John Newsome returns following the domestic break and runs the rule over all matches in game-week 24. The Hammers visit the Black Country and take on a side in which yet another goal-scoring threat has emerged. Is any Premier League attacker currently hotter than Jota? You can view all previous analysis from John’s weekly column here – English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
WOLVES v WEST HAM
Midweek football at Molineux with Wolves quickly returning to the scene of probably the game of the season so far. In what was dubbed the ‘Attenborough Derby’ the Wolves took on the Foxes and eventually beat Leicester 4-3. Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett gave the Gold and Blacks an easy 2-0 lead at halftime. Leicester came flying out of the block in the 2nd-half scoring 2 quick goals to make the game level. Jota scored a 2nd making it 3-2 to Wolves. Again Leicester equalised and with time running out and seemingly the game heading for a draw, Jota completed his hat-trick and got the winner in the 94th minute to give Wolves all 3 points and send Nuno ecstatic. Nuno was sent to the stands for his celebration as the referee deemed his actions unsportsmanlike. A great win for Wolves to take them up to 8th in the Premier League table and leapfrog Leicester in the process.
West Ham were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by a struggling Bournemouth side last time out. After a great win against Arsenal at the London Stadium, the Bubbles headed down to the South Coast full of confidence. Marco Arnautovic has decided that he wants to win trophies and has been linked to a move to China. What trophies are on offer in China is anyone’s guess but the £350,000 a week may just have swayed the Austrian. Manuel Pellegrini had no choice but to leave Marco out of the matchday squad and gave Andy Carroll a rare start. The unfortunate thing about the Arnautovic situation is the loyal bubble fans are deprived of the chance to watch a player who on his day is World Class but it appears, as always, money talks. It’s now how much the West Ham board can get out of the Chinese club and give Manuel Pellegrini the backing to see if there are any players out there to replace Marco.
This reverse fixture back at the beginning of September finished 1-0 to Wolves. With time running out and the game petering out into a 0-0 stalemate, Adama Traore came up with a 93rd minute goal to give Wolves the win.
Bet 365 offer Wolves at Evens 1/1, the Draw at 12/5 and 11/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 9/4 for Wolves to Score in Both Halves and 6/1 for Diogo Jota to Score the First Goal.
Home Win 2-1
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HUDDERSFIELD v EVERTON
Huddersfield are again at home in front of their loyal fans but sit rock bottom of the Premier League after another defeat against Man City last time out. David Wagner has been replaced by Jan Siewart (not Martin from Wakefield) who was the Reserve team coach at Borussia Dortmund. Mark Hudson took temporary charge for the game against City and made a few changes to the Terriers lineup but in all honesty, it was unlikely Huddersfield were going to get anything against Pep’s boys. Dean Hoyle who got it right in the appointment of David Wagner should be trusted in his appointment of Jan Siewart but does Jan have the ability to get Huddersfield back into the Premier League after the inevitable happens. He maybe should have kept Mark in charge until the end of the season then reassessed the situation. That’s for Dean to worry about but Big Jans got his work cut out at the Johns Smiths Stadium.
Everton head East along the M62 following another loss against Southampton. Admittedly the Saints are on the March, however, with only 2 wins out of the last 10 Premier League games with 6 defeats amongst those games, Marco Silva is becoming increasingly under pressure and the Toffees faithful aren’t going to put up with defeats for long. Gylfi Sigurdsson managed a consolation goal in the 91st minute and with an amazing 8 extra minutes added on at the end, Everton did their utmost to get the equaliser but to no avail and ultimately lost the game 2-1. Marco will have definitely targeted this game against Huddersfield and will demand 3 points.
This reverse fixture back at Goodison Park in September finished 1-1. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal for the Toffees cancelled out Philip Billing’s opener for the Terriers in the 1st-half. The 2nd-half was uneventful and both teams finished with a point each.
Bet 365 offer Huddersfield at 3/1 the Draw at 12/5 and slight Odds On 9/10 for Everton to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 6/5 for there to be Over 2.5 Goals and 5/1 for Everton to Win Both Halves.
Away Win 0-3
FULHAM v BRIGHTON
Fulham were unlucky on Sunday against Tottenham. New signing Ryan Babel made an immediate impact on his debut and played brilliantly for the 60 or so minutes he was on the pitch. The Cottagers took the lead via an unfortunate own goal from the Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente Fernando was put into the starting lineup in place of the injured Harry Kane to score goals. He did just that but unfortunately deflected the ball past his own goalkeeper. Having looked as if the game was playing out for a 1-1 Draw, Fulham lost concentration in the dying seconds and succumbed to a very late Tottenham winner. It was unfortunate for Fulham but ultimately was another loss and with games running out, Claudio Ranieri is up against it. If he can get the two Ryan’s (Sessegnon and Babel) firing and Mitrovic scoring again, there is still a glimmer of hope for the Cottage faithful and Claudio needs a good result against the Seagulls.
Brighton went to Old Trafford and were on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss against a resurgent Manchester United. Pascal Gross got a consolation goal and all in all Chris Hughton’s men are performing brilliantly considering they were promoted at the same time as Huddersfield. The Seagulls should be safe as there are definitely 3 worse teams than Brighton in the Premier League and will regroup after 2 straight defeats, however, considering those defeats were against Liverpool and Manchester United there’s nothing really to worry about at the Amex and this game against Fulham will be one Chris will have targeted as very winnable.
This reverse fixture back in September at the Amex finished in a very entertaining 2-2 draw. Entertaining in the fact that Fulham were leading at one point 2-0 with goals from Andre Schurrle and Alexandar Mitrovic. Glenn Murray scored a couple late on to give Brighton a share of the points. What might have irked Chris Hughton and the Seagulls faithful was that whilst the score was still 0-0, Pascal Gross missed a penalty.
Bet 365 offer Fulham at 5/4, the Draw at 21/10 and 12/5 for Brighton to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/10 that Brighton Win Either Half and 7/4 Glenn Murray Scores Anytime.
Away Win 1-2
ARSENAL v CARDIFF
Arsenal quickly return to the Emirates after a sensational 2-0 victory over Chelsea last time out. Alexandre Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny got the vital goals to stun an inform Chelsea side and close the gap on the London rivals in the race for a Top 4 finish. Hector Bellerin suffered a severe injury in the game and looks certain to miss the rest of the season. Unai Emery is struggling with injuries to his Gunners and may need to get a loan signing in before the end of the January Transfer Window.
Cardiff suffered a bad loss away at Newcastle and slipped back into the Bottom 3 of the Premier League after Newcastle leapfrogged them in the proverbial 6 pointer at St James Park. After falling into the relegation places, a trip to the Emirates is probably not what Neil Warnock needs. Having thought he had signed a striker from Nantes in France for a record fee for the Bluebirds, it appears that Argentine striker Emiliano Sala is missing presumed dead after a light aircraft he was travelling in disappeared over the English Channel. Thoughts go out to Emiliano and his close family and friends.
This game at the Cardiff City Stadium back in September finished 3-2 to Arsenal. Shkodran Mustafi had given the Gunners the lead before Victor Camarasa levelled for Cardiff just before the break. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal back in front midway through the 2nd-half. Danny Ward equalised for the Bluebirds but their hopes of a famous point against the Gunners were dashed when Alexandre Lacazette got Arsenal’s 3rd giving them all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal at Odds On 2/7, the Draw at 9/2 and 17/2 for Cardiff to come away from the Capital with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 4/1 that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gets the First Goal and 25/1 that Cardiff Miss a Penalty.
Home Win 4-1
NEWCASTLE v MAN CITY
Tuesday Night Football live on BT Sports.
Newcastle leapfrogged over Cardiff after emphatically beating their relegation rivals 3-0 at St James Park last time out. Big Swiss defender Fabian Schar got a couple of goals and Ayoze Perez rounded off the scoring in the 93rd minute giving Newcastle the 3 points. It appears that takeover talks have quietened down and Mike Ashley seems to be sitting on his asset. Obviously, if the Toon stay in the Premier League then the price of the club stays nearer £300 Million, however, if relegated, Mike will be looking at bringing in closer to the £200 Million mark. It’s only £100 Million. Rafa Benitez is concerned about the players he can bring in and Newcastle’s offer for Atlanta United forward Miguel Almiron remains on the table heading into the final 9 days of the transfer window. Like most supporters, the Toon Army would love to see a new face in their team just to freshen things up.
Man City strolled to victory last Sunday down the M62 against Huddersfield. Having gone in at the break leading 1-0 from a scrappy Danilo goal, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane put the game to bed with 2 quick fire goals in the 2nd-half to beat a very poor managerless Terriers side who are destined for a return to the Championship. That win keeps City 4 points behind Liverpool at the top of the Premier League and with Liverpool not playing until a day after City, a win against Newcastle will reduce the gap to just 1 point and heap pressure on their rivals.
This reverse fixture back in September was also live on BT Sports and finished 2-1 to Pep’s boys. Raheem Sterling and a rare Kyle Walker goal gave City the points after DeAndre Yedlin had equalised for Newcastle.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at a massive 14/1, the Draw at 6/1 and Odds On 1/6 for City to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/4 for Over 4.5 Goals and 3/1 Sergio Aguero Scores the First Goal.
Away Win 0-2
MAN UNITED v BURNLEY
United are back, United are back! Every Manchester United fan in the country has a great big smile on their face matching the one on their longtime Idol that is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” “Ole” “Ole” the Baby Faced Assassin has breathed life back into Old Trafford and has now achieved what no other Manchester United manager, whether interim or permanent, has achieved and that is a Magnificent Seven wins in their first Seven games in charge. Ole was already a legend at Old Trafford after his exploits in the 1999 Champions League Final. Read that again! The 1999 Champions League Final, yes 20 years ago this May. Unbelievable! If he achieves what appeared impossible 2 months ago and gets United in the Top 4, then his legendary status will go through the roof. Early days yet and there will be a lot of twists and turns before the season ends including the return of the Champions League games in February and a continuation in the FA Cup, which includes a tricky 4th Round tie against Arsenal. It’s inevitable that Ole will eventually lose a game and its how he reacts to that setback that will define him as a United manager and will go a long way in deciding whether Ed Woodward will give Ole the job on a permanent basis. Ed could chase around for nothing to be found but why look for something that is never there. Ole may get it wrong sometimes but he’ll come back in style for he realises United means more than anything. All United fans can hope for is to continue playing the way that the team have done since Jose left. Paul Pogba scored a penalty in the 2-1 victory against Brighton last time out, with Marcus Rashford getting a sublime goal to earn all 3 points. Burnley have turned a corner and will be a tough ask for United, but Ole and the United players should relish this game to make it 7 wins out of 7 in the Premier League and depending what the result of the FA Cup game against Arsenal finishes, a win against Burnley could be 9 out of 9 for Ole.
Burnley are on a roll and haven’t looked back since Sean Dyche decided to replace Joe Hart with Tom Heaton. In the 4 games Tom has played, Burnley have Won 3 and Drawn 1 and only conceded 2 goals in the process. Looking at that it appears Joe was the problem and his critics will use that as ammunition against him. In reality, it’s a combination of a lot of things. The first of those ‘lot of things’ is the Europa League experience. That took its toll on Burnley regardless of what anyone says, it made a huge impact on Burnley’s start to the Premier League games. Joe isn’t a bad goalkeeper and some of the games he played this season he saved countless goals, however, he’s not Tom who knows his defence and knows where they’ll be at certain points in a match and knows who he trusts with or without the ball. He knows maybe he can’t give the ball to the left back or he can give a simple pass to his Centre Half, whereas Joe didn’t have these little nuances to use and at certain points in a game could have cost the team a goal just by not having that rapport with the defence which Tom has. This will be a tough ask of Sean Dyche and His Clarets against a resurgent Manchester United but they will give United a game and if all goes wrong the Clarets faithful don’t have far to travel on their journey home.
This reverse fixture back at Turf Moor in September finished 2-0 to United with Romelu Lukaku getting both goals. Paul Pogba missed a penalty midway through the 2nd-half and Marcus Rashford was sent off for a silly coming together with ex-United defender Phil Bardsley.
Bet 365 offer United at Odds On 2/9, the Draw at 11/2 and a massive 10/1 for Burnley to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/1 for United to Win 3-1 and 4/1 that Chris Wood Scores Anytime.
Home Win 3-1
SOUTHAMPTON v CRYSTAL PALACE
Southampton have started to improve their performances since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Big Austrian has instilled a great work ethic in his Saints and has already wielded the axe on a couple of players. Manolo Gabbiadini has returned to Italy and signed for Sampdoria and Wesley Hoedt has moved to Celta Vigo in Spain in a loan move which should be made permanent at the end of the season. Last time out against Everton, the Saints hung on for a 2-1 win against the Toffees after the referee had decided to play over 8 minutes of injury time. James Ward-Prowse got the opener for Southampton then and unfortunate Lucas Digne toe-poked the ball from 20-yards past his own goalkeeper giving the Saints a 2-0 lead before Everton scored a very late consolation making Wreck-It Ralph endure the last 7 minutes of injury time. That’s 7 points from a possible 9 for Southampton, however, the downside to the Saints season was being dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship team Derby. Southampton lost on penalties against Derby after drawing the replay 2-2. What will annoy the Southampton faithful is the Saints were 2-0 up in both the initial game and the replay against Derby and gave away 2 goals in each game to eventually lose on penalties. Survival in the Premier League is key but a decent Cup Run wouldn’t have hurt.
Crystal Palace scored 3 goals at Anfield against the top of the Premier League table Liverpool but still came away empty handed. Not many teams score 3 goals at Anfield but as Liverpool have done against most teams, they score more goals and ultimately it was a loss for Roy Hodgson. In the 2nd of two games that finished with the Scoreline of 4-3, this was slightly different and felt the 2nd-best of the two very entertaining games because the scoreline never got to 3-3 as it did in the Attenborough Derby. Palace surprisingly took the lead in the 1st-half through an Andros Townsend goal. In the 2nd-half, Liverpool scored 2 before James Tomkins equalised for the Eagles. Liverpool went ahead again and quickly made it 4-2 before German substitute Max Meyer scored a late 3rd for Palace giving them brief hope of a comeback. Ultimately that was another loss for Palace which is now 3 losses out of the last 4 Premier League games. Southampton and Crystal Palace both have 22 points and a win for either team will go along way into securing their Premier League status for another season.
This reverse fixture back in September finished 2-0 to Southampton with goals from Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Charlie Austin missed a penalty in that game.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 13/10, the Draw at 9/4 and 21/10 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 5/2 for Over 3.5 Goals and 18/1 that Southampton Miss a Penalty.
Home Win 2-0
BOURNEMOUTH v CHELSEA
Bournemouth finally got 3 points after 4 winless Premier League games. Callum Wilson and Josh King got the goals in a 2-0 victory against West Ham. Callum’s been injured for the last 2 games and when missing, the Cherries are not the attacking force they should be. Eddie Howe has invested £12 Million in Wales International Centre Half Chris Mepham from Championship side Brentford.
Mepham becomes Bournemouth’s third signing of the month, following the reported £19 Million acquisition of Solanke and Nathaniel Clyne’s loan arrival, both from Liverpool. Those signings should kickstart the Cherries faltering season.
Chelsea head South to the Vitality off the back of a loss against Arsenal. Maurizio Sarri has come in for a lot of criticism over the past few weeks and the 2-0 loss against the Gunners will only add fuel to the Sarri-ball fire. The Italian boss has obviously got his ways and has a modicum of success but the continuation of playing N’Golo Kante as a right winger will be his downfall. N’Golo is the best holding midfielder in the Premier League but Sarri insists on playing Jorginho in that role. Granted Jorginho is Maurizio’s player and he knows his strengths but the Chelsea faithful won’t put up with losing for long. Eden Hazard needs a goal too.
Bet 365 offer Bournemouth at 17/4, the Draw at 3/1 and Odds On 3/5 for Chelsea to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 6/1 for Callum Wilson to get the First Goal and 13/8 for There to be Over 3.5 Goals.
SPURS v WATFORD
Tottenham got a last gasp winner against Fulham last Sunday maintaining their pursuit of Man City and Liverpool. The unlikely goal scorer of the winning goal in the 93rd minute was Harry Winks after Dele Alli had earlier levelled for Tottenham. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min were absent from the squad due to injury and representation in the Asian Trophy. Dele Alli also suffered a bad injury and will be out for about 6 weeks roughly the same length of time as Mr Kane. Kane’s replacement in the starting lineup Fernando Llorente was brought in to score goals and did just that. Unfortunately for the big Spanish striker, he scored an own goal when the ball deflected off his shin into the net. Tottenham may venture into the January Transfer market and a possible target is Jarrod Bowan from the Championship side Hull. However, Daniel Levy’s Transfer policy will probably dictate that if the deal is to happen, it will go through at 2 minutes to closing time on the 31st of January.
Watford played out a 0-0 Draw last time out against Burnley. That’s 3 Draws out of the last 4 Premier League Games with the 4th being a Win. The Hornets lie in 7th position in the Premier League which is a terrific return up to now. Watford are confident that influential midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure will remain at the club until at least the end of the season. There is interest from Paris Saint Germain but Javi Gracia insists that Abdoulaye will stay at Vicarage Rd at least until the end of the season. With Tottenham’s depleted squad, Watford could get at least a point at Wembley.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 3/5, the Draw at 3/1 and 4/1 for Watford to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/10 that there are Under 2.5 Goals and 13/5 that Troy Deeney Scores Anytime.
LIVERPOOL v LEICESTER
Wednesday Night Football live on BT Sports.
Liverpool remain top of the Premier League but depending on City’s result the night before, the lead at the top could be cut to just one point.
Liverpool played in a great game at Anfield last time out eventually beating Crystal Palace 4-3. The Anfield faithful are used to seeing goals when their team play but rarely see their team concede 3 at home. Having gone in at half-time trailing 1-0 Jurgen read the riot act and sent his Reds out to take control in the 2nd-half. Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino scored 2 quick goals to give Liverpool the advantage before Palace levelled. Mo made it 3-2 and Sadio Mane got a 93rd minute 4th for Liverpool. There was still time for a Palace goal to make it a nervy last couple of minutes for the Kopites. Liverpool hung on for the win and maintained their Top Spot position. One player that won’t be lining up against Leicester is James Milner who got himself sent off following 2 rash challenges which resulted in 2 yellow cards and ultimately a red. Liverpool didn’t play in the weekend’s FA Cup after being knocked out in the 3rd Round so should be fresh and raring to go.
Leicester themselves played in a game that finished with the scoreline of 4-3 last time out, however, the Foxes were on the wrong end of the 4-3. After going in at the break trailing 2-0 against Wolves, Demarai Gray and a Connor Coady own goal got Leicester back on level terms early in the 2nd-half. Wolves went ahead again before Wes Morgan equalised. With the game petering out and looking like both teams were going to share the points, Wolves got a very late winner to snatch all 3 points and leave Claud Puel with his head in his hands. Out of the last 8 Premier League games, Leicester have Won 3 and Lost 5. All 8 games have been tight affairs with the result only being settled by the odd goal so Leicester are not exactly being outplayed. The surprise in those 3 Wins is two of the opponents Leicester beat were Chelsea and Man City. Yet despite the wins and the league position of 9th, Claud Puel is still under pressure. His coaching techniques are deemed monotonous but what do the Foxes faithful want. There is an old saying not just in football, but in life too “be careful what you wish for” and the fans should be happy that Claud is putting his faith in a lot of youth players such as James Maddison, Demarai Gray, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi and has just recalled Harvey Barnes from his loan spell. Harry Maguire is only 25, as is Ricardo Pereira. Harvey Barnes is a great young talent who played a few times for the mighty Barnsley FC and will always be fondly remembered at Oakwell. The Foxes have a great future in front of them and Claud should be given time and if the faithful are having doubts, just remind them that they could have had Jose Mourinho as their boss. The Dracula of the Modern Game. Leicester were also dumped out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round so will also be fresh and this game could be a real cracker if the top men are on form.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at massive Odds On 2/11, the Draw at 6/1 and 12/1 (12/1 is way too big) for Leicester to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Mo Salah gets the First Goal and 23/10 that Jamie Vardy Scores Anytime.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that there are Over 4.5 Goals.
Home Win 4-2