The Foxes were formidable, when defeating the Premier League’s new whipping boys – Manchester City – earlier this week! Surely Jamie Vardy and friends will make light work of struggling Cardiff, on Saturday? John Newsome has barely had time to sit down with a sherry and a mince pie this Christmas, due to the heavy fixture list! Here are our overworked columnist’s predictions for all games in game-week 20. You can view all previous analysis from John’s weekly column here – English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
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LEICESTER v CARDIFF
The first match of Game Week 20 of the Premier League and a very busy Christmas Schedule continues.
Leicester come into this 2nd game in a row at the King Power off the back of 2 great wins over Christmas. No one expected the Foxes to go to Stamford Bridge and get the win. Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy got the solitary goal in the 1-0 defeat of Chelsea, which up until Boxing Day was arguably Claud Puel’s best result of his tenure at Leicester. On Boxing Day the King Power faithful saw their boys beat Pep’s High Flying City 2-1. Leicester had gone behind to an early City goal but Marc Albrighton replied soon after and the teams went in at the break on level terms. Ricardo Pereira got the all-important winner for the Foxes with 10 minutes to go giving them a famous win and subjecting City to back-to-back losses. Two momentous victories for Claud who had been getting some stick from certain sections of the Leicester contingent but the win against Chelsea and Man City should have given him credit and credit is much needed at Christmas time.
After 2 straight losses, Cardiff got a well deserved and well-earned point at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day. The Bluebird’s conceded 5 goals last Saturday against Manchester United but Neil Warnock got into his side and Cardiff, although didn’t score, didn’t concede against Crystal Palace to hold on for a Boxing Day point.
These 2 met at the Cardiff City Stadium at the beginning of November in the reverse fixture and Leicester came away with all 3 points after Demarai Gray had got the solitary goal in the 1-0 win. Demarai was immediately shown a Yellow Card for taking his shirt off and showing a tribute to the Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabhawho had recently died in the Helicopter Crash. The referee will argue he was only following orders but a little common sense could have prevailed under the emotional circumstances.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at Odds On 6/11, the Draw at 3/1 and 5/1 for Cardiff to get all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 10/3 that Jamie Vardy gets the First Goal and 8/5 that Leicester Win to Nil.
Home Win 2-0
TOTTENHAM v WOLVES
Tottenham have won the last 5 Premier League games scoring a total of 17 goals and conceding only 3. They come into this game against Wolves having beaten Everton 6-2 last Saturday and Bournemouth 5-0 on Boxing Day. Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and a couple from Son Heung-Min completed the rout at Wembley. Lucas came into the starting lineup for the injured Dele Alli and is not a bad replacement. A quick point to note is Son Heung-Min will be missing in January when he goes off to the Asian Cup with South Korea. The energetic likeable Spurs boy will be missed and Tottenham could have done without him going to the Asian Cup if they are to continue their pursuit of Liverpool for the Premier League title. Depending on how far South Korea progress in the competition, Son could miss 5 Tottenham games and that’s without the thought of him picking up an injury. The Spurs faithful quickly return to Wembley for this fixture against Wolves with no signs of when they will be in their new White Hart Lane home.
Wolves quickly return to the Capital after their Boxing Day game against Fulham at Craven Cottage. After a really good December, winning 3, including a great victory against Chelsea, getting a well-earned point against Fulham and only losing the 1 game to Table Toppers Liverpool, the Gold and Blacks will be quite satisfied with there half-way position of 10th in their return to the Premier League. Romain Saiss got the late equaliser in the 1-1 Draw against Fulham.
These 2 met at Molineux in early November in a Saturday Night game which saw Tottenham take a 3-0 lead with goals from Erik Lamela, Lucas and Harry Kane. Spurs looked to be cruising until 2 late penalties from Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez gave the Tottenham faithful a nervy final few minutes. Spurs did, however, hold on for the 3-2 win and take all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer Tottenham at Odds On 1/3, the Draw at 4/1 and 15/2 for Wolves to come away from Wembley with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Son Heung-Min gets the First Goal and 7/4 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
Home Win 3-0
FULHAM v HUDDERSFIELD
Fulham were 5 minutes from a famous win against Wolves at Craven Cottage on Boxing Day. Ryan Sessegnon, who was a 2nd-half substitute, came on and with almost his first touch put Fulham in front. Unfortunately, the Cottages couldn’t hold on and conceded a late equaliser. That point, however, did lift Fulham off the bottom of the Premier League table. The Fulham faithful make a quick return to their home stomping ground to take on the team that replaced them at the bottom of the Premier League.
Huddersfield are now rock bottom of the table after another loss on Boxing Day. The Terriers were unfortunate to take on a new-look Manchester United and suffered their 2nd successive 3-1 defeat after Saturday’s loss to Southampton by the same scoreline. That’s 6 straight defeats for David Wagner and his merry Terriers. Defender Mathias Jorgensen did get a late consolation at Old Trafford but in truth never threatened the Red Devils and that loss sent them to the foot of the Premier League table. Anything other than a win against Fulham will see Huddersfield remain bottom of the Premier League going into the New Year and that is never a good omen for the team at the bottom at the turn of the year.
This reverse fixture back in November finished 1-0 to Huddersfield with the unfortunate Timothy Fosu-Mensah getting an own goal for Fulham.
Bet 365 offer Fulham at Evens 1/1, the Draw at 12/5 and 11/4 for Huddersfield to get the Win and send Fulham to the foot of the table.
Bet 365 offer 11/2 for a 1-0 Scoreline to Fulham and 9/2 that Aleksandar Mitrovic Scores the First Goal. It’s 16/1 for Mitrovic to Score and Fulham Win 1-0.
Home Win 1-0
BRIGHTON v EVERTON
Brighton make a quick return to the Amex after getting a great result on Boxing Day earning a 1-1 Draw against Arsenal. That stopped the rot of 3 defeats in a row. Jurgen Locadia equalised for the Seagulls after falling behind to the Gunners early on in the game. Jurgen is a Dutch striker who signed for Brighton from PSV Eindhoven in 2017 scoring his 1st goal of the season and Chris Hughton will want more goals from Big Jurgen to help stave off a relegation battle.
Everton got back to winning ways with a superb 5-1 drubbing of Burnley away at Turf Moor. That result was the Toffees first win in 6 games after losing 3 and drawing 2 of the previous 5 fixtures and came straight after a heavy loss at home against Tottenham when they were well beaten 6-2. Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Everton the 1st-half lead of 3-1 before Lucas added a 4th and his 2nd of the game. Richarlison rounded off the rout of Turf Moor with the 5th goal in stoppage time. A great result for the Toffees but they should not get too carried away as it was only against Burnley and Burnley are rubbish at the moment and lose against most teams. This will be a bigger test and a long trip South for the Everton faithful. This reverse fixture back at Goodison Park in early November finished 3-1 in favour of Everton. Richarlison grabbed a couple either side of a Seamus Coleman goal. Lewis Dunk got the Seagulls consolation.
Bet 365 offer Brighton at 9/4, the Draw at 12/5 and 8/7 for Everton to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 5/1 that Glenn Murray gets the First Goal and 13/8 that Richarlison scores Anytime.
WATFORD v NEWCASTLE
Watford played in an entertaining but ultimately a losing game against Chelsea on Boxing Day and quickly return to Vicarage Rd following that 2-1 Boxing Day loss.
Roberto Pereyra had equalised for Watford but Chelsea scored the winner in the 2nd-half resulting in Watford’s 1st loss in 4 games. Christian Kabasele only lasted 15 minutes in the game against Chelsea after suffering a bizarre injury when he collided with the goalpost. Christian was taken to hospital but has confirmed that nothing appears to be broken.
Newcastle were well beaten at Anfield on Boxing Day losing 4-0 to the Reds. No disgrace there as most teams are heavily beaten at Anfield and Rafa simply doesn’t have the quality in his squad to compete with the top teams. The key to Newcastle’s season is to compete in these games against the likes of Watford if they are to survive in the Premier League. In this reverse fixture back at St James Park in November, Newcastle did compete and got the 3 points after beating Watford 1-0. Ayoze Perez got the all-important goal.
Bet 365 offer Watford at slight Odds On 6/7, the Draw at 13/5 and 3/1 for Newcastle to secure the Double and come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 5/2 that there are Over 3.5 Goals and 3/1 that Ayoze Perez Scores Anytime.
Home Win 3-1
LIVERPOOL v ARSENAL
Liverpool hope to make it a Magnificent December Seven in this late Saturday Afternoon kick-off live on BT Sports. Liverpool have 6 Premier League wins in a row in December following the emphatic 4-0 demolition of Newcastle on Boxing Day. Dejan Lovren, Mo Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho got the goals in the convincing win against Newcastle maintaining Liverpool’s unbeaten run. Although a great win and a great run, Liverpool have 2 big games coming up, the 1st being this home game against the Gunners then an away trip to take on current Premier League Champions Man City just after the New Year. These 2 big games could define Liverpool’s season and put distance between themselves and Man City in their quest to win the Premier League for the 1st time and their 1st League title win since 1990.
Arsenal head North to Anfield off the back of a 1-1 Draw against Brighton on Boxing Day. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring for the Gunners but they were pegged back before half-time prompting Unai Emery to take off Mesut Ozil at the interval. Unai has made a habit this season of changing his team at half-time something Arsene Wenger never did. It could be argued that Mesut wasn’t giving Arsenal enough cover in defence so needed replacing, however, taking the enigmatic playmaker off limited the Gunners attacking options in the 2nd-half. There will be some who say that Mesut isn’t for Arsenal anymore and needs to be sold. The question is, is which teams out there are going to fork out the Transfer fee then pay Mesut the reported £300,000 a week he supposedly earns. That’s the conundrum Unai and the Gunners heir-achy have. Against Liverpool they need the work rate Mesut doesn’t supply but they also need the creativeness Mesut can supply so will Unai take a chance on the German playmaker and include him in the starting lineup.
This reverse fixture at the Emirates back in November finished stalemate in a 1-1 Draw. After a goalless 1st-half, James Milner put Liverpool ahead before Alexandre Lacazette equalised late on for the Gunners giving them a share of the points.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at Odds On 1/2, the Draw at 7/2 and a massive 19/4 for Arsenal to end Liverpool’s unbeaten run and come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 15/8 that Liverpool Win to Nil and 3/1 that Mo Salah Scores 2 Goals.
Home Win 3-0
CRYSTAL PALACE v CHELSEA
Early Sunday Afternoon Football live on Sky Sports sees a resurgent Crystal Palace take on Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace got arguably the result of the season so far on Saturday going to the Etihad and beating Pep’s High Flying City. However, on Boxing Day it was a bit of ‘after the Lord Mayors parade’ when the Palace faithful were subjected to a drab 0-0 against Cardiff. Ex-Crystal Palace gaffer Neil Warnock made sure his new boys weren’t going to lose against his old boys. That’s 7 points out of 9 for Roy Hodgson and his Merry Men and have taken the Eagles away from the relegation zone.
Chelsea, inspired by Superstar Eden Hazard, got back to winning ways in the late Boxing Day kick-off away at Watford. Eden was sublime in the 2-1 victory against the Hornets scoring both goals either side of half-time. Eden says he wants to become a Chelsea legend but that does mean he has to commit his future to the Blues. It’s more likely the little Belgium magician will become a Real Madrid legend which will be a big loss to the Stamford Bridge faithful.
This reverse fixture back in November at Stamford Bridge ended 3-1 to Chelsea. Alvaro Morata got a double that day with the 3rd coming from Pedro. Andros Townsend had equalised for Crystal Palace just after half-time.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at 7/2, the Draw at 14/5 and Odds On 5/7 for Chelsea to get the better of their London rivals.
Bet 365 offer 2/1 that Chelsea Win to Nil and 5/1 that Eden Hazard Scores 2 Goals.
Away Win 0-2
BURNLEY v WEST HAM
West Ham got a great result on Thursday night away against Southampton. After falling behind early in the 2nd-half, Felipe Anderson scored 2 goals to give the Bubbles a great 2-1 victory. That’s now 5 wins out of the last 6 Premier League games for the Hammers and takes Felipe’s goal tally to 8 for the season so far. A great summer signing for Manuel Pellegrini even though the Brazilian midfielder cost £35 Million from Lazio. Not cheap but who is these days and if he continues scoring goals will be worth every penny.
Burnley remain in the bottom 3 of the Premier League table and are on a woeful run at the moment. The latest poor result for the Turf Moor faithful was enduring a 5-1 loss against Everton on Boxing Day. That’s 3 straight defeats for Sean Dyche’s men and like most people at Christmas the credit in the Burnley Bank is running low. Summer signing Ben Gibson made his Premier League debut after being injured for most of the season only featuring in the much-maligned Europa League experience Burnley are now paying the price for. Ben certainly made his debut count personally getting a goal for his new club but, as a defender, will be disappointed in the 5 Burnley conceded against the Toffees. Sean Dyche’s options in team selection are limited but maybe the one position he may be contemplating changing is the Goalkeeper. Joe Hart has played every game in the Premier League this season but with the team conceding goals on a regular basis Tom Heaton must be looking for a recall. This reverse fixture back in November at the London Stadium finished 4-2 to West Ham. Marco Arnautovic and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez along with a couple from Felipe Anderson were the Hammers goal scorers. Joey Gudmundsson and Chris Wood replied for Burnley.
Bet 365 offer Burnley at 23/10, the Draw at 11/5 and 5/4 for West Ham to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 3/1 that West Ham Win to Nil and 16/1 that Felipe Anderson Scores 2 Goals.
Away Win 0-2
SOUTHAMPTON v MAN CITY
Mid-Sunday Afternoon Football live on Sky Sports. The penultimate game of the weekend and the penultimate Premier League game of the year sees a resurgent Southampton take on relegation-threatened Man City.
Southampton’s temporary resurgence under new boss Ralph Hasenhüttl came to a premature end on Thursday night when Wreck-it Ralph’s Saints lost 2-1 against West Ham at St Mary’s. Nathan Redmond had put the Saints in front after the break but then West Ham took control and scored twice to end Ralph’s brief revival. It’s rumoured he’s trying to get the Southampton players fitter which is fair enough but with games coming thick and fast over Christmas and the New Year the Southampton players can only run so far and looked jaded towards the end of the game against West Ham.
Man City have lost their last 2 Premier League games which is the first time they have lost back-to-back games in the Premier League for 2 years. It has been a miserable festive period so far for Pep’s boys, who have now surprisingly been beaten in the last 2 games after taking the lead and the 3rd loss in the last 4 games after the earlier defeat to Chelsea. Ho ho ho. The Bernardo of the Silva’s had put City ahead against Leicester, as Ilkay Gundogan had done in the loss against Crystal Palace. A couple of factors which may or may not have played a part in the losses were that the David of the Silva’s only played 20 minutes in the loss against Leicester after being injured in the loss against Chelsea and hasn’t featured in between. Fernandinho missed both the back-to-back losses against Crystal Palace and Leicester with John Stones playing as the holding midfielder.
Pep will get his team back on track but this will be another tough ask against Wreck-it Ralph’s new look Saints. One player who will definitely be missing for the trip to St Mary’s is Fabian Delph who was shown a straight Red Card for a bad challenge late on against Leicester. This reverse fixture back in early November at the Etihad finished in a resounding 6-1 victory to Pep’s boys. Southampton’s Wesley Hoedt, unfortunately, put passed his own ‘keeper to give City a start, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Leroy Sane and a couple from Raheem Sterling finished off the City scoring. Danny Ings got a consolation for the Saints from the Penalty spot.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at a massive 9/1, the Draw at 17/4 and Odds On 3/10 for City getting back to winning ways.
Bet 365 offer 6/4 that there will be Under 2.5 Goals and 5/2 that Sergio Aguero Scores the First Goal.
Away Win 0-2
MANCHESTER UNITED v BOURNEMOUTH
The final game of the weekend live on Sky Sports brings the Premier League year to an end and a resurgent Manchester United brings the year to a close. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued his great start to his role as Manchester United boss with the Red Devil’s getting back-to-back wins against Cardiff last Saturday and against Huddersfield on Boxing Day. Whilst brilliant for the United faithful, they shouldn’t get too carried away its 2 wins against Cardiff and Huddersfield. This game against the Cherries is another that United should win. What the United faithful should be encouraged about is the style of Football served up by Ole. Under Jose Mourinho the football dished up was turgid. United don’t play like that. The mentality installed in United not only under Sir Alex Ferguson but over the past 50 years is to provide entertainment for the thousands who work all week then turn up at Old Trafford expecting their team to perform. In the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s it was just the same even when the team were relegated to the 2nd Division in 1974, the thousands of United faithful turned up to watch their team attack, attack and attack some more. Jose was never the right appointment, maybe things were implied that he could get United back to winning ways and the scarce winning of the Europa League and League Cup and finishing 2nd last season briefly gave the United fans hope, but in reality, his persona and general mannerisms left a lot to be desired. Paul Pogba has shown in his last 2 performances that he is a Premier League thoroughbred who was treated like a Donkey by Mourinho. Yes, it can be argued that Paul shouldn’t have behaved like he did and should have played for Manchester United, not Jose Mourinho but the vast majority of people don’t get to know what goes on behind the scenes and Paul will have his reasons. That’s for the past now. The past is our knowledge, the present our mistake and the future we always leave too late. United won’t catch Liverpool, Tottenham or Man City but the 4th spot is up for grabs. The FA Cup is a target and they are still in the Champions League giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his resurgent Manchester United something to aim for. Attack, Attack, Attack.
Bournemouth were hammered away against Tottenham on Boxing Day. The Cherries went up to Wembley full of hope after beating Brighton last Saturday but came away suffering a 5-0 loss. Eddie Howe’s boys have only collected 6 points out of a possible 27 losing 7 out of the last 9 Premier League games. They are in mid-table and will always be safe but the Cherries faithful will want more from their beloved Eddie. The reverse fixture at the Vitality in November finished 2-1 to United. Callum Wilson had put Bournemouth in front early on, Anthony Martial equalised for the Pink Devils before half-time. United left it late to get the winner. Marcus Rashford was a substitute for Jose that day and came on to get a very late winner in the 93rd minute.
Bet 365 offer Manchester United at Odds On 1/3, the Draw at 15/4 and a massive 9/1 Bournemouth to head the long way home with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals and 50/1 that Paul Pogba Scores First and United Win 4-0.
Home Win 4-0