done the same as us, were turned away, so I kept my eye on them to see what they did. They walked to an opening which was about two foot from the actual electronic turnstile. There was a barrier in front but no security staff.
These two lads waited for about a minute and then quick as a flash, squeezed through the barrier, straight into the turnstile and as it was electronic, showed the barcode to the machine and were in.
I told Little H to follow me and as we stood at the barrier two foot from the turnstile, we kept an eye on the security staff and for that matter the police, who had guns. They were busy checking the crowd’s ticket and passport and as it was only about half an hour from kick-off, it was extremely busy.
I told Little H to get his ticket ready, he was with me and we shot through the barrier and straight into the turnstile which was quite full of other fans. We flashed our barcodes under the machine and amazingly we were in. We just mingled in with the rest of the crowd and headed away. It was an amazing adrenalin rush, both of us were expecting a hand on our shoulders but none came and we carried on.
The San Siro has four walkways on each corner of the ground which are ‘helter-skelter’ shaped and takes the fans up to their relevant part of the stadium. We went up to our seats and took in the atmosphere.
David Beckham, KaKa, Ronaldhino, Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and Paulo Maldini were some of the players on show for Milan, managed by the ex-Chelsea and current Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Buffon, Chiellini, Zanetti, Iaquinta, Camorenasi were playing for Juventus managed by former Chelsea and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri. You can see why Beckham chose Milan to go out on loan from LA Galaxy, he strolled through the game.
Serie A, although technical, is very pedestrian-like and suit’s the older players.
The game finished in a 1-1 draw, with Iaquinta scoring for Juventus and Clarence Seedorf notching for Mee-Lan.’ Rest in peace Little H, once a Red, always!
At Goodison Park last October, both were under the stewardship of different managers. Bernard scored in the 1st-half to give Marco Silva’s, Toffees a 1-0 lead at the break.
Everton left it very late to seal the 2-0 victory over Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers, with Gylfi Sigurdsson getting the injury-time goal.
Bet 365 offer Everton at slight Odds On 19/20, the draw at 13/5 and 11/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 2/1 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
MANCHESTER UNITED v ASTON VILLA
The New Years Day football continues at Old Trafford starting at 20.00 in England live on Sky Sports.
Ole’s Wheels snatched a victory from the jaws of a draw against Nuno’s Gold and Blacks late on Tuesday night.
Wolves came with a game plan to stifle United, just as they had done last season and earned a point from a 0-0 draw.
With 93-minutes up on the clock, it looked like United and Wolves would repeat last seasons scoreline, however, Marcus Rashford scored to give the Red Devil’s a brilliant New Year’s present of 3-points that lifts them above Leicester into 2nd-place in the table, with 30-points and after Liverpool’s subsequent draw against Newcastle, 24-hours later, 3-points adrift of the Reds but significantly, having played a game less.
On the 17th of January 2021, Manchester United head to Anfield in what potentially could be the game of the year, if not the decade.
Without the Zebra Devil’s getting carried away with themselves, United could find themselves at the top of the Premier League table once this fixture at Anfield is played and the game in hand is over.
Everyone knows that football is determined by results that have happened and to hypothetically assume United will beat Liverpool at Anfield then continue to win games is just that, hypothetical.
However, if Ole continues to choose, what many feel is his best eleven, a limited few may argue but leaving Fred, Scott McTominay and Dan James on the bench will only benefit OGS in the long run, a top-spot could soon come calling.
Edinson Cavanni lived on scraps against Wolves but his movement was a constant threat that Nuno’s backline struggled to deal with and eventually succumbed, albeit in the 93rd-minute.
Eric Bailley looks at ease at the side of Harry Maguire and has the pace to cover Big Harry’s obvious frailty.
Old Trafford hosts Aston Villa in the New Years Day fixture which will definitely be a yardstick as to where Ole’s Elephants are.
Villa are a different proposition this season so it gives United a perfect platform to showcase whether they can be title contenders or also-rans.
Aston Villa came from a goal behind to earn a point against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.
Anwar El-Ghazi, who was given a mention in the last column, equalised an earlier Blues goal to leave Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues with 26-points from their 14-games played so far. Fourteen, not the 15 and 16 the others have played.
The 1-1 draw against Chelsea lifts Villa up to 5th in the table with the same 26-points as Chelsea, Tottenham, Man City and Southampton, with the City players, also, only putting their boots on 14-times.
Tyrone Mings was missing against Chelsea due to the lad’s indiscretions against Crystal Palace but should slot straight back into the backline for this visit up the M6 to Manchester, despite the excellent defensive display put on against Chelsea in his absence.
At Old Trafford in December 2019, Aston Villa came away with a well-earned point following a Desmond 2-2 draw.
An own goal credited to the unfortunate Villa ‘keeper Tom Heaton, cancelled out a Jack Grealish opener for the Clarets.
Victor Lindelof put United in front after the break, however, Villa’s own Centre-Back, Mr Mings, quickly equalised, to give Villa a priceless point and the Villains a brilliant trip back down the M6.
Unfortunately this year there will just be cardboard Villa boys and girls giving harmless banter to the Red Devil’s pretend fans.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at Odds On 8/11, the draw at 16/5 and 16/5 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Marcus Rashford Scores First and 5/4 that United Score in Both Halves.
TOTTENHAM v LEEDS UNITED
Early Saturday Afternoon football starting at 12.30 in England live on BT Sport.
Unfortunately for the cardboard Spurs faithful, the LilyWhites post-Christmas, pre-New Years fixture was postponed due to an outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Despite not playing, Dracula still had the opportunity to add to Dele Alli’s woes by criticising young Dele, who’s 24-years old now, for a flick that resulted in a goal in last week’s Carabao Cup Quarter-Final victory against Stoke.
Paris Saint-Germain have just got rid of Thomas Tuchel and are reportedly in advance talks to take the ex-Tottenham boss, Mauricio Pochettino as the new Parisian gaffer.
Mauricio had a couple of years back in 2001, playing in the French capital and being out of work, looks the ideal candidate to replace Double T. Mauricio will no doubt be straight on the phone to his old employer’s enquiring about Dele. So, is this a ploy by Jose to get some money in for a January Transfer Window shopping trip?
Tottenham are in a cluster of 5-teams, with 26-points after the postponement of the Fulham fixture, sitting in 7th-place in the table. The others with the 26 are Aston Villa, Chelsea, Man City and Southampton.
Leeds United blitzed West Brom at The Hawthorns, on Tuesday, scoring 4, 1st-half goals that knocked the stuffing out of the Baggies.
After conceding 4, in the 1st-half against Manchester United a fortnight ago, it was muted that Marcelo Bielsa won’t change his footballing philosophy.
To be fair, although the Whites were superb in that opening period, West Brom were the perpetrators of their own downfall with Romaine Sawyers, not looking as he passed the ball back to his ‘keeper who wasn’t where he was meant to be (between the sticks!) and inadvertently putting the ball in his own net.
Ezgjan Alioski scored a brilliant 2nd, which no goalkeeper was saving, whether in the right place or not. Ezgjan then got a smack in the nose and ended up bloodied, wearing a shirt with no name, yet his name will be remembered for the strike. Jack Harrison added a 3rd, with 9-minutes of the half remaining.
There was still time for a Leeds 4th-goal, Rodrigo notching before the referee blew his whistle for the half time cuppa. Big Sam Allardyce brought on a defender at the break to shore up the back-line, knowing that the game was most likely beyond them but didn’t want to concede more.
Fortunately for Marcelo’s Whites, Raphinha did score the 5th midway through the 2nd-half to round off a great away-day performance finishing with a 5-0 victory. The win lifts Leeds to 11th, with 23-points
It’s 17-years since Leeds United travelled down the M1 into North London and took on Tottenham at the old White Hart Lane, which was a Game Week-2 affair in the 2003/04 season. Spurs, under the guidance of Glenn Hoddle, got the home-victory by a narrow 2-1 scoreline.
Alan Smith had put the Whites in front after 5-minutes but Mauricio Tarico equalised just before the break to take both teams in, for their cups of tea, level. Freddie Kanoute scored in the 71st-minute for the LilyWhites and with no more goals, Tottenham ran out winners.
Mr Hoddle picked Kasey Keller as his goalkeeper, Stephen Carr, Anthony Gardner, Dean Richards, Ledley King, Mauricio Tarico, Simon Davies, Jamie Redknapp, Rohan Ricketts, Helder Postiga and Bobby Zamora. Respect Dean Richards!
The Leeds United team, chosen by Peter Reid, had Paul Robinson as the stopper, Paul went on to join Tottenham at the end of the season when Leeds were relegated.
In defence, Peter had Gary Kelly, Zoumana Camara, Lucas Radebe, Dominic Matteo, Seth Johnson, Jody Morris, Jason Wilcox, Alan Smith, Lamine Sakho and Mark Viduka.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at slight Odds On 3/4, the draw at 3/1 and 16/5 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that Harry Kane Scores Two Plus Goals and 3/1 that Tottenham Win To Nil.
CRYSTAL PALACE v SHEFFIELD UNITED
A traditional 15.00 kick-off in England live on Sky Sports.
Wilfried Zaha was an angry young man on Bank Holiday Monday Late Afternoon Football or as Sky Sports would put it BHMLAF.
Admittedly not the catchiest of Acronyms but you can’t stop people Bank Holiday Monday-LAFFING! Wilfried scored early in the 2nd-half to give Roy’s Boys a lead in front of the Tier-4 cardboard Eagle Ultras.
The goal did put Palace in front but that was only because Leicester had missed a 1st-half penalty when a tame spot-kick was easily saved by Guaita. Or as the faithful name him, ‘Guaita the ‘keeper!’
Brendan Rodgers had chosen to leave the original Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy on the bench, so maybe the scoreline would have been different if Jimmy V had been on the pitch and taken the kick.
Brendan introduced Jamie midway through the 2nd-half and although Jimbo didn’t score a goal, what it does do is make the opposition, concentrate on the pacy striker and allow others to have more space.
Crystal Palace did just that, with the defenders migrating towards Vards, leaving Harvey Barnes free to equalise. The point gained by Roy’s Eagles gives Palace 19-points and leaves them 15th, in the table after all of 2020’s games have been completed.
The statement, Sheffield United suffered a defeat is becoming common now with the statement having its 14th-airing of the campaign so far. Burnley inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the Blades to leave United rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with just 2-points from a possible 48, on offer.
Happy Chris Wilder wasn’t happy, his face told everyone, however, it’s the same picture whatever mood the Wild-Man is in.
The Blunts faithful are becoming used to their side losing and are resigned to the fact that Sheffield United will be relegated if fortunes don’t change shortly.
Chris is still doing better than the manager down the road at the other Sheffield club, Wednesday, who, having got rid of Gary Monk, decided that Tony Pulis was the right man to save the Owls. Some people out there, just don’t know football.
Tony seems a decent fella and nothing is personal against him but once his name is linked with a new position, B and Q become extremely busy as folk head for the DIY store, to purchase paint, put it on their walls and watch it dry as it’s more entertaining than watching one of Mr Pulis football shows.
Chris has been in touch with Slaven Bilic to find out the protocol in attempting to claim the Job Seekers Allowance, as it won’t be long now.
The Blunts were allowed to travel to the Capital last season with this fixture taking place, pre-the Coronavirus, ruining everything and London nowhere near Tier-4.
Little Jimbo dug out his passport and got on the rattler from Sheffield’s train station, with his Aldi bag-for-life, full of Fruit Kopparberg, an All-Day Breakfast Triple Sandwich and a couple of Jive biscuits, Aldi’s attempt at Twix’s, which some say, ‘the better than the real Twix !’ The Not!
James and his fellow Blunts saw their boys get the points from a 1-0 victory, with the goal coming by way of an O-G. The unfortunate Palace goalkeeper, Gaita, being credited with the Sheffield United solitary goal.
Little Jim was back on the rattler home, happy about the win but unhappy that no one had stamped ‘London’ on his passport.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at Odds On 19/20, the draw at 12/5 and 14/5 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/5 that Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime and 21/10 that Crystal Palace Win To Nil.
BRIGHTON v WOLVES
Late Saturday Afternoon football with this game at the Amex kicking-off at 17.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
Brighton suffered a defeat by a 1-0 scoreline on Tuesday, against Arsenal in front of the cardboard Seagulls. After a goalless 1st-half, Graham Potter’s men conceded midway through the 2nd-period. The loss leaves Brighton just outside the relegation zone with 13-points from the 16-fixtures.
Fulham, who are just 2-points behind Harry’s men, could potentially have dropped the Seagulls into to the bottom 3, with a victory from their fixture against Tottenham but with the game being postponed, Brighton stay out of the relegation places going into the New Year.
The bottom 4-teams, including the Seagulls, all finished on the same points as when Game Week-16 started, so none made any progress to try and stave off relegation.
Wolves, despite defending stoutly against Manchester United for 93-minutes, ultimately suffered a defeat by a single goal after a Marcus Rashford shot, deflected off Romain Saiss, past a helpless Rui Patricio.
Alan Shearer, the co-commentator for Amazon Prime had just given Romain the Man of the Match award after the Moroccan had played extremely well throughout the game.
Although the goal couldn’t have been avoided, it still was a losing goal and inflicted the 4th-defeat on Wolves from the previous 6-fixtures, with just a win and a draw in the other 2-games played, meaning Nuno’s Gold and Blacks have gained just 4-points from a possible 18 on offer.
Wolves end the year, sitting 12th in the table, with 21-points. This was a very entertaining pre-Christmas fixture last season, when Wolves headed south to the Amex at the beginning of December 2019. Both teams played out a great game that finished in a Desmond 2-2 draw, with surprisingly all the goals coming in the 1st-half.
Diogo Jota scored his and Wolves opener, with Neal Maupay and Davy Proper scoring the Seagulls goals. Diogo bookended the scoring by getting his and Wolves 2nd, just before half-time. With no further goals after the break, both teams went home with a well-deserved point.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at 13/8, the draw at 9/4 and 7/4 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/2 for a 0-0 Scoreline and 7/4 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
WEST BROM v ARSENAL
The final Saturday fixture kicks-off late at 20.00 in England live on BT Sport. A relegation battle between the Baggies and the Gunners.
West Brom were humiliated at The Hawthorns on Tuesday succumbing to a defeat, against Leeds United by a 5-0 scoreline. In the 9th-minute, Romaine Sawyers passed back to his goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, assuming that Big Sam 2, was in between the sticks.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the goalie wasn’t where Romaine thought he’d be and the ball ended up in the back of the net. One-nil, Leeds United.
The other 3-goals conceded to take West Brom in the break, trailing 4-0, were all great individual goals by the Whites but the opener laid the foundations for the devastating defeat.
The original Big Sam wasn’t happy and was in the dressing room before the half-time whistle was blown to turn on the hairdryer.
Sam introduced Branislav Ivanovic at the beginning of the 2nd-half as a form of damage limitation, knowing the tie was beyond them.
Leeds added a 5th-midway through the half to confirm the victory, getting a great win by a 5-0 scoreline. Big Sam 1, needs the Baggies chairman to dip his hand into his pockets in the upcoming January Transfer Window.
West Brom’s last 4-results have been a draw (1-1 against Man City) a defeat (0-3 against Aston Villa) a draw (1-1 against Liverpool) and a defeat ( 0-5 against Leeds United).
The Baggies end the year, sitting 2nd-bottom of the Premier League table, with 8-points from the 16-fixtures played.
Sam Allardyce is well known for getting teams out of the relegation zone but maybe this time, Mr Allardichio might have bitten off more than he can chew.
Arsenal gained their 2nd-win in succession on Tuesday, with a professional 1-0 victory against Brighton at the Amex. After a goalless 1st-half, Alexandre Lacazette scored the solitary winning goal midway through the 2nd-period to earn the much-needed points in the relegation battle.
That’s 6, post-Christmas points, following the brilliant victory against Chelsea on Boxing Day leaving the Gunners with 20-points in 13th-place, edging away from the danger-zone and staving off potential enquiries for Mikel Arteta, as to where the Job Centre, in North London, is.
When the Gunners last visited The Hawthorns, the fixture took place almost 3-years ago to the day, on New Year’s Eve in 2017, with Alan Pardew at the helm of the home side and Arsene Wenger (remember him Gooners?) still in the Arsenal hot-seat, with the faithful all wanting rid. Be careful what you wish for!
West Brom earned a vital point from a 1-1 scoreline with both goals coming late in the game. The unfortunate James McClean scored an own-goal in the 83rd-minute.
Luckily Jim’s deflected O-G was cancelled out 6-minutes later when Calum Chambers handled in the area to gift the Baggies a penalty, which Jay Rodriguez dispatched to earn a valuable point in the fight to stave off relegation. That didn’t happen with the Boing-Boings heading for the Championship at the end of the season.
Bet 365 offer West Brom at 5/1, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 4/7 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that West Brom Win Either Half and 7/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
BURNLEY v FULHAM
The New Years football keeps on coming with this Sunday game starting at Midday in England live on Sky Sports.
One-nil to the Burn-e-ley, 1-0 to the Burn-e-ley, the tune synonymous to the Clarets faithful for a while now, this continuing on Tuesday, with the cardboard faithful, boxing out the ditty as a Ben Mee header, in the 1st-half, gave Sean Dyche’s men the victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
The 3-points earned, give Burnley 16, from their 15-fixtures played and are slowly moving the Clarets away from the drop-zone. Fifteen-fixtures, not 16, the same as most of the others, so potentially there’s another 3-points that could be added to the tally.
Fulham’s scheduled fixture against Tottenham on Wednesday night was postponed due to the Coronavirus situation. The Cottagers previous 4-games ended 0-0, 1-1, 0-0, 1-1, so it could be assumed the result against Spurs would finish in a 0-0 scoreline. However, everyone knows that’s not how football, or indeed life itself works.
Fulham end the year in the relegation-places, with 11-points, however, Scott Parker will feel, his boys could have beaten Tottenham and jumped above Brighton, out of the drop-zone leaving the Seagulls, who have 2-points more, looking up at Fulham.
It was 12-months ago, almost to the day, on the 12th of January 2020, that Scott Parker’s boys headed North to the cold of Turf Moor to take on Sean Dyche’s Clarets.
Surprisingly and to the disappointment of the Cottagers, both Burnley’s goals in the 2-1 victory, were credited as O-Gs when Joe Bryan and Dennis Odoi turned past their own ‘keeper.
Before that, Andre Schurrle had given Fulham the lead with just 2-minutes on the clock. All 3-goals were scored before the 23rd-minute and with no further strikes, Sean’s boys got the victory.
Bet 365 offer Burnley at 13/10, the draw at 9/4 and 21/10 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Chris Wood Scores First and 12/5 that Burnley Win To Nil.
NEWCASTLE v LEICESTER
Another Sunday Afternoon game kicking-off at 14.15 in England live on Sky Sports.
Despite a brilliant defensive display against Liverpool on Wednesday that held the current Champions, to a 0-0 draw, Steve Bruce’s Magpies have only accrued 2-points from a possible 12, on offer, the other 2-games being losses.
Karl Darlow, the Newcastle goalkeeper, was named as Amazon Prime’s Man of the Match, by the co-commentator Ally McCoist. That, in itself, tells the story, with Liverpool failing to beat the big stopper.
The draw and point gained, lifts the Magpies up a place to 14th, with the same 19-points as Crystal Palace but having played a game less.
Draws for the Foxes, are like Leicester buses, the cardboard faithful wait ages for one, then 2, come along in quick succession.
After 14-fixtures of either wins or losses, with no stalemate in sight, Leicester have drawn the last 2-festive fixtures, the latest being a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, that followed a Desmond 2-2 draw against Manchester United on Boxing Day.
Brendan chose to leave the most wonderful of his Wonderful’s, Jamie Vardy on the bench, bearing in mind, Jimmy V turns 34 on January the 11th, 2021.
Four days before, the beautiful Danielle turns 34 too. Brendan may have rued that decision when Leicester were awarded a penalty in the 19th-minute and with Jamie sat on the bench, it was left to Kelechi Iheanacho who fluffed his lines and hit a tame shot at the Palace ‘keeper, Guaita, who’s known as Guaita the ‘keeper.
After the goalless 1st-half, Palace went in front, which prompted Mr Rodgers to introduce the original Sheffield Superstar. Although Jamie didn’t score, what happens is the opposition concentrate too much on Jim and leave space for others, such as Harvey Barnes, allowing the ex-Barnsley loanee to equalise from a beautiful strike.
The point gained leaves the Foxes with 29, the same as Everton who’s Monday Night fixture against Man City was postponed due to Covid-19 issues.
After all of Game Week-16 fixtures were finished, the Foxes sit 3rd in the table, behind Liverpool and Manchester United.
Rod and Lennon were happy, Rod took his Palace shirt off with ‘Stewart’ and ‘75’ on the back, the 75 relating to how many bottles of Champers, Rod and the family, will consume, on the evening of the 31st and Lennon knowing that he wasn’t going to wear the Eagles attire.
Rod’s still not happy that Brendan left his beloved Green and White Hoops and chose to manage a proper club in a proper league, not a Pub league sponsored by IRN-BRU, or something else Scottish. When asked though, Brendan can’t remember his time in Scotland and replies, ‘Liverpool!’, when the question is put to Mr Rodgers, ‘Who was the big club you managed before Leicester, Brendan?’
Lennon is already planning his escape route for the New Year. Happy New Year!
A few years back, well 1979, to be precise, aged 9, this EveryTip contributor met a good friend, Andrew Hall and his family Jean and Ernie, who were neighbours in Barnsley but had come to Gods Own Country, via Kettering, from Scotland.
The family were Scottish and like every other Scot on the planet, it doesn’t matter where they currently reside, Scotland is their home. Scots can travel easily because, what they leave Scotland with, is a great loyalty, brought through their upbringing.
The Scots have a very determined attitude about who they are and where they come from and that’s the working-class part of them, no matter where they live, Northampton, Yorkshire or Australia, they will always be Scottish.
Andrew and his Dad, Ernie were big Glasgow Rangers fans, fierce rivals of Rod Stewart’s beloved Green and Whites. So much so, that you weren’t allowed to wear anything Green in front of Mrs Hall.
With the impending Rangers v Celtic Derby coming up on the 2nd of January, unfortunately, this time behind closed doors due to the Coronavirus, it’s worth a preview and a reminisce about a trip to Ibrox with Big Ernie and Andy back in 1983.
Although the game was against Dundee United and not the local Derby, it was still a great experience for a 13-year old, mad football fan who had only seen his own love, Barnsley FC, live.
To see the mighty Glasgow Rangers play, at Ibrox, who had just signed the legendary Ally McCoist from Sunderland, some would say rescued young Alistair from his torment on Wearside, was one of the finest days out for the Barnsley boy and still fondly remembered almost 40-years later. Yeah
Rangers beat Dundee United by a 2-1 scoreline, so the Hall’s were happy. The journey to Scotland’s 2nd-City was done in a day.
Before the Coronavirus spoilt fun, a Premier Inn would have been booked and a night on the sauce in Glasgow would have been the order of the day but maybe, as a couple of 13-year olds, that probably wasn’t the way.
A great day out in Scotland, given by a wonderful family, who, although lived the majority of time in Gods Own Country and that of Barnsley will always be Scottish.
This upcoming game at Ibrox, on the 2nd of January, technically 2-1, 21, between Steven Gerrard’s Rangers against Neil Lennon’s Celtic, is the first tie in over 9-years that the Blue side of Glasgow are top of the pile and not on the coattails of Celtic, with some season’s, not even in the same division.
Come the 2nd of January, Steven Gerrard’s Ger’s will be 16-points ahead of Lennon’s (is it too soon to call them Lennon’s Losers?) Celts.
Rangers have played 3-games more so technically that’s 9-points Celtic could make up but still leaves Steve’s Blues with a 7-point advantage, which means, although it won’t happen, The Ger’s could, in theory, not turn up at Ibrox for the 12.30 kick-off, on 2-1, 21.
Rod Stewart will have 2-shirts on that particular weekend, firstly the Green and White of Celtic with ‘Stewart’ and 75 on the back, the 75 is for how many times, the Crooner has seen Scotland lose and a Newcastle shirt, the day after when his once love but now fierce enemy, Brendan Rodgers Leicester take on the Magpies.
The number 75 is changing to 76 for the following Premier League game as Roddy Boy turns that age on the 10th of January.
Maggie May on the turntable,
‘Wake up Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you’
‘Celtic lost against Rangers!’
‘I’ve told you before Rod, I don’t like cricket!’
With which Mr Stewart responds,
‘I love it, Dreadlock Holiday, 10 CC, 1978’
Happy Birthday, Sir Roderick David!
He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.
Home Win 7-3 (Rangers 7-Celtic 3, that is!)
This fixture last season was also a New Year affair taking place on the 1st of January 2020, just before the Coronavirus made an entrance. The away side came away from St James Park with the points, from a victory, by a 3-0 scoreline.
Ex-Newcastle boy Ayoze Perez showed his old team what they were missing by opening the scoring just after the half-hour mark.
James Maddison added a 2nd before the break to ease the nerves of the travelling Foxes, who would have thought everyone was mental if someone had said that fans wouldn’t be allowed into the stadiums this time next year. Leicester left it late to seal the victory with Hamza Choudhury rounding off the goals in the 87th-minute.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 9/2, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 4/7 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/5 that Jamie Vardy Scores First and 11/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
CHELSEA v MAN CITY
Late Sunday Afternoon football starting at 16.30 in England live on Sky Sports.
Chelsea have gone from being Premier League title contenders to also-rans this last few weeks with another poor result against Aston Villa on Monday.
Frank Lampard dropped Timo Werner and brought back Olivier Giroud, who didn’t disappoint and scored the opener.
Unfortunately, Chelsea, had the bad dog walker turn up and couldn’t hold on to the lead, conceding an equaliser, against the Villa, late in proceedings, to finish with just a point from a 1-1 scoreline.
From title contenders, Franks Blues are dropping down the Premier League and currently sit 6th in the table, following the postponement of Man City’s fixture against Everton and Tottenham against Fulham.
With both Tottenham and Man City having 26-points too, a draw in both the postponed fixtures, would have dropped Chelsea down to 8th.
Frank just needs to keep an eye on things, as Roman may just give Christine a call and ask, ‘Does Frank know the way to the Job Centre, Mrs Lampard? if not, he can contact Mikel to share an Uber!’
Man City dropped a couple of places after the midweek post-Christmas and pre-New Years fixtures, without setting foot on the pitch following the postponement of City’s game against Everton on Monday night.
It appears that the cancellation of the fixture at Goodison Park was because of an outbreak of the Coronavirus at the Etihad’ leaving everyone frustrated that the tie didn’t go ahead, however, safety needs to be of paramount importance as COVID-19, is no laughing matter.
There’s talk that a 2-week break could now happen with an increase in the Coronavirus spreading throughout the country. However, that is a big call and probably won’t materialise.
Pep’s Mid Flying Moons have now, at least 1, if not 2-games in hand on the teams around them, so with 26-points, 7-behind Liverpool at the summit, Pep 1, will feel that Man City are the team to rival Jurgen’s Reds and a victory from both rescheduled games will take City within a point of Liverpool into 2nd-spot in the Premier League table. Manchester United may argue that.
Man City head to Anfield in early February, which will come up pretty quickly after the Champagne has been popped on Thursday night.
The Numpty Neighbours take on the Reds at Anfield before City’s visit, so Pep will be hoping Ole does him a favour. Also, before Man City go to Merseyside, Liverpool have to play Tottenham at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
This is why, the Premier League, provides the most exciting and best football in the World, even if the games end up dull, the potential doesn’t. At Stamford Bridge in June, Frank’s Blues beat Pep’s Blues by a 2-1 scoreline.
Christian Pulisic put Chelsea in front just before the break with Kevin De Bruyne equalising just after the restart.
Willian converted a penalty midway through the 2nd-half and with no further goals, Lamp’s boys got the victory over Pep’s Low Flying City.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at 2/1, the draw at 14/5 and 6/5 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/4 that Raheem Sterling Scores Anytime and 9/4 that Man City Score in Both Halves.
SOUTHAMPTON v LIVERPOOL
The final fixture of Game Week-17 takes place at St Mary’s live on Sky Sports with a kick-off time of 20.00 in England.
Southampton played out their 2nd, 0-0 draw of the festive period, against West Ham on Tuesday. The Saints didn’t want to over-excite the fans after Santa put in an appearance on Thursday night/Friday morning.
So after the goalless draw against Fulham on Boxing Day, Wreck-Its men came up with the same scoreline against West Ham in the final fixture of the year. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have drawn 3 out of their last 4-games, the other being a loss, so just need to keep an eye on things as not to spoil the brilliant start to the campaign.
Although Danny Ings missed the drab-draw against Fulham, the goal machine was back against the Hammers but couldn’t break the stalemate, so it can’t be argued that Danny Boys absence was the reason of no goals. There are others such as Che Adams, James Ward-Prowse and even Big Jan Vestergaard that can add the much-needed goals when D’Ings isn’t firing.
Southampton end the year with 26-points, the same as Aston Villa, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City so are in exulted company to build on for the fixtures coming thick and fast in the New 2021 Year. Liverpool remain unbeaten from their last 12-Premier League fixtures but the last 2, have only accrued 2-points from 2-draws, not the 6, that would have been expected.
The surprising 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa, from Game Week-4, is the only loss in this 2020/21 campaign, that the Reds are trying to retain the Premier League title from, however, there is more of a challenge this time around from Man City, Leicester, the Blue half of Merseyside, Aston Villa, plus Chelsea and Tottenham and old foes, Manchester United, who have slipped quietly into 2nd-place, 3-points behind Liverpool and with a game in hand, plus a visit to Anfield, early in 2021.
Jurgen’s Reds played out a goalless draw on Tyneside, with the players thinking that another Red, Santa Claus, had provided enough excitement for one week and the cardboard Scousers couldn’t take much more. This was a Game Week-2 fixture last term in the sun of August 2019, at St Mary’s.
Ex-Saints star, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino got the goals either side of the break to give Jurgen’s Reds a 2-1 victory. Danny Ings got a late consolation to give the faithful brief hope of a comeback but not to be. Although a loss, Danny would have been pleased with the goal against his old club.
Whilst never showing his full potential at Anfield, Danny is a great player and injuries did scupper his time on Merseyside. Danny may just find game time for England over the next few months, watch this space.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 4/1, the draw at 16/5 and Odds On 8/13 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/5 that Danny Ings Scores Anytime and 11/8 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
With one of the most challenging years, in recent history, coming to an end, it’s probably worth mentioning some of the greats that have sadly passed away in 2020. In no particular order as all are legends of the game.
Papa Bouba Diop
…and a few others not listed.
Plus possibly the most famous of them all, the legend that is Diego Armando Maradona.
Whilst his death was a few weeks back and usually this EveryTip column offers its condolences almost immediately, it’s been a particularly difficult period for John Newsome that resonates closely with the Argentinian legend.
Diego died on November 25 aged 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest. In September, this EveryTip contributor suffered a heart attack aged just 51.
Having spent some 50-days of the past 3-months in a hospital bed, also contracting the Coronavirus, on a ward, which left him severely ill, having a Quadruple Bypass operation, a replacement Mechanical Valve and then finding out that the heart wasn’t pacing correctly so a pacemaker fitted, John Newsome has been through it this past few months but still wanted to provide this column to the readers and it’s hoped that despite a couple of basic weekly columns, the standard was still up there.
Whilst in hospital undergoing the operation, it was confirmed that Diego had passed away which sent shivers down the spine.
The Argentinian star is often considered to be the greatest football player of all time and famously captained his national team to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. This was also where he scored his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal during a Quarter-Final match against England.
Soon after, the little magician scored one of the greatest goals of all-time, giving Argentina a 2-goal lead against the Three-Lions. At club level, Maradona made his start at Argentines Juniors, before joining Boca Juniors and then heading to Barcelona in 1982, for a World Record transfer fee. Two years later he signed for Napoli and scored over 100 goals across seven seasons.
There is a documentary by Asif Kapadia, simply called Diego Maradona that accounts for the Argentinians time in Italy which is well worth a watch.
In 2008 he became Argentina’s manager, steering the side for two years, However, unable to match his achievement as a player, at the World Cup in Mexico’86. Football players across the world and from different generations paid tribute to him, including long-time friend, Pele who said,
‘Certainly one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above.’ Despite the handball goal against England in 1986, Rest In Peace Diego. There but for the Grace of God.
Let’s hope 2021 is a better year on the whole for everyone and the Coronavirus slowly fades away with everyone being vaccinated.
Happy New Year from EveryTip and John Newsome!