The highlight games for this week’s action are MANCHESTER UNITED versus MAN CITY and TOTTENHAM versus ARSENAL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as one game week 7 and 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.
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FULHAM v CHELSEA
20.00 in England
Back in August, in this EveryTip column, the fixture between Barnsley and Chelsea in Game Week-3 of the 1997/98 Premier League was documented.
Here are a brief couple of paragraphs from that column published on August 17th, 2022.
‘As Rodney would say,
‘Ruud Gullit? No problem!’
It was a lovely hazy alcohol-infused dream that lasted until kickoff on that Sunday afternoon.
Twenty-Four minutes into the fixture at Oakwell, Danny Wilson’s Red and White Army had managed to shut out the Ruud’s Blues until Dan Petrescu scored the opener in the 25th minute.
Here we go!
Gus Poyet made it 2-0 before it was the Gianluca Vialli show, with the Italian Superstar scoring his 1st and Chelsea’s 3rd just before the half-time cup of tea.
Gianluca added number 4, in the 57th minute, number 5 and the hat-trick goal in the 65th minute then just to compound the dominance by both himself and the Blues, Mr Vialli scored his 4th and Chelsea’s 6th in the 82nd minute to record a devastating victory against the Super Reds by a 6-0 Sky Sports scoreline.
Welcome to the Premier League.’
The legend that is Gianluca Vialli, sadly passed away on Friday 6th of January 2023, aged 58, following a short illness.
Even though Gianluca scored those 4 goals against Barnsley back in August 1997, it was an honour to be in the presence of greatness.
Rest In Peace Gianluca.
After the excitement of the FA Cup 3rd Round, the Premier League is back with Fulham coming into this rearranged Game Week-7 West London Derby off the back of a victory against Leicester last time out.
Aleksandar Mitrovic with the solitary winner goal after 17 minutes to give Marco’s Cottagers a victory against Brendan’s Foxes by a 1-0 scoreline.
Aleksandar picked up his 5th Yellow Card of the season against Leicester so will be unable to play today.
Fulham sit in 7th place in the Premier League table, with 28 points from 18 fixtures played.
The same 28 as Liverpool but Marco’s men have played a game more than Jurgen’s Reds.
Chelsea suffered a defeat against Man City last time out, both in the Premier League and then 72 hours later in the FA Cup.
Pep’s High Flying Blues also knocked Grahams’s Blue Wizards out of the Carabao Cup.
A single goal conceded midway through the 2nd-half was enough for Man City to inflict the defeat on Chelsea by a 1-0 scoreline, leaving Graham’s Wizards in 10th place with 25 points from 17 fixtures completed.
Although in 10th place, there are only 8 points between 5th and 10th so nothing to worry about just yet, however, Chelsea are out of the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and not much chance of finishing in the Top Four of the Premier League, so this year’s Champions League is the only possible chance of silverware and gaining entry into next season’s competition.
It was January 2021 when Chelsea last ventured the short distance over to Craven Cottage.
At the time, there were two England Midfielders in charge of the team with Scott Parker’s Fulham hosting Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Antonee Robinson received a straight Red Card just before the half-time whistle that allowed Ant-Double-E to put the kettle on for his mates.
Mason Mount scored midway through the 2nd-half to give the Blues the victory by a 1-0 score.
Frank didn’t last much longer and was sacked by Roman Abramovic after a defeat against Leicester in the following game.
Betfred offer Fulham at 23/10, the draw at 5/2 and 23/20 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 3/1 that Bobby Decordova-Reid Scores Anytime and 4/1 that Jorginho Scores Anytime.
All of these Game Week-20 set of fixtures are the reverse of Game Week-9 that took place at the beginning of October 2022.
ASTON VILLA v LEEDS UNITED
20.00 in England
Unai Emery’s Claret and Blues gained a point from a draw by a 1-1 score, against Julen Lopetegui’s Gold and Blacks last time out.
The two Spanish Managers had already met once this season in a La Liga fixture where Unai’s Villarreal drew against Julen’s Seville by a 1-1 score.
Wolves scored first to give the away team a lead at the break.
Danny Ings, equalised for Villa midway through the 2nd-half to give both of the Midland teams a share of the points.
Aston Villa sit in 11th place with 22 points from 18 games played.
Crystal Palace also have 22 points but have only completed 17 fixtures.
Leeds United come into this game following a draw against West Ham before the FA Cup.
Wilfried Gnonto opened the scoring for Leeds at Elland Rd against the Hammers, however, the home team conceded a penalty on the stroke of half-time that was converted to take both teams in level at the break.
West Ham scored a 2nd, just after the restart before Rodrigo equalised for Jesse’s Whites and with no further goals, both shared the points from a draw by a 2-2 scoreline.
The Archbishop was happy.
Leeds United sit in 14th place with the same 17 points as Nottingham Forest and Leicester, however, have played a game less (17) than the East Midlanders (18).
Marching On Together!
At Elland Rd back in October, the scorer wasn’t needed as this fixture finished in a draw by a 0-0 score.
Leeds United played with 10 men for most of the 2nd-half when Luis Sinisterra was shown a 2nd Yellow Card and the ultimate Red in the 48th minute.
Unfortunately for the travelling Villains, their idols couldn’t take advantage of the extra man with both sharing the points.
Betfred offer Aston Villa at slight Odds On 19/20, the draw at 12/5 and 3/1 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 4/1 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and 12/5 that Aston Villa Win To Nil.
MANCHESTER UNITED v MAN CITY
12.30 in England
Manchester United come into the Manchester Derby off the back of a victory against Bournemouth at Old Trafford just after New Year’s Day.
Goals from Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford gave United the victory by a 3-0 scoreline, as predicted in this EveryTip column.
In truth, the Cherries were no match for the home team who are unbeaten in 4 Premier League fixtures as well as 2 Cup games after progressing in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup.
The Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup takes place before this fixture against the Noisy Neighbours, with both teams still in that particular competition.
United face Charlton on Tuesday, with City facing Southampton on Wednesday.
Erik Ten Hag has made some tough decisions over the past 6 months but the work done by the Dutchman is beginning to pay off, with the Red Devils sitting in 4th place having 35 points from 17 fixtures played.
Scott McTominay and Fred are now just bit part players and there’s a rumour that Harry Maguire may go out on loan to Aston Villa.
Harry and United have laughed off that particular rumour but as the Indians used to say, there’s no smoke without fire so watch this space.
Jack Butland has signed for Manchester United, initially on loan until the end of the season, however, Jack’s contract with Crystal Palace runs out after this campaign so anything could happen there.
John Newsome remembers the stopper well from his time on loan at Oakwell back in 2013.
On his debut, at the King Power Stadium, Mr Butland, upended a young Jamie Vardy, to concede a penalty.
When one says upended, it’s worth checking out the footage on YouTube, it’s a surprise that Jack didn’t serve time in prison for the challenge on the Sheffield Superstar.
The Reds suffered a defeat against Leicester, by a 2-1 scoreline but it was an interesting start for Jack Butland to his short tenure in Yorkshire.
Jack was one of the 3 goalkeepers that Gareth Southgate took to Russia for the World Cup in 2018 but didn’t see any game time, which could be the case at Old Trafford, however, the lad will be ready for action if David De Gea sustains an injury.
All the best Jack on the transfer to Manchester United.
United are in talks to sign Erik The Reds’ fellow Dutchman Wout Weghorst.
Wout was at Turf Moor from January 2022 and helped Burnley get relegated to the Championship.
The Big Lad was taken to Turkey by the then Besiktas Manager and former Barnsley Boss Valerien Ismail.
The Striker scored twice in the Quarter-Final for the Netherlands against Argentina that took the game to a shootout, also converting a penalty but ultimately suffered a spot kick defeat against the eventual World Cup Winners.
Although Wout wasn’t a success in Lancashire, the goal record in Turkey is currently 1 in 2, which is what Mr Ten Hag would want to replicate at Old Trafford.
Man City gained a professional win over Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge before the FA Cup.
Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal of the game, midway through the 2nd-half to give Pep’s High Flying Blues the victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
Chelsea were in Manchester on Sunday for the FA Cup where Riyad continued his scoring, adding another 2 to his tally.
Erling Haaland had a rest and remained on the bench for the tie at the Etihad so should be chomping at the bit for this game at Old Trafford against the Numpty Neighbours.
Man City also knocked Chelsea out of the Carabao Cup and as mentioned face Southampton at St Mary’s on Wednesday in that competition.
City remain in 2nd place in the table with 39 points from 17 fixtures played.
Five points adrift of Arsenal at the summit.
However, United have closed the gap to just 4 points between the two Manchester clubs so this early Saturday fixture will have a massive impact on the table with Mikel Arteta probably wanting both teams to lose.
If one remembers the game at the Etihad, the nearly full stadium and the watching Millions around the World and surrounding areas, were witness to a 9-goal thriller, with the goals going in as follows,
8’ Phil Foden (Man City)
34’ Erling Haaland (Man City)
37’ Erling Haaland (Man City)
44’ Phil Foden (Man City)
Half-time cup of tea.
56’ Antony (Manchester United)
64’ Erling Haaland (Man City)
73’ Phil Foden (Man City)
84’ Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
91’ Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
A hat-trick from Phil and Erling.
The strange anomaly is Man City have suffered 2 defeats in the 9 Premier League games played since, whereas United have only lost once, in the 10 they have completed, with a record of,
Man City- 6 Wins, 2 Losses and 1 Draw.
Manchester United- 7 Wins, 1 Loss and 2 Draws.
Man City haven’t played their Game Week-12 fixture yet.
Betfred offer Manchester United at 10/3, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 8/11 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 11/5 that Marcus Rashford Scores Anytime and 13/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
BRIGHTON v LIVERPOOL
15.00 in England
Brighton inflicted a devastating defeat on Everton before the FA Cup 3rd Round.
Kaoru Mitoma scored the opener after 7 minutes to give the Seagulls a half-time lead at Goodison Park.
After the restart, goals from Evan Ferguson, Solly March and Pascal Gross, in the space of 6 minutes, took the game away from Everton.
The Toffees did score a late consolation via the penalty spot but the damage had already been done with the Seagulls gaining the victory by a 4-1 away day score.
Brighton sit in 8th place with 27 points from 17 games played, incidentally 2 points more than Graham Potter’s Chelsea.
The World Cup Winner Alexis Mac Allister was back in the squad for the game against Everton and the FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough.
Alexis came on as a substitute just after the break and scored twice against Michael Carrick’s ‘Boro team who were outclassed on the day.
Liverpool come into this fixture having just a point more than the hosts following a defeat against Brentford last time out.
Ibrahima Konate was credited with an own goal before the Bees added a 2nd.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did pull a goal back for Liverpool but Jurgen’s Reds then conceded a 3rd, ultimately suffering a defeat at the GTech Stadium by a 3-1 scoreline.
As mentioned, Liverpool have 28 points and sit in 6th place, the same 28 as Fulham in 7th and a point more than today’s opponents.
Obviously, if Brighton gain a victory today, the Seagulls will fly above the Liver Birds which won’t please the Scousers and will make it a long arduous journey home.
At Anfield, this was Roberto De Zerbi’s first game in charge after taking over from Graham Potter.
Leandro Trossard scored a superb memorable hat-trick at the iconic stadium, however, 2 goals from Roberto Firmino and an Adam Webster OG, meant that both teams shared the points from a draw by a 3-3 scoreline.
Betfred offer Brighton at 12/5, the draw at 11/4 and Evens 1/1 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/1 that Alexis Mac Allister Scores First and 8/5 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
EVERTON v SOUTHAMPTON
15.00 in England
It’s quite conceivable that the losing Manager of this game could be out of a job.
Frank Lampard’s Everton were knocked out of the FA Cup against Manchester United last Friday.
That was following a heavy defeat against Brighton in the Premier League.
The Toffees sit in the final relegation place with 15 points from 18 games played.
Three points more than today’s visitors.
Southampton did progress in the FA Cup with Nathan Jones gaining a first victory since taking over from Ralph Hasenhuttl.
However, despite the win in the Cup, Southampton remain at the foot of the Premier League table following their 6th defeat in a row, the 4th under Nathan.
The FA Cup victory may give Mr Jones a stay of execution.
Southampton are also still in the Carabao Cup and face Man City on Wednesday but it’s the Premier League results that need improving as a cup run won’t be a consolation for relegation.
Back in the 1980s, there was a girl group called Bananarama.
One of the many hits that the girls had was called Nathan Jones.
The opening verse of the tune goes,
‘You packed your bags as I recall and you walked slowly down the hall, you said you had to get away to ease your mind and all you needed was just a little time.’
The Saints manager will remember the tune well and as a youth will no doubt have had the 7-inch vinyl in his collection, however, the lad might be packing his bags and heading quickly down the St Mary’s hall.
The Banarama girls sang on a tune with a group called Fun Boy Three,
’It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it!’
With a final line of,
‘And that’s what gets results!’
The Saints definitely need to get some positive results or Nathan Jones may just be gone too long.
Rest In Peace Terry Hall!
After a goalless 1st-half, at St Mary’s back in October, Jelly Man Joe Aribo scored the opener for Southampton with Conor Coady and Dwight McNeil then scoring for the visitors in a bizarre 5 minutes just after the restart.
With no further goals, Everton held on for the victory by a 2-1 away day score.
Betfred offer Everton at 6/5, the draw at 12/5 and 23/10 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 8/5 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores Anytime and 11/5 that Che Adams Scores Anytime.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v LEICESTER
15.00 in England
Nottingham Forest have jumped out of the relegation zone and up into 15th place with 17 points following the victory against Southampton before the FA Cup.
Taiwo Awoniyi with the only goal of the game to give Forest the points from a 1-0 score.
That victory against the Saints followed a draw against Chelsea which gave the Tricky Trees some momentum, however, that could well have stopped after Forest were knocked out of the FA Cup on Sunday, suffering a defeat against Blackpool by a 4-1 scoreline.
Nottingham Forest face Wolves on Wednesday in the Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup.
Leicester did progress in the FA Cup, however, suffered a defeat last time out in the Premier League.
Brendan’s not so Wonderfuls suffered their 3rd loss in succession since the World Cup interruption, this time against Fulham at the King Power Stadium by a 1-0 scoreline.
Leicester sit in 13th place with the same 17 points as Leeds United and today’s opponents.
Forest and Leicester have played a game more than Leeds United.
This East Midlands Derby produced a brilliant performance by Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
At the time, the Foxes were struggling but a great display by James Maddison that resulted in 2 goals plus 1 each from Harvey Barnes and Patson Daka, gave Leicester the home victory by a 4-0 scoreline.
Betfred offer Nottingham Forest at 9/5, the draw at 5/2 and 7/5 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 2/1 that Harvey Barnes Scores Anytime and 9/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Ederson- Man City
RIGHT-BACK- Matt Doherty- Tottenham
CENTRE-BACK- Ethan Pinnock- Brentford
CENTRE-BACK- John Stones- Man City
LEFT-BACK- Dan Burn- Newcastle
MIDFIELDER- Pascal Gross- Brighton
MIDFIELDER- Casemiro- Manchester United
MIDFIELDER- Riyad Mahrez- Man City
FORWARD- Bryan Mbeumo- Brentford
FORWARD- Taiwo Awoniyi- Nottingham Forest
FORWARD- Harry Kane- Tottenham
STAR MAN- Harry Kane- Tottenham
WOLVES v WEST HAM
15.00 in England
Wolves gained the first point under Julen Lopetegui against Aston Villa at Villa Park before the FA Cup.
Daniel Podence scored to give Wolves a lead at the break.
Unfortunately for the travelling Gold and Blacks the away team conceded an equaliser with 12 minutes remaining and with no further goals, both shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 scoreline.
Wolves followed that up with a great display at Anfield against Liverpool in the FA Cup but have a replay to contend with after the tie finished in a draw by a 2-2 score.
The Molineux outfit are still in the relegation zone, sitting 19th with 14 points from 18 played, however, the future does look a bit better under No-I-Julen.
West Ham gained a point against Leeds United last time out.
Lucas Paqueta converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to take both teams in level at the break following Leeds’ opening goal.
Gianluca Scamacca added a 2nd straight after the restart but David Moyes Boys couldn’t hold on for the victory and conceded an equaliser and with no further goals both shared the points from a draw by a 2-2 scoreline.
The Archbishop was happy.
West Ham sit just above the relegation places with 15 points from 18 games played.
Everton, who are in the final relegation position also have 15 points and as mentioned Wolves have 14.
When the Claret and Blues hosted the Gold and Blacks at the London Stadium back in October, goals from Gianluca Scamacca and Jarrod Bowen, one in each half, gave West Ham the victory by a 2-0 scoreline.
Bruno Lage was sacked by the Wolves hierarchy following that defeat.
Betfred offer Wolves at 7/4, the draw at 11/5 and 13/8 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 6/1 that Ruben Neves Scores First and 2/1 that there are Under 1.5 Goals
BRENTFORD v BOURNEMOUTH
17.30 in England
Brentford gained a great victory against Liverpool before the 3rd Round of the FA Cup.
The Bees took the lead after 20 minutes when the Liverpool Defender bungled in a Ben Mee attempt.
Yoane Wissa added a 2nd just before the break before Bryan Mbeumo scored to give Brentford the victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Liverpool did pull a goal back before Bryan’s goal.
The brilliant victory for the Bees, the first against Liverpool in 85 years, lifts Brentford up to 9th in the table with 26 points from 18 fixtures completed.
Bournemouth are struggling at the moment and Gary O’Neil is competing with Nathan Jones as to who could potentially have the shortest reign as manager.
The Cherries have suffered defeats in all 5 fixtures since the World Cup, 3 in the Premier League as well as being knocked out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
The defeat against Manchester United by a 3-0 scoreline, was followed up by a loss against the Championship side Burnley in the FA Cup by a 4-2 score.
Those 2 are the first goals since the victory against Everton back in November.
All 3 Premier League defeats were To Nil.
That’s not good Gary!
Neither could muster up a goal at the Vitality with both sharing the points from a draw by a 0-0 score.
It’s noticeable that Sky Sports have picked 2 games to show live this weekend that finished goalless in the Game Week-9 set of fixtures.
Aston Villa v Leeds United on Friday night and Brentford v Bournemouth on Saturday evening.
Betfred offer Brentford at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 3/1 and 4/1 for Bournemouth to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 4/1 that Ivan Toney Scores First and 15/8 that Brentford Win To Nil.
CHELSEA v CRYSTAL PALACE
14.00 in England
Chelsea are sick of the site of Man City having played Pep’s High Flying Blues twice in the space of 72 hours.
Graham Potter’s Men will have played against Fulham before this visit from Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace come into this London Derby off the back of a devastating defeat against Tottenham by a 4-0 scoreline.
Patrick’s Palace have suffered 3 defeats from the last 4 Premier League games as well as being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup after losing against Southampton.
In South London, there are a lot of ‘cages’ where young footballers spend their time after school playing.
The cages do produce some top-quality players, however, it’s evident when watching Crystal Palace that their players have the skill and determination but the style is too ‘tippy tappy’ without any end product.
Palace sit in 12th place with the same 22 points as Aston Villa, however, have played a game less (17) than the Villains.
At Selhurst Park, it was an ex-Eagle, Conor Gallagher, who spent the previous season on loan at Crystal Palace, that came on as a 2nd-half substitute to score the winner in the 90th minute.
Odsonne Edouard had scored early to give the home side the lead before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised to take both teams in level at the break.
When it appeared that the points were to be shared, Conor scored a spectacular winner to knock the stuffing out of the Eagle Ultras, giving Chelsea the victory by a 2-1 away day score.
Betfred offer Chelsea at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 3/1 and 9/2 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 6/1 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 8/5 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
NEWCASTLE v FULHAM
14.00 in England
Newcastle gained a great point last time out, holding Arsenal to a draw by a 0-0 scoreline.
That was following a goalless draw against Leeds United in the previous game.
The Magpies remain in 3rd place with 35 points from 18 games completed.
Manchester United have 35 points too but have only played 17 times.
Eddie Howe sent out the reserves against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Saturday but proved that the Second Eleven aren’t as good as the Main Magpies, ultimately suffering a defeat against the Owls and being dumped out of the Cup.
Newcastle take on Leicester in the Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
Fulham take on the West London rivals Chelsea before this trip to St James Park.
Aleksandar Mitrovic should be back after serving a 1-game ban for picking up 5 Yellow Cards.
At Craven Cottage, things started badly for the home team when Nathaniel Chalobah was shown a straight Red Card with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Sean Longstaff then scored to give Newcastle a comfortable lead at the interval.
Miguel then added his 2nd and the Magpies’ 4th just after the restart before Bobby Decordova-Reid scored a late consolation for the Cottagers.
Eddie Howe’s men gained the victory by a 4-1 away day scoreline.
Betfred offer Newcastle at Odds On 4/7, the draw at 16/5 and 9/2 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Miguel Almiron Scores Anytime and 13/10 that Newcastle Score in Both Halves.
TOTTENHAM v ARSENAL
16.30 in England
The North London rivals round off the Game Week-20 fixtures with Tottenham coming into the game following an emphatic victory against Crystal Palace.
After a goalless 1st-half at Selhurst Park, Harry Kane scored twice with Matt Doherty and Son Heung-Min rounding off the rout.
Antonio’s Spurs had faulted a bit before the fixture against Palace and as usual nowadays Mr Conte came under a bit of media scrutiny but the lad is a Top Class Manager and shouldn’t be doubted.
Tottenham sit in 5th place with 33 points from 18 fixtures completed.
Arsenal sit at the summit, however, following the goalless draw last time out against Newcastle and Man City’s victory, the gap has been trimmed to 5 points.
Depending on the result in the Manchester Derby, that gap could be 2 points coming into this fixture.
The Gunners have 44 points from 17 games played.
After gaining a victory against Oxford on Monday in the FA Cup, Pep 2 is paired up with Pep 1 for the 4th Round tie.
At the Emirates back in October, Thomas got the Partay started on a Saturday night (well early afternoon but that would spoil the song) scoring after 20 minutes for Arsenal.
Harry Kane equalised for Spurs to take both teams in level at the break.
Gabriel Jesus re-established Arsenal’s lead just after the restart before Tottenham’s Emerson Royal was shown a straight Red Card giving the away team an uphill battle.
Granit Xhaka scored just after the sending-off to give Arsenal the North London bragging rights from a victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Betfred offer Tottenham at 23/10, the draw at 13/5 and 11/10 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Martin Odegaard Scores Anytime and 7/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
Friday 26th December 1997
BOLTON v BARNSLEY
After a day with the new youth and a Christmas dinner at Joanie’s, it was great to get out of the house and ride over the M62 to Bolton.
At the time, John Newsome had visited Burnden Park on a few occasions, one being the previous year when both were vying for promotion to the Premier League, with Bolton finishing as the league champions and Barnsley finishing as runners-up.
Now it was a clash in the Promised Land, however, not at Burnden Park but at the swanky new Reebok Stadium, which is just off the M61 and despite the 60 miles or so is virtually a straight road from Barnsley.
No Sat Nav Required (isn’t that a Phil Collins album title?)
Which is good really as Satellite Navigation systems weren’t the norm back then.
The Ford Escort was filled with juice and packed with a couple of mates and it was a drive over to Bolton.
Although one usually partook in a pint or several, the excesses of the previous day meant that it was driving duties for Mr Newsome.
The Bolton Manager at the time, Colin Todd started the following eleven on Boxing Day 1997,
Gavin Ward, Gudni Bergsson, Mike Whitlow, Mark Fish, Andy Todd, Per Frandsen, Michael Johansen, Jamie Pollock, Scott Sellars, Peter Beardsley and Nathan Blake.
Arnar Gunnluagsson for Michael Johansen 58th Minute
Gerry Taggart for Mark Fish 62nd Minute
Neil Cox for Gerry Taggart 67th Minute
Danny Wilson sent out the following eleven,
David Watson, Nicky Eaden, Darren Barnard, Arjan De Zeeuw, Adie Moses, Neil Redfearn, Darren Sheridan, Eric Tinkler, Georgi Hristov, Clint Marcelle and Ashley Ward.
John Hendrie for Georgi Hristov 67th Minute
Andy Liddell for Clint Marcelle 72nd Minute
Clint Marcelle was making just his 3rd start of the season after a few cameo appearances in 5 of the previous 19 fixtures.
Coincidentally, Clint started in the home game against Bolton back in August 1997, which resulted in a victory for the Super Reds.
At the new Reebok Stadium, Georgi Hristov scored to give Barnsley a lead, however, a speculative shot by Gudni Bergsson just before the interval made the half-time pie hard to swallow.
With no 2nd-half goals, both shared the post-Christmas points from a draw by a 1-1 scoreline.
Despite not having a pint being the Designated Driver a long time before anyone had coined such a dreadful phrase, it was still a great day out, seeing Clint Marcelle start, the Barnsley legend Gerry Taggart on show for Bolton, albeit just for 5 minutes as the lad looked like he’d had too many sprouts the previous day.
It’s also, always nice to see Peter Beardsley up close and personal as the boy is simply class and despite being almost 37 in December 1997, was still the best player on show.
The following is taken from an EveryTip column written back in May 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic had disrupted the World with the suspension of the Premier League being part of the disruptions.
Head-to-head Liverpool 1990 vs 2020 Team Comparison.
May 9, 2020, by Every Tip
Peter Beardsley v Sadio Mane
In the 1989/90 season, Kenny Dalglish played a traditional 4-4-2 formation with Peter Beardsley playing just off Ian Rush and the usual 4-midfielders so Pete is paired up with one of Jurgen’s Fab-3, due to Klipperty having a slightly different system to that of Kenny’s.
However, in 1989, probably Kenny was ahead of his time, as Peter Beardsley wasn’t an out-and-out striker but more of a Number-10 that floated between the lines, similar to Sadio Mané, which is a huge compliment to both players.
When Peter Beardsley is in any team it’s without a doubt that he will enhance it.
What’s probably not commonly known about little Pete, is that he is a Manchester United legend.
Well, for 6 months anyway.
In his early playing days, Peter was signed by Ron Atkinson but failed to make the grade at Old Trafford.
The Major League Soccer or MLS where David Beckham has just set up his Inter Miami team has seen several players such as Robbie Keane, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Liam Ridgewell, Steven Gerrard and of course Becks himself, cross the pond to play and is quite a well known set up now.
Before the MLS, there was the North American Soccer League, NASL, set up in the late 1960s and was a forerunner to the league that is known now.
A number of old-timers ended their careers playing for clubs such as the New York Cosmos, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Fort Lauderdale Strikers or Los Angeles Aztecs.
The old-timers being Pele, Carlos Alberto, Alan Ball, Sir Gordon Banks, Sir Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Roberto Bettega, Johan Neeskins, Johan Cruff, Kazimierz Deyna, Eusebio, Peter Lorimer and George Best.
All great players but all were past their sell-by date.
Most headed to the NASL at the end of their careers to get a fist full of dollars and rightly so.
However, what’s not commonly known is that a few youngsters starting out their careers were sent over to play.
Talksport legend Alan Brazil went over in 1978, aged 18 and played with Detroit Express.
Trevor Francis joined him at Detroit, aged 24, scoring goals for fun before his famous £1 Million move to Nottingham Forest.
As a youngster and a football fanatic, the NASL was often shown in snippets on a Saturday on World of Sport or Saint and Greavsie.
One of the innovations that seemed to pass everyone by but was quite fun, was, instead of having a penalty shootout that is common today, the Yanks introduced a 35-yard one-on-one, where the player got the chance to dribble the ball, starting 35-yards out and had 5-seconds to try and beat the goalkeeper who could come out and try and stop the player.
As a 10-year-old, this was brilliant.
The Yanks didn’t like draws!
Saint and Greavsie once got the ex-President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, to do the 1991/92 Rumbelows League Cup Quarter-Final draw.
After Jimmy Greaves had drawn out Leeds United, old Donald drew out Manchester United, however, the future President didn’t have a clue about the significance of the tie between the 2-clubs.
The Red Devils went on to win the Cup with all the players receiving a colour TV instead of a medal, however, had to give them all back 12 months later as they were only rented.
Obviously, President Trump, living nowhere near Old Trafford, is a United fan, standard.
It’s worth checking YouTube out to see George Best’s goal, playing for the San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale.
Whilst the Lauderdale players were probably McDonald’s employees or FedEx Drivers, the goal is still up there with the best from George who was way past his best.
After the goal, instead of celebrating, all George wanted to do was berate the referee who had allowed a Lauderdale goal to stand when it clearly shouldn’t have, George wasn’t happy.
Another player sent out to the NASL was Peter Beardsley, aged just 17, who joined up with Vancouver Whitecaps, however, unlike Alan Brazil and Trevor Francis who’d just gone over as a jolly, Vancouver actually paid Peter’s then club, Carlisle United, £275,000.
The legendary Leeds United player from the 1970s, Johnny Giles was boss at the Whitecaps, who had his mates from Elland Rd, Peter Lorimer and Terry Yorath, join him.
Whilst at Vancouver, Beardsley’s Manchester United career started.
Back in the summer of 1982, United were on an end-of-season tour (jolly!)
and took on Peter’s Vancouver.
Beardo scored after just 13 seconds against the Red Devil’s then made it 3-0 later in the game.
Imagine what the odds would have been for Vancouver Whitecaps to beat Manchester United by a 3-0 scoreline, 100/1 maybe?
Manchester United’s manager at the time was the enigmatic Ron Atkinson, who took Peter to one side and said,
‘you fancy playing at Old Trafford?’
Peter jumped at the chance, however, 6-months later, Pete was heading back to Canada.
The deal struck between United and Vancouver was an initial £250,000 fee, which would be made up to £500,000 if United signed Beardsley permanently.
Ron didn’t really give Pete a chance and wasn’t prepared to pay a further £250 Grand for his services, so Pete was back on the plane to Canada and another season in the NASL.
Move on 5-years to 1987 and Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool came calling after Beardsley’s time at his hometown club Newcastle.
Joining the Reds at the same time was John Barnes, imagine that nowadays, it would be like signing, John Barnes and Peter Beardsley!
Peter lasted just 4-seasons at Anfield but to say the 4 were eventful is an understatement.
Pete’s first season ended with a title medal, however, lost against Wimbledon in the FA Cup final.
In the 2nd-season, Liverpool and Pete missed out on the Division One title on goal difference to Arsenal but got his hands on an FA Cup medal when Liverpool beat Everton in the final.
Peter Beardsley, like most of the Reds of that season, was involved at Hillsborough and did what was needed after the tragic events.
Peter added a 2nd-Top Flight title victory a year later, playing 29 of the 38 league games, scoring 10 goals.
In total Beardsley played 131 league games for Liverpool, scoring 46 goals.
After failing to retain their title, Peter left Anfield and travelled the short distance over to Everton, a move that didn’t appease everyone.
Graham Souness, now the Liverpool boss, simply didn’t fancy Mr Beardsley and had brought in his mate Dean Saunders.
At the time, there weren’t many players that had transferred between the 2-Merseyside clubs.
Steve McMahon had gone from Everton to Liverpool but did that via Aston Villa and the Everton legend Kevin Sheedy, started as a youngster at Anfield but didn’t make the grade.
A few had done it but most were youngsters, there wasn’t a high-profile player, that had crossed the divide and certainly not for the £1 Million Everton paid.
After Peter’s move to Goodison Park, Gary Ablett followed him a couple of months later for £750,000.
It was unlikely that Peter would be found staggering out of a Liverpool nightclub and Pete never caused anyone any problems as a player, however, did get himself into hot water whilst trying to forge out a Coaching career.
That said, Peter Beardsley should be afforded tremendous respect for his playing career and certainly his time at Anfield.
If the FIFA’20 brigade want to match the graphics of Peter Beardsley on their computer screens, then just insert Sadio Mané and one has the perfect comparison.’
After dropping the Ford off (somewhere?) it was a night in the boozer and several pints, talking about the days game at the Reebok (not as good as Burnden!) some offered up a drunken opinion (it is!) then a taxi home, Kay Bab in hand.
At least it wasn’t a defeat.
15-Southampton 21 pts (minus-6 goals)
16-Bolton 21 pts (minus-13 goals)
17-Coventry 20 pts (minus-9 goals)
18-Tottenham 19 pts (minus-18 goals)
19-Everton 17 pts (minus-12 goals)
20-Barnsley 15 pts (minus-33 goals)
The 9-point gap at the top of the Scottish Premier League remains the same following another round of fixtures.
Celtic are at the summit with 58 points after the victory against Kilmarnock (who?) with the Glasgow arch-rivals Rangers, sitting in 2nd place with 49 points after inflicting a defeat on Dundee United (who?).
The pair faced each other recently at Ibrox in the Old Firm Derby, with the game ending in a draw by a 2-2 scoreline.
The Archbishop had a nice little post-New Year drink and gave a nod of approval.
The loveable OzScot was up early in Melbourne dressed in the Spinning Around gear and the Teddy Bear shirt cheering on his boys but had the stuffing knocked out when the Green and White Hoops equalised in the 88th minute.
The lads trying to come up with a plan on how to celebrate Rangers finishing 2nd to Celtic in the Pub League come May.
At least neither of the Glasgow clubs have to find their passports when the European Competitions open up again in February with both preferring to concentrate on the Pub Cup where Celtic face Kilmarnock (again!) on Saturday and Rangers face Aberdeen (who?) on Sunday in the Scottish League Cup Semi-Final which could set up another Old Peculiar Derby in the Final of that particular competition.