EPL Week 38 – Weekend Premier League Tips

John Newsome Football Betting Tips - everytipIn the final game week of the 2019/2020 season, John Newsome wraps up what has been a season like no other and delivers his unique and detailed preview of all the upcoming English Premier League week 38 matches.  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 time of publication.

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ARSENAL v WATFORD

July 26th

All these final day fixtures that bring a protracted Premier League season to a close, kick-off at the same 16.00 PM time in England and all, are reverse fixtures of Game Week-5 back in mid-September.

Arsenal surprisingly suffered a 1-0 defeat away against Aston Villa on Tuesday, which leaves Mikel Arteta’s Gunners with 53-points, in 10th-place before this final fixture against Watford, 5-points behind their North London rivals, Tottenham.

Which does mean the Gunners will finish behind Spurs for a 4th-successive season, plus, 8th-place being the highest possible position achievable, it also means, Pep 2’s boys will finish outside the Top-6 of the Premier League for the first time since the 1994/95 season.

Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem to bad now, Gooners!

Watford lost against Man City on Tuesday, conceding 4-goals to ultimately lose the game by a 4-0 scoreline.

With the results of the penultimate Game Week going against the Hornets, Watford need at least a point against Arsenal, plus a defeat for Aston Villa, to stay in the Premier League.

To even be in that position is remarkable in itself, considering that when Nigel took over, back in December, Watford were at the bottom of the league.

What probably Nigel and the boys didn’t need after a loss against West Ham was a visit from Pep’s High Flying City.

That’s maybe why the owners have surprisingly got rid of Big Nigel.

With 34-points and a goal difference of minus-27, Watford have the same points as Villa but are in the relegation places on goal difference.

The Hornets will survive if a point is achieved and Aston Villa lose against West Ham.

Bournemouth have 3-points less than Aston Villa and Watford, so need a victory in their final fixture away at Goodison Park, plus Arsenal to beat Watford and West Ham to beat Villa.

The Cherries also have a minus-27 goal difference, the same as Watford but the Hornets will have an inferior goal-difference over Bournemouth and Villa if Bournemouth win and Watford don’t.

The good thing for Watford is they have the points on the board and Bournemouth are playing catch-up.

A strange scenario could occur that all 3, of Watford, Aston Villa and Bournemouth, can end with 34-points, however, although Watford and Bournemouth have the same minus-27 goal-difference before the final games, a win for Bournemouth by at least 2-goals and a defeat for Aston Villa and Watford, would send both Watford and Aston Villa down due to the Cherries superior goal difference over the others.

All 3-teams are away from home, with, in theory, this trip to the Emirates, probably the toughest of the struggling teams.

Twelve months ago, a Pre-season preview was published by EveryTip that gave a summary of how it was thought each of the 20-teams would perform this 2019/20 Premier League season.

At the time, Arsenal still with Unai Emery at the helm, the final position for the Gunners was predicted to be 5th.

Whilst Arsenal are going to finish lower than that and now won’t finish in the European places, Unai has gone and Pep 2 is in charge for next term.

Remarkably, the Gunners upset the odds on Saturday by beating Pep 1’s Man City in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup, when everyone just expected City to win.

The strange thing now for the Gooners faithful is that, although Europe is unachievable via the league, Arsenal could theoretically gain entry into the Europa League by winning the FA Cup, if they beat Chelsea in the Final.

At the beginning of the season, a mid-table finish was predicted for Javi Gracia’s men, however, with Javi only lasting 4-games, then the reappointment of Quique, who didn’t last much longer, Nigel Pearson up until Sunday, it’s quite understandable that Watford are facing relegation.

Stability is key and it’s fair to say, Stability isn’t a word in the Watford handbook.

Now, the Watford owners have sacked their 3rd-manager of the season, with Nigel, joining Javi and Quique, down the concrete.

Hayden Mullins was placed in temporary charge before the defeat against Man City on Tuesday and now gets this final tough fixture to try and save the Hornets from the drop.

At Vicarage Rd, both teams were under different managers, with Watford on their 2nd of 4-for the season, that being Quique Sanchez Flores and Arsenal having Unai Emery at the helm.

The game finished in a Desmond 2-2 draw with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring twice in the 1st-half to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead at the break.

Tom Cleverly and Roberto Pereyra scored the Watford goals in the 2nd-half to give the new boss, Quique, a point from his 1st game.

At the time, Watford had lost the first 3-games then got a draw from the 4th but that wasn’t enough for the heir-achy, who had to make a change, resulting in Javi Gracia (Gracia not Garcia!) heading down the concrete.

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BURNLEY v BRIGHTON

July 26th

Burnley have had another great season under the gravelled voiced main man that is Sean Dyche.

It’s probably one of the easiest pre-season predictions as to where the Clarets would finish and with 13th the thought, it’s not a surprise that Burnley will finish slightly higher, possibly 8th, depending on the final-day results.

On Saturday evening, a Chris Wood goal on the stroke of half-time calmed the Clarets nerves for an easier 2nd-half against the bottom of the table Norwich.

Easier, because just before the goal, Norwich had a player sent off.

Now with that statement, it would be assumed that Burnley had all of the 2nd-half, with a man advantage.

What was even better is, Norwich had already been reduced to 10-men midway through the 1st-half, so we’re now down to 9 and Sean’s boys had a 2-man advantage, for the 2nd, 45-minutes.

The 9-men did put up a show but eventually succumbed to a 2nd goal when Burnley’s Left-Back, Eric Pieters, supplied a great cross for Ben Godfrey to coolly side-foot home.

Eric and the Clarets won’t mind too much but Ben is a Norwich player, still a great finish though.

Another brilliant professional display by Sean Dyche’s Clarets who will be back in September, when the new 2020/21 season starts.

Depending on the results of the final day, Burnley can get 57-points and as mentioned, could finish as high as 8th, however, luckily for the Claret faithful, after the last adventure in the Europa League, no passports will be needed for next season.

Brighton earned a professional point from a 0-0 draw against Newcastle on Monday evening, making sure of their Premier League status for next season.

The point gained gives Graham Potter’s Seagulls, 38 for the season so far and although it didn’t look as though Brighton would be relegated, the draw against Newcastle, in front of the cardboard faithful, made it certain and confirmed that Harry will be a Premier League manager for at least the start of the new campaign.

Brighton were predicted to be relegated in the pre-season preview and whilst that won’t happen, it as been a nervy final few weeks for the Seagulls, both real and cardboard, as to whether Graham Potter was going to keep his men in the Premier League.

When the Burnley faithful headed for the sun of the South Coast back in September, the Clarets Jeff Hendrick scored very late to equalise an earlier Neal Maupay Seagull goal to give both teams a share of the points following a 1-1 draw.

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CHELSEA v WOLVES

July 26th

With Chelsea’s defeat against Liverpool, in their penultimate fixture and Manchester United’s draw against West Ham, a couple of hours earlier, Ole’s Wheels jump above Frank’s Blues into 3rd-place, leaving Chelsea 4th and Leicester now 5th in the Premier League table.

Chelsea did give it a go at Anfield on Wednesday night to not only get the vital 3-points that would have sealed a Top Four finish but also, try and spoil Liverpool’s Premier League celebrations.

What turned out to be a cracking game, Liverpool scored 1st-half goals, with Olivier Giroud replying, just before half-time to give the Blues hopes of a 2nd-half comeback.

Jurgen’s Reds, waiting to pick up the trophy, scored again to make it 4-1, before Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic, scored a couple for Frank’s boys to make it 4-3 and a nervy final 15-minutes.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, whilst trying to get the equaliser, it left space at the back for Liverpool to counterattack and with time running out, that’s exactly what happened, with the Reds scoring again to run out winners by a 5-3 scoreline.

Chelsea now need to at least match Leicester’s result against Manchester United to gain entry into next seasons Champions League or if suffering a defeat against Wolves, hope United beat the Foxes.

Frank Lampard’s Blues did a number on Ole’s Wheels last week, beating United in the FA Cup Semi-Final by a 3-1 scoreline.

That gives Chelsea hope of silverware and if achieved, plus a Top Four finish, it will be a successful first campaign for Frank and Jody.

Frank Lampard has already splashed the Abramovich Russian Rouble by purchasing Timo Werner for £48 Million and Hakim Ziyech for around £44 Million.

It looks like Frank’s not stopping there either, by pursuing Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen in a reported £72 Million deal, that would be Chelsea’s Transfer Record.

Wolves got a great 2-0 victory on Monday Night Football with Daniel Podence scoring in the 1st-half and Jonny (We’re Sorry!) adding the 2nd after the break.

Nuno’s Gold and Black’s 5th-victory of the season by a 2-0 scoreline.

The 3-points give Nuno’s men 59 for the season so far, which leaves them in 6th-place in the Premier League table, going into this final fixture against Chelsea, who are 4th, with 63-points, so Wolves cannot catch the Blues even with a victory.

If the Gold and Blacks do get a win against Frank’s Blues and Leicester lose against Manchester United, the 2-Midland clubs will have the same 62-points, however, the Foxes have a far superior goal difference over Wolves so, 6th-place is theoretically, the highest Nuno’s men can achieve.

What can happen though is a victory can cement the 6th-placed position, with Tottenham, who lie a point behind in 7th.

Tottenham do have a relatively easier final fixture against Crystal Palace, which should result in 3-points and a final tally of 61, so if Wolves fail to win against Chelsea, they would drop to 7th-position, which isn’t a Europa League place and gift Nuno’s former boss, Jose Mourinho, a Thursday night adventure.

If there is a poor result against Chelsea, 7th-place is the worst that can happen, which equals last seasons feat.

What would happen then is Nuno and his Wolves would be Chelsea fans for the FA Cup final, as a victory for Franks Blues against Arsenal in the showpiece final, would give Wolves a qualifying place in the Europa League, exactly the same as what happened last season, when Man City, won the FA Cup.

EveryTips pre-season prediction was a 6th-placed finish for the Blues and a 9th-placed end for Nuno’s Gold and Blacks.

At Molineux back in September, Chelsea probably got the surprise result of that particular weekend, when the Blues beat the Gold and Blacks by an unusual 5-2 scoreline.

At the time, Wolves had 3-draws and 1-loss from the 4-games played, with Frank’s Blues early record being 1-win, 2-draws and a loss.

So to come away with a result like Chelsea did was a great feat.

Tammy Abraham scored twice following Fikayo Tomori‘s opener to give the Blues a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Tammy completed his hat-trick after the break then scored his 4th of the game, however, this time in the wrong net, gifting Wolves a goal.

Patrick Cutrone scored late on for Nuno’s men to make it 4-2 but that wasn’t the end of the goals, with Mason Mount rounding off the 5-2 victory in the 96th-minute.

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CRYSTAL PALACE v TOTTENHAM

July 26th

Wearing their new kit of Speedos and flip-flops plus an inflatable Eagle under their arms, Crystal Palace suffered their 7th-straight defeat since the Premier League resumed.

The 2-0 loss away against Wolves, leaves Roy’s Boys in 14th-position in the Premier League table, which fortunately for the cardboard Ultras, with 42-points, is the lowest that Crystal Palace can finish, even with another loss against Tottenham.

It’s fair to say that Palace have been on the beach since the resumption and probably were one of only a few teams that weren’t too bothered about coming back.

With 39-points on the board when the pandemic struck and football stopped, the Eagles, in theory, were already safe, so subconsciously, haven’t been able to get up to speed for the final 9-fixtures.

However, that’s not what a fan of any club will accept and Roy should make sure his boys put in a shift in this final fixture or the Eagle Ultras won’t be happy, cardboard or real!

Tottenham are 4th in the Premier League table, well they are if Jose is to be listened to.

According to Dracula, he has turned around the fortunes of the Lilywhites and following his results, Tottenham are 4th.

In the real world, where everyone lives, Spurs are currently 7th, 5-points away from the 4th position, currently occupied by Chelsea.

To be fair to Jose, despite the displays, Tottenham have won 5-games from the 8-since the restart, only losing 1-fixture, drawing the other-2 and only Liverpool, Man City and Manchester United have more points since Jose arrived at Tottenham, last year, who were 14th when appointed.

Over the last 5-games, Tottenham have 13-points, Man City 12-points and Manchester United-11 and are the form team, up there with his old club, which will, in a way, still annoy Dracula.

The latest of the victories was on Sunday, against Leicester.

Son Heung-Min thought he had given Spurs the lead after just 6-minutes, however, whilst still a goal for Tottenham, it was then credited as a Leicester own goal.

Sorry, Son!

Harry Kane then scored his 16th and 17th, one with his left and one with his right, to give Jose’s men a 3-0 lead at the break.

With no more goals in the 2nd-half, Dracula registered his 5th-victory from the last 8-games, since the restart, to put Tottenham temporarily up to 6th in the table but drop to 7th, before this final fixture, following Wolves victory, also against Crystal Palace, a day later.

Despite the victory, Tottenham had just 30% possession at home against Leicester.

Great whilst the cardboard Spurs fans are in attendance but would the real faithful put up with the style of Jose’s play.

30% possession at home?

Jose will point to the goals column and rightly so, as Leicester proved, 70% of the ball, without scoring, earns a team absolutely nothing.

To score 17-Premier League goals, whilst missing 9, of the 37-games so far, is simply remarkable for Big Harry, who will come close to Alan Shearer’s 260-Premier League goal record, at the end of his career.

Harry turns 27, next week, so in theory, has, probably, 6-good season’s in the Top Flight, maybe 7 but for the time being, say 6.

Twenty goals a season would give Big Harry 120-goals to add to the 142-strikes he has already.

The maths there would indicate that Harry would overtake Alan’s record.

It’s not beyond comprehension that Harry could score at least 20-goals a season over the next 6-years.

A few weeks back one of Sky Sports pundits and ex-Arsenal player, Paul Merson, muted that Harry wouldn’t score many goals under Jose’s way of football.

Jose then countered that argument by listing a number of top drawer strikers he had worked with previously, that had scored goals.

The list included Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, the Diego’s of Costa and Milito and a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so Mr Merson was put in his place.

Harry Kane will score goals and get close to Alan Shearer’s record, whether under Jose at Spurs, or under Ole at Manchester United.

Then it will be Wayne Rooney’s England haul that Kano will be after, with 32-England goals already, only another 21-to go to match Big Wayne.

That’s 32 from only 45-games by the way, so say another 12-games per season, over the next 6-years, another 72-England caps, Wayne should be looking over his shoulder.

When the predictions were made at the beginning of the season, Tottenham, bearing in mind that they had just played in the Champions League Final and were still under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, were predicted to finish 3rd.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened, however, under Jose, the Special One, will go all out next season to try and get into the Top Four or, like his not so Special spells at Whitby, Real Madrid and Manchester United, Dracula could just suck the life out of the Spurs players and Daniel Levy.

At the beginning of the season, Roy’s Eagles were predicted to finish 10th, which is obviously mid-table and Crystal Palace could easily be known as the ‘ultimate mid-table club’.

Which, admittedly, isn’t the snappiest of names.

Whilst Palace have finished slightly lower than 10th, Roy’s Boys have been on the beach since the resumption of the season and technically finished their campaign back in March and forgot that there were 9-games to go.

With 42-points after 31-games, the Eagles basically thought,

‘That’s us done, get the flippo-floppo’s out!’

Prior to the lockdown, Crystal Palace had won 3-games in a row, then after the restart, it was a 4th-straight victory and the cardboard Eagle Ultras thought they were heading for Europe.

Now it’s 7-straight defeats and the only trip to Europe the boys will be seeing is if EasyJet do some discount flights to Benidorm.

When the real Eagle Ultras ventured across London to the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs comfortably beat Roy’s Boys by a 4-0 scoreline.

Son Heung-Min scored 1 and 3, with the unfortunate Patrick Van Aanholt turning past his own keeper to make it 2-0.

Erik Lamela scored the 4th before the half-time whistle blew.

After the break, there weren’t any more goals as Tottenham took the foot off the gas to run out easy winners.

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EVERTON v BOURNEMOUTH

July 26th

Everton got a great 1-0 away-day victory on Monday evening, away at Bramall Lane.

After just 2-points from a possible 12, Carlo rang the changes and made 4, to the Toffees side, that could only scrape a draw against Aston Villa last time out.

With the sides level at the break, Everton came out of the traps quicker when the referee blew the whistle to start the 2nd-half, with Richarlison scoring the solitary goal, within a minute of leaving the dressing room.

Despite a bit of pressure from Sheffield United, the Toffees held on for a well-deserved victory that gives Carlo Ancelotti’s men 49 for the season and leaves them in 11th-place, which is the highest position possible this term, as Arsenal, in the place above, have 4-points more.

Depending on the result of this fixture and the Southampton v Sheffield United game, with the Saints having the same 49-points going into the final day, Everton could slip down a place to 12th but no further.

So it’s either 11th or 12th for Carlo’s Blues, which is a basis to work on for next season.

Bournemouth remain in the relegation places after the 2-0 defeat on Sunday against their South Coast rivals, Southampton.

With 31-points, 3-less than both Watford and Aston Villa, it’s as simple as this for Eddie and the Cherries, Bournemouth have to win this game by at least 2-goals and then hope that West Ham beat Aston Villa by a few goals and Arsenal beat Watford and also smash a load of goals to make the goal-difference in favour of the Cherries as all 3 of Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth would have the same 34-points but Eddie’s boys would have a better goal difference if a 2-0 victory was achieved against Everton.

To make a prediction about where a team will eventually finish in the Premier League, is in itself, bold, especially when the predictions are made before any new signings are brought into a club or whilst a team are under one particular manager, then that manager is sacked and another steps in.

Added to that, the predictions were made some 12-months ago, not knowing that a World Wide Pandemic would come along, stop not just the Premier League but everything and folk would learn a new word, that is furloughed!

There are now 5 of the 20-Premier League clubs, that on Game Week-38, are under the guidance of a different manager than that from Game Week-1. Watford, the anomaly of that, being on a 4th-different manager since Day-1. (Yes 4th!)

Everton are one of the 5-clubs that started with Marco Silva and are finishing and let’s be fair, with a much better manager that is Carlo Ancelotti.

Under Marco, it was predicted that the Toffees would finish 7th.

Maybe a bit optimistic but it was 12-months ago!

Bournemouth were predicted to finish 14th in the table and after a terrific start to the campaign, seeing them win 4 and draw 4, of the first 11-fixtures, with the 3-losses being against Man City, Leicester and Arsenal, it’s now a surprise to see the Cherries languishing in the relegation zone and needing a victory, in this game against the Toffees, plus other results to go Eddie’s way, to stay in the Premier League.

One of the victories in those opening 11-games was against Manchester United.

In September, when the Everton faithful made the long trip South to the Vitality and were sure of their hubcaps fate, Bournemouth comfortably beat Marco Silva’s Toffees by a 3-1 scoreline.

The Callum of the Wilson’s got the goals going midway through the 1st-half before Dominic Calvert-Lewin equalised right on half-time.

Ryan Fraser, who was introduced in the 57th-minute scored 10-minutes later to put Eddie and the Cherries in front.

Big Callum W, made it 3-1 and with no more goals, Bournemouth ran out winners and will be hoping for the same outcome to prevent relegation.

Ryan Fraser, by the way, hasn’t played since the football resumed, because he is now out of contract at Bournemouth and looking at a potential move to Everton, which could give Eddie and The Cherries a little more incentive if any was needed.

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LEICESTER v MANCHESTER UNITED

July 26th

The 3-0 defeat against Tottenham on Sunday, leaves Leicester with 62-points, 1-less than today’s opponents, Manchester United and drop down to 5th, now behind Chelsea and United.

What is good for the cardboard Foxes faithful is that Wolves, now in 6th, have 59-points and although can equal Leicester’s 62-point tally, have to have a goal swing of 16, so a 5th-place finish, for Brendan, is the worse that can happen, unless Wolves score 10 and Leicester lose by 6 (other permutations are available to give the 16-goal swing!)

The strange anomaly from Sunday’s defeat against Tottenham is that Leicester had 70% possession, as an away team, 24-attempts on goal compared to Tottenham’s 7 and 13-corners but still lost, which basically means that the main statistic that matters is the one in the goals column.

As Jim Bowen would say on Bullseye,

‘You get nothing in this game for 70%-possession and 24-attempts on goal if tha dunt scoor!’

Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy has 23-goals at the top of the goal-scoring charts, 2-more than Danny Ings, 3-more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and 4-more than Mo Salah and Raheem Sterling, so will be hoping for one of two things to happen, 1-Jim scores a few against United, or B-all of Danny, Pierre-Emerick, Mo and Raheem don’t add many to their tallies to overtake Jamie for the Golden Boot.

At 16.55 PM in England on Sunday, Manchester United were on course to win the FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea and lineup in a final against Arsenal.

Six-minutes later, an hour before kick-off at Wembley, that dream was over, when Ole Gunnar Solskjær handed in his team-sheet to the referee.

Inexplicably, after winning 4 and drawing 1 of the last 6-games, prior to the West Ham fixture, with the same starting eleven, (the 6th was also a victory but Scott McTominay started instead of Nemanja Matic and Tim Fosu-Mensah, replaced Luke Shaw), Ole, in the Semi-Final of an FA Cup, at Wembley, decided, in his wisdom, to replace all of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood plus play a back-5, that had Eric Bailley at the side of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams in for Luke Shaw, admittedly Luke is injured.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah had replaced Luke in the game before so could have kept his place in a back-4.

To bring Fred, Eric and Dan James in and drop Pogba, Greenwood and Martial just didn’t make sense.

Frank Lampard must have been rubbing his eyes and licking his lips when he saw the team-sheet an hour before kick-off.

Despite a couple, if not three, errors by David De Gea, Chelsea were the better side and Ole’s team-selection should have been scrutinised more, instead of just blaming DDG, who has saved United on many occasions, unfortunately, Sunday, wasn’t one of them.

On Wednesday night against West Ham, Ole brought back Paul, Anthony and Mason.

Just before half-time, Paul, having watched David make a few errors on Sunday, decided to show the Spaniard how to stop a shot with his hands.

Unfortunately for all connected with Manchester United, Paul isn’t a goalkeeper and VAR did what they were introduced for and awarded a penalty as the on-field referee didn’t see the incident.

Firstly, a terrible decision by Paul, who Gary Neville said, should have taken the ball in the face and B, a terrible time to concede, right on half-time.

Taking the ball full in the mush, is easier said than done by the way but the old pros always say that don’t they?

United equalised after the break, through Mason Greenwood but didn’t really trouble the Hammers after that and a draw was probably the fair result.

What it does mean now, is that Ole’s Wheels just need to avoid defeat against Brendan’s Wonderful’s and it’s a Top Four finish for the Red Devil’s.

Gary Neville, in the commentary box for Sky Sports, was a bit critical over United’s performance and whilst it wasn’t up to the level of previous games, the players are human and not machines, so is it fair to criticise a lack of urgency, in this current situation, from a team constantly playing every other day. David Moyes set up his West Ham team to defend and United, however lethargic they looked, couldn’t break down a well-drilled system.

United will enjoy the visit to Leicester as the Foxes will come on to the United players and that will allow Ole’s Wheels to play.

A lot will point to the excellent game later, that saw Liverpool beat Chelsea by a 5-3 scoreline and ask,

‘Where was the lack of energy by the players in that fixture?’

Whilst an argument, despite the 8-goals, there was some terrible defending by both teams who only were interested in going all out to score.

So in theory, there was still an element of lethargy involved.

There wouldn’t have been 8-goals if either Liverpool or Chelsea had played against Moyes Hammers that night, so Gary should cut his old team some slack.

Leicester were predicted to finish 8th, so to finish 5th is simply brilliant for Brendan and his Wonderful Human Beings.

Probably, what will put a slight dampener on the situation is the way the season has fizzled out for the Foxes, with only 2-victories since football reconvened, with 3-draws and 3-defeats.

If Leicester lose this game against United and it’s only an if, as nerves will come into play for Ole’s Wheels, Leicester will finish 5th and play in the Europa League.

Rod Stewart was happy on Sunday, he’s rumoured to have taken off his Tottenham jersey and bought a Manchester United shirt for this final game, with ‘Crooner’ and the Number 75 on the back.

‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.’

Ole’s Wheels were predicted to finish 4th, so not too shabby.

Back in September, along time before the Coronavirus situation and the word furloughed had never been spoken by an English person before, the Foxes went up to Old Trafford and came away empty-handed after an early Marcus Rashford penalty gave Ole a 1-0 victory over Brendan.

www.halftimepie.co.uk

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MAN CITY v NORWICH

July 26th

Man City got a convincing 4-0 victory on Tuesday night with Raheem Sterling scoring twice, in the 1st-half and Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte adding the others after the break.

Raheem’s 2nd resulted from a penalty that was awarded when he was tripped in the area, however, although Raheem took the penalty, it was saved but fortunately fell straight back to the City man, who tapped in to score his 19th-goal of the season, 4-behind Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.

Raheem will still feel he can catch, Jamie, considering Norwich, already relegated, are the visitors for this final fixture and will look to fill his boots.

Pep’s High Flying City are clear in 2nd, with 78-points, 18-behind Liverpool and 15-more than the Numpty Neighbours.

The goal now for City, pardon the pun, is to score at least 3-plus, in this fixture against Norwich, to get 100-goals for the season.

After this game, it’s the resumption of the Champions League for Pep’s Blues and the visit of Real Madrid, for the 2nd-leg at the Etihad on August 7th.

Norwich continued their dreadful run on Saturday, suffering a 2-0 defeat against Burnley, which although another loss, doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Canaries had to play the whole of the 2nd-half with 9-men following the straight Red Cards of Emiliano Buendia and Josip Drmic.

As soon as Josip left the pitch, in the 3rd-minute of 1st-half stoppage time, Norwich conceded to trail 1-0 at the break.

In the 2nd-half, the Canaries defender Ben Godfrey coolly slotted the ball home confidently past the ‘keeper.

Unfortunately for Big Ben, the ‘keeper was his own and the goal was, well an own-goal, still a great finish though Ben!

The 2-0 defeat doesn’t make much difference to Daniel and his Yellow and Greens, who are going to finish rock bottom of the Premier League, (not 18th, as Predicted!) and will be playing in the Championship next term, against Barnsley FC, who upset the odds on Wednesday by beating Brentford at Griffin Park, by a 2-1 scoreline.

At the resumption of football, Barnsley were staring relegation in the face but with some spirited performances and great victories against Nottingham Forest and Brentford and thanks to the great owners of Wigan, who have gone into administration, with 12-points deducted, the Reds have escaped relegation and will be in the Championship when the new season starts.

Respect Gerhard Struber!

That is now 9-straight Premier League defeats in a row, for Norwich, stretching back to the last game in March, before the suspension.

The strange thing in those defeats is that in between the 9-losses, Norwich drew with Manchester United in the FA Cup.

That said, the draw was only over the 90-minutes, then United scored in extra-time to ultimately, inflict another defeat on the Canaries.

In the article published on July 4th, 2019, (EveryTip’s 2019/2020 English Premier League Football Table Final Positions-Predictions For All Clubs) Man City were predicted to win the Premier League and Norwich were to finish 18th and be relegated.

Not far off!

Right, the next paragraph or two is not made up, no one has to rub their eyes thinking,

‘No way, that’s definitely made up!’

No, it’s not!

To quell all doubters now, to confirm that no lie was told in the making of the next couple of sentences, the next bit is factual not fiction.

Norwich, with just 21-points from their 37-games so far and who are relegated back to the Championship, beat, yes beat, Pep’s Low Flying Man City at Carrow Rd back in September.

Yes, you did read that correct, Daniel Farke Life’s beat Pep’s Blues by a 3-2 scoreline, with Kenny McLean opening the scoring for the Canaries.

Big Ken’s one and only goal of the season.

Todd Cantwell made it 2-0 before Sergio Aguero pulled a goal back for City just before the break.

Obviously, with the goal before half-time, it would have been thought that Pep would get into his boys in the dressing room and send them out to steamroll Norwich.

That wasn’t the case, Daniel Farke got into his boys more and Teemu Pukki scored 5-minutes after the break to restore Norwich’s 2-goal advantage.

The City onslaught never materialised and although Roadie Rodri scored late, the Canaries held on for a famous victory and earn 3 of their 21-points.

When the aftermath of the season is put into post-lockdown conversations down the Norfolk boozers, everyone in a Yellow and Green top will think,

‘Yeah we are relegated but we did beat Man City, get in!’

‘Do you want another drink sister!’

As the fan turns to his wife.

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NEWCASTLE v LIVERPOOL

July 26th

Newcastle played in a drab 0-0 draw on the South Coast on Monday against Brighton with not much else to say about the game at the Amex.

With Newcastle definitely safe and the hosts unlikely to be relegated, however mathematically possible the pundits said it was before the fixture, both teams really did have one foot in the pool and without the fans in attendance, it felt like a pre-season friendly, which technically, it was.

Steve Bruce’s Magpies have 44-points for the season with this final home game to go and the possibility of finishing with 47-points.

That would mean the Black and Whites, need to beat the new Premier League champions on the final Sunday afternoon, so the 44-points already on the board may just be the total tally come Sunday evening.

In Rafa Benitez two seasons as manager in the Premier League since promotion in 2017, the Magpies earned 44-points in the 2017/18 season and 45-points in the 2018/19 term so, Big Brucey is maintaining the status quo.

What was strange about Rafa’s tenure in the Newcastle hot-seat, was the 44-points achieved in 2017/18, gave them a 10th-placed finish, whereas the 45-points, 1-more, earned a year later, left Rafa’s men in 13th-position in the final Premier League table.

John Newsome was at St James Park on the final day of the 2016/17 promotion season, as his beloved Barnsley FC, were beaten by a 2-0 scoreline, to gift Newcastle the Championship Title.

Liverpool played in one of the most entertaining games of the season on Wednesday, then lifted the Premier League trophy as Champions at the end of the fixture against Chelsea.

Whilst entertaining, the defending by both teams, left a lot to be desired, even with, at one point, Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomes, re-enacting a scene from the legendary Chuckle Brothers (RIP Barry!).

Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georgi Wijnaldum scored before half-time to take Jurgen’s Reds in at the break leading 3-1.

Chelsea had scored just after Georgi Boys goal.

After the break, Roberto Firmino scored to give Liverpool a 4-1 advantage which should have made the remainder of the game, comfortable for the Reds.

Chelsea scored a 2nd, then Barry and Paul, swapped places with Big Virgil and Joe, fell over and allowed the Blues to score a 3rd.

To me, to you!

With pressure from Frank’s boys, Liverpool broke away and added a 5th to ease the strain on Jurgen and his staff.

The game eventually finished in a 5-3 scoreline with Liverpool adding another 3-points to their tally, now totalling 96, with this game remaining, at St James Park to earn a total of 99-points for a first Premier League title-winning season.

With fireworks going off outside of the ground, Liverpool collected the Trophy and Medals and it was fitting to see Jordan Henderson do a little soft-shoe shuffle before hoisting the trophy into the Liverpool night-sky.

There as been a lot of condemnation about the Liverpool fans congregating outside of Anfield, not practising social-distancing, in this current pandemic.

Whilst it’s all politically correct and the so-called do-gooders say it is wrong and shouldn’t happen, Liverpool fans are only human, it’s the first time in 30-years, their team have won the Top Flight trophy and the first in the Premier League era.

If a certain Barnsley FC, won the Premier League title, a certain EveryTip contributor would be outside Oakwell, whether COVID-22 was about, Aliens had landed or the threat of prison.

Sometimes you’ve just got to do, what you’ve got to do and live by the consequences.

(COVID-22?, well a Coronavirus is named as followed, CO-corona-VI-virus-D-disease-19-2019, hence COVID-19)

Congratulations Liverpool.

Newcastle’s predicted league position, last July, was 12th, about right, with Liverpool predicted to finish runners-up again.

As everyone knows, although only a place off, it is a significant place, with the Reds winning the title, becoming only the 7th name on the Premier League trophy.

Back in September, when the Toon Army went looking for their hubcaps, after last season’s trip, Jetro Williams surprised the Anfield rappers scoring early to give Steve Bruce’s Magpies an early lead.

Unfortunately for all connected with Newcastle, that was like a red-rag to a bull, with the Reds scoring twice before the break, Sadio Mane with both, to give Liverpool a half-time lead.

Mo Salah rounded off the scoring in the 2nd-half, to give Liverpool a comfortable 3-1 victory and Jurgen’s Reds 5 from 5 at the time.

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SOUTHAMPTON v SHEFFIELD UNITED

July 26th

Southampton got a great 2-0 victory against their South Coast rivals on Sunday that gives the Saints 49-points for the season, with just this fixture against Sheffield United left.

Danny Ings scored his 21st-goal of the campaign to give Wreck-It Ralph’s boys a 1-0 lead just before the break.

What would have irked Big Danny is that he had a guilt-edged chance to score Number-22 and put himself just a goal behind Jamie Vardy in the chase for the Golden Boot.

The guilt-edged chance was a penalty, awarded midway through the 2nd-half, however, Danny messed about with his run-up and saw his spot-kick saved by the Cherries ‘keeper.

With time running out, it looked like Bournemouth had equalised, when the Cherries scored a 93rd-minute goal.

Fortunately for the Saints, the dreaded VAR, who were rumoured to be watching the Test Match between England and West Indies, had to be seen to be doing something and ruled out the goal for an offside toe.

Before the final whistle was blown, Che Adams scored Southampton’s 2nd, in the 98th-minute and with no more time left, the game ended with the victory for Ralph’s boys.

The Saints are currently 12th in the table, which is slightly higher than the 17th-placed finish that was predicted last July.

Whatever the result of this final fixture, Southampton could only improve their league position by a place, as they are currently 4-points behind Arsenal and the same 49-points as Everton but with a minus-12 goal-difference, whereas the Toffees have a minus-10, difference. If both Southampton and Everton win, it will just come down to which team scores the most goals in the final fixture, as to who finishes where.

Either can’t finish lower than 12th, as Newcastle United, in 13th, are 5-points off.

Sheffield United’s hopes of a trip to Europe next season, were dashed, against the wall on Monday Night Football, with the Blades losing by a 1-0 scoreline against Everton at Bramall Lane.

Chris wasn’t happy, his face told everyone, however, when Happy Chris is happy, his face is exactly the same, so it’s hard to tell either way.

With Eddie and The Cherries, more than likely, leaving the Top Forty, Happy Chris and the Blunts will be joined in the charts by Sheffield United’s, Yorkshire rivals, Leeds United, who have just been promoted to the Top Flight, from the Championship, so there will be a new entry in the Top Forty and that is, Bielsa and the Argy-Whites, who are the new kids on the block.

Sheffield United have 54-points and sit 8th, prior to this final fixture, the same points as Burnley and incredibly a point more than Arsenal, so will be going all out to get a victory on the South Coast to stay in 8th, which is a tremendous achievement for Happy Chris and the Blunts.

What is worth mentioning is on the opening day of the season, nearly a year ago, the fixture compilers conveniently sent the Blades faithful, the long trip down to the South Coast to take on Bournemouth.

In the closing day fixtures, the compilers have decided to send the cardboard Blunts, the long trip down to the South Coast to take on Southampton.

Cheers!

When the Saints had their night out in Sheffield, with the faithful unsure about the greasy chip butty, Moussa Djenepro scored the only goal to give Wreck-It’s boys a 1-0 victory.

Blades legend Billy Sharpe was harshly sent off in the 85th-minute that earned the lad a 2-game ban.

Little Jimbo wasn’t happy either, with his passport now back in the drawer, until next season’s trip to Molineux, where James is still convinced, is in France.

Over the protracted season and John Newsome’s EveryTip column, there as been a character introduced when Sheffield United are previewed.

It’s with great honour to thank Little James from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane.

James is a real person, a great guy and a loyal Sheffield United fan plus a very good friend of John Newsome.

Little Jim loves his weekly mention in the column and takes no offence from the section, which nowadays is in itself becoming outdated.

It seems that everyone who speaks, whether in speech or written words are offending someone or someone is offended.

Whilst we live in a world which is up in the air at the moment, not everything said or written or done is an offence.

Sometimes it’s ok to say something and not feel oppressed because the recipient doesn’t like what they have heard.

To quote the great man that is Stephen Fry,

‘It’s now very common to hear people say “I’m rather offended by that” as if that gives the person saying it, certain rights.

It’s no more than a whine.

It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase.

I’m offended by that!

Well, so what!’

Little Jim isn’t offended by the things written over the season.

To see offence as the collateral damage of free speech, that hate the thought of a persons ideas being modified or even hushed because someone, somewhere might not like to hear them.

Outside actually breaking the law or causing someone physical harm, ‘hurting someone’s feelings’ is almost impossible to quantify.

Great words, by Ricky Gervais!

Actually have a look at yourself before you criticise someone else, for words, to be abusive in any way is out of order, to use words that are illegal and cause racist or sexist crimes is against the law.

To say something that may offend, firstly, look at the context and the way it is written or spoken before feeling offended and judging an individual who has the right to speak openly.

Secondly, have a look at yourself and see if it really does offend, why it offends and what yourself can do to maybe prevent the offensiveness.

Out of the 20-predictions made for each team, some were a couple of places awry, which is neither here nor there but there was one glaring misprediction in that Sheffield United were predicted to finish rock-bottom of the Premier League.

 

To finish in the Top-10 is simply brilliant for the Yorkshire club.

Little Jim is a legend and respect to him for believing in his beloved Blades who have surprised everyone this season and hopefully will push on next term.

Not bad for a pub team!

‘You fill up my senses,

Like a gallon of Magnet,

Like a packet of Woodbines,

Like a good pinch of snuff,

Like a night out in Sheffield,

Like a greasy chip butty,

Like Sheffield United,

Come fill me again

 

Na Na Na Na Na…Ooooohh’

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WEST HAM v ASTON VILLA

July 26th

West Ham have gained 7-points in the last 3-games to avoid relegation, the latest being a point from a 1-1 draw, against Manchester United on Wednesday.

To be fair to David Moyes, who has had a lot of negativity, even from this EveryTip contributor, the Scot has made West Ham more solid and whether by chance or choice, made Michail Antonio an even better player.

Michail scored his 10th-goal of the season and the 8th-since the resumption on the stroke of half-time at Old Trafford after LeBron James, aka Paul Pogba handled the ball in the area following a Declan Rice strike and the VAR, correctly awarded a penalty to the Hammers.

Credit where credit is due, even the dreaded VAR have to get something right every now and again.

Unfortunately for David Moyes Bubbles, United equalised after the break and with no more goals, the game finished in a 1-1 draw, securing the Bubbles safety for another stint in the Premier League.

West Ham have 38-points going into this final fixture and lie in 15th-place in the Premier League table, 4-points behind Crystal Palace in 14th but the same 38 as Brighton in 16th, so depending on the final day results, West Ham will finish either 15th or 16th, no higher and no lower.

After no victories in the first 6-games since the resumption of football, Aston Villa have now gained 7-points from a possible 9 on offer to climb out of the bottom 3 of the Premier League table, just at the optimum moment of the season.

Villa beat Crystal Palace, standard! everyone is beating the Eagles at the moment, then when looking down and out against Everton, scored an equaliser to earn a point.

With the penultimate fixture being against Arsenal, although at Villa Park, it was still a tough ask for Dean and the Villa boys to get the victory, especially with the Gunners just beating Man City in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup.

A few minutes before the kick-off against Arsenal on Tuesday evening, Villa’s nearest rivals, Watford, were beaten themselves, so Dean knew that a victory against the Gunners, would lift Villa out of the relegation places.

In one of the best displays of the season, Aston Villa beat Arsenal by a 1-0 scoreline to earn the points to overhaul Watford and jump out of the drop-zone.

Trezeguet scored the solitary Claret and Blue goal and with some tremendous defending, especially from Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konza (EveryTip’s English Premier League 2019/2020-Best Young Players, published July 31st 2019) earned Dean Smith’s men the great victory and kept their season alive, leaving Villa’s fate in their own hands.

West Ham were predicted to finish 15th in the Premier League table and are currently 15th, going into this final fixture of the season.

In the pre-season prediction, Villa weren’t in the relegation places and were set to finish 16th.

West Ham are currently in 15th and along with Brighton, in 15th, have 4-more points than Villa, so even if Villa beat the Hammers, Aston Villa will finish in 17th-position.

Dean’s Claret and Blues need at least a point against the Hammers to avoid relegation, providing they match both Watford and Bournemouth’s result.

As mentioned, the scenario could be that all of Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth end up with 34-points, which, if occurs, Bournemouth would survive and send down the Villains and the Hornets.

At Villa Park back in September, the Monday Night Football produced a very drab goalless draw between the 2-Claret and Blues.

Enough said!

(2/1 for a home side ?)

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Who takes the heart from a stag.

Who gets pleasure with blood on their hands.

Who strips the wonder of life.

When they don’t have the right but they say it’s fair game and they won’t feel no pain.

As we feel no shame, so let the sun come down, let our eyes close the blind.

Let the rivers run dry.

Let the forest life die but who are they to decide.

As if their right is divine as if their right is sublime.

Who wins the hooves loses respect.

Who kills the grace treads with intent.

Into heaven’s domain, playing little Christians.

Hear their voice soar in church.

Giving thanks for this earth.

Then destroying its birth.

Congratulations to Liverpool, Leeds United and of cause Barnsley FC.

You Reds!

Thank you for taking the time to read this column throughout this long protracted season.

We will be back at the start of September for the new 2020/21 Premier League season.

John Newsome