The highlight games for mid-week’s action are LEICSTER CITY versus LIVERPOOL and CHELSEA versus BRIGHTON. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 20 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 fixtures are once again on the Amazon Prime Streaming Service, however, all are subject to Covid postponement.
ARSENAL v WOLVES
12.30 in England.
Arsenal smashed Norwich at Carrow Rd on Sunday, getting their joint-highest Premier League away victory by a 5-0 score.
Bukayo Saka opened the scoring after 6-minutes before Kieran Tierney added a 2nd just before the break.
Bukayo scored his 2nd and Arsenal’s 3rd, early in the 2nd-half, with Alexandre Lacazette converting a late penalty.
Emile Smith-Rowe continued his goal-scoring streak from the bench, adding a Gunners 5th in the 92nd-minute to give Mikel’s boys the convincing win.
Arsenal sit comfortable in 4th-place, with 35-points from the opening 19-fixtures, now halfway through the campaign.
Tottenham are just below with 29-points but have 3-games in hand over their North London rivals.
Bruno’s Wolves didn’t play on Boxing Day, with their home fixture against Watford, being 1 of 3 postponed due to Covid.
The Lage Louts had a run-out against Chelsea the week before Christmas so shouldn’t be affected too much and it did give the lads a chance to indulge on Christmas Day.
Wolves sit in 8th-place, with 25-points from 18-fixtures completed.
Nuno’s Gold and Blacks got the victory at the Emirates, just over 12-months ago, by a 2-1 scoreline.
All 3-goals were scored before the half-time cup of tea, with Gabriel, scoring between a Pedro Neto and a Daniel Podence strike.
888 Sport offer Arsenal at Odds On 2/5, the draw at 15/8 and 2/1 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 5/1 that Gabriel Martinelli Scores First and 12/5 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
CRYSTAL PALACE v NORWICH
15.00 in England.
Although Crystal Palace’s fixture against Tottenham on Boxing Day, went ahead, Patrick Vieira wasn’t in attendance due to a positive Covid-19 test.
Mr Vieira missed his team, succumb to a defeat against Spurs at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
By the time the home team had taken the lead, just after the half-hour mark, Wilfried Zaha had received the 1st of his 2-Yellow Cards.
Tottenham added a quick 2nd, before Wilfried had a moment of madness, pushing an opposing player, to receive another Yellow and ultimately a Red to put the kettle on for his mate’s half-time cup of tea.
Spurs added a 3rd, midway through the 2nd-half to inflict a defeat on 10-men Palace by a 3-0 scoreline.
Patrick, in the Premier Inn, down the road, had already turned the telly over once Mr Zaha had received his marching orders, putting the ITV racing on to watch 28/1 shot, Tornado Flyer, win the Boxing Day, King George VI at Kempton Park.
The Eagles sit 12th, with 20-points from 18-fixtures.
Wilfried won’t be on show today at Selhurst Park.
Norwich have now lost their last 4-fixtures, following the latest defeat on Boxing Day, against Arsenal.
The Canaries conceded 2-goals before the break, then 3, afterwards to ultimately lose the home game by a 5-0 score.
The result leaves Dean Smith’s men at the foot of the table with 10-points from 18-fixtures completed.
Both teams are under different managers since the last time these two met.
Roy Hodgson’s Eagles got the home victory over Daniel Farke Life’s back in September 2019, before the Coronavirus situation affected the world and the current games.
A Luka Milivojevic penalty gave Crystal Palace the half-time lead, before Andros Townsend added a late 2nd, giving the home team the win by a 2-0 score.
888 Sport offer Crystal Palace at Odds On 4/7, the draw at 29/10 and 47/10 for Norwich to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 4/1 that Christian Benteke Scores First and 5/2 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
SOUTHAMPTON v TOTTENHAM
15.00 in England.
Southampton got a great away-day victory against West Ham at the London Stadium on Sunday.
Mohamed Elyounoussi scored 1st to give the Saints an early lead.
After the break, the Hammers equalised, before James Ward-Prowse, converted a penalty on the hour-mark.
James is the 4th-Premier League player to score 10 or more goals from penalties or direct free-kicks.
The Bubbles equalised again but the big Defender, Jan Bednarek, scored the winner to give Wreck-It Ralph’s men the victory by an entertaining 3-2 scoreline.
Southampton sit 14th, with 20-points from 18-fixtures played.
Tottenham got a victory themselves on Boxing Day, comfortably beating their fellow London rivals, Crystal Palace at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
Harry Kane opened the scoring before Lucas Moura added a 2nd, to give Spurs a half-time lead.
Palace had been reduced to 10-men, following the sending off, of Wilfried Zaha.
Son Heung-Min completed the scoring in the 2nd-half to give Antonio’s Spurs the win by a 3-0 score.
Tottenham sit 5th in the table with 29-points, however, have only completed 16-fixtures.
Arsenal sit a place above, in 4th, with 35-points but have played 3-games more than Spurs.
This was a 7-goal thriller when Jose Mourinho’s Spurs last visited St Mary’s back in Game Week-2, of the 2020/21 campaign.
Wreck-It Ralph’s Saints scored 1st, with Danny Ings finally notching after 3-VAR disallowed one’s.
Son Heung-Min equalised for Tottenham on the stroke of half-time.
Nice-One Son then banged 3-more goals in the 2nd-half, to take his and Spurs tally to 4.
Harry Kane added a 5th, before a Danny Ings penalty in the 92nd-minute, resulting in an away-day victory by a 5-2 score.
888 Sport offer Southampton at 5/2, the draw at 49/20 and Evens 1/1 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 7/2 that Harry Kane Scores First and 15/8 that Tottenham Win To Nil.
WATFORD v WEST HAM
15.00 in England.
The Watford players had the rare chance of a Christmas Day on the sauce and not just Cranberry.
The fixture against Wolves was postponed due to the Coronavirus situation, giving the Hornets, Boxing Day off.
Come kickoff against West Ham, it will have been 18-days since Claudio and his boys had a run-out.
The Hornets sit in 17th-place, with 13-points from 16-fixtures completed.
At least Watford didn’t lose over Christmas.
West Ham haven’t won a game since the beginning of December, losing 3 of the last 4 in all competitions, including a defeat in the Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham last week.
Michail Antonio was a substitute on Boxing Day against Southampton, with David Moyes introducing the Striker at the start of the 2nd-half.
The Saints had taken an early lead which Michail quickly equalised, 3-minutes into the restart.
The Hammers then called conceded a penalty that once converted, put the Saints back in front.
Said Benrahma scored West Ham’s 2nd to again put the scores level.
With plenty of time remaining, it looked like the home team would push on and get the win but unfortunately for the watching Bubbles, Southampton scored the winner, to inflict the defeat on David Moyes Boys by a 3-2 score.
That leaves West Ham in 6th, with 28-points from 18-fixtures completed.
The Hammers last ventured the short distance over to Vicarage Rd, back in August 2019.
A penalty converted by Mark Noble gave West Ham an early lead before Andre Gray equalised to take both teams in level at the break.
Sebastian Haller scored twice, after the break to give the Bubbles the victory by a 3-1 score.
888 Sport offer Watford at 9/4, the draw at 49/20 and 11/10 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 3/1 that Jarrod Bowen Scores Anytime and 39/20 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
LEEDS UNITED v ASTON VILLA
17.30 in England.
Leeds United didn’t play on Boxing Day, with the Whites fixture against Liverpool falling at the Coronavirus hurdle.
It may have given Marcelo Bielsa a chance to try and turn around the fortunes of his team who may just find themselves playing in the Championship next season if results continue as currently occurring.
Be funny that!
Marching On Together (back to Division 2!)
Steven Gerrard missed the home game against Chelsea on Boxing Day, with a dreaded positive Covid result.
Unfortunately, the away team took advantage of Stevie G’s absence and inflicted a defeat on Villa by a 3-1 score.
Aston Villa took the lead through a deflected Matt Targett cross that hit Reece James and looped over the helpless Chelsea ‘keeper.
Unfortunately, Matt’s fellow Full-Back, Matty Cash dove in on Callum Hudson-Odoi, to concede a penalty.
Once converted, both teams were level at the break.
Chelsea introduced Romelu Lukaku, who ran Villa’s defence ragged to score a 2nd and earn a late penalty that was once again converted to inflict the defeat on Aston Villa, with Mr Gerrard watching at home.
Villa sit 11th in the table, with 22-points from 18-fixtures.
It’s less than a year since the Villains last visited West Yorkshire.
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa got the away-day victory over Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United by a 1-0 scoreline.
Anwar El-Ghazi scored the solitary winning goal after 5-minutes.
888 Sport offer Leeds United at 3/1, the draw at 15/8 and 2/1 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 4/1 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and 2/1 that Aston Villa Win To Nil.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Ray Clemence- Liverpool/Tottenham
RIGHT-BACK- Eric Winstanley- Barnsley
CENTRE-BACK- Jack Charlton- Leeds United
CENTRE-BACK- Bobby Moore- West Ham
LEFT-BACK- Julie Chipchase- Doncaster Belles
MIDFIELDER- Peter Lorimer- Leeds United
MIDFIELDER- Glenn Roeder- Newcastle/West Ham
MIDFIELDER- Colin Bell- Man City
FORWARD- Frank Worthington- Huddersfield/Leicester
FORWARD- Ian Saint John- Liverpool
FORWARD- Jimmy Greaves- Chelsea/Tottenham
STAR MAN- All Eleven are Legends
LEICESTER v LIVERPOOL
20.00 in England.
Leicester played in a bizarre Boxing Day fixture against Man City at the Etihad.
After conceding 4-goals, 2 being from converted penalty’s, before 25-minutes were up on the clock, it looked like it was going to be a cricket score.
With no further 1st-half goals, the Foxes went in at the break, trailing by 4-goals to nil.
Brendan got into his boys in the dressing room and made a change, taking off Ayoze Perez and sending on Timothy Castagne.
The change worked immediately and in a bizarre 10-minute spell, Leicester scored 3-times, through James Maddison, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho to give the travelling Foxes hope of a comeback.
Within minutes of Kelechi’s goal, the ex-City Forward had the chance to equalise but just failed to beat Ederson.
That was the end of the fightback, with Leicester conceding twice more to ultimately lose the game, not by a cricket tally but a tennis set, 6-3 away-day scoreline.
The defeat leaves Brendan’s not so’s in 10th-place, with 22-points from 17-fixtures.
Rod Stewart was happy after the Boxing Day game.
Wearing his new Man City shirt that Penny had bought him for Christmas, with ‘Stewart’ and ‘77’ on the back, the lads that age on January the 10th 2022, Sir Roderick witnessed Pep’s High Flying Blues comfortably beat Brendan’s not so Wonderful’s.
An hour or so before City kicked off against Leicester, Rod’s beloved Green and White Hoops, had got a comfortable away-day victory against St Johnstone (who?) in the Scottish Pub League.
The downside to the festive football fun, was Celtic’s arch-rivals, Rangers also achieved a victory in the Pub League, beating St Mirren (who?)
That leaves the Green and White Hoops in 2nd place in the table, 6-points adrift of the Teddy Bears at the summit.
Lennon the puppy was in front of the gas fire, satisfied that the new City jersey, wasn’t heading his way, chewing on a new Christmas bone, slavering to the tune of Sir Roderick’s famous ditties,
‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.’
Liverpool and the faithful had Boxing Day in the boozer, watching the ITV Racing from Kempton and repeats of Frozen (Let It Go!)
With Man City and Chelsea winning, it meant Pep’s High Flyers pulled 6-points clear and Thomas’s Blue Engines draw level on 41-points.
These two met last week in the Carabao Cup with Liverpool eventually overcoming Leicester in a penalty shootout.
In the Game Week-24 affair of last season’s campaign, the Foxes got the home victory over the Reds by a 3-1 score.
After a goalless 1st-half, Mo Salah scored the opener to give Liverpool the lead.
James Maddison, Jamie Vardy and Harry Barnes scored 3-goals in the space of 7-minutes to give Brendan’s Wonderful’s the win over Jurgen’s Reds.
888 Sport offer Leicester at 6/1, the draw at 41/10 and Odds On 4/11 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 9/5 that Jamie Vardy Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 4/6 that Mo Salah Scores Anytime.
CHELSEA v BRIGHTON
19.30 in England.
Chelsea came from a goal behind to comfortably beat Aston Villa at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
After a speculative cross from the Villa Left-Back Matt Targett, hit Reece James, somehow the ball looped over Edouard Mendy to give the home team a lead.
Thomas’s Blue Engines were then awarded a penalty, which the cool Italian Jorginho slotted home to take both teams in level at the break.
Mr Tuchel made an adjustment at half-time, replacing Trevoh Chalobah with Romelu Lukaku.
Christian Pulisic was the central Striker but was getting bullied by the 2-Aston Villa Centre-Backs.
Thomas saw this and introduced Romelu who tore the Defenders to bits, scoring a header then winning a late penalty, which Jorginho once again converted to give Chelsea the post-Christmas present of 3-points.
The Italian never misses a penalty, unless he’s playing for Italy in the Final of the Euros.
With Man City getting the victory and Liverpool not playing, Chelsea needed to keep on the coattails of both teams.
The Blues sit 3rd in the table with the same 41-points as Liverpool but with a slightly inferior goal difference and have played a game more than the Anfield Rappers.
Man City sit at the summit with 47-points, 6-ahead of both Liverpool and Chelsea.
Brighton finally got a victory on Boxing Day, defeating Brentford at the Amex by a 2-0 score.
The win was the 1st, from the last 12-Premier League games, with 8-draws and 3-losses coming from the 11-previous.
Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay scored the Seagulls goals, before the half-time whistle and with no more goal action in the 2nd-half, Graham Potter‘s boys got back to winning ways.
Brighton sit 9th, with 23-points from 17-fixtures played.
This was a Game Week-34 affair back in April when the empty Stamford Bridge witnessed a goalless draw between Thomas’s Blue Engines and Harry Potters Seagulls.
888 Sport offer Chelsea at Odds On 2/5, the draw at 10/3 and 27/4 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 14/5 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 6/5 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
BRENTFORD v MAN CITY
20.15 in England.
Brentford suffered a loss on Sunday, succumbing to an away-day defeat, against Brighton, by a 2-0 scoreline.
The Bees conceded both goals before the half-time cup of tea.
Thomas Frank’s boys sit 13th in the table with 20-points from 17-fixtures.
Man City got a great victory on Sunday, in front of the watching Citizens at the Etihad.
In a bizarre Boxing Day bonanza, the faithful were witness to a 9-goal thriller.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring, after 4-minutes, before the dreaded VAR at Stockley Park, advised the on-field referee, Chris Kavanagh to have a look at the pitch-side monitor following an incident from a corner.
Chris awarded a delayed penalty that Riyad Mahrez converted.
Ilkay Gundogan added a 3rd, then Raheem Sterling was fouled in the box, which resulted in a 2nd-penalty.
This time Raheem converted to make it 4-goals to nil, after 25-minutes.
With no further goals before the break, the Citizens were looking forward to more in the 2nd-half and were not disappointed.
Leicester scored 3-times and were on the verge of equalising when the ex-City player, Kelechi Iheanacho was put through only for Ederson to save.
Aymeric Laporte, headed home a 5th-goal, with Raheem tapping home his 2nd of the game and City’s 6th, to run out winners by a 6-3 scoreline.
The victory leaves Pep’s High Flying Blues at the summit with 47-points from the full complement of 19-fixtures, now halfway through the campaign.
That’s 6-points more than Jurgen’s Reds and Thomas’s Blue Engines.
Liverpool now have a game in hand over the others, having only played 18.
It was January 1997, when Brentford last took on Man City at the old Griffin Park site.
This was the 3rd-round of the FA Cup, with City getting the victory by a 1-0 away-day score.
Nicky Summerbee with the Man City solitary winning goal.
Nicky is the son of the legendary City and England player, Mike Summerbee.
The last League fixture between the two was an old Division 1 game back in 1951.
888 Sport offer Brentford at 31/2, the draw at 25/4 and massive Odds On 2/13 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 9/2 that Raheem Sterling Scores First and slight Odds On 3/4 that Man City Win To Nil.
EVERTON v NEWCASTLE
19.30 in England.
Everton didn’t play on Boxing Day, due to the postponement of the fixture against Burnley.
It will be 12-days of Christmas since Rafa’s Toffees last had an outing.
Everton sit 15th in the table, with 19-points from 17-played.
Newcastle put in a great display against Manchester United on Monday Night Football, gaining a point from a draw by a 1-1 score.
The excellent Allan Saint-Maximin scored the Magpies goal after 7-minutes and although Eddie’s boys were the better side, United equalised after the break to give both teams a share of the points.
Newcastle sit in 19th, with 11-points, a point more than Norwich and level with Burnley, however, have completed the full set of 19-fixtures, whereas the others around haven’t.
One negative is Callum Wilson and Allan SM both picked up injuries against Ralph Rangnick’s Red Devil’s.
Newcastle got the away-day victory by a 2-0 score when Steve Bruce’s Magpies took on Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees at Goodison Park in January 2021.
Callum Wilson with both goals, scored late on in proceedings, to give the cardboard Magpies a great day out of the box.
888 Sport offer Everton at slight Odds On 5/6, the draw at 51/20 and 31/10 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 18/5 that Alan Saint-Maximin Score Anytime and 32/5 that Newcastle Win To Nil.
MANCHESTER UNITED v BURNLEY
20.15 in England.
Manchester United had 15-days off to train and learn the new manager’s formation, yet it just looked like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still at the Wheel.
The performance against Newcastle on Monday Night Football was simply horrendous.
The 4-2-2-2 system Ralph Rangnick prefers just appeared to make the players even more uncomfortable than under the previous manager.
It’s been said on many occasions in this EveryTip column, that United won’t win anything with Fred and Scott McTominay.
This won’t change anytime soon, with the first thing Double R needs to do in January is buy 4-new Midfielders.
That’s easier said than done but this is Manchester United, not Salford City and the Red Devil faithful, who pay top dollar for season tickets and merchandise, deserve more.
John Newsome isn’t well tonight, but if flu, hopefully and not the virus and needs to get the column finished so will continue this next time.
Just to round off, Edinson Cavani equalised an earlier Newcastle goal, to earn United a draw by a 1-1 scoreline.
David De Gea made several saves at St James Park to keep the Magpies goal tally down to 1.
Manchester United stay 7th in the table, with 28-points from 17-fixtures completed.
Under the current starting eleven and formation, there isn’t a cat in hells chance that Ralph Rangnick’s Roadsters will finish anywhere near the Top Four.
Burnley haven’t played a Premier League game since the 12th of December so should be raring to go tonight against Ralph Rangnick’s Red Devil’s.
The Turf Moor outfit sit in the bottom 3, with 11-points from just 15-fixtures completed, so Sean won’t be worrying just yet.
Burnley are 5-points adrift of Leeds United but have 3-games in hand over the Elland Rd Whites.
Ole’s Trollies got the victory over Sean’s Clarets by a 3-1 score at Old Trafford back in April 2021.
The action all took place in the 2nd-half, with Mason Greenwood opening the scoring 3-minutes into the restart.
James Tarkowski quickly equalised before Mason added his and United’s 2nd.
Edinson Cavani scored in the 93rd-minute to give the home team the win.
888 Sport offer Manchester United at Odds On 3/10, the draw at 4/1 and 31/4 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 12/5 that Cristiano Ronaldo Scores First and 21/20 that Manchester United Score in Both Halves.