With neighbours Liverpool flying high, it’s a tough time to be an Evertonian and the Blues’ stuttering start to the campaign shows little sign of abating. West Ham are their game-week 9 visitors and the Hammers are clearly benefitting from the return of Andriy Yarmolenko. Does John Newsome believe the Ukrainian can inflict further pain, on the Toffees? Here are his views on the upcoming Premier League action. You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday
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EVERTON v WEST HAM
Early Saturday afternoon kick-off live on BT Sports.
The first match of Game Week Nine in the Premier League.
Marco Silva’s Swing-Ometer is fast approaching the exit sign with rumours abound that the Portuguese gaffer has 3-games to turn around the fortunes of the Toffees who find themselves in the bottom 3 of the Premier League table.
It’s 4-straight defeats for Everton, the latest being a 1-0 loss against Burnley away at Turf Moor.
Whilst another defeat, Marco can point to mitigating circumstances with his men holding on for a 0-0 draw until Seamus Coleman was shown a 2nd-Yellow Card and ultimately his marching orders just after the break.
Burnley took advantage of the extra man and got the solitary goal to gain all 3-points.
Maybe the International Break will do the Toffees good but this game against a wounded West Ham side will be a tough ask.
An early start for the London faithful who will be embarking the rattler early doors for this trip to Goodison Park in the lunchtime kick-off.
West Ham will consider themselves wounded after conceding a last gasp goal against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium a couple of weeks back.
The 2-1 defeat will have been a bubble burster for the faithful.
After a goalless 1st-half, West Ham’s Sebastian Haller put the Bubbles in front giving the home fans something to blow about.
Unfortunately, after taking the lead they gave away a penalty allowing Palace to equalise.
Palace scored late on which was given via the dreaded VAR system leaving the Hammers faithful fuming.
VAR will always divide opinion, if it works in your team’s favour, it’s brilliant, if it goes against your team, it’s rubbish.
Whether a fan of VAR or not, it’s here to stay.
Although Manuel Pellegrini’s men got a great victory against Manchester United, the Bubbles have lost 2 out of their last 3-games, one being a humiliating 4-0 defeat against League 1 side Oxford in the Carabao Cup.
The other game only yielded a point from a draw so West Ham just need to watch themselves and may feel a trip up to Merseyside against a struggling Toffees side is just what’s needed after the International Break.
At Goodison Park last season this fixture finished in a 3-1 away victory for the Hammers.
Andriy Yarmolenko got a couple of early goals for West Ham at the start of his career for the Hammers before injury ruled him out of the rest of the 2018/2019 season.
The Ukrainian has already shown this season that he knows where the net is and if he remains fit, West Ham will always be a threat.
Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled a goal back for the Toffees just before half-time but the enigmatic and loyal Bubble Marco Arnautovic finished off the scoring in the 2nd-half to give the West Ham faithful a great away day.
Bet 365 offer Everton surprisingly at slight Odds On 10/11, the Draw at 13/5 and 11/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/1 that Dominic Calvert-Lewin Scores First and 15/4 that Mark Noble Scores Anytime.
Away Win 1-2
WOLVES v SOUTHAMPTON
Wolves dented everyone’s Accas last time out beating Pep’s High Flying City 2-0 at Molineux.
Speed merchant Adama Traore, who could give Christian Coleman a run for his money, scored both goals in the final 10-minutes against City.
What was noticeable about Adama’s brace was they were virtually identical goals, both coming on the counterattack after immense pressure from the Citizens and both coming from assists after great individual work by Raul Jimenez.
After a slow start to the season due to commitments in the dreaded Europa League, Nuno’s Gold and Blacks are now finding some form and have won their last 3-games, 2-in the Premier League and a Europa League fixture away in Turkey against Besiktas.
Adama Traore’s goals were his first of this season with the Molineux faithful now hoping he pushes on and regularly finds the back of the net.
At only 23, the young Spanish forward has time on his side to fulfil his potential to become a top-class player.
Adama started his career in the Barcelona youth set up but only graced the famous Nou Camp pitch once before moving to England.
After spells at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, he’s now getting regular game time under Nuno.
Southampton find themselves just outside of the relegation places on goal difference.
With just 7-points from their 8-Premier League games so far, Wreck-It Ralph needs to up the ante otherwise he may find himself down the concrete.
It was noticeable a couple of weeks back when Ralph celebrated the draw against Manchester United as if he had won the FA Cup.
Whilst a great point against Manchester United, the Pink Devils are not the force of old and in theory the Saints boss should be more concerned about the 3-straight defeats he’s had in the Premier League.
The latest loss before the International Break came at St Mary’s against Chelsea.
Danny Ings scored a consolation goal in the 1st-half but Chelsea went in at the interval leading 3-1.
Frank Lampard’s Blues scored a 4th after the break to run out comfortable 4-1 winners against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s sorry Saints.
The Southampton faithful won’t put up with too many performances like that and dissent will start to whirl around St Mary’s if Wreck-It can’t turn around his boys.
They shouldn’t worry too much, Mark Hughes and Tony Pulis are waiting in the wings to jump into the hot Saints seat.
It was rumoured recently that Mark Hughes had turned down the Reading vacancy after the Berkshire club had sacked their manager.
The Reading faithful were all out dancing in the street after that news.
Another Championship club who are struggling at the moment, Barnsley FC have also parted company with their manager Daniel Stendel.
Luckily for the Tykes faithful, their owners don’t know much about football so won’t even have heard of Mark Hughes or Tony Pulis.
Mark is a legend at Old Trafford after his two stints playing for United.
Barcelona, Bayern Munich and later Chelsea and Southampton all saw the Welshman grace their pitches in the ‘80s and ‘90s but Mark is simply past his sell-buy as a manager.
As for Tony Pulis the words ‘watching’ ‘paint’ and ‘dry’ spring to mind when big Tony is at the helm of a football club.
This game at Molineux last season was played virtually 12-months ago at the end of September and finished with a 2-0 victory for the home side.
The Gold and Blacks left it late to get the goals needed with Ivan Cavaleiro and Jony (We’re Sorry, won’t you come on home) scoring in the final 10-minutes.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at slight Odds On 3/4, the Draw at 11/4 and 10/3 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 10/1 that Adama Traore Scores First and 9/4 that Wolves Score in Both Halves.
Home Win 3-0
LEICESTER v BURNLEY
Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday.
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singing’
We will, we will rock you!
We will, we will rock you!
Firstly, can anyone remember kick-can?
A game where someone counted to an agreed number depending on how old they were, so if the kid is only 5, they will probably be only able to count to 10, all the others who are playing then run off and hides.
The person counting then has to find the rest whilst keeping an eye on the said can.
When caught the gang have one chance to escape and that is if a player who isn’t yet captured runs up to the can and kicks it.
In the ‘70s kick-can was like FIFA ‘20,
nowadays it’s a game where the youths just look at the players thinking they are drunk.
Leicester find themselves in the Top Four with 14-points yielded from their opening 8-games.
Both Chelsea and Crystal Palace have the same 14-points yet the Foxes sit in fourth due to conceding fewer goals than the 2-London clubs.
Brendan Rodgers has done a great job since leaving Celtic.
Rod Stewart is still not happy especially now his beloved Green and White hoops have been knocked off the top spot in Scotland by their fierce Glasgow rivals Rangers.
Brendan could consider himself unlucky after a late penalty awarded against his Foxes left him on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline against Liverpool last time out.
James Maddison had equalised an earlier Liverpool goal but with time running out Leicester gave away a penalty and conceded a 95th-minute goal to come away from Anfield with nothing.
Marc Albrighton did make contact with Sadio Mane in the box but the decision to award a penalty did look harsh.
VAR had a look (apparently!) and was happy with the on-field decision.
It was tough on Brendan’s boys but they will regroup and come again.
The reason Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy retired from International football was to prolong his career for Leicester.
The proof will definitely be in the pudding after the fortnight out he’s had however, the lad might just have wished he’d taken up Gareth Southgate’s offer of a recall having got some earache from the missus who is definitely off the Rooney’s Christmas Card list.
After a spell using some other fence painting product, Burnley are now back to Ronseal and did exactly what it said on the Turf Moor tin beating Everton 1-0 at home last time out.
Before Burnley’s disastrous Europa League adventure, Sean Dyche’s Clarets were the ‘1-0’ kings.
They got the 1-0 victory against the Toffees after Everton were reduced to 10-men following Seamus Coleman’s 2-Yellows Card offences.
Jeff Hendrick getting the solitary goal.
The victory puts Burnley up to 7th-in the Premier League table on 12-points which is a great return from the opening 8-games.
Sean Dyche has assembled a great squad together and like Ronseal, everyone knows what is expected from the Clarets.
With Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and the occasional goal threat of Big Jeff, Burnley will always be there, or thereabouts in games and very rarely win or lose by more than a 3-goal margin.
The Clarets have only lost twice this term against Liverpool and Arsenal with the 3-0 loss against the league leaders their heaviest defeat.
The excitement was at fever pitch when these 2 met at the King Power just after Bonfire Night last November.
The game finished 0-0.
The fireworks had definitely fizzled out before kick-off.
That really is all that can be said.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at Odds On 4/9, the Draw at 7/2 and 11/2 for Burnley to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/4 that Jamie Vardy Scores First and 3/1 that Ashley Barnes Scores Anytime.
Home Win 2-1
TOTTENHAM v WATFORD
What is happening at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium?
Maybe the International Break came at the right moment for Mauricio Pochettino and his boys yet the faithful will still want to know what is happening at the Swanky New Stadium.
Tottenham were beaten 3-0 away at Brighton last time out and that was off the back of a disastrous 7-2 defeat against Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League.
Prior to those losses, Spurs were unceremoniously dumped out of the Carabao Cup by League 2 side Colchester so out of the last 11-games played in all competitions this season, Mauricio’s Lillywhites have only managed 3-victories.
Not a great start for Tottenham with Mauricio Pochettino joining Ole and Marco in a new game called the Sack Race.
The irony in all of this is Mauricio was a target for Manchester United but now may just find himself out of a job before Ole leaves his wheel.
There are all sorts of rumours abound regarding the problems at Tottenham with reported fights in the dressing over tittle-tattle.
What Mauricio will want to see is more of a fight on the field.
Tottenham definitely have the players, Harry Kane is up there with the best, Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen, Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, all good players but something is not clicking at the moment.
Hugo Lloris suffered an injury to his arm against the Seagulls and will be out of action for a few months giving Paulo Gazzaniga some game time for the foreseeable future.
The exact injury to Hugo is too difficult to comprehend so it’s best just to say he hurt his arm.
Maybe a fresh voice at the back and a couple of weeks away from London can re-ignite Mauricio’s boys who certainly need to get back on track otherwise they will be joining Manchester United in a relegation battle.
The good thing for Tottenham is they get the chance to get back on those tracks with the visit of bottom of the table Watford.
The Hornets are now the only Premier League team not to register a victory in the current campaign.
Out of the 8-games played under, firstly Javi Gracia and now, Quique Sanchez Flores, Watford have only managed 3-draws and have lost 5-times.
Probably the surprise in all of that is getting a point against Arsenal.
A point was gained against Newcastle and the final point of the 3-yielded so far was in their last game prior to the International Break at home against Sheffield United.
The Hornets kept a clean sheet for the first time but couldn’t manage a goal at the other end with the game finishing 0-0.
A clean sheet will be considered a positive for Quique and with the 2-week break, may have given him time to instil some confidence into his boys.
It’s possible too that main man Troy Deeney will have recovered from his minor knee operation.
Big Troy is definitely a miss when not in the Hornet side and has missed the majority of the season due to his knee op so the faithful will be hoping he’s back in the number 9 jersey.
Last season, Watford took on Tottenham at Wembley as the new stadium wasn’t yet ready.
The Hornets took the lead in the cold of January with Craig Cathcart scoring just before the break.
Tottenham left it late to get the victory with Son Heung-Min and Fernando Llorente, getting a rare start in the absence of Harry Kane, scoring the Tottenham goals.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 2/5, the Draw at 15/4 and 6/1 for Watford to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 that Harry Kane Scores First and 13/10 that Son Heung-Min Scores Anytime.
Home Win 4-0
CHELSEA v NEWCASTLE
Chelsea or rather, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are lying in 5th place in the not so infant Premier League table after another victory against Southampton last time out.
That’s 4-wins, 2-draws and 2-defeats in the opening 8-games for the Blues who are steadily improving after Frank was forced into playing the youngsters due to a Transfer embargo.
Tammy Abraham opened the scoring against the Saints, with Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi giving Chelsea the others in a 4-1 victory.
That’s Tammy’s 8th-Premier League goal and puts him up there with Sergio Aguero in the Top Scorer chart.
Just think, if Chelsea had not been handed a Transfer ban, where would Tammy be playing?
Roman Abramovich would no doubt have dipped his hands into his deep pockets and forked out a few million on a striker from Spain or Italy and Tammy would have been shipped out on loan again, probably to Barnsley or somewhere.
Now, Roman must be sat on his yacht thinking
“I’ve saved a few bob there !”
For some unknown reason, Gareth Southgate decided to give Tammy 3-minutes against the Czech Republic in the recent England International, cynics would say that the 3-minutes now prevents Tammy playing for Nigeria.
Other non-cynics would say, Gareth should have given Tammy more than the poultry 3-minutes at the end of a game that England were losing, void of ideas and lacking attacking prowess.
It’s been a lifelong question for those born after 1966, as to why England have never won anything.
Gareth Southgate was lauded after he took the Three Lions to the Semi-Final of the 2018 World Cup.
Whilst England did reach the Semis, that is fact, the performances were questionable and when given a real test in the 7-games played in Russia, England were beaten 3-times, twice by the same team.
England only actually won 3 out the 7-played yet Gareth was the One and for a time ‘it was Coming Home’
Exactly what was ‘Coming Home’ isn’t really sure.
Once again, the Nation will get there hopes up and rightly so but if Gareth is only going to give the likes of Tammy and others brief cameos when goals are needed, then the Nation’s hopes are once again going to get Dashed.
That’s for the future, for now, Frank and his Blues will be looking forward to this battle against a rejuvenated Newcastle.
Newcastle comfortably beat relegation-threatened Manchester United last time out with Mike Ashley’s BOGOF’s the main protagonists in the victory.
A few months ago, the EveryTip site gave an article about Twenty, Under-21 players that they felt would progress this season.
Amongst those mentioned in the review, back in July, were Trent Alexander-Arnold, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Gabriel Martinelli, Dan James, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Douglas Louis, Harvey Barnes and Moussa Djenepro.
Twelve of the Twenty players that have made an impressive start to the 2019/2020 season.
Tammy, Mason, Dan, Trent, Marcus, Douglas, Harvey and Moussa have all scored in the Premier League so far in the first 8-games.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic are on the periphery at Stamford Bridge with Callum easing his way into the Blues side after a long lay off and Christian adjusting to life in the Premier League after his exploits in Germany.
Sean Longstaff was another mentioned and has tasted Premier League football a few times both last season and now yet it was a surprise to everyone that his little brother Matty stole the limelight after being thrown into the starting eleven by Steve Bruce against Manchester United.
Back in July, the EveryTip article mentioned the 2-Longstaff brothers in the Top 20 Best Young Players and it was muted that Mike Ashley could do a Buy One Get One Free deal when he comes to sell Sean with Little Mathew thrown in for Free.
Now, after Matty’s debut performance against United, Mike will definitely be removing the BOGOF sticker from the Longstaff Display.
Steve Bruce has copped a lot of stick over recent weeks especially after the Leicester debacle but he definitely earned Newcastle Brownie points firstly for selecting both the Longstaff’s and secondly for securing a victory against relegation-threatened Manchester United.
With little Matty, rounding off a Man of the Match display, scoring the winner against United.
In January, at Stamford Bridge, Sarri-Ball’s Blues got a well deserved 2-1 victory over Rafa Benitez’s Magpies.
The scores were level going into the break with Ciaran Clark scoring for Newcastle cancelling out Pedro’s Chelsea opener.
Willian got the winner for Chelsea just after half-time.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at Odds On 2/7, the Draw at 9/2 and 17/2 for Newcastle to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 11/4 that Tammy Abraham Scores First and 11/10 that Chelsea Wins to Nil.
Home Win 2-0
ASTON VILLA v BRIGHTON
Aston Villa blitzed their fellow promoted side Norwich at Carrow Rd a couple of weeks back.
Wesley got 2-goals in the 1st-half with Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luis completing the 5-1 rout after the break.
Although Wesley scored twice in the first 30-minutes the big lad would have been irked going into the dressing room at half-time.
Just before the break, Villa were awarded a penalty.
With 2-goals already, Big Wesley had the chance to get a 1st-half hat-trick but his kick was saved by the Norwich ‘keeper.
Strangely the ball rebounded back to Wes who had another chance to get his 3rd but blasted the ball over the bar.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
It’s been mentioned a few times that Aston Villa are a better side when Conor Hourihane is in the starting eleven.
In the opening game against Tottenham, Conor started and got 80-minutes or so before being substituted.
Villa were actually drawing with Tottenham when Dean Smith hooked Conor.
Villa went on to lose that game.
Conor didn’t feature again for a couple of games.
Out of the 8-Premier League games played, Conor has started 4 of them.
Villa have won 2 of those games, drawn 1 and lost the Tottenham game where Conor was taken off with the score 1-1.
Whilst no one is saying Conor is the main reason Villa either win or lose, Conor brings a calmness to the Claret and Blues with his wonderful left foot.
Daniel Day-Lewis is very jealous.
Rarely does Conor give the ball away and has a brilliant awareness of his surroundings when on the pitch knowing where his next pass is going before the ball arrives at his feet.
Also, Conor has a great free-kick in him and when Villa get a chance around the area, Conor will provide them with a goal threat whether scoring or with an assist.
Conor Hourihane is fondly remembered in Barnsley having graced the Oakwell pitch and everyone wishes the Irishman all the best for the future.
Brighton humiliated Tottenham at the Amex prior to the International Break and will feel the rest came at the wrong time where they are concerned.
After an error from the Tottenham stopper Hugo Lloris, Neil Maupay tapped in to give the Seagulls an early lead.
Youngster Aaron Connolly had a great day.
Not only did young Double A-Ron score 2-goals in the 3-0 victory against Tottenham, the Irishman was then drafted into Mick McCarthy’s full Republic of Ireland squad for the games against Georgia and Switzerland joining Conor Hourihane in the team.
Graham Potter has managed 9-points from the 8-games so far, 2-wins, 3-draws and 3-defeats but the faithful will say that his brand of football is much more exciting than that dished up by Chris Hughton.
Two of the defeats have come away at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad so no disgrace there but maybe the worrying result was the loss at home against Southampton.
The last time these 2 met at Villa Park was the final game of the 2016/2017
season, however, the fixture was a Championship game and finished in a 1-1 draw.
Glenn Murray put the Seagulls ahead in the 2nd-half from the penalty spot after being tripped in the area.
Villa were reduced to 10-men when Nathan Baker was sent off for the challenge on Glenn which resulted in the penalty.
Jack Grealish equalised with time running out to give both teams a share of the points.
Brighton had already sealed promotion to the Premier League after finishing runners up to Newcastle.
Bet 365 offer Aston Villa at 11/8, the Draw at 23/10 and 19/10 for Brighton to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Conor Hourihane Scores Anytime and 11/5 that there are Over 3.
Home Win 3-1
BOURNEMOUTH v NORWICH
Eddie and the Cherries lie smack bang in the middle of the Premier League table with 10-points gained from their opening 8-games.
After a couple of great results, Bournemouth lost 1-0 against Arsenal at the Emirates last time out and the International Break may just have come at the right time for Eddie Howe to regroup and take stock of the season so far.
It’s sometimes forgotten that the Vitality, the home of Bournemouth, only holds 11,000 people which is quite remarkable for an established Premier League club.
Whilst the modern football club doesn’t really rely on revenue generated from gate receipts these days, it’s still a tremendous achievement that Bournemouth survive in the Top Division with just a mediocre crowd each week.
There was the talk of a new stadium but that has been put on the back burner for now.
The Cherries faithful won’t want to hear this but there may be a revenue of about £80 Million coming into Bournemouth coffers in January with rumours Man City are set to sign Nathan Ake.
Nathan was a target for Leicester in the summer with Brendan Rodgers wanting the ex-Chelsea defender as a replacement for Harry Maguire.
Bournemouth valued Nathan at £80 Million which the Foxes wouldn’t pay.
Pep needs a defender so may have to shell out the £80 Million to get Big Nathan and to be fair, although a loss for Eddie, £80 Million is a lot of dollar that Bournemouth simply can’t turn down.
Norwich, for all their endeavours, find themselves in the bottom 3 of the Premier League after losing 6 of their 8-games so far.
The remarkable thing about the 2-victories achieved is one of them was against Man City.
Unfortunately, it may be the highlight of the Canaries 1-season stint in the Premier League before departing to the Championship.
The good stat for the viewers is Norwich don’t draw.
Daniel Farke-Life’s Canaries either Win or Lose, mainly Lose and don’t draw
which gives an idea that Norwich will play an open game and go for the win but that then allows the opponent to go for the win too and that usually results in the best team winning which isn’t Norwich.
The latest defeat was a humiliating 5-1 loss against fellow new boys Aston Villa.
Josip Drmic getting the Canaries solitary consolation.
It’s been 3-years since Norwich visited the Vitality in the Premier League and the trip to the South Coast ended in a 3-0 defeat for the Canaries managed by Alex Neil at the time.
Dan Gosling, Charlie Daniels and Benik Afobe getting the Cherries goals that day in January 2016.
Both Dan and Charlie are still at Bournemouth however, both injured at the moment.
Benik has moved on to Bristol City, so probably all 3 won’t feature in this renewal.
Bet 365 offer Bournemouth at Odds On 8/11, the Draw at 3/1 and 16/5 for Norwich to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Callum Wilson Scores First and 13/10 that Teemu Pukki Scores Anytime.
Home Win 3-1
CRYSTAL PALACE v MAN CITY
Late Saturday afternoon kick-off live on Sky Sports.
Crystal Palace have only lost twice this season and are unbeaten in their last 3-Premier League fixtures with 2-wins and a draw.
With 4-victories in total, one being against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Roy Hodgson can be pretty proud of his Eagles.
At the London Stadium prior to the International Break, Jordan Ayew scored late on to earn Palace 3-points in a 2-1 victory over West Ham.
Roy’s Boys had gone behind in the game but Patrick Van Aanholt converted a 2nd-half penalty before Jordan got the late winner.
VAR was consulted after initially Jordan was adjudged offside.
Good old VAR.
Some will ask,
“Why is Patrick taking the penalty and not Luka Milivojevic?”
Unfortunately, Luka had picked up his 5th-Yellow Card of the season in the previous game against Norwich so got an automatic 1-game ban which ruled him out of the fixture against West Ham.
Big Patrick didn’t let the Eagles down.
Palace have 14-points so far, the same as Chelsea and Leicester and lie 6th in the Premier League table.
Whilst most would fear the visit of Man City, Roy has had some positive results against Pep’s boys so the Ultras won’t be dreading it too much.
Out of the last 4-meetings between the 2-clubs which Roy has overseen, he has achieved a victory, a draw and 2-losses.
There are not many managers in the Premier League who have achieved a draw against Pep’s boys never mind a victory.
After winning back-to-back Premier League titles amassing an amazing 198-points from a possible 228-on offer from the 76-games, Pep’s High Flying City are finding that winning the Premier League for a 3rd successive season is pretty tough going.
After the shock defeat away against Norwich in mid-September, a lot focused on the defensive frailties that City have.
The loss, whilst a shock, was away from the Etihad.
What probably was more of shock was the defeat at the Etihad against Wolves last time out.
After seeing Liverpool go 8-points clear the day before, the pressure was on Pep’s boys to get the result to close the gap back to 5-points.
Wolves got 2-vital goals via the same way late on in the game when City were attacking.
Both came on the counterattack following immense pressure from City.
A lot will say 8-points is too much to claw back and it looks like City won’t get the coveted 3rd-successive title, however, there are 30-games still to play and Liverpool haven’t had their glitch yet which all teams have.
City have endured injuries to the defence, imagine if Liverpool endure injuries to Big Virgil.
It’s way too early yet to decide the destination of the Premier League title.
It will be between the two of them but at the minute Liverpool are in pole position and City don’t need many more slip ups to hand Liverpool the title.
At the World Cup in Germany, in 2006, England’s opening game against Paraguay was played at the Commerzbank-Arena home of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Although the game was in Frankfurt our boys from Barnsley stayed in Cologne from Thursday until Monday and travelled to Frankfurt by train on the Saturday.
What a weekend that was, it was about as perfect as anyone would want.
Max, John and Mike the newby in one room and Johnny Widdowson, Johnny Saunders and Andy Hall in the next .
Now between the 6, a rinse was partaken.
Not your four pints of lager then a coke, fifteen pints each and more and that was just at the airport.
In Cologne late on the Thursday, after dropping the bags at the hotel, the boys hit the bars, nothing serious just a few to round off the day.
On the Friday, the boys got up and had a bit of breakfast, then hit the bars again, walking down to the waterfront and sat outside having a few liveners
It was ‘scorching’
Like Benidorm in July.
England shorts, top off, tattoos and a shaven head, however, surprisingly not hooligans.
England beat Paraguay 1-0 in the Commerzbank-Arena, the goal coming via a David Beckham free-kick which was headed in by the Paraguayan defender Carlos Gamarra.
After the game the Barnsley boys headed yet again for another rinse, well it was a hot day.
Widdy, Johnny, Max and JB went on, drink, drink, drink.
The boys ended up in a very stereotypical German bar at 4 in the morning and got very drunk.
Its the first time the boys came into direct contact with Jagermeister.
Now the youngsters are Jagerbombing everywhere but in 2006, it wasn’t as popular.
A herbal alcoholic drink that helps the digestive system, or drink from hell!
The German barmaid was also stereotypical, big and buxom!
‘Whats your name?’ she asks
’JOHN’ is replied.
‘and what’s your friends name?’ pointing at Widdy ‘
‘JOHN’ is replied.
‘and what’s your other friends name?’ pointing at Johnny Saunders’
‘JOHN’ is replied.
‘and what’s your other friends name?’ pointing at Max ’
‘MAX’ is replied.
‘I like Max’ she says,
It’s time to leave!
The boys retreated and headed back to the hotel,
Johnny Saunders says ‘that must be a big place, ’EIN BAHN STRASSE’ because theres loads of signs with this on
‘ya daft so and so’
’it means ONE WAY STREET’.
EIN BAHN STRASSE !
The boys had a giggle on the way back to the hotel.
This game at Selhurst Park last term was played towards the end of the season and finished 3-1 in favour of Man City.
Raheem Sterling with 2-goals and Gabriel Jesus rounding off the scoring after Luka Milivojevic had pulled a goal back for Palace to give the Ultras brief hope of a comeback.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at 12/1, the Draw at 11/2 and Odds On 1/5 for Man City to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Luka Milivojevic Scores Anytime and 7/4 that there are Under 2.
MANCHESTER UNITED v LIVERPOOL
Late Sunday afternoon football live on Sky Sports.
Manchester United are in danger of falling from grace.
Over the past fortnight, a lot as been spoken, written, even sang about why United are in this position, is it Ole’s fault? is it Ed Woodward’s fault? Is it the Glazers fault? or even if it’s the player’s fault?.
The simple answer is it’s a combination of all 4 plus a few more combinations thrown in.
Firstly, to win a football match requires eleven players to perform at the top of their game.
That’s the first proviso.
Other factors come into play, like luck, the weather etc but ultimately it’s about eleven players performing to the best of their abilities.
Newspapers often give marks to players the day after a game such as David De Gea 6, Harry Maguire 6 and Fred -23.
To be successful in a football match, at least, at least, nine of the eleven need to get a newspaper score of the minimum 8 and realistically 9 out of the 10 on offer.
United, at the minute, only have players performing at 5 or 6 and in some cases 2 and 3 out of the 10 on offer.
There in lies the problem.
The other side to that narrative is are the players at United simply 5 or 6 players or are they under performing.
David De Gea is a 9/10 definitely, yet at the minute is under performing, Harry Maguire is up there, so is Victor Lindelof, as is Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
All under performing for Ole, the rest are simply performing to there number and that is 5 and 6 players out of 10.
Would Diogo Dalot, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira be at the top of Jurgen or Pep’s wish list.
As for Fred, would Fred be on the wish list of Micky Mellon.
Without wanting to constantly have a dig at Fred as he is probably a great guy and a professional footballer, his performances are simply not up to United standard and is simply a 3/10 player.
If Ole persists on picking him, United will persist on losing.
The phrase ‘in Transition’ is branded about a lot in football mainly when a team is rubbish.
United are in Transition.
Ole isn’t a bad bloke and as coaches go he’s average but he can only play with the cards he’s given.
At the elite level, players don’t get coached, they get motivated.
It’s hard to see where Ole could coach these set of players.
Yet he could motivate them better.
Harry Maguire looks a shadow of the player he was purchased at £85 Million for.
At the minute, the United faithful just need to be patient as until January, Ole has his cards.
The Equaliser needs to recruit better for Ole and the Glazers need to back Ed.
If Ole asks for a player or two, Ed Woodward needs to buy them and the Glazers need to stump up the money.
The players have to do their bit too.
When given the honour of a United Shirt, whether Gold, Pink or Red, the player needs to step up to the plate and take his newspaper number up to at least 9.
75,000 fans migrate to the Mecca of Old Trafford every fortnight and thousands more worship from afar.
Each one, if given the honour of a shirt, would get a 4 just for putting in a shift.
The players at United have that honour yet some don’t even reach 4 when stepping out on the hallowed Turf.
It’s the upmost requirement for all United players to perform to the standard that afforded them a contract.
This fixture against Liverpool is historic,
Although at Anfield, last term, it spelt the end of Jose Mourinho.
At Old Trafford, it’s beyond comprehension what would happen if United don’t perform and allow Liverpool the victory.
The faithful won’t accept any loss but a loss with each player performing to a 9, whilst unacceptable, can be understood.
Liverpool’s eleven performing at the newspaper 9 are simply better than United’s eleven performing at 9.
What Ole and United need to hope for is that Jurgen’s boys underperform for 90-minutes at Old Trafford.
Against ex-United legend Steve Bruce and his Magpies last time out, Ole’s Pink Devils were simply terrible.
A goal from one of the Longstaff brothers inflicted a 1-0 defeat on United.
From when the team lineup was announced an hour before kick-off, the United fans must have feared the worse.
Their fears were confirmed at full-time and the International Break as come just at the right time.
Liverpool continue their march of dominance with another victory, this time against Leicester.
Sadio Mane put the Reds in front in the 1st-half and after Leicester had equalised it looked like the Foxes were going to hold on for a famous draw.
Fortunately for Jurgen’s boys Leicester conceded a penalty late in the game which could have been considered harsh but the Anfield faithful won’t worry about that too much and after a consultation with VAR, Mr Reliable James Milner stepped up and converted the spot-kick in the 95th-minute to give Liverpool 8-straight victories in this seasons Premier League.
That put Liverpool 8-points clear of Man City until City played 24-hours later.
All connected with the Reds would have wished Wolves to beat Pep’s boys a day later and their Sunday prayers certainly came true, with Nuno’s men surprising everyone, beating City 2-0.
This fixture against United is up there as one of the fiercest rivalries in football with neither giving an inch.
It’s 30-years since Liverpool last won the title after Sir Alex Ferguson was brought in to Old Trafford to stop Liverpool’s dominance.
After winning the title in 1990, nobody on Merseyside would have thought that Liverpool would go 30-barren years without another win.
Going 8-points clear with 30-games left obviously puts them in the driving seat but most teams over the years and over the season encounter problems.
City have encountered problems already, Tottenham definitely have and Manchester United are just a problem so the Reds of Merseyside may have there bad spell anytime.
If Big Virgil gets injured then that would surely be a bad spell for Liverpool.
Snooker fans will love the story of ex-World Champion and Aussie blonde haired potter Neil Robertson who was due to play in a recent qualifying round at the Metrodome in Barnsley.
Although a Sports Centre with a swimming pool and slides for the youths, the Metrodome is famous for holding Snooker tournaments and Aussie Neil has potted a few balls then taken a dip a few times at the ‘Dome.
Unfortunately, thus time, poor Neil put the wrong Barnsley into his Sat Nav (Satellite Navigation) and ended up 150 miles away.
Two points silly Neil.
1) get the correct postcode and
2) there’s only one Barnsley FC!
Frankfurt is a famous German City which has a historic footballing community supporting their local club Eintracht.
What Neil might have done, if a snooker tournament was held in Frankfurt, would be to maybe put the wrong Frankfurt into his Sat Nav.
There is another Frankfurt situated in the East of Germany named Frankfurt an Der Oder.
Some 1000 miles away from the Frankfurt in the West of Germany.
Close to the Polish border and over the old Berlin Wall, the town of Frankfurt an Der Oder produces tough individuals who were brought up in the ‘70s and ‘80s of the old Communist country of East Germany before the wall was brought down almost 30-years ago in November 1989.
At the end of World War Two, the Allied powers divided conquered Germany into four zones.
As agreed at the July 1945 Potsdam Conference, each was occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union.
The same was done in Germany’s capital city, Berlin.
The relationship between the Soviet Union and the other three Allied powers quickly disintegrated.
As a result, the cooperative atmosphere of the occupation of Germany turned competitive and aggressive.
Although an eventual reunification of Germany had been intended, the new relationship between the Allied powers turned Germany into West versus East and Democracy versus Communism.
On the East side of the wall, many cities and towns came to find their own identity, Frankfurt an Der Oder being one.
In 1974, bearing in mind, not yet 30-years since the end of World War Two, a great man was born in Frankfurt an Der Oder.
Whilst Daniel had a moderately inconspicuous footballing playing career, he did have a playing career in Germany.
Born in 1974, Daniel was brought up in the Communist East German side of the wall.
In June 2018, Barnsley FC surprised everyone and appointed Daniel Stendel as their Head Coach, following relegation to League 1.
No one in Barnsley, in June 2018, had heard of Daniel Stendel.
In October 2019, everyone in Barnsley, not only, have heard of Daniel Stendel but idolise the man.
Daniel understood Barnsley, the Town and it’s people.
Barnsley is a mining town in the North of England built on the coalfields of the country.
Barnsley people don’t suffer fools gladly, they are tough individuals brought up playing football in the street, surviving Coal strikes, 3-day weeks and a generation of a football team who have graced the Premier League whilst being also rans in the Fourth Division.
Daniel understood Barnsley as soon has his Trabant turned off the M1 at Doduth.
His upbringing on the streets of Frankfurt an Der Oder prepared him for the way of life in the hard working town that is the epicentre of England.
Whilst Gareth Southgate and his England boys were ‘coming home’ at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Daniel was in the Garrison, wearing an England shirt cheering on the boys in June 2018.
Having guided Barnsley FC to promotion back to the Championship after a 1-year hiatus in the Third Division or League 1 as it’s now known, Daniel literally had his footballing legs removed from him by the uneducated owners of Barnsley FC.
There was a film made in 2011 about the American Baseball Team Oakland A’s called ‘MoneyBall’
Without going too deep into the film as it was just that, a film, the premise was about an individual, Billy Beane played by John Newsome lookalike, Brad Pitt, who is basically fed up with his team, Oakland Athletics losing so comes up with an idea of picking players for the Oakland A’s based on their individual statistics whilst ignoring their weaknesses.
After an initial barren period, Billy’s team go on an amazing run which enhances Beane’s philosophy.
A lot will be asking,
‘What has Billy Beane, Brad Pitt and MoneyBall Baseball got to do with Barnsley Fc?’
Well Barnsley FC were purchased in 2017 by a conglomerate which has Billy Beane has a shareholder.
After Paul Secondfrombottom left the Reds to join Leeds United in February 2018, the new MoneyBall boys employed a genuine footballing legend that is Jose Morais (whooo?) to guide the Reds away from the Championship relegation zone.
An old granny who prefers Eastenders to Match of the Day, could have managed Barnsley FC and avoided relegation but Billy Pitt knew best.
In Division 3, Barnsley FC blitzed most teams, gaining 91-points, finishing 2nd and gaining automatic promotion back to the Championship, remaining unbeaten at Oakwell throughout the season.
MoneyBall, Billy Pitt and his men, Paul Conway included decided to sell 4, count them Four, of the Reds best players from a Promotion winning side.
Three of the Four were out of the back-line.
The Goalkeeper, who was in the League 1 Team of the Season, Adam Davies, gone.
Ethan Pinnock in the League 1 Team of the Season too, gone.
His Centre-Back partner Liam Lindsay gone.
All replaced by youths, who need their driving license to purchase a lottery ticket.
Daniel Stendel had his legs chopped off, was told to crack on and earn his coin trying to produce another batch of youths that could be sold on for MoneyBall.
After constantly asking for experienced players, the straw broke Billy’s camel and Billy and his Boys decided,
‘Barnsley Football Club confirms that it has separated from Daniel Stendel with immediate effect.
Adam Murray has been appointed caretaker manager.
That was the 21-word statement from Barnsley FC’s hierarchy.
Daniel Stendal will no doubt move on to another club, his credentials speak for themselves, Sunderland would do no harm in looking at Dan and it was noticeable that a couple of hours after Daniel was sacked by Barnsley FC and he was sacked for not conforming to the MoneyBall line, Sunderland sacked their manager Jack Ross too.
You can hear the conversation at the Stadium of Light can’t you.
Owner Stuart Donald sat there in his Black Cat chair, having a brew in his Sunderland mug, watching Sky Sports News on about Colleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, which, by the way, what part of that non-story is ‘Sky’ ‘Sport’ or ‘News’.
“Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel has left the club with immediate effect “
Stuart, spitting his tea out screeched
Denis “Have told you before Mr Chairman, It’s Denis, am a bloke, we live in 2019, a secretary can now be a bloke “
Stuart “Sorry D, can you get me Jack on the dog”
Stuart “Dog and bone! Phone!”
Denis “Yes Sandra”
Stuart “ooooh, I like Sandra”
Jack Ross “Hi Stuart? How’s things?”
Stuart “Hi JR, bye”
Who Shot JR? Stuart Donald did.
On leaving Barnsley FC, did Daniel Stendel take his dogs for a walk?
Did DS go on Sky Sports Debate and well, Debate?
Did Daniel leave the country?
No, Big Dan the man was invited to a leaving party in his favourite Barnsley town centre public house, the Garrison and turned up, drank shots, sang songs about Paul Conway and enjoyed himself.
It was like a German, enjoying a drink, in a pub.
Germans like a rinse too.
Daniel got Barnsley, Barnsley got Daniel.
You can keep your MoneyBall, your Brad Pitt’s, your statistics and your sabermetrics.
Your Pacific Media Group and on-base percentages but you won’t match what Daniel Stendal has brought to Barnsley FC.
One of Daniel’s final acts has the Manager of Barnsley FC, was to make a lifelong fan of the club, his 50th Birthday complete.
Daniel presented the old man with a brilliant signed plaque from his heroes to mark his 50th.
Whilst this week as been an emotional time for all concerned at Barnsley FC, on a lighter note, the same individual was at the Nou Camp or Camp Nou in 1987 to watch Barcelona FC, managed at the time, by England legend Terry Venables.
It was Sunday 20th September 1987, Barcelona were playing Valencia.
At the time, the Barcelona faithful nicknamed Terry ‘affectionately ‘El Tel’.
‘El Tel’ had brought Gary Lineker and Mark Hughes to the Nou Camp.
Lineker was a success at Barcelona and stayed three seasons but Hughes failed to settle and was loaned to Bayern Munich after the ‘86/87’ season and returned to Manchester United.
‘El Tel’ was under pressure following a few bad results.
What was amazing, bearing in mind that this was 1987, was right next to the Nou Camp was a fifty thousand seat stadium which the reserves played in.
There were almost 100,000 fans at the game that day in ‘87 and the stadium felt half empty as was the size of the place.
In the ‘cheap seats’ with the pitch seeming miles away, the players were a blur.
There wasn’t a roof but it was scorching so rain wasn’t a worry.
Barcelona had a blonde haired German midfielder called Bernd Schuster at the time, who played for Real Madrid too and managed Valencia.
Valencia were managed by legendary Spanish International Alfredo di Stefano, who actually was Argentinean and played for the ‘Blue and Whites’ before settling in Spain.
Valencia beat Barcelona that day 1-0 and following that disappointing result, the next day ‘El Tel’ was sacked as manager and replaced by Luis Aragones, who later managed the Spanish team to the European Championship in 2008.
It was a fantastic experience, not for Mr Venables though obviously!
Whilst the Barnsley FC fan needn’t get a complex, he has been in the vicinity when 2-great managers have lost their jobs.
Joking aside, Respect Terry Venables and upmost respect to Daniel Stendel.
Once a Red, Always a Red!
United held out for a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford last season against Jurgen’s title chasing Liverpool.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at 10/3, the Draw at 14/5 and slight Odds On 3/4 for Liverpool to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 9/2 that Sadio Mane Scores First and 21/10 that Liverpool Win to Nil.
Away Win 0-2
SHEFFIELD UNITED v ARSENAL
The final game of Game Week Nine sees Sky Sports Monday Night Football head to Bramall Lane.
Arsenal find themselves lying 3rd in the Premier League table, 1-point behind Man City and 1-point ahead of Leicester, Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Before the International Break, Arsenal hosted Bournemouth at the Emirates and came away, 1-0 victors.
The unlikely Gunners goal scorer was ex-Chelsea defender David Luiz.
Since the start of this season’s Premier League, Arsenal have only lost 1-game in all competitions.
That being away against Liverpool.
In the 11-games played in the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup, Unai Emery’s Gooners have won 7, drawn 3 and lost the once.
Supposedly, Arsenal are in crisis.
The fans aren’t happy.
Manchester United and Ole wouldn’t mind a crisis like that.
It appears that Arsenal fans are never happy a bit like Chris Wilder.
Sheffield United are one of the Premier League teams that are unbeaten away from home.
The strange thing is most teams rely on their home form to survive in the Premier League but the Blades have lost 3-out of the 4-games at Bramall Lane.
Yet have won 1 and drawn 3-in the games on the road.
Prior to the International Break, the Blades headed down the M1 to Watford and came away with a point after a very entertaining 0-0 draw.
The highlight of the day out for the Blunts was the steam train from Yorkshire to Hertfordshire, some of the faithful thought they’d gone back to 1954 until the sound of ‘How much?’
Brought them back to 2019.
The fans couldn’t believe they were charged a fiver for a pint, they were literally spluttering whilst churning out their favourite John Denver tune.
Chris Wilder was happy this week with his ‘stopper Dean although nobody could tell with Chris’s facial expression.
The Blades gaffer constantly gives the look that he is matching his Bulldog whilst the pooch is chewing a wasp.
Arsenal last ventured up the M1 to Sheffield almost 13-years ago but left empty-handed after Christian Nade scored for the Blades in the 1st-half to give Neil Warnock a rare victory over Arsene Wenger.
Phil Jagielka was in the starting eleven for Big Neil that day and is the only one left that could feature today.
Now most will think
‘Yeah Phil played for Sheffield United so what?’
Not only did Phil play in a Sheffield United back-line that beat Arsenal, the big Centre-Half also had to play the final 30-minutes in goal when the Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was injured and had to come off.
Neil Warnock is famous for not having a back-up goalkeeper on the bench as he prefers an extra striker.
So it was up to Phil to get his gloves on and with some inspired defending, kept Arsenal out, even producing a wonder save to deny Robert Van Persie a last-gasp equaliser.
It was a great display from Big Phil who’s heroics between the sticks sadly took the focus away from the goal scorer Christian Nade who notched his first Premier League goal.
Chris Wilder doesn’t need to worry if Dean Henderson is injured.
Big Phil will be ready again to don the gloves.
Paddy Kenny is a legend up in Yorkshire, the great man played over 250 games for the Blades, then when Mr Warnock managed Leeds United, he employed big Paddy has, not only a number 1 stopper but as a Yorkshire James Bond.
After Paddy’s stint spying for Leeds, the Big Man started his own Transport Company, PK Transport Movements and can be hired not only to move a few motors about but also between the sticks if the dollar is acceptable.
Bet 365 offer Sheffield United at 13/5, the Draw at 11/4 and slight Odds On 10/11 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Bet 365 offer 6/5 that there are Under 2.
5 Goals and 10/3 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Scores Anytime.
Away Win 0-2
Following England’s controversial victory over Bulgaria on Monday, it would be remiss not to repeat an article on Racism published back in August.
“Racism seems to be at its fore at the moment none more so than in Sofia on Monday night.
In reality, whilst abhorrent, it’s nowhere near the level of abuse people had to endure during the ‘70s ‘80s and ‘90s.
People because it was the general public, not just footballers.
Kick-It Out should be proud of there achievement in trying to rid this unsavoury part of the beloved game.
That said, unfortunately, it’s not just an unsavoury act of our beloved game it’s a part of society fuelled by the key-board warriors who sit in their mother’s bedroom thinking that they are cool and with it.
Social Media has a big part to play in the clowns who want to ridicule someone and bring in their colour, creed, religion and sexuality into the abuse.
The England players were subjected to racist chanting in Bulgaria and were almost ready and rightly to walk off the field.
FIFA has a protocol in place which is a 3-step protocol which involves, firstly the abused team to inform the officials who will then stop the game and inform the Stadium announcer to give the appropriate warnings to the crowd.
If the racist chanting continues the second step is to suspend the game for a period of time and take both teams to the dressing room.
The third, if continued, is to abandon the game.
Tammy Abraham was abused horrendously for missing the 5th Chelsea Penalty in the Super Cup shootout against Liverpool ultimately gifting Liverpool the trophy.
What goes through these individuals minds when they are Tweeting?
In the early ‘80s, Barnsley FC had a Black player called Winston Campbell.
Winston was a fine player, way beyond Barnsley FC, a flying winger with skill in excess, yet was subjected to horrendous racial abuse every time he pulled on a Reds shirt.
What was remarkable was the abuse Winston endured was quite frequently by the Barnsley fans.
Not because they didn’t like Winston but because it was the norm of that period in English history.
Barnsley fans didn’t know better, they weren’t racist they were just idiots.
In today’s game, Winston would be close to a £40 Million player but wasn’t given the protection afforded by today’s greats.
Society, in general, is up against it at the moment and a World where we live in that gives a burglar the thought that he will run over and kill a Policeman only doing his job, destroying lives, is terribly wrong and whilst not to justify racist comments, by idiots who abuse footballers, sat in their mums bedrooms, it can be sorted quite simply by the Twitters or Facebook bosses.
Society and Football have moved on from the horrible ‘80s but there will still be individuals who think it’s funny to say bad things.
There is simply no place for Racism, in today’s society.
These individuals can be brought to account and will be.
Tammy Abraham Respect!
Winston Campbell Respect forever!”
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