The highlight games for this weekend’s action are MAN CITY versus WEST HAM and CHELSEA versus MANCHESTER UNITED. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 26 EPL 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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MAN CITY v WEST HAM
BT Sport 12.30 in England
Game Week-26 is a reverse of Game Week-6 that took place back in October 2020.
Man City remain at the summit of the Premier League after Sunday’s convincing victory by a 1-0 scoreline over Arsenal at the Emirates. Raheem Sterling scored after 2-minutes that would have assumed the floodgates to be opened and City would score a few more.
That didn’t materialise with Arsenal keeping City from scoring for the next 88-minutes. The mantra was again on show, with another clean sheet. If John Stones plays, City Win To Nil. In the previous game against Everton, City conceded a goal. John Stones wasn’t playing.
In the recent FA Cup game against Swansea, City conceded a goal, again the Barnsley Stone was nowhere to be seen, given the day off by Pep. If Johnny Boy starts, it’s worth a little pound on a Win To Nil.
City are now 10-points clear of the Numpty Neighbours and Leicester who both have 49-points, with United having a slightly better Bruno Fernandes goal difference.
Pep’s High Flying City have 59, a massive 19-points more than the current Premier League Champions Liverpool. Before this game against the Hammers, City take on Borussia Monchengladbach, on Wednesday in the Champions League.
As with last weeks fixture, RB Leipzig v Liverpool, Hungary’s Puskas Arena hosts the tie, so that the Man City players and staff don’t need to go through the quarantine procedures.
West Ham beat Tottenham on Sunday with a great victory by a 2-1 scoreline, as predicted in John Newsome’s Game Week-25 EveryTip column. It’s worth adding that Jesse Lingard scored too.
Michail Antonio opened the scoring after 5-minutes to settle the Bubbles with Jesse adding a 2nd soon after the break.
The flag went up for Mr Lingard’s goal which was overturned by the dreaded. Although VAR get a lot of stick, that decision was why the Video Assistant Referee has to continue as there was nothing wrong with the goal and without the dreaded, West Ham would not have had a 2nd and Jesse wouldn’t have had his 3rd-goal since joining the Hammers on loan.
The 3rd from 4-Premier League games.
West Ham did concede a Tottenham consolation and in truth, were lucky to hold on for the victory.
The win takes Moyes Boys up to 4th in the table, with 45-points from 25- fixtures played.
Before the weekend, West Ham had the same points has Chelsea but were 5th due to an inferior goal difference.
With Chelsea only managing a draw, West Ham leapfrog the Blues into the Champions League places, which the Bubbles faithful must be over the moon about.
At the London Stadium back in October, West Ham were one of only 7-teams to gain any points from Pep’s High Flying City.
The early part of the season wasn’t an indication as to how City would now be dominating the Premier League, with Pep’s Blues gaining just 12-points from the opening 9-fixtures, although Man City didn’t take part in Game Week-1.
Considering, the first 8-games on offer, 12, points from a possible 24, isn’t title-winning form.
Michail Antonio scored midway through the 1st-half to give Moyes Boys a half-time lead.
Phil Foden equalised 6-minutes after the break and with no more goals, a draw by a 1-1 scoreline was the final result.
Bet 365 offer Man City at Odds On 2/9, the draw at 11/2 and 10/1 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/10 that Phil Foden Scores Anytime and 21/20 that City Win To Nil.
WEST BROM v BRIGHTON
Sky Sports 15.00 in England
As predicted in last week’s column, West Brom gained a point from a draw against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, although the scoreline finished 0-0, not 1-1.
In the end, although a point gained, whilst a superb effort, playing for 60-minutes with 10-men, following the sending off of Semi Ajayi, it’s not really any good to Big Sam, leaving the Baggies with 14-points from 25-fixtures, still a massive 11-points from safety.
That basically means that West Brom have to win 4-games more than Newcastle throughout the remaining 13-fixtures. Whilst not impossible, it’s a big ask to prevent relegation.
Will Big Sam jump ship before the Baggies are relegated to save face, or will Mr Allardyce stay and have a relegated team on his CV for the first time in his managerial career?
Brighton looked all set for a point in the M23 Derby on Monday night with Joel Veltman equalising an earlier Crystal Palace goal, midway through the 2nd-half. Crystal Palace touched the ball twice in the Brighton penalty area and were outplayed for the majority of the 90-minutes. A boxing referee would have stopped the contest before the 12-rounds were up.
Brighton had 75% possession, 25 attempts on goal, of which 5 were on target, however, the main stat that counts is the scoreline.
Unfortunately for everyone connected with the Seagulls, Graham Potter’s men conceded a very late goal in the 95th-minute to ultimately lose the game by a 2-1 scoreline. Two goals from touching the ball twice in an opposing penalty area.
Brighton haven’t won in 3 now and with 26-points from 25-fixtures, are only 4-points above Fulham in the drop-zone.
The seagulls have this game against the Baggies, then Leicester, Southampton and Newcastle who will be fighting for their own safety, so Harry just needs to keep an eye on things.
When Slaven Bilic’s Baggies went South to the Amex in Game Week-6, West Brom’s Karlan Grant equalised an earlier Brighton goal that was credited as a Jake Livermore OG, to give both teams a share of the points.
Bet 365 offer West Brom at 16/5, the draw at 23/10 and slight Odds On 19/20 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/5 that there are Under 1.5 Goals and 15/2 that there is a 0-0 Scoreline.
LEEDS UNITED v ASTON VILLA
Sky Sports 17.30 in England
Leeds will have played in midweek before this Saturday fixture, with the rearranged game against Southampton taking place on Tuesday.
Marcelo’s Whites were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline against Wolves, on Friday night with the unfortunate IIlan Meslier who saw a superb Adama Traore shot fly past him, hit the bar, bounce back onto Illan and rebound into the net, crediting the Wolves solitary goal as an own one.
A lot has been said about Illan Meslier but everyone who criticises should just remember that the lad is only 20. Read that again, 20-years old.
Some of us have trainers older than that! The youngster will be the successor to Hugo Lloris in the French National Team and the way Lettuce Hands Lloris is currently playing, it will be sooner rather than later, that Illan, starts as the French stopper.
In the last 15-Premier League games, Leeds have 7-victories and 8-defeats, which those who are good at Math, will know that’s 21-points from a possible 45.
Compare that to Fulham’s last 15-fixtures, Scott’s Boys have 2-victories, 4-defeats and 9-draws.
The Math genius out there will work that out, to be 15-points from the 45 on offer. So that means, although Leeds United have lost twice as many times as Fulham, the Whites have gained more points than the Cottagers.
Marcelo Bielsa’s footballing philosophy is to go all out for the win and if a loss occurs, so be it.
At the end of the season, when Leeds are staying in the Premier League and Fulham are potentially relegated, Mr Bielsa’s philosophy will have paid off.
The defeat against Wolves, saw Nuno’s boys leapfrog the Whites into 11th-place, leaving Leeds in 12th, with 32-points, before the midweek fixture against the Saints.
Southampton are just 2-points behind Leeds so again, that fixtures result will see the winners move up a place or two.
It’s thought that the safety net is 38/39 points, which technically means, Marcelo’s Whites need another couple of victories in the remaining 14-fixtures to see Elland Rd entertain the Premier League next term, hopefully with a full house of 40,000 plus fanatical faithful singing, ‘Marching on Together’
Aston Villa, minus a certain Jack Grealish for the first time since November 2019, were beaten at Villa Park on Sunday with the game finishing in a 2-1 scoreline in favour of Leicester. After the game, it emerged that Jack got an injury to his leg in training and may miss up to a month, which will be a blow to Dean Smith’s boys. It’s now up to the rest of the Villains to see if they can perform without their influential Captain.
Aston Villa were trailing 2-0 at the break but did pull a goal back through Bertrand Traore 3-minutes into the restart.
With no further goals, the Claret and Blues from the West Midlands succumbed to a defeat against their Midland rivals, albeit from the East-side.
Villa sit 8th in the table, with the same 36-points as Tottenham in 9th but with a slightly superior goal difference and having only played 23-times not the 24 and 25 those around them have completed.
Hypothetically, if the 2-games result in victories, Villa would have 42-points and would sit above the current Champions Liverpool in 6th.
However, as everyone knows, football isn’t played in a hypothesis manner and as mentioned on previous occasions, it is better to have the points on the board rather than the games in hand.
One thing that is for certain, hypothetically or not, is Aston Villa will be playing Premier League football next term and won’t be involved in a relegation battle.
During the late 1980s, the Australian branch of this EveryTip column and John Newsome, occasionally ventured over the South Yorkshire/West Yorkshire border to watch the mighty Whites from Elland Rd.
It’s worth mentioning, John Newsome is and always will be, a Red but circumstances sometimes prevail.
It’s fitting to ask the said Barnsley Aussie for a particular moment from the trips over the enemy line.
It starts off with a gentle, ‘Morning pal, it’s like being reminded of a brief but very enjoyable affair!’ As never being in a relationship with a young lady, that sentence as gone straight over John Newsome’s head?
The Australian continues, ‘I actually saw my yellow Leeds Utd Away shirt the other day from that 1989 season (have to admit it was a cracking shirt!)
The first thing to say was, that our beloved Barnsley FC were in transition at the time, so we got drawn in by the excitement of a Leeds United team that were on the up.
A soft spot was had for them, after seeing them in the FA Cup Semi-Final, at Hillsborough, when they got beat against Coventry by a 3-2 scoreline, with the Leeds United fans being amazing that day, one of the loudest supports ever heard.
One thing to mention is that the Semi-Final at Hillsborough, in 1987, was a disaster waiting to happen, with thousands of Leeds fans, penned into the Leppings Lane end. It’s well documented what happened 2-years later. For the Leeds United faithful, there but for the Grace of God.
Howard Wilkinson then started assembling a squad of genuine title challengers, that not many of the faithful could envisage.
Gordon Strachan, Gary Speed (legend!), David Batty, Johnny Hendrie, Bobby Davidson, Big Bad Iain Baird and then the signings of Chris Fairclough and the brilliant Vinnie Jones (to name a few, there will be some that are forgotten) It was like a drug dragging my friend and one towards them.
Remembering when both of us stood on the Elland Rd Kop, Howards Whites scoring and the place just went off! Again the atmosphere and the continual chanting of, ‘We are Leeds’ and ‘Marching On Together’ was quite rhythmic and loud, with two starry-eyed football fans milking in the atmosphere.
Adding to that, on one occasion, sitting up high, witnessing, (some would call it, the Murderer’s high-section) as everyone in there, looked like they had done time. Leeds United weren’t playing the way that the Murderers wanted, so they were deciding whether to kick the preverbal out of each other?
The Barnsley Whites, only in their late teens, were in awe of the fellow Yorkshire Top boys. The Leeds team was pretty hard!
A certain Vincent Jones would get a red card, in every game he played, these days, although his physical violence and pressure wasn’t everything, the lad actually could play a bit although he did make this EveryTip contributor look rapid.
John Newsome has never been blessed with pace, however, this boy has the skills to pay the bills.
The Australian Scotsman and the Barnsley Boy eventually saw sense and went back to their first loved one, we were forgiven by some of our mates, although reminded of our illicit affair on numerous occasions over the last 30 years.
It was another great run out for the bright orange Fiat Strada, that took our boys to Stoke and surrounding areas plus a Terence Trent D’Arby concert at Leeds Queens Hall, with the bouncy orange velour seats.
We asked the Leeds faithful,
‘If you let me stay’
The boys from Elland Rd answered,
‘Sign your Name’
And the lads from Oakwell quickly replied,
‘All the best Whites,
‘Wishing (you) Well’
Leeds gained a great away-day victory at Villa Park, with Patrick Bamford scoring a brilliant 2nd-half hat-trick to give Marcelo a win against Dean.
Bet 365 offer Leeds United at 6/5, the draw at 11/4 and 2/1 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Patrick Bamford Scores First and 11/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
NEWCASTLE v WOLVES
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Newcastle suffered another defeat, late Sunday evening, at Old Trafford, against Manchester United. That’s now 10-defeats from the last 14-fixtures.
The loss against United by a 3-1 scoreline, leaves Newcastle in a relegation battle which a couple of weeks ago, didn’t look likely. The only team possibly able to catch the Magpies, out of the current bottom-3, in reality, is Fulham.
It’s highly unlikely that Sheffield United and West Brom can make up the gap of 14 and 11 respectively.
After conceding against the Red Devil’s, on the half-hour mark, Allan Saint-Maximin equalised for Steve Bruce’s Black and Whites, to take both teams in level at the break.
Manchester United then scored twice in the 2nd-half to inflict the defeat that leaves Newcastle with 25-points, from the 25-games completed, in 17th-place. There is still plenty of time to move away from the drop-zone, however, the Magpies need to start winning pretty soon as Fulham are on the march.
Wolves were Game Week-25’s first winners, gaining a great away-night victory by a 1-0 scoreline, against Leeds United on Friday night.
The brilliant Adama Traore, who hadn’t scored a Premier League goal in 14-months, unleashed a superb strike in the 2nd-half that made its way into the net.
Unfortunately for Adama, the ex-Barcelona player, who’s best mate is Lionel Messi, is still awaiting a Premier League goal as his strike bounced back off the crossbar and hit the Leeds United ‘keeper, ending up in the goal, yet not Adama’s but a Leeds OG. So AT’s wait for a Premier League notch, continues.
The last time Adama scored was the 27th of December 2019, against Man City in a 3-2 victory, so obviously the lad can score against the top boys but for all of his talent, 14-months and 44-games, without a goal, isn’t really the best of stats for a supposed Striker.
Wolves leapfrog Leeds United into 11th-place, with 33-points, however, from the full 25-fixtures played not the 24, Leeds have completed, so the Whites rearranged midweek game, could see the positions reversed once more.
Leeds next opposition, Southampton could end the week above both Leeds and Wolves with a convincing victory against the Whites.
What’s becoming apparent is 3 of the Game Week-6 fixtures ended in the same 1-1 scoreline, with this opposite game at Molineux being one of them.
Newcastle’s Jacob Murphy equalised a Raul Jimenez opener for Wolves, with both goals scored late on in proceedings to give Nuno and Steve’s Boys a point apiece.
A quick note to mention is despite the flakey victory against Leeds United on Friday, Wolves haven’t been the same without Big Raul in the team and the Gold and Black faithful plus the footballing fraternity wish the lad well in his recovery from a fractured skull.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 11/4, the draw at 9/4 and 21/20 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/1 that Miguel Almiron Scores First and 5/1 that Wolves Score a Penalty.
CRYSTAL PALACE v FULHAM
BBC 1 12.00 in England
Crystal Palace scored in the 95th-minute to stun the watching millions and earn a superb victory against Brighton on Monday Night Football.
Christian Benteke got the winning goal to give the Eagles the points from an away-night 2-1 scoreline.
Jean-Philippe Mateta, signed in the January Transfer Window, on loan from Mainz, scored midway through the 1st-half.
Brighton did equalise after the break and were the better side throughout but with time running out, it looked like a draw was on the cards until Big Ben popped up with a superb winning goal.
The win, notably without Wilfried Zaha, which rarely happens, gives Roy’s Boys 32-points from 25-fixtures and leaves them 13th in the table.
Fulham comfortably beat Sheffield United late on Saturday evening, whilst the rest of the nation were watching Ant and his mate on their Saturday Night shocker.
There were a few telly’s in Yorkshire that nearly went through the window watching the likeable little Geordies pinching, er sorry, earning a living.
The single lads and lasses out there were watching Scott Parker, aka Ronald McDonald take his Cottagers to within 3-points of Newcastle.
Ademola Lookman scored the solitary winning goal after the break and although the scoreline of 1-0 looks tight, Fulham were never really troubled by the Yorkshire outfit.
The victory gives Scott’s Boys 22-points, still leaves them in the bottom-3 but are, as mentioned, only 3-points away from Newcastle and 4-points adrift of Brighton.
Sheffield United remain rooted to the foot of the table with 11-points, with West Brom only having 14, so it really looks like those two are gone and it’s a race between Fulham, Newcastle, Brighton and possibly Burnley for the final relegation place.
On the current form or lack of, Newcastle looks like the team that is likely to be overtaken by Fulham.
After all of Game Week-25 fixtures were completed, Scott’s boys are 10-points behind today’s opponent’s, who could get dragged into the relegation battle, especially if Wilfried Zaha continues on the injury couch.
When these two met at Craven Cottage, Crystal Palace were the top London boys following a victory by a 2-1 scoreline.
Jairo Riedewald scored after 8-minutes with Wilfried Zaha adding a 2nd after the break.
Tom Cairney did pull a goal back for Fulham in the 95th-minute but ultimately, was just a consolation with Roy’s Boys getting the win.
Aboubakar Kamara was shown a straight Red Card just before Tom’s goal to get the bath running for his mates. Good of him.
Aboubakar is on loan in France at the moment, cutting the mustard with Dijon in Ligue 1.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at 12/5, the draw at 11/5 and 5/4 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/2 that Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime and 12/5 that Ivan Cavaleiro Scores Anytime.
LEICESTER v ARSENAL
BT Sports 12.00 in England.
Leicester beat Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday with James Maddison and Harvey Barnes scoring in the 1st-half to ease the nerves of the travelling cardboard Foxes. Brendan’s Wonderful’s did concede after the break but held on for the victory by a 2-1 scoreline. The win, temporarily took Leicester into 2nd-place until Manchester United beat Newcastle later in the day.
Both the Foxes and the Red Devil’s have 49-points, Leicester sitting 3rd, with an inferior goal difference.
Rod Stewart was doubly unhappy on Sunday with Lennon the pooch, scarpering lively just after 15.50 when the result from Villa Park came in.
The Aston Villa shirt with ‘Stewart’ and ‘76’ on the back was heading the way of the puppy after the victory for Brendan.
A couple of hours later, Sir Roderick’s mood got worse, when his beloved Green and White Hoops were beaten by Ross County (who?) by a 1-0 scoreline, in the Scottish Pub League.
With Celtics arch-rivals Rangers winning earlier on in the day, the gap now between the two Glasgow clubs is a massive 18-points with both having played 30-fixtures.
That means the Rangers need another 7-points, from the remaining 8-fixtures, to win the SPL crown for the first time since 2011 and that’s in the proviso, Celtic win their games.
Lennon stayed out of Mr Stewart’s way on Sunday evening, even sacrificing a couple of doggy treats but was heard to be barking in the background, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be’ Woof!
Leicester complete their Last-32 fixture in the Europa League, with the 2nd-leg against Slavia Prague taking place on Thursday.
The tie is all square at the moment following the 0-0 scoreline last week in the Czech Republic.
Although the scoreline of 1-0 in favour of Man City on Sunday appears a close encounter, Arsenal never really looked like threatening Pep 1’s Blues.
Pep 2’s Gunners fell a goal behind after 2-minutes when Raheem Sterling out jumped the Arsenal back-line to head past a helpless Bernd Leno.
With no further goals, Arsenal suffered a defeat by the single goal that leaves them 10th in the table with 34-points from 25-fixtures. That’s 2 points adrift of the North London rivals Tottenham and a massive 25-points away from Man City at the summit. It’s also 15-points behind today’s opposition.
This was the 1st of 4 home defeats for Arsenal in the same late Sunday night TV slot, that the watching Gooners had to endure.
Leicester, Aston Villa, Wolves and Burnley all inflicted defeats on Arsenal at 19.15 on a Sunday evening, the first part of the 2020/21 campaign.
It’s rumoured the hierarchy at the Emirates got in touch with BT Sport and cancelled their monthly subscription, plus banning Steve McManaman from attending.
One thing to add is the loss against Burnley, did have 2,000 socially distanced fans in attendance.
Let’s hope that next season, all the stadiums in the world and surrounding areas, are full to the rafters.
The original Sheffield Superstar, Jamie Vardy scored the solitary winning goal in the 80th-minute, to give Brendan’s Wonderful’s the victory over Mikel’s Gunners.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at 7/5, the draw at 9/4 and 2/1 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 that Jamie Vardy Scores First and 12/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
TOTTENHAM v BURNLEY
Sky Sports 14.00 in England
Tottenham were beaten on Sunday at the London Stadium by an inform West Ham team.
The Hammers scored after 5-minutes and were the dominant team throughout the 1st-half.
That prompted Jose Mourinho to introduce Gareth Bale at the break.
Unfortunately, whilst GB was doing his hair for the 45-minute cameo, West Ham added a 2nd, 2-minutes after the restart.
Gareth did improve Tottenham and did have a thunderous shot hit the bar that would have been a contender for a Goal of the Month competition. Gareth’s hair is definitely a contender for Barnet of the Year.
Lucas Moura scored a rare header from a Gareth Bale corner and although Spurs did improve and probably should have come away with a point, the game finished with a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline.
Dele Alli got an even briefer cameo, getting 13-minutes at the end. Just watching Tottenham from a distance, with no dog in the fight, so to speak, Gareth and Dele improve the team, so Dracula must be intentionally leaving the pair out. That’s 5-defeats from the last 6-Premier League fixtures.
As mentioned on a few occasions, Jose won’t be there much longer, the Dark One could be at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium for the start of the new campaign but it’s probably Odds On that the lad won’t see out the 2021/22 season.
Tottenham sit 9th in the Premier League table, with 36-points from 24-fixtures. Before this game against Burnley, Tottenham host Wolfsberger AC in the 2nd-leg of the Last-32 Europa League tie.
Spurs are 4-1 up from the 1st-leg, where both Gareth and Dele started, both influential in the victory.
Burnley were held to a goalless draw on Saturday, at Turf Moor, against West Brom, despite playing for an hour with a man advantage.
The Baggies were reduced to 10-men after 30-minutes but Sean Dyche’s Clarets couldn’t break down a stubborn Big Sam defence.
Burnley have 28-points from 25-fixtures and sit in 15th-place in the table, 6-points more than Fulham who sit in the final relegation place and 14-points more than West Brom.
Son Heung-Min scored the only goal, midway through the 2nd-half, in the victory for Tottenham, at Turf Moor back in October 2020.
The good people of South Korea, Romania and Whitby were dancing in the street afterwards, whilst Spurs made the long-distance back home to London.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 8/15, the draw at 3/1 and 11/2 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 21/20 that Harry Kane Scores First and 8/5 that Tottenham Win To Nil.
CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED
Sky Sports 16.30 in England
Thomas Tuchels Blues came from a goal behind to earn a point from a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday. After trailing at the break, Mason Mount converted a 2nd-half penalty to keep TT’s unbeaten record intact.
The point gained because as everyone knows, it’s always a point gained not 2-points lost, leaves Chelsea now in 5th-place, with 43-points, after all of Game Week-25 fixtures were complete, following West Ham’s brilliant victory against Tottenham.
It’s 6-points behind today’s visitors and a massive 16-points away from Man City at the summit.
Chelsea play Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, however, not Spain but in Romania at the Arena Nationala, in the 1st-leg of the Last-16 tie in the Champions League.
Manchester United, eventually beat Newcastle on Sunday evening by a 3-1 scoreline.
After starting the game tentatively, Marcus Rashford scored to calm the nerves of the cardboard Devil’s.
The Magpies did equalise to take both teams in level at the break.
In the 2nd-half, Dan James, getting a rare Premier League start, scored United’s 2nd, with Bruno Fernandes doing what Bruno does, converting a penalty to give United the victory.
Bruno rarely misses a penalty but did miss the last time United took on Newcastle with Karl Darlow saving Bruno’s kick at St James Park.
This time, Mr Fernandes made sure to earn Ole’s Wheels the points that give them 49, the same as Leicester but with a slightly superior Bruno Fernandes goal difference, sitting 2nd in the table, however, a massive 10-points away from the Noisy Neighbours.
Fred started and was a constant thorn in United’s side, the ‘Manchester’ United side not Newcastle. How good would Ole’s Trollies be without Fred?
Ole will pick Fred for this game against Chelsea but as mentioned a couple of weeks back, Manchester United have failed to beat any of the so-called top teams.
That’s due to Ole continuing to think that Fred and Scott McTominay are his go-to midfielders when there is simply no evidence to back that up.
Although John Newsome has predicted a Manchester United victory, it’s purely from the dodgy heart and not the head as United won’t win anything with Fred. Mark these words.
The Red Devil’s play Real Sociedad on Thursday in the return leg of the Last-32 tie in the Europa League.
A word or a few as to be put down in this column about one of the greatest Sportsman ever.
Although this is an English Premier League prediction preview, its only fitting to do a little piece on one of England’s top of the tree entertainers in the sports industry.
List the stars over the years, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Bristowe, Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwin, all legends and multiple title winners in their respective sport.
One person to add to that list of genuine legends is Ronnie O’Sullivan. Ronnie is rarely mentioned in any L’Oréal Sports awards, or Sports Personality of the Year but is up there with the best due to the titles won in Snooker over a career spanning nearly 30-years.
Mr O’Sullivan won his first major title, the UK Championship in 1993, aged 17, his first of 7.
The lad won his first World title in 2001 and has added another 5 to that tally, equalling the great Steve Davis with 6 and just 1 behind Stephen Hendry.
In April this year, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Ronnie will equal Mr Hendry’s 7.
With the way Mr O’Sullivan looks after himself these days, there could be at least another 5-7 years left on the Snooker circuit if he feels in the mood.
Stephen Hendry is class but Ronnie is a different beast, 6-World Titles, 7-Masters and 7-UK, the Triple Crown events that not many achieve even once in their career. At the age Stephen won his last World title, 30, Ronnie has won 30-tournaments since his 30th Birthday.
Ronnie has 20-major titles surpassing Stephens 18 and 37 ranking titles, the most by any player.
Mr O’Sullivan has more century breaks than anyone in the history of the game. Stephen 775, Ronnie over a 1000 and counting.
His maximum-147, at the World Championships in 1997, took 5-minutes and 20-seconds, however, some say it’s between 5-minutes and 8-15 seconds as the BBC started the timer too early.
Ronnie has to contend with Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen, Ally Carter, Stuart Bingham, Yan Bingtao and the other emerging Chinese stars all resident in Sheffield.
Mr Hendry just had John Parrott and a below-par Jimmy White to beat. Over the years, Ronnie has had his moments, even walking out of a game against Hendry, before the final whistle.
On Sunday, whilst Manchester United limped to a tame victory over Newcastle, Ronnie lost in the Final of the Welsh Open against a player ranked 81st in the World.
Ronnie didn’t bemoan the defeat, the lad was actually pleased for his young opponent that shows a mark of respect towards Jordan Brown, the new Welsh Open Champion.
When time is called on Ronnie’s career, Mr O’Sullivan will go down as the greatest ever Snooker player and in this EveryTip contributors eyes, one of the greatest ever sportsman of all-time.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea gained a point from a drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford back in October.
Enough said, other than Fred and Scott started. Enough said!
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at 23/10, the draw at 5/2 and 9/4 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that Timo Werner Scores Anytime and 21/10 that Bruno Fernandes Scores Anytime.
All the best Gordon McQueen.
Keep on keeping on!
SHEFFIELD UNITED v LIVERPOOL
Sky Sports 19.15 in England
It’s official, Sheffield United are the worst team in the Premier League after Happy Chris’s Blades suffered another defeat on Saturday night, this time against Fulham at Craven Cottage by a 1-0 scoreline.
Despite only 1-goal conceded, Sheffield United never looked in the game and there was no real danger of the Blades players troubling the scoreboard.
That’s now 20-defeats from 25-fixtures leaving Chris Wilder’s Blunts bottom of the table with just 11-points, a massive 14-points from safety.
This basically means that Sheffield United have to win 5-more games than Newcastle in the remaining 13-fixtures and that Chris is re-tuning his Sat-Nav to Championship destinations ready for next season.
There was talk that Happy Chris had walked after the defeat against Fulham but that was only rumours as there’s no real point in leaving now.
The hierarchy at Bramall Lane won’t sack Mr Wilder and Chris should stay as it’s a job that pays a wage, which everyone needs in these troubled times.
Back in 2007/08, Derby County had 11-points from the 38-games played, the least points ever by a relegated team.
In the 2018/19 season, Huddersfield went down with 16-points. Aston Villa had 17-points in 2015/16.
With 13-fixtures remaining, Sheffield United need 7 more points to leave them higher in the final points tally than those three teams that finished bottom of the Premier League table.
In the inaugural season of the Premier League, back in 1992/93, Nottingham Forest finished bottom of the table with a massive 40-points. However, that was from 42-fixtures as there were 22-teams that kick-started the debut campaign.
Spare a thought for West Ham, Notts County and Luton who were all relegated in the 1991/92 old Division 1 season and missed out on the glitz of the Premier League era.
In the 1994/95 season, all of Ipswich, Leicester, Norwich and Crystal Palace were relegated as the Premier League was re-jigged into a 20-team league, meaning a 38-fixture season.
Crystal Palace could consider themselves unlucky having finished the campaign with 45-points.
A year later, each of Coventry, Southampton and Man City finished with 38-points from the 38-games played but it was City that were the unlucky losers, going down on goal difference, with a minus-25. Both Coventry and Southampton had a minus-18 difference.
In the 1996/97 season, Middlesbrough finished 2nd-bottom with 39-points and were relegated, however, had 3-points deducted due to postponing a game against Blackburn.
The extra 3-points would have given Bryan Robson’s men 42 and kept them up at the expense of Coventry who finished safe with 41-points.
In the following season, Barnsley FC competed in their one and only campaign in the Top Flight, although a brilliant 38-games with highs and lows, the Super Reds were relegated, finishing 19th in the table, amassing 35-points.
That particular season, all 3-teams promoted from the Championship the previous year, Bolton, Barnsley and Crystal Palace, were all relegated, coincidentally, in that order.
Bolton finished with 40-points, the same as Everton, who stayed up with a final-day draw against Coventry, giving them a minus-15 goal-difference as opposed to Bolton’s minus-20, who lost away against Chelsea on the last day.
It’s usually considered that 40-points is the safety margin to stay in the Premier League, however, in the 2002/03 campaign, West Ham went down with 42-points on the board.
The highest points tally for a relegated team.
In the 1996/97 campaign, Sunderland were relegated with 40-points. Starting the day, out of the relegation zone, the Black Cats lost the final fixture by a 1-0 scoreline, with Coventry, the team lying 3rd-bottom at the beginning of the day, getting a victory to jump above Sunderland and stay in the Premier League.
In the last 4-seasons, 35-points would have kept a team in the Top Flight, with Aston Villa staying in the Premier League, last term, with 35, when a point was gained against Sheffield United, following a 0-0 draw in the opening fixture after the suspension due to the Coronavirus situation.
Villa, in theory, should have suffered a defeat, after Sheffield United’s ghost-goal wasn’t given when the Goal-line Technology failed and would have been relegated, saving Bournemouth.
In 2006/07, Sheffield United finished with 38-points, the same as Wigan but were relegated over Wigan due to a minus-23 goal difference, Wigan had a minus-22.
The Blades then spent the next 12-years in the footballing wilderness, dropping as low as League 1/Division 3 before gaining promotion back to the Promised Land in 2019.
There was controversy regarding the relegation of Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United team, West Ham staying up with a final-day victory against Manchester United, helped by the illegal signings of Javier Mascherano and Carlos Teves.
It could be forgiven for initially associating the Argentinians with Barcelona and Manchester United, where the pair won countless Premier League and La Liga titles but Carlos Tevez’s name is inextricably linked to the Blades, despite never kicking a ball for them.
Mr Tevez’s surprise arrival at Upton Park alongside Javier Mascherano, in August 2006, was adjudged to have broken Premier League rules over third-party ownership of players.
The Hammers were fined £5.5 Million for the breach but were crucially spared a points deduction, a ruling that set them on a collision course with Sheffield United.
It would end with Carlos inspiring West Ham to safety on the final day of the 2006/07 season at the expense of the Blades, who were relegated on goal difference and sent spiralling into a decade of decline, the scars of which still run deep.
In the 2010/11 season, Blackpool, like Barnsley, in their one and only campaign, went down after amassing 39-points.
The following campaign, Bolton were relegated, that saw the Trotters footballing demise, finding Bolton Wanderers, 9-seasons later, in the fourth tier of English football, League 2, or to the older generation, Division 4.
James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, will now be asleep after reading all that as the little Blunt sometimes can’t concentrate on a piece of writing that’s over a sentence long.
Jimbo is excited at the prospect of visiting Oakwell next term, his first footballing love and as asked his lovely girlfriend to sew together half of a Sheffield United shirt and half of a Barnsley FC shirt so he can wear it on the day the Blades lose against the Reds both at Oakwell and Bramall Lane. An easy 6-points for the Super Reds next season.
Whilst John Newsome was out doing his job the other day, possibly the hardest job in the world, there’s rumours folk are to start going out and clapping on their doorstep for John on a Thursday night.
A song came on the radio by John Denver, Annie’s Song that is just so brilliant. Unfortunately for a Barnsley FC fan, it’s not thought that one would relate to the song as the Sheffield United Blunts have taken the tune and bang out the parody before a Blades game.
John Denver sang,
‘You fill up my senses,
Like a night in a forest,
Like the mountains in springtime,
Like a walk in the rain,
Like a storm in the desert,
Like a sleepy blue ocean,
You fill up my senses,
Come fill me again
The Blunts refined the brilliant song to the title of ‘Greasy Chip Butty’,
‘You fill up my senses,
Like a gallon of Magnet,
Like a packet of Woodbines,
Like a good pinch of snuff,
Like a night out in Sheffield,
Like a greasy chip butty,
Like Sheffield United,
Come thrill me again.
Na na na na na…Ooooohh!’
There’s been a few International versions with the Chinese team Chengdu Blades calling their tune, the Greasy Egg Noodle song,
‘You fill up my senses,
Like a gallon of soy sauce,
Like a packet of chopsticks,
Like a good crispy duck,
Like a night out in Chengdu,
Like a greasy egg noodle,
Like Chengdu ‘n’ United,
Come thrill me again.
Na na na na na…Oooooh!’
Plus, of cause the Greek version, written by John Newsome, about Greece winning the Euro’s in 2004, published in an EveryTip column back on May 29th, 2020, entitled ‘Shearer vs Owen vs Rooney (Best of 3 series)’
‘You fill up my senses,
Like a gallon of Ouzo,
Like a packet of Karella,
Like a good pinch of salt,
Like a night out in Kavos,
Like a greasy pitta Kay-bab,
Come fill me again.
Na na na na na…Ooooohh!‘
The brilliant BBC TV series, ‘Only Fools and Horses’ which first aired in the 1980s referenced the brilliant John Denver with the legend that is ‘Del Boy’ referring to the singer as ‘That Joan Denver’
John sang another tune entitled,
‘Leaving on a Jet Plane.’
‘So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me as you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know, when I’ll be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go.’
Which the ultimate happened, when John, bless him, died in a plane crash in 1997.
He certainly left on a jet plane.
The Blades are leaving the Premier League too, whether by jet planes, trains or automobiles, the Blunts are heading for the Championship. ‘You fill up my senses!’
Surely, even the relegation-threatened Liverpool, can’t lose against Sheffield United. Jurgen’s Reds suffered another defeat, at Anfield, on Saturday, their 4th-Home Premier League fixture in succession and their 6th in the last 9-Premier League games.
The latest being a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline against the Blue half of Merseyside, in the late Saturday afternoon kick-off.
Everton scored a goal in both halves to inflict the defeat, the first loss at Anfield since September 1999. A lot has been said as to the reasons and there are many but the main reason is Virgil Van Dijk. It purely is as simple as that. The Big defender is missed immensely.
Jurgen signed Virgil back in January 2018, within 5-months, Liverpool were in the Champions League final, albeit a defeat was suffered against Real Madrid.
Twelve Months later, the Champions League was won, another 12-months and the Premier League was in the bag, the first one in 30-years. Without Virgil Van Dijk, Jurgen’s Reds are simply not the same.
Liverpool sit 6th in the table, with the same 40-points as Everton, however, a slightly superior goal difference.
Importantly though, the Reds have played 25-times as opposed to the Blues completing 24.
At Anfield, Sheffield United scored first from a penalty by Sander Berge. Roberto Firmino equalised for Liverpool just before the break to take both teams in level.
Diogo Jota scored the winner midway through the 2nd-half to give Jurgen’s Reds a victory over Happy Chris’s Blunts. Just before DJ’s goal, Mo Salah had a goal ruled out by the dreaded for a bit of his barnet being a touch offside.
Bet 365 offer Sheffield United at 13/2, the draw at 4/1 and Odds On 4/11 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 that Mo Salah Scores First and 11/10 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
EVERTON v SOUTHAMPTON
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
It was September 1999, almost 22-years ago that Everton last beat Liverpool at Anfield.
Back then, Kevin Campbell scored the goal to give Walter Smith’s Toffees the victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
On Saturday 20th of February 2021, goals from Richarlison and a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty gave Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues a great victory by a 2-0 scoreline.
Liverpool are struggling at the moment due to a lot of reasons but nothing should be taken away from the great performance on the day by Everton.
The win gives Carlo’s boys 40-points, the same as the Red half of Merseyside, who are a place higher in 6th on goal difference, however, significantly, Everton have only played 24-fixtures, not the 25 that Liverpool have completed.
Southampton gained a great point at St Mary’s on Saturday, against Chelsea, with the game finishing in a 1-1 scoreline. The new loan signing from Liverpool, Takumi Minamino scored before the break to give the Saints a lead.
Unfortunately, the bad dog walker was on show, as Wreck-It’s boys couldn’t hold on to the lead, conceding a 2nd-half penalty that was converted by Chelsea, giving both a point each.
Southampton sit 14th on the table, with 30-points from 24-fixtures and should be safe.
Before the game against Thomas Tuchels’s Blues, the Saints had suffered 5-defeats in a row but are in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, that the Final, at Wembley, in May, could have fans allowed to attend.
Southampton may have more points as the Saints play a rearranged fixture against Leeds United on Tuesday, depending on the result at Elland Rd.
James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams scored the goals, both in the 1st-half to give Southampton the victory over Everton, by a 2-0 scoreline, back in October 2020.
Bet 365 offer Everton at 23/20, the draw at 12/5 and 9/4 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 6/5 that Danny Ings Scores Anytime.
Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to kindly give his predictions for Game Week-26.
JP had 5-Correct Results from the 10-Fixtures but significantly, Jon had 3-Correct Scores in Game Week-25.
John Newsome had 6-Correct Results with 1 Correct Score.
Man City 2 v West Ham 1
West Brom 0 v Brighton 2
Leeds United 2 v Aston Villa 2
Newcastle 0 v Wolves 1
Crystal Palace 1 v Fulham 1
Leicester 2 v Arsenal 1
Tottenham 1 v Burnley 0
Chelsea 1 v Manchester United 1
Sheffield United 0 v Liverpool 2
Everton 3 v Southampton 1
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