The highlight games for this weekend and the coming week mid-week action is MAN CITY versus BRENTFORD and LIVERPOOL versus LEICESTER. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 24 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
Game Week- 17, Rearranged Fixture.
BURNLEY v WATFORD
15.00 in England.
The football reconvenes after the January Transfer Window and a Winter Break. Hopefully, the teams are revitalised and rejuvenated and no more postponements are on hand.
The fact that both were knocked out of the FA Cup, in the 3rd-round, allows this Premier League fixture to take place.
Sean Dyche’s Clarets drew just before the Winter Break, against Arsenal at the Emirates, with both teams failing to trouble the scorers, ending in a draw by a 0-0 score.
The point gained against the Gunners leaves Burnley at the foot of the table, however, now with 12, just 2-adrift of today’s opponents and have 2-extra fixtures to complete. Sean has brought in Wout Weghorst from the German club, Wolfsburg.
Most Burnley fans won’t have heard of Double W, however, the lad knows where the net is, having scored 6-goals already this term, from 18-games and notched 20, last season, from 34-fixtures played.
In total, Wout has a 1 in 2, strike rate for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, 59-goals in 118-league games, over 4-season’s. Compare that to the lad WW has replaced at Turf Moor.
Chris Wood scored 49-league goals, in 144-games for Burnley. The Claret faithful should be excited about Big Wout.
This game was originally pencilled in for the middle of December 2021, with Claudio Ranieri, still at the Watford helm.
Unfortunately for the Italian, after 7-losses and the 10th-defeat, since Claudio took over, the Pozzo family have done what the Pozzo’s do and sacked the legendary manager.
Watford have suffered 14-defeats from the 20-fixtures, under Xisco and then Claudio.
There are 4-victories and 2-draws, in those 20, which tells its own story. The story is that the Hornets are too open and although will score goals, concede a lot, 40 up to now.
The surprise in Claudio’s reign, is the 2-victories that were achieved, a win away at Goodison Park by a 5-2 score and a victory over Manchester United at Vicarage Rd, by a 4-1 score. This obviously shows how bad Everton and Ole’s Trollies were at the time, with all 3-managers, now at the jobcentre.
The Watford owners are not known for loyalty when it comes to managers and even though Claudio Ranieri is a Premier League title winner, the writing was on the wall following the home defeat against Norwich, last time out by a 3-0 scoreline.
At least Mr Ranieri joins an elite club of 3-managers that have been sacked 4-times, in the Premier League. Chelsea, Leicester, Fulham and now Watford. The other 2, are Jose Mourinho and Mark Hughes.
Chelsea sacked Dracula twice, with Manchester United and Tottenham also getting rid of the not so ‘Special One’.
Man City, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke and Southampton, have all sacked Mark Hughes.
After getting rid of the 70-year old veteran gaffer, it’s then a surprise, that a gentleman, even older, would succeed Claudio, yet that’s what’s occurred, with Watford bringing in the 74-year old, Roy Hodgson, until the end of the season.
The Hornets are now in the relegation places, with 14-points, 2-more than today’s opponents, after Burnley’s draw last time out.
Before the introduction of Roy, it was Odds On that the Hornets would be relegated, however, Mr Hodgson will bring stability to an erratic situation and all is not lost for the Watford faithful. This is definitely the proverbial 6-pointer.
The Pozzo family decided not to spend any Lira in the recent Transfer Window, so Roy will just have the players that Xisco the Disco and the Tinkerman had.
Jay Rodriguez scored the solitary winning goal, in the 73rd-minute, when Burnley last hosted Watford, back in May 2020.
888 Sport offer Burnley at Evens 1/1, the draw at 49/20 and 51/20 for Watford to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer for a 0-0 Scoreline and 5/2 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
All these midweek fixtures are a reverse of the proposed Game Week-20 games that should have taken place between Boxing Day and New Year and are all live on BT Sport.
Proposed and should, as some were called off due to the Coronavirus situation.
WEST HAM v WATFORD
19.45 in England
West Ham come into this fixture against Watford, off the back of 2-defeats.
Following the surprise home loss against Leeds United in Game Week-22, the Hammers headed to David Moyes nemesis ground, Old Trafford and left with nothing, after Ralph’s Roadsters inflicted a defeat by a single 1-0 score.
What would have irked the ex-United boss, is the timing of the goal, with the home side scoring in the 93rd-minute. Ouch!
The defeat means West Ham swap places with Manchester United and leaves the Bubbles in 5th, with 37-points from the full complement of 23-fixtures played.
There weren’t any significant new signings that come into the London Stadium, with West Ham failing to tempt Jesse Lingard for another loan spell. More on Jesse later.
As mentioned, Watford are now under the guidance of Roy Hodgson and will have played against Burnley before this trip to the London Stadium.
If the result at Turf Moor goes against Hodgson’s Hornets, Roy’s Boys could be sitting at the foot of the table.
At Vicarage Rd in between Boxing Day and New Year, West Ham got an easy away-day victory by a 4-1 scoreline.
Emmanuel Dennis opened the scoring to give the Hornets an early boost, however, that just sprang the Hammers into life, with Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma replying, giving West Ham a half-time lead.
The Bubbles legend, Mark Noble added a 3rd, before Nikola Vlasic rounded off the scoring in the 92nd-minute to give the Hammers the easy victory.
888 Sport offer West Ham at Odds On 4/11, the draw at 19/5 and 6/1 for Watford to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 4/1 that Michail Antonio Scores First and Evens 1/1 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
NEWCASTLE v EVERTON
19.45 in England
Newcastle got a great victory last time out, inflicting a defeat on Leeds United at Elland Rd.
Jonjo Shelvey scored the solitary winning goal, midway through the 2nd-half, to give Eddie Howe’s men the win by a 1-0 score.
Although Chris Wood didn’t notch, the new boy from Burnley was a constant threat throughout and is already proving a great signing for the Magpies. The win lifted Newcastle up to 18th, within a point of safety.
The Magpies have 15-points but have played 21-times, with the teams below having games in hand.
Norwich, who sit immediately above Newcastle have a point more but have played 22-fixtures.
These two were the busiest of the Premier League in the January Transfer Window with Newcastle bringing in Matt Targett from Aston Villa, initially on-loan but with a view to a permanent signing, Dan Burn from Brighton, for a fee of around £13 Million and Bruno Guimaraes, who joins Newcastle from Lyon for £35 Million.
Those Deadline Day players were in addition to the two earlier signings of Kieran Trippier (£12 Million) and Chris Wood (£25 Million).
Everton suffered another defeat last time out, in the post-Rafa Benitez era.
Duncan Ferguson took temporary charge of the Toffees and despite a much-improved display, succumbed to a loss against Aston Villa by a 1-0 scoreline.
Everton have opted for Frank Lampard and will no doubt, now be called Frank Lampard’s Everton. Frank’s newly named Blues have 19-points, from 20-fixtures played and sit 16th in the table.
The Game Week-20 fixture between the two at Goodison Park, back in late December, was postponed so this is the first meeting this season. Everton and Frank have brought in a few new boys to Goodison Park.
Donny Van De Beek is loaned from Manchester United and now will be able to prove his worth on the pitch or show that United were right and the Dutchman is a dud.
Dele Alli comes in from Tottenham and in a surprise twist, actually signs for free, no loan or fee, just a new start for Dele, which is definitely what the ex-MK Dons star needs.
Everton also sign Vitaly Mykolenko from Dynamo Kyiv and Nathan Patterson from Rangers, both fees undisclosed, which usually means, ‘4-Bob and a Blackbirds egg’.
The Toffees had already brought in Anwar El-Ghazi on-loan from Aston Villa, which was a deal done by Rafa Benitez. Hopefully, for Anwar’s sake, Mr Lampard is a fan.
All good business, done by both the Magpies and the Toffees that will give them a great opportunity to stay in the Premier League.
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 Newcastle at 6/4, the draw at 23/10 and 33/20 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 8/5 that Allan Saint-Maximin Scores Anytime and 9/4 that Richarlison Scores Anytime.
BURNLEY v MANCHESTER UNITED
20.00 in England
Burnley will have played against Watford before the visit of Manchester United so depending on the result against Hodgson’s Hornets, could be out of the relegation places.
Ralph Rangnick’s Red Devil’s have somehow managed to get into the Top Four, following the latest outing against West Ham before the break.
In the 8-Premier League fixtures that Ralph has overseen, United have 5-Wins, 2-Draws and 1-Loss.
Not a bad start for Double R, however, it was pointed out last year, with the following taken from this EveryTip column published December 9th, 2021,
‘United’s next 12-fixtures are home games against Brighton, Burnley, Wolves, West Ham, Southampton and Watford and away against Norwich, Brentford, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Burnley (again) and Leeds United.
Only one game against a team currently higher than the Red Devil’s and that’s West Ham at Old Trafford. That is a great set of fixtures to settle Double R into the job in Manchester.
It’s March 2022, when United face a team higher than them, other than West Ham and that’s the Derby, against City, at the Etihad.
In truth, Ralph Rangnick and all connected at Manchester United have no excuses to push for a Top Four finish.’
Having said all that, the results still have to be achieved and whilst not all have come from convincing performances, a win is a win.
Last time out against West Ham, following a goalless 1st-half, Ralph made 3-inspired changes, replacing Anthony Elanga, Fred and Mason Greenwood, with Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial.
Marcus scored the solitary winning goal in the 93rd-minute to inflict the defeat on the Hammers by a 1-0 score.
The victory lifted United above West Ham into 4th-place with 38-points from 22-fixtures completed.
Chelsea sit 3rd, with 48-points, 11 ahead of the Red Devil’s but have played 2-games more.
Ralph will put a positive spin on proceedings and say that victory’s from the 2-games in hand and a win against Chelsea in the penultimate game of the season, would make up 9 of the 11-points.
Well Double R has to give his boys something to spin off. In reality, that’s a big ask and United should just concentrate on the 4th-spot and forget the 3-teams above.
The aforementioned Anthony Martial has left Old Trafford in the January Transfer Window and headed off to the Sun of Spain to join Seville on loan until the end of the season.
Seville currently sit 2nd in La Liga, trailing Real Madrid by 4-points so Tony Marshall has the opportunity to help his new mates, at least push the Los Blancos for the title. Jesse Lingard is staying at Old Trafford for the time being.
There were several clubs interested in taking Jesse on loan until the end of the season, like last year, however, this time, Mr Lingard is out of contract in the summer and is free to join whoever he wants, for as much money as he can get and good luck to the lad.
United have failed to use Jesse this term which is scandalous in a way as they should have allowed him to leave last summer and would have got a bit of a transfer fee too.
Now the boy can leave for nothing and will certainly get snapped up by a Premier League club.
Manchester United didn’t bring anyone into Old Trafford so Ralph Rangnick thinks his current boys are all he needs. They are not, by the way.
Another player that has left is Donny Van De Beek, who might now get a chance to showcase why United forked out £40 Million for the lad.
DVDB, heads to Goodison Park, joining the newly-named Frank Lampard’s Everton, on loan until the end of the season.
One thing to add to that is Manchester United, refused to add an ‘option to buy’ clause into the loan deal, so that throws up a whole new set of scenarios, that discussions will be left for another day.
Whilst this is a weekly Premier League Preview, John Newsome feels it’s important to give a few paragraphs regarding the plight of his beloved Barnsley FC.
It’s actually coming up to the 25th-Anniversary of the Super Reds one and only venture into the Premier League having been promoted to the Promised Land at the end of the 1996/97 Championship campaign and spending the 1997/98 season as a Premier League team.
There’s been constant media coverage regarding the plight of Derby County and how the threat of liquidation is hanging over the club.
The fact that Wayne Rooney has worked miracles at Pride Park or whatever Mel Morris chooses to call his stadium, the stadium that he owns, yet has caused devastation to the East Midlands club, is regularly spoken about on Sky Sport, talkSport or other footballing media outlets. Yet no one mentions the plight of Barnsley FC.
A club that is not in any financial difficulties have owners who are Billionaires but sit lower in the Championship, rock bottom, with 14-points, 1-less than Derby County, who have had 21-points deducted for Financial Irregularities.
As a person not on any Social Abuse sites, the up-to-date information isn’t readily available, yet no one seems to be angry about our current plight.
Derby and Reading have both been deducted points but both are in a higher position than this beloved club. Why aren’t the fans protesting against the lack of signings that the owners could easily make?
Barnsley wanted the recent fixtures postponed due to Covid and other injuries, yet the EFL refused. The Reds have already had 2-fixtures called off.
As of today and the end of the January Transfer Window, Barnsley FC, supposedly struggling with injuries, sat at the foot of the Championship table, with just 2 victories from the 28-fixtures played, have not purchased any new signings and are relying on loanees and the inadequate squad that has seemingly given up and want to be relegated.
Barnsley FC are owned by a consortium that includes the American Billy Beane as one of the shareholders.
Billy was portrayed by Brad Pitt in a terrific sports drama a few years back called MoneyBall where the owners of a Baseball team chose players based on stats instead of talent.
The owners of Barnsley FC, Pacific Media Group, are following the same principles which are becoming a bugbear of the Oakwell faithful.
Chien Lee and his mates, including Paul Conway, don’t understand the Relegation and Promotion system, being part American owned and think, that because Barnsley have been promoted back to the Championship twice, in the last 6 years, that it’s a common occurrence.
That protocol will come to an end, look at Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday.
One of the founder members of the inaugural Premier League from 1992/93, Oldham Athletic, sit bottom of League 2, or Division 4, in old money.
There are no guarantees of returning to the Championship, yet the owners are just resigned to being relegated.
The fans are becoming restless, a few peaceful protests, are starting, nothing violent or silly but just something to show the owners, ‘we’ don’t want to be relegated and want a change. The peaceful side of the protests will soon disappear.
In the next couple of fixtures, the fans should stay away altogether or take up their seat 15-minutes in and leave the ground empty.
Throw tennis balls onto the pitch, in front of the cameras, banners, or something more inventive than John Newsome can come up with. Something needs to be done, just to get the owner’s attention.
Granted, the Transfer Window has closed but there are upcoming games that statements should be made.
Why is a club, that can purchase players, unlike Derby County, sit bottom of the table? Why isn’t anything being done to at least try and change the outcome of this season? Which at the minute, inevitably looks like relegation.
Chien and Paul need to do something to try and change the direction of Barnsley FC.
A current Championship club, that has Billionaire owners, think they know how to run a football club but are heading down to Division 3, or League 1 as it’s now known.
Whilst being an ardent Reds fan and not necessarily agreeing with the philosophy of the Barnsley owners, unfortunately, it is their philosophy on how to run a successful sports franchise, which is basically what Barnsley FC have become.
Even with the owners suggesting that the club could move away from Oakwell and Barnsley and possibly play their football out of the county.
Daniel Stendel, who was sacked at Nancy, in the French Ligue 2, after just 4-months in charge, had worked miracles at the Oakwell club, gaining promotion back to the Championship and was revered all around Barnsley and surrounding areas, spoke out against the owner’s philosophy of just investing in young players, to ultimately increase their stats and sell on for a profit. Daniel was subsequently sacked.
Barnsley then got a manager from Austria who no one outside of Austria had heard of.
Gerhard Struber had a style of football that mirrored Daniel and helped Barnsley stay in the Championship, albeit, on a technicality.
Big Dan was soon forgotten and was even criticised by MoneyBall Mayhem PLC and some of the faithful for being a moaning so and so when calling out the owners.
Nancy are owned by Chien Lee’s men and women, so why Dan went back to one of their clubs, is mind-boggling.
Cut to 12-months later and Big Gerry Strube is away, poached by the Austrian energy drinks company Red Bull to oversee proceedings in New York.
On leaving Barnsley, in a radio interview, Gerhard pronounced that, ‘For me, it is not the goal to always play in the relegation zone.
I have other ambitions and aims and I cannot feel that the owners have the same ambitions and goals as me. My future is open and we will see.
Every year, every season, this is a big, big fight with big, big energy until the last game to stay in the league. One more time, it is a big question to the owners, is this the goal? For me, no.’
Pretty much similar to the thoughts of Daniel Stendel, 12-months previous.
Not sure why someone would want to leave Gods own Country and head to the bright lights of New York though.
Unfortunately, for the beleaguered Reds faithful, it will always be that way, under the current owners, unless a group of fans win the lottery and buy out Billy Pitt and his Yanks.
The new gaffer at Oakwell, Poya Asbaghi, is managing with both hands tied and he undoubtedly will get fed up with MoneyBall Mayhem PLC and move on or be down the concrete.
Poya was previously, the Swedish Under-21 manager, who had Anthony Elanga in his team. The owners won’t change their philosophy so it may have to be either put up or revolt! Clint Marcelle, legend!
Manchester United got the home victory at Old Trafford back in December, inflicting the defeat on Burnley by a 3-1 score.
Surprisingly, all 4-goals were scored in the 1st-half, with Scott McTominay, a Ben Mee own and Cristiano Ronaldo giving United a lead, before Aaron Lennon pulled a goal back.
With no further goals, Ralph’s Roadsters got the points against Sean’s Clarets.
888 Sport offer Burnley at 19/4, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 8/15 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
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NORWICH v CRYSTAL PALACE
19.45 in England
Norwich have somehow got out of the relegation places, after 2-victories from the last 3-fixtures. The latest being a resounding win against fellow strugglers, Watford, by a 3-0 away-day scoreline.
After a goalless 1st-half, Joshua Sargent scored twice to put the Canaries firmly in control, before Watford scored an own goal to finish off the game.
Claudio Ranieri was then sacked from the Hornets managers position.
Josh is an American player, who came to Norfolk, via Werder Bremen in Germany, eventually scoring his 1st-goals for Norwich since his move to Carrow Rd, back in the summer.
Dean Smith’s Canary’s have 16-points and jump out of the bottom 3, into 17th-place, however, have played 22-games, 4-more than Burnley (3-after the Clarets rearranged fixture on Saturday), 2-more than Watford (1-after the Hornets rearranged fixture on Saturday) and 1-more than Newcastle.
As John Newsome always points out, it’s considered better to have the points on the board than games in hand, so Deano and the faithful will be much happier, than a couple of weeks back. There were no new signings for Norwich, in the recent Window.
Crystal Palace suffered a loss against Liverpool at Selhurst Park, last time out, with Patrick Vieira’s Eagles succumbing to a defeat by a 3-1 scoreline.
Odsonne Edouard pulled a goal back early in the 2nd-half after Liverpool had taken a 2-goal lead at the break.
Unfortunately, that Odsonne strike turned out to be just a consolation, with the away team adding a 3rd, late on to seal the victory.
Crystal Palace’s last 7-Premier League results have been, Loss, Draw, Loss, Win, Loss, Draw, Win. That was preceded by 3-straight Losses. It’s fair to say that the Eagles Ultras have mixed emotions when following Patrick’s Palace.
Crystal Palace sit 13th in the table, with 24-points from 22-fixtures played.
Patrick Vieira didn’t need to tweak his squad and kept out of the Transfer palaver, other than a couple of youth players.
At Selhurst Park just after the mince pies, Odsonne Edouard, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jeffrey Schlupp scored the Palace goals before the half-time whistle to give Patrick Vieira’s Eagles the victory over Dean Smith’s Canaries, by a 3-0 scoreline.
888 Sport offer Norwich at 47/20, the draw at 23/10 and 11/10 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 5/1 that Wilfried Zaha Scores First and 49/20 that Crystal Palace Score in Both Halves.
TOTTENHAM v SOUTHAMPTON
19.45 in England
Tottenham suffered another defeat against Chelsea before the Winter Break, the 4th in succession following the 1st-Premier League meeting in September and the 2-legs of the Semi-Final of the Carabao Cup.
In the latest fixture, Tottenham succumbed to the loss by a 2-0 score, meaning from the 4-games against Chelsea this term, the aggregate score is Chelsea 8 Tottenham 0.
No goals were scored in the 4-fixtures.
There’s a saying when someone constantly beats someone else, which is, ‘They have the wood over them.’ Thomas’s Blue Engines certainly have the wood over Antonio’s Spurs.
Tottenham drop to 7th in the table, with 36-points, from 20-fixtures, the same 36 as their North London rivals Arsenal but have played a game less.
Daniel Levy and Antonio Conte were very busy in the January Transfer Window on Deadline Day, bringing in Rodrigo Bentancur, costing around £16 Million and Dejan Kuluseveski, on loan. Both come into the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium, from Mr Conte’s old club, Juventus.
Surprisingly, Daniel Levy has allowed Dele Alli to leave for free, which the Spurs faithful will tell one, that’s very un-Levy-like.
Tanguy Ndombele, Brian Gil and Giovani Lo Celso, all join Dele, in leaving Tottenham for pastures new.
Southampton are one of only 4-teams to take any points off Man City this term, following the draw, against Pep’s Blues, at St Mary’s by a 1-1 score.
What’s added to that is, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints, haven’t lost against City, achieving 2-draws, this campaign, after the goalless tie at the Etihad back in September.
Kyle Walker-Peters scored a superb opener, early in the 1st-half, to give Southampton a lead at the break.
Man City did equalise midway through the 2nd-half but Wreck-It’s boys held on for a great point in the context of the season. Southampton sit 12th, with 25-points, from 22-games completed.
Although it’s too early to say, the Saints shouldn’t be dragged into a relegation battle and will be good for another campaign in the Top Flight next season.
Mr Hasenhuttl is happy with his lot and didn’t dally in the Transfer Window.
When this reverse fixture at St Mary’s took place in Game Week-20, back in December, Harry Kane scored just before the half-time whistle, to cancel out an earlier James Ward-Prowse strike.
With no further goals after the break, both teams shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
888 Sport offer Tottenham at Odds On 3/5, the draw at 59/29 and 41/10 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 6/1 that Steven Bergwijn Scores First and 8/5 that Armando Broja Scores Anytime.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Alisson- Liverpool
RIGHT-BACK- Kyle Walker-Peters- Southampton
CENTRE-BACK- Thiago Silva- Chelsea
CENTRE-BACK- Ben Mee- Burnley
LEFT-BACK- Lucas Digne- Aston Villa
MIDFIELDER- Emiliano Buendia- Aston Villa
MIDFIELDER- Joao Moutinho- Wolves
MIDFIELDER- Fabinho- Liverpool
MIDFIELDER- Jonjo Shelvey- Newcastle
FORWARD- Hakim Ziyech- Chelsea
FORWARD- Josh Sargent- Norwich
STAR MAN- Josh Sargent- Norwich
MAN CITY v BRENTFORD
19.45 in England
Man City failed to win for the first time in 12-Premier League fixtures against Southampton at St Mary’s, coming away with a point from a draw by a 1-1 score.
After conceding an early Saints goal, Aymeric Laporte equalised midway through the 2nd-half to spare Pep’a blushes and take a point back up the road.
The point gained, as it’s always a point gained, not 2-points dropped as some say, gives Man City 57, from the full complement of 23-fixtures on offer. That’s a massive 9-points more than Liverpool in 2nd and 10 ahead of 3rd-placed Chelsea.
To add to that, the Numpty Neighbours, Manchester United, who currently occupy the final Champions League position, have 38-points, 19-adrift of Pep’s High Flying Blues.
City have purchased Julian Alvarez from River Plate, for a fee of around £14 Million, however, Julian didn’t have to pack as the lad is staying in Argentina, at River Plate, until the end of the season.
Brentford have lost 6 of their last 7-Premier League fixtures and are in a bit of a slump at the moment. The latest loss was against Wolves last, time out, by a 2-1 score.
After a goalless 1st-half, Ivan Toney equalised an earlier Wolves strike, however, the away team then scored again, to inflict the defeat on Thomas’s Bees.
Brentford sit 14th in the table, with 23-points from the full 23-fixtures played. Whilst there’s no threat of a relegation battle just yet, Mr Frank needs to overturn the current spiral and get back to winning ways.
To help overturn the slump, Brentford have signed the ex-Tottenham and Inter Milan star Christian Eriksen and the ex-Huddersfield and Everton goalkeeper, Jonas Lossl.
Jonas has already played twice in between the sticks, against Wolves and Manchester United, conceding 5-goals up to now.
For those not familiar with Christian Eriksen’s story, back in June 2021, whilst playing for Denmark in Euro 2020, against Finland, Christian suffered a cardiac arrest.
Not only is Mr Eriksen lucky to be alive but the Danish Midfielder is also back playing football, having had an Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) fitted. An ICD is a sort of Pacemaker, to electronically regulate the heart.
Unfortunately, Italy’s Serie A, doesn’t allow this added extra, so Christian couldn’t continue at Inter. However, the Premier League have no such stipulations, so the San Siro’s loss is the Wellard Stadium’s gain.
Mr Eriksen is initially here for 6-months, to see how he fares, after the incident but if the lad can get anywhere near the form he showed at Tottenham and Inter, then Brentford have a real player on their books.
A quick side note about the ICD and playing football, the ex-Manchester United star and Netherlands player, Daley Blind has had one fitted for 2-years and continues to perform at a decent level for Ajax in the Eredivisie.
As a man who has had heart problems and has a Pacemaker fitted, John Newsome wishes Christian Eriksen well for the future. All the best Christian!
A single Phil Foden goal, scored in the 1st-half, was the difference between the two, back in December at the Wellard Stadium, giving Pep’s High Flying Blues the victory over Thomas’s Bees.
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ASTON VILLA v LEEDS UNITED
20.00 in England
Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa got the slim victory over Duncan Ferguson’s Everton
before the Winter Break, with Emiliano Buendia scoring the solitary winning goal in 3-minutes of 1st-half stoppage time.
The win on Merseyside, by a 1-0 scoreline, was the first in 4-Premier League fixtures, following 2-losses and a draw.
Aston Villa sit 11th, with 26-points from 21-fixtures played.
Leicester have the same 26, Southampton, have 25-points, Crystal Palace-24, Brentford-23 and Leeds United-22, yet all have played different amounts of games, so at the minute, the Premier League table isn’t on an even keel.
Aston Villa brought in Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne in the January Transfer Window deals done earlier on in the month, then Callum Chambers joined from Arsenal on Deadline Day, for 4-Bob and an egg.
With the signing of Lucas from Everton, Steven Gerrard has allowed the Left-Back and new-Polish star, Matt Targett, to leave, with Mr Tagettski heading North to St James Park and Newcastle, initially on loan.
Leeds United’s last 6-fixtures have resulted in 4-defeats and 2-wins.
Following a brilliant victory down at the London Stadium against West Ham, the Marching On Together crew, witnessed their White Idols succumb to a defeat at Elland Rd, against Newcastle, by a 1-0 score. Newcastle, of all teams!
The Magpies had only won 1-game all season, before the visit to West Yorkshire. Marcelo’s Boys must have felt sorry for them.
Leeds United remain in 15th-place, with 22-points, from 21-fixtures played. That’s 7-points above the drop-zone, coincidentally, Newcastle being in the final relegation place.
Mateo Fernandez comes into Elland Rd for an undisclosed fee, from Espanyol. Marching On Together.
The fixture in between Boxing Day and the New Year was postponed, meaning this is the first encounter this season.
Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues got the victory at Elland Rd, last season, by a 1-0 scoreline.
Anwar El-Ghazi with the solitary winning goal after 5-minutes of play, up in West Yorkshire.
888 Sport offer Aston Villa at slight Odds On 17/20, the draw at 53/20 and 14/5 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
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WOLVES v ARSENAL
19.45 in England
After a goalless 1st-half, Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves scored, either side of a Bees strike, to give Wolves the victory, by a 2-1 score, last time out, away against Brentford.
Over the last 5-fixtures, Wolves sit 2nd in the form table, with 4-victories and a draw, the same as Man City.
Over the previous 15-games, there’s only Pep’s Blues and Jurgen’s Reds that have achieved more points than Bruno’s Gold and Blacks.
The latest outing, produced the 4th-victory for Wolves, from the last 5-games, giving Bruno Lage’s men 34-points in total, from 21-fixtures completed, leaving Wolves in 8th-place, behind Tottenham (36-points), Arsenal (36), West Ham (37) and Manchester United (38).
West Ham have played 2-games more than Wolves, with Manchester United a game in front. Tottenham have played a game less.
Hayao Kawabe (Grasshoppers), Chiquinho (Estoril) and Jung Sang-Bin (Suwon Samsung Bluewings) all come into Molineux for undisclosed fees and all return back to their clubs, with Hwang Hee-Chan making his move from RB Leipzig, a permanent one.
One very notable departure from Wolves, which will be a big loss, is Adama Traore, who has headed back to his first love, Barcelona, again, initially on loan, with a view to a permanent deal. Why would anyone leave the Black Country for Catalunya?
Today’s opponents, Arsenal have completed the same 21-fixtures as Wolves and head to Molineux, off the back of a goalless draw, against Burnley before the Winter Break. Enough said!
After 5-straight victories in all competitions, Mikel’s Men have gone 5-fixtures without a win.
A draw and a loss over the 2-legged Carabao Cup Semi-Final against Liverpool, a humiliating defeat in the 3rd-Round of the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest and a draw and a loss in the previous 2-Premier League games, the loss being against Man City. This will be another tough ask against Bruno’s Lage Louts.
As mentioned, the Gunners sit 6th in the table, with 36-points from 21-fixtures played.
The North London rivals, Tottenham have the same 36 but have played a game less and Arsenal did have the advantage of not being having any European adventure earlier on in the campaign, with Spurs in the Europa Conference League.
That’s all changed now as Tottenham are out of that competition, so both don’t need their passports for the remainder of the campaign.
This is another first this season for the two, after the Game Week 20-fixture at the end of the year, was postponed due to Covid restrictions. There weren’t any significant signings that came into the Emirates but there were a few that left.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jumped on Adama’s plane over to Spain and also joins Barcelona, initially on loan, which gets Pierre-Emerick off the Gunners wage bill.
Sead Kolasinac has had his contract terminated and joins Marseille for free.
Callum Chambers heads to Villa Park to join up with Steven Gerrard’s new Claret and Blues dynasty and Ainsley Maitland-Niles had already left earlier in the month, joining Jose Mourinho at Roma.
Hopefully, Dracula won’t suck the life out of Ainsley as he’s done with other talented youngsters.
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.
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LIVERPOOL v LEICESTER
19.45 in England
What a great game to round off the midweek set of fixtures, with Brendan Rodgers, returning to Anfield to take on his successor, Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool got a great professional victory away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, last time out, inflicting a defeat on the Eagles by a 3-1 away-day score.
Virgil Van Dijk headed home an Andy Robertson corner kick, after 8-minutes, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain adding a 2nd on the half-hour mark, giving Liverpool a comfortable lead at the break.
Patrick’s Palace did pull a goal back but Fabinho converted a late penalty to give the away side the victory.
With Man City only managing a draw the day before, Liverpool, with 48-points, cut the gap at the top, to 9-points.
Jurgen’s Reds have only played 22-games, compared to Pep’s Blues 23, so the Anfield Rappers will still have hopes of another Premier League title win.
Whilst John Newsome still thinks it’s Man City’s to lose, the 9-points isn’t as big a gap as it possibly sounds.
If Liverpool win their game in hand, that cuts it down to 6, then have to travel to the Etihad in April, a surprise victory at City’s home (would it be a surprise?) would mean that Klipperties Klopp’s are just 3-adrift of Pep’s High Flying Blues. All for the future and all hypothetical but all acceptable scenarios.
Egypt won their Quarter-Final contest at the African Cup of Nations, inflicting a defeat on Morocco by a 2-1 scoreline.
Mo Salah scored the 1st, with the Aston Villa Striker, Trezeguet getting the winner.
Senegal, won their Quarter-Final too, getting a victory against Equatorial Guinea by a 3-1 score.
Egypt will now face Cameroon, in the Semi-Final, with Senegal up against Burkina Faso in the other.
What that means for Liverpool is both Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will at least stay in Cameroon for the time being and if both get to the Final on the 6th of February, it’s unlikely that the two will be available today. Unlikely but not impossible, given that this game takes place on the 10th.
The strange anomaly in this contest is because of all the postponements of games, Leicester have only played twice in the Premier League since the reverse fixture back in December and just 3-times in total with the addition of the 3rd-Round FA Cup tie against Watford.
Liverpool have played 6-times since, 3 in the Premier League, the 2-legged games against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final and the 3rd-Round FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury.
Jurgen Klopp has got the owners to splash some cash in the January Transfer Window, paying close to £40 Million for Luis Diaz, an influential Midfielder.
The Foxes last game ended in a draw by a 1-1 score against Brighton at the King Power. After a goalless 1st-half, Patson Daka scored to give the home side the lead.
Unfortunately for the Leicester faithful, Brighton did what Brighton do and scored a late equaliser, to give both teams a share of the points.
Brendan’s Wonderful’s sit 10th in the table, with 26-points from 20-fixtures played. No new signings at the King Power Stadium.
Lennon the Puppy was relieved when the Seagulls scored the equaliser, as he knew the Brighton shirt, with ‘Foster’ and ‘5’ on the back that Rod Stewart got from TOFFS, with a nod the headband wearing Defender from the 1970s and 80s, Steve Foster.
Rod’s beloved Green and White Hoops, played recently in the Hawaiian Pub Cup, getting a narrow victory over Alloa, (you’re welcome!) by a 2-1 score.
That was followed up with a victory in the Scottish Pub League against Hearts (who?) by the same 2-1 scoreline.
Sir Roderick, then got ready for the big one on Wednesday, the Old Firm Derby against the Glasgow rivals, Rangers.
Rangers were held to a draw on Saturday, with Ross County (who?) equalising in the 95th-minute to earn a point from a draw by a 3-3 score.
The Blue half of Glasgow sit at the summit of the Scottish Pub League, with 56-points, 2 more than the Green half, so Wednesdays Old Firm fixture will sort the men out from the Bhoys.
Lennon was happy, sat with Penny and Rod, who both had a glass of Pinot Grigio in hand, watching Michael Owen on the Masked Singer.
Whilst that sounds bizarre, the ex-Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United (and Stoke but Michael doesn’t like to mention that) was a singer on the horrendous ITV show, dressed as a Donut.
The Real Madrid fans knew it was Michael all along. Recognising the donut straight away.
One of Mr Owen’s ditties started the Puppy humming the tune, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.’ Woof Woof!
Ademola Lookman scored the only goal of the game at the King Power, just after Christmas, to give Brendan’s Wonderful’s the victory over Jurgen’s Reds by a 1-0 score.
Mo Salah had a 1st-half penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel to keep the score goalless at the break, before the introduction of Ademola in the 2nd-half, which resulted in the substitute scoring.
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