Despite some concerns over both their defence and stand-in goalkeeper, Liverpool go into Saturday’s game against Newcastle with a 100% record from their opening four Premier League fixtures and a clean-sheet finally in their back-pocket. John Newsome previews the clash of these great northern clubs, whose paths have diverged massively in recent years, along with all the other matches in game-week 5. You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday
LIVERPOOL v NEWCASTLE
Early Saturday Afternoon Football live on BT Sports.
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The International Break is over and the Premier League returns with an iconic fixture to kick start Game Week Five.
Iconic because the fixture brings back memories of the two 4-3 results from 1996 and 1997.
Liverpool remain the only team who have won all 4-games the latest being the brilliant 3-0 victory over Burnley prior to the break.
Trent Alexander-Arnold hit a speculative cross hoping for one of his teammates to get on the end but following a deflection from Chris Wood ended up in the back of the Burnley net.
The miserable dubious goal deciding people, whoever they are, decided that it was an own goal by Chris Wood.
Terence Trent wasn’t allowed to celebrate his effort.
Sadio Mane was allowed to celebrate his goal just before the half-time break.
Roberto Firmino made it 3-0 towards the end of the game giving Jurgen’s Reds all 3-points and 4 out of 4 to take them back to the top of the Premier League after Man City had briefly leapfrogged them a couple of hours earlier.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got another 20-minutes of game time following his return from injury and was included in Gareth Southgate’s England Squad for the games against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Newcastle head to Anfield following a 1-1 draw against Watford at St James Park.
Both goals came in the 1st-half with Newcastle’s Fabian Schar replying a Watford opener.
Steve Bruce is still trying to win over the Toon Army but will find this trip to Merseyside a tough ask.
What Big Brucey will be hoping for is an International Break hangover from Liverpool.
This fixture last season was played on Boxing Day and Liverpool left with the presents easily beating the Magpies 4-0.
Dejan Lovren, Mo Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho got the Reds goals.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at massive Odds On 1/6, the Draw at 7/1 and 18/1 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 Sadio Mane Scores First and 11/4 Liverpool Score a Penalty.
Home Win 3-0
BRIGHTON v BURNLEY
Brighton host Burnley at the Amex after coming back from the Etihad losing against Man City by a scoreline of 4-0.
That game just needs to be put to bed, as most teams will lose against Pep’s Citizens and shouldn’t be analysed too much.
Graham Potter doesn’t need to poke his squad following the defeat and waste energy trying to work out why City beat them.
Brighton, like 18 of the 19 other teams are simply light-years away from Pep’s High Flying City.
Only Liverpool can compete.
Neal Maupay started against City with old-timer Glenn Murray on the bench.
Glenn did get to stretch his legs at the Etihad getting 20-minutes at the end to run around in the Manchester sunshine.
The loss leaves the Seagulls with 4-points from their opening 4-games.
Burnley make the long trip to the South Coast with the same 4-points as their hosts at the Amex.
Burnley were on the end of a 3-0 defeat against the current European Champions Liverpool at Turf Moor prior to the break.
Like Harry Potter, Sean Dyche needs to put that defeat to bed as most will lose against Jurgen’s Reds with only Man City being a legitimate match for Liverpool this season.
The rest are just vying for the other two Champions League places and maybe a challenge in the cup competitions.
At the Amex, last term this fixture was played in the cold of February and Burnley came away with a 3-1 victory.
Chris Wood got 2 goals and Ashley Barnes with the 3rd.
Shane Duffy got a late consolation for the Seagulls.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at 21/20, the Draw at 11/5 and 14/5 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Neal Maupay Scores First and 11/2 that the Scoreline is 1-1.
MANCHESTER UNITED v LEICESTER
Relegation-threatened Manchester United host 3rd-placed Leicester at Old Trafford.
United appear to have peaked way too early and given their many fans false hope after the 4-0 victory against Chelsea in the opener.
Since then, a combination of injuries, players leaving and missed penalties have left United battling relegation.
Most will think, that statement is ridiculous, is it?
It happened in 1974.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just needs to be careful, a few more performances that match the ones against Crystal Palace and Southampton will see him down the concrete.
1-point from a home fixture against Crystal Palace and an away trip to Southampton is not what the United faithful would have envisaged.
That is not what an outlay of £150 Million for 3-players warrants and there were rumours Sir Alex was seen in the crowd with a ‘Solskjaer Out’ banner.
The faithful demand more from their idols.
Paul Pogba is certainly an enigma and certainly divides opinion.
What may start a debate is that Paul is too good for the current Manchester United team and simply needs more quality players around him.
It’s all very well signing a Centre Back and a Right Back who, by the way, United needed, when the Captain is Ashley Young, Paul’s midfield partners are Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira and the substitutes coming on are a 17-year old prospect, a 31-year old who’s legs have gone and a bloke who’s suffering from an injury from pinching himself that many times because he can’t believe he’s been named in Gareth’s England Squad.
Mason Greenwood is one for the future, Nemanja Matic should be afforded immense respect for his career but his old legs have seen better days and Jesse Lingard constantly flatters to deceive.
Like Nemanja, Ashley Young should be afforded immense respect for his career but shouldn’t be the back-up left-back and certainly not the Captain of Manchester United.
Noisy Neighbours Man City are simply light-years ahead of United at the moment and the gap appears to getting wider, not shorter.
Against Brighton, Pep introduced Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva from the bench.
Against Southampton, Ole introduced Mason, Nemanja and Jesse.
Marcus Rashford seems isolated upfront.
Dan James is still learning his trade and producing the odd glimmer of hope with the goal against Palace and the stunner against the Saints.
Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira are not the answer to United’s midfield.
Paul Pogba must be looking forward to his return to France for the upcoming games against Albania and Andorra.
N’Golo Kante sat at the side of him, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe just ahead of him.
At United he must wonder what he’s doing when he looks up and sees Jesse on Social Media, Scott looking like he’s won a competition to wear a United shirt for the day and god knows when he sees Andreas running about.
Paul has his detractors and sometimes the most ardent of his admirers become frustrated that he isn’t performing in a United jersey but strip back his performances and at the minute he is Manchester United’s best player, Paul just needs his teammates to step up to the plate and take some responsibility themselves.
Paul’s fellow countryman and true United legend Eric Cantona was in fine form midweek after being given the UEFA Presidents Award at the recent Champions League draw.
Dressed like a coal miner from Barnsley, in a flat cap and a red shirt, he began by quoting Shakespeare’s King Lear, saying “as flies to wanton boys we are for the gods” before continuing to reference science, war and crime
Eric isn’t new to philosophical outpourings.
In the aftermath of his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995, he gave his infamous press conference observation
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea”
How United could do with Eric at the moment, with the turned-up collar strutting his stuff around Old Trafford.
Eric Cantona ! Magnifique
He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that the best place is Leicester to be.
Leicester remain one of only 3-teams who are currently unbeaten in the Premier League and sit in the lofty heights of 3rd-in the not so infant Premier League table.
Could they ? Could Leicester actually do a Leicester and win the Premier League for a 2nd-time?
The answer is No.
Whilst not to dampen the Foxes enthusiasm, the fixtures have been kind to Brendan’s boys with this trip to Old Trafford being their first real test.
The Foxes faithful will argue that they have been to Stamford Bridge and come away with a point, whilst well deserved, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are not the formidable force of old.
That said, neither are United.
Rod Stewart is still not happy with Brendan for leaving his beloved Celtic.
Rod should be a bit happier though with his Green and Whites beating Rangers at Ibrox last Sunday.
Jamie Vardy announced that he’s going to be a dad again then promptly celebrated the news by bagging 2-goals in the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth.
Youri Tielemans with the other Foxes goal against the Cherries.
Youri was lucky to stay on the pitch after a horror tackle on Callum Wilson which could have inflicted some serious damage on Callum.
It would be good if the Premier League had some sort of way that the referee on the pitch could get some help with decisions.
Something like a referee sat elsewhere watching a screen and maybe could assist the on-field referee.
A bit like in Cricket or Rugby.
VAR was supposed to check on incidents like the Youri Tielemans challenge but decided it wasn’t worthy of a Red Card.
What’s even more remarkable in that decision is VAR can only intervene on Red Card decisions and as they deemed it not a Red Card, the referee couldn’t then give Youri a Yellow Card.
VAR is good for the game.
The problems arise when it’s not used in way it is meant.
In the coming months the Champions League and Europa League will show just how VAR should be used.
For a start, the on-field referee will, at times, go over to a TV monitor and review his decisions.
The Premier League referees don’t do this and is reliant on the VAR sat in Stockley Park giving the calls.
It’s early days for VAR in the English game but it’s not rocket science, it’s simple common sense application.
This game last season was the first for both sides and finished 2-1 in favour of United.
Paul Pogba and a rare Luke Shaw goal gave United the win.
Jamie Vardy replying late for the Foxes to give them brief hope of a comeback.
Bet 365 offer United at slight Odds On 2/3, the Draw at 14/5 and 4/1 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points (have the odds compilers not seen United this season?).
Bet 365 offer 6/1 Paul Pogba Scores First and 9/4 Jamie Vardy Scores Anytime.
SHEFFIELD UNITED v SOUTHAMPTON
The Blades host Southampton in an early relegation battle which could still result in both teams going down.
Chris Wilder was a happy man on Saturday after his team came from 2-goals down to get a brilliant point at Stamford Bridge.
Chris was happy but constantly fails to tell his face of his emotions.
After falling behind against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea trailing 2-0 at half-time, Chris worked his magic and the Sheffield boys came out in the 2nd-half to blitz the Blues.
Callum Robinson got his first of the season and with time running out, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma deflected the ball into his own goal to gift the Blades a point.
The Blunts loved their day out in the Big Smoke and as they returned up North they were heard to say-
“dat beer darn deer is dear beer da knows”
some only had change left from their day out but clubbed together to buy a greasy chip butty and a pint with 6-straws.
Chris Wilder was happy, honest.
The way Wreck-it Ralph celebrated at the final whistle against Manchester United on Saturday was like he had won the game.
The Saints got a vital point in the relegation battle against United with Jannik Vestergaard bullying Victor Lindelof to head past a static David De Gea.
The 2nd-half goal cancelled out United’s early strike to give Southampton the draw which Ralph Hasenhuttl certainly knew the meaning of.
It will be an early start for the Southampton faithful heading up the M1 to Sheffield.
It’s actually 10-years since Southampton played Sheffield United at Bramhall Lane and that wasn’t a Premier League encounter.
Both teams were in the Championship and the Saints left the Lane with all 3-points following a 2-1 victory.
Southampton were actually relegated to League 1 that particular season.
United legend Billy Sharp had a brief spell playing for Southampton so will be hoping for game time.
Bet 365 offer Sheffield United at 29/20, the Draw at 21/10 and 2/1 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 Sheffield United Score in Both Halves and 9/4 Danny Ings Scores Anytime.
Home Win 2-1
TOTTENHAM v CRYSTAL PALACE
Tottenham took a 2-0 lead in the North London Derby on Sunday with goals from Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
Unfortunately for Spurs they were unable to hold on for the victory and conceded twice against the Gunners to come away from the Emirates with a draw.
Whilst Mauricio Pochettino was initially unhappy with the draw, on reflection, a point away against Arsenal is a great point.
Harry Kane denied he had dived to try and win a penalty but was straight on the phone after the game to Tom Daley to thank him for his advice.
Crystal Palace currently find themselves sitting in 4th-place of the Premier League table.
They left it late on Saturday to get the victory over newly promoted Aston Villa.
Jordan Ayew, who surprisingly, finds himself as the main striker at Selhurst Park, got the winner in the 2nd-half to add to his goal in the previous game against Manchester United.
The Eagle Ultras were on top form all afternoon and will relish a trip across London to the new Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium.
Remarkably this isn’t Palace’s first trip to the new stadium as Roy Hodgson’s men were the inaugural visitors against Tottenham back in April.
Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen were the goal scorers as Tottenham christened the new stadium with a 2-0 victory against Palace.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 3/10, the Draw at 9/2 and a massive 8/1 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Harry Kane Scores First and 6/1 Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime.
Home Win 3-1
WOLVES v CHELSEA
Wolves lost their unbeaten tag at Goodison Park last Sunday.
Prior to the 3-2 defeat against the Toffees, Nuno’s men had drawn all 3-games but like Burnley, last season, are finding juggling the Premier League and the Europa League adventure a very difficult task.
The loss as left them perilously close to the drop-zone.
It’s early days for everybody.
Unlike Burnley of last season, Wolves have actually qualified for the group stages of the Europa League so will be constantly playing Thursday and Sunday which does take its toll.
Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez got the Gold and Blacks goals against Everton which will please them individually.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea blew a 2-goal lead last Saturday against newly-promoted Sheffield United to finish with just a point.
Tammy Abraham, who hadn’t scored for the Blues up until the game against Norwich, now has 3 after his double against the Blades in the 1st-half.
Kurt Zouma was credited with an own goal late in the game to gift Sheffield United a point when at half-time the Blues were comfortable.
Frank was not happy and will feel that the International Break has come at just the right time to enable him to regroup and take stock of the 4-games so far.
A win, a loss and 2-draws mark his introduction to Premier League management.
Realistically, Frank could easily count himself and his Blues unlucky in all 4-games and could conceivably have a better return than currently.
That’s Football, unfortunately, and Frank will know that his team needs to improve defensively and not give away the lead.
Apart from the mauling at Old Trafford, Chelsea have scored first in the 3-other games but have failed to capitalise on the good start in both the home fixtures.
The break will do them no harm a trip to Molineux could be just what the doctor ordered.
Under Sarri-Ball last season, Wolves beat the Blues 2-1.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek had given Chelsea the lead in the 1st-half, however, Nuno worked his magic at the break with Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota getting the 2nd-half goals to give Wolves all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at 15/8, the Draw at 11/5 and 6/4 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 Raul Jimenez Scores First and 5/1 Jorginho Scores Anytime.
Away Win 1-3
NORWICH v MAN CITY
Ooof! All the best Norwich!
Delia will be cooking up something for Pep’s boys as Carrow Rd entertain the Premier League Champions in the late Saturday Afternoon game live on Sky Sports.
Norwich were beaten again last Saturday and find themselves in the drop zone after just one victory in their opening 4-Premier League games.
Daniel Farke’s men also had the embarrassment of losing in the Carabao Cup against League 2 side Crawley so it appears the German Pop-star may now becoming like the David Bowie and Queen song ‘Under Pressure’
Delia Smith, the Chairwoman of Norwich is a renowned chef who is famous in her own right.
However, Delia may be remembered more for her famous rant at half-time in a Premier League game.
It’s fair to say that drink had been taken and Delia gave an impromptu half-time talk to the fans.
“Where are you?.
where are you?”
Followed by “Lets be having you “
If everyone who were down the pub in Norwich on Quiz Night Wednesday and the question came up-
“What year did Delia do her infamous half-time rant and who were the opponents that day?”
Without Google-in would many be able to give the answer at the Dog and Duck Norwich branch?
The answer is 2005 and the opponents were today’s boys Man City.
Think about that! 2005!
Where does the time go.
Letsby Avenue by the way is in Sheffield.
Man City briefly went to the summit of the not so infant Premier League after a brilliant 4-0 victory against Brighton at the Etihad last Saturday.
Liverpool’s subsequent victory against Burnley meant Pep’s boys returned to 2nd in the table for the time being but after the opening 4-games, look menacing and look a cut above all the others including Liverpool.
City can count themselves unlucky in not achieving the 4-victories that Liverpool have but 3 and a draw against Tottenham is no mean feat and have the luxury of not yet playing any of the newly-promoted teams until today’s game at Carrow Rd.
Against Brighton, Sergio Aguero scored a couple, Kevin De Bruyne and the Bernardo of the Silva’s got the others to give City a comfortable 4-0 victory.
Pep’s boys will be like Frankie Dettori on Enable this season.
Just sat behind the main player knowing that when the time comes, when the optimum moment is there to strike, a little tap of the whip on the hind and boom, Enable is off.
Pep will eventually meet Jurgen, the first meeting coming up just after Bonfire Night and fireworks will definitely be alight at Anfield.
He will give his boys a little tap and boom, City will be off.
A long time ago, a legend of the game Bill Shankly who, younger folk won’t have heard of but the older boys and girls will definitely know, said this
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude.
I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
Now we all know that football is not a matter of life or death, it’s a game, however, it’s a game that evokes so many opinions, emotion and beliefs that some religions are not afforded the luxury of such following.
A game that brings Billions to the party and makes a man’s or woman’s Saturday night.
It defines their Saturday Night TV viewing, their Saturday Night takeaway, it can be a first date, or a final goodbye, it can bring families together or bring divisions between friends, it can be the starting point of conversations or the final sentence in a story.
Royalty can level a peasant with the team he chooses.
A homeless person can level a millionaire just with the words
“see the football last night?”
it brings harmony to Brexit.
Football isn’t a matter of life or death, Football is simply that, Football.
Bet 365 offer Norwich at a massive 11/1, the Draw at 7/1 and Odds On 1/6 for City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 Raheem Sterling Scores First and 6/5 Man City Win to Nil.
Away Win 0-4
BOURNEMOUTH v EVERTON
The Cherries host the Toffees at the Vitality in the early Sunday Afternoon game live on Sky Sports.
Bournemouth have lost the last two Premier League games by the same scoreline of 3-1, the latest being a 3-1 defeat away against Leicester.
Callum Wilson has equalised a Leicester opener to give Eddie and his Cherries hope of a second victory of the season.
Unfortunately, Leicester took the lead just before the break then scored a 3rd in the 2nd-half to take all 3-points.
Callum was called into the England squad to face Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Whilst playing against the Foxes he was on the wrong end of a horror challenge which went unpunished and could have put him on the sidelines for a while.
Luckily for Callum, he came through the injury and joined up with Gareth Southgate and the rest of the England squad.
Everton featured in one of the best games of the season up to now hosting Wolves at Goodison park and ending up victorious beating Nuno’s men 3-2.
The Toffees went ahead 3-times in the game with Wolves equalising the first 2-goals.
Richarlison, with his 2nd of the game, finally got the winner after a valiant effort from Wolves to draw level after Richarlison had got his 1st and Alex Iwobi had made it 2-1.
Both players head off to their native countries to play in the upcoming International’s, Richarlison for Brazil and Alex for Nigeria, both in great goal scoring form hoping to take that to the International stage.
The victory against Wolves put Marco’s Everton up to 6th in the Premier League table with Eddie and the Cherries lying just above the relegation zone.
At the Vitality last term, this fixture was played at roughly the same time, Everton drew with Bournemouth 2-2.
Theo Walcott and Michael Keane had given the Toffees a 2-goal lead, with Josh King and Nathan Ake replying for Bournemouth.
Both Richarlison and Adam Smith were sent off resulting in both teams leaving the field with 10-men.
Bet 365 offer Bournemouth at 2/1, the Draw at 5/2 and 5/4 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Richarlison Scores First and 12/5 Everton Score in Both Halves.
Away Win 1-3
WATFORD v ARSENAL
Late Sunday afternoon kick-off live on Sky Sports.
Watford finally got a point on the board after drawing 1-1 against Newcastle at St James Park before the International Break.
Fresh from his horrendous miss from 2-yards out against West Ham, Will Hughes scored for the Hornets after just 2-minutes to give Watford the lead on Tyneside.
Newcastle equalised before the break with no more goals added in the 2nd-half, the game finished 1-1 with Watford finally getting a point after 3-previous losses.
Javi Gracia’s boys remain rooted at the foot of the Premier League table and know that he will need to improve to prevent a relegation battle.
Arsenal drew 2-2 with their North London rivals last Sunday but will feel the happier of the two clubs as at one point we’re trailing 2-0.
Alexandre Lacazette scored a brilliant goal at just the right time, controlling the ball with one foot then blasting the ball with the other past a helpless Hugo Lloris in 1st-half injury time to give the Gunners hope of a 2nd-half comeback.
That comeback materialised midway through the 2nd-half when Alexandre’s strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised for Unai’s men to give them a share of the North London Derby points.
The point puts them with a cluster of 4-teams on 7-points keeping them on the coattails of the Top 4.
This fixture at Vicarage Rd last season was one of the final games.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the only goal early on in proceedings giving Arsenal a 1-0 victory and all 3-points.
Watford legend Troy Deeney was sent off just after Pierre-Emerick had scored.
Bet 365 offer Watford at 14/5, the Draw at 13/5 and Odds On 10/11 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Scores First and 11/4 Arsenal Win to Nil.
Away Win 0-2
ASTON VILLA v WEST HAM
Monday Night Football live on Sky Sports brings Game Week Five to a close.
Aston Villa are finding life in the big league pretty tough at the moment sitting in the relegation places with just one victory to their name.
The latest defeat came at Selhurst Park last time out losing 1-0 against Crystal Palace.
Probably the compelling moment to come from the game was in the final seconds when Jack Grealish burst into the Palace area and whilst under a challenge passed the ball to Henry Lansbury who scored.
Unfortunately, for Jack, Henry and the Villains the referee claimed he had blown his whistle prior to the strike from Henry to penalise Jack for apparently diving.
Again, wouldn’t it be great if there was somebody watching from another place who could possibly give the on-field referee some help after watching a replay?
Jack Grealish didn’t dive and the goal should have stood, however, VAR couldn’t get involved as the referee had blown prior to Henry converting.
That decision won’t be the reason Dean Smith’s men are relegated but it could go along way in deciding Villa’s future and a few more decisions like that will knock the stuffing out of them.
The International Break as come at the right time for Dean who can regroup and get them ready for the visit of West Ham.
Villa’s Centre-Half Tyrone Mings was called up to the England squad for the games against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
It’s a mystery why Eddie and the Cherries let Tyrone leave Bournemouth and maybe that decision will come back to haunt Eddie Howe.
West Ham are unbeaten after their opening game loss against Man City.
The Hammers head to Villa Park to take on newly-promoted Villa, following a 2-0 home victory against another newly promoted club Norwich.
Summer new signing Sebastian Haller got his 3rd-goal of the season with Andriy Yarmolenko opening his account
with the 2nd.
The 3-points gained against Norwich put West Ham on 7-points, the same points as Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Everton.
The Bubbles will feel Andriy Yarmolenko is a new signing following his injury-hit season last term.
If he remains fit, the Ukrainian striker will be a great addition to the Hammers team.
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 6/4, the Draw at 13/5 and 8/5 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 that Aston Villa Score in Both Halves and the same 9/4 that West Ham Score in Both Halves too.
Away Win 1-3