The highlight games for this week’s action are ARSENAL versus MAN CITY and MANCHESTER UNITED versus LEICESTER. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these and 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.
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Included in this Game Week-24 Preview is a rearranged Game Week-12 affair between Arsenal and Man City that takes place on Wednesday.
ARSENAL v MAN CITY
19.30 in England
Pep 1 v Pep 2.
Whilst this fixture won’t define where the Premier League Title is heading, it will go a long way on that journey.
These two haven’t met yet in the Premier League this term, however, did face each other a couple of weeks ago in the FA Cup, where Man City gained the victory over Arsenal by a 1-0 scoreline.
Nathan Ake with the solitary winning goal.
On Saturday at the Emirates a stinging set of Bees stung the Young Guns.
After a goalless 1st half, Brentford’s Ivan Toney scored to equalise an earlier Leandro Trossard goal for Arsenal to give both teams a share of the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Man City hammered Aston Villa on Sunday, with Pep’s High Flying Blues inflicting a defeat on Unai’s Claret and Blues by a 3-1 scoreline.
Probably the only surprise in that is the main man Erling Haaland didn’t score but gave a sublime assist to Ilkay Gundogan’s goal.
Rodri scored the opener with a superb header before Ilkay added a 2nd.
City were then awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time when Jack Grealish aka Tom Daley, let’s say politely manufactured a decision that the on-field referee Robert Jones had no option in awarding.
Nice one JG!
Riyad Mahrez converted the spot-kick to give City a healthy lead at the break.
Erling was taken off at half-time as a precaution with so many important fixtures coming up.
Aston Villa scored a consolation goal in the 2nd-half, however, Man City hung on for the victory that puts Pep’s Blues just 3 points adrift of tonight’s opponents.
If City can gain a victory at the Emirates, then on Thursday morning it will be Man City at the summit of the Premier League, albeit on goal difference but that will definitely irk the Gooners whose idols had an 8-point lead a couple of weeks ago.
Granted, Arsenal do have a game in hand on Man City but as regular readers of this superb column know, it’s considered better to have the points on the board than games in hand.
This should definitely be worth setting up an Amazon Prime account and at worse, apart from watching a potentially great game, one gets free delivery on a packet of Gillette Sensor Blades.
Betfred offer Arsenal at 9/5, the draw at 5/2 and 7/5 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 9/2 that Erling Haaland Scores Two Plus Goals and 23/10 that Man City Score in Both Halves.
All these set of fixtures are the reverse of Game Week-5 which took place at the end of August 2022.
ASTON VILLA v ARSENAL
12.30 in England
The Unai Emery Derby.
Unai’s Aston Villa come up against Unai’s old club where it’s fair to say that the Spaniard endured a difficult time at the Emirates.
That said, anyone that was going to follow Arsene Wenger in the Gunner’s hot seat was always going to struggle.
Aston Villa succumbed to a defeat against Man City on Sunday by a 3-1 scoreline.
In truth, the scoreline was irrelevant as City were simply better.
After trailing by 3 goals to nil at the break, Ollie Watkins scored a consolation goal midway through the 2nd-half but ultimately it was a defeat for Unai’s boys that simply needs to be put to bed and focus the mind on this visit of Arsenal.
Aston Villa sit in 11th place with 28 points from 22 fixtures completed.
This is a quick turnaround for Mikel’s Young Guns who come into this early Saturday afternoon fixture against Aston Villa off the back of finishing the game against Man City some 63 hours earlier on Wednesday night.
Following the weekend’s fixtures and the game against Man City, it’s quite conceivable that Pep 1 (Mr Guardiola) could be above Pep 2 (Mr Arteta) at the summit of the Premier League, albeit with the same 51 points tally but a slightly superior goal difference.
At the Emirates back at the end of August, goals from 2 of the 3 Angels, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli gave Arsenal the victory over Villa by a 2-1 scoreline.
Douglas Luiz had equalised for the away team a couple of minutes before Mr Martinelli’s eventual winner.
Steven Gerrard was in charge of Aston Villa at the time, now it’s Mr Emery up against his old club.
Betfred offer Aston Villa at 4/1, the draw at 11/4 and slight Odds On 7/10 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Ollie Watkins Scores Anytime and 23/10 that Martin Odegaard Scores Anytime.
BRENTFORD v CRYSTAL PALACE
15.00 in England
Brentford stung Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, with Ivan Toney scoring to cancel out an earlier Leandro Trossard goal.
Brentford are one of the form teams at the moment amassing 11 points from the last 5 fixtures, the same as Brighton.
Thomas’s Bees sit in 8th place with 34 points from 22 games completed.
Crystal Palace gained a point from a draw by a 1-1 score, against Brighton on Saturday, as predicted in this EveryTip column last week.
In truth, it was possibly the easiest prediction to make in the history of football as that is now the 3rd 1-1 draw in succession and the 5th out of the last 7 games between the Eagles and the Seagulls.
Patrick’s Palace did have the Brighton goalkeeper, Robert Sanchez to thank for James Tomkins equaliser when Robert went to catch a cross and dropped the ball for James to simply head into an empty net.
Brighton had scored 6 minutes earlier.
As mentioned last week, Crystal Palace haven’t achieved a victory since New Year’s Eve and have a record of 3 draws and 3 losses in the 6 Premier League fixtures this year.
That’s on top of being knocked out of the FA Cup by Southampton (Southampton!) Mr Vieira must be scratching his head at that one.
Crystal Palace sit in 12th place with 25 points from 22 played.
Wilfried Zaha and Yoane Wissa scored a goal apiece for Crystal Palace and Brentford back in August 2022, to give both teams a share of the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Both goals were scored after the half-time cup of tea.
Betfred offer Brentford at slight Odds On 10/11, the draw at 12/5 and 16/5 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 4/1 that Ivan Toney Scores First and Odds On 4/6 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
BRIGHTON v FULHAM
15.00 in England
As mentioned in the Brentford v Crystal Palace preview, the Seagulls gained a point against the Eagles on Saturday, from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Solly March scored for Brighton just after the hour mark, however, a horrendous error by Robert Sanchez gifted Crystal Palace an equaliser 6 minutes after Solomon’s opener.
In contrast to Crystal Palace who haven’t gained a victory in 2023, Brighton haven’t suffered a defeat so up to now, this is definitely the Year of the Seagull.
In the 5 Premier League games since the loss against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve, Roberto De Zerbi’s Blue and Whites have 3 wins and 2 draws on the record.
Added to those is a progression in the FA Cup following victories over Middlesbrough and Liverpool.
A brilliant start to life at the Amex for RDZ.
Brighton sit in 6th place in the Premier League table, with the same 35 points as Fulham, however, have only played 21 times.
Considering that Tottenham, in 5th, have 4 points more but have completed 23 games, there’s no reason to think that Brighton could jump above Antonio’s Spurs over the coming weeks.
There is also a meeting between Tottenham and Brighton at the beginning of April.
The Seagull faithful may just need to renew their Passports for next season as there could be a few trips over the water, nicking chips off the folk on foreign ground.
Fulham continued their fine run of form also at the weekend, gaining a victory against Nottingham Forest by a 2-0 scoreline.
It was mentioned a couple of weeks ago in this column that the ex-Chelsea and Arsenal player, Willian has somewhat gone under the radar.
The Brazilian is still a class act and the performances put in are one of the reasons Fulham are looking good.
Will-I-An scored the opener against Forest to give the Cottagers a lead at the break.
The excellently named Manor Solomon added a 2nd late on after coming on as a replacement for Willian, midway through the 2nd-half.
Fulham sit in 7th place with the same 35 points as today’s hosts but have played 2 games more, completing 23, not the 21 that the Seagulls have.
To the Manor Born.
At Craven Cottage in the Game Week-5 affair, Fulham got the home victory over Brighton by a 2-1 scoreline.
After a goalless 1st-half, Aleksandar Mitrovic scored to give the Cottagers the lead.
Lewis Dunk was then credited with an own goal before Alexis Mac Allister pulled a goal back for the Seagulls.
Unfortunately for the future World Cup Winner, the goal proved to be just a consolation.
Betfred offer Brighton at Odds On 7/10, the draw at 3/1 and 18/5 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Alexis Mac Allister Scores Anytime and 23/10 that Aleksandar Mitrovic Scores Anytime.
CHELSEA v SOUTHAMPTON
15.00 in England
Chelsea gained a point against West Ham at the London Stadium in the early Saturday afternoon kickoff.
A goal by Joao Felix after 16 minutes, should have given the Blues the momentum to push on, however, the Hammers equalised on the half-hour mark, with a goal by the ex-Chelsea player Emerson.
With over an hour left, it was assumed that there would be more goals but neither could add a 2nd so both teams shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score, as predicted in this EveryTip column last week.
There was an incident late on that defies logic and adds fuel to the fire that the dreaded VAR are imbeciles.
Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher had a shot late on that Tomas Soucek dove to his left and made a brilliant save that denied the Blues a winning goal.
Most reading that will think,
‘What’s VAR got to do with that?’
Well, Tomas isn’t the West Ham goalkeeper and shouldn’t have touched the ball with his hand.
The on-field referee, Craig Pawson just waved play-on and with no interference from the Stockley Park brigade, the away team were denied the chance to gain all 3 points.
The Blues sit in 9th place with 31 points from 22 fixtures played.
Chelsea face Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, before this visit from Southampton.
As Bananarama once warbled,
‘Nathan Jones, he’s been gone too long!’
Well Nathan is gone and whether it’s too long is for the future but following Saturday’s defeat against Wolves at St Mary’s, the writing was on the wall for Mr Jones.
There had been a review into Nathan’s position as Southampton Manager and when Carlos Jonas Alcaraz scored midway through the 1st-half against Wolves on Saturday, the Manager’s position seemed safe for the time being.
That should have been cemented when 3 minutes after Carlos’s goal, the opposition were reduced to 10 men.
So the Saints were a goal in front and had a man extra for the next hour, surely that should produce a victory?
Not so as Wolves scored 2 goals after the break to inflict the defeat on Southampton by a 2-1 scoreline.
Nathan actually said that ‘Wolves being reduced to 10 men was a detriment!’
Nathan Jones was then gone too-morrow!
The Saints hierarchy sacked young NJ and booked an Uber for the Welsh lad to take him to the Job Centre.
The 7th shortest spell as a Premier League Manager.
Some of the comments that followed the sacking were probably on the mark.
‘Nathan Jones has taken Southampton backwards!’
There’s no one in the reckoning at the moment for the position, however, the Usual Suspects are being banded about,
Surprisingly, Jesse Marsch is the Odds On 1/4 favourite with Betfred to get the job.
Steven Gerrard and the ex-Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino are up there too.
Yes, that might surprise a few but Mauricio was at St Mary’s before the job at Tottenham.
Big Sam Allardyce (bless him) is being touted too.
For the time being, it’s a Caretaker that will oversee this fixture against Chelsea.
The 3 Girls from Banarama are not happy though and are now hoping that Robert De Niro is waiting, talking Italian to the Saints hierarchy about the vacant position
Nathan Jones, he will be gone too long!
A pre-Graham Potter-inspired Chelsea gave an uninspired performance against a pre-Nathan Jones-inspired Southampton back in August, with Wreck-It Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints gaining a victory over Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines by a 2-1 scoreline.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Chelsea before Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong scored for Southampton, all before the half-time whistle, to give the home team the win.
Ralph and Thomas then shared an Uber to the Job Centre, both speaking defamatory German language against their respective hierarchy.
Betfred offer Chelsea at Odds On 4/11, the draw at 18/5 and 8/1 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/1 that Mykhailo Mudryk Scores First and Evens 1/1 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
EVERTON v LEEDS UNITED
15.00 in England
Everton’s revolution under Sean Dyche ended abruptly on Monday, with the Toffees succumbing to a defeat against Liverpool by a 2-0 scoreline.
There was a bit of argy-bargy and handbags between Sean and Jurgen before the game but in truth, Liverpool were the better team on the night.
Goals from Mo Salah and finally a first by Coady Gakpo gave the Reds the points.
Everton remain in the relegation places, sitting in 18th place, with the same 18 points as Bournemouth from 22 played.
‘Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again, Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again.’
Leeds United held out for 80 minutes on Sunday against Manchester United at Elland Rd but then conceded 2 goals to ultimately suffer a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline.
That was off the back of a brilliant performance at Old Trafford last Wednesday where the Whites gained a valuable point.
In truth, Leeds are a decent side and have some quality players but lack any killer instinct up front.
Patrick Bamford is a shell of his former self and with Rodrigo injured, it’s scoring goals that are the problem at the moment.
Wilfried Gnonto is going to be a superstar and cost a mere £3 Million but is probably worth 10 times that amount now.
There’s no news of a new Manager with those that are being targeted, such as Androni Iraola or Arne Slot, appearing to distance themselves from a nice 3 Bedroom terrace house in Beeston.
The ex-Ajax Manager, Alfred Schreuder, who replaced Erik Ten Hag last year, is now the Odds On favourite but as yet there isn’t any person in the position so the Caretaker Boss, Michael Skubala could still be in the hot seat on Saturday.
Alfred was sacked by Ajax in January after a string of poor results, which should please the Marching On Together crew.
The White faithful were in fine form at Elland Rd on Sunday singing and dancing like a great set of West Yorkshire puddings but ultimately it was another defeat that leaves Leeds United just above the drop zone with 19 points from 22 games completed.
A goal apiece from Anthony Gordon and Luis Sinisterra both scored at the beginning of each half earned Everton and Leeds United a point each from a draw by a 1-1 score, in the encounter at Elland Rd back in August 2022.
Like 7 of the 20 Managers that started the 2022/23 campaign, both of the gaffers in charge of these two in August, Frank Lampard and Jesse Marsch are now down the concrete after being relieved of their duties as the media like to say.
Sacked for being useless is another term that one could use.
There are 8 different Managers in charge of these weekend fixtures that weren’t around back in August, however, Brighton’s new man Roberto De Zerbi arrived at the Amex due to Graham Potter leaving on his own terms and not being dismissed, hence only 7 sackings.
Steven Gerrard, Thomas Tuchel, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Frank Lampard, Jesse Marsch, Bruno Lage and Scott Parker are all claiming benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Added to that bunch is now Nathan Jones who didn’t start the season at Southampton and won’t be finishing it either.
Betfred offer Everton at 7/5, the draw at 23/10 and 2/1 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/1 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 5/2 that there are Under 1.5 Goals
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- David De Gea-Manchester United
RIGHT-BACK- Kenny Tete- Fulham
CENTRE-BACK- Luke Shaw- Manchester United
CENTRE-BACK- Harry Souttar- Leicester
LEFT-BACK- Emerson- West Ham
MIDFIELDER- James Maddison- Leicester
MIDFIELDER- Harvey Barnes- Leicester
MIDFIELDER- Alejandro Garnacho- Manchester United
FORWARD- Willian- Fulham
FORWARD- Kelechi Iheanacho- Leicester
FORWARD- Marcus Rashford- Manchester United
STAR MAN- James Maddison- Leicester
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v MAN CITY
15.00 in England
Nottingham Forest suffered a defeat against Fulham on Saturday by a 2-0 away day scoreline.
After conceding a goal in both halves, Steve Cooper’s Tricky Trees succumbed to the loss at Craven Cottage that leaves Forest in 14th place with 24 points from 22 fixtures played.
Man City face Arsenal on Wednesday before this trip to the City Ground and could quite possibly be at the Top of the Premier League table before the Game Week-24 set of fixtures start.
At the Etihad, a 1st-half hat-trick from Erling Haarland, plus 2nd-half goals from Julian Alvarez (2) and Joao Cancelo gave Man City the victory over Nottingham Forest by a 6-0 scoreline.
Betfred offer Nottingham Forest at 9/1, the draw at 9/2 and Odds On 2/7 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/1 that Erling Haaland Scores a Hat-Trick and that Man City Win To Nil.
WOLVES v BOURNEMOUTH
15.00 in England
Despite having Mario Lemina sent off in the 27th minute following 2 Yellow Cards, Wolves were a class above Southampton who had taken the lead just before the Red.
An own goal by Jan Bednarek midway through the 2nd-half and a late strike from Joao Gomes gave Julen Lopetegui’s Gold and Blacks the victory over Nathan Jones’ Saints by a 2-1 away day scoreline.
That leaves Wolves in 15th place with 23 points from 22 games completed.
A great turnaround from Julen who should keep the Molineux outfit in the Premier League.
Bournemouth gained a point against Newcastle at the Amex on Saturday evening and in truth were unlucky not to get the victory.
Marcos Senesi scored after half an hour of play to give the Cherries a lead, however, on the stroke of half-time, when most had gone for a pie, Newcastle equalised.
With no further goals, Bournemouth got a point leaving Gary O’Neil’s men in 19th position with 18 points from 22 games played.
This was Gary O’Neil’s first game in charge as the Caretaker Manager of Bournemouth when the Cherries hosted Bruno Lage’s Gold and Blacks in the Game Week-5 affair at the Vitality, following Scott Parker’s departure after the disastrous defeat against Liverpool by a 9(Nine)-0 score.
The scorer wasn’t needed in Gary’s opener with both sharing the points from a draw by a 0-0 score.
Or as some might say, a goalless draw.
Bruno didn’t last much longer at Molineux.
Betfred offer Wolves at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 11/4 and 9/2 for Bournemouth to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/5 that Ruben Neves Scores Anytime and 6/4 that Wolves Win To Nil.
NEWCASTLE v LIVERPOOL
17.30 in England
Newcastle gained another point in the late Saturday afternoon affair against Bournemouth at the Vitality.
Miguel Almiron equalised an earlier Cherries goal on the stroke of half-time to take both teams in level at the break.
With no further goals in the 2nd-half, Eddie Howe’s Magpies earned a point against Eddie’s old boys.
That’s the 5th draw out of the last 6 Premier League games, with 3 of those games being goalless and the other 2 ending in a 1-1 scoreline.
So it’s clear to see that although Newcastle don’t concede many, at the minute, Newcastle don’t score many either.
Which does need addressing.
The Magpies are now in 4th place with 41 points from 22 fixtures completed.
Liverpool got back on track on Monday Night Football gaining a victory over the Blue side of the City, Everton by a 2-0 scoreline.
Mo Salah eventually found the back of the net after 5 dry games without notching.
Then Coady Gakpo finally broke his Liverpool duck scoring the 2nd just after the restart.
Stefan Bajcetic is only 18 (18!) and is going to be a real player for Liverpool.
That’s the future and most who read this column know what the current problem is with the Reds.
Time waits for no man and however good a player is, the older one gets eventually takes its toll.
Liverpool need to rebuild in the Summer and bring a few more youths in.
Jurgen’s Reds sit in 9th place with 32 points from 21 outings.
Long way to go yet but a Top Four finish is too much of an ask so Liverpool will need to win the Champions League this season to gain access to the competition next term.
Although Everton had seen a bit of a revival under Sean Dyche, something irked Jurgen Klopp before the game that resulted in Klipperty chasing the Gingerbread Man down the Anfield tunnel.
Football eh, bloody el!
This reverse fixture at Anfield was the only time that Newcastle have suffered a defeat this season.
Added to that, it’s fair to say the victory for Liverpool by a 2-1 scoreline, was more down to the officials than tactical success.
Following Alexander Isak’s opener before the break, which was cancelled out by a Roberto Firmino goal soon after the restart, the on-field referee Andre Marriner appeared to want to play on until Liverpool scored the winner, which inevitably came in the 98th minute (98th!) when Fabio Carvalho notched to knock the stuffing out of the Magpies.
Betfred offer Newcastle at 13/10, the draw at 5/2 and 2/1 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/1 that Callum Wilson Scores First and Evens 1/1 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
MANCHESTER UNITED v LEICESTER
14.00 in England
Manchester United are now firmly in a title race after gaining a victory on Sunday against Leeds United at Elland Rd.
After 80 minutes, the home team had prevented any real chances for United and it appeared that another draw was on the cards following last Wednesday’s stalemate between the two at Old Trafford.
However, that man Marcus Rashford came up with the goods, heading home a great cross from Luke Shaw.
Alejandro Garnacho, who was a 2nd-half substitute introduced by Erik Ten Hag on the hour mark, added a 2nd, 5 minutes after Marcus’s goal to give Manchester United the victory over Leeds United by a 2-0 scoreline.
That did temporarily lift United into 2nd place, however, following Man City’s victory a couple of hours later, Erik’s Red Devils are sitting in 3rd place with 46 points from 23 games played.
Arsenal have 51 and Man City have 48 but both face each other on Wednesday so in reality, the Red side of Manchester will either be 8 points adrift of the leaders if Arsenal win, 5 points adrift if City win, or 6 points adrift of it’s a draw at the Emirates.
The title race is now between 3 teams, with Newcastle, Tottenham and the rest fighting for 4th spot.
Erik gave a rare start to Harry Maguire probably saving Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez for the fixture on Thursday against Barcelona in the Europa League.
Luke Shaw played at the side of Harry but the team didn’t look right and although Mr Maguire is a Manchester United player, the question is, for how much longer?
Erik sent Lisandro on in place of the Left Back Tyrell Malacia, pushing Luke out to the left, which completely changed the dynamic of the game and allowed Mr Shaw to provide the cross for Marcus Rashford’s goal.
A friend of John’s, the ex-Serg (surprisingly not throwing sticks for the dog) commented that Fred had a decent defensive game.
This EveryTip contributor doesn’t necessarily agree with that and thinks that the Brazilian Midfielder runs around like a headless chicken which at times will appear that the lad is having a good game but if analysed, it’s Fred that causes the problems which he then somehow recovers the situation making it look like he’s having a good game.
Manchester United are a completely different team without Casemiro and Christian Eriksen.
The Carabao Cup is fast approaching and luckily Casemiro will be available, however, Christian won’t be, so it’s more than likely that Fred will start, which then, unfortunately, offers up this column’s mantra, that United won’t win anything with Fred.
John Newsome hopes for the sake of all Manchester United fans that he is proved wrong, however, on evidence from the last few performances with Fred in the starting lineup, it could throw up a Newcastle victory.
Watch this space!
Sometimes we ride around like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape.
The legend that is Burt Bacharach, sadly passed away last week.
If one’s not familiar with the great man, think of a song that one likes and most probably, BB wrote it.
Do you know the way to San Jose?
I Say A Little Prayer.
What Do You Get When You Fall In Love?
Close To You.
Plus countless more.
As it was Valentines Day on Tuesday, John Newsome wants to share the experience of the lovers’ day.
Now John is single and has never been married and one could say is rubbish with the opposition, like Darts.
However, one was not wanting to miss out on the mid-February occasion and booked a table for 8.00 PM.
On collecting the Young Lady, it was a surprise to learn she couldn’t play or for that matter, liked Snooker.
How was JB supposed to know?
Still, one lives and learns.
Leicester gained the result of the weekend, hammering Tottenham at the King Power Stadium by a 4-1 scoreline.
After Spurs scored early to take the lead, the Foxes Faithful must have feared the worst, however, goals from Nampalys Mendy, James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes gave Brendan’s Wonderfuls the victory.
Leicester sit in 13th place with the same 24 points as Nottingham Forest from 22 games completed.
A single Jadon Sancho goal midway through the 1st-half gave Manchester United the victory over Leicester at the King Power by a 1-0 away day scoreline.
Betfred offer Manchester United at Odds On 8/15, the draw at 7/2 and 9/2 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 4/1 that Marcus Rashford Scores First and 7/4 that Manchester United Win To Nil.
TOTTENHAM v WEST HAM
16.30 in England
After gaining a great victory over Man City, Tottenham then headed to the King Power Stadium and suffered a humiliating defeat against Leicester by a 4-1 scoreline.
Rodrigo Bentancur scored the opener after 14 minutes which should have given Spurs the momentum to push on, however, Leicester then scored 4 to inflict the devastating defeat.
Tottenham remain in 5th place with 39 points but have played 23 times.
Brighton are in 6th, with 35 points but have only completed 21 games.
Whilst it’s always considered better to have the points on the board than games in hand, Antonio Conte just needs to keep an eye on that situation.
Tottenham face AC Milan in the last-16 knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday, hoping for a Valentines Day victory at the San Siro.
West Ham gained a great point against Chelsea at the London Stadium on Saturday.
In the early afternoon kick-off, the ex-Blues player Emerson, scored after half an hour, to equalise an earlier Chelsea notch.
With no further goals in the hour that remained, both shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
There was a controversial incident when Tomas Soucek appeared to save a Conor Gallagher shot.
It was a superb save, however, Tomas isn’t the Hammers goalkeeper so a penalty should have been awarded.
For some reason the on-field referee Craig Pawson didn’t give a spot kick which is fair enough, however, the dreaded VAR didn’t get involved either when they should have.
Arsene Moyes did state afterwards that ‘he didn’t see the incident!’
Nice one David!
The point gained leaves West Ham in 16th place with 20 from 22 played.
Both shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score back in August.
A Thilo Kehrer own goal gave Tottenham the lead at the interval, which Tomas Soucek cancelled out soon after the restart.
Betfred offer Tottenham at slight Odds On 4/5, the draw at 11/4 and 10/3 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 3/1, that Harry Kane Scores First and 8/5 that Tottenham Score in Both Halves.
Saturday 31st January 1998
CHELSEA v BARNSLEY
15.00 in England
Chelsea became the 2nd of 6 teams to do the Double over Barnsley in the Premier League season.
After a victory against Crystal Palace last time out in the Promised Land, the Super Reds headed to Stamford Bridge with renewed vigour and were ready to overturn the defeat that was inflicted by the Blues at Oakwell back in August 1997.
The Red and White Army were up early for the trip to the Smoke and this time a different route was taken that wasn’t on the official coaches or the train.
It was a car ride down to a little place North of London called Stanmore.
John Newsome didn’t want to drive so found a Designated Driver, which although the job is the same nowadays, the phrase wasn’t used to label the soft lad who didn’t want to drink.
A work colleague at the time wanted to be part of the Cool Group (one thought that’s what one was at the time, however, it’s now been discovered, no coolness was ever on offer), so the lad, let’s just call him Barnsley Ben, was informed that if he wanted to be part of the gang, then his car and driving skills were needed for the Chelsea outing.
Barnsley Ben was all too keen to oblige but stated that he wasn’t really confident about driving through London.
John had attended the 1994 FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Chelsea and on that occasion, the Minibus stopped at Stanmore and the lads, (a bit like the chocolate bar Yorkie, it wasn’t for girls-different times!) had a few liveners in the local pub then caught a Tube into London.
So that was the plan for the day out to Stamford Bridge.
Armed with the Tuna and Sweetcorn sandwiches and the bottle of Coca-Cola (Mr Smirnoff was in attendance!) the Barnsley Boys headed South in the Renault 5 (great little car) and parked up at Stanmore.
One has to bear in mind that these were in the days when there weren’t any Smartphones, no Google or Google Maps, it was all done haphazardly,
Eventually, the Red and White Army found Stamford Bridge which was pre-the Roman Abramovich era and held around 35,000 fans.
John Newsome, Barnsley Ben and a couple more that had jumped into the Renault were part of the almost 35,000 in attendance on the last day of January 1998, hoping to see the Super Reds gain a much-needed victory against a set of Blues that had scored 6 at Oakwell back in August 1997.
The Chelsea Manager, Ruud Gullit started the following on a cold late January afternoon.
Ed De Goey, Laurent Charvet, Steve Clarke, Graeme Le Saux, Frank Leboeuf, Dan Petrescu, Michael Duberry, Eddie Newton, Dennis Wise, Mark Hughes and Gianluca Vialli.
Mark Nicholls for Eddie Newton 46th Minute
Frank Sinclair for Dennis Wise 80th Minute
Danny Wilson sent out the following legends,
David Watson, Nicky Eaden, Darren Barnard, Arjan De Zeeuw, Adie Moses, Jovo Bosancic, Martin Bullock, Neil Redfearn, Darren Sheridan, Jan Age Fjortoft and Ashley Ward.
Chris Morgan for Darren Sheridan 59th Minute
John Hendrie for Jan Age Fjortoft 67th Minute
Andy Liddell for Jovo Bosancic 80th Minute
The legend that is Gianluca Vialli scored the opener midway through the 1st-half with Mark Hughes adding a 2nd just after the restart to gain the victory and the Home and Away Double over Barnsley by a 2-0 scoreline.
Gianluca scored 11 goals in total throughout the 1997/98 campaign and remarkably (not for the Red and White Army!) 5 of those 11 were against Barnsley in the 2 games, following the 4 coming in the fixture at Oakwell.
The boys and girls trudged out of the Bridge and found solace in a local boozer.
As mentioned in previous columns, it’s always a bit nervy travelling to away Grounds especially the ones in London and the Chelsea faithful do have a reputation for being a bit naughty.
In truth, the fans were solid and one actually thinks that the Blues faithful felt sorry for the Northerners that had made the long journey South.
After a few pints, Barnsley Ben was getting bored of drinking Lemonade so asked politely if one could head back to Stanmore and the Renault 5 for the trip back home.
The usual Saturday night dilemma once again came to the fore.
Was it straight home to watch Match Of The Day and see Barnsley lose (again!) or a night in Japanese Whispers?
It wasn’t really a choice, no one wanted to see Gianluca and Sparky score against the Reds again, so it was a slow dance with the opposition, (whispering in the ear of the dance partner ‘Barnsley lost again’) and telling stories of the legends day out to the smoke, with Barnsley Ben, who was crying in the corner because he’d lost the keys to the Renault.
After waking up with remnants of a Kay Bab stuck to the face, it was another Sunday with the new Youth, who was now 6 months old, surely old enough to go to the pub?
Apparently not, so it was a day in the park, then Sunday lunch at Joan and Malcs.
Did a lovely Sunday dinner did old Malcolm.
Following the victory against Barnsley, Chelsea were knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal and Ruud Gullit was sacked by the legendary Blues Chairman, Ken Bates.
That wasn’t because of the loss against Arsenal as Chelsea were flying in the Premier League, sitting in 2nd place behind Manchester United and were still in the European Cup Winners Cup.
It was more to do with a disagreement between Ruud and Ken and the owner always wins in those situations.
Mr Bates decided to put Barnsley’s Nemesis, Gianluca Vialli in charge as the Player-Manager.
Under Gianluca, Chelsea went on to finish 4th in the Premier League, win the League Cup (named the Coca-Cola Cup which is the equivalent of today’s Carabao Cup) and achieved success in Europe as eventual winners of the Cup Winners Cup (which is now under the banner of the UEFA League).
Rest In Peace Gianluca Vialli.
Game 24 of the 38 in the Promised Land produced the 15th defeat for the (not so) Super Reds with 6 victories and 3 draws out of the other 9.
If one looks at the table below, there aren’t many points (6) separating the bottom 6 teams, however, Barnsley had conceded twice as many goals as all the others. 39 in total.
Which told a story in itself.
Between the victory against Crystal Palace in Game Week-23 and the defeat against Chelsea, Barnsley had played in the 4th Round of the FA Cup against Tottenham.
In the initial game that took place at the old White Hart Lane, goals by Sol Campbell and Neil Redfearn meant the tie was drawn by a 1-1 scoreline and set up a replay back at Oakwell, that took place before the Game Week-25 affair, so more on that next week.
This is a separate story regarding an FA Cup tie that is coming up to a 15th anniversary.
On February 16th, 2008, 6,000 of the Red and White Army ventured over the M62 to Anfield to face the Mighty Liverpool.
The Big Ex-Serg was collected just off Junction 17 of the Motorway, which saw the Ford Mondeo, with John Newsome as the DD, the Youth who was now 10 and surprisingly the Youths Step Dad, Quiet Richard.
That isn’t one of those ironic names when someone is called Quiet because they never shut up, Richard is literally quiet and doesn’t communicate much.
The Big Lad, Youth, QR and JB had a couple of pints in a pub close to Anfield and then went into the iconic Stadium in trepidation of the event ahead.
The loveable OzScot who was just a Scot at the time was in attendance as well as Widster and CSI Jonny but travelled to the game in a different carriage.
Liverpool at the time were sitting in 5th place in the Premier League table and Barnsley were hovering in the lower half of the Championship table.
John Newsome had visited Anfield on 2 previous occasions, which have both been documented in this column and had yet to see Barnsley experience a defeat against Liverpool.
Could this happen for a 3rd time?
Liverpool’s team that day, sent out by Rafa Benitez,
Charles Itanje, Steve Finnan, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise, Jamie Carragher, Lucas Leiva, Yossi Benayoun, Xabi Alonso, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and Peter Crouch.
Harry Kewell for Ryan Babel 69th Minute
Steven Gerrard for Peter Crouch 75th Minute
The Barnsley team sent out by Simon Davey,
Luke Steele, Dennis Souza, Steven Foster, Bobby Hassell, Rob Kozluk, Anderson Silva, Martin Devaney, Brian Howard, Diego Leon Ayarza, Istvan Ferenczi and Daniel Nardiello.
Kayode Odejayi for Daniel Nardiello 55th Minute
Marciano Van Homoet for Rob Kozluk 60th Minute
Jamal Campbell-Ryce for Diego Leon Ayarza 71st Minute
Dirk Kuyt scored for Liverpool after half an hour that gave the hosts a lead at the break.
The Barnsley Goalkeeper, Luke Steele had only just arrived at Oakwell, being brought in from West Brom as an emergency replacement for Heinz Muller who had suffered an injury.
Barnsley did have the ex-Liverpool reserve ‘keeper Tony Warner as a back-up to Heinz but Tony, who was on loan from Fulham, had played in the 3rd Round for the Cottagers so was ineligible to play against his home town heroes.
The lad must have been cursing the run out against Bristol Rovers that not only prevented Tony from playing against Liverpool but saw Fulham suffer a penalty shootout defeat against Rovers, with Mr Warner conceding all 5 penalties.
Luke Steele turned out to be a hero on the day thwarting the Reds time after time with a string of brilliant saves.
Having Luke performing so well, gave Barnsley confidence that eventually paid off when Steven Foster equalised on the hour mark.
If one peruses the Liverpool starting lineup, there’s no Stevie G, however, the legend did come on in the 75th minute.
When Stevie G was introduced with 15 minutes to go, the Red and White Army feared the worst and thought that their idols would be knocked out of the Cup.
In the 90th minute and with time running out, John Newsome took a photo of the Anfield Scoreboard that read Liverpool 1 Barnsley 1 89 Minutes.
That was with an old-fashioned camera, not the Smartphone.
It was assumed that Barnsley were going to hold on for a famous draw and bring Liverpool back to Oakwell for a replay, so the photo would be a great memento of the day.
With time running out and the travelling fans wanting to hear the final whistle, Brian Howard was bungled over by Sami Hyypia in the penalty area in front of the legendary Kop.
There was no chance of a penalty, despite protestations from everyone that wasn’t connected with the Anfield Rappers and the on-field referee Martin Atkinson (who is a Yorkshireman) waved play on.
Brian was apoplectic and although wanted to chase Martin for a reason, quickly got back into game mode, received the ball and shot at the goal from just outside the area.
Who needs a penalty, Brian Howard, named after the legend that is Brian Howard Clough, had scored the winner, at the Kop End, against Liverpool.
The Scoreboard changed to Liverpool 1 Barnsley 2 with another photo taken to give this EveryTip contributor an even better memento of the occasion.
There were around 43,000 at Anfield that day but the travelling 6,000 from along the M62 were the happier ones.
The following was written by a disgruntled Liverpool fan and taken from Anfield Online.
‘For a bunch of players representing English football’s most successful club side and pocketing Tens of Thousands of pounds a week for the privilege, to be knocked out of the FA Cup at home to a group of players who in theory shouldn’t be worthy of lacing their boots is more than humiliation.
Liverpool’s under-performing players are now putting in such guile-less performances that the crest ought to be removed from some of their shirts.
Dirk Kuyt may have celebrated his opening goal with aplomb but the fact is that it is too little, too late and the Dutchman certainly does not deserve to wear the red of Liverpool.
Barnsley were full of passion and determination but so were Luton and so were Havant.
(The two teams Liverpool had faded in Rounds 3 and 4!)
Is it too much to ask that Liverpool play with a bit of passion and determination too?
The reds Reds were caught by the sucker punch winner in stoppage time but it really should never have come to that.
Liverpool had their chances but despite the Barnsley keeper being hailed as some sort of Messiah it really should never have got that far.
The reds can bemoan missed chances, bad luck etc but we’ve heard it too many times from them this season.
So on to the fairytale FA Cup ending.
Brian Howard, the Barnsley captain, scored a great goal in front of the Kop, 30 seconds before the whistle blew and Rafa’s Reds were out.’
Quiet Richard was still quiet on the trip back home, where John dropped the Big Lad off at Junction 17, then met the Youths Mother at Barnsley Hospital to drop QR and Charlotte off.
John Newsome’s Mum was in the hospital at the time and although it was almost 8 PM and visiting time was nearly over, John ran in to see Joanie and tell her about the famous victory against the Mighty Liverpool at Anfield.
There was no need really as most of the hospital staff, patients and visitors were also celebrating the win.
However, our Joanie needed to know that John Boy and Charlotte were safely back in Barnsley.
Fifteen years have passed since that brilliant day on the 16th of February 2008.
Fifteen years have gone in a flash.
After knocking out Blackpool, Southend and Liverpool, Barnsley faced Chelsea in the 6th Round or the Quarter Final of the FA Cup and again upset the odds by knocking out the Blues with a Kayode Odajayi header from a brilliant cross by Martin Devaney giving the Reds a victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
A Blues team that included John Terry and his best mate Wayne Bridge, Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka.
Martin is still at Oakwell, helping out the current Manager Michael Duff.
It was now a trip to Wembley for the Semi-Final against Cardiff.
After an arduous journey from Barnsley Town Centre Bus Station, the Big Lad, Young Ricky (pretends he’s a Man City fan but he’s a true member of the Red and White Army), Detective Hopeful and Young Matty, JB and the Youth made it to Wembley and arrived about half hour before the kick-off.
John Newsome had got up at 5 AM a couple of weeks earlier and headed down to Oakwell, stood in a queue for 4 hours that was endless and purchased the FA Cup Semi-Final Tickets.
You are welcome!
After a cagey affair against Cardiff, a single Joe Ledley goal for the Welsh club gave Cardiff the victory by a 1-0 scoreline and quashed the hopes of the Reds faithful’s attempt to reach an FA Cup Final for the first time since 1912.
Kayode, the hero against Chelsea missed an absolute sitter as the saying goes, midway through the 2nd-half that would have put Barnsley level.
Hero to zero in the space of less than a month.
The journey home was even worse as the Barnsley Boys and Girls were on the bus for 2 hours, before actually getting out of London.
Then the Big Lad and Detective Hopeful had an added journey of going on from Barnsley to Manchester.
All in all, a disappointing day out.
That was the Youth’s first season as a Barnsley fan, aged 10 years old, with her daft dad on a weekend, getting to visit Anfield, watch the Super Reds knock the current holders out of the FA Cup and go to Wembley.
There are not many 10-year-olds who have that on their CV.
The following season, there was the question,
‘When do we go to Anfield and Wembley again Dad?’
Well, Barnsley haven’t been to Anfield since but have had a couple of days out at Wembley that has reaped a victory or 2.
Fifteen years, gone in a blink of an eye.
Rest In Peace, Peter Whittingham.
15-Aston Villa 27 pts (minus-8 goals)
16-Wimbledon 26 pts (minus-5 goals)
17-Crystal Palace 23 pts (minus-13 goals)
18-Tottenham 23 pts (minus-20 goals)
19-Bolton 22 pts (minus-19 goals)
20-Barnsley 21 pts (minus-39 goals)
Home Win 2-0
The Scottish Pub League had a weekend off as it was the Scottish FA Cup weekend, which saw Celtic hammer St Mirren (who?) to progress to the Quarter-Finals and Rangers inflict defeat on Partick Thistle (who?)
The draw for the Quarters sees Celtic take on Hearts (who?) and Rangers face Raith Rovers (who?) which should get the loveable OzScot’s juices flowing over in Melbourne.
Raith Rovers, one’s not sure that is a real team.