The highlight games for this weekend and early next week’s action are MAN CITY versus CHELSEA and ARSENAL versus WEST BROM. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 35 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.
LEICESTER v NEWCASTLE
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Another Friday night outing for Brendan’s Wonderful’s after last week’s trip to St Mary’s. The previous Friday night venture to Southampton, ended in a 9-0 scoreline to the Foxes, after an initial sending off for a Saints player.
The same occurred last Friday with the home side having a man sent off in the 10th-minute, however, this time, Leicester couldn’t capitalise and conceded a penalty in the 2nd-half that resulted in a goal for Southampton.
The Foxes equalised soon after, through an unlikely scorer, with Jonny Evans getting his head on the end of a whipped in corner.
With no further goals, both teams shared the points from a 1-1 draw that gives Leicester 63 from 34-fixtures completed.
Brendan’s Wonderful’s stay in 3rd-place, however, with Chelsea subsequently beating Fulham on Saturday, the gap between the two, is now, just 2-points.
Leicester face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the penultimate game of the season, which will be 4-days after the two play in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Rod Stewart had mixed emotions over the weekend, happy with the draw on Friday night and the fact Leicester didn’t win but upset on Sunday when Sir Roderick’s beloved Green and White Hoops were beaten by their fierce Glasgow rivals, Rangers, in the Scottish Pub League.
Lennon the puppy was nowhere to be seen at midday on Sunday, as the trusted pooch knew the score if Celtic didn’t win.
No doggy treats for Lenny Boy, as Rod swapped his Southampton shirt for his Celtic top, both with ‘Stewart’ and ‘76’ on the back, the pooch could be heard, somewhere in the distance, barking to the tune of one of the Scottish crooners famous songs, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be’ Woof-Woof!
Newcastle, it appears, have one flip-flop on the Whitley Bay beach, knowing that a vaccine full Toon Army will be at St James Park, watching Premier League football next season. It will be a common theme throughout this week’s column, that a few teams will have switched off and getting ready for the summer holidays.
Whilst the likes of Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Graham Potter, Roy Hodgson, Nuno Espírito Santo, Marcelo Bielsa and Dean Smith, won’t openly admit that their teams are safe and the boys are on the beach, they are.
It was evident in Newcastle’s performance against Arsenal on Sunday, putting in a lacklustre display that resulted in a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline.
Fabian Schar was harshly shown a straight Red Card, with time up on the clock, after only being on the pitch for 18-minutes, which was following a long lay off due to injury.
It was a tackle, yes, worthy of a foul, yes, worthy of a Yellow Card, probably, worthy of a Red Card? Definitely not. The lad was showing some passion and fighting for his team.
The on-field referee wasn’t a rookie, a newbie, or influenced by the dreaded VAR, this was Mike Dean, the most experienced man in the middle, that the Premier League has, yet deemed it a straight Red and sent the Newcastle defender off.
Mike couldn’t rely on the girls and boys at Stockley Park, they weren’t watching the football, it’s the Embassy World Professional Snooker Final, so those boys and girls had a bowl of Doritos with some spicy dips and the telly’s tuned to BBC 2.
A quick note on the Snooker, a few of the youngsters are moaning about the fact that none of the youths are coming through.
The current World Number 1, Judd Trump, aged 31, has stated that there should be improvements made, to introduce younger people to the game of Snooker.
Whilst a fan of young Judd, he’s completely wrong with that narrative. No one at the BBC, the World Snooker Tournament officials or Barry Hearn, the outgoing boss of World Snooker, took Judd on and asked the question, why?
In that, it’s meant, why do World Snooker have to placate youngsters? The two finalists this year are approaching 40, Mark Selby is 37, Shaun Murphy is 38. The current champion, Ronnie O Sullivan is 45, John Higgins-45, Mark Williams-46.
If Judd Trump wants the youths to come into the game, tell them to do what he himself did, get a cue and get down to the snooker clubs like John Newsome also did when he was 11.
The problem is, the youths won’t, firstly they would want their parents to give them a lift in the car instead of catching a bus or walking and B, most of them can’t spell cue, would probably spell it queue and definitely wouldn’t stand in one.
The main point of this sensible few paragraphs or some would say, drunken rant, is that it’s not World Snookers responsibility to placate the youngsters and try and change the game that the majority of people love.
It’s up to the youths to pull their fingers out and learn the game, a game that is extremely difficult, hard to play and the new youngsters don’t like things that are difficult or hard, many don’t have backbones. Snooker is 200+plus years old, there’s a reason it’s still popular because it’s Snooker.
The final sensible paragraph to this debate is, Mark Allen, the Northern Ireland Snooker player, stated that the Black Ball Final of 1985, between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor, will be shown on BBC 2, sometime over the 17 days the Embassy World Championship is on as if it was a sin as if no one would want to see it. Maybe the youths would like to see history.
As a 15-year old, with school the next day, this EveryTip contributor was one of the 18.5 Million that watched the whole of the 1985 final, until 1.00 AM and would watch it again, in full, some 36-years later.
The majority of the 18.5 Million would too, so a note to Mark Allen.
Black Ball Matters!
The Foxes devoured the Magpies at St James Park, back in January with goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans giving Leicester the victory by a 2-1 scoreline.
Big Andy Carroll with the Newcastle goal late in the game, with all the strikes being in the 2nd-half.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at Odds On 4/9, the draw at 10/3 and 13/2 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 that Callum Wilson Scores Anytime and 7/2 that Kelechi Iheanacho Scores First.
LEEDS UNITED v TOTTENHAM
BT Sport 12.30 in England
Leeds United suffered a defeat against Brighton on Saturday, by a 2-0 scoreline.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Boys have only lost against the same team, 3-times this campaign, with Wolves, West Ham and now Brighton, being the only teams to inflict a double over the newly promoted boys.
When thinking about that statistic, Leeds have faced Man City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal both home and away, with none able to beat the Whites twice.
In the remaining 4-fixtures, against Tottenham, Burnley, Southampton and West Brom, only Spurs can inflict a double defeat on Leeds United. Which in itself, is a great achievement and tells the story of Marcelo Bielsa’s footballing philosophy.
After conceding a penalty in the 14th-minute that the Seagulls converted, then allowing ex-Manchester United star, Danny Welbeck the freedom of the Amex to add a 2nd, late in the game, Leeds succumbed to the loss.
From the outside and it would be difficult to prove, it appeared that the Whites had one flip-flop on the beach, following a superb first season back in the Premier League.
Whilst no one at Elland Rd will admit that statement, 47-points from 34-fixtures is a superb return, that could just mean, the remaining 4-games are not of the quality of the previous.
Marcelo Bielsa is renowned for pushing his players to the physical limit that if, not consciously, then subconsciously, could see them run out of steam, especially considering that there is nothing really to play for in the final 4-games.
The addition to that statement is there aren’t any fans in the stadium at the moment, meaning a packed Elland Rd, or a travelling fanatical set of Whites, wouldn’t allow for complacency and would carry the team across the line in the remaining games.
Subconsciously, the Leeds players could be packing the sun-cream and Speedos, ready for a well-earned break and as there are not many plans to go abroad at the moment, don’t be surprised to see the White Idols on the beaches of Skegness or Cleethorpes.
Two things stand out about this fixture against the supposed European Super Leaguers, that is a result of the horrific Coronavirus situation and that is, firstly, it’s a real shame that Elland Rd won’t be packed to the rafters with the Marching On Together crew and B, the said Marching On Together boys cannot show their much-loved affection for Jose Mourinho, following Dracula’s sacking by the Spurs heir-achy.
Imagine the faithful, as Jose pops his head out of the famous tunnel, in his first visit to West Yorkshire.
There would have been a few choice songs, belted out by the boys and girls, directed towards the ‘not so’ Special One. Bloomin COVID-19!
Football is a simple game, pick 11 of the squads best players, put them out on the pitch and instruct the said 11, to score more goals than the opponent.
Jose Mourinho complicated this procedure and somehow decided to have a starting 11, which wasn’t necessarily the best out of the squad, left a couple of his better players out of the 11, then ultimately got sacked for this strange philosophy.
Ryan Mason is 29-years old, a baby in the footballing managerial world, yet knows that all he has to do, is pick his best 11, from the players on offer.
Gareth Bale and Dele Alli, along with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are 4 of Tottenham’s best 11, yet Dracula decided that the 4, couldn’t play together.
On Sunday night, Ryan included the 4, that resulted in a demolition job done on the worst team in the Premier League, Sheffield United.
Granted, the Blades are already relegated and Tottenham should be beating the bottom team, however. Spurs had to put in the performance to earn the result and it’s favourable to include 4 of the elite members of the squad, instead of leaving them to warm the bench.
Gareth Bale scored a superb hat-trick on Sunday, 1 in the 1st-half and 2, after the break, that left Tottenham inflicting a defeat on Sheffield United by a 4-0 scoreline.
Nice-One Son, adding the 4th, to complete the rout, before the final episode of Line of Duty. It’s not rocket science Jose!
Gareth Bale and Dele Alli will enhance any team and if Dracula had picked the pair more, then maybe the Portuguese manager would still be at the helm at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
It’s highly unlikely that Ryan Mason will be given the job permanently but the lad is doing a great job that could see him given an assistant position to the new gaffer that arrives.
With 4-fixtures remaining, Spurs have 56-points and sit 6th in the table, 2-less than West Ham and 5-adrift of Chelsea who sit in the final Champions League place. It would be a tough ask to gain entry into the top European Competition but a Europa League place is definitely on the cards.
The added extra to that is due to the postponement of Liverpool’s fixture against Manchester United on Sunday, Jurgen’s Reds, still have 5-games to play and are just 2-points behind Tottenham.
Including this fixture against Leeds United at Elland Rd, Ryan has to take his boys to the King Power, to face Leicester, in the final game of the season, plus home fixtures against Wolves and Aston Villa in between.
Jose Mourinho is the new Manager of Roma, having agreed to a 3-year deal with the Italians.
Good luck, Roma!
When Marcelo’s Whites went down the M1 to London to face Dracula’s Spurs, Tottenham got the easy victory, comfortably beating Leeds United by a 3-0 scoreline. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min scoring the 1st-half goals, with Toby Alderweireld adding the 3rd, after the break.
For some reason, leading 3-0 with the final whistle about to blow, Tottenham’s Matt Doherty decided to get himself a 2nd-Yellow Card and subsequently a Red, probably just to beat his mates into the showers.
Bet 365 offer Leeds United at 23/10, the draw at 11/4 and Evens 1/1 for Tottenham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Patrick Bamford Scores First and slight Odds On 4/6 that Harry Kane Scores Anytime.
SHEFFIELD UNITED v CRYSTAL PALACE
Sky Sports 15.00 in England
Sheffield United lost!
That’s been the opening line to 27-EveryTip, Premier League, Game Week previews this season following Sunday nights trouncing by Tottenham at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
The Welsh Superstar, that is Gareth Bale, destroyed the Blades with a goal in the 1st-half and 2, after the break, completing the lad’s hat-trick. Son Heung-Min with the 4th, to inflict another defeat, on Sheffield United, by a 4-0 scoreline.
The Blades are still under the interim guidance of Barnsley Boy, Paul Heckinbottom, who is doing a great job in making Sheffield United, worse than it could be thought possible.
Like his opposite number on Sunday, Ryan Mason, it’s unlikely that Paul will get the job on a full-time basis and will probably return to his previous position of the Under-23 boss.
Sheffield United have 17-points, with 4-fixtures to go, against Palace, Everton, Newcastle and Burnley, which will complete a sorry season for the Blunts. As a Barnsley FC fan, Mr Heckinbottom is remembered fondly for his time at Oakwell, both as a player and a manager.
Paul was in the Barnsley side that beat Swansea in the League 1, Play-off Final at the Millennium Stadium in 2006.
It’s not inconceivable to think that Barnsley could play Swansea in this season’s Championship Play-off Final at Wembley, with both teams, along with Brentford and Bournemouth, set to compete in the play-off Semi-Finals in a couple of weeks time. Good lad Paul!
James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, as had an indifferent week, well he would have had if the lad knew what that meant.
As everyone knows, the little fella is a fan of the Fruit Cider, however, this week, the Bank Holiday Weekend tipple was enhanced, with the Kopparberg Cider, being upgraded to a bottle of 37% Kopparberg Rum.
Jimbo’s lovely girlfriend bought him the said bottle, which she presented as a gift, initially implying that it was for James performance in, ‘smashing his individual bonus’ It’s hoped that’s not something rude!
Yet secretly, the Rum was bought so the little Blunt would fall asleep early, allowing the lovely lady to watch Coronation St in peace, instead of watching Jim’s second footballing love, the Blades.
Last week, the beautiful young girl inquired as to why there was an empty bottle of milk in the fridge?
Jim replied, ‘It’s in case someone wants a black coffee’
She just shook her head, thinking, ‘Daft little Blunt!’
Crystal Palace suffered a 3rd-defeat in a row on Saturday, losing against Champions elect, Man City at Selhurst Park, by a 2-0 scoreline. After a goalless 1st-half, Pep tweaked a few things, resulting in 2-quick fire goals to inflict the defeat on Roy’s Eagles.
Palace have 38-points, with 5-fixtures remaining, which, although isn’t a lot, won’t result in a relegation battle.
Fulham, who sit 3rd from the bottom, have 27-points, with just 4-games remaining, so effectively, could get 39-points in total but whilst mathematically still possible, there’s no real evidence to suggest it will happen and Crystal Palace will be playing in the Top Flight next term.
The additional question to that though, is will Roy Hodgson be the manager of the Eagles next season? With this being a prediction column, it would be remiss not to offer a prediction as to the future of Mr Hodgson and Crystal Palace.
John Newsome, predicts that Roy will retire and Crystal Palace will be renamed Frank Lampard’s Crystal Palace. Watch this space!
Back in January, Roy’s Boys comfortably beat Happy Chris Wilder’s Blades by a 2-0 scoreline. Jeffrey Schlupp and Eberechi Eze with the anomaly 1st-half goals.
The anomaly being, Double E was a substitute and only came on in the 40th-minute, when Jeffrey was injured and unable to carry on.
Bet 365 offer Sheffield United at 15/8, the draw at 11/5 and 6/4 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 8/1 that David McGoldrick Scores First and 7/2 that Sheffield United Win To Nil.
MAN CITY v CHELSEA
Sky Sports 17.30 in England
Man City could have been crowned as the 2020/21 Premier League Champions on Sunday if Manchester United had lost against Liverpool.
Unfortunately, as everyone knows, the game at Old Trafford was postponed, so the wait goes on to have Pep’s High Flyers, confirmed as Premier League Champions.
Following last week’s victory against Crystal Palace by a 2-0 scoreline, it gives Pep’s Blues, 80-points, 13-more than the Numpty Neighbours with 4-fixtures remaining, meaning if the unlikeliest of scenarios were to happen, that being, Man City lose the 4-fixtures against Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton and Everton and Manchester United win all 5, against Aston Villa, Leicester, Fulham, Wolves and the rearranged game against Liverpool, then Ole’s Trollies would be Champions.
Added to that, United would also have to overturn an 18-goal deficit.
What those two paragraphs basically mean, is, Man City are the 2020/21 Premier League Champions, whether confirmed today, tomorrow or in 3-weeks time. The title will be confirmed today if City get a win against Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines, regardless of what Manchester United do on Sunday.
In all the goals Sergio Aguero had scored, in the 181-Premier League tally up to just, none of them were against Crystal Palace.
Number 182 was, with the Argentinian Superstar scoring the opener against the Eagles on Saturday.
Within a couple of minutes of Sergio scoring, Ferren Torres added a 2nd, to calm the nerves and with no further goals, Pep’s Blues ran out comfortable winners.
Pep gave Mr Aguero a rare start after leaving the lad on the bench for the whole of the 90-minutes against Paris Saint-Germain.
The goal leaves the City legend, 5-adrift of Andrew Cole in the Premier League list of all-time leading goal scorers. Mr Cole has 187, Wayne Rooney is next with 208 and out in front is Alan Shearer with 260.
It’s quite conceivable that Sergio Aguero could reach Andrew Cole before the end of the season, plus, although Sergio is leaving Man City, it doesn’t necessarily mean, the lads leaving the Premier League, as there would be at least 17 of the other 19, that would want him, if not all 19 and with the possibility that Barnsley FC could be in the Promised Land next season, the little Argentinian maestro would certainly be welcome at Oakwell.
One thing to add to Mr Shearer’s phenomenal record is, whilst most people think that the game only started in 1992, with the introduction of the Premier League, there was Top Flight football before then, known as Division 1.
Alan Shearer scored 23-Division 1 goals for Southampton, before his move to Blackburn that coincided with the inaugural Premier League season, thus, technically giving Big Al a total of 283-Top Flight goals.
Chelsea got a comfortable victory against Fulham on Saturday night, by the same 2-0 scoreline as Man City.
Kai Havertz with both goals to give Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines the 3-points that takes them to 61 from 34-fixtures played and with Leicester only drawing the day before, the gap between the two, is now 2-points, with both facing each other in the penultimate game of the season.
West Ham, who sit 5th, are now 3-points adrift of Chelsea and whilst the Hammers still have hopes of overtaking the Blues, it’s unlikely to happen and basically means, the current Top Four will be playing Champions League football next term, it’s just where Leicester and Chelsea finish between themselves.
What could occur, is Chelsea win the Champions League crown and then finish 5th, allowing West Ham or Liverpool into the Top Four, which would see 5-Premier League teams in next season’s top European Competition.
That scenario wouldn’t necessarily be manufactured but let’s just say, 5-English teams in the Champions League is better than 4, however, the Final takes place after the Premier League season has finished, so no manipulation of results are foreseen.
Both come into this fixture with the possibility of being in the Final of the Champions League.
Man City play the 2nd-leg of their Semi-Final against Paris Saint-Germain, on Tuesday, taking a 2-1 lead and 2-vital away-goals back to the Etihad.
Chelsea also take a vital away goal into Wednesdays 2nd-leg at Stamford Bridge, from their 1st-leg against Real Madrid, however, the tie is currently a stalemate following a 1-1 draw in Spain.
When Pep’s Blues took on Frank’s Blues at the turn of the year, Ilkay Gundogan (tra-la-la-la-lar!), Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne scored the goals to give City a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored a late consolation for Chelsea in the 92nd-minute but Pep’s High Flying City held on for the victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Man City at slight Odds On 5/6, the draw at 13/5 and 16/5 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/1 that Raheem Sterling Scores First and 9/2 that Man City Score a Penalty.
LIVERPOOL v SOUTHAMPTON
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
Liverpool’s trip down the East Lancs Rd to Manchester on Sunday turned out to be a wasted journey following a disturbance in and around Old Trafford. Due to the crowd trouble, the game had to be postponed, more on that in the Aston Villa v Manchester United preview.
What it means to Jurgen Klopp and his boys is come kick-off against Southampton, late on Saturday evening, it will have been 14-days since the Reds kicked a ball in anger.
Probably the positive Mr Klopp can take from the frustrating weekend, is the Blue half of Merseyside, Everton, lost in their Game Week-34 tie against Aston Villa, meaning Liverpool, sit 7th in the table, with 54-points, 2-more than the Toffees but now with both teams having completed the same 33-fixtures.
With West Ham, beating Burnley on Monday, Jurgen’s Reds are now 4-points adrift of the Hammers in 5th and 2-points away from Spurs who sit 6th but significantly, both have played a game more than Liverpool. There are always positives to take from adversity.
The last time Southampton hosted Leicester at St Mary’s on a Friday night, the Saints were reduced to 10-men with the sending off, of Ryan Bertrand in the 12th-minute, then conceded 9-goals. Yes, 9(nine)!
Last Friday, Southampton, once again were reduced to 10-men after 10-minutes that surely would have sent shivers down the spine of the watching faithful.
Jan Vestergaard being the unlucky recipient of a Red Card, following a last-ditch challenge on Jamie Vardy, which was deemed as preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. However, on this occasion, the Saints earned a great point against the Foxes from a 1-1 draw.
James Ward-Prowse converted a 2nd-half penalty to give Wreck-It Ralph’s boys a lead. Unfortunately for the watching cardboard faithful, Leicester equalised soon after, to give both teams a share of the points.
The point gained, gives Southampton 37 from 33-fixtures played, 10-points more than the relegation places, which, again like most of the teams out of the drop-zone, whilst not mathematically safe, Southampton will feel that St Mary’s, with a vaccinated full set of Saints, will be hosting Premier League football next term.
Ralph Hasenhuttl was in tears, literally, when Southampton inflicted a defeat on Liverpool by a 1-0 scoreline back in January. Ex-Red, Danny Ings, with the solitary winning goal in the 2nd-minute.
With no further goals, Wreck-It was on his knees at the final whistle, crying into his baseball hat. The Austrian might just be crying again today but for a different reason, that being, as a result of a defeat.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at Odds On 2/7, the draw at 9/2 and 17/2 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/5 that Mo Salah Scores First and 13/10 that Liverpool Win To Nil.
WOLVES v BRIGHTON
BBC 1 12.00 in England
Wolves took the lead early on Monday evening, through a deflected shot by Fabio Silva, to give Nuno’s Gold and Blacks a half-time advantage. Unfortunately for the away side, the bad dog walker was on show, with Wolves not able to hold onto the lead, conceding a West Brom equaliser midway through the 2nd-half.
The point gained gives Nuno’s men 42, from 34-fixtures played, with 4-remaining against Brighton, Tottenham, Everton and Manchester United, to complete another season in the Top Flight, the 3rd in a row for Wolves, with the 2-previous, seeing the Molineux outfit finish 7th and 7th.
Brighton are just one of three teams to do the double over Leeds United this term, inflicting a defeat on the Whites by a 2-0 scoreline. Coincidentally, Wolves are one of the other two that have beaten Leeds both home and away, with West Ham being the 3rd.
Pascal Gross converted a 1st-half penalty to ease the nerves of the watching Seagulls, literally, with the birds being the only ones allowed into the Amex.
Ex-Manchester United star, Danny Welbeck scored a superb individual goal late in the game to earn the points which would have personally pleased the lad, a native of the Red Rose County, against the White Rose rival.
As mentioned, it appears that the 3-teams currently in the drop-zone, are the ones going down but Brighton would have been a bit nervy before the win against Leeds that now gives them 37-points from 34-fixtures.
That’s 10-points more than Fulham with 4-games to play, those being against Wolves, West Ham, Man City and Arsenal. The Amex will be welcoming back the fans next season, to watch Premier League football.
Back in January, it appeared both of the goalkeepers, were still hungover from the New Years celebrations, with both conceding 3-goals apiece to give a final score of, yes 3-3, which is referred to in the industry, by absolutely no one, as a Desmond Plus One!
Arron Connelly scored first for Brighton, before Romain Saiss, a Dan Burn own-goal and Ruben Neves, gave Wolves a 3-1 lead at half-time.
Neal Maupay replied from the penalty spot immediately after the restart, with Lewis Dunk equalising after 70-minutes. It appeared the ‘keepers had sobered up, with 20-minutes remaining, as no further goals were added to the 6-goal thriller.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at 2/1, the draw at 23/10 and 11/8 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 15/4 that Adama Traore Scores Anytime and 7/4 that there are Under 1.5 Goals.
ASTON VILLA v MANCHESTER UNITED
Sky Sports 14.05 in England
Aston Villa’s brilliant result against Everton, late on Saturday night, has somehow gone under the radar, following an incident-packed weekend.
As most of the country were struggling to find anything decent to watch on the council telly of a Saturday evening, Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues were putting in a professional display at Goodison Park, inflicting a defeat on the Toffees by a 2-1 scoreline.
Ollie Watkins, who is on the periphery of the England squad for this summers Euro 2020s, opened the scoring after 13-minutes, with his 13th-goal of the campaign.
Probably Ollie’s main rival for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England-25 is Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who equalised for Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues, 6-minutes later, to take both teams in level at the break.
In the 2nd-half, Anwar El-Ghazi scored Villa’s winner to give Dean Smith’s Boys the victory that leaves the Claret and Blues, sitting in 10th place, with 48-points, a point less than Arsenal, however, Villa have 5-remaining fixtures, whereas the Gunners only have 4. In the list of Top-10 goal scorers in the Premier League, there are 5-English strikers.
Harry Kane at the top with 21-goals, the Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic in 5th-place, with 15, Patrick Bamford, a goal behind on 14, the original Sheffield Superstar, Jamie Vardy with 13, then Ollie Watkins with 13-goals too. It’s fair to say, Mr Southgate has a great set of strikers to choose from.
Considering also that, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson, Danny Ings and Jesse Lingard are regularly scoring in the Premier League. England can win the Euro 2020s if the right players are chosen and fitted into a great starting eleven.
This wasn’t part of this week’s column but why not pick a 26-man England Squad and a possible starting formation for the 1st-game this summer against Croatia on the 13th of June.
It’s now a 26-man squad, not 23, due to the Coronavirus situation that has made this 2020/21 season a more congested affair.
1. Jordan Pickford
2. Nick Pope
3. Dean Henderson
4. Harry Maguire
5. John Stones
6. Tyrone Mings
7. Connor Coady
8. Kyle Walker
9. Kieran Trippier
10. Reece James
11. Luke Shaw
12. Ben Chilwell
13. Trent Alexander-Arnold
14. Jordan Henderson
15. Kalvin Phillips
16. Jesse Lingard
17. Jayden Sancho
18. Jack Grealish
19. Jude Bellingham
20. Mason Mount
21. Declan Rice
22. Harry Kane
23. Marcus Rashford
24. Dominic Calvert-Lewin
25. Raheem Sterling
26. Callum Hudson-Odoi
Obviously, all is dependent on being fit but those 26, if not injured, won’t be far off Gareth’s 26, which could see young Ollie Watkins miss out.
The starting eleven against Croatia could be, Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane. Come on England!
Manchester United were supposed to host Liverpool on Sunday, with a few connotations possible that could have resulted in the Noisy Neighbours, Man City being officially crowned as the 2020/21 Premier League Champions.
It could have given Liverpool a massive step towards the Top Four if a victory was achieved. It could also, have cemented, United‘s 2nd-place finish if the home team was victorious. However, none of the above occurred due to a fan protest and the game having to be postponed.
There was initially a peaceful protest by the Manchester United fans that then became aggressive and saw the supposed faithful, the real ones this time, storm into Old Trafford and set off a few flares and threw a few cans of beer.
The original 16.30 kick-off was initially delayed, to get the supporters away from the ground, with the players holed up in Jose Mourinho’s favourite home, The Lowry. Come an hour after the original start time of half-4, the fixture was officially postponed.
The reason for the demonstration is due to the anger towards the ownership of Manchester United by the Glazer Family, who took control back in 2005. It’s thought that the Glazers have taken over £1 Billion out of United as profit and run the club paying a debt.
To put it simply, if someone was to buy a home that’s currently worth £50,000 but will increase in value over the years, with a Mortgage that is repaid over 25-years at £500 per month, then rents the property out and receives £1000 per month in rent, the £500 mortgage is paid from the £1000 rent, which leaves £500 as clear profit.
The house value is then constantly increasing, so no real amount of jeopardy is involved.
The Glazers, in effect, purchased Manchester United by borrowing money and repay the debt, with the money that’s generated from the sale of season tickets, TV rights and sponsorship deals etc, then take out the rest as profit, knowing that United’s value won’t go down anytime soon.
The fans are righty upset about this and want reform, however, that is easier said than done, as unless someone with deep pockets full of dollar, wants to come in and buy Manchester United from the Glazers, who themselves have to agree to sell, then the situation won’t change anytime soon and protests will resemble a dustpan and brush being used to clean up the mess after a Hurricane.
The fans in Manchester on Sunday had banners with the words and numbers of 50-plus-1, which is the German model for ownership of a club.
The 50 plus 1, effectively 51, meaning the amount of shares the fans have in owning the club is always going to give a majority in any decision about the future of the club. 51 over 49!
Whilst a brilliant idea that Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and the rest adhere to, it would need some tough legislation to be introduced in England and a few fans with a couple of Billion, not Million, a couple of Billion pounds in the back pocket to change the English model into 50 Plus 1.
The fans will rightly protest over the next few weeks but in truth, the Glazer’s, the Kroenke’s at Arsenal, John Henry and FSG at Liverpool won’t worry too much.
The new season in August should see crowds return to the stadium and due to the Coronavirus situation preventing the stadium being full, it’s now commonly accepted that football, whether the Premier League, the Champions League or the Championship, is better with fans than without.
The only way that the Glazer family or Stan Kroenke or whoever is in charge of these football clubs will think about selling up is when it affects the bank balance, or if the fans boycott the football and don’t attend matches from August.
That won’t happen, so the owners know they are in the driving seat and a few protests at the back end of the season won’t make Joel or Avram Glazer sell Manchester United.
The only way the brothers will sell up, the same as Stan Kroenke at Arsenal or John Henry at Liverpool is if someone comes and offers a couple or 3 Billion Pounds to buy any of the clubs. These guys don’t accidentally fall into the positions of greatness, their wealth and stature are built up by years of ruthlessness.
Fifty Plus One, is a small number, yet 51% of £2 Billion isn’t, it’s a serious amount of dollar, so the protesting United faithful have to raid a lot of their Piggy Banks, if their idea of 50+1, is to come to fruition.
On New Years Day, goals from Anthony Martial (remember him?) and a Bruno Fernandes penalty, minutes after a Bertrand Traore strike for Villa, gave United a victory by a 2-1 scoreline.
Manchester United head to Italy on Thursday to finish off the Semi-Final of the Europa League tie against Roma, with Ole’s Wheels taking a 6-2 lead over to the Italian Capital.
In that game, Edin Dzeko became the only man to score, against Manchester United at Old Trafford, in the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.
The goal also means Mr Dzeko has now scored 6-times against United at Old Trafford, for 3-different clubs, from 3-different Countries, in 3-different competitions. The Champions League for Wolfsburg, Premier League for Man City and the Europa League with Roma.
It’s highly unlikely that Roma will overturn the deficit and it’s probable that United will be in the Final against either Arsenal or Villarreal. However, a word of caution for the Zebra Devils.
In 2018, Barcelona took a 4-1 lead over to Italy in the Quarter-Final of the Champions League and were stuffed against Roma, by a 3-0 scoreline, meaning Roma qualified for the Semi-Final on the single away goal scored in Spain.
Roma were hammered at Old Trafford, no doubt about it but a telling factor could have been, that the manager had to make 3, 1st-half substitutions due to injury to the goalkeeper and 2-outfield players.
That meant that although in the Europa League, a team is allowed to make 5-substitutions, if there are 3 made in the 1st-half, for whatever reason, then no more can be made. The Roma boss could not affect the 2nd-half that resulted in 5-Manchester United goals.
As mentioned, the current Roma boss, Paulo Fonseca, is being replaced by the ex-Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho. The heir-achy at AC Roma must have had a bang on their heads. Another £15 Million in Dracula’s Sack Fund!
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 7/2, the draw at 11/4 and slight Odds On 3/4 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 15/8 that Ollie Watkins Scores Anytime and 13/8 that Manchester United Score in Both Halves.
WEST HAM v EVERTON
Sky Sports 16.30 in England
West Ham inflicted a superb away defeat on Burnley, at Turf Moor on Monday Night Football, by a 2-1 scoreline.
After the Hammers conceded an early penalty, David Moyes Boys were a goal behind after 19-minutes but 2-superb Michail Antonio goals, before the break, earned West Ham the victory that lifts the Bubbles back above Tottenham into 5th-place, with 58-points from 34-games completed.
With 4-fixtures remaining, against Everton, Brighton, West Brom and Southampton, all the Hammers have to do is keep on winning and a Europa League place is the worse that’s on offer, with the possibility of a Champions League spot still on the table.
However, that would mean Chelsea had to lose, at least 1 of their 4, remaining and West Ham, win 1-more than the Blues, plus, address an 11-deficit in the goal difference department.
Everton let slip the chance to leapfrog the Red half of Merseyside late on Saturday evening, succumbing to a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline, at Goodison Park against Aston Villa.
The Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, equalised an earlier Villa goal to take both teams in level at half-time.
Unfortunately, the Toffees conceded a 2nd Villa strike after the break, to ultimately lose the game and lose the chance to go above Liverpool into 7th-place, especially as it turned out that the Reds didn’t play on Sunday.
So Everton remain in 8th-position with 52-points, 6-adrift of today’s opponents who also have a far superior goal difference. Tomas Soucek scored in the 86th-minute on New Years Day to give the Hammers an away day victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer West Ham at 11/8, the draw at 9/4 and 21/10 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/4 that Jesse Lingard Scores Anytime and 11/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
ARSENAL v WEST BROM
BT Sport 19.00 in England
Arsenal got a great professional victory against Newcastle at St James Park early on Saturday Afternoon, by a 2-0 scoreline. Mohamed Elneny scored a great opener, which just happened to be the Egyptians 1st-goal for the Gunners in 66-games, spread over 5 years.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got back to scoring ways, adding a 2nd for Arsenal, after the break, to give Mikel’s men the win over Brucey’s boys.
That was Mr Aubameyang’s 10th-goal of the campaign, 3-behind his mate, Alexandre Lacazette and the Gabonese man’s first strike in 7-Premier League games, although 4 of them, Pierre-Emerick didn’t play due to injury and illness.
The victory gives the Gunners 49-points and puts them 9th in the table, with 4-fixtures remaining. As well as this game against West Brom, Arsenal face Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Arsenal will have their Europa League destiny decided before fixture against the Baggies. The Gunners host Unai’s Villarreal at the Emirates, trailing from the 1st-leg by a 2-1 scoreline.
Although the tie in Spain was a defeat and Arsenal had a player (Danny Ceballos) sent off, the away goal scored in the 73rd-minute by Nicolas Pepe could prove decisive. Meaning a victory by a 1-0 scoreline in London would set up a final against Manchester United at the end of May.
That could see a Champions League and a Europa League final competed by 4-Premier League clubs. European Super League?
West Brom came from a goal behind on Monday, to earn a point from a 1-1 draw against Wolves.
Although Mbaye Diagne’s 2nd-half goal, earned the Baggies a valuable point, in truth, it really wasn’t enough and with just 26-points from 34-fixtures completed, West Brom need a miracle to happen, to keep Big Sam from having a team relegated from the Premier League, for the first time in his career.
The remaining 4-games, see this visit to the Emirates, home fixtures against Liverpool and West Ham, plus a final away-day venture up to West Yorkshire, to face Leeds United at Elland Rd.
There’s a gap of 10-points between West Brom and safety, which, although mathematically not impossible, is a big ask and relegation could be confirmed against Arsenal today, if a victory isn’t forthcoming.
Arsenal scored twice in either half at The Hawthorns back in January, inflicting a defeat by a 4-0 scoreline on West Brom.
Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka scored the 1st-half goals with an Alexandre Lacazette double after the break, giving Mikel the win over Big Sam.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at Odds On 9/20, the draw at 7/2 and 11/2 for West Brom to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that Alexandre Lacazette Scores First and 6/4 that Arsenal Win To Nil.
FULHAM v BURNLEY
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Fulham suffered another loss, this time against Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, on Saturday, succumbing to a defeat by a 2-0 scoreline.
The Cottagers conceded a goal in both halves, which the result, leaves Scott Parker with a mountain to climb if relegation is to be avoided.
The defeat leaves Fulham with 27-points, still sitting in the final relegation place and now a massive 9-points from safety, with fixtures left, against Burnley, Southampton, Manchester United and the team who have 9-points more, Newcastle on the last day of the season.
Whilst still not mathematically impossible to get out of the bottom-3, it does appear that Fulham will be playing Championship football next term. There have been rumours that Scott Parker could become the new Tottenham boss, being touted as 6/1 2nd-favourite behind Brendan Rodgers (4/1).
Two things to say about that, Brendan would be a fool to leave Leicester and Tottenham would be fools to hire Ronald McDonald boy Scott. Looking at the odds for the new Spurs manager, Graham Potter’s name is up there at 10/1. Is it April the 1st?
A fat bald man from Barnsley, who contributes to EveryTip each week, would give out odds of 100/1 for Graham Potter to be the next Tottenham boss.
Graham’s odds are lower than Nuno Espírito Santo (12/1) Roberto Martinez (18/1) and Rafa Benitez (20/1), to become the gaffer at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
As Chris Kamara would say. Unbelievable Jeff!
Burnley took the lead on Monday Night Football, with Chris Wood converting a penalty in the 19th-minute. Unfortunately for Sean Dyche’s Clarets, West Ham scored twice before the break, to inflict the defeat by a 2-1 scoreline.
There wasn’t any real damage done, other than to the pride of the boys as there’s no danger of relegation, with the Clarets having 36-points on the board with 4-games remaining.
As well as this away fixture against Fulham, Burnley have home games against Leeds United and Liverpool, plus a final trip to Sheffield United.
If Burnley beat Fulham and Newcastle secure at least a point at Leicester, the Cottagers will be officially relegated.
After a goalless 1st-half, at Turf Moor in the (very) cold of January, a crazy 3-minutes early after the restart resulted in a goal apiece for the Clarets and the Cottagers.
Ola Aina scored in the 49th-minute for Fulham with Ashley Barnes, quickly replying in the 52nd-minute to equalise for Burnley giving both teams a point each from a 1-1 draw.
Bet 365 offer Fulham at 6/5, the draw at 23/10 and 23/10 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Chris Wood Scores First and 3/1 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-35
Leicester 2 v Newcastle 0
Leeds United 2 v Tottenham 1
Sheffield United 0 v Crystal Palace 2
Man City 2 v Chelsea 1
Liverpool 2 v Southampton 0
Wolves 1 v Brighton 1
Aston Villa 0 v Manchester United 2
West Ham 2 v Everton 2
Arsenal 2 v West Brom 0
Fulham 1 v Burnley 2
JP had 5-correct results from the 9-fixtures last time out but significantly, Jon had 2–correct score.
John Newsome had 3–correct result from the 9-games with 1–correct scores.
(Only 9, due to the Manchester United v Liverpool fixture being postponed)
A quick tally was added up and since Jon started giving his predictions, the Beast has 71–correct results with 17-correct scores from 151-games played.
John Newsome is slightly behind with 65–correct results and 13–correct scores.
All to play for