The highlight games for this weekend’s action, all through to mid-next week are WATFORD versus ARSENAL and MAN CITY versus MANCHESTER UNITED. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 28 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
Another bumper edition of Premier League Previews due to the postponement of fixtures in December, being rearranged for the beginning of March.
There is a full set of 10 x Game Week-28 fixtures plus, 3 x rearranged games taking place next Thursday, March 10th.
This set of fixtures is the reverse of Game Week-11, which took place in November 2021.
LEICESTER v LEEDS UNITED
12.30 in England
Before the start of this week’s Preview, John Newsome just wants to comment on a troubling occurrence that’s happening in the world we live in.
There won’t be many words, as this EveryTip column is always lighthearted and objective, however, the current situation that’s taking place in Ukraine, is not only worrying but frankly out of order.
The World has experienced the worse 2-years in its history, since 1945, with the Coronavirus Pandemic. Why has Vladimir Putin then decided to add further misery to humanity by invading Ukraine?
John won’t go any further as there is a time and a place that’s not necessarily in this column but wanted to just highlight the situation and ask everyone to denounce the invasion by Russia and give their all to the people of Ukraine. Stand as one!
Leicester are straight back in action following Tuesday’s rearranged Game Week-22 fixture against Burnley, which ended in a victory for the Foxes by a 2-0 score.
After a goalless 1st-half at Turf Moor, it was the Jim show, with late goals from James Maddison and Jamie Vardy, giving Brendan’s Wonderful’s the away win.
The much-needed victory, gives Leicester the same 30-points as Crystal Palace and Aston Villa and leaves the Foxes in 12th-place, wedged between the two but have played a game less than Villa and 3-fixtures less than Palace, so all to play for.
Rod Stewart, wearing his Claret jersey, with ‘Morgan’ and ‘7’ on the back, referencing the great Burnley and Scottish Winger from the 1960s and 70s, was very disappointed with the Tuesday night result and none too pleased with the weekend’s football.
Sir Roderick wasn’t happy that the Foxes won on Tuesday, added to the fact that his beloved Green and White Hoops failed to score against Hibernian (who?) in the SPL, with the game finishing in a goalless draw.
Later on Sunday, there was a little bit of happiness in the Stewart household, when it was thought that following the draw against Hibernian (who?) the arch Glasgow rivals Rangers, would close the gap at the top of the Pub League.
Fortunately for Rod and Lennon the Puppy, who was hiding in the backyard, the Gers failed to defeat Motherwell (who?) with another stalemate by a 2-2 scoreline.
Rangers had knocked, the mighty Borussia Dortmund, out of the Europa League the previous Thursday, with a certain OzScot over the moon that his Teddy Bears had beaten a Bundesliga Pub Team, without their influential Forward, Erling Haarland. However, not so happy that his Blues then couldn’t get the victory over Motherwell (who?).
Lennon edged his wet nose around the door to see if there were any doggy treats on offer and sure enough, Sir Roderick, still wearing the ‘Morgan’ shirt, glass in hand, gave the pooch a handful of biscuits, then put the snooker on the telly, with Penny asking,
Rod, a bit tipsy after a glass or several of Casillero Del Diablo, started warbling,
‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.’
‘Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again!
Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again!’
Most may think that is an overstatement and in truth, it is just a bit of fun from John Newsome, however, following 4-straight defeats, with a combined total of 17-goals conceded things are looking a bit grim at Elland Rd.
Marcelo Bielsa won’t change his footballing philosophy and the Marsching On Together crew are in awe of the Argentinian legend, however, that philosophy, may just see their idols head back to the Championship.
Leeds United have sacked Marcelo Bielsa.
There was heavy speculation that Mr Bielsa would be down the concrete following the defeat against Tottenham, with the news being confirmed on Sunday.
Jesse Marsch was thought to be coming to Elland Rd, in the summer but the ex-RB Leipzig and Salzburg boss is in now, with the instructions to steady the ship and keep Leeds United in the Premier League.
Agreed, there were mitigating circumstances, in the dreadful results of late, with long term injuries to three of the key players at the club, Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford plus the loss of Robert Koch once again, who was injured for a period early on in the season.
Robert missed the midweek loss against Liverpool, at Anfield, this time with Leeds succumbing to the defeat by a 6-0 scoreline. That was off the back of the Sunday loss against Manchester United.
Most will lose against Liverpool at Anfield but the manner of the defeat on Wednesday could be worrying for all concerned.
Leeds were trailing by 3-goals at half-time, yet Marcelo kept the ineffective Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Dan James on the pitch, taking off Mateusz Klich and Rodrigo and not replacing Dan until the hour mark.
Would it not have been better to shut up shop and bring a couple of defenders on to limit the score to just 3.
Marcelo sent on Tyler Roberts and Jamie Shackleton at the break then swapped Dan James with Joe Gelhardt.
Joe will become a great player but wasn’t needed at Anfield and was a spectator for 30-minutes, watching the Reds in action.
Liverpool’s last 3-goals came after 80-minutes were up on the clock, so Mr Bielsa may consider his substitutions had worked. However, Jurgen’s own substitutes worked too, being influential in the 3-goals scored late on, the final one coming, once again from a corner, that appears to be the Achilles Heel.
It is easier to comment on situations after the event but can anyone say that Leeds United have done anything different over the past 6,7 or 25-games.
The defeat against Liverpool, left Marcelo’s Whites in 15th-place, with 23-points from the 25-fixtures played, before the early Saturday game against Tottenham.
Following that fixture and another defeat, the tune,
‘Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again!
Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again!’
Once again, came to the forefront of the football fraternity.
Tottenham, who themselves were suffering their own crisis of confidence, scored twice in the opening 15-minutes, to stun Marcelo’s Whites.
There was a further goal before the break, then a 4th in the 2nd-half to inflict the defeat on Leeds United, by a 4-0 away-day score.
This prompted the speculation that Mr Bielsa was on his way to the Job Centre, which was confirmed on Sunday.
The Marsching On Together crew will always have a special place in their hearts for Marcelo Bielsa, who took their idols back into the Promised Land after years away and after so many had tried.
Having said that, the defeats were becoming worrying and even the ardent supporters were starting to question Marcelo’s philosophy.
At times, Mr Bielsa looked like an out of work lamplighter waiting for gas to make a comeback. After starting the weekend in 15th-place, Leeds finished a place lower in 16th, with 23-points from 26-played.
After Tuesday’s rearranged game against Leicester, Burnley, who sit in the final relegation place, are 2-points adrift, with 1-extra fixtures to complete, to try and overhaul Jesse’s Whites. Marsching On Together!
In the Game Week-11 fixture back in November, at Elland Rd, Harvey Barnes cancelled out a Raphinha goal, 2-minutes after the Leeds boy scored in the 26th-minute.
With no further goals, both shared the points from a draw by a 1-1 score.
888 Sport offer Leicester at Odds On 3/4, the draw at 57/20 and 3/1 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 11/10 that Patson Daka Scores Anytime and 11/8 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
ASTON VILLA v SOUTHAMPTON
15.00 in England
Aston Villa, who had gone 3-Premier League fixtures without a win, 2-losses and a draw, got a great away-day victory against Brighton at the Amex on Saturday.
Matty Cash scored in the 1st-half, with Ollie Watkins adding a 2nd, after the break to give Stevie G’s Claret and Blues the win by a 2-0 score.
That victory lifts Aston Villa up to 13th, with the same 30-points as Crystal Palace and Leicester, however, Villa have played 2-games less than Patrick’s Eagles and a game more than Brendan’s Wonderful’s.
Southampton got their Game Week-27 fixture out of the way early, taking on Norwich at St Mary’s on Friday Night Football.
Che Adams scored the opener to give the Saints a lead at the break, with Oriol Romeu adding a 2nd, late on in proceedings.
The victory by a 2-0 scoreline, lifted Wreck-its boys up to 9th in the table, with 35-points, from 26-games, the highest that Southampton have been for some time. It’s also the 10th-unbeaten game at St Mary’s.
It’s been well documented in this EveryTip column that John Newsome is a big fan of James Ward-Prowse.
Once again, the Southampton Midfielder was superb on Friday and whilst the Saints faithful wouldn’t want their captain to leave, James should be playing for a Top Four club, ideally Manchester United.
The other Wreck-It Ralph, the sequel at Old Trafford, wouldn’t go far wrong in making an offer for the boy.
In a change to an age-old tradition of the FA Cup, the 5th-Round of the historic competition is taking place in midweek, so that the weekend Premier League fixtures are not compromised.
This has been brought in, initially because of the season-ending earlier this campaign due to the World Cup taking place in November 2022. However, the change will become the norm, mark these words.
That said, there isn’t any real reason why the 5th-Round, shouldn’t take place in midweek. The 5th-Round of the FA Cup, means there are 8-fixtures, obviously comprising 16-teams.
Nine of those 16, are Premier League sides, 6 are from the Championship, meaning 15 of the 16 are from the top 2-divisions of the English pyramid.
The other team competing is Boreham Wood, who play in the National League, which is the 5th-tier of English football.
Boreham Wood are currently 3rd in that league, with a big chance of getting into League 2 at the end of the season.
The reason for all of the above is Southampton are in the last-16, or the 5th-Round of the FA Cup and face West Ham on Wednesday, before this game against Villa.
A single Adam Armstrong goal, in the 3rd-minute, was the difference between the two back in November, giving Ralph’s Saints the victory over Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues, by a 1-0 scoreline. Dean was replaced by Steven, following the defeat at St Mary’s.
888 Sport offer Aston Villa at 5/4, the draw at 12/5 and 39/20 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 8/5 that Ollie Watkins Scores Anytime and 9/5 that Che Adams Scores Anytime.
BURNLEY v CHELSEA
15.00 in England
It was pointed out in last week’s column, that although Burnley were at that point in the relegation places, come this fixture against Chelsea, Sean’s Clarets could have jumped out of the drop-zone, depending on results from the rearranged fixtures against Tottenham and Leicester, plus the scheduled Game Week-27 affair against Crystal Palace.
Burnley stunned Tottenham last Wednesday, in the first of the rearranged games.
Ben Mee scored the only goal of the game at Turf Moor, giving Sean Dyche’s boys back-to-back victories, following the win against Brighton in Game Week-26. At that point, the Clarets had 20-points from just 23-fixtures completed and were 2-adrift of Newcastle.
Then came the weekend fixture against Crystal Palace, where Aaron Lennon’s deflected effort, brought the score level after Burnley had conceded an earlier goal.
With no further strikes, the game finished in a draw by a 1-1 score, leaving Sean’s Boys in the final relegation place, with 21-points from 24-played.
Following those 2, great results, it was a visit from Leicester to Turf Moor on Tuesday, meaning if Burnley achieved a positive result, the Clarets would jump out of the bottom-3.
Unfortunately, Sean’s boys achieved the 3rd of all the results on offer, a defeat, meaning a win, a draw and a loss in the last 3-fixtures.
After holding out for 80-minutes, Leicester scored twice to inflict the defeat on Burnley leaving the Clarets in 18th-place, with 21-points from 25-fixtures played.
One point away from Everton who are the safe team, however, Sean’s men have played a game more than Frank’s new boys.
Chelsea didn’t play in the Premier League last weekend due to competing in the Carabao Cup against Liverpool on Sunday, where Thomas’s Blue Engines, succumbed to a defeat against Jurgen’s Reds, following a penalty shootout. The game finished in a 0-0 scoreline after 120-minutes.
If none are familiar with the word irony, (the Americans aren’t), here’s a little story. In the mid-1990s, Alanis Morrisette wrote a song about it, wrongly!
‘Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think, it’s like rain on your wedding day, it’s a free ride when you are already late!’
Now we like Alanis, cause we do, the girl helped John through some long nights at Woolley Edge back in 1996.
But it’s not ironic if it’s raining on a wedding day, or a free ride when you are late!’ That’s just bad luck.
The irony would be, if a weatherman was getting married, chose the day to get married, then it rained. That would be ironic.
Or winning the lottery and dying the next day, which will no doubt happen to John Newsome. That’s not ironic, the Yanks (or Canadians) don’t understand the word.
Irony means bringing on a goalkeeper, in the final minutes of a Cup Final, replacing the ‘keeper who had started the final, because he’s better at saving penalties, then said goalkeeper misses the penalty, which gifts the opposing team the victory.
Thomas Tuchel did just that.
Isn’t it Ironic, don’t you think?
Everyone loves you, Alanis!
Despite only playing once in February, in the Premier League, on the 19th of, Chelsea remain 3rd in the table, with 50-points, from 25-fixtures played.
Manchester United have closed to within 3-points but Ralph’s Roadsters have played 2-games more than Thomas’s Blue Engine’s.
Probably the real threat for a Top Four finish or even to replace Chelsea, are Arsenal, who are currently 6th in the table, with 45-points, 2-adrift of United and 5 away from the Blues but have only played 24-times, whereas Ralph’s Roadsters have completed 27 and Thomas’s Blue Engines 25.
Added to that, Arsenal have to face both Manchester United and Chelsea before the end of the season.
Chelsea come into this weekend’s Premier League game against Burnley, following a 5th-Round visit to Kenilworth Rd to take on Luton.
At Stamford Bridge, Kai Havertz scored after 33-minutes to give Chelsea the lead at the break.
Unfortunately for Thomas’s Blue Engines, Matej Vydra equalised, with 11-minutes of the 2nd-half remaining, to earn Sean’s Clarets a point from a draw by a 1-1 score.
888 Sport offer Burnley at 25/4, the draw at 31/10 and Odds On 9/20 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 10/3 that Wout Weghorst Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 5/6 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
NEWCASTLE v BRIGHTON
15.00 in England
Newcastle are on a roll, with another great performance at the weekend, resulting in a victory against Brentford at the Wellard Stadium, by a 2-0 score, as predicted in this EveryTip column last week.
Joelinton and Joe Willock, with the Magpies goals, both before the half-time cup of tea. That’s 7-Premier League fixtures unbeaten, with 4-wins and 3-draws.
Before that, there were 2-defeats against Man City and Liverpool. Not a bad turnaround for a club that were dead and buried a few months ago.
A combination of the new owners Saudi Riyal, bringing in Eddie Howe, who in turn has brought in the recruits, have lifted Newcastle up the dizzy heights of 14th, with 25-points from 25-fixtures completed.
Brighton haven’t won in 3 now, following the 3rd-defeat in a row on Saturday, against Aston Villa at the Amex.
After conceding a goal in both halves, Graham Potter’s Seagulls succumbed to the loss by a 2-0 scoreline. Probably the worst of the 3-defeats was against Manchester United, who are just rubbish at the moment.
Harry’s men sit 10th in the table, with 33-points from 26-fixtures played.
Regardless of not winning for a few games, it’s still better than a relegation battle and the Seagulls faithful will be as happy as when they are nicking chips off the punters on the Brighton seafront.
At the Amex, this reverse fixture finished in a draw by a 1-1 scoreline, the 3rd 1-1 score, out of the 10 fixtures over the weekend of early November, with a goalless draw also included, making 4 out of the 10, stalemate.
Leandro Trossard scored 1st for Brighton to give the Seagulls a lead at the break.
Isaac Hayden equalised for the Magpies, midway through the 2nd-half and with no further goals, the game at the Amex finished in the draw.
Robert Sanchez was shown a Red Card for a foul on Callum Wilson, in the 92nd-minute.
888 Sport offer Newcastle at 33/10, the draw at 43/20 and 33/20 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 6/1 that Chris Wood Scores First and 39/20 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
NORWICH v BRENTFORD
15.00 in England
Norwich sit firmly at the foot of the Premier League table following the 3rd-loss in succession, on Friday Night Football, succumbing to an away defeat against Southampton by a 2-0 scoreline.
After a goal was conceded in both halves, Dean Smith’s Boys ultimately lost the game and gave their Yellow Canary faithful a long, late and miserable flight back home to Norfolk.
It was pointed out in last week’s news that Sky Sports and the Premier League had asked the Norwich team and followers to make a 7-hour, 400-mile round trip to Southampton on a Friday evening.
The girls and boys would have been over the moon on the way home, after watching their idols lose. The defeat leaves Norwich at the bottom, with 17-points from 26-fixtures.
There are 12-fixtures remaining to try and get out of the relegation places but time is running out and the gamble to replace Daniel Farke with Dean Smith, hasn’t worked out.
Since the excitable Dan left, Norwich’s results are 3-wins, 9-losses and 3-draws, culminating in 12-points. Mr Farke’s results in the opening 11-fixtures were 1-win, 8-losses and 2-draws, giving an initial 5-points.
Some might say that Dean Smith has improved the fortunes of Norwich, however, Daniel Farke Life’s last game in charge did bring a victory, so it could be argued that Dan would have pushed on from that and achieved more points in the following 15-games than the 12 that Dean has.
In truth that’s all irrelevant and whether it’s Dan or Dean, the Carrow Rd outfit are on their way to the Championship, with the possibility of facing Barnsley FC at Oakwell.
The Super Reds looked destined for relegation to League 1 but following 3-victories from the last 4-outings, the latest, inflicting defeat on Middlesbrough last Saturday by a 3-2 scoreline, there is a slight glimmer of hope that survival is on the horizon.
The superb victory for Barnsley was enhanced following the midweek FA Cup game where Middlesbrough went all the way with Tottenham, inflicting the defeat on Antonio’s Spurs to knock them out.
Although Norwich are struggling in the Premier League, Dean’s Yellow Canary’s competed in the 5th-Round of the FA Cup, in midweek.
Unfortunately, that’s where that particular journey ended as Norwich were drawn against Liverpool at Anfield. One word, Unlucky!
Brentford suffered another loss on Saturday, at home against Newcastle by a 2-0 score.
The Bees didn’t help themselves, with Josh Dasilva receiving a Red Card for a reckless challenge after 10-minutes.
The on-field referee, Mike Dean, initially just gave a foul for the incident but the dreaded VAR intervened and advised Mike to check the pitchside monitor.
Once Mr Dean did this, a Red Card was produced, giving Josh, the opportunity of an early bath.
Both goals were conceded in the 1st-half. Then there was a moment of joy. Trailing by the 2-goals, Thomas Frank introduced Christian Eriksen in the 52nd-minute.
It’s been exactly 259 days, since Mr Eriksen ‘died’ on the pitch, in a Euro 2020 game on the 12th of June 2021.
Christian was playing for Denmark against Finland when the influential Midfielder, collapsed on the pitch, after suffering a Cardiac Arrest.
Once recovered, having had an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) fitted, the Great Dane is back playing and back playing in the Premier League.
As a man who has had heart trouble himself and is fitted with a Pacemaker, John Newsome wishes the lad well for the future. Brentford certainly need him.
Thomas’s Bees sit 15th, with 24-points, however, have played the full complement of 27-fixtures, so could quite easily be dragged into the relegation battle.
The faithful will feel that the early sending off was a huge factor in the defeat at the weekend and the introduction of Christian and the return of Ivan Toney, who had missed 4-games due to injury, gives them hope of another season in the Premier League.
At the Wellard Stadium, back in November, Norwich got the away-day victory by a 2-1 score.
Mathias Normann gave the Canary’s the lead, after 6-minutes, Teemu Pukki converted a penalty to give Norwich the lead at the break.
Rico Henry did score for Brentford in the 2nd-half but the away side held on for the win.
The strange thing about the victory was Norwich then sacked Daniel Farke and brought in Dean Smith, who had just been sacked by Aston Villa.
Dean is the ex-Brentford manager, who Thomas Frank replaced back in October 2018. Everyone up to date?
Football, it’s a funny old game, especially when it comes to Managers.
888 Sport offer Norwich at 47/25, the draw at 41/20 and 6/4 for Brentford to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 8/5 that Teemu Pukki Scores Anytime and 8/5 that Ivan Toney Scores Anytime.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Ben Foster- Watford
RIGHT-BACK- Matty Cash- Aston Villa
CENTRE-BACK- Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa
CENTRE-BACK- John Stones- Man City
LEFT-BACK- Matt Doherty- Tottenham
MIDFIELDER- James Ward-Prowse- Southampton
MIDFIELDER- Dejan Kulusevski- Tottenham
MIDFIELDER- Christian Eriksen- Brentford
FORWARD- Son Heung-Min- Tottenham
FORWARD- Che Adams- Southampton
FORWARD- Harry Kane- Tottenham
STAR MEN- Andriy Yarmolenko- West Ham, Vitaly Mykolenko- Everton, Oleksandr Zinchenko- Man City
WOLVES v CRYSTAL PALACE
15.00 in England
Wolves took the lead against Arsenal at the Emirates last Thursday, with Hwang Hee-Chan taking advantage of a poor back pass by Gabriel that didn’t reach Aaron Ramsdale, leaving Hwang to nip in and coolly slot home from a tight angle.
Arsenal did equalise after the break and with time up on the clock, going into injury time, it looked for all certainty that Bruno’s Gold and Blacks would hold on for a well-earned point.
Unfortunately, Jose Sa was unable to stop a shot from the Gunners players and guided the ball into the net off his big hand. It was then credited as a Mr Sa own goal which was extremely harsh but that’s football at the highest level.
Wolves sat 7th, with 40-points, following the rearranged Arsenal game.
After the weekend fixture against West Ham and another defeat, this time by a 1-0 away-day score, Bruno’s Gold and Blacks, with 40-points, from 26-games played, slip to 8th, which is still a great position for the Lage Louts.
There is a further rearranged fixture, next Thursday, against Watford, after this visit from Crystal Palace.
After going 6-Premier League fixtures without a win, Watford were the ideal opponents to come up against, to get that alluded victory.
That’s exactly what happened last Wednesday, in the rearranged fixture between Roy Hodgson’s Watford and Roy Hodgson’s ex-team, Crystal Palace.
Jean-Phillipe Mateta scored 1st for Palace, with Watford replying soon after.
Conor Gallagher then scored a 2nd for the away team to take the lead at the break.
Wilfried Zaha added 2-more, late on in proceedings to give Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace a victory in the Roy Hodgson Derby, by a 4-1 scoreline.
That rearranged Game Week-18 affair, saw the win lift Palace up to 11th, with 29-points going into last weekend’s fixture against Burnley. Against Burnley, both teams shared the points, from a draw by a 1-1 score.
Jeffrey Schlupp scored to give Crystal Palace an early lead and a lead at the break.
Straight from the restart, Luka Milivojevic, turned an Aaron Lennon shot, past his own ‘keeper Jack Butland to gift Burnley an equaliser and with no further goals, the game finished in the stalemate.
Having now completed the full 27-fixtures on offer, Patrick Vieira’s men sit 11th in the table, with 30-points, the same 30 as Leicester and Aston Villa but having played 2-games more than Villa and 3-more than the Foxes.
Crystal Palace were 1 of 9-Premier League teams that were left in the FA Cup and were pitched against Stoke on Tuesday, getting a victory by a 2-1 scoreline and progressing to the Quarter-Finals.
At Selhurst Park, in November, Patrick’s Eagles got the home victory over Bruno’s Gold and Blacks by a 2-0 scoreline.
After a goalless 1st-half, Wilfried Zaha scored on the hour-mark, with Conor Gallagher adding the 2nd, 15-minutes, or so later, to give the Eagle Ultras a good night on the sauce.
888 Sport offer Wolves at 5/4, the draw at 41/20 and 23/10 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 5/1 that Raul Jimenez Scores First and 51/20 that Wolves Win To Nil.
LIVERPOOL v WEST HAM
17.30 in England
Liverpool hammered Leeds United last Wednesday, with Jurgen’s Reds getting the victory over Marcelo’s Whites by an emphatic 6-0 scoreline.
Mo Salah converted a penalty, the 1st of 2, awarded in the 1st-half that surprisingly, didn’t need much interference from the dreaded VAR.
After a Leeds player had handled the ball, the on-field referee, Michael Oliver, pointed to the spot and although the Stockley Park brigade, wanted to appear busy, it was a penalty without any real complaints from any of the Whites players.
Joel Matip scored a superb individual goal, combining with the Egyptian King, to coolly slot home.
Mo, then converted a 2nd-penalty, again with no real complaints or controversy to give Liverpool the comfortable lead at half-time.
Sadio Mane scored twice, in the final 10-minutes, with Virgil Van Dijk adding the 6th, in injury time, being the last kick (or head!) of the game.
The convincing victory meant Liverpool closed the gap at the top of the table, to 3-points, with both Pep’s High Flying Blues and Jurgen’s Reds having played the same 26-games.
Man City sat at the summit with 63-points and Liverpool in 2nd, having 60-points.
City then went on to win their weekend fixture, to re-establish the 6-point gap as Liverpool didn’t play in the league due to being in the Carabao Cup Final against Chelsea, so now the Reds have the game in hand once more.
Jurgen’s Reds beat Chelsea, in the Carabao Cup Final, by way of a penalty shootout.
After the game finished in a draw by a 0-0 score, 21-converted penalties, meant that it was now the Chelsea ‘keeper, Kepa the Keeper, that was left to take a kick and needed to score.
Kepa, who had only come on in the 119th-minute, to save penalties, missed the spot-kick, to gift Liverpool the Cup. It’s like rain on your Wedding Day.
West Ham got a great professional victory against Wolves on Sunday, just before the Carabao Cup Final.
After a goalless 1st-half at the London Stadium, Tomas Soucek scored the only goal of the game, to give David’s Claret and Blues the victory over Bruno’s Gold and Blacks by a 1-0 score.
That’s 2-wins and 2-draws in an unbeaten set of 4-fixtures, lifting West Ham up to 5th in the Premier League table, with 45-points from the full complement of 27-fixtures on offer.
Two points adrift of Manchester United but the same 45 as Arsenal, who have only played 24-times, so although the Gunners sit 6th, it could be considered that Mikel’s men have the advantage.
Both play in the midweek 5th-Round FA Cup, with Liverpool facing Norwich at Anfield on Wednesday and West Ham against Southampton at St Mary’s, on the same night.
If most can remember, West Ham stunned Liverpool at the London Stadium, with Moyes Boys inflicting the defeat on Jurgen’s Reds by a 3-2 score.
Alisson was credited with the Hammers opener after 4-minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored an equaliser, just before the half-time whistle, to take both teams in level at the break.
Pablo Fornals, restored West Ham’s lead, midway through the 2nd-half, with Kurt Zouma adding a 3rd a few minutes later.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring, as Divock Origi, who had only been on the pitch, for 5-minutes, scored to give the travelling Red faithful, hopes of a comeback.
West Ham held out, for the remaining time and got the narrow victory, sending the Bubbles home ecstatic.
888 Sport offer Liverpool at Odds On 29/100, the draw at 22/5 and 8/1 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
888 Sport offer 14/5 that Mo Salah Scores First and slight Odds On 9/10 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
WATFORD v ARSENAL
14.00 in England
Watford have suffered a defeat and a draw in the 2-previous fixtures before entertaining Arsenal at Vicarage Rd.
First of all, Hodgson’s Hornets lost against Roy’s ex-club, Crystal Palace, in a rearranged Game Week-18 affair last Wednesday.
After conceding an early goal, Moussa Sissoko did score to equalise, however, Watford conceded a 2nd, to go in at the break, trailing.
Patrick’s Eagles then scored a further 2, to inflict the defeat on Roy’s New Boys by a 4-1 scoreline.
Watfords fortunes did improve last weekend, somehow coming away from Old Trafford with a point from a draw by a 0-0 score.
Hodgson’s Hornets sit 2nd-bottom, or 19th of the Premier League table, with 19-points from 26-fixtures played.
That’s 3-points away from safety, Everton being the safe team with 22-points, however, Frank Lampard’s Everton have played 2-games less than Watford so will feel in a false position.
There is a further rearranged fixture, on Thursday, against Wolves, after this Arsenal visit.
Arsenal come into this fixture against Watford, off the back of a victory against Wolves, last Thursday, in a rearranged Game Week-20 affair.
Due to the Carabao Cup Final, the Gunners didn’t play over the weekend, so have had over a week off, 10-days to be exact, before taking on Hodgson’s Hornets today.
Against Wolves, at the Emirates, last time out, Gabriel gave a back pass to Aaron Ramsdale without looking, which allowed Hwang Hee-Chan to nip in and take advantage, scoring to leave the Gunners trailing at the break.
Nicolas Pepe, sent on by Mikel Arteta, in the 71st-minute, equalised with 10-minutes remaining and when it appeared that the game would finish in a draw, Alexandre Lacazette drilled a ball towards goal, that the Wolves ‘keeper, couldn’t keep out and parried the ball into the net, gifting Arsenal the late winner.
In truth, it was harsh to award Jose Sa the own goal as it should have been credited to Alexandre.
The brilliant last gasp victory gave the Gunners 45-points and left them 6th in the table, following last weekend’s set of fixtures.
Having not played, Mikel Arteta’s men slipped a place following Manchester United’s point from a draw and West Ham’s 3, from a victory, meaning Arsenal are now 6th, with the same 45-points as West Ham and 2-adrift of United but with 3-games in hand over both.
The Gunners are 5-points away from Chelsea in 3rd, have a game in hand over the Blues plus both have to face each other at Stamford Bridge before the end of the season.
After a contentious and goalless 1st-half at the Emirates, back in November, Emile Smith-Rowe scored the only goal of the game, to give Arsenal the victory by a 1-0 score.
Contentious because Bukayo Saka had an early goal ruled out and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty. No wonder Mikel got rid.
888 Sport offer Watford at 5/1, the draw at 57/20 and Odds On 8/15 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
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MAN CITY v MANCHESTER UNITED
16.30 in England
Man City got back to winning ways in the late Saturday afternoon kick-off against Everton at Goodison Park.
After the blip against Tottenham the week before, Pep’s High Flying Blues, despite only scoring 1-goal against the Toffees, were in complete control of proceedings and re-established the 6-point gap over Liverpool.
Phil Foden scored the late winner to give Man City the victory by a 1-0 score over Frank Lampard’s Everton.
There was a little bit of controversy soon after Phil’s goal when Roadie Rodri thought he was in San Francisco and went for a 3-pointer, clearly handling the ball.
Both the on-field referee, Paul Tierney and the dreaded VAR, refused to award an obvious penalty.
The Stockley Park gang could be excused as they were watching Ant and Dec’s horrendous Saturday Night Takeaway programme on ITV, instead of the football.
Having not had the penalty awarded against them, Pep’s High Flying Blues got away with one and went on to secure the victory.
In last week’s column, it was mentioned that Pep Guardiola had dropped John Stones from the starting lineup against Tottenham, which John Newsome questioned whether it was the right decision.
The Barnsley Stone was back against Everton, in at Right-Back, in place of Kyle Walker. The mantra was back too. When John Stones plays, City don’t concede.
Man City progressed to the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup, following Tuesday’s victory against a plucky Peterborough United team, by a 2-0 score. Up the Posh!
Profligate is a word that wasn’t known to John Newsome, so was looked up in the Collins English Dictionary. The dictionary meaning is as follows,
‘Profligate-Recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources.’
The word is ideal when describing Manchester United’s display at the weekend, at home against a struggling Watford side. Yes, Watford inflicted a defeat on United at Vicarage Rd, in the reverse fixture.
Yes, Roy Hodgson has a great record at Old Trafford, winning his last 2-games there, plus a draw in the 3rd, gaining 7-points from a possible 9, whilst manager of Crystal Palace.
However, it was certainly down to the United players missing or wasting chance after chance, in front of the Hornet goal and not Mr Hodgson’s tactical MasterPlan.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, even Fred all had the opportunity to score yet all failed, meaning the game finished goalless in the Manchester sun.
It was an ideal opportunity to cement the 4th-place spot, with Arsenal not playing, yet it really does open the door for Mikel’s Gunners to overhaul Ralph’s Roadsters.
United remain 4th, for the time being, with 47-points from 27-fixtures, with Arsenal on the coattails, a couple of points adrift but with 3 extra games to play, plus a fixture against Manchester United at the Emirates.
It was pointed out a couple of months back, that Mr Rangnick’s opening set of fixtures at Old Trafford were favourable and it wasn’t until March when the first real test would come.
Well, March has come around quickly and that first real test is today against the Noisy Neighbours. Let’s see just how much United have improved under Double R, then under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Pep’s High Flying Blues blitzed Ole’s Trollies back in November, getting the victory at Old Trafford by a 2-0 away-day scoreline.
Eric Bailly was credited with an own-goal, with Bernardo Silva adding the 2nd, both in the 1st-half.
There were no further goals after the break but that was due to City taking the foot off the gas, feeling sorry for the Numpty Neighbours.
If one remembers, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only lasted a further game and after losing against Watford, was down the concrete.
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TOTTENHAM v EVERTON
20.00 in England
One will relate to this.
It’s 5 to 2 in Japanese Whispers, the local Nightclub, Antonio Conte is watching a Supermodel, the Supermodel is interested but keeps her distance, however, Mr Conte needs a dance, so is walking around and sees a young lady, she’s not bad, not brilliant but not too shabby, she’s all over him, so he dances then takes her home, she makes a nice sandwich, everyone likes a nice sandwich.
A couple of weeks later, Antonio hears on the grapevine that the Supermodel, who was watching him in Whispers but left early is annoyed that she didn’t talk but now the said Supermodel wants the Italian and not only makes a nice sandwich but has her own private chef and can offer anything.
Antonio Conte looks at his girlfriend and thinks, ‘do I want this ??’
Do I want this forever or can I have the taste of the private chef?
How can I get out of this relationship and head North to the Supermodel?
After the 4th-defeat in the last 5-Premier League fixtures for Tottenham last Wednesday, Antonio Conte looked bewildered and beleaguered and came out with a few unsettling comments. Unsettling, for the Lilywhite faithful that is.
Spurs somehow got one of the results of the season, getting the victory at the Etihad against Man City in Game Week-26, then went back to losing ways, in the rearranged fixture at Turf Moor last Wednesday, succumbing to a defeat by a 1-0 score.
As said, that was the 4th-loss in the last 5-games, before the Leeds fixture, following defeats against Chelsea, Southampton, Wolves then Burnley.
The Chelsea defeat, in the Premier League, was added to the losses in the Carabao Cup, against the Blues in the 2-legged Semi-Final.
Antonio Conte’s comments after the defeat against Burnley were,
‘I came here to help the club and if the problem could be the coach I’m ready to go, no problem.
I am not used to this situation.
I am trying everything but the situation is not changing, I am available and open with the club to do what the club wants.
I want to help the club, I work a lot, I work very hard.
I am giving 20-hours a day to Tottenham and the other four hours I sleep but it is not enough.
The performance can be good and the commitment was good but we lost.
For me the situation is unacceptable.
To lose 4 or 5 for Tottenham has to be a disaster.
I came in to try to improve the situation.
Maybe in this moment, I am not so good to improve the situation.
I am too honest to close my eyes and continue in this way.
For sure we are to speak and have a conversation with the club to try and find the best solution to help the team not have this type of situation.
It is the right moment to make an assessment.
I repeat I am really frustrated.’
Obviously, straight after a game, emotions are running high and after calming down, Mr Conte may have a different perspective on situations but it is still 4-defeats from 5 and things have to improve, otherwise Manchester United may have inadvertently found their new manager.
Maybe after suffering a crisis of confidence and several defeats, a fixture against Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites was the ideal opportunity to get back on track.
That’s exactly what occurred, Tottenham got back to winning ways, on Saturday, in the early kick-off, comfortably getting a victory against Leeds United by an emphatic 4-0 score.
Spurs stunned the home team, scoring twice within the first 15-minutes.
Goals from Matt Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski gave Antonio’s Boys the early advantage, then that man Harry Kane, got on the scoresheet, adding the 3rd, before the half-time cup of tea.
The excellent Son Heung-Min added the 4th, with 5-minutes of the 2nd-half remaining, to inflict the defeat on a devastated set of Whites.
Tottenham sit 7th in the table, with 42-points from 25-fixtures played.
Manchester United, who currently sit in the final Champions League spot, have 47-points, however, Ralph’s Roadsters have played 2-games more than Antonio’s Spurs.
A quick word on Tottenham’s new boy, Dejan Kulusevski.
Not many will have known about the Swedish player, who Antonio Conte brought in from Juventus, in January, initially on loan but should be permanent in the summer.
Dejan was born in Stockholm, to Macedonian parents, so had the option to play for North Macedonia or Sweden.
After turning out for the Macedonian Youths, Mr Kulusevski, opted for Sweden, starring for the Under-21s, then progressing to the full Sweden International Team.
Antonio and Tottenham beat several clubs, for the youngster’s signature, with DK, already showing the Lilywhite faithful, just what a talent the lad is, scoring twice in the 4-games played so far.
Dejan Kulusevski, remember the name!
Wonder if the lad remembers Georgi Hristov?
Unfortunately, Tottenham were knocked out of the FA Cup in midweek, heaping more misery on Antonio Conte, whose face resembled a Bulldog chewing a Wasp after the defeat against Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Everton suffered a defeat last Saturday in the early evening kick-off against Man City at Goodison Park.
City scored the only goal of the game, in the 82nd-minute to run out winners by a 1-0 scoreline.
There was a bit of controversy in the game, which the much-maligned VAR, lived up to their reputation of being dreaded.
Following Man City’s goal, Roadie Rodri, resembling Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors NBA Basketball team, clearly handled the ball inside the penalty area.
The on-field referee, Paul Tierney, waved play on and despite the Stockley Park gang, having several looks at the incident, informed Mr Tierney to continue to play on, with no penalty awarded.
Frank and his Lampard Everton hierarchy, complained to the Premier League regarding the decision and were offered an apology by the PGMOL boss, Mike Riley.
PGMOL is the Professional Game Match Officials Limited. Cheers, Mike!
Mr Riley is not averse to refusing a penalty claim.
Whilst refereeing an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford, in January 1998, Mike refused Barnsley FC a clear penalty when Gary Neville mowed down Andy Liddell in the area.
Even Mr Neville was surprised a spot-kick wasn’t awarded. Just on the wrong decision made at Goodison Park on Saturday, Frank said afterward, ‘We’ve lost a point, because of a professional who cannot do his job right.’
Whilst the decision by both the on-field referee and the dreaded VAR, not to award Everton a penalty, was wrong, it’s not necessarily the case that it cost the Toffees a point.
Just to play Devils Advocate, John Newsome offers up the possibility that Ederson could have saved the penalty or that the Everton player could have completely missed the spot-kick, so the fact that a penalty is given or not given doesn’t automatically mean that a goal would be scored. Ask Kepa Arrizabalaga!
At the end of the game on Saturday, it was still a defeat for Frank Lampard’s Everton and despite the apologies from whoever, the Toffees find themselves in 17th.
Everton have 22-points, 1-more than Burnley but who sit in the final relegation place but have now played a game less, so all is not lost for Mr Lampard.
The two have to play at Turf Moor in another rearranged fixture, the date yet to be confirmed.
Both of these, played in the 5th-Round of the FA Cup, with Tottenham suffering a defeat against Middlesbrough on Tuesday and Everton playing against Boreham Wood on Thursday, with that result unknown at this stage.
Back in November at Goodison Park, both teams failed to trouble the scorers, with the game finishing in a draw by a 0-0 scoreline.
It was Antonio Conte’s first Premier League game in charge of Tottenham after the sacking of Nuno Espírito Santo.
Rafa Benitez was still at the Everton helm but didn’t last much longer. There should be goals today.
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WOLVES v WATFORD
19.30 in England
Wolves have a 23-hour advantage over Watford, playing their previous weekend fixture against Crystal Palace at 15.00 on Saturday, whereas Watford play their Game Week-28 affair against Arsenal, on Sunday at 14.00, meaning Hodgson’s Hornets have less time to recover, before heading to Molineux.
Wolves got the away-day victory at Vicarage Rd, in the Game Week-4 set of fixtures back in early September 2021.
After a goalless 1st-half, Wolves scored the opener in the 74th-minute, with Watford’s Francisco Sierralta credited with an OG.
Hwang Hee-Chan added a 2nd, to give Bruno’s Gold and Blacks the win over Xisco the Disco’s Hornets, by a 2-0 score.
888 Sport offer Wolves at slight Odds On 4/5, the draw at 51/20 and 18/5 for Watford to come away with all 3-points.
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SOUTHAMPTON v NEWCASTLE
19.30 in England
Southampton face Aston Villa, on Saturday, before hosting Newcastle in this rearranged Game Week-21 fixture on the 10th.
A couple of weeks back, Southampton took on Norwich, on Friday Night Football, giving the Canary fans a round trip of 400-miles and a 7-hour, or so journey to and from the South Coast, not getting home until way after midnight.
This time, the Premier League fixture compilers are asking the Toon Army to travel down to Southampton for a 19.30 kick-off.
That works out as a 650-mile, round trip taking approximately 11-hours, meaning the fans and players won’t be home until the milkman comes out on Friday morning.
Cheers, say the Newcastle family. Newcastle are in action on Saturday, against Brighton at St James Park. This reverse was a Game Week-3 fixture played at the end of August at St James Park.
Steve Bruce was still in Newcastle and gained a point from a draw by a 2-2 score. After a goalless 1st-half, the 4-goals were all scored after the break.
Callum Wilson scored the opener for the Magpies, with Mohamed Elyounoussi replying for the Saints.
Allan Saint-Maximin looked to have scored the winner in the 91st-minute but Wreck-It’s boys were having none of it.
James Ward-Prowse, equalised in the 96th, to crush the Toon Army’s dreams of victory and send the watching Saints faithful back on the long journey South, happy seeing their boys gain a point, so late on.
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LEEDS UNITED v ASTON VILLA
19.45 in England
Leeds United come into this rearranged fixture off the back of a game against Leicester at Elland Rd, which was the early Saturday afternoon kick-off and the 1st for Jesse Marsch, since the departure of Marcelo Bielsa.
Following this game on Thursday the 10th, Jesse’s Whites play their next fixture on Sunday.
The same goes for Aston Villa, who play this game on Thursday, then their Game Week-29 affair, against Southampton on Sunday.
In a slight change to proceedings, there are only 3-Saturday fixtures in Game Week-29, with 6-Sunday games and a Monday Night affair.
The anomaly regarding this game is this should have been the reverse fixture, that would have taken place between Christmas and New Year, however, was postponed due to a Covid outbreak.
That meant the Game Week-24 affair has taken place before the 20-tie, with that game at Villa Park, finishing in a very entertaining draw by a 3-3 score.
The goals went in as follows,
9-minutes-Dan James, 30-minutes-Phillipe Coutinho, 38-minutes-Jacob Ramsey, 43-minutes-Jacob Ramsey, 45 (+2) minutes-Dan James and 63-minutes-Diego Llorente.
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NORWICH v CHELSEA
19.30 in England
With Chelsea defeating Luton Town in the 5th-Round of the FA Cup on Wednesday, the Premier League have rearranged another fixture for Thursday the 10th of March, to go with the others, already planned.
Norwich were knocked out of their 5th-Round tie against Liverpool, so come into this game off the back of a Game Week-28 fixture against Brentford.
That means, Dean Smith’s Canary’s plays the Game Week-30 affair before number 29, meaning 3-Premier League fixtures in the space of 8-days.
Whilst this is not ideal and no doubt the Yellow Canary’s will moan, Norwich don’t play again until the 2nd of April.
Unfortunately, that’s the price one pays for all the weaknesses.
Chelsea progressed to the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup eventually getting the victory over a stubborn set of Hatter’s.
Due to that progression, this fixture against Norwich has been changed to the 10th.
Thomas’s Blue Engines will have played against Burnley before this game and will still be 3rd in the table, regardless of the result at Turf Moor.
At Stamford Bridge back in late October, the Blues were simply Magnificent, scoring 7-goals against a lame set of Yellow Canary’s.
Goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, a Norwich own-goal, added to a Mason Mount hat-trick, gave Thomas Tuchel the victory over his fellow German Manager, Daniel Farke, by a 7-0 scoreline.
Norwich’s Ben Gibson received 2-Yellow Cards and the ultimate Red, in the space of 10-minutes, to beat his mates into the showers.
Although Daniel’s Exciteables were reduced to 10-men, the score was 5-0 at the time of Big Ben’s indiscretion.
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