The highlight games for this weekend’s action are LIVERPOOL versus LEICESTER and BRIGHTON versus ARSENAL. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game week 18 matches with his unique and insightful commentary. You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
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WEST HAM v BRENTFORD
19.45 in England
Thomas’s Bees took a 2-goal lead against Tottenham on Boxing Day, with goals from Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney.
Unfortunately for the fans in attendance at the GTech, Tottenham did what Tottenham are doing of late and came from behind to score twice and gain a point from a draw by a 2-2 score.
The Archbishop was happy.
Brentford sit in 10th place with 20 points from 16 fixtures played.
West Ham suffered a defeat against the other North London rivals Arsenal on Monday.
After taking the lead through a Said Benrahme penalty, to go in at the break in front, the Hammers conceded 3 goals to ultimately lose the game by a 3-1 score.
That’s the 5th defeat from the last 6 Premier League fixtures, leaving West Ham in 16th place with 14 points from 16 games played.
David Moyes old club Everton also have 14 points too.
Brentford got the better of West Ham at the London Stadium last season, with the Bees bursting the Bubbles by a 2-1 away day score.
Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa with the Brentford goals and Jarrod Bowen scoring for West Ham.
Yoane’s winning goal was scored in the 94th minute.
Betfred offer West Ham at Evens 1/1, the draw at 5/2 and 11/4 for Brentford to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 5/4 that Ivan Toney Scores Anytime and 11/2 that Brentford Win To Nil.
LIVERPOOL v LEICESTER
20.00 in England
Liverpool are now 3 from 3 in the Premier League Win column, following the Boxing Day victory against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and the youngster Stefan Bajcetic with the Reds goals.
Villa had pulled a goal back before Stefan’s notch that came within a minute of being introduced by Jurgen Klopp as a late substitute.
The victory by a 3-1 away day scoreline lifts Liverpool up to 6th in the table with 25 points from 15 fixtures played.
Leicester were outclassed by Newcastle on Monday with the Foxes looking as if too much Turkey and Christmas pudding had been partaken.
The defeat against the Magpies by a 3-0 scoreline, (all 3 scored before the half-time whistle) leaves Brendan’s not so Wonderfuls in 13th place from 16 fixtures completed.
A Diogo Jota double, one in each half gave Liverpool the victory over Leicester at Anfield by a 2-0 scoreline back in February 2022.
Betfred offer Liverpool at Odds On 2/7, the draw at 9/2 and 9/1 for Leicester to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 3/1 that Mo Salah Scores First and slight Odds On 4/5 that Liverpool Score in Both Halves.
WOLVES v MANCHESTER UNITED
12.30 in England
The Julen Lopetegui era at Wolves got off to a great start with a 95th-minute Rayan Ait Nouri strike earning the Gold and Blacks all 3 points.
Daniel Podence had equalised an early Everton goal to take both teams in level at the break, however, with time running out Rayen popped up with the winner to give the travelling faithful an enjoyable journey back to the Black Country.
The victory by a 2-1 scoreline, lifts Wolves off the foot of the table up to 18th place with 13 points from 16 games played.
Now just a point away from Everton and West Ham.
Not many teams that were at the bottom of the Premier League table at Christmas have survived but Wolves have a great chance to enter a limited set.
The post-Cristiano Ronaldo era at Old Trafford got off to a great start on Tuesday with Manchester United gaining a victory against Nottingham Forest by a 3-0 score.
Granted it was only against Forest who are simply rubbish and are heading back to the Championship quicker than an interview with Piers Morgan but a performance still needed to be put in by Erik’s Energisers.
The fact that Mr Ten Hag could select Luke Shaw (who was wearing a nice pair of Christmas slippers) as a Centre-Back was a testament to how bad the away team were.
Raphael Varane, who 9 days ago, played in a World Cup Final did cover Luke throughout the game but it’s fair to say Mr Shaw was never in trouble against a poor set of Tricky Christmas Trees.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Fred (that’s how bad Forest were!) scored the United goals to earn the points that leaves the Red Devils in 5th place in the Premier League table with 29 points from 15 fixtures played.
There was a stat thrown up that stated, Manchester United hadn’t suffered a league defeat, whilst leading at half-time, at Old Trafford, since 1984, some 130 plus+ games.
Tottenham in 4th place, have 30 points, however, have played a game more than United, so the Top Four is the next target for Erik The Red.
At Molineux last season, Mason Greenwood scored the solitary winning goal in the 80th minute to give Ole’s Trollies the victory over Bruno’s Lage Louts by a 1-0 away score.
The fixture at Old Trafford between these two took place on the 3rd of January 2022, which also finished in a 1-0 away day score obviously in favour of Wolves.
Betfred offer Wolves at 16/5, the draw at 5/2 and slight Odds On 9/10 for Manchester United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 12/5 that Diego Costa Scores Anytime and slight Odds On 10/11 that there are Over 2.5 Goals.
BOURNEMOUTH v CRYSTAL PALACE
Bournemouth did try against Chelsea on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge but in truth were outclassed by the home team who inflicted a defeat on the Cherries by a 2-0 scoreline.
Both goals conceded before 25 minutes were up on the clock and at that point, it did appear Chelsea would score a few more, however, Bournemouth did shut up shop and didn’t concede again.
The new American owners have a famous Actor involved.
Most fans of the Rocky films will remember Apollo Creed, whose fictional son, Adonis Creed has spun off and made 3 additional boxing films.
The Actor who plays Adonis, Michael B. Jordan, is part of the ownership group at the Vitality and was in attendance at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Just a shame the game didn’t take place on Boxing Day.
There’s a third Creed film that is part of the Rocky franchise out next year but will be the first that will not feature the legendary Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), which although is a shame for the older generation who grew up watching Rocky, is evolution and like Cristiano, time moves on.
Let’s hope Mr Balboa doesn’t get in touch with Piers Morgan.
Bournemouth will need some fighting spirit to keep away from the drop zone, with the Cherries currently sitting in 14th place with 16 points from 16 fixtures played.
Crystal Palace suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats over a period of 44 days, following the Boxing Day fixture against Fulham at Selhurst Park.
After conceding a goal midway through the 1st-half, Tyrick Mitchell was shown a straight Red Card that enabled the lad to put the kettle on for the half-time cup of tea.
Early in the 2nd-half, James Tompkins was shown a 2nd Yellow Card and the subsequent Red, leaving Palace with 9 men and an uphill task.
Fulham then scored two more to inflict the defeat by a 3-0 scoreline.
It was a game that Patrick Vieira just needs to quickly put to bed and move on to this fixture against Bournemouth.
Tyrick and James do have the luxury of having a nice New Years’ Eve knowing their services won’t be needed earlier in the day.
Crystal Palace sit in 11th place with 19 points from 15 fixtures played.
It was June 2020, towards the back end of the Coronavirus affected season that Crystal Palace last ventured down to Bournemouth.
Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew scored the early goals to seal the victory for the Eagles over the Cherries by a 2-0 away day scoreline.
Betfred offer Bournemouth at 15/8, the draw at 21/10 and 7/5 for Crystal Palace to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 15/8 that Kieffer Moore Scores Anytime and Evens 1/1 that there are Over 2.5 Goals.
FULHAM v SOUTHAMPTON
15.00 in England
Fulham destroyed Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, with the Cottagers inflicting a defeat on the Eagles at Selhurst Park by a 3-0 away day scoreline.
Bobby Decordova-Reid opened the scoring before Palace were reduced to 10 men following a horror challenge on Kenny Tete.
Just after the restart, Aleksandar Mitrovic put his head in the way of James Tompkins arm that resulted in another sending off giving Fulham a 2 man advantage.
Tim Ream, who played the full 90 minutes in all 4 of the USA’s fixtures at the World Cup, scored his 1st Premier League goal midway through the 2nd-half, before Aleksandar who himself was in Qatar, added the 3rd Fulham goal to give the Cottagers the convincing victory.
Fulham sit in 9th place with 22 points from 16 games played, which is a great return for Marco Silva’s Boys.
The Fulham legend George Cohen, unfortunately, passed away last week, which leaves Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst the only living English footballers from the 11 that played the full 90 minutes against West Germany back in 1966 and won the World Cup.
There are now just 5 former players who were in the 1966 England 22 Man-World Cup Squad, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst, Terry Paine, Ian Callaghan and George Eastham who are still alive.
Rest In Peace George Cohen.
Southampton are now rooted to the foot of the Premier League table following the defeat against Brighton on Boxing Day.
The Saints were trailing by 3-goals before being awarded a penalty.
Although James Ward-Prowse initially missed the spot-kick, James converted the rebound, however, ultimately this was just a consolation with the Seagulls gaining the victory by a 3-1 scoreline.
Southampton have 12 points from 16 games played.
The Saints and Nathan Jones could be gone too long.
It was Boxing Day, 2020 when the Saints went marching up to the Capital to take on the Cottagers.
Unfortunately, it appeared that the festivities had taken its toll on the players as neither team were able to find the back of the net, with the game finishing in a draw by a 0-0 score.
Betfred offer Fulham at Evens 1/1, the draw at 23/10 and 13/5 for Southampton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 9/4 that Aleksandar Mitrovic Scores First and 11/4 that Fulham Win To Nil.
***Premier League Team of the Week***
GOALKEEPER- Nick Pope- Newcastle
RIGHT-BACK- Ben White- Arsenal
CENTRE-BACK- John Stones- Man City
CENTRE-BACK- Luke Shaw- Manchester United
LEFT-BACK- Nathan Ake- Man City
MIDFIELDER- Rico Lewis- Man City
MIDFIELDER- Casemiro- Manchester United
MIDFIELDER- Kevin De Bruyne- Man City
FORWARD- Marcus Rashford- Manchester United
FORWARD- Erling Haaland- Man City
FORWARD- Chris Wood- Newcastle
STAR MAN- Casemiro- Manchester United
MAN CITY v EVERTON
15.00 in England
Man City gained a professional victory over Leeds United on Wednesday, with Pep’s Blues inflicting a defeat on Jesse’s Whites by a 3-1 scoreline.
Erling Haaland scored twice after Roadie Rodri had put City in front on the stroke of half-time.
Jack Grealish was instrumental in Erling’s 2 finishes after what could be considered a poor 1st-half performance.
Mr Guardiola must have had a little pep talk at the interval.
Leeds did score a consolation midway through the 2nd-half which gave the Marching On Together crew something to sing about.
The West Yorkshire puddings had been singing throughout but the goal did give them an excuse.
In truth, despite the victory by the 3 goals to 1 score, it could and should have been more, which, with Arsenal being dominant at the moment, goal difference could come into play next May.
That rhymes that!
The victory reinstates Man City back into 2nd place with 35 points from 15 games played.
Frank Lampard’s Everton may soon have to be renamed Everton as the sky is darkening over Goodison Park following another defeat on Boxing Day.
Yerry Mina scored after 7 minutes to calm the Toffees’ nerve, however, Everton couldn’t push on and allowed Wolves to equalise to take both teams in level at the interval.
With 95 minutes up on the clock, the faithful were annoyed with just a point.
The annoyance level went galactic when Wolves scored the winner in the 95th minute after the Everton players had missed several chances to put the game to bed.
Christine isn’t happy as she knows the old man will be at home under her feet if the results don’t improve.
When a team who have lost 6 of the previous 8 Premier League fixtures and have been knocked out of a Cup competition, Man City and the Etihad might not be the place that the Toffees would like to visit.
Everton with 14 points, from 16 games played, sit a point and a place just above the relegation zone.
Pep’s High Flying Blues comfortably gained the win over Rafa’s Toffees in the Battle of the Spanish when Everton last travelled the short distance over to the Etihad in November 2021.
Raheem Sterling, Roadie Rodri and Bernardo Silva with the City goals to give the home side the victory by a 3-0 score.
Betfred offer Man City at Odds On 1/8, the draw at 13/2 and 16/1 for Everton to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 11/8 that Erling Haaland Scores Two Plus Goals and slight Odds On 8/11 that Man City Win To Nil.
NEWCASTLE v LEEDS UNITED
15.00 in England
Despite the World Cup intermission, Newcastle came back in the same form as before and got a great victory against Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
Chris Wood, making a rare start, converted a penalty after 3 minutes, before Miguel Almiron and Joelinton scored, all before the interval to give the Magpies a convincing win over the Foxes by a 3-0 scoreline.
That’s 8 victories from the last 10 Premier League games, the other 2 being drawn.
The Magpies are the form team over the last 10 fixtures.
In between those, Newcastle have progressed in the Carabao Cup with the Magpies devouring a Cherry in the previous round which would certainly have pleased the ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.
Coincidentally, Newcastle now face Leicester in the Quarter-Final of that particular competition.
Miguel Almiron has 9 goals on his tally, which is simply brilliant for the Paraguayan Striker.
Newcastle jumped to 2nd in the table, with 33 points from 16 games played, however, following Man City’s victory on Wednesday, the Magpies slip back to 3rd.
‘Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again, Leeds, Leeds are falling apart again.’
Despite putting in an energetic display on Wednesday against Man City at Elland Rd, ultimately Leeds United suffered a defeat by a 3-1 score.
After holding City at bay for most of the 1st-half, Jesse’s Whites conceded on the stroke of half-time.
After the restart, City scored 2 more.
The Marching On Together crew, to their credit, never stopped singing and as always were behind their White Idols, who did score a consolation goal as a reward for the faithful’s following.
Pascal ‘Alphabet’ Struijk with the goal midway through the 2nd-half.
That is back-to-back defeats for Leeds United, following the loss against Tottenham back on the 12th of November.
Leeds remain in 15th place, with 15 points from 15 fixtures completed.
Marsching On Together!
Raphinha scored first with Allan Saint-Maximin equalising before the break to give both teams a share of the points from a draw by a 1-1 score in last season’s encounter between the two at St James Park.
Both were under the guidance of different Managers with Steve Bruce at the Newcastle helm and Marcelo Bielsa still in charge of Leeds.
Betfred offer Newcastle at Odds On 4/9, the draw at 10/3 and 11/2 for Leeds United to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 21/20 that Chris Wood Scores Anytime and 13/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
BRIGHTON v ARSENAL
17.30 in England
Brighton gained a great away day victory against Southampton on Boxing Day with the Seagulls inflicting a defeat on the Saints by a 3-1 scoreline.
Adam Lallana scored the opener before the Southampton Defender Romain Perraud was credited with the 2nd.
Solly March would have tapped home if Romain had not beaten him to it.
Solly did score himself with a beauty from 25 yards to make it 3 goals to nil before Southampton scored a consolation.
Brighton remain in 7th place with 24 points, from 15 fixtures played, the same 24 points as the ex-boss’s club Chelsea but the Seagulls are above the Blues on goal difference.
Arsenal continued their dominance of the Premier League with the 8th victory from 10 games following Monday’s fixture against West Ham where Mikel’s Young Guns inflicted a defeat over David’s Hammers by a 3-1 scoreline.
Although Newcastle have the same 8 victories from 10, Arsenal have lost a game, meaning the Magpies are the form team.
After conceding a Hammers goal via a penalty, the Gunners went in at the break trailing.
Mikel Arteta then got into his boys in the dressing room and Arsenal came out in the 2nd-half and obliterated West Ham, with goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah giving the home team the victory.
The Gunners sit at the summit of the table with 40 points, from 15 games completed.
There’s talk that Man City are proposing a move for Ben White, which may surprise many but it’s rumoured that Mikel Arteta owes Pep Guardiola a transfer favour following the signings of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
It was October 2021 when Arsenal last ventured down the road to take on Brighton in the Top Flight.
The scorer wasn’t needed with the game finishing in a draw by a 0-0 score.
Betfred offer Brighton at 23/10, the draw at 5/2 and 21/20 for Arsenal to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 12/5 that Gabriel Martinelli Scores Anytime and 15/8 that Arsenal Score in Both Halves.
TOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA
14.00 in England
Tottenham did what Tottenham do against Brentford on Boxing Day.
After conceding 2 goals, 1 on either side of half-time, it was another stern reminder from Antonio Conte in the dressing room that inspired Spurs to another comeback.
Unfortunately for the LilyWhite faithful, although goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg got Tottenham back level, it wasn’t enough to claim the victory with the game finishing in a draw by a 2-2 scoreline.
In the last 6 Premier League games, including against Brentford, Spurs have conceded first, which have resulted in 3 losses, 2 wins and a draw.
That’s not good form and leaves Tottenham in 4th place with 30 points from 16 games played.
Now just a point ahead of Manchester United who have played a game less.
Antonio Conte is stalling on a new Spurs contract which does throw up all kinds of connotations for everyone concerned, with each having a different perspective on things.
Aston Villa played in a great game against Liverpool at Villa Park on Boxing Day but unfortunately suffered a defeat by a 3-1 scoreline.
After conceding 2 goals before the interval, Ollie Watkins scored just after the restart, however, Ollie’s goal proved to be just a consolation with Liverpool adding a 3rd.
Unai Emery has got Villa playing well but Liverpool were just a class above on the night, it happens and Unai will just continue to try and improve his boys and will have the extra incentive to get one over the ex-North London rivals from the Spaniards’ time at the Emirates.
Villa sit in 12th place with 18 points from 16 fixtures completed.
Although this fixture last term was just over 12 months ago in October 2021, both were under the guidance of different Managers with Aston Villa having 2 new ones since.
At the time, Nuno Espírito Santo was in charge of Tottenham with (can one remember?)
Dean Smith in the Villa hot seat.
Both didn’t last long after this fixture with Nuno disappearing into the Portugal wilderness and Dean sacked and heading to Norfolk to take over at Carrow Rd.
(Dean Smith has just been sacked by Norwich!)
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored the opener for Spurs giving the home team a lead at the break.
Ollie Watkins equalised for Villa midway through the 2nd-half.
The unfortunate Matt Targett was credited with an own goal just after Ollie’s equaliser and with no further goals, Tottenham gained the victory over Aston Villa by a 2-1 scoreline.
Betfred offer Tottenham at Odds On 4/6, the draw at 11/4 and 18/5 for Aston Villa to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 7/1 that Ollie Watkins Scores First and slight Odds On 19/20 that Tottenham Win The 2nd Half.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v CHELSEA
16.30 in England
John Newsome doesn’t like to say this about a great historical football team that being Nottingham Forest, who have 2 European Cup triumphs on the CV and were a founder member of the inaugural Premier League season but Steve Cooper’s Tricky Trees are rubbish.
After somehow getting a victory against Crystal Palace and Liverpool before the World Cup interruption and knocking Tottenham and Blackburn out of the Carabao Cup, Nottingham Forest were no match for Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Patrick Vieira and Jurgen Klopp must be scratching their heads at those results.
United were simply too good and scored 3 goals with Fred even scoring, to inflict the defeat on Forest that leaves the Tricky Christmas Trees in 19th place with 13 points from 16 games played.
As this is a prediction site, John Newsome predicts that Nottingham Forest will be a Championship club once more come the start of the 2023/24 season.
Chelsea started brilliantly against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, scoring 2 early goals to take control.
Kai Havertz and Mason Mount with the Blues goals.
The display and the early goals should have allowed Chelsea to push on and score more, however, Graham’s New Blue Wizards seemed to take the foot off the gas and although the Cherries couldn’t score, the away team did put unnecessary pressure on the home team.
Nevertheless, it was a victory that leaves Chelsea in 8th place with the same 24 points as Mr Potter’s old club Brighton but with a slightly inferior goal difference, both having completed 16 fixtures.
Considering that there are some tough teams above the Blues it’s difficult to see how Graham Potter can get his side into the Top Four this term.
It’s very unlikely that Chelsea will win the Champions League, not impossible, however, unlikely, so how does the Stamford Bridge outfit continue in the Top European Competition next season?
That’s for others to worry about and the Chelsea contingent won’t necessarily agree with John Newsome but it’s just an opinion.
There have been 5 ties between these two teams since the last Premier League fixture back in February 1999.
Four FA Cup encounters and a game in the Carabao Cup.
Chelsea have had victories in all 5 games.
The significant factor in those 5 were that all of the games took place at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were also successful in the 2 previous Top Flight games in the 1998/99 Premier League campaign.
In the contest at the City Ground in February 1999, Ron Atkinson was in charge of Nottingham Forest with Gianluca Vialli at the Chelsea helm.
Ron sent out-
Dave Beasant, Matthieu Louis-Jean, Steve Chettle, Alan Rogers, Thierry Bonalair, Andy Johnson, Carlton Palmer, Nigel Quashie, Steve Stone, Jean-Claude Darcheville and Pierre Van Hooijdonk.
Hugo Porfirio for Nigel Quashie 70th Minute
Neil Shipperley for Jean-Claude Darcheville 86th Minute
Scot Gemmill for Andy Johnson 89th Minute
Gianluca started the following-
Ed De Goey, Albert Ferrer, Marcel Desailly, Frank Leboeuf, Dan Petrescu, Bernard Lambourde, Celestine Babayaro, Bjarne Goldbaek, Jody Morris, Mikael Forssell and Gianfranco Zola.
Eddie Newton for Dan Petrescu 46th Minute
Tore Andre-Flo for Gianfranco Zola 61st Minute
Mark Nicholls for Mikael Forssell 86th Minute
Mikael Forssell opened the scoring after 6 minutes to give Chelsea an early lead, with Bjarne Goldbaek adding the 2nd midway through the 1st-half.
Pierre Van Hooijdonk pulled a goal back for Forest just before the half-time cup of tea.
Bjarne added his 2nd and Chelsea’s 3rd after the break to gain all 3 points.
Considering the Chelsea Centre-Back pairing had just won a World Cup Winners Medal less than 7 months previously, it wasn’t such a shock that the away team gained an easy victory.
The fixture at Stamford Bridge had already taken place and resulted in another win for the Blues.
Chelsea went on to finish 3rd in the table behind Arsenal (2nd) and Manchester United.
Nottingham Forest finished at the foot of the table and were relegated, not returning to the Promised Land until this 2022/23 campaign.
Betfred offer Nottingham Forest at 9/2, the draw at 3/1 and slight Odds On 4/6 for Chelsea to come away with all 3-points.
Betfred offer 13/5 that Jorginho Scores Anytime and 13/5 that Chelsea Win and there are Under 2.5 Goals.
Saturday 13th December 1997
BARNSLEY v NEWCASTLE
15.00 in England
The Reds came into this Game Week-18 affair of the 1997/98 Premier League season rooted to the foot of the table with 13 points before this visit of Newcastle.
There had been Yorkshire Derby Defeats against Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday in the 2 previous fixtures so the Super Reds were hoping to stop the rot against Kenny Dalglish’s Magpies.
Three days earlier, Newcastle had just been knocked out of the Champions League, finishing 3rd in their respective Group behind PSV Eindhoven (2nd) and Dynamo Kiev.
Probably a surprise in that Group is Barcelona, Managed by Louis Van Gaal, with players such as Luis Enrique, Luis Figo and Rivaldo in their Squad, finished at the foot of that particular table.
Newcastle had inflicted a defeat on Barcelona by a 3-2 scoreline, earlier on in the season, with Faustino Asprilla scoring a superb hat-trick against the Catalan Giants.
The Nou Camp to Oakwell, with Danny Wilson sending out the following legends,
Lars Leese, Nicky Eaden, Matty Appleby, Darren Barnard, Ales Krizan, Adie Moses, Jovo Bosancic, Neil Redfearn, Eric Tinkler, Andy Liddell and Ashley Ward.
Darren Sheridan for Jovo Bosancic 52nd Minute
John Hendrie for Andy Liddell 57th Minute
Martin Bullock for Matty Appleby 66th Minute
Kenny Dalglish’s team,
Shaka Hislop, Phillipe Albert, Stuart Pearce, Alessandro Pistone, Steve Watson, Darren Peacock, David Batty, Keith Gillespie, Rob Lee, Faustino Asprilla and John Barnes.
Jon Dahl Tomasson for Faustino Asprilla 66th Minute
If one peruses the Newcastle team, there were some legends on show that cold wet December afternoon back in 1997.
Ex-Leeds United boy David Batty, who started at Elland Rd, is a duel Top Flight Title Winner, gaining a medal after the Whites won the old First Division back in 1991/92, then the combative Midfielder also had a Premier League Winners Medal in his cabinet following Blackburn’s triumph in the 1994/95 campaign.
Stuart Pearce was 35 at the time, granted not too old but the lad had played a lot of games (700 plus+) at that point in his career and had actually already tested the Managerial water with Nottingham Forest before heading to St James Park.
John Barnes was a year younger but like Stuart, had a stellar career, with both being part of England at Italia’90.
One might not remember but John got injured against Belgium and although featured in the 1st-half of the Quarter-Final against Cameroon, was taken off at half-time and never featured in the Semi-Final against West Germany.
What might have been with John Barnes running at the Germans?
Over the years, despite the exceptional talent John Barnes has, John was treated horrendously by supporters of opposition clubs and England fans whilst playing for the National team.
There is a famous picture of John back-healing a banana off the pitch at Goodison Park back in 1988.
The photo shows John’s calmness in the face of blatant racism which was prevalent in the late 1980s.
Unfortunately, racism hasn’t really left the game in the 30 or so years since, which is simply abhorrent.
Whilst playing for England at Wembley in 1994, in a game against the mighty San Marino, the England fans booed his every touch, again simply disgusting and abhorrent.
At the Maracana in 1984, JB scored one of the best England goals ever in a game against Brazil, a game that England inflicted a defeat on Brazil by a 2-0 scoreline.
For that goal alone, John should have been cheered every time he touched the ball in any future games for the Three Lions.
What the fans also forget, all too easily, is that John Barnes changed the game against Argentina at the Mexico’86 World Cup.
Trailing 2-0 against Diego Maradona, whose Hand of God goal along with the wonder-one had put Argentina in a commanding position.
Bobby Robson introduced JB in the 2nd-half and within minutes of coming on, used his wing wizardry to cross for Gary Lineker to pull a goal back.
Soon after, from identical circumstances, John crossed again for Mr Lineker but this time, Big Gary couldn’t manage to repeat and the chance of an equaliser had gone.
John Barnes had done his part, what happened at Wembley against San Marino, the ones that booed should hang their heads in shame.
As for Mr Batty and Mr Pearce,
‘Don’t take a Penalty at a World Cup boys!’
‘You’ve got to hold and give but do it at the right time.’
Faustino had his hat trick against Barcelona, however, didn’t notch against the Barnsley Boys.
One notable absentee was Alan Shearer who was injured at the time, however, did play a part in a game later in the 1997/98 season.
Neil Redfearn scored the opener for the Reds after 9 minutes with Keith Gillespie equalising just before the half-time Bovril to take both teams in level.
Keith then scored his and Newcastle’s 2nd before the substitute John Hendrie equalised for the Super Reds, 10 minutes or so after being sent on by Danny.
The Oakwell faithful saw their Boys hold on for a famous point from a draw by a 2-2 scoreline and gave a nod of approval to the legendary Archbishop.
Barnsley went on to face Newcastle at St James Park a couple of months later, in the Quarter-Final of the FA Cup.
Mr Shearer was fit by then and although didn’t score against the Reds, helped the Magpies to a victory by a 3-1 scoreline, heartbreakingly knocking Barnsley out of the competition.
John Newsome was in attendance at St James Park to witness the defeat and bumped into the loveable OzScot (who was just a Scot at the time!) and Ilkley’s newest married resident, who were trying to pay for a Burger with a pair of buttons and a bus ticket.
One can rightly assume that Kylie and the Widster had partaken in far too many Newcastle Broon-Ale’s.
Newcastle went on to the Final of the FA Cup but suffered a defeat against Manchester United at Wembley.
The point gained for Barnsley wasn’t enough to lift the Super Reds off the bottom of the Premier League table but at least it wasn’t another defeat and the boys and girls plus a couple of thousand of the Toon Army all went off for a night on the sauce and a slow dance with the opposition in Japanese Whispers, followed by a Kay Bab and a steady stagger home.
Premier League Table December 1997
15- Crystal Palace 20 pts (minus-8 goals)
16- Bolton 20 pts (minus-11 goals)
17- Southampton 19 pts (minus-6 goals)
18- Tottenham 16 pts (minus- 18 goals)
19- Everton 14 pts (minus- 11 goals)
20- Barnsley 14 pts (minus- 30 goals)
The Scottish Premier League have played 4 times since the end of the World Cup.
The Glasgow clubs have had victories in all 4 fixtures, meaning the top of the Pub League remains the same.
Celtic sit at the summit with 54 points following wins against Aberdeen (who?), Livingston (who?), St Johnstone (who?) and Hibernian (who?).
Rangers remain in 2nd place with 45 points after their 4 victories against Hibernian (who?), Aberdeen (who?), Ross County (who?) and Motherwell (who?).
It’s the Old Firm Derby on Monday, or as it’s more commonly known the Old Peculiar Derby.
Old Peculier is a beautiful, yet very simple beer, brewed using a very generous blend of the finest pale, crystal and roasted barley with two bitter hops (Celtic and Rangers) combined with the majestic and noble Fuggle’ hop to produce a beer of awesome full-bodied flavour with subtle cherry and rich fruit overtones.
Or a game of football between the Top Two in the Pub League.
The loveable OzScot and lad will be up early in Melbourne, both dressed as Mel Gibson with the war paint on watching their beloved set of Teddy Bears lose, sorry, take on the Green and White Hoops.
Happy New Year from this EveryTip column and John Newsome hopes things in 2023 will improve for everyone.