The highlight games for this weekend’s action are CHELSEA versus WEST BROM and ARSENAL versus LIVERPOOL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 30 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.
Please note all prices quoted below were correct at the time of publication.
CHELSEA v WEST BROM
BT Sport 12.30 in England
The Easter Eggs are kicking about for the return of the Premier League after the International break, where the Three Lions took on the mighty San Marino, Albania and Poland gaining comfortable victories.
Since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel renamed Chelsea from Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea as well as other names involving Tank Engines, the Blues have played 14-times in all competitions, winning 10 and drawing the other 4.
Six of those 10-victories are in Premier League fixtures with all 4-draws also being in the league games. The Math experts out there will know that TT has amassed 22-points from 10-Premier League fixtures.
Frank had 19-points from his opening 10-games, made up of 5-victories, 4-draws and 1-loss, with 29-points from the 19-fixtures Frank had in total.
Even in these early days of Thomas’s tenure at Stamford Bridge, Roman Abramovich’s decision to rename Frank Lampard’s Chelsea is starting to prove the right one.
With the sacking of Frank coming exactly halfway through the season (after 19-games), it’s an easy comparison to make as to whether Thomas and his Blue Engines are a better ask than Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Before the International break, Chelsea progressed to the Semi-Final of the FA Cup and the Quarter-Final of the Champions League and look well placed to at least continue in the European competition with a favourable draw against Porto.
However, in the FA Cup, Thomas will have his work cut out to get to the Wembley Showpiece, having been paired with Pep’s High Flying City, which will be TT’s first real test.
Come kick-off on the 3rd of April, It will be exactly 21-days since Chelsea last competed in the Premier League gaining an away-day point from a goalless draw against Leeds United at Elland Rd. There’s a term called ‘the Business End of the Season’ which refers to the final few weeks of the football season.
This is now the business end for Chelsea and the top sides with the fixtures, in all competitions, coming thick and fast.
In April Thomas’s Blue Engines have 6-games, covering the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup, plus a fixture against Brighton yet to be re-arranged. Compare that to today’s opponents who play 4-times throughout the month.
West Brom, themselves, last played on the 13th of March, 21-days ago come the start of this fixture at Stamford Bridge with another defeat, this time against Crystal Palace, meaning Big Sam’s boys remain in the bottom-3.
The Baggies have 18-points with 9-fixtures left, 10-points from safety and although not mathematically confirmed, it does look like Sam Allardyce will have a relegated team on his CV for the first time in his managerial career.
To avoid that unwanted statistic, West Brom would have to win 4-more games than Newcastle, considering the Baggies have only won 3-times all season, to win 4 from 9 and then hope Newcastle don’t pick up points, is a tough ask.
Technically Newcastle could play their part in the scenario but West Brom have to win games, fixtures that include this tough one at Stamford Bridge, Leicester away, Arsenal away, Liverpool at home, West Ham at home, plus Midland Derby’s against Aston Villa and Wolves.
With a home fixture against Southampton and a final away-day fixture against Marcelo’s Whites at Elland Rd, completing the Baggies season. If Big Sam gets to the final day, needing a result against Leeds United to stay up, two words spring to mind, ‘Good’ and ‘Luck’.
With both teams under the leadership of different managers, West Brom gained a point from one of their best results of the season against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, at The Hawthorns in September.
A brace from Callum Robinson and a Kyle Bartley tap in just before the half-hour mark gave Slaven Bilic’s Baggies a 3-0 lead at the break.
Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and a 93rd-minute Tammy Abraham goal gave both teams a share of the points from a draw by a 3-3 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at Odds On 2/11, the draw at 11/2 and 14/1 for West Brom to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/4 that Christian Pulisic Scores Anytime and 6/4 that Chelsea Win Both Halves.
LEEDS UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED
Amazon Prime 15.00 in England
The Paul Heckinbottom Derby!
Leeds United were one of just 8-teams that played a Premier League fixture, whilst the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup took place.
In the Friday Night offering away against Fulham, Marcelo’s Whites overcame the London voodoo, which had not seen Leeds gain a victory in the Capital in 16-games, since December 2017, when the Whites beat Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Rd, by a 3-1 scoreline.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men are closing in on another away-day record, with the latest victory against Fulham at Craven Cottage last Friday, being the 7th-away win of the campaign, from 15-trips, losing the other 8.
Wigan, in the 2005/06 season, registered 8-away victories, which is a 15-year old record for a newly promoted outfit. Before that, Ipswich had 9-away-day victories from a 38-game season, in the 2000/01 season and then Wigan followed.
The record for the most away wins in a season is 10, by Nottingham Forest in 1994/95, however, that was from a 42-game campaign, with their being 22-teams in the Premier League, in that particular period.
With 1-away win left, from fixtures against Man City, Burnley, Brighton and Southampton, to equal Wigan’s 15-year record, it is a reflection of how successful and effective the Whites have been in 2020/21.
Beating Pep’s High Flying City at the Etihad is a big ask but against Burnley, Brighton and Southampton, 10-away victories in a season is certainly achievable.
At Craven Cottage, last week, Patrick Bamford opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.
Fulham equalised before the break, to take both teams in level.
The excellent Raphinha, who is fast becoming a star that the so-called big boys, will be definitely looking at this summer, scored the winner to end the London curse and give Leeds United the victory by a 2-1 scoreline, as predicted in this EveryTip column.
The column also predicted Patrick would score first and that Leeds score in both halves.
That was the first win in 4-games, which leaves the Whites 11th in the table with 39-points from 29-fixtures completed.
When Marcelo has Patrick Bamford, Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips available, the Elland Rd outfit are a match for anyone.
It’s just, at times, Mr Bielsa hasn’t been able to call upon the 3 influential players due to different reasons throughout the season. But with the 3 available, along with Luke Ayling, who is very close to an England call-up, Liam Cooper and the excellent young goalkeeper, Illan Meslier, who has just turned 21, on the 2nd of March and will soon be the next French stopper. Once Hugo Lloris hangs up his International gloves, Leeds United will match anyone, including the top boys.
It’s thought that there’s a certain Norwegian manager, currently in situ, further down the M62, that would love to have Mr Phillips in his midfield.
As mentioned in previous columns, Leeds seldom draw games, whereas others are happy to play for a point.
It’s win or bust for Marcelo Bielsa which is how football should be played. Sir Alex Ferguson always played that way, score more goals than the opponents, go for the win and if a loss occurs, so be it.
Peter Lorimer, a legend at Elland Rd, sadly passed away last week. Born in Dundee, Scotland, Peter came down to West Yorkshire in the early 1960s and whilst the Premier League fans think Arron Lennon and James Milner are Leeds United’s youngest ever players, football did exist before the game now known.
Peter Lorimer is Leeds United’s youngest ever first-team debutant just short of his 16th birthday, his powerful shots on goal earned him the nicknames “Lash” and “Hotshot” from the fans, especially after a newspaper recorded one of his shots at 90-Miles Per Hour.
Lash’s shooting aside, Big Pete was a superb Right-Winger and his crosses to the Whites forwards were deadly accurate.
However, Hotshot Lorimer will be remembered for his blistering shooting skills in his 2-stints with Leeds United, which resulted in 238 goals in a total of 676 games.
Capped 21-times for Scotland, Peter also played in Canada, South Africa and Israel, as well as the North American Soccer League (mentioned further down in the Leicester Preview) before finally hanging up his scorched boots in the mid-1980s.
In a list of Leeds United’s Top 100 players of all-time, Peter ranks 2nd, behind the great Billy Bremner, his Scotland team-mate.
Whilst Leeds United were playing in the Premier League, Sheffield United were losing in the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The title above ‘The Paul Heckinbottom Derby’ refers to the fact that the Barnsley lad is currently at the helm of the Bramall Lane Blunts.
Paul also had, some will say, a disastrous tenure at Elland Rd before Marcelo was coaxed into the job.
Mr Bielsa will no doubt have a nice bottle of Chilean red wine for Heckie, to say thank you for vacating the position allowing the legendary manager to arrive in West Yorkshire.
Ironically, Mr Heckinbottom’s 1st game in charge of Leeds United back in February 2018, was against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, where a Chris Wilder led Blades team inflicted an opening defeat for Paul, who had taken over at Elland Rd, following the departure of Neil Warnock.
At the time Paul Heckinbottom was manager of his home town club and had overseen the Super Reds promotion back to the Championship from League 1, in the 2015/16 campaign.
After a year and a bit as a Championship manager, Leeds United came calling and whilst there was a lot of bitterness towards Heckie from the Oakwell faithful, no one can begrudge the lad from earning a few quid more, which he certainly did over the border in West Yorkshire, than in South Yorkshire.
Just as Leeds United sacked Paul at the end of the 2017/18 season, Barnsley were relegated back to League 1, or as the old boys and girls will remember it as Division 3.
After a spell in the Scottish Pub League with Hibernian (who?) Paul found himself back in South Yorkshire as the Under-23 coach for Sheffield United.
Following Happy Chris’s departure from Bramall Lane, Paul Heckinbottom is now the interim-manager overseeing the Blades impending exit from the Premier League and the FA Cup, which, to be fair to the Barnsley boy, Chelsea are different class at the minute and Sheffield United were never expected to progress.
Despite the defeat against Thomas’s Blue Engines by a 2-0 scoreline, it was one of Sheffield United’s better performances of the campaign.
The Sheffield folk make a point of calling their more intellectual South Yorkshire neighbours as ‘Dingles’ with the Barnsley Boys and Girls referring to the Sheffield mob as ‘Dee-Dars.’ The reason being is, a Sheffield resident will start off the usually pointless sentence with, ‘What dar doing dee?’ Meaning, ‘What are you up to?’
James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, was tempted to put the Badminton on the Red Button when his 2nd-footballing love were facing the Blue Engines. It was pointed out to young Jimbo that the ‘Dingle’ Paul Heckinbottom had enhanced his beloved Blunts.
Jason Tindall, who was the manager at Bournemouth and was assistant to Eddie Howe at the Vitality, as come into Bramall Lane to help Heckie, which could just mean that Eddie is on his way to the Sheffield boys at the end of the season to be the manager for the start of the Championship campaign next term.
The Blades sit rock bottom with 14-points from 29-fixtures and will be relegated, it’s just a matter of when, not if.
It’s believed that Chris Wilder wanted £4 Million to leave Sheffield United, £4 Million to leave!
The owners rightly told Wacky Wilder to ‘do one’ and said Big Chris could leave but was only getting a packet of woodbine, a gallon of magnet and a greasy chip butty, it was up to Happy Boy as to whether he wanted salt and vinegar on it.
Happy Chris is still not happy, however, the little Blunt who attempts to mend cars, is over the moon that his first footballing love, Barnsley FC are cementing their place in the Championship play-offs and the faithful are daring to dream.
Despite a setback before the International break, against the other Sheffield club, Wednesday, where the Owls had their cup-final against their superior neighbours, had a lot of luck and ended Barnsley’s 12-game unbeaten run.
Barnsley sit 5th in the Championship table, with 64-points from 38-fixtures completed and have 5-points more than the 7th-place team, coincidentally Bournemouth, with 8-games remaining.
Twenty-four points to play for, the Cherries having to make up 5 on the Reds, basically meaning if Barnsley win the remaining 8, a play-off place is in the bag and that’s assuming Bournemouth win all their remaining 9-fixtures.
The Math experts will know that that’s the worst-case scenario for the Yorkshire club.
John Newsome has done a podcast on Barnsley with TheHalftimePie, which is worth a listen if one needs help getting off to sleep.
At Bramall Lane back in September 2020, Patrick Bamford scored a very late goal in the 88th-minute to give the West Yorkshire team the bragging rights over their South Yorkshire rivals.
Bet 365 offer Leeds United at Odds On 1/2, the draw at 16/5 and 11/2 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 that Patrick Bamford Scores First and 11/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
LEICESTER v MAN CITY
Sky Sports 17.30 in England
It will be 20-days since Leicester last played a Premier League game, with the Foxes smashing 5-goals against the worst team in the Premier League, Sheffield United. Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring in the 1st-half giving Brendan’s Wonderful’s a 1-0 lead at half-time.
After the break, Ayoze Perez added a 2nd, before Kelechi scored his 2nd and Leicester’s 3rd.
Ten minutes later, Mr Iheanacho completed his hat-trick, to make it 4.
Sheffield United then scored an own-goal making it a comfortable victory by a 5-0 scoreline that gives the Foxes 56-points from 29-fixtures and sit 3rd, 1-point behind Manchester United but a massive 15-points behind Man City at the summit.
Although it’s been 20-days since Leicester took part in a Premier League fixture, Brendan’s Blues have competed in the FA Cup, comfortably beating Ole’s Trollies to progress to the Semi-Final of that competition and have a favourable draw against Southampton where last season’s victory by a 9-0 scoreline at St Mary’s will still haunt the Saints.
Rod Stewart’s pooch Lennon has taken residence in the outside shed, some would call a kennel until the end of the football season as Sir Roderick is now constantly in a bad mood due to his arch-enemy Brendan Rodgers being wonderful at Leicester and his beloved Green and White Hoops being rubbish in the SPL, which stands for the Scottish Pub League.
To compound matters, Celtic couldn’t beat Rangers in last weeks Old Firm Derby and the Celt’s Captain Scott Brown has announced that he will be leaving Celtic Park in the summer to join Aberdeen (who?).
Although Rod is miserable, Lennon knows that Mr Stewart is a good guy but can’t help bark along to the tune of one of Sir Roderick’s favourite songs when he’s in and around the doggy treats giver, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be’
Man City sit proudly at the summit of the Premier League table with a massive 71-points, 15 more than today’s hosts and 14 more than the Noisy Neighbours.
Like Leicester, City haven’t played a Premier League game for 3-weeks but did compete in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup, progressing to the Semis with a victory against Everton.
Pep’s High Flying Blues have also progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League and will face Borussia Dortmund for a place in the Semi-Finals of that particular contest.
As the draw for the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals were made at the same time, Man City know that a victory over 2-legs against Dortmund will pair City with either Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich.
With there being Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City still left in the last 8 of the top European competition, it is possible that there could be an all-English final. That said, there could be no English representation come the end of May in Turkey.
In the last Premier League game against Fulham, Man City easily beat the Cottagers by an away-day 3-0 scoreline, with 2nd-half goals from John Stones, Gabriel Jesus and a Sergio Aguero penalty.
Sergio has just stated that he will leave the Etihad at the end of the season and is rumoured to be looking on Rightmove at 3-bedroom semis in Barnsley. There will be a few words about Sergio Aguero in this column over the coming weeks.
If John Stones plays, City Win To Nil, if John Stones Scores, City don’t lose. The Quadruple that Pep Guardiola doesn’t want to talk about, is getting talked about!
As a football fan of a certain age, growing up in the 1970s, it was a privilege to watch several players that were classed as ‘Mavericks’, Stan Bowles, Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, George Best and a Yorkshire legend, that is Frank Worthington.
Frank was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire back in November 1948 and started his maverick footballing career a couple of miles down the M62 in Huddersfield.
As well as the Terriers, Big Frank played for Leicester, Bolton and Birmingham, plus a sabbatical in the USA in the old North American Soccer League, for Philadelphia Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The Major League Soccer or MLS where David Beckham has just set up his Inter Miami team has seen several players such as Robbie Keane, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Liam Ridgewell, Steven Gerrard and of course Becks himself, cross the pond to play and is quite a well known set up now.
Before the MLS, there was the North American Soccer League, NASL, set up in the late 1960s and was a forerunner to the league that is in its current format.
Several old-timers ended their careers playing for clubs such as the New York Cosmos, Toronto Blizzards, Philadelphia Fury, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Fort Lauderdale Strikers or Los Angeles Aztecs.
The old-timers being Pele, Carlos Alberto, Alan Ball, Sir Gordon Banks, Sir Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Roberto Bettega, Johan Neeskins, Johan Cruff, Kazimierz Deyna, Eusebio, Frank Worthington, Peter Lorimer and George Best.
All great players but unfortunately, all past their sell-by date. Most headed to the NASL at the end of their careers to get a fist full of dollars and rightly so.
As a youngster and football fanatic, it was great to watch snippets of the NASL, shown on a Saturday on World of Sport or Saint and Greavsie.
One of the innovations that seemed to pass everyone by but was quite fun, was, instead of having a penalty shootout that is common today, the Yanks introduced a 35-yard one-on-one, where the player got the chance to dribble the ball, starting 35-yards out and had 5-seconds to try and beat the goalkeeper who could come out and try and stop the player.
As a 10-year old, this was brilliant. The Yanks didn’t like draws!
Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves, aka Saint and Greavsie, once got the former President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, to do the 1991/92 Rumbelows League Cup Quarter-Final draw.
After Jimmy Greaves had drawn out Leeds United, old Donald drew out Manchester United, however, the future President didn’t have a clue to the significance of the tie between the 2-clubs.
The Red Devil’s went on to win the Cup with all the players receiving a colour TV instead of a medal, however, had to give them all back 12-months later as they were only rented.
Obviously, President Trump, living nowhere near Old Trafford, is a United fan, standard. It’s worth checking YouTube to see old goals scored by Mr Worthington, especially the one against Ipswich and whilst there, look at George Best’s goal, playing for the San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale.
Whilst the Lauderdale players were probably McDonald’s employees or FedEx Drivers, the goal is still up there with the best from George who was way past his best.
After the goal, instead of celebrating, all George wanted to do was berate the referee who had allowed a Lauderdale goal to stand when it clearly shouldn’t have, George wasn’t happy.
Frank Worthington was the Footballing equivalent of Elvis Presley but as of the day, the England national team managers didn’t like picking the ‘Mavericks’ affording Mr Worthington, just 8-Caps, with 2-goals in those wondrous 8-appearances.
‘We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out,
Because I love you too much, baby,
Why can’t you see, what you’re doing to me,
When you don’t believe a word I say?
We can’t go on together,
With Suspicious Minds (suspicious minds), and we can’t build our dreams, on suspicious minds
Rest In Peace
Ian St John
There are not many teams that go to the Etihad and score 5-goals, Man City have only conceded 5, in the last 10-Premier League fixtures at home, yet on Game Week-3, Brendan’s Wonderful’s got a great away-day victory by a 5-2 scoreline.
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring against his previous club after 4-minutes which the Citizens faithful thought would open the floodgates. However, Jamie Vardy then equalised to take both teams in level at the break.
Jimmy V scored two more in the 2nd-half to not only give City a 3-1 lead but complete his hat-trick.
The other Foxes Jim, James Maddison added number 4 before Nathan Ake pulled a goal back for Pep’s Low Flying City.
Youri Tielemans rounded off the scoring adding the 5th with time running out, to inflict the stunning defeat on Man City that 27-games later, would not have been an indicator as to Man City now being the Champions elect.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at 5/1, the draw at 10/3 and slight Odds On 1/2 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/4 that Ilkay Gundogan Scores Anytime and 2/1 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
ARSENAL V LIVERPOOL
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Arsenal were one of the 8-teams that played before the International break, heading the short distance over to the London Stadium to take on West Ham.
After 32-minutes, Mikel’s lacklustre Gunners were losing by 3-goals to nil and it looked for all purpose a defeat was on the cards.
Tomas Soucek who has just scored a superb hat-trick for his national team, the Czech Republic and had scored the Hammers 3rd was credited with an own-goal to give the travelling cardboard Gooners hope at the interval.
West Ham then capitulated in the 2nd-half allowing Arsenal to score twice and gain a great point from a 3-3 draw, which is known by absolutely no one as a Desmond Plus One. No?
The Bubbles were credited with another own-goal with the unfortunate Craig Dawson scoring Arsenal’s 2nd, then Alexandre Lacazette scored the equaliser with 10-minutes to go.
Although a great comeback that earned the vital point, Pep 2 can’t mask the fact that his Gunners were dreadful for the first 60-minutes and if it wasn’t for poor play by David Moyes Boys then Arsenal would have lost.
That said, the point gained gives the Gunners 42, from 29-fixtures, 4-points behind today’s opponents, leaving them 9th in the table, so can close the gap with a victory.
Relegation-threatened Liverpool haven’t played in the Premier League since the 15th of March, an away-day fixture against Wolves at Molineux.
Ex-Wolves player Diogo Jota came back to haunt his former employer’s scoring the only goal in the victory by a 1-0 scoreline, with the goal coming in 1st-half injury time.
Amazingly, Jurgen’s Reds have lost their last 6-Premier League games at Anfield but have picked up much-needed victories on the road beating Tottenham, West Ham, Sheffield United and then Wolves away from their Liverpool home.
Consider this statistic, Jurgen’s Reds went 68-games over a 3 and a half-year period without losing a game at Anfield then like Liverpool buses, 6-defeats came along at once. The away-day wins have softened the blow of losing at home so a trip to the Capital is probably just what Klipperty Klopp would want.
The 3-points gained against Wolves gives the Reds 46-points from 29-fixtures and leaves them 7th in the table, as mentioned 4-points more than today’s hosts. Liverpool have progressed to the last-8 of the Champions League and will face the not so mighty Real Madrid over 2-legs in early April.
With the draw format of the top European cup competition being that the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals are made at the same time, Jurgen’s Reds will face either Chelsea or Borussia Dortmund in the Semi’s if they can beat Real.
Liverpool gained a rare home victory by a 3-1 scoreline at the end of September. Alexandre Lacazette scored 1st for the Gunners but Jurgen’s Reds immediately replied through Sadio Mane with Andy Robertson adding a 2nd before the break.
Liverpool left it late to seal the victory, with Diogo Jota scoring the 3rd in the 88th-minute to secure the points.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at 21/10, the draw at 5/2 and 6/5 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/4 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Scores Anytime and 3/1 that Mo Salah Scores First.
SOUTHAMPTON v BURNLEY
Sky Sports 12.00 in England
Southampton’s last Premier League game was another defeat, this time against Brighton at St Mary’s by a 2-1 scoreline. That’s 10-defeats from the last 12-Premier League fixtures with a draw and a win from the other 2.
Four points from a possible 36, which is simply relegation fodder and Wreck-It just has to keep his eye on the chasing pack.
The Saints have the same 33-points as today’s opposition but sit a place higher in 14th on goal difference.
Both Southampton and Burnley are just 7-points above the drop-zone so a victory for either team will go a long way towards survival.
What is an anomaly from the league game results is Southampton have somehow progressed to the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup and will face Leicester at Wembley for a chance to get to the showpiece final in May.
Against Brighton, Che Adams equalised an earlier Seagulls goal to take both teams in level at the break. Unfortunately for the watching cardboard Saints faithful, Brighton scored again to inflict another defeat on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s boys.
A word about Che, the lad was born in Leicester and started his footballing career at Sheffield United.
A few months back in this column, it was mooted that Gareth Southgate should have a look at Mr Adams, maybe not as a first pick selection but just to have a look at Che in case there were injuries to the Three Lions team.
Since then, Big Che has found a Scottish Grandmother and Scotland’s Steve Clarke has poached the young Saint out of the clutches of England and turned him Scottish.
Now, in the Southampton dressing room, the young lad is not called Che Adams but has been renamed Tar-MacAdams. England’s loss, Scotland’s gain.
Burnley got the weekend off and haven’t had a game for 3-weeks. The Clarets did record a victory last time out, surprisingly beating Everton at Goodison Park by a 2-1 scoreline.
Surprisingly, because the previous 10-Premier League fixtures have seen just 2-wins. In those 10-fixtures, Sean’s Clarets have had 5-draws and 3-losses, plus the 2-victories.
Against the Toffees, Chris Wood and Dwight McNeil scored before 25-minutes were on the clock, with Everton replying before the break to take both teams in level.
With no further goals in the 2nd-half, Burnley produced the coupon busting, Acca destroying result that gave the cardboard Clarets a satisfying Saturday night in, watching Ant and his mate.
As mentioned, Sean Dyche’s boys have the same 33-points as today’s hosts but sit in 15th-place, a place lower.
Both have a minus-15 goal difference but the Saints have scored more goals so sit a place higher. That’s apparently how it works.
Ex-Burnley boy Danny Ings did what Danny does at Turf Moor last September, getting the solitary winning goal in the victory for the Saints against the Clarets.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at Evens 1/1, the draw at 12/5 and 11/4 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/1 that James Ward-Prowse Scores First and 11/5 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
NEWCASTLE v TOTTENHAM
Sky Sports 14.05 in England
Newcastle were one of the 8-teams that played in the Premier League, whilst 7 competed in the FA Cup and 5 had a holiday. Unfortunately for the travelling cardboard Toon Army, another defeat occurred with a loss against Brighton by a 3-0 scoreline.
The Black and White faithful, both cardboard and real, are not happy and if Newcastle are relegated, get ready!
For those not familiar with the location of Newcastle as a City, it is situated in the North-East of England with no other Premier League team around.
There is Middlesbrough close by, who are a Championship team and don’t look to be threatening the Top Flight any time soon and then there is Sunderland who are in League 1 but are on the verge of a possible promotion back to the Championship.
The closest Premier League team to Newcastle is Leeds United, situated, some 100-miles South of St James Park.
The point of that few paragraphs is, a question should be asked to the heir-achy at the Magpies, as to why there are not a vast number of youths from the area, coming through the ranks.
There are the Longstaff brothers who have come into the first team, local lads, however, from the massive surrounding area that covers the North-East, why haven’t Newcastle attracted more youngsters to the club?
Why aren’t the Newcastle scouts out there getting the cream of the crop from the local schools, colleges and youth setups? Instead, they are paying exorbitant amounts of money for Joelinton, Miguel Almiron, Ryan Fraser and the rest who haven’t a canny twang between them.
Against Brighton, Newcastle conceded on the stroke of half-time to trail at the break. The Seagulls then scored twice more in the 2nd-half to inflict the defeat that leaves Steve Bruce’s Magpies with 28-points from 29-fixtures, sitting just above the relegation places.
Fulham, the team below Newcastle have 26-points but have played a game more. The final Newcastle fixture of the season is against Fulham so it could be a winner takes all situation. By means of the winner stays up and the loser heads for the Championship.
The Magpies host Tottenham a couple of hours before Fulham head to Villa Park, so depending on results, the Magpies could end up with egg on their faces, in the relegation places late on Easter Sunday.
Tottenham gained a great away-night victory by a 2-0 scoreline against Aston Villa last time out. Carlos Vinicius, making a rare start in Jose Mourinho’s Premier League lineup, scored the opener, midway through the 1st-half.
After the break, Harry Kane got his obligatory goal, to give Spurs the comfortable victory. That goal gives Big Harry 17 for the season so far, neck and neck with Mo Salah at the top of the goal-scoring charts.
Before the game against Villa, Tottenham headed to the Stadion Maksimir, to take on Dinamo Zagreb in the 2nd-leg of the last-16 Europa League tie. Jose’s men had a 2-0 advantage from the 1st-leg and were favourites to progress to the Quarter-Finals.
Unfortunately, Tottenham were woeful on the night and conceded 3-Zagreb goals to ultimately lose the tie and crash out of the Thursday night football league.
Dracula was not happy and has headed to Romania for rest, during the International break.
Over the past week, whilst away with Wales, Gareth Bale has commented that at the end of the season, he will be heading back to Spain to join up with Real Madrid for the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu.
There has been a lot of talks, some would say drivel about that decision, implying that GB has been disrespectful to Tottenham and has just used the past year to get fit so he can play for Wales in the upcoming Euro 2020s, which obviously is taking place in 2021, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Firstly, if that’s the case, so what? and B, the lad hasn’t exactly been shown the love by Dracula and the Tottenham team that Gareth thought he was joining, is not the Tottenham team currently on show, who have literally gone backwards this term.
Backwards in the sense that at one point during the early part of the campaign, Tottenham sat at the summit of the table and there was crazy talk that Spurs would win the title. Spurs sit 6th in the Premier League table with 48-points, from 29-fixtures.
Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League place in 4th, have 51-points and there’s no real evidence to suggest Jose Mourinho and his Merry Men can overhaul Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines.
It’s a big day in the Barnet of the Year competition with the 2-main protagonists sat in opposing dugouts.
Gareth is ahead in the competition but its neck and neck between Andy Carroll and Soyuncu Caglar for 2nd-place.
So keep an eye on the bench at St James whilst devouring the chocolate eggs, to see which one of the substitutes have done his hair better.
Newcastle earned a creditable point from a draw by a 1-1 scoreline at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium back in late September.
Lucas Moura scored for Tottenham midway through the 1st-half to take the home side in leading at the break.
It looked for all-purpose that Spurs would get the win until the referee pointed to the spot in time added on and Callum Wilson converted in the 97th-minute to give both teams a share of the points.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 9/2, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 4/7 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 21/10 that Harry Kane Scores First and 11/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
ASTON VILLA v FULHAM
Sky Sports 16.30 in England
Aston Villa suffered a home defeat last time out, succumbing to a loss by a 2-0 scoreline against Tottenham at Villa Park. At one point, Villa had 3-games in hand over the teams around them but as mentioned on several occasions, it’s considered better to have the points on the board than games to play.
Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues still have one game more to play than everyone else having only completed 28 and sit 10th in the table with 41-points.
In the last 15-Premier League games, Villa have yielded 16-points from a possible 45 on offer.
Four-Wins, 4-Draws and 7-Losses in those 15-outings.
At one stage in the campaign, the Aston Villa faithful were dreaming of a European adventure, it looks now that a weekend in Skegness is the most the Villains can look forward to.
Fulham are clinging onto their Premier League status literally by the skin of their teeth, sitting 3rd-bottom or 17th in the table with 26-points, 2-from safety but having played 30-times, not the 29 the others around them have completed.
After a mini-revival that saw 5-unbeaten games, Scott Parker’s boys have now lost 3 of the last 4, fixtures, the latest a home defeat against Leeds United by a 2-1 scoreline, last time out.
The big Danish defender, Joachim Andersen equalised an earlier Leeds goal to take both teams in level at the break. Unfortunately, as seen many times over the season and it’s a surprise that he’s still got a job, the bad dog walker was on show, as Fulham couldn’t hold on to the lead, conceding a 2nd-half Leeds goal that ultimately cost them the points.
As mentioned in the Newcastle preview, Fulham host the Magpies in the final game of the campaign that could even see a crowd at Craven Cottage.
There’s talk from the government that 10,000 fans could attend the final round of Premier League fixtures.
That obviously throws up the situation where 10 of the 20 teams will be at home, thus having the advantage of their home fans.
The last 2 Game Weeks are scheduled for the 15th and 23rd of May, with Boris signalling that crowds could attend games from the 17th.
Surely a situation would have to come about where either, the Premier League put back Game Week-37 by 2-days thus allowing all 20 teams to have fans in the ground for the final 2-fixtures, the 10 home teams of Game Week-37 and obviously the 10 home teams for Game Week-38 who were away the previous week.
That would be the fairest way, however, there would still be opposition to that proposal. The other scenario is to ask for Boris to bring forward his May 17th date to May 15th.
There is a 3rd suggestion on the table and that is to stay without fans until the start of next season, which, although prohibits the crowd from attending, is possibly the only real fair way without giving any one of the teams an advantage.
The excuses are already being lined up, consider this, Newcastle lose at a fan attended Craven Cottage and are relegated, ‘It’s not fair as when Newcastle played Fulham at St James Park, there weren’t any fans!’
Maybe, for the sake of everyone, keep fans away until August when the new season begins. Fulham’s last 15-Premier League fixtures have seen 3-Wins, 6-Draws and 6-Losses, which the Math experts out there will work out to be 15-points from a possible 45. So on form, there’s not much difference between Villa and Fulham and a draw is the standout result today.
If Scott’s boys do register a victory and Newcastle lose against the Spurs, the Cottagers will swap places with the Magpies and move out of the relegation zone.
Three was the Villa magic number in Game Week-3 at Craven Cottage, with Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Tyrone Mings getting the goals to give Aston Villa the away-day victory by a 3-0 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 23/20, the draw at 23/10 and 12/5 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and slight Odds On 4/6 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
MANCHESTER UNITED v BRIGHTON
BT Sport 19.30 in England
As it’s Easter, it would be remiss to not have an Easter themed pun about a team and who better to use the pun on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Red, Grey and Zebra Devil’s.
It’s now obvious that Ole and the rest of the Manchester United family, are putting all their Easter Eggs in the Europa League basket, following the team selection that OGS decided upon against Leicester in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup.
The starting eleven were abysmal, once again with Fred at the heart of the midfield. A friend of John Newsome recently commented that his mantra, ‘United won’t win anything with Fred’ was and it’s repeated word for word, ‘Sound like a stuck record now pal’ Hurting!
Whilst the good Mancunian friend’s words cut like a knife in the body of John Newsome, it has to be reiterated that United won’t win anything with Fred.
However, for the purpose of fairness, the comment by the good man has been taken on board, parked and won’t be used again but will be wheeled out at the end of the season when United don’t win anything with Fred!
Ian at THE HALFTIME PIE.
Ole’s decision to bench, Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavanni and Scott McTominay and start Fred, Fred, Fred and Fred was an admission that the FA Cup isn’t worth winning and that the United Easter Eggs are all in the Europa League basket.
It was apparent that once the draw for the Semi-Final was made at half-time (why that happened is beyond anyone’s comprehension, why not do the draw before or after the game, not at half-time) Ole thought, ‘Hang on, we’ve bloomin drawed Southampton here, we maybe could win ver FA Cup!’
So sent on Bruno, Edinson, Luke and Scott but for some unknown reason left Fred on. Only deciding to take the Brazilian off in the 83rd-minute when United were losing 3-1 and the Fred Factor was done.
John Newsome is starting to wonder, ‘Is he wrong about Fred?’
Ian at Half-time Pie, who had a great 2-hour conversation with John Newsome that was put in a podcast has told John to basically shut up about Fred as it’s becoming boring, apparently!
Manchester United lost the FA Cup tie against Leicester, putting all their ‘eggs in one basket, that of the Europa League.
Ole has even had a favourable draw against Granada, who currently sit 8th in the Spanish La Liga, which is a relief as a lot of the United faithful, mainly the cardboard ones, thought Granada was still renting tellies.
Nowadays there’s Google but before the invention of the website browser, the girls and boys of the 1980s would regularly stand outside Granada shops in the town centre on a Saturday afternoon watching the Vidi-Printer on Grandstand or World of Sport knocking out the football scores, whilst the missus or bloke was in Marks and Spencer or Burtons buying a new shirt for the Saturday night out. Remember those?
They will be back soon and once they are, go out, have some fun, have a rinse, don’t fight anyone over nothing, live and let live. We all know how bad the pandemic has been, in the future, one life, live it calmly and love your fellow woman or man. Whatever creed, religion or sex, don’t be hateful. Be kind to everyone because, at the end of the day, we are all equal.
Brighton have the unusual record of inflicting defeats on 2 of the teams playing this weekend that haven’t played since.
That’s meant by, that the Seagulls beat Newcastle in the Magpies last game before the break and Southampton in the Saints last Premier League game before the break, meaning Graham Potter’s men have accrued 6-valuable points in the quest to stave off relegation.
Leandro Trossard scored on the stroke of half-time against Newcastle at the Amex to give Brighton a lead at the break.
Danny Welbeck added a 2nd after the restart with Neal Maupay rounding off the scoring to give Harry and his Seagulls a victory by a 3-0 scoreline and give Brighton breathing space above the relegation zone.
The win gives the Seagulls 32-points from 29-fixtures, 6-points more than Fulham who occupy the final relegation slot.
Game Week-3’s encounter between these two teams at the Amex produced a dreaded VAR interrupted 5-goal thriller with Manchester United getting the away-day victory by a 3-2 scoreline.
A Video Assisted awarded penalty, 5-minutes before the break, converted by Neal Maupay looked to have given Brighton the lead at half-time until Lewis Dunk converted the ball past his own goalkeeper to put United level.
After the break, the dreaded took away another Seagulls penalty after a second one had been awarded by the on-field referee. Harry Potter and the rest of the bench were not happy.
Marcus Rashford then scored to put Ole’s Wheels in front minutes after the non-penalty decision to compound Brighton’s misery. However, VAR decided Rasher’s goal was offside and disallowed the goal, meaning it was still 1-1, everyone following?
Marcus scored again but this time there was no intervention, with the dreaded rumoured to be watching the gee-gees on ITV 4.
United are now leading by 2-goals to 1. In the 95th-minute, Solly March scored an equaliser for Graham Potter’s men, making it 2-2. Now, most will be scrolling back up and thinking, ‘Thought this game finished by a 3-2 scoreline in favour of United?’
Even though Solly‘s goal was in the 95th-minute, there was still time for the dreaded VAR to have one last hurrah.
With the 14.20 at Sandown just finished, the boys at Stockley Park switched back to the footie, to look as though they had been watching all along.
The VAR decided that Neal Maupay had handled the ball in the area and informed the on-field referee, Chris Kavanagh to have a look at the pitch-side monitor where Big Chris decided himself that it was a penalty and with 10-minutes on the clock after the mandatory 90. Bruno Fernandes converted the spot-kick with literally the last kick of the game to give Manchester United the away-day victory.
Graham was straight on the computer to Moonpig. Com to send the lads at Stockley a nice appreciative card.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at Odds On 4/7, the draw at 3/1 and 19/4 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/8 that Edinson Cavanni Scores Anytime and 13/8 that United Score in Both Halves.
EVERTON v CRYSTAL PALACE
Sky Sports 18.00 in England
Everton competed in the weekend’s FA Cup so it will have been 3-weeks since the surprise Premier League defeat by a 2-1 scoreline against Burnley at Goodison Park.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the Toffees goal on the half-hour mark but Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues were already losing by 2-goals to nil so, at the break, Everton trailed 2-1.
With no further goals in the 2nd-half, the Clarets inflicted the coupon busting result that left the Toffees 8th in the Premier League table, on 46-points, however, from only 28-fixtures completed not the 29 and 30, others have played.
Everton have the same number of points as their Merseyside rivals, Liverpool but Jurgen’s Reds have played a game more. So the Blues will feel that they can leapfrog the Reds over the coming weeks.
Crystal Palace played on the same day as Everton, over 3-weeks ago, come kick-off today. However, didn’t play in the FA Cup so it will be the Eagles first outing since the victory by a 1-0 scoreline against West Brom on the 13th of March.
Luka Milivojevic scored the solitary winning goal from the penalty spot. Luka rarely misses from 12-yards.
Whilst Palace were never really in a relegation battle, the victory does ease the nerves of the cardboard Eagle Ultras.
The win against the Baggies gives Roy’s Boys 37-points from 29-fixtures played and puts Palace in 12th-place, now 11-points above the drop-zone.
This will be a tough affair between the two elder statesman of the footballing world with a combined age of 134 between Mr Hodgson and Mr Ancelotti.
Everton beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park back in September by a 2-1 scoreline, with all 3-goals scored before the half-time whistle had blown.
Sheffield Superstar-2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, scored the opener for the Toffees, with the excellent Richarlison adding the 2nd. Cheikhou Kouyate scored for the Eagles in between the 2-Everton strikes.
Bet 365 offer Everton at slight Odds On 3/4, the draw at 12/5 and 4/1 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/5 that Gylfi Sigurdsson Scores Anytime and 9/4 that Everton Score in Both Halves.
WOLVES v WEST HAM
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
Wolves old boy Diogo Jota came back to haunt Nuno Espírito Santo last time out at Molineux, with the Gold and Blacks succumbing to a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool. That’s 2-defeats in the last 4 fixtures with the other 2 being draws, so just 2-points from a possible 12.
With 35-points in total from 29-games played, Wolves aren’t in any real danger of getting dragged into a relegation battle but Nuno will want a couple or 3 more points to ease the nerves of the cardboard Golds.
West Ham snatched a draw from the jaws of victory the last time the Hammers played, against Arsenal at the London Stadium.
Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek scored the goals in the 1st-half to give West Ham a comfortable lead after 32-minutes.
Big Tom, who scored a superb perfect hat-trick for the Czech Republic this week, against the mighty Estonia, then decided that he felt sorry for the sorry Gunners and scored an own-goal just before the break to give Arsenal a lift.
A perfect hat-trick being a left-foot strike, a right-foot strike and a header, perfect!
Not content in helping Mikel’s men out once, Craig Dawson scored a 2nd-own-goal, on the hour mark to reduce the gap to a goal and with time running out, the Gunners got the inevitable equaliser to get a share of the points from a draw by a 3-3 scoreline.
Tomas Soucek is getting rave reviews at the moment with his partnership with Declan Rice becoming the envy of the other teams in the Premier League.
Initially coming into the London Stadium in January 2020, on loan from Slavia Prague. West Ham saw the potential of the Big Czech and signed the lad permanently in July 2020, for a fee of around £21 Million. There’s talk of interest now from the other clubs but the fee will be in excess of £50 Million.
This EveryTip column wrote the following back in July 2020, ‘Tomas has quickly become a goal-scoring sensation for West Ham scoring 4-goals in the last 3-games, albeit 1 of them was an own-goal.
Most will look at the stats and think, ‘Wait a minute, Tom only has 2-goals for the Hammers!’
True but Big Tom and he is big for a midfielder, scored a perfectly good goal against Chelsea that was ruled out by the dreaded VAR, whilst not officially counting it should be noted that it was a goal. So 3-goals and an OG in 3-games isn’t too shabby.
The Czech Republic player could just become a fan’s favourite at the London Stadium and if he carries on the way he’s doing, the big boys will come calling.’ Not bad that!
The Hammers sit 5th in the table with 49-points, from 29-fixtures, currently 2-points away from Chelsea who occupies the final Champions League position.
A Champions League place may be too much of an ask this term but definitely, a Europa League place is on the cards and the Bubble faithful will be looking forward to Thursday night football.
West Ham hammered Wolves at the London Stadium in Game Week-3, with 2-goals from Jarrod Bowen, either side of the break, a Wolves O G and a Sebastian Haller strike in the 93rd-minute, giving the Bubbles the victory by a 4-0 scoreline.
Big Seb is currently in Holland, employed by Ajax, the Eredivisie football team, not the cleaning product and has scored 6-goals in 11-appearances for the Dutch outfit.
Tracy Haller is loving her job on the tills at Lidl’s, Amsterdam branch and often brings home her man a nice Big Daddy Rump Streak which she cooks him along with some oven chips and a tin of Marrowfat peas but does warn the big fella that he can only have that if he scores for, in her words, ‘That cleaner club !’ Nice one Track.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at 19/10, the draw at 9/4 and 7/5 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 8/1 that Jesse Lingard Scores First and 7/2 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to offer his input and has kindly given his predictions for Game Week-30
Chelsea 2 v West Brom 0
Leeds United 2 v Sheffield United 0
Leicester 1 v Man City 3
Arsenal 1 v Liverpool 1
Southampton 1 v Burnley 1
Newcastle 0 v Tottenham 2
Aston Villa 2 v Fulham 0
Manchester United 2 v Brighton 1
Everton 2 v Crystal Palace 0
Wolves 1 v West Ham 2
JP had all 4 correct results from the 4 fixtures last time out but significantly, Jon had 1 correct score.
John Newsome had 3 correct results from the 4 games with 2 correct scores.
A quick tally was added up and since Jon started giving his predictions, the Beast has 50 correct results with 12 correct scores from 104 games played.
John Newsome is slightly behind with 47 correct results and 11 correct scores.
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