The highlight games for this weekend and coming week’s action are ARSENAL versus FULHAM and CHELSEA versus BRIGHTON. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 32 and one 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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EVERTON v TOTTENHAM
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Everton let slip a perfect chance to move within 2-points of the Red side of Merseyside on Monday Night Football, playing out a very entertaining (not!) 0-0 draw against Brighton at the Amex.
It was a brilliant game for the insomniacs who, after watching for 90-minutes, had the best night’s sleep they have had in ages.
The goalless draw may have been, in part, due to the absence of the Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was absent due to injury.
The point earned from the dismal display, gives the Toffees 48, from 30-fixtures played and leaves Everton in 8th-place, a point away from tonight’s opponents and now 4-adrift of Liverpool.
Everton have played a game less than the teams around, having only completed 30 but will feel it’s an opportunity missed against Brighton on Monday as a victory would have put them on 50-points.
This game on Friday night, against Tottenham will leave either team 7th with a victory, obviously, a draw would keep the positions the same.
Tottenham could go above Liverpool if Jose’s team beat Carlo’s Blues by more than 2-goals, with Jurgen’s Reds having a plus+16 and Spurs currently on plus+17.
Carlos’s Toffees appear to have reached their level having not won in 4, Premier League games, with 2-draws and 2-defeats.
Jose Mourinho’s LilyWhites play twice in the Premier League over the space of 5-days, with this game against Everton on Friday, then a fixture against Southampton next Wednesday.
Tottenham suffered another defeat on Sunday, this time against Manchester United at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
Spurs have only won 1 Premier League game in the last 4, with a draw and 2 defeats thrown in.
Son Heung-Min, who is genuinely a nice guy, turned, against Manchester United, preventing Ole’s Trollies from scoring a perfectly good goal.
In the build-up to Edinson Cavani converting, Nice-One Son, who was palmed off by Scott McTominay, went down as if Anthony Joshua had given him his best punch.
It wasn’t nice to see from the South Korean, however, it didn’t warrant the trolling done by the keyboard bully’s, who were straight on their mum’s computer in her bedroom, sending out anonymous abuse to the lad.
Grow up girls and boys and that goes for sending racist and sexist abuse to people who have just had a bad moment. It’s just a sport!
After Son had picked himself up off the canvass, with the incident ruling out United’s opener, Mr Heung-Min, then went up the field and scored himself, 5-minutes before the half-time whistle, adding insult to injury.
Unfortunately for the Spurs faithful, United came out after the break with the added motivation, feeling the injustice of being wronged and took Tottenham to pieces, scoring 3, 2nd-half goals to inflict the defeat on Dracula’s men.
Spurs lie 7th in the table with 49-points from 31-fixtures with the possibility of a Top Four finish, rapidly disappearing.
Even the chance of a Thursday Night football appearance is out of Tottenham’s hands and now the only real possibility of entry into the Europa League is by beating Man City in the final of the Carabao Cup, after these 2-fixtures against Everton and Southampton.
Once again, Dracula left Gareth Bale on the bench and only brought the Welsh lad on, in the 82nd-minute when Tottenham were trailing 2-1.
Last week against Newcastle, Jose introduced GB in the 88th-minute, just after the Magpies had equalised.
It appears Mr Mourinho waits until his team concede then thinks, ‘Gareth will Bale us out!’
Expecting wonders from the boy.
Wales, Golf, Real Madrid will be the new words on the flag. There’s a club in Manchester that wear Red who would welcome the Welshman with open arms. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wouldn’t treat GB like Dracula has.
This is the reverse of the opening game of the season, back in September, after the late start due to the pandemic.
A single Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal in the 2nd-half was the difference between the two teams, giving Carlo Ancelotti an away-day victory against Jose Mourinho. Dracula was not happy.
Bet 365 offer Everton at 23/10, the draw at 12/5 and 23/20 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores Anytime and 11/4 that Harry Kane Scores First.
NEWCASTLE v WEST HAM
Sky Sports 12.30 in England
When Newcastle conceded against Burnley early Sunday Afternoon at Turf Moor, it looked like another defeat was on the cards.
After Fulham’s loss against Wolves on Friday night, the Magpies remained 3-points ahead of the Cottagers, now with 2-games in hand, so after Burnley took the lead, the cardboard Toon Army were on tenterhooks.
The lads had extra gaffer tape on as even though it’s now Spring in England and mid-April, Burnley is always a coat-colder than any other part of the country and the cardboard faithful definitely had an extra Cornflake box wrapped around them.
Steve Bruce was able to include Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson in his match-day squad, both on the bench.
Big Brucey introduced the pair in the 57th-minute and within 7-minutes of being on the pitch, Allan SM (not Hallam FM!) set up a goal for Jacob Murphy and then scored himself to give the Magpies a 2-1 lead after trailing 1-0.
The victory was massive for Newcastle that although keeps them 17th in the table, the Black and Whites now have 32-points, just a point, less than Burnley.
The added Brucey Bonus to that, is Newcastle have played a game less than Fulham and are now 6-points ahead of the Cottagers who sit in the final relegation place.
Steve Bruce takes his boys to Craven Cottage on the final day of the season but will hope his Newcastle team are safe by then.
Having been afforded just 33-minutes of the 2nd-half, Allan was the difference and was rightly awarded the Man of the Match.
One thing to add to that Burnley v Newcastle game is, during the 1st-half James Tarkowski cleared the ball in his area with a high boot that nearly took the head off Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff.
Whilst it was never intentional, it was dangerous play and should have resulted in a penalty for the Magpies and a possible Red Card for James.
The dreaded deemed it not a foul and play continued, with the pitch-side monitor remaining redundant.
However, in the 2nd-half Burnley’s Dwight McNeil did exactly the same thing in the middle of the park and the on-field referee Anthony Taylor, immediately awarded a free-kick. What’s the difference?
Surely that’s why the VAR at Stockley Park are employed, to reverse a ‘clear and obvious error’.
Anthony Taylor proved it was an error by awarding a free-kick later in the game for the same incident.
If Mr Taylor sits down on Sunday evening and watches Match of the Day 2, with a glass of something, then surely he will be embarrassed making 2-opposing decisions for the same incident.
Back in March 2013, in an important Last-16 tie of the Champions League between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Old Trafford, a similar incident occurred where United’s Nani, inadvertently had his boot high in a challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa.
Nani’s foot wasn’t as high as James Tarkowski’s on Sunday. Cristiano Ronaldo was in the Madrid team after leaving Manchester for the warmer climes of Spain a few years earlier.
The on-field referee, Turkish-man Cuneyt Cakir, a long time before the dreaded VAR was dreamed up, not only awarded a free-kick to Real Madrid but also sent off Nani, which basically cost United the chance of progressing to the Quarter-Final.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s United had got a valuable away-goal at the Bernabeu with the 1st-leg ending 1-1.
At the time of the Nani sending off, United were leading 1-0, from a Sergio Ramos own-goal, just needing not to concede and were through.
After the Red Card, Real Madrid took control, which, with a man advantage, is not a surprise, allowing ex-Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric to equalise, 10-minutes after Nani’s exit.
CR7 then scored the winner 3-minutes after Luka’s goal to give Real Madrid the victory by a 2-1 scoreline and a 3-2 aggregate over the 2-legs.
With an eleven-man Manchester United, including Nani for the last half-hour and Wayne Rooney, who was a substitute that night, the Red Devil’s could easily have kept Madrid at bay. Luckily the none penalty that should have been awarded for James Tarkowski’s challenge didn’t affect the result but that isn’t the point.
In 2013, the referee gave a foul and a Red Card without the help of a Video Assistant Referee.
In 2021, with the dreaded, nothing was given, for the exact same incident. It doesn’t make sense. Anthony Taylor! Who was the manager of Real Madrid back in March 2013? Correct, Dracula Jose Mourinho!
Of late, West Ham have a habit of scoring 3-goals to take a 3-0 lead, then decide to pack in. Three games back, the Hammers were leading 3-0 then scored 2-own goals and conceded a 3rd to end up drawing 3-3 against Arsenal.
Two games ago, again a 3-0 lead, then conceded 2 to end up with a narrow victory against Wolves by a 3-2 scoreline.
On Sunday, against Leicester at the London Stadium, Jesse Lingard scored twice in the 1st-half with Jarrod Bowen adding a 3rd just after the break to give West Ham the obligatory 3-0 lead.
The cardboard Bubbles must then have known what was coming, with the Foxes mounting an attempted comeback and scoring twice, once in the 70th-minute and the 2nd when the 90-minutes were up.
The referee had shown 6-minutes added time so there was still time to burst the bubble, so to speak.
As against Wolves, David Moyes Boys held on for the victory by the 3-2 scoreline that leaves West Ham in 4th, the final Champions League place and the cardboard and real faithful dreaming of blowing bubbles in Europe next season.
With 55-points, 1-less than Leicester in 3rd and 1-more than Chelsea in 5th, from 31-fixtures played, West Ham are now real contenders for a Top Four finish.
Chelsea have to make the short visit to the London Stadium also, that may work out as a ‘winner takes Champions League all’ decider.
At the London Stadium back in September, it’s probably a surprise to say that Newcastle got an opening day, away day victory, considering where both teams find themselves, 31-games later. Callum Wilson scored the solitary winning goal after the break to give the travelling cardboard Toon Army a great trip back on the Amazon Express.
The absence of Callum, is, however, the reason Newcastle are in the position they are at the moment.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 11/4, the draw at 13/5 and slight Odds On 19/20 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 that Jesse Lingard Scores Anytime and 9/4 that West Ham Score in Both Halves.
WOLVES v SHEFFIELD UNITED
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
Due to the sad passing of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip last Friday, the funeral of the late Duke of Edinburgh will take place at 15.00 in England, this Saturday, so as a mark of respect, all football fixtures have been rescheduled, so that none kick-off between 14.45 and 16.15. This game at Molineux was supposed to start at 15.00 in England but has been put back to 20.15 later on Saturday.
Wolves completed their Game Week-31 fixture on Friday night gaining a late, great, away-day victory at Craven Cottage against Fulham by a 1-0 scoreline.
Adama Traore broke away with time running out and blasted the ball past a helpless Cottagers ‘keeper who had no chance of saving.
The 90-minutes were up on the clock and with the referee about to blow the final whistle, Lionel Messi’s best mate, Adama ran past the tired Fulham defenders and with the only thought of smashing the ball, scored a superb winner, that was literally the last kick of the game.
To be fair, it was fitting that Nuno’s Gold and Blacks got the victory after somehow having a 1st-half goal ruled out because Willian Jose apparently had an armpit hair slightly in advance of a Fulham defender.
The lad should do what this EveryTip contributor does and shave under his arms, Modern Men in Barnsley!
It was a ridiculous decision by the idiots at Stockley Park. It wasn’t even a doubt and none of the Cottagers questioned the goal, just accepted it and were ready to restart the game in the centre circle.
However, the dreaded wanted to be clever and put the lines up on the telly showing that Mr Jose Willian had put his arm a millimetre in front of the defender. The VAR are ruining the game and something needs to be done. The men at Stockley were set up to reverse ‘Clear and Obvious Errors’ ‘CLEAR AND OBVIOUS’ Not invent lines to justify their existence.
Also, the lines put up are at the end of the production line, there aren’t any lines put up at the beginning of the process, that is when the ball is played forward by the player. By that, it’s meant that no one queries when the ball is played forward only where the attacker is.
What if the same lines were put up for when the ball leaves the player assisting’s foot. The reason that is not done is that it would be deemed ridiculous and time-wasting to scrutinise every pass, yet no one is bothered that the deemed ridiculous and time-wasting scrutiny to check if an armpit is offside is acceptable.
A linesman or woman and that is what they should be referred to, not a referee’s assistant, can see if a player is on or off-side when it’s clear and obvious but certainly can’t see whether someone’s arm hair is a millimetre in the wrong place. The ruling needs to be changed. CLEAR AND OBVIOUS!
So Mr Traore’s strike was a fitting end for Wolves who deserved the victory.
Nuno Espírito Santo has assembled a great squad but has to try and hold on to players such as Adama, as well as Conor Coady, Daniel Podence, Supermarket man Pedro Neto, Ruben Neves and even the goalkeeper, Rui Patricio.
Raul Jimenez can be added to that list if the lad recovers from the horrific head injury, which will take time to get back to the standard he was showing.
Wolves sit 12th in the table with 38-points and no real threat of relegation so will play out the remaining 7-fixtures without any pressure, which could see them upset a few.
Two of those 7-games are against West Brom and this one today, both teams in the drop-zone, added to the victory against the 3rd of the 3-doomed clubs, Fulham.
Sheffield United lost again on Sunday suffering a defeat against Arsenal by a 3-0 scoreline. Conceding 1-goal in the 1st-half and 2, after the break.
The Bramall Lane outfit sit rock bottom of the table with 14-points from 31-games completed.
The Blades will be playing Championship football next term, it’s just a matter of when their fate is confirmed, not if.
With 7-fixtures remaining, even if Sheffield United win all 7, that would only give Paul Heckinbottom’s interim Blunts a total of 35-points for the season, Newcastle currently have 32 and having a far superior goal difference over the Blades, so in theory, the relegation could be confirmed in the next fixture after this one at Molineux, which is against Brighton, who have 33-points.
Sheffield United also have to play against Newcastle too, in the penultimate game of the campaign, which could confirm the Magpies Premier League status. Chris Wilder is still not happy!
James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, came in from his visit to the Church, as he attends every Sunday and settled down behind the sofa to watch his beloved 2nd-team perform badly against Arsenal.
Although the little Blunt is devastated that his Blades are heading for the Championship, Jimbo is secretly over the moon that his first footballing love, Barnsley FC are more than likely to be in the Play-offs for a chance to gain promotion to the Top Flight for the first time since 1997, where the Super Reds enjoyed their one and only appearance in the Premier League.
The little Blunt was only 7 at the time and was a true Red, holding his dad’s hand, heading down to Oakwell to take on the big boys, before receiving a bump on the head and going over to the dark side of Bramall Lane.
Jimbo will be there next term, his Blunt shirt in the recycling and his new shiny Barnsley shirt on, with ‘Kingy’ and ‘31’ on the back, the ‘31’ is, for how many times the lad messes up, on average, a day, when he’s pretending to mend cars. Sheffield United lost.
That’s basically the opening line to every preview throughout the current campaign and the opening game of the season at Bramall Lane was the start of that particular narrative. Probably the surprise in the victory for Wolves by a 2-0 scoreline, is the goals from Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss, were scored after just 6-minutes, with the remaining 84, being relatively event-free but setting the tone for the Blades season.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at Odds On 8/13, the draw at 13/5 and 5/1 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/5 that Adama Traore Scores Anytime and 7/5 that Wolves Win To Nil.
ARSENAL v FULHAM
Sky Sports 13.30 in England
Arsenal comfortably beat the worst team in the Premier League late on Sunday evening, inflicting a defeat on Sheffield United by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline. For the Gunners night out in Sheffield, Alexandre Lacazette scored 1st, before the break, to give Arsenal the lead at half-time.
Gabriel Martinelli, added a 2nd, midway through the 2nd-half, then Alexandre getting his 2nd and Arsenal’s 3rd, with 5-minutes to go.
Whilst the cardboard Gooners headed back to London on the Amazon Express, over the moon with the victory, Mikel and his men shouldn’t get too carried away as most have beaten the Blades this term.
The victory leaves Arsenal 9th in the table, with 45-points from 31-fixtures, the same 45 as Leeds United but sit a place higher with a slightly superior goal difference.
The Gunners have a plus+8, scoring 43 and conceding 35, whereas Marcelo’s Whites have scored 49 and conceded 49.
Arsenal are now 4-points behind the North London rivals Tottenham, which must now be the target to catch.
There’s no real chance of automatic entry into the European competitions via the Premier League, therefore Mikel Arteta will be going all out to win the Europa League that will give them a Champions League place next term.
That Europa League final may just pair Arsenal with Manchester United, which will be a great advert for the Premier League and the watching millions.
Arsenal host Fulham after their fate in the Europa League is decided on Thursday, heading over to the Czech Republic to take on Slavia Prague, with the tie all square, following the 1-1 draw at the Emirates last Thursday.
Fulham’s chance of staying in the Premier League took a turn for the worse on Friday in Game Week-31’s opening fixture, at Craven Cottage against Wolves.
Having been lucky to survive a 1st-half ridiculous decision by the VAR, disallowing a perfectly good goal by Wolves, it looked like Fulham would gain a point from a goalless draw.
Unfortunately, the Gold and Blacks scored in the 92nd-minute to inflict a defeat on Scott’s Boys by a 1-0 scoreline.
The defeat leaves Fulham 3rd from bottom, with 26-points from 32-games played, a game more than those around them.
With Newcastle subsequently winning on Sunday, the Cottagers are now a massive 6-points from safety, massive, not only in points but also because the Magpies have an extra game to play over Fulham.
With both teams having effectively the same goal difference, it basically means Scott Parker’s men have to win 3-more games than Steve Bruce’s boys in the remaining 6-fixtures. Which, although is not impossible, is a big ask and Craven Cottage could once again be entertaining Championship clubs next season.
One current Championship team that could swap places with Fulham is Barnsley FC. Regular readers of this EveryTip column will know that John Newsome is a massive Reds fan and would love the opportunity to write about his beloved team every week next term.
With 5-Championship fixtures remaining, the Oakwell outfit currently sit 5th in the table and whilst automatic promotion is beyond them, a couple or 3 more victories will cement a play-off place.
Barnsley have 71-points, 5-more than Reading who sit 7th, with 66-points, which means Reading can only achieve 81 in total, if victorious in all 5-remaining games, that in itself is questionable.
If the Super Reds win their next 2-games, that would give Barnsley 77, Reading would have to win their next 2-games too but a defeat for the Berkshire club would certainly spell the end of their playoff hopes.
Reading are really the only team that effectively could prevent Barnsley being in the playoffs, which would see a possible fixture between any one of Brentford, Swansea and Bournemouth.
As it stands at the minute, Brentford would entertain Bournemouth and Swansea would be paired with Barnsley.
A question was asked as a fan, as to who the Super Reds, would prefer to play from the other 3?
The answer was quick and simple, anyone!
That said, Barnsley haven’t beaten Swansea since 1983. In 16-games between the two, Swansea have won 9 and drew 7.
Barnsley were successful against the Swans back in 2006, in the League 1 Play-off Final and whilst the boys and girls of Barnsley celebrated for a month, that victory was on penalties after the tie finished in a Desmond 2-2 draw after 120-minutes.
There are still 4-fixtures to change those play-off positions but the answer still remains the same, anyone! COYR!
As with the Sheffield United opening game result, Fulham’s start was a defeat with the Cottagers suffering a loss by a 3-0 scoreline against Arsenal at Craven Cottage.
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring after 8-minutes giving the Gunners a half-time lead. Gabriel added a 2nd, after the restart with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before he was rubbish, making it 3, still with a good half-hour of the game to go. Like Sheffield United, Fulham look to be heading to the Championship too.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at Odds On 7/10, the draw at 13/5 and 17/4 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/2 that Alexandre Lacazette Scores First and 2/1 that Arsenal Score in Both Halves.
MANCHESTER UNITED v BURNLEY
Sky Sports 16.00 in England
The weekend of horrendous decisions by the dreaded VAR, continued at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium when Scott McTominay was deemed to have punched Son Heung-Min in the face, in the build-up to a perfectly good goal by Edinson Cavani that would have given United the lead against Tottenham on Sunday.
Scott was in front of Son, put his arm back, not looking at where his hand would go and did what every footballer on the planet does, whilst dribbling past an opponent.
Somehow the VAR, who were watching Ski Sunday from Macclesfield, decided to switch back to the footie to imply they were watching and inform the on-field referee, Chris Kavanagh, to check his redundant pitch-side monitor.
Chris decided that Scott had poleaxed Not-So-Nice-One Son and ruled out the goal from Edinson. Most will think’ ‘Ski Sunday? in April? in England?’ Yes, it was snowing, on Sunday, in England, in April!
Later that evening, on the BBC, there was the British Academy Film and Television Awards on, known as the BAFTA’s where Son Heung-Min received his gong for Best Supporting Actor.
That, girls and boys, is called a joke, a bit of fun after the incident at Tottenham’s home, not racist abuse that Son received after the game by the keyboard cowards in their mum’s bedroom.
Stop it and grow up, it’s a game of football!
Ole’s Trollies then conceded a goal before half-time, ironically scored by Mr Son, nice one! Manchester United came out in the 2nd-half and played possibly the best 45-minutes of football this term, completely dominating Tottenham and going a long way in making up for the disastrous home defeat by a 6-1 scoreline, suffered back in early October.
This column has been critical about Fred over the season, critical not abusive and still sticks by the narrative that United won’t win anything with Fred, however, a period of grace was afforded to the Brazilian, when the £52 Million (yes!) scored United’s equaliser against Spurs early in the 2nd-half, just the lads 2nd-goal in a Red, Grey or Zebra shirt. Two goals in 71-appearances!
Granted, Fred wasn’t bought by United to score goals, Dracula bought him by the way, paying £52 Million to Shakhtar Donetsk back in the summer of 2018 (not 69’).
Edinson Cavani scored United’s 2nd, this time with a header and wasn’t going to have this one chalked off by the dreaded, who had switched over from Ski Sunday to Songs of Praise. That’s Edinson’s 7th of the campaign, from 20-appearances, many as a substitute.
Now 34, the Uruguayan, although still a class act, is coming to the twilight of his career but for any aspiring young strikers out there, whether at an academy or just playing in the street or over the park, study Edinson Cavani and watch his movements throughout the time he’s on the pitch.
There’s only Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford scored more goals for United this campaign than EC.
Mason Greenwood, one of the said youngsters, who is training day in, day out with Mr Cavani, has an education received from Edinson, that is priceless, added a 3rd in injury time, to give Manchester United a superb victory, cementing their place in 2nd, now 11-points behind the Noisy Neighbours, City, following Pep’s Blues surprise defeat the day before.
Ole’s Wheels have also played a game less than City.
Can the United faithful dare to dream of a 21st Top Flight title? Well, they can dream but it won’t happen.
Logically there were reasons for City’s defeat, which will be explained in the Aston Villa v Man City preview further on, so Man City, whose lead at the top can be reduced to 8-points, if United are victorious today against Burnley, will still be the 2020/21 Premier League Champions.
The main talking point of Game Week-31 has been VAR, the Video Assistant Referee and the abhorrent decisions made in several fixtures.
In the first of the games on Friday night, Wolves had a goal disallowed because someone’s armpit hair was deemed offside.
Leeds United had a player sent off after VAR got involved, possibly the correct decision but was it a clear error by the on-field referee, in just initially awarding a Yellow? Liverpool had a goal disallowed for offside by the dreaded.
West Ham were denied a goal by VAR, again when the lines drawn showed Issa Diop to be a millimetre in front, plus the horrendous incident with Scott and Son.
On Monday, in the West Brom v Southampton game, another crazy decision by the Stockley Park mob that cancelled out a perfectly good goal for the Baggies, where supposedly there wasn’t a definitive camera angle to confirm that the West Brom player was onside, so the original on-field decision of offside was kept.
In last week’s Champions League Quarter-Final 1st-leg tie between Man City and Borussia Dortmund, the excellent Jude Bellingham, not only had a goal ruled out but was cautioned for a foul on Ederson that should have been a foul against the City goalkeeper.
What made matters worse, was the on-field referee, the Romanian Ovidiu Hategan, blew his whistle a second before Jude tapped into an empty net, meaning that the dreaded VAR couldn’t get involved after the whistle.
So not only is the VAR coming up with ridiculous decisions but it also can’t be used once the on-field referee blows.
If Ovidiu, his name being ironic really, O-Video Assistant Referee, had not blown his whistle, the dreaded VAR would have been able to look at the challenge and not only allowed the goal but prevented Mr Bellingham from receiving a Yellow Card.
That Yellow could potentially cost the lad a place in the Semi-Final of the Champions League if Dortmund progress.
VAR appears to be used more sensibly overseas and although the actions in the Man City v Dortmund game goes against that statement, it wasn’t actually the dreaded that was at fault, it was Mr Hategan, who made the error, that VAR could have rectified.
The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee is a good initiative, it’s the interpretation of the incidents that is causing the problems and if a straw poll was conducted by the football fraternity, of all the managers, players, coaches and fans, most would get rid, however, that won’t happen, so another option has to be put on the table.
One suggestion is that the boys and girls at Stockley Park should include an ex-player and maybe an ex-referee, to sit alongside the current folk who are current referees whose natural instinct is not necessarily to give the correct decision but to automatically stick up for his mate on the pitch.
An ex-referee and player wouldn’t have the inclination to protect the on-field referee and would just give a subjective decision on the incident. The off-side rule needs to be tweaked too.
There is always going to be a line, that’s the whole point of the offside law, it’s just where that line should start. At the minute it starts where and when it suits the dreaded.
If a player points to his mate where he wants the ball to be played and his arm is ahead of the defender, he can be deemed to be offside, as with Patrick Bamford for Leeds United against Crystal Palace earlier on in this campaign.
The boys and girls at Stockley love to put their lines up and decide whether an attackers armpit is in front of a defenders middle finger. Maybe and this is a bit innovative, just use the feet.
Is the attackers foot further forward than a defenders foot, when the ball is played forward?
Easy to decipher, straight forward and would be clear and obvious to everyone. As the meerkat says, Simples!
Manchester United host Granada (the Spanish Football team not the Television Rental firm), in the 2nd-leg of the Quarter-Final of the Europa League, on Thursday, before the visit of Burnley.
United are leading from the 1st-leg by a 2-0 scoreline, with goals from Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. One point to note, Fred didn’t play in the tie in Spain.
The Brazilian, however, should be on show in the 2nd-leg, with suspensions for Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw, ruling the 3 out of the game.
Burnley again snatched the defeat from the jaws of victory on Sunday, this time against Newcastle, with Matej Vydra scoring after 18-minutes to give Sean Dyche’s Clarets a half-time lead.
Unfortunately, for the cardboard faithful, wearing extra padding by way of Frosties cereal boxes ( They’re ggrreat!) in the snow of Turf Moor, Burnley did what they had done the previous week and gave away a lead, conceding 2, 2nd-half goals to ultimately lose the tie against the Magpies.
That’s now, 7-losses, 4-wins and 5-draws in the last 16-fixtures, 17-points from a possible 48, which isn’t as good as what’s expected at Turf Moor.
The defeat against Newcastle leaves Sean’s Boys in 16th, with 33-points from the 31-fixtures played, now just a point more than the Magpies but significantly, 7 more than Fulham in the final relegation place.
With 7-games remaining, Manchester United, Wolves, West Ham, Fulham, Leeds United, Liverpool and Sheffield United, effectively the Clarets should be safe if victories are achieved against Fulham and Sheffield United, however, what will concern all connections at Turf Moor, is the way that the lead is given up and that does need addressing.
Paul Pogba scored the only goal of the game in the 2nd-half at Turf Moor, giving United a victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
Although this was a Game Week-1 fixture, like the rest of these 32s, the game at Burnley took place in January as the fixture was initially postponed allowing Manchester United an extra week off due to being useless in Europe last term.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at Odds On 1/3, the draw at 17/4 and 8/1 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 that Paul Pogba Scores Anytime and 7/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
LEEDS UNITED v LIVERPOOL
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
There have been some stunning victories over the course of the season with Aston Villa beating Liverpool by a 7-2 scoreline, Tottenham beating Manchester United at Old Trafford 6-1 and recently West Brom beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge by a 5-2 scoreline. But probably the result of the season so far is Leeds United’s brilliant victory last Saturday, going to the home of the Champions elect, being reduced to 10-men and playing the whole of the 2nd-half, a man light against Pep’s High Flying City and beating the Premier League leaders by a 2-1 scoreline.
As Chris Kamara would say, ‘Unbelievable Jeff!’
Stuart Dallas scored 1st at the Etihad in the early Saturday Afternoon kick-off, 3-minutes before half-time.
Unfortunately for Marcelo’s Whites, Liam Cooper was shown a Red Card following a challenge on Jesus (Gabriel) just before the referee blew his whistle for the cup of tea.
The on-field referee, Andre Marriner, had initially shown Liam a Yellow but was advised by the dreaded to have another look on the pitch-side monitor and with the challenge deemed to be reckless, the card was upgraded to a straight Red, which does rule out Mr Cooper for the next 3-fixtures.
It was then assumed and with no evidence to doubt otherwise, that Man City would steamroll Leeds United in the 2nd-half and although Marcelo’s Men did concede an equaliser and defended as if their lives depended on it, when it looked like Leeds would hold on for a draw, which in itself would have been an amazing achievement, Stuart Dallas broke away in the 92nd-minute and scored the winner for the Whites.
There were a few outstanding performances from the Leeds United players, including Illan Meslier in goal, Luke Ayling, Ezgjan Alioski, Kalvin Phillips plus the others but a mention has to go to a player who, if he walked down the middle of Leeds City Centre, most wouldn’t recognise and that is Diego Llorente, who was simply brilliant against Pep’s not so High Flying City.
Diego got his body in front of every Man City attack, blocking shot after shot and will quickly become a target for the so-called Big Boys, City included.
There’s a team in Red who are just down the road from the Etihad that wouldn’t go far wrong in raiding the squad from Elland Rd.
Whilst not intending to upset the Leeds United faithful, both cardboard and real, it has happened before and could happen again.
‘Hello, it’s Bill Fotherby, the Leeds United Chairman here, how much do you want for Dennis Irwin?’
His Manchester United counterpart, Martin Edwards replied, ‘Do one, he’s not for sale, however, is Eric Cantona available?’ The rest is history.
Kalvin Phillips and Diego Llorente certainly would enhance the current Zebra Devils team. The brilliant victory not only gives Leeds United 45-points and leaves them 10th in the table, from 31-fixtures but also gives them 8-away wins in this campaign, which is closing in on the record for most away victories in a season.
It equals Wigan’s 16-year record of 8-Away Wins, in 2005/06, as a newly promoted team and is 1-short of Ipswich’s all-time record of 9, from a 38-game campaign, in 2000/01. Nottingham Forest have 10 away victories but that was from a 42-game season back in 1994/95, when the Premier League consisted of 22-teams.
When Marcelo’s Whites won away against Fulham in Game Week-29, it left the Elland Rd outfit with 4-away trips to match or beat the record.
The trip to the Etihad followed by outings to Turf Moor, the Amex and St Mary’s. It certainly wasn’t envisaged that one of the away-wins would come at the Etihad against Man City.
Only 7 of the 19-Premier League teams have taken points off City this term, Leicester, Leeds United, Tottenham, West Ham, Liverpool, West Brom and Manchester United.
Apart from Manchester United and Leeds, all of the others lost in the reverse fixture, which shows just what a tremendous achievement Saturday’s result was. Marching on Together!
Liverpool conceded an early goal against Aston Villa on Saturday and must have thought the Anfield voodoo was continuing after losing the 6-previous Premier League fixtures at home.
Roberto Firmino had an equaliser ruled out by the dreaded just before half-time that must have put the fear in Jurgen’s Reds that the losing home streak was to continue.
Luckily for everyone connected with Liverpool, Mo Salah equalised after the break and with the 90-minutes up on the clock, Trent Alexander-Arnold scored the winner, to give the cardboard Scousers their first sight of victory in 7-games, since December 2020.
The win gives Liverpool 52-points from 31-fixtures completed, leaving them 7th in the table but still outside of the European places, both Champions and Europa, so unless Klipperty Klopp can inspire his boys to turn around the 3-1 deficit from the 1st-leg of the Quarter-Final against Real Madrid, it could mean Liverpool won’t be playing European football next season.
There is a backdoor way into Europe and that is if Man City win the Carabao Cup and finish as Premier League Champions too, meaning the team that finishes in 7th-place, go into the Europa League.
Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday before the trip along the M62 to Elland Rd.
The Spanish giants have a 3-1 advantage from the 1st-leg and with Liverpool struggling at home, it will be a tough assignment for Jurgen Klopp’s boys to progress in the Champions League.
Leeds United introduced themselves to the Premier League fraternity with a brilliant first outing, 7-goal thriller, at Anfield.
Unfortunately for Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites, Liverpool inflicted a defeat on Leeds by a 4-3 scoreline.
The 1st-half scoring was as follows, Mo Salah 1-0, 4-minutes, Jack Harrison 1-1, 12-minutes, Virgil Van Dijk 2-1, 20-minutes, Patrick Bamford 2-2, 30-minutes and Mo Salah 3-2, 33-minutes.
Mateusz Klich equalised for the Whites after 66-minutes and when it looked like Leeds would hold on for a famous opening day point, Big Mo completed his hat-trick with 2-minutes to go, to give the Reds the victory.
Whilst it was a defeat for Leeds United, it offered up a few ideas as to how Marcelo Bielsa would send his boys out and perform and also, allowed other managers to set up their own teams when visiting Anfield.
Sean Dyche, Graham Potter, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Thomas Tuchel and Scott Parker, all took note from Mr Bielsa and earned great away-day victories at Liverpool’s iconic home.
Bet 365 offer Leeds United at 15/4, the draw at 16/5 and slight Odds On 13/20 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/4 that Patrick Bamford Scores Anytime and 6/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
CHELSEA v BRIGHTON
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines got back to winning ways on Saturday after the surprise defeat against West Brom, the week before.
Heading the short distance over to Selhurst Park, Chelsea got the away-day victory by a convincing 4-1 scoreline to keep them 5th in the table with 54-points from 31-games played.
With West Ham taking points off Leicester, Thomas’s Blues are just a point behind the Hammers in 4th and 2-points adrift of the Foxes in 3rd. There’s a big gap of 9-points to Ole’s Trollies in 2nd.
Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Kurt Zouma all scored in the 1st-half to give Chelsea the lead at the break.
Palace did pull a goal back which ultimately was just a consolation with Christian adding the 4th to give the Blues the London win over the Eagles.
Chelsea head back to Spain to take on Porto, in their home leg of the Quarter-Final of the Champions League. Now, most reading that will simply be scratching their head, thinking that John Newsome has gone mad. Chelsea, go to Spain, to take on Porto, in their home tie???
However, that’s the situation, Portugal, obviously where Porto are situated, won’t allow flights in or out of the country due to the Coronavirus situation.
Last weeks 1st-leg at Seville’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, was classed as Porto’s ‘home game’ and this weeks tie at the same Mr Pizjuan Stadium, is classed as Chelsea’s ‘home game’.
Chelsea beat Porto in the 1st-leg by a 2-0, scoreline, with Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell scoring, which somehow gives Thomas’s Engines, ‘2-away goals’?
Brighton played in the dullest fixture of Game Week-31, against Everton at the Amex on Monday Night Football, with the game finishing in a drab draw by a 0-0 scoreline. Enough said.
The point gained gives the Seagulls 33, from 31-played and leaves them 15th in the table, a place higher than Burnley who have the same 33-points but a slightly inferior goal difference. Significantly though, Graham Potter’s men have 7-points more than Fulham who occupy the final relegation place.
The Seagulls still have this fixture at Stamford Bridge along with trips to Yorkshire, visiting Bramall Lane, the Midlands visiting Molineux and a final away-day back up to London and the Emirates, as well as hosting Leeds United, West Ham and Man City.
All tough games that will decide whether Brighton are still a Premier League club next season.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea got an opening day victory at the Amex by a 3-1 scoreline. Jorginho converted an early penalty to give the Blues a half-time lead.
Leandro Trossard equalised after the break but the parity didn’t last long, with Reece James scoring 2-minutes after Big Tross’s goal. Kurt Zouma added a 3rd, to give Chelsea the away-day win.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at Odds On 4/7, the draw at 3/1 and 5/1 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 3/1 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
TOTTENHAM v SOUTHAMPTON
Sky Sports 18.00 in England
Both will have played a game before this Wednesday night fixture, Tottenham against Everton in the Premier League and Southampton against Leicester in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Wembley.
This reverse fixture was a Game Week-2 affair with Tottenham getting a great away victory by a 5-2 scoreline. On top of the 7-goals, were 3 that the dreaded VAR ruled out. After the disallowed 3, Danny Ings scored a real one on the half-hour mark.
Son Heung-Min scored in 1st-half added time to take both teams in level at the break. Nice-One Son then scored a further 3, in the 2nd-half, with Harry Kane adding the 5th.
There was still time for another Danny Ings notch from the penalty spot in the 90th-minute, which was merely a consolation, with Tottenham gaining a victory following their opening day defeat against Everton.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at slight Odds On 4/6, the draw at 13/5 and 17/4 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Harry Kane Scores First and 21/10 that Tottenham Win To Nil.
ASTON VILLA v MAN CITY
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
It is rare for a fixture involving Man City, that both teams come into the next Premier League game off the back of a defeat.
That’s exactly what Aston Villa and City will do come the start of this midweek contest, after Villa suffered a loss at the weekend against Liverpool at Anfield, by a 2-1 scoreline.
The excellent Ollie Watkins scored just before half-time to give Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues the lead at the break and give the cardboard faithful at Anfield a nervy half-time pie after overseeing 6-straight defeats at home.
Roberto Firmino did have a goal ruled out in time added on, by the dreaded, deeming the Brazilian to be offside.
After the break, Villa conceded an equaliser and with time running out, it did look as if Aston Villa would hold on for a point, however, Jurgen’s Reds scored the winner in the 91st-minute to inflict the defeat on Villa.
That leaves Dean Smith’s men in 11th-place, with 44-points from 30-fixtures, a game less than those around but with the thought that Aston Villa’s season is ending in disappointment after such a great start. One obvious reason for that is the absence of Jack Grealish who was once again missing against Liverpool.
If Manchester United come in with a £90 Million bid, Jack could be absent from Villa Park, permanently.
Man City suffered a rare defeat in the Premier League, early on Saturday Afternoon with Leeds United, who played 45-minutes with 10-men, inflicted a defeat on Pep’s Blues by a 2-1 scoreline.
City conceded just before half-time, then before the whistle was blown for the cup of tea, Leeds had a man sent off for a foul on Gabriel Jesus.
The on-field referee had initially shown a Yellow but were advised by the men a Stockley Park to have a wander over to his pitch-side monitor, where, on further inspection, upgraded the Yellow to a Red, leaving City with a man advantage for the whole of the 2nd-half.
It looked like the comeback was on when Pep introduced Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden which produced an equaliser, through Ferran Torres.
Unfortunately for the watching Citizens, Leeds defended superbly and broke out in time added on to score the winner, leaving the apprentice, Mr Guardiola, at the feet of the master, Mr Bielsa.
There wasn’t really anything that Pep and Man City could complain about, it was a defeat, well earned by the West Yorkshire Whites.
The only thing that the watching Citizens could scrutinise is that Pep chose a few fringe players in his starting eleven, such as Nathan Ake and the goal scorer Ferran and left Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Rodri and Kyle Walker on the bench, only bringing on Ilkay and Phil.
With the Numpty Neighbours beating Tottenham on Sunday, the gap between the two Manchester clubs is now 11-points, City at the top with 74 and United 2nd, with 63. So although a rare defeat, Man City will still be the new 2020/21 Premier League Champions.
Man City head to Germany to take on Borussia Dortmund in their 2nd-leg of the Champions League Quarter-Final, with the Blues having a 2-1 advantage from the Etihad.
Aston Villa will probably be ruing the fact that the Game Week-1 fixture between the two, was postponed and didn’t take place until January when City were the team they have evolved into and not the Low Flying Blues that started the campaign.
After a goalless first 79-minutes, which saw Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues contain Pep’s High Flying City, Bernardo Silva scored the 1st, with an Ilkay Gundogan (tra-la-la-la-lar!) penalty on 90-minutes giving Man City the victory by a 2-0 scoreline.
It was also the game that saw Big Deano receive 2-Yellow Cards and sent to the stands for asking John Moss (the referee, not the former Culture Club drummer!) if he’d received some new juggling balls for Christmas. Basically implying that John was a clown. Karma Chameleon!
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 13/2, the draw at 7/2 and slight Odds On 2/5 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/5 that Raheem Sterling Scores Anytime and 13/10 that Man City Win To Nil.
LEICESTER v WEST BROM
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Leicester suffered a 2nd-loss in a row on Sunday, succumbing to a defeat by a 3-2 scoreline away against West Ham at the London Stadium.
After conceding 3-goals, the Foxes decided it was time to start playing and pulled 2-goals back, with Kelechi Iheanacho scoring both to give the travelling cardboard Foxes hope of a comeback.
In truth, if there was another 3 or 4-minutes, Leicester would probably have got the equaliser but unfortunately, for Brendan’s not so Wonderful’s, time ran out, with the defeat leaving the Foxes, still in 3rd-place, with 56-points, now just 1-more than West Ham both having played 31-times.
Chelsea are in 5th, 2-points adrift of Leicester, with the real possibility of leapfrogging the Foxes, with both facing each other in the penultimate game of the season.
Leicester’s remaining fixtures are West Brom, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Newcastle, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham, the last 3-games being extremely mouthwatering for the watching millions.
Leicester also face Southampton in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Wembley, before the visit of the Baggies.
Rod Stewart and his lovely pooch Lennon were happy that Leicester lost, with Sir Roderick, still wearing his West Ham shirt with ‘Stewart’ and ‘76’ on the back heading to the kitchen to get the puppy some doggy treats.
Whilst Rod was out of arms way, Lennon barked to the tune of one of Mr Stewart’s famous songs, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be’
Sam Allardyce is once again working his magic on a struggling team but may just be too late in trying to save West Brom.
After the stunning victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week, the Baggies followed that up with a home victory at The Hawthorns against Southampton by a 3-0 scoreline.
Matheus Pereira scored 1st (as predicted in this column last week) from the penalty spot after West Brom had a perfectly good goal disallowed by the dreaded VAR. Matty Phillips added a 2nd, 3-minutes after Matheus’s goal to give West Brom a lead at the break.
In the 2nd-half, Callum Robinson scored the Baggies 3rd and even though West Brom conceded a late penalty, the ‘keeper Sam Johnstone made a great save, to earn the victory to Nil.
Callum has scored 5-goals for West Brom, with 4 of them being against Chelsea, so it was nice for Big Cal to notch against another team.
Although 2-great victories, it may have come too late for Sam Allardyce to save West Brom, with Newcastle gaining 4-points from their previous 2-fixtures.
It still leaves the Baggies in the drop-zone with 24-points, now just 2-less than Fulham but still 8-adrift of Newcastle and a much inferior goal difference.
Newcastle have a minus-19 difference with West Brom having a minus-31. That means, not only have Big Sam’s boys got to win 3-more times than Newcastle do, in the remaining 7-fixtures but also make up the 11-goals to jump above the Magpies.
With Sam being an ex-Newcastle boss and treat with disdain by the Toon Army, it would be a personal satisfaction to overhaul the Black and Whites. However, it is a big ask and maybe the season finale will just come too soon to stave off relegation.
At The Hawthorns back in sunny September, Brendan’s Wonderful’s got a great away-day victory against Slaven Bilic’s Baggies by a 3-0 scoreline.
With no goals before the break, a great half-time pep talk by Brendan Rodgers inspired his boys, with a goal from Timothy Castagne and 2-converted penalties by the original Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy, giving Leicester the Midlands bragging rights.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at Odds On 1/2, the draw at 14/5 and 11/2 for West Brom to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Jamie Vardy Scores First and 12/5 that Matheus Pereira Scores Anytime.
Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to offer his input and has kindly given his predictions for the 9, Game Week-32 fixtures and the 1, from Game Week-29.
Everton 2 v Tottenham 1
Newcastle 1 v West Ham 3
Wolves 2 v Sheffield United 0
Arsenal 2 v Fulham 1
Manchester United 3 v Burnley 0
Leeds United 1 v Liverpool 2
Chelsea 2 v Brighton 0
Tottenham 2 v Southampton 0
Aston Villa 0 v Man City 3
Leicester 2 v West Brom 0
JP had 3-Correct Results from the 10-Fixtures but significantly, Jon had 1-Correct Score in Game Week-31.
John Newsome had 5-Correct Results with 0-Correct Score.
A quick tally was added up and since Jon started giving his predictions, the Beast has 58-correct results with 14-correct scores from 124-games played.
John Newsome is slightly behind with 57-correct results and 11 correct scores but closed the gap substantially in Game Week-31, getting 2-more correct results than the Beast.
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