Game-week 30 kicks off in the south of England and notoriously bad travelers Brighton make the relatively short trip to Selhurst Park. Both sides have lacked a cutting edge, this season, relying on their defences to keep them out of the drop-zone. Does John Newsome believe that the spectators will be treated to any goals, in a match that looks sure to be a dogged affair? You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
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CRYSTAL PALACE v BRIGHTON
Early Saturday afternoon kick-off live on Sky Sports sees the Eagles host the Seagulls at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace headed north on Saturday to take on Burnley at Turf Moor and Roy Hodgson’s men comfortably beat Sean Dyche’s struggling Clarets. The Eagles were helped on their way in the 1st-half when Burnley defender Phil Bardsley scored an own goal. After the break, Michy Batshuayi and Wilfried Zaha made it 3-0 before Burnley got a late consolation giving Palace a great 3-1 victory and the 3-points gained took them further away from the relegation places and 3-points above Brighton, so this game is definitely the proverbial 6-pointer. Palace have only lost 1 game in the last 6 and that was against Manchester United which can be excused so the momentum is with Roy’s men.
Brighton beat Huddersfield last time out which also took them away from the relegation places, the 3-points gained put them on 30-points for the campaign and Chris Hughton will feel he needs another 8-10 points to guarantee another season in the Top Flight. Florin Andone got the solitary goal in the 1-0 victory against Huddersfield. The Seagulls were the only team out of the bottom 7 that won at the weekend.
At the beginning of December, in this reverse fixture at the Amex, Brighton beat Palace 3-1 even playing for over an hour with 10-men after Shane Duffy was sent off. Glenn Murray, Leon Balogun and Florin Andone got the Seagulls goals with Luka Milivojevic scoring a late penalty ultimately only a consolation for the Eagles.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at slight Odds On 4/5, the Draw at 5/2 and 7/2 for Brighton to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 that Crystal Palace Score in Both Halves and 7/4 that Glenn Murray Scores Anytime.
CARDIFF v WEST HAM
Cardiff lost their 3 consecutive game at the weekend losing 2-0 away against Wolves. The only solace Neil Warnock and the Bluebird faithful can take from the defeat was that all the other teams around them lost too so no real damage was done and although West Ham have hit a bit of form a lately, Neil will definitely target this home fixture as one to gain 3-points in their fight for survival to stay in the Premier League. Unfortunately, Neil will not be able to call on the services of Sol Bamba after the big Centre Half was stretchered off injured in the defeat against Wolves and maybe out for some time. That could be a significant factor in Cardiff’s fight to stay in the Premier League for another season.
As mentioned, the Hammers have found some form of late and beat Newcastle 2-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday. West Ham have only lost 1 game out of the last 5 and that was a very commendable 1-0 defeat to High Flying Man City so no disgrace there. Declan Rice and Hammers legend Mark Noble were the goal scorers against Newcastle. It’s fair to say Mark Noble is a true legend at West Ham and has Bubbles running through his veins. Mark has never been the most fashionable of players and has been left out of the team many times by the various Hammers managers, but always works hard and his work rate inevitably leads to him making his way back into the team because the team is better with him in than not. Declan Rice is a lot younger than Mark and has just turned 20. Doctor, as he is affectionately known, is a superb player and after initially playing a couple of games for the Republic of Ireland has changed allegiance and is now available to play for England which is definitely a plus for Gareth Southgate. Declan could become as much of a club legend as Mark Noble but it’s very unlikely that he will stay at West Ham long term and will be a target for the big boys and wouldn’t look out of place in a Manchester United shirt. The 3-points gained against Newcastle gives the Hammers 39-points in total which will see them continue in the Premier League next season. With Marco Arnautovic committing himself to the club and the return of Manuel Lanzini from his long term injury, West Ham can push on next season and see about getting near the Europa League places.
This reverse fixture back at the London Stadium in early December finished 3-1 to West Ham. The annoying thing for the Bluebird faithful in their trip to the Capital was they were presented with a superb chance to take the lead in the 1st-half when they were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Joe Ralls failed to convert the spot kick and the teams went in at the break 0-0. Lucas Perez scored twice early in the 2nd-half and Michail Antonio made it 3-0 on the hour mark. Josh Murphy scored a very late consolation for the Bluebirds but the missed penalty was a turning point in the game.
Bet 365 offer Cardiff at 21/10, the Draw at 12/5 and 5/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 10/1 for a 2-0 Win for West Ham and 7/1 that Declan Rice Scores Anytime.
Away Win 0-2
SOUTHAMPTON v TOTTENHAM
Southampton played in arguably the game of the weekend going up to Old Trafford and almost pulling off a shock victory against Manchester United. French youngster Yann Valery put the Saints in front in the 1st-half. United came flying out of the traps after the break scoring 2 quick goals. James Ward-Prowse equalised for Southampton but a resurgent United took control again and scored a 3rd which turned out to be the winner. An entertaining game for the Saints faithful but ultimately another defeat. United missed a late penalty and the game finished 3-2 in favour of the home team. Southampton are just above the relegation places and whilst they suffered a defeat, none of the other teams around them won so their position remains the same.
Tottenham drew 1-1 against their North London rivals in the early Saturday afternoon kickoff. However, things could have been a lot worse if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had converted a 93rd-minute penalty. Fortunately for Tottenham Hugo Lloris saved Pierre’s tame kick and the game finished with both teams sharing the points. Harry Kane did what Pierre-Emerick couldn’t and converted his penalty when Tottenham were a goal behind. A couple of weeks in football is a long time. 3 games back, Tottenham stood an outside chance of winning the Premier League and were on the coattails of Man City and Liverpool. After only obtaining 1-point from a possible 9 they now have a fight on their hands to remain in the Top 4 and are only 3-points ahead of Manchester United and 4-points ahead of fierce rivals Arsenal. The good thing for the Spurs faithful is Arsenal play United next so will take points off each other.
At Wembley back in December, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min got the Tottenham goals in a 3–1 victory. Charlie Austin got a very late consolation for the Saints.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 7/2, the Draw at 11/4 and slight Odds On 3/4 for Tottenham to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 for Harry Kane to Score First and 7/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
Away Win 1-3
NEWCASTLE v EVERTON
Newcastle were beaten 2-0 in the late Saturday afternoon kickoff at the London Stadium against West Ham. Both goals were conceded in the 1st-half and although Newcastle put in a superb 2nd-half performance, they were unable to break down the Hammers and ultimately lost the game. What was good to see in the game was the matchup between 2 very similar players both English and both playing in the same holding midfield position. Sean Longstaff is slightly older than Declan Rice but is fast becoming another excellent player and could rival Declan for a place in the England midfield. Both players are of a similar mould to the best English midfielder of recent years that is Michael Carrick. The ironic thing for both youngsters is Michael is a Geordie like Shane but never played for Newcastle and came through the West Ham youth system like Declan and if both players have half the career Michael had then they won’t go far wrong. Let’s hope the England National Team uses either or both of the youngsters more than they used Michael Carrick.
Everton got a great point in a 0-0 draw against their Merseyside rivals on Sunday at Goodison Park. What made the result sweeter for the Toffees faithful was the draw dented their bitter rivals hopes of winning the Premier League for the 1st-time which would have given the Blue Shell Suited Brigade a brilliant time in the pubs of Liverpool on Sunday Night. After doubts over the future of Everton boss Marco Silva, the gritty display will give him some breathing space. The hierarchy at Everton should show patience as they can’t keep sacking managers. Give Marco time to build a decent team and the Toffees faithful will be rewarded in the long run. If they do decide to get rid, who’s out there to replace him? Big Sam Allardyce or David Moyes. Neither surely would get the juices flowing.
At Goodison Park back in early December, this reverse fixture finished 1-1 with Richarlison cancelling out an early Salomon Rondon goal, both goals scored in the 1st-half.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 17/10, the Draw at 13/5 and 13/8 for Everton to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 12/1 that either of the Teams Win from Behind and 7/4 that Miguel Almiron Scores Anytime.
Home Win 2-1
LEICESTER v FULHAM
This game at the King Power is affectionately known as the New Manager Derby. The Celtic fans are still crying because Brendan left them for Leicester and Rod Stewart shed a tear or two over his cornflakes because no one should leave Celtic who are playing in a Pub League. You’re in my heart your in my soul, your Celtic, United but Brendan’s decided that the best place that he’d rather be is in Leicester. Dry your eyes, Rodney. The Foxes played on Sunday against Watford and lost 2–1, in what could be described as the perfect Leicester way. A lot of teams seem to want a ‘way’ ‘The West Ham Way’, ‘The Arsenal Way’, ‘The Newcastle Way’. Leicester have their ‘way’ too. They play well, pass the ball about, have loads of possession and Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy scores a goal, but ultimately, as what was happening frequently under Claud Puel, they lose. It wasn’t any different in Brendan Rodgers first game in charge. They conceded early, Jamie Vardy scored to equalise then with time running out conceded again. Leicester won’t be relegated and have the basis of a good squad. It just needs a little tweaking and under Brendan, they should be ok and if not, the Leicester heir-achy should go back to Glasgow and knick Neil Lennon just to wind the Green and White hoops up.
Fulham, a couple of months back, for some reason, decided to appoint Claudio Ranieri. It had been commented that Claudio Ranieri took over Leicester in similar circumstances as to his appointment at Fulham and took the Foxes from the brink of relegation to the Premier League Champions. It was never going to happen at Fulham! Fulham will not win the Premier League this season, next season, or the following 10 season’s and the bosses at Craven Cottage have decided that their decision in appointing Claudio was the wrong one and Mr Ranieri has been sacked from his position at Fulham. The Cottages are heading straight back to the Championship after just one season in the promised land and have appointed Scott Parker as interim boss. Claudio is a nice man but maybe his time is up as a Premier League Manager. Can Scott do what Ole has done at United? His first game in charge was another loss for Fulham losing 2-1 at home against Chelsea. Callum Chambers did briefly equalise for the Cottages but Chelsea took control again and went back across London with all 3-points inflicting the 5th straight defeat on Fulham and the 1st for McDonald’s man Scott Parker.
This reverse fixture back at Craven Cottage in December finished 1-1. A 2nd-half James Maddison strike for the Foxes cancelled out a 1st-half Aboubakar Kamara goal for the Cottages giving both teams a share of the points.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at Odds On 3/5, the Draw at 14/5 and 9/2 for Leicester to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that there are Under 1.5 Goals and 10/1 that it Finishes 0-0.
HUDDERSFIELD v BOURNEMOUTH
Huddersfield were beaten again on Saturday losing 1-0 against Brighton at the Amex which would have made the long journey back home an arduous one for the Terriers faithful. After a brilliant surprising victory over Wolves in the previous game, the Terriers went back to losing ways and will be playing their football in the Championship next season against the Mighty Barnsley FC. What might have been an idea is for the Huddersfield fans to holiday in Brighton for a week then move the 90 or so miles over to Bournemouth and cadge a lift back home.
Bournemouth were unlucky against Pep’s High Flying City last Saturday losing by a single goal at the Vitality.
Eddie Howe’s men are now winless in 5 games and this is the perfect fixture to try and get back to winning ways. An early start for the Cherries and their faithful heading a long way up North to West Yorkshire to take on rock bottom of the Premier League table Huddersfield.
This reverse fixture back in December at the Vitality finished 2-1 in favour of the Cherries with all 3 goals scored in the 1st-half. Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were the Bournemouth goal scorers with Terence Kongolo replying for the Terriers.
Bet 365 offer Huddersfield at 23/10, the Draw at 11/5 and 5/4 for Bournemouth to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/4 that Bournemouth Win to Nil and 11/4 that Bournemouth Score in Both Halves.
Away Win 0-2
MAN CITY v WATFORD
Late Saturday afternoon kick-off live on BT Sports.
Man City finally overtook Liverpool at the top of the Premier League after a nervy 1-0 victory against Bournemouth last Saturday. Riyad Mahrez came off the bench in 1st-half injury time to replace Kevin De Bruyne. 10-minutes after the break, Riyad got City’s one and only goal to claim all 3-points. City and Liverpool have swapped places at the top over the previous few weeks with Liverpool always playing catch-up with a game in hand. Now both teams have played the same amount of games and with Liverpool unable to beat Everton on Sunday, Pep’s boys are now in prime position to retain their Premier League title. Probably the only stumbling block for City now is the little trip to Old Trafford at the end of April but Pep will worry about that when the time comes. It’s definitely in the Citizens hands now and they will know that if they win the remaining 9 games, they will be Champions.
Watford beat Leicester on Sunday 2-1 in a very entertaining game at Vicarage Rd. Troy Deeney put the Hornets in front in the 1st-half before Leicester equalised after the break. With time running out and looking like the points were going to be shared, Big Troy played a beautiful ball through to Andre Gray who coolly slotted home to give the Watford faithful a brilliant Sunday Afternoon to saviour and a brilliant 3-points. One of the daftest rules in football came into play after Andre got his goal. A kid scores a winner in the 93rd-minute knowing his team will get all 3-points and rightfully goes crazy with his celebration taking his shirt off only for the referee to show him a yellow card. Why? The daftest rule in football. Although this will be a tough ask heading to the Etihad to take on High Flying City, Javi Gracia will get his boys up for the fight and with Troy Deeney in the team, will always be a match for anyone.
At Vicarage Rd back in December, City beat Watford 2-1. Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez got City‘s goals with Abdoulaye Doucoure replying for the Hornets.
Bet 365 offer City at massive Odds On 1/7, the Draw at 13/2 and 16/1 for Watford to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Sergio Aguero Scores First and 2/1 that there are Over 4.5 Goals which is not inconceivable.
Home Win 4-1
LIVERPOOL v BURNLEY
Early Sunday Afternoon Football live on BT Sports sees Liverpool try and close the gap at the top of the Premier League table assuming Man City beat Watford the day before.
Liverpool were held 0-0 at Goodison Park last time out unable to break down their Merseyside rivals. After swapping places with City at the top playing catch-up all the time, both teams have now played the same amount of games and Liverpool have relinquished their top spot position after being 10-points ahead of City a couple of weeks back. What surprised most Liverpool fans was the lack of creativity from their players and the lack of creativity shown from Jurgen Klopp in his team selection and substitutions. Roberto Firmino was left out of the starting lineup replaced surprisingly by Divock Origi. Roberto did come on in the 2nd-half as a replacement for Divock with James Milner replacing Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana replacing Sadio Mane. The surprise was the very creative Xherdan Shaqiri remained on the bench. Liverpool have only lost once this season against their main rivals Man City but they have now drawn 4 out of their last 6 Premier League games which is not the form of Champions. It’s tough at the top and the irony in Liverpool’s quest to win their first title in 29-years is they will want their bitter rivals Manchester United to beat City at the end of April. If United beat City and gift Liverpool the title it will not go down well at Old Trafford but Ole won’t worry about that and will hope other scenarios come into play.
Burnley lost their 2nd consecutive game on Saturday losing 3-1 against Crystal Palace in front of the Clarets faithful. Burnley defender Phil Bardsley scored an own goal to help Palace on their way and were 3-0 down before Ashley Barnes scored a 90th-minute consolation. The Clarets are hovering just above the relegation places with only a 5-point gap between them and Cardiff so if results go against them this weekend, Sean Dyche’s men could be drawn back into a relegation battle.
At Turf Moor in December Liverpool ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Jack Cork had put Burnley in front in the 2nd-half but that just stoked Liverpool’s fire and James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri scored the Reds goals to take the 3-points.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at Odds On 1/7, the Draw at 13/2 and a massive 16/1 for Burnley to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 that there are Over 4.5 Goals and 28/1 that Burnley Miss a Penalty.
Home Win 5-0
CHELSEA v WOLVES
Mid-Sunday Afternoon Football live on Sky Sports.
Chelsea, despite what appears from the outside as chaos, are still just outside the Top 4 and if results go for them this weekend could be right on the coattails of United and Arsenal who will take points off each other. The Blues headed the short distance over to Craven Cottage on Sunday and goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho gave Chelsea an easy 2-1 victory over Fulham who produced a good performance after the departure of Claudio Ranieri. Chelsea will have played in the Europa League on Thursday Night so team selection is key. Kepa Arrizabalaga came back into the starting lineup against Fulham after spending time on the naughty step. Although Kepa the Keeper conceded against Fulham, he did have a decent game and will probably be rested for the Europa League game and back between the sticks for this game against Wolves.
Wolves blew away Cardiff on Saturday at Molineux with 2 quickfire goals early in the 1st-half. Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez scored in the 16th and 18th minute to knock the stuffing out of the Bluebirds and take all 3-points.
This reverse fixture back at Molineux in December turned out to be a walk in the park for Nuno’s men easily beating Sarri-Ball’s Chelsea 2-1. Diogo and Raul got the goals that day too after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had put the Blues in front.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea surprisingly Odds On at 6/11, the Draw at 3/1 and 5/1 for Wolves to do the double over the Blues and come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Gonzalo Higuain Scores First and 7/1 that Chelsea Win 2-0.
Home Win 2-0
ARSENAL v MAN UNITED
What a cracker of a game to round off the weekend’s football live on Sky Sports.
Arsenal took on their North London rivals at Wembley last Saturday and came away with a great point. What will have irked the Gunners faithful was that they were gifted the chance to take all 3-points when the referee awarded Arsenal a 90th-minute penalty. Aaron Ramsey put Arsenal in front in the 1st-half but they conceded a penalty themselves in the 2nd-half to allow Spurs to equalise. With time running out the referee deemed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been bungled over by Davinson Sanchez and awarded the controversial penalty. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was somehow a substitute for Arsenal, decided to take the spot-kick and his very tame effort was easily saved by Hugo Lloris. In Arsene’s day, there was a rule that the player fouled for a penalty wasn’t allowed to take the spot-kick so maybe someone should have taken over. There was still time for the influential midfielder Lucas Torreira, who himself was a substitute, to be shown a straight red card for a horror challenge on Danny Rose. Arsenal drop down to 5th place in the Premier League Table a point behind their opponents at the Emirates today. The Gooners will be hoping that the 2-points dropped won’t come back to haunt them in their chase for a Champions League place.
Manchester United continued their superb turn of fortune after the departure of Dracula and the arrival of the ray of sunshine that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United are now 11 Premier League games unbeaten under Ole and continued their rise into the Top 4 with a very attritional if not impressive performance against Southampton at Old Trafford last time out. After going behind in the 1st-half, United took control after the break and 2 quickfire goals from Andreas Pereira and Romelu Lukaku looked like it would give the Red Devil’s the springboard to roll over the Saints and win convincingly. That didn’t prove the case as Southampton bounced back straight away and replied with 15-minutes to go. With time running out, Big Rom finally put the Old Trafford faithful at ease and scored what turned out to be the winner to give United all 3-points and with Arsenal unable to beat Tottenham earlier on in the day, leapfrogged over today’s hosts into 4th place in the Premier League table. The ironic thing for United is like Arsenal, they were also awarded a 90th-minute penalty and like Pierre-Emerick had done earlier on in the day, Paul Pogba missed his spot-kick too. The only difference was that the miss didn’t cost United any points but the Old Trafford changing rooms could have had a sour atmosphere if Paul’s miss was whilst the teams were level at 2-2. Feel is a word not explained at least not in words that are plain, that makes it easy to express but Paul tries to do his best
to hit them where it counts and try to build a solid bond in United’s heart. Ole will know that if he avoids defeat at the Emirates, United will remain above Arsenal but could find themselves out of the Top 4 if the result is a draw and Chelsea score a few goals and beat Wolves. Both teams will have played midweek in their respective European Competitions. Paul Pogba is suspended for United’s trip to Paris so a few days rest might do him good after the penalty miss.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at 11/8, the Draw at 5/2 and 9/5 for Manchester United to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Scores First and 3/1 that Paul Pogba Scores Anytime.
Away Win 1-3