The highlight games for this weekend’s action are WEST HAM versus ARSENAL and ASTON VILLA versus TOTTENHAM. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 29 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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FULHAM v LEEDS UNITED
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
When fighting a relegation battle, probably the last fixture a team wants is the visit of Pep’s High Flying City, which is just what Fulham had to endure late Saturday evening.
Whilst all the married girls and boys were watching The Voice Uk, the lucky single woman and men were watching the football and watching Scott Parker, in fancy dress, getting taught a managerial lesson by the numero uno.
The UK is added to the Voice, to show which part of the world, the dreadful warblers come from. For example, The Voice, France have singers, not only warbling horrendously but in French too.
Chanson d’amour, ra da da da da, play encore,
Here in my heart, ra da da da da, more and more.
Chanson d’amour, ra da da da da, Je t’adore.
Each time I hear, ra da da da da, Chanson, chanson, d’amour.
Talking of singing, in a recent Zoom call the teacher made to her students, she asked the children to name a song that mentions a dog.
There were a few answers, including Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’, Donny Osmond’s ‘Puppy Love’, AC/DC’s Givin’ the Dog a Bone and Baha Men’s classic ‘Who let the Dogs Out?’ One little monster replied, Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’
The teacher looked confused and said that Frank’s song doesn’t mention a doggy. The little one answered, ‘Yes, it does Miss!’ and started singing, ‘Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, Scooby Dooby Doo’
Fulham may have been lulled into a false sense of security following the terrific victory against Liverpool at Anfield last time out but whilst it was a terrific result, everyone is beating Jurgen’s Reds at the moment.
After a goalless 1st-half, the Cottagers conceded 3, to succumb to a defeat by a 3-0 scoreline. The last of the goals coming from the penalty spot.
In the last EveryTip column, a 3-0 victory for Man City was predicted. Fulham remain in the bottom-3, with 26-points from 29-fixtures completed and are 2-points from safety. Newcastle, the team Scott’s Boys are chasing, have 28-points but significantly, have only played 28 times. Leeds United earned a great point in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Chelsea at Elland Rd.
The weather played a part in the goalless draw, with the rain and wind that hit Yorkshire and surrounding areas affecting the game.
The Whites actually missed a great opportunity to get a victory against the Blues with Thomas Tuchel, picking a strange starting lineup, having no real Centre-Forward, somehow deciding that Kai Havertz was a better choice than Olivier Giroud, who sat warming the bench for the whole 90-minutes.
Leeds were unfortunate to have their talented Centre-Forward and ex-Chelsea lad, Patrick Bamford, suffer an injury after half an hour, being replaced by Rodrigo. Whilst nothing is certain in football, or for that matter, life, it’s thought that Leeds United would have got the victory if Patrick had stayed on.
Rodrigo, was himself, replaced after 79, meaning the lad only played 44-minutes. Roddy Boy didn’t appear to be injured and wasn’t exactly enamoured by getting the Marcelo hook.
In the previous 18, fixtures, Marcelo’s Whites have either won or lost, with the draw against Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines, being just the 3rd of the campaign.
From the 28-fixtures completed, Leeds have Won-11, Lost-14 and Drawn-3, which the Math (American) experts out there will know is 36-points.
Compare that to Fulham’s 29-fixtures, Won-5, Lost-13 and Drawn-11, although almost as many defeats as Leeds, the wins as opposed to the draws, have given Marcelo’s Whites, 10-points more than Ronald McDonald’s Cottagers.
As mentioned in previous columns regarding Leeds United and Fulham, Marcelo Bielsa instils in his team to go for the victory and if a defeat occurs, then so be it. Fulham, on the other hand, appear to settle for the draw.
A team can, in theory, go unbeaten throughout the season and still get relegated, as 38-draws may not be enough to prevent the drop. If Fulham are eventually relegated, the ‘Drawn’ column will be the mitigating factor.
At Elland Rd at the beginning of the season in Game Week-2, Leeds had their 2nd successive fixture finish in a 4-3 scoreline, this time in favour or the hosts after the opening day defeat against Liverpool, by the same 4-3 score.
Helda Costa opened the scoring after 5-minutes, which was then followed by 2-penalties awarded, one to each team.
Fulham equalised through Aleksandar Mitrovic with their spot-kick, which was quickly followed by Mateusz Klich giving Leeds the lead at the break. Patrick Bamford and a 2nd from Helda Costa gave the Whites a 4-1 advantage early in the 2nd-half.
Fulham then staged a comeback with Bobby Decordova-Reid, who had only been on the pitch 4-minutes, scoring to make it 4-2, followed by Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring his 2nd of the game to give the travelling cardboard Cottagers hope of a point.
Fortunately for Leeds United and unfortunately for Fulham, time ran out with Marcelo’s Boys getting the victory.
Bet 365 offer Fulham at 11/8, the draw at 13/5 and 7/4 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Patrick Bamford Scored First and 3/1 that Leeds United Score in Both Halves.
BRIGHTON v NEWCASTLE
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Brighton got a professional victory by a 2-1 scoreline on Sunday at St Mary’s against the South Coast rivals, Southampton. Lewis Dunk scored a superb header in the 1st-half but the Saints quickly equalised to take both teams in level at the break.
Leandro Trossard scored the winner, just after the restart, with the Seagulls never really troubled for the remainder of the game.
The valuable 3-points gained, gives Graham Potter’s men 29 from 28-fixtures played and importantly, leapfrog today’s opponents into 16th-place, 3-points more than Fulham who sit in the final relegation spot.
It looks like Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion have gone, which leaves 1-place remaining, for a trip back to the Championship and any of Fulham, Newcastle, Brighton and possibly Burnley and Southampton who both have 33-points, could be that 1.
Wolves have 35-points and look safe, so it does appear the final relegation place is up for grabs, so to speak, with this fixture at the Amex being a massive game in the context of the situation.
It seems an age since Newcastle last played and even longer since the Magpies got a victory.
It was last Friday night that Jamaal Lascelles scored a vital last gasp equaliser in the 94th-minute to earn Steve Bruce’s Black and Whites a priceless point that gives Newcastle 28 from 28-fixtures played and keeps them just above the drop-zone.
Whilst not many are happy with Big Brucey, his team are missing the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson and although haven’t seen a victory in 5-games, have drawn the last 3, which is keeping the Magpies head above the relegation water.
Newcastle’s final 2 games are against Sheffield United and Fulham, so Steve will feel that if he keeps his team solid over the next 8-games, the final 2 could be the difference between staying in the Premier League or heading for the Championship.
As this is only a short column due to 7 of the Premier League teams playing in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, it’s worth including a bit on a possible addition to the Premier League for next season.
Regular readers of this EveryTip column will know that John Newsome is a massive Barnsley FC fan.
These next few paragraphs are taken from an EveryTip/John Newsome column published last April during the first lockdown, entitled, ‘10 Interesting English Premier League Records and Statistics’ ‘5. Blackpool, Barnsley FC, Swindon Town
There have been 3-teams out of the 49, that have only had the honour of spending just a solitary season in the Premier League, Blackpool, Swindon and Barnsley FC, with Barnsley spending the 1997/98 campaign in the Promised Land.
In that particular season, the Reds accrued 35-points from the 38-games, 5-more than Swindon’s total, which, is worth mentioning that in their solitary stint in the Premier League in 1993/94, the season was a 42-game affair, with there being 22-clubs in the league.
Earlier, there were a few mentions of players that have graced the legendary Oakwell turf over the years both for Barnsley FC and the opposition.
In the 1980s, Barnsley had some great players in their side, such as Martin New, Bobby Horn, Phil Chambers, Joe Joyce, Bobby Collins, Mick McCarthy, Ian Evans, Neil Cooper, Ray McHale, Ian Banks, Ronnie Glavin, Mike Lester, Trevor Aylott, Derek Parker, Bobby Downes, Glyn Riley, Stuart Barrowclough, Colin Walker and Winston Campbell.
In 1981, as a Division 2 outfit, Barnsley demolished Brighton who were a Top Flight club, in the League Cup, with goals from Ronnie Glavin, Mick McCarthy and a couple from Trevor Aylott, defeating the Seagulls by a 4-1 scoreline.
A Brighton team that included the legendary headband wearing Steve Foster, original hardman Jimmy Case, Michael Robinson, who went on to play for Liverpool and Osasuna, Gordon Smith, who missed a last-minute sitter in the 1983-FA Cup Final against Manchester United that would have given Brighton the cup and Andy Ritchie, who the Seagulls got from United, went on to manage Barnsley FC and was the Reds manager that gained promotion in 2006 back to the Championship. Not a bad Brighton side that Barnsley took to pieces.
In the following round, Barnsley were again drawn at home against Man City, who were in Division 1, the equivalent of the Premier League, with players including, Joe Corrigan, Ray Ranson, Kevin Bond, Tommy Caton, Bobby McDonald, Dennis Tueart, Nicky Reid, Asa Hartford, Tommy Hutchinson, Kevin Reeves and Phil Boyer.
Seven of those players had played in the FA Cup Final 6-months earlier that firstly drew with Tottenham by a 1-1 scoreline, then lost the replay 3-2, with the famous Ricky Villa goal.
In front of 34,000, one of the largest attendances ever at Oakwell, a single Trevor Aylott goal gave the Reds a stunning 1-0 victory. Barnsley were then given the honour of an away tie against the current European Cup holders, Liverpool.
When it’s said ‘the current’ Liverpool were the current European Cup winners in January 1982, when the League Cup Quarter-Final between Liverpool and Barnsley was played at Anfield.
The Liverpool team, that foggy, misty night, included Bruce Grobbelaar, Phil Neal, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Alan Kennedy, Terry McDermott, Graham Souness, Ronnie Whelan, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.
Neal, Thompson, Kennedy, Hansen, McDermott, Dalglish and Souness all won the European Cup 8-months earlier, getting a 1-0 victory against Real Madrid.
Norman ‘bite yer legs’ Hunter, the Barnsley manager on the day, made 2-enforced changes to his starting eleven from the victory against Man City in the previous round, replacing the injured Ronnie Glavin and Glyn Riley, with Neal Cooper and Colin Walker.
Second Division Barnsley came away from Anfield with a brilliant 0-0 draw against the European Champions on their own turf. Although the Reds of Yorkshire’s goal was still intact, there were some buses and coaches that sustained a few injuries on the way in and out of Merseyside.
Ask this question today, would a 12-year old boy or girl, go, or be allowed to go, to an away night match at Anfield on his or her own? This EveryTip contributor did!
Granted it was on a club coach with about 10,000 other Barnsley fans but he was still on his own.
In fact, in the 51-years this boy has been alive, the mad Barnsley FC fan has never seen his beloved team lose at Anfield, with 2-Wins and a Draw on his record.’
There were some great articles wrote and published by EveryTip in the first lockdown last year, that are well worth a revisit if one needs a bit of light-hearted reading.
Barnsley FC currently sit 6th, the final play-off position in the Championship table, with 61-points, 18-behind Norwich who sit proudly at the top and will be promoted back to the Premier League, having 10-points more than the closest rivals.
The Super Reds have won 8 out of the last 11 Championship games, with the others being draws, 11 unbeaten.
The only team to beat Valerien Ismael’s men since mid-January is Chelsea and Thomas’s Blue Engines struggled in the FA Cup tie.
Norwich, who are running away with the title have 25-points from the previous 10-fixtures, Barnsley have 26 and are rivalling the Canaries as the form team of the moment. In the remaining 10-fixtures, the Super Reds face, 8-teams who are below them and all 3, currently in the relegation places.
There’s a game against Reading, who have the same 61-points as Barnsley and then the final fixture of the campaign, at the original Theatre of Dreams, Oakwell, against Norwich, who hopefully will be on the beach by then, home and hosed as Champions.
Watford, who currently occupy the other automatic promotion place, with 69-points, have to play 4 of the Top 6, in their remaining fixtures, those of Reading, Norwich, Brentford and Swansea, so all 5 of the teams above Barnsley, will be taking points off each other.
No one is suggesting that Barnsley can make up the 8-point gap to finish in the automatic promotion place but it’s not completely un-achievable, considering the remaining fixtures.
As a Barnsley FC fan, a play-off place would be a dream, after the last few seasons but to finish behind Norwich in 2nd and match the 1996/97 season would be truly magical. Come on you Reds!
In Game Week-2, at St James Park, Brighton got a great away-day victory by a 3-0 scoreline. Neal Maupay scored twice in the 1st, 7-minutes, with Arron Connelly adding the 3rd in the 83rd-minute, to get the convincing win.
However, even after leading 3-0, with minutes remaining, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma managed to receive a straight Red Card, allowing him to run the baths for his teammates.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at slight Odds On 8/13, the draw at 5/2 and 11/2 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/1 that there is a 0-0 Scoreline and 2/1 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
WEST HAM v ARSENAL
Sky Sports 15.00 in England
Late on Sunday, West Ham headed to Old Trafford with David Moyes hoping to gain revenge, still smarting from being sacked as Manchester United boss, following a disastrous 10-months in charge of the Red Devil’s back in 2013/14.
A lot have said that David didn’t get the time he deserved in Manchester but in truth, the true United faithful knew that there wasn’t a future for the dour Scot.
It was understandable that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Mr Moyes to follow him in his footsteps and whether Fergie had the last say on the appointment isn’t known but David started off at Old Trafford on the wrong foot and it went downhill straight away.
Instead of just turning up, getting out a deck-chair, lighting up a Cee-gar and instructing the current Premier League Champions at the time to, ‘Crack on lads!’
Big David got rid of the previous United coaching staff, experienced men such as Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen, who were as instrumental to the winning formula as Sir Alex.
Another subconscious factor was, Mr Ferguson was a striker, Mr Moyes was a defender, 2 contrasting philosophy’s on how the game should be played.
The Red Devil’s faithful including the cardboard mob, demand free-flowing attacking football. David Moyes didn’t bring that and his tenure in Manchester was limited within weeks of the start.
If a question was asked, ‘What was the scoreline in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Manchester United fixture?’ Would many guess that it was an incredible 5-5 draw against West Brom?
There was a Belgium player, who came on at half-time for the Baggies and scored a hat-trick. That Belgium striker is scoring for fun in Italy for Internacionale. Maybe Manchester United should take a look at him? Romelu Lukaku being his name. Strange that.
David Moyes Hammers were unfortunate in the fact that Jesse Lingard wasn’t allowed to play, late on Sunday evening, being on loan from United.
B and Q were unfortunate too, not being open as the Orange DIY store would surely have been invaded with customers, purchasing paint to put on walls, fences, dogs and cats, then sitting and watching it dry, as it would have provided more entertainment than West Ham’s trip up North.
Craig Dawson was credited with Manchester United’s solitary winning goal, heading the ball past his own ‘keeper to ultimately inflict a defeat on the Bubbles. With Jesse in a Claret and Blue shirt, West Ham maybe would have come away with at least a point. David Moyes Boys, remain in 5th-place, with 48-points from 28-fixtures.
What the Bubbles can take as a positive is all of Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham, the teams in and around the Hammers, didn’t win at the weekend so not much as changed in the fight for a Champions League place.
Chelsea have 51-points but significantly, have played a game more than West Ham, Everton and Tottenham. Jesse will be straight back into a Bubbles shirt for this London Derby.
Arsenal beat fellow North London rivals on Sunday, coming from a goal behind to inflict a defeat on Tottenham by a 2-1 scoreline.
Spurs took the lead after 33-minutes but the Gunners equalised on the stroke of half-time to take both teams in level at the break. Martin Odegaard with the goal.
Arsenal were then awarded a penalty midway through the 2nd-half for a foul on Alexandre Lacazette.
From a distance (sat on the couch in Barnsley) the penalty looked harsh on Tottenham and it would have been a great idea if there was a system where, someone, maybe sat watching several Television screens, who could give a 2nd-opinion on a contentious decision and inform the on-field referee that a mistake had been made.
Alexandre wasn’t bothered, the French lad jumped up and coolly converted the spot-kick to give Mikel Arteta the victory over Jose Mourinho. Dracula wasn’t happy! The Gunners sit 10th in the table, with 41-points, from 28-fixtures. Four-points behind Tottenham and 7-points away from today’s opponents.
Arsenal got the London bragging rights back in mid-September, beating West Ham by a 2-1 scoreline.
On the stroke of half-time, Michail Antonio equalised an earlier Alexandre Lacazette goal to take both teams in level at the break.
The Gunners left it late to get the victory with Eddie Nketiah scoring the winner with 5-minutes remaining.
Bet 365 offer West Ham at 19/10, the draw at 12/5 and 7/5 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 that Jesse Lingard Scores Anytime and 12/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
ASTON VILLA v TOTTENHAM
Sky Sports 19.30 in England
It looked for all purpose that Aston Villa would get the victory last Friday evening, away at St James Park against Newcastle. There wasn’t much action until the 86th-minute when the Magpies scored an own-goal to give Villa the lead.
Unfortunately, the bad dog walker was on show as Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues couldn’t hold on to the lead and conceded a very late equaliser in the 94th-minute to give both teams a share of the points.
In the 5-fixtures that Villa have played without Jack Grealish, Dean’s boys have won-1, lost-2 and drawn-2, so the Villains will be wanting their star-man to return to the starting eleven pretty soon.
Aston Villa have 41-points, the same as Arsenal, 4 behind today’s visitors and sit in 9th but have only completed 27-fixtures, not the 28, Tottenham have. A victory here, plus 3-points from the game in hand, would elevate Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues above Jose Mourinho’s LilyWhites.
Despite taking the lead against the North London rivals Arsenal, at the Emirates on Sunday, via a potential Goal of the Season contender, the bad dog walker that was on show a couple of days earlier in Newcastle, was in situ in London.
Erik Lamela scored a superb goal, that the youths call a Rabona, to give Tottenham the lead. A Rabona is when one leg, goes behind the other leg and kicks the ball.
John Newsome tried this later on in the evening after a glass of wine and ended up in Casualty! Unfortunately, Spurs couldn’t hold on to the lead and conceded a Gunner’s equaliser a minute before the break.
Midway through the 2nd-half, it was adjudged that Davinson Sanchez brought down Alexandre Lacazette in the area, which the on-field referee Michael Oliver deemed a penalty and pointed to the spot.
The dreaded VAR, who were watching Songs of Praise on BBC 2, didn’t want to get involved and despite protests from the Tottenham players, the penalty stood and Arsenal converted to go in front.
A significant factor in the result came early on in proceedings when Son Heung-Min got injured in the 19th-minute which affected the whole dynamic of Jose’s tactics.
Nice-One Son’s replacement, Erik Lamela scored the superb Rabona, then received 2, 2nd-half Yellow Card’s, within the space of 7-minutes, that ultimately saw the lad beat his teammates into the showers, leaving Tottenham to play the remaining 15-minutes, a man light.
The slight positive that Jose Mourinho can take from the defeat, by a 2-1 scoreline, is all of Everton, West Ham and Chelsea, the teams immediately above Spurs, failed to win, with both the Toffees and the Bubbles losing and Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines earning a draw.
Tottenham sit in 7th, with 45-points, a place and 4 more than today’s hosts but from 28-games played, not the 27 Aston Villa have completed.
These two haven’t met this season with this original fixture, scheduled in January, being postponed due to the Coronavirus situation.
At Villa Park last term, this game took place in February 2020, in front of a pre-lockdown full-housed 41,000 fans, which hopefully will soon become the norm once again. Tottenham got the better of Aston Villa in a 5-goal thriller, getting the away-day victory by a 3-2 scoreline.
Toby Alderweireld opened the scoring for Villa, the Eagle-Eyed will know that Toby is a Tottenham player, meaning Aston Villa’s opener was an OG. Amazingly, Mr Alderweireld made up for his indiscretion by levelling for Tottenham, just before the half-hour mark.
Tottenham were then awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time that Son Heung-Min took, which was initially saved but Son converted the rebound to give Spurs the half-time lead.
Bjorn Engels scored for Dean Smith’s boys just after the restart and with time running out, it looked like both would share the points until Nice-One Son scored the winner in the 94th-minute. Nice one!
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 21/10, the draw at 12/5 and 5/4 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/4 that Harry Kane Scores First and 10/3 that Tottenham Win To Nil.
Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to offer his input and has kindly given his predictions for the weekend fixtures.
Fulham 1 v Leeds United 2
Brighton 2 v Newcastle 1
West Ham 1 v Arsenal 1
Aston Villa 1 v Tottenham 2
JP had 4-Correct Results from the Game Week-28 fixtures but significantly, Jon had 0-Correct Scores.
John Newsome had 5-Correct Results with 2-Correct Scores from the EveryTip Game Week-28 Preview.