The highlight games for the next set of EPL matches are NOTTINGHAM FOREST versus ARSENAL and LIVERPOOL versus CHELSEA. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these and all game week 22 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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All of these midweek matches are the reverse of the opening day Game Week-1 fixtures that took place over the weekend of the 11th/12th/13th and 14th of August 2023.
Fifteen of the 20 Premier League teams have competed in the 4th-Round of the FA Cup before these midweek fixtures, with Bournemouth, Brighton, Liverpool, Luton, Man City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Wolves progressing.
There were 5 teams (Aston Villa or Chelsea, Tottenham or Man City, Everton or Luton, Fulham or Newcastle and Sheffield United or Brighton) that were always going to be knocked out as these were 5 all-Premier League ties.
As it turned out, there is only Aston Villa v Chelsea that have to go again following a draw in the original tie.
Nottingham Forest also drew their tie against Bristol City meaning another replay.
None of the other Premier League teams suffered a defeat against a lower-level side.
This means all of Aston Villa/Chelsea, Bournemouth, Brighton, Liverpool, Luton, Man City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Wolves from the Premier League, remain in the Elite Domestic Cup Competition for the time being until the replays are resolved.
The draw for the 5th-Round of the FA Cup threw up the following fixtures,
Blackburn/Wrexham v Newcastle
Chelsea/Aston Villa v Leeds United/Plymouth
Bournemouth v Leicester
Liverpool v Watford/Southampton
Bristol City/Nottingham Forest v Manchester United
Wolves v Brighton
Sheff Wednesday/Coventry v Maidstone
Luton v Man City
To be played at the end of February (week commencing the 26th), however, the Premier League fixtures for the Game Week-26 set shouldn’t be affected as the 5th-Round of the FA Cup will be midweek affairs.
With 2 (possibly 3 if Forest come through against Bristol City) all-Premier League last-16 ties, there is a chance that 7 Premier League clubs will be in the Quarter-Finals, which would then possibly see all 4 of the Semi-Finalist’s being from the Promised Land, which in truth, is what the Football Association always want.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v ARSENAL
19.30 in England
Forest head to the Emirates off the back of a defeat last time out in the Premier League against Brentford at the GTech Stadium.
In a very entertaining game that produced 5 goals, it was Nuno Espírito Santo’s Trees that were on the wrong end of a 3-2 score.
Danilo and Chris Wood with the Forest goals.
That was Nuno’s 2nd loss in the 7 games in charge, which included progression in the FA Cup against Blackpool after a replay that then saw Nottingham Forest take on Bristol City, which produced a draw by a 0-0 score, meaning another replay for the Tricky Trees.
Forest sit in 16th place with 20 points from 21 games completed which, whilst not brilliant, is still a 4-point cushion over the teams in the relegation zone.
Arsenal got back to winning ways after 2 defeats and a draw from the previous 3 Premier League games, with a brilliant victory over Crystal Palace by a 5-0 scoreline.
Gabriel scored the opener that was then added to by the big defender, however, it was the Palace Goalkeeper who was credited with the 2nd.
Leandro Trossard scored a 3rd soon after the break with Gabriel Martinelli, who replaced Leandro in the 70th minute, adding 4 and 5 in the 94th and 95th minute.
The victory lifts Arsenal above Aston Villa into 3rd place with the same 43 points as Villa from 21 games played but with a slightly superior goal difference.
Man City also have 43 points but sit in 2nd with a better goal difference than both of Arsenal and Aston Villa and have only completed 20 fixtures.
Unfortunately for Mikel’s Young Guns, there wasn’t an FA Cup tie over the weekend, as Arsenal were knocked out in the 3rd-Round by Liverpool.
Having said that, it will mean that the Gunners will be the fresher of the two with only 2 games played so far in 2024, with Forest having played 4 times since the turn of the year.
At the Emirates back at the beginning of August 2023, Arsenal gained the home victory over Forest by a 2-1 score.
Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka with the Gunners goals with Taiwo Awoniyi replying for the Tricky Trees late on.
Betfred offer Nottingham Forest at 7/1, the draw at 7/2 and Odds On 2/5 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 9/5 that Bukayo Saka Scores Anytime and 11/10 that Arsenal Score in Both Halves.
FULHAM v EVERTON
19.45 in England
Fulham come into this fixture against Everton off the back of a narrow defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the last Premier League outing.
Marco’s White and Blacks suffered the loss against Mauricio’s Blues by a 1-0 scoreline.
That leaves the Cottagers in 13th place with 24 points from the 21 fixtures completed.
This will be Fulham’s 6th game in January following a Premier League fixture, 2 in the FA Cup and a Carabao Cup 2-legged Semi-Final tie against Liverpool.
Unfortunately, despite gaining a draw against Jurgen’s Reds in the 2nd leg, it was Liverpool who progressed to the Final of the Energy Drink Trophy.
That was followed by a 4th-Round FA Cup tie against Newcastle, where the Cup Run in both competitions ended for this season, with the Cottagers suffering a home defeat against the Magpies.
Everton played out a draw against Aston Villa last time out in the Premier League with both teams failing to find the back of the net resulting in a 0-0 scoreline.
That leaves the Toffees in 17th place with 17 points from the opening 21 games.
Remember, Everton have had 10 points deducted.
Luton sit a place below in the final relegation spot with 16 points, however, do have a game in hand over the Toffees due to the fixture against Bournemouth being abandoned.
Coincidentally Everton took on Luton in the 4th-Round of the FA Cup which finished in a defeat for the Toffees and elimination from the competition.
Including the fixture against Tottenham that took place on the 23rd of December 2023, Everton have played 7 times, 4 in the Premier League and 3 times in the FA Cup and have scored a grand total of 4 goals.
Therein lies the problem.
Sean Dyche needs to get his boys out on the training pitch, show them the 3 white posts and say in that brilliant gravel-sounding voice,
‘That’s where the ball goes lads, in between and under them white things!’
In the Game Week-1 encounter at Goodison Park, a single Bobby Decordover-Reid goal midway through the 2nd-half gave Fulham the away day victory over Everton by a 1-0 scoreline.
Betfred offer Fulham at 7/5, the draw at 12/5 and 15/8 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 2/1 that Raul Jimenez Scores Anytime and 16/5 that Fulham Win To Nil.
LUTON v BRIGHTON
19.45 in English
Luton gained a great point from a draw against Burnley before the break from a 1-1 score.
After conceding a Clarets goal, Carlton Morris came off the bench and headed the stoppage time equaliser which, although appeared controversial, the dreaded VAR allowed.
That fixture took place on the 12th of January 2024, 18 days before this game against the Seagulls.
The Hatters have been out twice since in the FA Cup, with Rob Edwards tweaking the starting lineup in both games.
The Cup Run does continue though following a victory against Everton in the 4th-Round, with a last-gasp goal by Cauley Woodrow sealing the win.
Luton sit in the final relegation place of 18th with 16 points, a point adrift of Everton who are the safe team, however, have got an extra game to complete due to the abandoned fixture against Bournemouth.
Brighton were part of the second batch of 5 fixtures over the Premier League mid-season break that took place against Wolves as recently as last Monday.
The Seagulls also gained a point from a draw by a 0-0 score, with both teams not really up for the game.
It was then an outing in the 4th-Round of the FA Cup against Sheffield United, where a 7-goal thriller at Bramall Lane saw Brighton progress in that particular competition by a 5-2 away day scoreline.
Brighton sit in 7th place in the table with the same 32 points as Manchester United but above the Red Devils purely on goal difference.
Brighton gained the honours from a 4-1 score in the opening game of the 2023/24 campaign.
Solly March scored in the 1st-half to give the Seagulls a lead at the break.
A converted Joao Pedro penalty plus goals from Simon Adingra and Evan Ferguson gave Roberto De Zerbi’s men all 3 points.
Carlton Morris scored for Luton when the score was 2-0.
Betfred offer Luton at 18/5, the draw at 16/5 and Odds On 4/6 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 11/4 that Elijah Adebayo Scores Anytime and 13/10 that Brighton Score in Both Halves.
CRYSTAL PALACE v SHEFFIELD UNITED
20.00 in England
There has been speculation all week that Roy Hodgson won’t be in charge for this fixture against Sheffield United, following a devastating defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates last Saturday, however, for the time being, it does look like there won’t be any change at Selhurst Park.
The Eagle Ultras were not happy with the loss by a 5-0 scoreline and showed their dismay by unveiling a couple of banners, which in fairness to Roy, weren’t necessarily aimed at the Old Boy but more at the Palace Board and the running of the Club in general.
Palace had already been knocked out of the FA Cup, prior to the visit to the Emirates and now sit in 15th place with 21 points from 21 played.
Maybe this fixture against a struggling set of Blades is just what Mr Hodgson and the boys need to get back a bit of confidence.
That said, a poor performance against Sheffield United could spell the end for Roy, however, due to not playing in the Cup, Palace should be the fresher of the two.
Sheffield United played in a brilliant game against West Ham last Sunday that somehow produced a draw by a 2-2 score.
‘Somehow’ as whilst trailing 2-1 the Blades were awarded a controversial penalty in the 99th-minute which took the dreaded VAR 4 minutes to decide.
In truth, it was a harsh decision on the West Ham Goalkeeper who was deemed to have caused the foul.
Ollie McBurnie coolly slotted home the spot-kick after 113 minutes which was the latest ever goal scored in a Premier League fixture.
The new boy and ex-Forest and Blackburn Striker Ben Brereton-Diaz scored on his Blades Premier League debut after the Hammers had scored the opener.
Although it was very late on in proceedings, that wasn’t the end of the controversy as West Ham were then denied a blatant penalty when Anel Ahmedhodzic hauled down Jarrod Bowen.
It was a clear foul but it’s assumed that the referee wasn’t going to gift the away team a chance of a winner and called time on the game basically so he could get out of Sheffield intact.
Added to those incidents, there were 2 Red Cards shown, 1 to Rhian Brewster and the other to Vladimir Coufal.
Rhian’s was a straight Red after the VAR advised the on-field referee Michael Salisbury to change the original Yellow.
Vladimir’s was as a result of 2 Yellows.
It was certainly an entertaining game for the watching Blunts in attendance and the Millions watching at home on the Gogglebox.
Sheffield United remain at the bottom of the Premier League table with 10 points from the opening 21 fixtures.
Next, it was the 4th-Round of the FA Cup that saw the Seagulls fly up to the Steel City with the added bonus of knowing that there would be some ‘greasy chips’ to nick off the Blunts at Bramall Lane.
Unfortunately for the Blades, the Cup run is over following a devastating defeat against Brighton at the Lane by a 5-2 scoreline, which now allows the old adage of ‘concentrating on the league!’
The new Goalkeeper Ivo Grbic, who was signed last week from Atletico Madrid, went straight to the chemists and purchased a few packets of Voltarol Gel to rub on his back, which was in pain after bending down 5 times to pick the ball out of the net.
Rumours that the Croatian was straight on the phone to Ryanair about a flight back to Spain have been strenuously denied.
One of those in attendance, James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, is over the moon at the moment after finding out that the lovely Jade is expecting a beautiful little girl.
Congratulations Jimbo and Jade.
The other day, whilst trying to mend Toyotas and dreaming of his beloved Blunts,
‘I love Chrissy Wilder!’
One of Jimbo’s younger work colleagues asked the lad where he learned all his Motor Technician skills.
Little Jim replied,
‘Wheeler Dealers, Discovery Plus channel 125 on Sky, then 225 to watch it again an hour later just in case I’ve missed anything!’
Then went for a brew.
In the opener at Bramall Lane, a single Odsonne Edouard goal, just after the break, gave Roy Hodgson’s Eagles the away day victory over Paul Heckinbottom’s Blades by a 1-0 score.
Betfred offer Crystal Palace at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 11/4 and 9/2 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 2/1 that Eberechi Eze Scores First and 7/5 that Crystal Palace Win To Nil.
ASTON VILLA v NEWCASTLE
20.15 in England
Aston Villa played out a goalless draw against Everton last time out that although saw a point gained, drops Unai’s Claret and Blues down a place to 4th following Arsenal’s subsequent victory.
Villa sit in 4th with the same 43 points as Arsenal and Man City but with the inferior goal difference of the three.
Aston Villa took on Chelsea in the FA Cup last Friday with both teams failing to trouble the scorers meaning the goalless draw will need a replay in the next couple of weeks.
Newcastle come into this Premier League game off the back of their 4th defeat in a row following a loss against Man City at St James Park by a narrow 3-2 scoreline.
In truth, if it hadn’t been for Kevin De Bruyne coming on as a substitute in the 69th minute, Eddie’s Magpies could have easily gained the win.
When KDB was introduced, 2 very similar goals from Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon had given the home team the lead.
Newcastle had conceded an earlier Man City goal.
It was then the Kevin De Bruyne show with the Belgian scoring the equaliser before supplying a superb assist for the City winner, to inflict the defeat that leaves Newcastle in 10th place (10th!) with the same 29 points as Wolves.
At the minute, there doesn’t appear to be any concern regarding Eddie Howe’s position as the Manager of Newcastle but the Toon Army won’t want to see their idols continue to lose.
There is a certain Jose Mourinho (Noooo!) that has just lost his job at Roma and is available.
Maybe that’s just putting speculation out there and getting 5 from 2 plus 2 but it’s worth a thought!
Don’t do it Saudi Magpie Owners.
The victory over Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday may have just kept the Toon Army onside with Eddie for the time being.
At St James Park back in August, it would probably surprise most people that Newcastle gained a superb opening day victory over Aston Villa by a massive 5-1 score.
Sandro Tonali, Alexander Isak (2), Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes with the goals.
Moussa Diaby had equalised for Villa following Sandro’s opening goal.
Half a season later, it’s Villa who are above Newcastle in the table with probable revenge on the agenda today.
Betfred offer Aston Villa at slight Odds On 9/10, the draw at 3/1 and 13/5 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 9/2 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and 11/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Alisson- Liverpool
RIGHT-BACK- Conor Bradley- Liverpool
CENTRE-BACK- Gabriel- Arsenal
CENTRE-BACK- Ben Mee- Brentford
LEFT-BACK- Josko Gvardiol- Man City
MIDFIELDER- Cole Palmer- Chelsea
MIDFIELDER- Darwin Nunez- Liverpool b
MIDFIELDER- Kevin De Bruyne- Man City
FORWARD- Gabriel Martinelli- Arsenal
FORWARD- Carlton Morris- Luton
FORWARD- Oscar Bobb- Man City
STAR MAN- Kevin De Bruyne- Man City
TOTTENHAM v BRENTFORD
19.30 in England
Tottenham are back on track after a tricky spell at the end of November and the beginning of December.
In the last 6 Premier League games, Ange’s Spurs have gained 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss, with the drawn game being in the last outing before the break.
At Old Trafford, Tottenham gained a point from a draw against Manchester United by a 2-2 score.
The Archbishop was happy.
Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur with the goals, both scored to equalise earlier United strikes.
The victory leaves Tottenham in 5th place with 40 points from 21 games played, which is only 3 points adrift of Aston Villa, Arsenal and Man City.
In the game at Old Trafford, Ange Postecoglou was able to include Cristian Romero and Micky Van De Ven in the starting lineup who had both been injured which did make a difference, plus there was an outing for the New Boy and ex-Chelsea Striker Timo Werner, who comes in on loan from RB Leipzig.
Son Heung-Min is still missing due to being with South Korea at the Asian Cup, along with Yves Bissouma and Papa Matar Sarr who are playing in the African Nations Cup for Mali and Senegal respectively.
James Maddison is back following the lads’ introduction as a substitute in the FA Cup tie against Man City where, unfortunately for the LilyWhites, Tottenham were knocked out on Friday, however, the exit from the Cup could technically benefit them in the run-in.
Brentford got back to winning ways last time out after 5 straight defeats in the Premier League along with being knocked out of the FA Cup following a replay against Wolves.
In the fixture at the GTech against Nottingham Forest, the main man Ivan Toney was back after his ban and didn’t disappoint, scoring a cheeky free kick to equalise an earlier Forest goal.
‘Cheeky’ due to moving the ball wider before the kick was taken allowing a better angle for the shot, which the on-field referee Darren England didn’t see.
Ben Mee scored a 2nd after the break to give Brentford a lead, however, Forest equalised but that didn’t deter the home team with Neal Maupay scoring the winner to give Thomas Frank’s Bees all 3-points from a 3-2 scoreline.
Brentford sit in 14th place with 22 points, however, have only completed 20 games due to their match against Man City being postponed before Christmas.
As mentioned, Brentford were knocked out of the Cup in the 3rd-Round so have had the weekend off, whilst the Tottenham players got the run around from Pep’s High Flying Blues.
There’s no sign of Ivan Toney leaving in this Transfer Window so with Mr T back, Brentford should be ok and able to gain a few more points.
That said, Tottenham will be a tough ask at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
Both teams shared the opening day points when these two met at the GTech Stadium in August.
Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal scored the Tottenham goals which were matched by a Bryan Mbeumo penalty and a Yoane Wissa strike to give both a point apiece for a 2-2 scoreline.
What was probably a surprise was the fact that all 4 goals were scored before the half-time cup of tea.
Betfred offer Tottenham at Odds On 4/7, the draw at 10/3 and 4/1 for Brentford to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Richarlison Scores Anytime and 8/5 that Ivan Toney Scores Anytime.
MAN CITY v BURNLEY
19.30 in England
Before Kevin De Bruyne was introduced in the 69th minute at St James Park, Man City were trailing and finding it hard work against Newcastle.
Bernardo Silva had scored first before the home team scored 2 virtually identical goals to lead at the break.
‘Virtually identical’ due to the Newcastle players cutting inside of Kyle Walker and smashing home.
Not to dig out Kyle too much as the Sheffield lad is a legend but Mr Walker was at fault for both goals and should have shown both Magpies to the outside not let them cut in.
Luckily for KW, his mate KDB got him out of jail by scoring the equaliser within 5 minutes of taking the field then when time was up on the clock, supplied a superb assist for Oscar Bobb who showed some nifty ‘Messi-esque’ footwork to score the winner.
A superb cameo from Kevin and a sublime finish from Oscar that was worthy of a gong.
That was 4 victories from the last 5 Premier League games with the other being a draw, meaning 13 points from a possible 15.
Added to that there have been wins in the Champions League, World Club Cup and the FA Cup.
Pep’s High Flying Treble Winners continued their defence of the FA Cup by inflicting a defeat on Tottenham last Friday to progress to the 5th-Round of that particular competition.
The victory against Tottenham by a 1-0 scoreline, was the first time that City had won at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium and the first time they had scored there in 6 attempts.
Man City sit in 2nd place with the same 43 points as Arsenal and Aston Villa, all now 5 points adrift of Liverpool at the summit.
That said, City have only completed 20 fixtures, not the 21 that the others have, with the game against Brentford still to be played.
As mentioned in previous columns, Man City are historically better in the 2nd part of the season so it is ominous for the others in the Top Six.
A couple of goals from Erling Haaland (remember him?) and a Rodri strike late on gave Pep’s High Flying Treble Winners the opening day victory over Vincent’s Clarets by a 3-0 scoreline.
Anass Zaroury, who came on as a Burnley substitute on the hour mark, was shown a straight Red Card on the stroke of full-time to enable the lad to put the kettle on for his mates.
Betfred offer Man City at Odds On 1/12, the draw at 9/1 and 25/1 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/1 that Kevin De Bruyne Scores First and 2/1 that there are Over 4.5 Goals.
LIVERPOOL v CHELSEA
20.15 in England
Both teams will have played twice since the last Premier League outing with both progressing to the Final of the Carabao Cup (again!) and both continuing in the FA Cup, albeit Chelsea’s continuation is from a draw against Aston Villa which will mean a replay in the next couple of weeks.
This will be Liverpool’s 7th game in January which considering some (Manchester United and Arsenal to name but two) will have only played 3 times, is quite remarkable really.
However, that is the price of success with 4 of those games being in Cup Competitions.
Whilst writing this and mentioning the ‘price of success’ the startling news came through that Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season due to ‘running out of energy.’
Mr Klopp’s words!
At first, one had to check that it wasn’t April the 1st, having done that, it’s now confirmed that Jurgen’s Reds will be no more come the end of the 2023/24 campaign.
The news is a shock to the Liverpool faithful but the problem now could be that the players down tools and Liverpool fall short in the quest to win the Premier League, plus the other 3 Cup Competitions still up for grabs.
A few years ago, back at the start of the 2001/02 campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson, aged 59 at the time, having been at Old Trafford for 15 years, did the same and said he was leaving Old Trafford at the end of the 2001/02 season.
Manchester United struggled in the early part of the campaign and eventually finished 3rd in the Premier League as well as not winning any of the Cups on offer.
Sir Alex changed his mind and stayed on for another 11 years until finally calling time at the end of the 2012/13 season.
United’s decline since then is there for all to see.
Maybe Jurgen, who is only 56 and will have been at Liverpool for 9 years come the end of the season, will do the same and change his mind, or Liverpool could see a decline too.
The ex-Liverpool Midfielder Xavi Alonso is an early favourite to replace Mr Klopp if the German does leave Anfield.
More information on this will be documented over the coming weeks.
Liverpool gained a superb victory over Bournemouth in the Premier League before the so-called break with 2 goals apiece from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota giving Jurgen’s Reds the points from a 4-0 away day scoreline.
The win leaves Liverpool at the summit of the Premier League with 48 points from 21 games played.
Five ahead of the chasing pack of Man City, Arsenal and Aston Villa.
As mentioned, Liverpool have reached the Final of the Carabao Cup following a 2-legged Semi-Final victory over Fulham that will see another game against today’s opponents at Wembley on the 25th of February.
Added to that Jurgen’s Reds progressed to the 5th-Round of the FA Cup following a victory over Norwich on Sunday.
There is a worry for the Anfield Rappers with the Egyptian King Mo Salah picking up an injury whilst playing at the AFCON.
It’s unsure how long Magic Mo will be missing and against the lower teams, Liverpool can manage, however, it’s against the Top Four/Six that Mo’s absence will tell so Mr Klopp will want Mr Salah back as soon as possible.
This will be Chelsea’s 6th game in January following the Blues exploits in the FA and Carabao Cup.
Chelsea gained a narrow victory over Fulham in the last Premier League game on the 13th of January.
A Cole Palmer converted penalty on the stroke of half-time was the difference giving Mauricio Pochettino’s Blues the win from a 1-0 scoreline.
Chelsea sit in 9th place with 31 points from 21 fixtures completed.
The game against Fulham was sandwiched in between the away and home leg of the Carabao Cup Semi-Final against Middlesbrough where the Blues progressed to the Final following a 6-2 aggregate score, setting up another game against today’s opponents.
There was also an FA Cup game against Aston Villa on Friday which will need a replay following a draw by a 0-0 score.
In the opening fixture at Stamford Bridge, both teams shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Luis Diaz scored first for Liverpool before Axel Disasi equalised for Chelsea with both goals coming before the break.
In the last 5 Premier League games between these two, this fixture has ended in a draw.
Added to that both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup Finals of 2022, finished in a stalemate after 120 minutes with both finishing in a penalty shootout.
Liverpool ended up victorious in both finals.
That said, tonight’s match could bring an end to that run of drawn games.
Betfred offer Liverpool at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 16/5 and 4/1 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 8/5 that Diogo Jota Scores Anytime and 2/1 Cole Palmer Scores Anytime.
WEST HAM v BOURNEMOUTH
19.30 in England
As mentioned earlier in the Crystal Palace v Sheffield United preview, West Ham played in a very entertaining game at Bramall Lane last time out.
An early goal from Maxwell Cornet and a James Ward-Prowse penalty gave West Ham a lead going into the final minutes of the game.
Then the fun started when the Hammers Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was adjudged to have fouled Ollie McBurnie and another penalty was awarded, this time to the hosts.
In truth, it was probably Ollie who fouled Alphonse but the dreaded VAR agreed with the on-field decision and the penalty stood which Mr McBurnie converted to make it 2-2.
That was in the 113th minute but it wasn’t the end of the entertainment as Jarrod Bowen was then bundled over and should have had his own spot-kick awarded.
The dreaded didn’t get involved in that one and the game in Sheffield finished with both teams sharing the points from a draw by a 2-2 score.
West Ham sit in 6th place with 35 points from 21 games played.
Given the position of the club and the fact that West Ham are still in the Europa League, surprisingly, the Bubble faithful are unhappy with David Moyes.
What do they want?
David has brought in Kalvin Phillips who will definitely enhance the Hammers, with KP initially coming in on loan with a view to a permanent deal.
The Bubbles may be unhappy that their idols weren’t involved in the weekend’s FA Cup competition after being knocked out in the 3rd-Round, however, it should mean that the boys will be fresh for this visit from the Cherries.
Bournemouth suffered a devastating home defeat against Liverpool in the last Premier League game with Jurgen’s Reds gaining the victory over Andoni’s Cherries by a 4-0 scoreline.
That was back-to-back defeats in the Premier League following the loss against Tottenham, however, Bournemouth have progressed to the 5th-Round of the FA Cup, being the first team through after the victory over Swansea on Thursday.
Bournemouth sit in 12th place with 25 points from 20 fixtures.
Remember it is only 20 due to the abandoned game against Luton.
At the Vitality back in August, both teams shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Jarrod Bowen scored first for the Hammers just after the break before Dominic Solanke equalised for the Cherries late on to give both a share of the points.
With the injuries that West Ham have, it’s probably worth waiting for the team sheet to come out before deciding on a punt or two.
Betfred offer West Ham at 11/8, the draw at 13/5 and 7/4 for Bournemouth to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 8/5 that Jarrod Bowen Scores Anytime and 13/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
WOLVES v MANCHESTER UNITED
20.15 in England
Wolves come into this fixture against a limp Manchester United following a drab draw by a 0-0 score in the last Premier League outing against Brighton.
The less said about that game at the Amex, the better.
Gary O’Neil’s Gold and Blacks sit in 11th place with the same 29 points as Newcastle from 21 fixtures completed.
There was a fierce Midlands Derby against West Bromwich in the FA Cup that saw Wolves gain the Black Country bragging rights and progress to the 5th-Round.
Manchester United sit in 8th place with 32 points, 3 more than Wolves, so a defeat today will see the hosts jump above the visitors, considering the current goal difference.
Wolves have a minus-1 goal difference and United have a minus-5, so a win for either team will see the victors sit higher in the Premier League.
United’s last outing in the Top Flight was against Tottenham on the 14th of January which produced a draw from a 2-2 score.
The Archbishop was happy!
Rasmus Hojlund scored his 2nd league goal before Marcus Rashford notched to give United a lead at the break.
Tottenham had equalised Rasmus’s goal, then scored to equalise Marcus’s goal just after the restart and with no further strikes both shared the points.
United then faced Newport County in the FA Cup and although Newport put up a fight, Erik’s Red Devils got the away day victory to progress in that particular competition.
Manchester United gained the home opening day victory back in August, however, the 1-0 score didn’t come without controversy.
After huffing and puffing for 70-odd minutes, it was left to Raphael Varane to score the winning goal but if one remembers, it was Wolves who were the more dominant team and possibly should have had a penalty late on when Andre Onana clumsily pushed over Sasa Kalajdzic, yet the dreaded VAR dismissed Wolves protests and United held on for the victory.
Betfred offer Wolves at 13/8, the draw at 5/2 and 6/4 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 11/4 that Pedro Neto Scores Anytime and 11/10 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
The Australian branch of this EveryTip column are happy at the moment, with the loveable OzScot’s idols gaining 2 victories since the mid-season break in the SPL, as well as a win to progress in the Scottish FA Cup.
Rangers inflicted defeats on Dumbarton (who?) (Joey’s nickname), in the Pub Cup, plus Hibernian (who?) and St Mirren (who?) to remain 2nd in the Scottish Pub League behind Celtic who sit at the summit with 5 points more than the Teddy Bears, however, Rangers do have a game in hand.
Celtic kept ahead of Rangers with a victory over Buckie Thistle (who?) in the Pub Cup and a win against Ross County (who?) in the Pub League.
The Green and White Hoops have only played once in the league since the break to allow the team from the Blue half of Glasgow to play one of their two games in hand.
Braveheart/Kylie has had a good week and was out singing and dancing on the streets of Melbourne celebrating Burns Night.
The Australian natives were unsure about the Haggis being eaten but joined in and started telling poems and drinking Tennents Extra, which was followed by choruses of,
‘I’m spinning around!’
And shouts of,
‘You’ll never take our freedom!’