The highlight games for this week’s action are CHELSEA versus ARSENAL and MANCHESTER UNITED versus LIVERPOOL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 36 matches and 3 additional fixtures 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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MANCHESTER UNITED v LEICESTER
BT Sport 18.00 in England
Manchester United did what they have done for the majority of season and came from a goal behind, against Aston Villa, on Sunday, to gain a great victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Ole’s Zebras started well but then a mix up between Fred and Scott McTominay led to a goal for Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues, to go in at the break, leading United by a goal to nil.
At this point, the Blue half of Manchester were celebrating as the Premier League title was City’s but early in the 2nd-half, the celebrations were once again put on hold, at least until the result of this fixture against Leicester is known.
Just after the restart, United were awarded a penalty, which Bruno Fernandes did what Bruno does and with a hop, skip and a jump, coolly slotted home to equalise, with the fake crowd singing, ‘Are you watching Sergio?’
Mason Greenwood immediately scored a 2nd, to ease the nerves of the cardboard Zebra Devils and with time running out, the superb Edinson Cavani ghosted into the area and glanced a header past the helpless Villa goalkeeper, to give United the victory.
That win puts Ole’s Wheels on 70-points, still 10-adrift of the Noisy Neighbours, however, do have 4-fixtures left and can achieve 82-points, with a victory in all, that would overtake Man City if City lost their remaining 3-games.
It’s highly unlikely that will happen but the Champagne is still on ice at the Etihad, which could be opened tonight if Manchester United fail to win.
Leicester entertained Newcastle on Friday, a Magpies side that have one flip-flop on the Whitley Bay beach and who were hammered by Arsenal the week before.
By the way, Whitley Bay is a lovely place on the North-East coastline, however, resembles Iceland (the country not the frozen food superstore!) even in July, so if visiting, wear a ‘coit’. ‘Coit’ is Northern for a coat!
The Foxes are comfortable in 3rd, so it was assumed an easy home-win was on the cards. However, Newcastle scored 4-away goals and although the home side pulled 2 back, late in the game, through Marc Albrighton and Kelechi Iheanacho, Brendan’s Wonderful’s proved not so and suffered a defeat by a 4-2 scoreline.
With a subsequent victory for Chelsea, who have 64-points, the Blues jump above the Foxes into 3rd.
Last season, in the final 5-fixtures, the Foxes lost-3, drew-1 and won-1, 4-points from a possible 15 and missed out on a Champions League place. The final 2-defeats were against Tottenham and Manchester United.
In the 3-fixtures left of this campaign, Leicester have this one against Manchester United, a final game against Tottenham, with Chelsea in between, 3-days after the Wembley showpiece, against Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines.
Could lightning strike twice? Could Leicester miss out on the Champions League for a 2nd successive season? A word of caution too!
Hypothetically, a player is 5-days from playing in the FA Cup Final, for Leicester, who are appearing in their first FA Cup Final in 52-years.
Will, that said player, put in a shift against Ole’s Wheels, knowing that an injury would rule the lad out of one of the biggest games in the history of the Foxes? Consciously, of cause, they will, subconsciously, not a chance! That 50/50 tackle, may just be a 90/10 in United’s favour.
The problem though now, is, a supposed guaranteed 3rd-placed finish is no longer a certainty and Leicester need a result at Old Trafford.
A brilliant season that saw a Champions League finish and an FA Cup Final winners gong, for the Foxes players, could seriously end with a Thursday night trip to Kazakhstan and a losers medal that will be on eBay before the new season starts in August. One person that will be happy with that scenario, is the old Scottish Crooner, Rod Stewart.
As everyone knows, Sir Roderick isn’t a fan of Brendan Rodgers, after the Leicester boss, left Rod’s beloved Celtic, to take over a proper team, in a league that’s not pub related, with Rod subsequently purchasing the other 19-Premier League shirts with ‘Stewart’ and initially ‘75’ on the back but changed it to ‘76’ in January, after the legend had another birthday.
Whilst Penny was watching Gogglebox on Channel 4, Roddy boy, in his Black and White Newcastle shirt and Lennon, donning a Magpie scarf, were dancing around the living room, with Sir Roderick singing along to one of his tunes that came on Spotify, ‘You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul, you’ll be my breath when I grow old’
‘You’re an essay in glamor, please pardon the grammar but you’re every schoolboy’s dream,
You’re Celtic, United but baby, I’ve decided you’re the best team I’ve ever seen’
A glass of wine in hand and Lennon the pooch, barking along but changing the words to the brilliant tune, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be!’ Woof-Woof.
This game has been brought forward due to Leicester being in the FA Cup Final at the weekend, initially with the intention to squeeze the fixture in an already congested end of season, before Game Week-37.
However, due to the fan protest last week and the game against Liverpool being postponed, Manchester United, now play, Sunday 9th, Tuesday 11th, Thursday 13th (against Liverpool) and then the final 2-fixtures on Tuesday 18th and Sunday 23rd, along with the rest of the Premier League teams, to complete the strangest of strange seasons.
This reverse fixture at the King Power, was the first game of Boxing Day 2020, as the game was being watched through blurry eyes from the Christmas Day Sherry, both teams gained a point apiece, following a Desmond 2-2 draw.
Marcus Rashford scored 1st for United, followed by a James Maddison goal to take both teams in level at the break.
Portuguese Superstar Bruno Fernandes put Ole’s Trollies in front with 11-minutes remaining but unfortunately for the Red Devil’s, Axel Tuanzebe turned past David De Gea, to earn the Foxes a draw.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at 29/20, the draw at 12/5 and 19/10 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 2/1 that Edinson Cavani Scores Anytime and 5/2 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
SOUTHAMPTON v CRYSTAL PALACE
Sky Sports 20.00
A rearranged affair from a couple of weeks back when Southampton were in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup.
Late on Saturday evening, Southampton suffered a defeat against Liverpool at Anfield, by a 2-0 scoreline, with a goal conceded in both halves.
Southampton couldn’t repeat the result of earlier in the campaign, when Wreck-It Ralph was on his knees, crying, following a victory against Jurgen’s Reds.
This time the Austrian gaffer was on his knees crying for a different reason. The loss leaves the Saints hovering just above the relegation places, in 17th, with 37-points from 34, fixtures played.
Back in October 2020, there was silly talk that Southampton could win the Premier League title.
As this is a prediction column, John Newsome predicts that the Saints won’t win the Top Flight title in his lifetime.
Whilst it’s deemed Ralph Hasenhuttl has done a great job at St Mary’s, a question could be asked and that would be, ‘as he?’ With the players Wreck-It has at his disposal, is 37-points good enough?
Danny Ings, Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse, the 2-Jan’s, Vestergaard and Bednarek, all International players and all featured for their respective National teams last time out.
Added to those, there’s Theo Walcott, Nathan Redmond, Ryan Bertrand and not just one but two 1st-class goalkeepers in Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster, both currently playing in alternative games, which in itself doesn’t feel right. These are questions that should be asked.
Whilst it won’t happen, as it’s too late now for Fulham or West Brom to avoid relegation, a point from 38-Premier League fixtures could easily see an exit from the Top Flight.
Southampton, with 37, could quite easily, not gain another point from their remaining 4-fixtures and end the season with less than a point a game return.
As well as this one against Crystal Palace, on Tuesday, Southampton also play on Saturday against Fulham and next Tuesday against Leeds United, with a final away-day trip to the London Stadium to take on West Ham.
Fulham are 10-points adrift, with 3-fixtures left, so they can’t catch Southampton but the Saints aren’t that far off relegation and a few eyebrows may be raised towards the Austrian Wrecking-Ball.
It’s a shame Fulham have officially gone before the fixture against Southampton, which could have thrown up a different set of emotions and connotations. Crystal Palace comfortably beat the worst team in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, gaining a victory against Sheffield United by a 2-0 scoreline.
Palace scored after a minute, with a goal from Christian Benteke, before playing virtually the full 90, to add a 2nd, in the 88th-minute to give the Eagles the points that the commentators love to say, ‘Well that victory keeps Crystal Palace in the Premier League’
Whilst factually correct, if Roy’s Boys had lost all of their remaining games, Palace would still be in the Premier League as Fulham and West Brom will not get to 38-points, which is what Crystal Palace had before their afternoon out in Sheffield.
Now the Eagles, sitting 13th in the table, with 41-points from 34-fixtures played, can effectively, reach 53, if 4-wins are achieved, in the remaining games. The current points tally is acceptable but the Ultras will want more next term once the fans are allowed back.
As mentioned over the last few weeks, the question is, will Roy Hodgson still be in residence at Selhurst Park? Watch this space!
At Selhurst Park on the opening day of the season, a single Wilfried Zaha goal scored in the 13th-minute, was the difference between the two sides, giving Sir Roy Hodgson the victory over Wreck-It Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 21/20, the draw at 13/5 and 5/2 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime and 5/1 that Crystal Palace Win To Nil.
CHELSEA v ARSENAL
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
Chelsea inflicted a defeat on Man City at the Etihad, early Saturday evening by a 2-1 scoreline, that not only, was a brilliant victory for Thomas Tuchel over Pep Guardiola, but it also delayed the inevitable of City being confirmed as Premier League Champions.
In the previous midweek, both Chelsea and Man City progressed to the Final of the Champions League, with the Blues of Stamford Bridge comfortably beating Real Madrid and the Blues of the Etihad, comfortably beating Paris Saint-Germain.
Most dubbed this Premier League fixture as a warm-up for the said showpiece Final at the end of May, however, in truth, both Chelsea and Man City will have a different starting eleven than those on show on Saturday. Thomas probably picked a closer starting lineup than Pep did.
Although a brilliant win for Thomas’s Blue Engines, there were mitigating circumstances in the victory, with several situations happening throughout the clash, that would have, not only changed the outcome but definitely would have infuriated Mr Guardiola.
With time almost up in the 1st-half, Andreas Christensen, made a slight error to allow Gabriel Jesus in on goal who coolly passed to his mate Sergio Aguero, whose missed control, resulted in Raheem Sterling slotting home, giving City the lead. That could have been Sergio’s 183rd-Premier League goal.
That wasn’t the end of the drama before half-time, with the youngster, Billy Gilmore, getting a rare start, conceding a penalty for a foul on Mr Jesus.
For some unknown reason, Mr Aguero decided to chip the ball down the middle, which is known as a Panenka penalty and although Edouard Mendy initially took the bait and dove, the shot from little Serg was that tame, Edouard just plucked the ball out of the air to prevent City taking a 2-goal lead at the break.
That could have been Sergio’s 184th-Premier League goal. Unfortunately for the Argentinian maestro, Sergio remains on 182.
The missed spot-kick, changed the whole dynamic of the game, with Chelsea only trailing by a single goal instead of 2, giving the London Blues momentum and knocked the stuffing out of City.
In the 2nd-half, Hakim Ziyech equalised for Chelsea, before Marcos Alonso scored the winner in the 92nd-minute to give TT the victory over PG, (technically it’s JG as Pep is short for Josep, who’d a knew?).
With Leicester suffering a surprise defeat against Newcastle on Friday, Thomas Tuchel’s Blue Engines jumped above the Foxes into 3rd place in the Premier League, with 64-points, from 35-fixtures completed. A point more than Brendan’s not so Wonderful’s but 6-adrift of Ole’s Trollies in 2nd.
Chelsea are cementing their Champions League place for next season with the league position, however, a victory against Man City at the end of May would see them in the competition next term, regardless of the league finish.
There was a situation that could have materialised, which would have seen the team who finished 4th in the table, not qualify for the Champions League if Chelsea had won the trophy, finished outside of the Top Four and Arsenal won the Europa League.
With a combination of Thomas’s Blues likely to finish 3rd now and Mikel’s Gunners being useless in Europe, that scenario won’t happen and whoever finishes 4th, whether that be, Leicester, West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham or Everton, the team will be in the Champions League next term.
The 5-teams mentioned there, are separated by 8-points, with Everton, in 8th, having 55 and Leicester, in 4th, having 63. The Merseyside pair have only played 34-fixtures not the 35, Chelsea, Leicester, West Ham and Tottenham have. A quick story about a missed penalty just before half-time.
The next 2-weeks sees the Championship Play-offs featuring Brentford v Bournemouth and Barnsley v Swansea which will see one of the 4-teams, promoted to the Top Flight.
The last time Barnsley FC were in the Championship Play-off Final, in 2000, the Reds were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time. The game against Ipswich was evenly poised at the time, with the score being 1-1.
Barnsley’s Darren Barnard took the spot-kick and had it saved by Richard Wright, who had initially given away the penalty.
The missed penalty, changed the whole dynamic of the tie, in the 2nd-half, with Barnsley going into the dressing room, heads down and Ipswich given an injection of confidence.
The 85,000 fans at Wembley, this EveryTip contributor being one of them, portrayed the emotions of the 2-sets of players, the Reds fans were distraught, the Blue fans were ecstatic.
In the 2nd-half, Ipswich came out and destroyed Barnsley, beating the Oakwell outfit by a 4-2 scoreline and headed to the Premier League.
Barnsley FC headed back home and have waited 21-years to get the chance to once again go to the Promised Land. All based on a missed penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Twenty-one years later, Ipswich are languishing in Division 3 or League 1 but have just been taken over by new owners and have got the singer Ed Sheeran to sponsor the Tractor Boys shirts for next season.
Arsenal comfortably beat West Brom on Sunday evening, gaining a victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Emile Smith-Rowe scored the 1st, to ease the nerves of the cardboard Gooners, who were still reeling from the dire performance of the previous Thursday in the Europa League.
Nicolas Pepe then added a 2nd with a superb strike to give Mikel Arteta’s Gunners, a 2-0 lead at the break.
West Brom pulled a goal back, midway through the 2nd-half, which turned out to be just a consolation as Willian scored a 3rd for Arsenal in the closing stages to give the Gunners the win.
That was Will.I.an’s 1st goal for Arsenal since his move across London from Chelsea. Not bad for a player on £200,000 a week, (a week!)
There’s a 51-year old fat bald bloke who lives in Barnsley, with a heart condition, who would back himself to score more over the season and would only want £199,000 a week, (a week!)
The victory gives Arsenal 52-points and leaves Mikel’s Men in 9th-place, with 3-fixtures remaining.
The win also confirmed the inevitable that West Brom are officially relegated from the Premier League and Sam Allardyce has taken a team down for the 1st-time in the Big Man’s career.
As mentioned earlier, Arsenal were useless in Europe last Thursday, unable to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the 1st-leg of the Semi-Final against Villarreal, with the game finishing in a draw by a 0-0 scoreline.
Whilst the result is the result and all connected with the Gunners are understandably upset at not progressing to the Final that would have paired Arsenal with Manchester United, there were a few decisions that Mikel Arteta, needs questioning on.
Needing at least a goal, the Gunners started the game against Unai Emery’s men like they were 5-0 up, lethargic, slow, with no real urgency.
Mikel picked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start but left Alexandre Lacazette on the bench and only introduced Mr Lacazette in the 80th-minute.
Added to that, Mr Arteta replaced Pierre-Emerick with Alexandre, instead of keeping both on the pitch, with Arsenal needing a goal.
Granted, it could be accepted, that starting the game cautiously was the right thing to do, that’s subjective, however, to play the last 20-minutes cautiously too, isn’t the correct thing to do.
Would it not be better to have gone all out for the goal in the final 20-minutes? Eddie Nketiah was introduced in the 91st-minute, why?
Why wasn’t the lad thrown on, with Alexandre and Pierre-Emerick, plus Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe, earlier on? Added to that, it was evident early in the game, that the Villarreal goalkeeper was flapping when the ball was crossed into the area.
Yet Mikel Arteta didn’t instruct his men to get out wide and throw the ball into the box, at worse to see what develops. Mikel came out afterwards and apologised to the Gooners faithful?
An apology would have been accepted more, if Arsenal had gone out, falling on their sword, instead of the tame way that the Gunners failed.
One person that was upset about Arsenal not reaching the Europa League Final was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who would certainly have preferred the Gunners than Villarreal, managed by the Europa League King, that is Unai Emery, who has won the crown, 3-times with Seville and knows how to win the 2nd-best European gong.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal comfortably beat Frank Lampard’s Chelsea on Boxing Day at the Emirates, with goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka before the break and a Bukayo Saka strike midway through the 2nd-half, giving the Gunners the win by a 3-1 scoreline. Tammy Abraham (remember him?) with the late consolation for Frank’s Blues.
The usually composed Jorginho, who never misses from the penalty-spot, missed from the penalty spot in the 90th-minute, that if converted, would have made it an interesting final few minutes. That said, Chelsea are a different proposition under Thomas Tuchel.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at slight Odds On 4/6, the draw at 29/10 and 4/1 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 7/4 that Chelsea Win To Nil.
ASTON VILLA v EVERTON
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Aston Villa took the lead against Manchester United on Sunday, which could be considered as against the run of play, with a goal in the 24th-minute by Bertrand Traore.
The goal gave Dean Smith’s Boys a half-time lead but United did what they have done on countless occasions this term and came from behind in the 2nd-half that ultimately lead to a defeat for Villa by a 3-1 scoreline.
Douglas Luiz started the downfall by tripping Paul Pogba in the area to concede a penalty, which United converted to get back on level terms.
Ole’s Zebras then scored two more to take the game away from Aston Villa. Ollie Watkins was shown a late Red Card following a dive in the area to try and win a penalty.
The England youngster, whose new nickname is Tom Daley, had already been shown a Yellow Card earlier, so the simulation, as the so-called pundits say, (it’s a dive), produced a 2nd-Yellow and ultimately the Red to beat his mates into the showers.
The defeat leaves Villa in 11th-place in the table with 48-points from 34-fixtures completed.
Everton got one of the results of Game Week-35, going to the London Stadium on Sunday Afternoon and coming away with a victory by a 1-0 scoreline.
The Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the game, midway through the 1st-half that gave Carlo’s Blues the surprise win. That gives Everton 55-points from 34-games, with this away trip to Aston Villa, being the game in hand.
Everton sit 8th in the table, a place and 3-points more than Arsenal, a point adrift of Tottenham in 7th, 2-points away from Liverpool in 6th and 3-points less than West Ham in 5th.
However, all 3 teams above have a far superior goal difference than the Toffees, so even with a victory against Aston Villa, Everton would only climb as high as 6th, temporarily, until Liverpool’s fixture against Manchester United is finished on Thursday.
If the Toffees beat Villa and Liverpool get at least a draw against United, Jurgen’s Reds would jump above West Ham into 5th, with the same points tally as David’s Bubbles and Carlo’s Blues but with a better goal difference, all with 58-points from 35-games completed.
Obviously, various other combinations will change those positions but that’s the outcome with a victory for Everton against Aston Villa and a draw for Liverpool against Manchester United, going into Game Week-36.
The Toffees have this away fixture against Villa, plus Sheffield United and Wolves at Goodison Park and a final trip to the Etihad to face the Champions. A Europa Conference League entry (yes, really!) is the worst Everton should aim for.
What that means is way above John Newsome’s pay grade, with the scientists from NASA, the ones to ask about that new competition. This game is being played now, due to an outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus back in January.
The two sides meet again, just 13-days after the fixture at Goodison Park, that Aston Villa won, inflicting a defeat on Everton by a 2-1 scoreline.
Ollie Watkins and Anwar El-Ghazi with the Villa goals and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring for the Toffees. Ollie won’t score today though as his front-reverse-pike on Sunday, means the lads ruled out of this game.
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 8/5, the draw at 9/4 and 17/10 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 13/5 that Anwar El-Ghazi Scores Anytime and 8/5 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores Anytime.
MANCHESTER UNITED v LIVERPOOL
Sky Sports 20.15 in England
Manchester United play this rearranged fixture following Tuesday nights game against Leicester, having played last Sunday also.
Going into the fixture against the Foxes, United had 70-points, 10-adrift of Man City but still with 12-points available.
If the unimaginable happens that the Noisy Neighbours lose all 3 of their remaining fixtures and United win all 4 of theirs, Manchester United would be the 2020/21 Premier League Champions. Even whilst putting that into a sentence, John Newsome is chuckling to himself, as it simply won’t happen.
Regarding the final of the Europa League, that takes place on Wednesday the 26th of May, against Villarreal, in the shipyards of Gdansk, Poland, it’s been stated on many occasions, some would say, too many and is thought to be boring, United won’t win anything with Fred.
That narrative by this EveryTip contributor, unfortunately still stands and will only be proved either right or wrong, on the 26th of May. One game to define a narrative that would be a shame for everyone connected with Ole’s Wheels, if John Newsome is proved correct, at least for this season.
A win/win situation for everyone that is either a Yorkshire Red, a Cockney Red or for the minority of the United faithful who are actually from Manchester and surrounding areas (only a bit of devilment girls and boys! no need for any online abuse), would be for Fred not to play in the final.
That won’t happen if the Brazilian is fit as the lad is Ole’s designated driver. Well, there must be some reason Mr Gunnar selects Frederico? This EveryTip contributor would choose Lech Walesa before Fred.
A slight negative on the win against Aston Villa was the injury to Harry Maguire that could rule the influential defender out for a couple of games and if the worse was to happen, rule the lad out of the Euro 2020s. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
Liverpool avenged the defeat against Southampton earlier on in the season, beating the Saints by a 2-0 scoreline, late on Saturday evening whilst most of the nation, well the married ones, were watching Vernon Kay’s Game of Talents on the council telly.
That by the way, should be hauled up in front of the trades description act, as there isn’t much of the Talents bit on the show.
Sadio Mane gave Jurgen’s Reds a lead at half-time, scoring midway through the 1st-half. Liverpool left it late to seal the win, with Thiago Alcantara adding a 2nd, in the 90th-minute.
The victory gives Klipperty Klopp’s boys 57-points and lifts the Reds above Tottenham into 6th-place, following Spurs defeat against Leeds United earlier on Saturday.
Jurgen’s Reds are now just a point adrift of West Ham in 5th and 6-points behind Leicester, who now are 4th, following the weekend’s results, with both having played a game more than the Anfield Raps.
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures are this one against Manchester United, plus West Brom and Burnley away and a final home fixture against Crystal Palace. It’s not inconceivable to think that Liverpool can achieve a Top Four finish, with Leicester having games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.
West Ham look to have an easier run-in, with fixtures against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton.
If one was a betting person and to be fair, that’s the reason this column is read and written, the odds of a Top Four finish are as follows, Liverpool at 6/4, with Leicester slight Odds On 10/11.
Surprisingly, West Ham are 7/2 with Chelsea being massive Odds On 1/16 to finish in a Champions League place. The dynamic of this fixture has changed slightly, from when the original fixture was supposed to be played.
It was previously meant to be on a Sunday afternoon, with United, about to embark on the 2nd-leg of the Europa League Semi-Final against Roma in Italy, with a comfortable 6-2 lead from the tie at Old Trafford.
Liverpool had ventured down the East Lancashire Rd, off the back of 3-draws, 2 in the Premier League and 1, against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
This EveryTip column, predicted a low scoring affair, possibly a 0-0 or 1-1 draw or a victory by a single goal to either team. With the fixture last Sunday being postponed due to a fan protest and now being rearranged for this Thursday night, the outcome could literally be anything.
Liverpool will have played, just once in 19-days and will have had 5-days recovery since the Reds victory against Southampton last Saturday.
Manchester United, in those 19-days, will have played 5-times, including a trip to Italy and have played twice, since Liverpool’s game on Saturday.
When a manager moans about playing too many games, it’s usually just seen as white noise and to the common people, it’s just playing football but on this occasion, not wanting to stick up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the lad does have a point.
Ole’s Wheels, lost the away leg of the Europa League Semi-Final, in the Italian Capital by a 3-2 scoreline, however, progressed to the Final, from an 8-5 aggravate score. The said Final will take place in Gdansk, Poland, on the 26th of May.
To the older viewers, Gdansk is well known for the start of the Solidarity movement, which brought an end to the Communist rule of Poland.
As a youngster in the 1980s, the name Lech Walesa was always on the news, coming from the Shipyards of Gdansk and being hugely influential in the shaping of Poland’s history, becoming the leader of the Solidarity Party, which effectively ended the Communism that was part of Poland, when the Second World War ended in 1945.
Mr Walesa later became the President of Poland, being the first one elected in a voting system that’s commonly known in the West.
Regular readers of this column will know that John Newsome is a massive fan of the musician Paul Weller, from his time in The Jam, The Style Council and Paul’s solo career. Mr Weller wrote a song for The Style Council, released back in 1985, entitled, ‘A Stones Throw Away.’
The lyrics in the final lines of the song, refer to the social struggles in Gdansk and the horrendous Miners Strike in England, from 1984-85, plus the troubles in Chile and South Africa.
‘In Chile, In Poland, Johannesburg, South Yorkshire, A stone’s throw away, now we’re there!’ Gdansk is forever etched in the memory of this youngster from the 1980s.
Respect Lech Walesa!
Respect Paul Weller!
Manchester United gained a point against Liverpool at Anfield, from a goalless draw, which although was a great achievement, everyone was beating Jurgen’s Reds at their iconic home at the time, so United will feel it was a missed opportunity to get the victory.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at 21/10, the draw at 11/4 and 11/10 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points. (Liverpool are Favourites at Old Trafford?)
Bet 365 offer 21/10 that Mason Greenwood Scores Anytime and 3/1 that Mo Salah Scores First.
(It’s 10/1 that Manchester United Come From Behind And Win)
NEWCASTLE v MAN CITY
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Before reading this, please rub one’s eyes to make sure that everything is clear. Newcastle, who had been completely dominated by Arsenal at St James Park, the week before, went to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester and got a victory by a 4-2 scoreline.
Yes, the Magpies held off the Foxes from being devoured and at one point, were leading by 4-goals to Nil. Joe Willock, who had come off the bench and scored, against Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool, asked Big Brucey if he could start a game.
Steve said, ‘Why not lad?’ and Joe duly obliged, scoring his 5th-goal of the loan spell at Newcastle in 11-appearances, to give the Magpies the lead, midway through the 1st-half. Paul Dummett, with his 1st-Newcastle goal in 5-years, made it 2-0 at the break.
After the break, it was the Callum Wilson show, with Big Cal, adding 2-goals to his and Newcastle’s tally, to not only give the Black and Whites the comfortable 4-goal cushion but also enhance the lads potential England place in Gareth’s Euro 2020 squad.
Leicester did pull 2-goals back late in the game to make it a nervy final few minutes for Newcastle but the away-side held on for the brilliant victory that gives Steve’s Boys 39-points from 35-fixtures completed, which leaves them 15th in the table.
The 3-remaining games for Newcastle are this one against Man City, another home fixture against Sheffield United and a final away trip to Craven Cottage to take on relegated Fulham.
With the Cottagers subsequent defeat against Burnley, on Monday Night Football, Newcastle are confirmed as safe and a vaccine full, Covid-free, Toon Army will be watching Premier League football next season.
After last weeks praise of Sergio Aguero, saying that at least 17, if not 19 of the other remaining Premier League clubs would sign the Argentinian at the drop of a hat, that narrative may have changed slightly, after the little Panenka, potentially cost Man City the victory against Chelsea on Saturday evening.
Pep’s High Flying Blues, subsequently suffered a defeat by a 2-1 scoreline, which delayed the inevitable, of lifting the Premier League crown. Whilst most will think, if Sergio had scored the penalty on the stroke of half-time, then the final score would have been 2-2, not 2-1.
As everyone knows, that’s not how football works, as to go in at half-time with a 2-0 advantage, changes the direction of the 2nd-half dramatically, meaning Chelsea would have had to be more assertive instead of sitting back.
With the penalty not being converted, it gives the Blue Engines the initiative and puts City in a negative frame of mind, which is exactly what happened after the break. Chelsea were more patient and picked at City, eventually scoring an equaliser, then with time running out, scored again, to inflict the defeat on Pep’s Boys.
For the equaliser, on the sideline, Mr Guardiola was literally dictating what and where his players should do and put the ball, instructing his players to go forward. Unfortunately, the City players didn’t heed the advice, were caught out and ultimately conceded Chelsea’s opener.
Pep could be seen on his knees with his head in his hands, even before the ball was in the City net.
The winner for the London Blues was more luck than judgement but the defeat prevented Man City, being officially confirmed as Champions, leaving them on 80-points, with 3-games remaining, against Newcastle, Brighton and Everton.
As mentioned last week, it would take an extraordinary set of results for Manchester United to overtake City, which will not happen, so all connected with the Citizens, need to put the game against Chelsea to bed and move on to this fixture at St James Park.
In truth, the Numpty Neighbours could hand Pep’s Blues the title with a defeat against Leicester, before this game against Newcastle, however, whatever happens in the next 7-days, the Premier League title is on its way to the Etihad.
One final thought, if City get awarded a penalty in the next few games, it’s unlikely Sergio Aguero will be allowed to take it, the silly Panenka!
When the cardboard Toon Army headed across to the Etihad for a post-Christmas outing, late on Boxing Day, City goals in each half from Ilkay Gundogan (tra-la-la-la-lar!) and Ferran Torres, gave Pep’s High Flyers the victory over Brucey’s Magpies by a 2-0 scoreline.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 12/1, the draw at 9/2 and Odds On 1/4 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/2 that Sergio Aguero Scores Two Plus Goals and 11/10 that City Win To Nil.
BURNLEY v LEEDS UNITED
BT Sport 12.30 in England
Burnley not only beat Fulham on Monday Night Football by a 2-0 scoreline but hammered the final nail in the Cottagers relegation coffin, with the victory confirming Scott Parker’s Boys are officially relegated.
Ashley Westwood scored the opening Burnley goal after 35-minutes of the 1st-half, with Chris Wood adding a 2nd before the break, which saw a half that was pretty tame considering Fulham had to win, to at least stave off the impending drop down to the Championship. With no further goals in the 2nd-half, Burnley held on for the victory.
The win, gives Sean Dyche’s Clarets 39-points, leaving them 14th in the table and whilst were never in trouble, does confirm that the Turf Moor faithful, who hopefully will be real not cardboard, will be watching Premier League football next season.
Burnley’s remaining 3-fixtures are at home against Leeds and Liverpool and a final away-day outing in Sheffield at Bramall Lane. Leeds United were superb early Saturday afternoon, getting a great victory against Tottenham at Elland Rd, by a 3-1 scoreline.
Stuart Dallas scored in the 13th-minute to calm the nerves of the cardboard Whites, who all had ‘Marching On Together’ spelt with gaffer tape, put on the front of their shirts. Leeds then conceded an equaliser but immediately went back in front, through Patrick Bamford, to go in at the break leading 2-1.
Rodrigo, who came on as a substitute in the 79th-minute, replacing Raphinha, who himself was a 2nd-half substitute, scored within 5-minutes of entering the field to inflict the defeat on Tottenham and prevent the Londoners from doing the double over Leeds United.
There are only 3-teams, Brighton, West Ham and Wolves that have beaten the Whites, twice, this season, which Tottenham could have made 4, however, it will only be 3, with the remaining teams, Burnley, Southampton and West Brom all being beaten in the 1st-fixture.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Boys sit 10th in the table, with 50-points, from the 35-fixtures completed. The goal difference is zero, with 53-scored and 53-conceded.
If the Whites were unfortunate enough to lose the final 3-games, the worse that would happen is Leeds United would finish, no lower than 12th, which is a tremendous first season back in Top Flight.
If 3-victories are achieved in the remaining games, the Elland Rd outfit would have 59-points, with the final league position dependent on other results. Marching On Together!
A Patrick Bamford penalty, after 5-minutes, was the difference between the two teams at Elland Rd, post-Christmas, with Marcelo’s Whites getting the late present against Sean’s Clarets.
Bet 365 offer Burnley at 19/10, the draw at 12/5 and 11/8 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Chris Wood Scores First and 12/5 that Patrick Bamford Scores Anytime.
SOUTHAMPTON v FULHAM
Sky Sports 15.00 in England
Southampton come into this fixture against Fulham, off the back of a midweek game against Crystal Palace.
The preview for the fixture between the Saints and the Eagles, details the current situation at St Mary’s, with a few questions to ask about Ralph Hasenhuttl and if he’s getting the best out of the squad.
Fulham are officially relegated following the defeat late on Monday evening against Burnley. After a tame 35-minutes that didn’t produce much for the Cottagers, the Clarets scored twice before the break to take control of the game and give Ronald McDonald boy Scott Parker a chance for an inspirational half-time team-talk.
Unfortunately, that speech, whether inspiring or not, didn’t change the 2nd-half fortunes for the Fulham players, with Burnley inflicting the defeat on Scott’s Boys by a 2-0 scoreline.
With just 27-points, 10-less than Southampton who are the team just outside of the drop-zone with 3-games remaining, those good at Math will know that Fulham can only achieve 36-points if victories were achieved in the final 3-fixtures against the Saints, Manchester United and Newcastle, which in itself, would be a tough ask.
Throughout the season, it’s been documented in this column that Fulham have drawn a lot of games, whereas Leeds United, for example, on the majority of occasions, either win or lose. As mentioned, several times, it’s better to win-1 and lose-1, than draw-2.
Whilst that’s not the exact reason that the Cottagers are heading back to the Championship, it is a factor.
The excitement of Santa coming the day before, was too much for the two teams on Boxing Day, with the players on show at Craven Cottage serving up a drab 0-0 draw, all wanting to go back home and watch Wreck-It Ralph on BBC 1.
Ademola Lookman wanted to get back to his PlayStation 2, for another round on Sonic The Hedgehog and Che Adams was too concerned about his Evil Knievel toy and rewatching Braveheart, to hone his Scottish accent and learn about the history of his new International team.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 11/10, the draw at 23/10 and 5/2 for Fulham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 7/4 that Che Adams Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 4/5 that there are Under 2.5 Goals.
BRIGHTON v WEST HAM
Sky Sports 20.00 in England
Brighton took the lead on Sunday at Molineux with a superb header by the Seagulls Captain, Lewis Dunk, that gave Graham Potter’s men a half-time lead.
Unfortunately, Lewis blotted his copybook early in the 2nd-half by pulling back the Wolves striker Fabio Silva, who was through on goal and as it was deemed, preventing a goal-scoring opportunity, Big Dunk was shown a straight Red Card and given an early bath.
It’s a tight call to make for a player, does the defender allow the striker to go through and potentially score but stay on the pitch, with 11v11, or foul and prevent the goal and hope the 10-men hold on for the victory. This time, it was the wrong call as the 10-man Seagulls conceded 2-goals and lost the game by a 2-1 scoreline.
Unlucky Mr Dunk, however, it does give the lad a day off against West Ham. The defeat leaves Brighton with the same 37-points as Southampton, from 35-fixtures and with West Brom and Fulham being officially relegated later, Harry’s men are safe for another season.
Graham Potter is lauded in some quarters and is one of the favourites to get the Tottenham job, however, this EveryTip contributor just can’t see the appeal but is prepared to give the lad the benefit of the doubt and see if and where Brighton improve next season.
West Ham were surprisingly beaten on Sunday Afternoon, suffering a defeat against Everton at the London Stadium by a 1-0 scoreline. The Hammers conceded midway through the 1st-half which ultimately, was the only goal of the game, inflicting a defeat on David Moyes, by Big Dave’s old boys.
With Leicester losing at the weekend, it was a chance for West Ham to close the gap between the two and the possibility of a Champions League finish. Leicester remain in the Top Four, 5-points more than the Hammers.
West Ham are 5th, with 58-points from 35-fixtures completed but with Liverpool beating Southampton, Jurgen’s Reds are now just a point behind David’s Bubbles, with the added bonus of an extra game to play.
A couple of weeks back, the faithful were dreaming of a Champions League place and trips to the Nou Camp and San Siro, now Moyes Boys are in danger of missing out completely on a European adventure, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton within touching distance.
At the London Stadium, a couple of days after Christmas, in complete contrast to the fixture at Craven Cottage, between Fulham and Southampton, the Hammers and the Seagulls entertained the cardboard faithful, that included the odd discarded boxes from the presents.
Neal Maupay opened the scoring just before the half-time cup of tea, with Ben Johnson (the West Ham footballer, not the disgraced Canadian Sprinter from 1988) equalising after the break.
Lewis Dunk added a 2nd for Brighton in the 70th-minute that allowed 20-minutes for the Hammers to score, which Tomas Soucek obliged in the 82nd-minute to give both teams a share of the points from a Desmond 2-2 scoreline. Lewis won’t score today.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at 13/8 the draw at 23/10 and 8/5 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Neal Maupay Scores First and 8/5 Michail Antonio Scores Anytime.
CRYSTAL PALACE v ASTON VILLA
Sky Sports 12.00 in England
Crystal Palace will have played against Southampton at St Mary’s on Tuesday, before this visit of Aston Villa, with a preview of the current position at Selhurst Park being given earlier in this column.
Aston Villa themselves, also play an additional midweek fixture and head to Selhurst Park, following the rearranged game against Everton that takes place on Wednesday.
On Boxing Day, despite being reduced to 10-men, when Tyrone Mings received 2-Yellow Cards and the subsequent early bath, before the half-time whistle, Aston Villa came out on top, getting the victory by a 3-0 scoreline.
Bertrand Traore opened the scoring after 5-minutes before Tyrone’s indiscretion that lead to him beating his mates into the changing rooms and making the lads a cup of tea for the break. In the 2nd-half Kortney Hause and Anwar El-Ghazi added the goals to give Dean’s boys the win over Roy’s Eagles.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at 2/1, the draw at 12/5 and 13/10 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime and 12/5 that Anwar El Ghazi Scores Anytime.
TOTTENHAM v WOLVES
Sky Sports 14.05 in England
Tottenham were outplayed by Leeds on Saturday, with Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites getting a superb victory against Ryan Mason’s Spurs by a 3-1 scoreline. The result was given to everyone in last week’s column, although John Newsome suggested 2-1, not 3-1.
Tottenham had the chance to be only the 4th team out of the 20, to inflict a double defeat on Leeds United after Brighton, Wolves and West Ham obtained victories both home and away.
After a brilliant display by the Tottenham Four, against Sheffield United, the previous week, Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Gareth Bale and Dele Alli, couldn’t replicate the same performance at Elland Rd, although Nice-One Son, did score an equaliser in the 1st-half after Leeds had taken the lead. Unfortunately for Tottenham, the home team retook the lead before half-time.
With a further Leeds United goal after the break, Tottenham suffered the defeat that leaves them 7th in the Premier League, with 56-points from 35-fixtures completed.
With Liverpool subsequently beating Southampton, later on, Saturday, Spurs drop down a place to 7th, although depending on what happens midweek at Villa Park, with Everton, could drop below the Toffees to 8th.
Ryan Mason suffered his 1st-Premier League defeat, following victories in his opening 2-games as interim manager.
Along with this fixture against Wolves, Tottenham have a penultimate game against Aston Villa and a final day trip to the King Power to face Leicester. Wolves came from a goal behind on Sunday against Brighton at Molineux, to earn a victory by a 2-1 scoreline.
The Seagulls big defender, Lewis Dunk got his head onto a corner and powered home, to give Harry Potter’s men the lead at the break.
For 53-minutes, it appeared that Brighton were in complete control until a moment of recklessness from Big Dunk, resulted in the Seagulls being reduced to 10-men, for the remaining 37.
Nuno introduced the excellent Adama Traore, on the hour-mark that completely changed the outlook of the game, with Adama scoring the equaliser, some 15-minutes later, then causing havoc with his blistering pace to allow Morgan Gibbs-White to score the winner in the 90th-minute.
One thing to add to Wolves display on Sunday, the home team, with a man advantage following the sending off, of Brighton’s goalscorer Lewis Dunk, had several corners, yet constantly refused to send the ball straight into the box, to allow either Conor Coady or Max Kilman to try and get their head on the cross. It appears, sometimes a team tries to complicate matters.
Despite the lack of crosses, from corners, Mr Traore did provide the quality in the end that got the win, so maybe this was a ploy. The victory gives Wolves 45-points and leaves Nuno’s men in 12th-place, with 3-fixtures remaining.
Jose Mourinho took on his old goalkeeper from Porto, Nuno Espírito Santo, just after Christmas, with both sharing the points, following a draw by a 1-1 scoreline. Tanguy Ndombele scored in the 1st-half for Tottenham, with Romain Saiss equalising late in the game, to give the Portuguese managers a post-Christmas point.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 1/2, the draw at 10/3 and 5/1 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Harry Kane Scores First and 12/5 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
WEST BROM v LIVERPOOL
Sky Sports 16.30 in England
West Brom are officially relegated following the defeat late on Sunday evening against Arsenal. It wasn’t much of a news break as it only confirmed the inevitable but it does finally confirm that Sam Allardyce has taken a team out of the Premier League for the first time in his career.
Whilst a bit of a blow for the big fella, the £2 Million wages will soften the blow.
West Brom conceded twice before the break at the Emirates and although Matheus Pereira pulled a goal back in the 2nd-half, ultimately this was a consolation as Arsenal added a 3rd to inflict the defeat on the Baggies and send the Boing Boings bouncing back to the Championship.
West Brom have been relegated 5-times from the Premier League, a joint-record with Norwich, who coincidentally are replacing Big Sam’s Boys in the Top Flight. The Baggies have never spent longer than 2-years in the Championship without being promoted, so it gives the faithful hope of a quick return.
West Brom currently have 26-points from 35-fixtures, with 3-remaining against Liverpool, West Ham and Leeds United and are confirmed as relegated due to only being able to get a maximum tally of 35-points if victorious in the 3. Southampton and Brighton, who sit out of the relegation zone have 37-points.
Although officially confirmed on Sunday, in reality, it was a matter of when not if as West Brom wouldn’t win 3 out of the remaining 3, however, with the pressure off the shoulders, could upset one or two or three of the remaining teams. Liverpool come into this game off the back of Thursday nights rearranged trip to Old Trafford.
Following last weekend’s victory against Southampton, Jurgen’s Reds sat 6th in the table with 57-points, 1-more than Tottenham, which could be 60, if a victory against Manchester United is achieved.
At Anfield, back in December, Sam Allardyce had only just arrived at The Hawthorns, following the departure of Slaven Bilic. Big Sam had lost his first game in charge, a week before this fixture against Liverpool but earned a great point from a draw by a 1-1 scoreline.
Sadio Mane scored 1st for Jurgen’s Reds after 12-minutes, with Semi Ajayi leaving it late, equalising in the 82nd-minute to give West Brom and Mr Allardyce the first point of his reign at The Hawthorns. On the hour mark, Jurgen Klopp received a Yellow Card, after venting his frustration towards the referee.
Bet 365 offer West Brom at 10/1, the draw at 19/4 and Odds On 1/4 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that Mo Salah Scores Two Plus Goals and slight Odds On 4/5 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
EVERTON v SHEFFIELD UNITED
BT Sport 19.00 in England
The final fixture of a blockbuster set of Premier League games, leaving all teams with 36-completed. Game Week-37, starts in 2-days time, on the 18th, with the final round of fixtures all kicking off at 16.00 in England on Sunday 23rd of May.
Everton entertain Sheffield United after the rearranged fixture against Aston Villa on Thursday. Depending on the result against the Villa, the Toffees could potentially have 58-points from the same 35-fixtures played as everyone else, that said obviously a defeat would leave Carlo’s men on 55.
It might as well be added that a draw against Aston Villa would give Everton 56-points coming into the game tonight. Sheffield United lost!
Another opening line to a Blades preview, following the loss against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the 28th defeat from 35-fixtures. Sheffield United conceded after a minute against Palace, then conceded a 2nd, 87-minutes later, to ultimately lose the game by a 2-0 scoreline.
James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane, listened to the game on the wireless as the little fella had run out of 50p’s for the telly.
The older viewers will remember the television’s that were loaned from Granada (the TV rental company not the Spanish football team) and had a slot in the back, that a 50p was placed into and the telly would come on.
At the end of the month, the Granada guy (and that’s not being sexist, it’s just what it was back in the day, not girls, as of the modern era) would come and empty the 50p’s or 10-Bob in old money out of the back of the TV.
As a 5-year old, depending on who the guy was, a 50p would be thrown in the youngster’s direction with the instructions, ‘Get ya sen an ice cream!’ Nowadays, that wouldn’t be allowed as the guy would probably find himself on some sort of register. Little Jimbo still has one of those telly’s as Swinton isn’t the most cosmopolitan place in the South Yorkshire area.
As the little lad had spent his last 50p on a packet of Haribo TanFastic, in the hope of finding a ring for his lovely girlfriend, the television was out of action, so the little Blunt had to listen to the wireless to hear his 2nd footballing love, once again lose.
One consolation Jimbo took from the afternoon was Sheffield United’s rivals from across the City, Sheffield Wednesday were relegated themselves, from the Championship to League 1, or Division 3, whichever way one looks at it.
Although both the little Blunt and John Newsome are ecstatic that the Owls were relegated, it does prevent a Sheffield Derby next season, which is always good for the City.
The only possible Top Flight Derby next term will be Leeds United v Barnsley FC if the Tykes are successful in the Play-offs. A steady 6-points for the Super Reds!
When the Toffees had their post-Christmas night out in Sheffield on Boxing Day, Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the solitary winning goal, in the 80th-minute to give Carlo Ancelotti the victory over Chris Wilder.
It was difficult to tell who was the happiest or saddest between the two managers, both having faces resembling Bulldogs chewing a wasp.
Bet 365 offer Everton at Odds On 4/9, the draw at 3/1 and 7/1 for Sheffield United to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 5/4 that Everton Win To Nil.
Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to offer his input and has kindly given his predictions for Game Week-36, plus the 3-additional fixtures.
Manchester United 2 v Leicester 1
Southampton 1 v Crystal Palace 1
Chelsea 2 v Arsenal 0
Aston Villa 1 v Everton 2
Manchester United 1 v Liverpool 1
Newcastle 0 v Man City 3
Burnley 1 v Leeds United 2
Southampton 2 v Fulham 1
Brighton 1 v West Ham 2
Crystal Palace 1 v Aston Villa 1
Tottenham 2 v Wolves 0
West Brom 0 v Liverpool 2
Everton 2 v Sheffield United 0
JP had 6-correct results from the 10-fixtures last time out but significantly, Jon had 2-correct scores.
John Newsome had 7-correct results from the 10-games with 1-correct score.
A quick tally was added up and since Jon started giving his predictions, the Beast has 77-correct results with 19-correct scores from 161-games played.
John Newsome is slightly behind with 72-correct results and 14-correct scores but closed the gap in Game Week-35, getting 1-more correct result than the Beast.
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