Wolves were everybody’s golden boys at the start of the campaign, but a home defeat against lowly Huddersfield was just the latest in a series of worsening performances from the Midlanders. John Newsome appraises Wanderers’ prospects against fellow promoted side, Cardiff City. He’s run the rule over all game-week 14 fixtures, in the English Premier League. You can view all previous analysis from John’s weekly column here – English Premier League Football Predictions For Saturday.
CARDIFF v WOLVES
Friday Night Football live on Sky Sports and the Wolves fans will love this trip down to South Wales in the Friday Night rush hour.
Cardiff remain in the bottom 3 of the Premier League after their trip to Goodison Park on Saturday. This was always going to be a tough day for the Bluebirds and restricting the Toffees to 1 goal was probably the only plus Big Neil Warnock can take from the game.
January is fast approaching and maybe Neil has a few players lined up, maybe there is another Didier Drogba out there who Neil has his eye on. It was revealed this week after Didier announced his retirement from Football, that whilst boss of Sheffield United, Neil was offered Didier for £100,000 whilst Drogba was playing in the French Ligue Deux club for Le Mans. Years ago in 1978, it was rumoured that Sheffield United were offered 2 Argentinian footballers and decided to sign only 1 of them Alejandro (Alex) Sabella who went on to play for Leeds United and eventually manage the Argentinian National Team at the 2014 World Cup finishing runners-up to Germany. The other Argentinian player Sheffield United decided not to take a chance on was a 17-year old Diego Maradona. That wasn’t Neil’s decision but the Blades fans must be gutted that they missed out on 2 great players, at least they had Tony Currie.
Wolves took on struggling Huddersfield at Molineux on Sunday in what looked like an easy game for the Gold and Blacks. However, the Premier League takes no prisoners and the law of the jungle was reversed with the Terriers overcoming the Wolves 2-0 and headed back to West Yorkshire with all 3 points. After a brilliant start to life back in the Premier League, Wolves have now lost 4 out of their last 5 games and only got a point in the other. So that’s 1 point from a possible 15 and the defeat against the Terriers could be classed as a wake-up call for Nuno and his Wolves.
This game last season was played in early April and finished 1-0 to Wolves. Ruben Neves getting the solitary goal. However, this wasn’t a Premier League game, this was played as both teams were competing for promotion from the Championship with Wolves getting the vital win to pip Cardiff as title winners with the Bluebirds finishing as runners-up. This will be a feisty affair as there is no love lost between Big Neil and Big Nuno so the action on the touch line might be as good as on the pitch.
Bet 365 offer Cardiff at 11/4, the Draw at 11/5 and 1/1 Evens for Wolves to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 13/10 that there will be Over 2.5 Goals which is not a bad shout.
CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY
Crystal Palace came away from Old Trafford last Saturday frustrating Jose’s United gaining a point from a 0-0 Draw. Although the point was well deserved and well earned it was another winless game which is now 8 Premier League games in a row and Palace have only got 3 points out of a possible 24 which isn’t good for the Eagles faithful.
Palace are also struggling to score goals and have only managed 4 in those 8 winless games and 2 of those were penalties. Star player Wilfried Zaha hasn’t scored since the middle of September and really this is the main problem Roy Hodgson has and needs to address. The Eagles won’t get relegated as there are 3 worse teams than them in the Premier League but the fans want more and will become restless if the goals continue to dry up.
Burnley are struggling too and lost again on Monday Night against Newcastle in front of their home fans. After conceding an early goal via a wicked deflection off Ben Mee, The Clarets found themselves 2 down midway through the 1st-half. Sam Vokes pulled a goal back just before half-time with a superb long-range header but this ultimately was just a consolation as neither team managed to score in the 2nd-half and
Newcastle held on to take the points back to St James.
That’s now no wins in 6 for Sean Dyche’s men and they lie just above the relegation places. Worrying times at Turf Moor but Sean surely has enough credit at the moment to keep his job. It’s just how long the Clarets faithful will put up with the standard of Football that is the big question. Ben Gibson was signed in the summer from Middlesbrough but has been injured and hasn’t featured for Burnley yet in the Premier League. He was on the bench for the loss against Newcastle and should feature at some point soon and could make the difference. Sean and Burnley need something to kickstart their season after the highs of last term, but the long trip south to Selhurst Park might not be game to get back to winning ways.
This game last season was played in the middle of January and finished 1-0 to Crystal Palace. Bakary Sako
getting the solitary goal.
Bet 365 offer Crystal Palace at Odds On 6/11, the Draw at 11/4 and 11/2 for Burnley to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 that there are Under 1.5 Goals which basically means 0-0 or 1-0 to either team and 5/1 for Crystal Palace to Score a Penalty.
NEWCASTLE v WEST HAM
Newcastle finally ended their long Monday Night Football hoodoo getting a superb win against Burnley away at Turf Moor. Frederico Fernandez had a speculative shot early on which took a wicked deflection off the Burnley defender Ben Mee and looped past Joe Hart giving the Magpies an early lead. His defensive partner Ciaran Clark made it 2-0 midway through the 1st-half and despite conceding a goal just before the break, held on for their 1st Monday Night Win in 11 games stretching back to 2012.
A remarkable stat and all the games were Away from St James Park. That lifts Newcastle to the lofty heights of 13th in the Premier League table and sets them up well for this challenge against West Ham.
That’s 3 Wins in a row for Newcastle after not winning any games this season so Rafa will definitely feel he has turned the corner. The Magpies have found this season difficult but haven’t been hammered in any game and the majority of defeats have been by the odd goal. They have played Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal and have lost by the same scoreline of 2-1 in all those games so maybe Rafa knew they weren’t far off and it was just a matter of time before the wins started.
West Ham entertained High Flying Man City last Saturday at the London Stadium and were well beaten. The Citizens came away from the Capital with all 3 points after a 4-0 win. No disgrace for the Bubbles as most teams lose to the Premier League Champions so that result will be put to bed and West Ham will move on to this game at St James Park. The downside to the loss to City is the result will have irked Manuel Pellegrini having lost his job at the Etihad to Pep.
Manuel must have hoped to turn City over but in reality, it was never going to happen as City have scored 22 goals against the Hammers in there last 6 meetings and have only conceded 2 in those games. Manuel would surely have gone home and had a couple of glasses of Chilean Red to take away the hurt and focus his mind on a battle with Rafa.
This game last season was one of the earlier games at the end of August and finished a resounding 3-0 to West Ham. Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic got the goals for the Magpies that day. Big Jos and Big Ciaran have both been out of the team recently but did return for the recent games and should feature, however, Aleksandar will definitely not feature as Rafa decided he’s not good enough for the Toon and sent him to Fulham.
Bet 365 offer Newcastle at 6/4, the Draw at 11/5 and 15/8 for West Ham to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 6/5 for there to be Over 2.5 Goals and 7/2 for a Newcastle Win and Over 2.5 Goals.
MAN CITY v BOURNEMOUTH
Peps superstars went south to the London Stadium on Saturday and ran out easy winners against West Ham. The David of the Silva’s opened the scoring against the Hammers after bowing out of the International arena with Spain. The Spanish National side allowed David to take the kickoff prior to the friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina and an emotional Silva took his young son out on the pitch in his jeans and tee-shirt and kicked off. A fitting way to end a brilliant International career.
Raheem Sterling got the 2nd and Leroy Sane got the other 2 to in the convincing 4-0 win. That’s 5 straight Premier League wins since the 0-0 Draw with Liverpool. City remain 1 of only 2 sides now to be unbeaten along with Liverpool, after Chelsea’s loss on Saturday and are top of the Premier League.
The visit of Bournemouth comes after a midweek Champions League game against Lyon but Pep has enough quality in the squad to rotate and deal with the demands of all competitions.
Bournemouth come into this game against Peps Premier League Champions off the back of 3 straight defeats, the latest being a 2-1 defeat against Arsenal. Josh King had given the Cherries hope right on half-time scoring an equaliser but the Gunners scored a 2nd giving them all 3 points.
Bournemouth remain in 8th place in the Premier League Table but will not look forward to this trip to the Etihad. Neither will the Bournemouth faithful making the 500-mile round trip. An early start and a late finish for the boys and girls of sunny Bournemouth who will no doubt Google whether they need their passports or not.
This game last season was played the day before Christmas Eve and Santa came early for the Citizens beating the Cherries 4-0. Sergio Aguero got a couple, Raheem Sterling and Danilo made it 4 to City.
Bet 365 offer City at Odds On 1/10, the Draw at 9/1 and a massive 16/1 for Bournemouth to head South with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 12/5 for City to Score a Penalty and 14/1 for Bournemouth to do likewise.
LEICESTER v WATFORD
Leicester come into this home game at the King Power after the 2nd Draw in succession. Jamie Vardy, who started on the bench against Brighton, scored a 2nd-half penalty in the 1-1 draw down at the Amex. Jamie is 32 in January and is moving into the twilight years of his phenomenal career. He no longer plays international football and whilst it must have been a hard decision to call time in his brief International stint, gaining 26 caps and playing at a Euro Championship and a World Cup, this surely must benefit the Sheffield boy in preserving his Premier League career.
Jamie is an inspiration to any young footballer out there who has been rejected as a 16-year old by a professional club. He went down the leagues and showed his true worth in turning out and performing to the best of his abilities. He has shown that you can make it if you don’t give in and even if a youngster is not deemed good enough, don’t give up because the best that can happen is you win the Premier League and play in a World Cup, however, what’s the worse that can happen, you still play with your mates on a Saturday or Sunday, you keep fit, your mind is active and you have a purpose in life. It’s not the end of the World if a club doesn’t want you and as Jamie has proved, dreams can come true. Never stop believing.
Watford lost to Liverpool on Saturday, no disgrace there as no team has managed to beat Liverpool this season so the Hornets will put that to bed and move on. The 3-0 loss to Liverpool could have been different after Andy Robertson was lucky not to give away a penalty after clearly fouling Will Hughes in the box. It could be argued that the penalty,q if given, may not have been scored and Watford may still have lost but surely the referee has to award it and let Watford have the chance. Troy Deeney returned to the starting lineup after impressing in his return from injury in the substitute appearance prior to the International Break at Southampton and is a big factor in Javi Gracia’s team moving forward.
This game last season was played at the end of January and finished 2-0 to Leicester. Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy got the opener and Riyad Mahrez got the 2nd before he went on strike because the bosses wouldn’t let him leave in the January Window.
Bet 365 offer Leicester at 11/10, the Draw at 23/10 and 13/5 for Watford to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 1/1 Evens for there to be Over 2.5 Goals and 11/1 for a Draw and Over 2.5 Goals.
HUDDERSFIELD v BRIGHTON
Huddersfield will argue with Tottenham who got the result of the weekend. Having started the weekend rock bottom of the Premier League, the Terriers went to Molineux as underdogs and came away with all 3 points beating Wolves 2-0. Australian star Aaron Mooy got both goals in the win after playing twice in Australia during the recent International Break.
That win elevated Huddersfield from rock bottom of the table to the lofty height of 14th demonstrating exactly how tight it is in the Premier League.
Brighton head the long trip North to West Yorkshire to take on Huddersfield after gaining a 1-1 Draw against Leicester last time out. Glenn Murray put the Seagulls ahead in the 1st-half but Brighton couldn’t hold on for the win after conceding a penalty. That was Big Glenn’s 101st goal in his 100th game for Brighton which is a superb achievement in itself but more surprisingly, this was Glenn’s 1st goal against Leicester.
After 2 previous losses, the point gained was much needed and Chris Hughton will definitely target this game against Huddersfield to get back to winning ways.
This game last season was played virtually 12 months ago to the day at the beginning of December. Huddersfield got the better of Brighton on that occasion beating the Seagulls 2-0. Both goals scored by Steven Mounie in the 1st-half.
Bet 365 offer Huddersfield at 3/2, the Draw at 19/10 and 21/10 for Brighton to head back down South with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 7/2 for Huddersfield to Score in Both Halves and 5/1 for Brighton to do likewise.
SOUTHAMPTON v MAN UNITED
Late Saturday afternoon kick-off live on BT Sports sees The Pink Devils travel to the south coast to take on Southampton. Not the best of journeys for the Manchester United faithful but City fans will say most of United’s fans are from the south anyway and this will be more like a home game for them.
Struggling Southampton take on struggling Manchester United in a relegation battle. Not quite, but how many times can it be said that Manchester United are struggling. The Saints lost again on Saturday away at Fulham and that would have annoyed ex-Fulham boss Mark Hughes who has to be under immense pressure having not won in the Premier League now since the beginning of September. Having taken the lead early in the 1st-half, through a Stuart Armstrong goal, Southampton went in at half-time losing. Stuart scored again to make the score 2-2 until Fulham got their winner to take all 3 points over their relegation rivals.
The 9 game winless run has yielded only 6 goals whilst conceding 20 and the Saints are now in the bottom 3 of the Premier League. Big Sam will be keeping his phone charged up and looking out for the Southampton dialling code.
Manchester United drew 0-0 against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. Read that again, Manchester United drew 0-0 against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. United had 12 attempts at the goals, 12 attempts and only 5 of them were actually ‘Shots On Goal’. There were 4 that were classed as ‘Off Goal’ and 3 which were ‘Blocked’. Manchester United, playing at Old Trafford, had 12 ‘Attempts’ at goal. Scandalous!
In Sir Alex’s heyday, Peter Schmeichel or any of the other goalkeepers would have had more ‘Attempts on Goal’. There can only be one man to blame and that is Jose Mourinho.
Jose is putting all his eggs in the Champions League basket as he knows he cannot compete in the Premier League and will go all out to try and get his hands on the Champions League trophy for a 3rd time with 3 different clubs. Ad much as United fans would like that to happen, it won’t. United are way off the pace of the other clubs. The pace being the operative word. The Pink Devils are too slow and ponderous. Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and even Marouane Fellaini when he comes on as a substitute are too slow. Once the ball comes to them, the play stops and the opposition have the chance to get back in shape, then depending on the standard of the opposition, United find it difficult. Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard look different players in an England shirt then they do in the United jersey and that can only be down to Jose. The renowned journalist Oliver Holt said recently that Jose is ‘looking increasingly like yesterday’s man’, an opinion shared by many. Sir Alex had the art of re-inventing his teams, knowing what was wrong and what was needed to constantly evolve. Sir Alex believed in youth, but Jose still manages the way he did when he first gained success at Porto.
The United faithful booed the Red Devil’s off the park on Saturday, they simply won’t put up with the standard dished up by Jose and this game in front of the cameras against Southampton will be a real test, anything other then a United Win will heap serious pressure on Jose. On a lighter note, United did introduce a new player midway through the 2nd-half. The announcer and the shirt said Fellaini but Marouane was nowhere to be seen. There was some guy who ran around like Big Marouane but didn’t have the hair. A very strange look.
Romelu Lukaku got the solitary goal in a 1-0 win for United when the teams met at St Mary’s last season in late September.
Bet 365 offer Southampton at 16/5, the Draw at 11/4 and Odds On 4/5 for United to come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/5 for United to Win to Nil and 25/1 for Southampton to Miss a Penalty.
CHELSEA v FULHAM
Derby Day Sunday sees Fulham travel the short distance over West London to Stamford Bridge for the early Sunday afternoon football live on Sky Sports.
Chelsea lost their unbeaten run at Wembley early Saturday evening losing 3-1 to a superb Tottenham side. Having been thoroughly outplayed for most of the game, Olivier Giroud scored a late consolation after coming on as a substitute midway through the 2nd-half. The defending by the Blues left a lot to be desired and Spurs took advantage and leap-frogged their opponents to send Chelsea down to 4th in the Premier League table. Maurizio Sarri will regroup his troops and will definitely fancy his chances against new boys Fulham.
It’s been a couple of years since the Fulham faithful have gone to the Bridge and they will relish this short trip. New Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri takes his Fulham troops to his old stamping ground. The irony in his appointment at Craven Cottage was whilst in charge at Chelsea, the Italians 1st signing was Slavisa Jokanovic. Claudio got off to the best possible start at the Cottage getting a brilliant 3-2 win against Southampton and ex-Fulham boss Mark Hughes.
After excelling in Fulham’s Promotion to the Premier League, Ryan Sessegnon has found life in the Top Flight difficult, but after a couple of weeks under the guidance of Claudio Ranieri, Ryan had a superb game against the Saints and it was noticeable that he played further forward helping Aleksandar Mitrovic to get 2 goals, his 2nd being the winner after Southampton had equalised. Andre Schurrle put the Cottages in front in the 1st-half. The strange thing about Fulhams great win against Southampton was that, after Huddersfield’s win at Wolves, Fulham fell to the Bottom of the Premier League. Maybe a bit harsh, but that’s the Premier League.
This will be a tough game for Fulham but Claudio has the experience and know how to keep his men grounded and will have a game plan up his sleeve on how to deal with the Blues.
This is a midday kickoff and Chelsea will have played in the Europa League on Thursday night so team selection and fitness will be key and Claudio will know this.
Bet 365 offer Chelsea at Odds On 1/8, the Draw at 8/1 and a massive 14/1 for Fulham to shock Chelsea and come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 1/1 Evens that Chelsea Win and Over 3.5 Goals and 10/1 that Fulham Score in Both Halves.
ARSENAL v TOTTENHAM
Round 2 of Derby Day Sunday sees Tottenham travel to North London rivals Arsenal in this live game on Sky Sports.
Arsenal got a well deserved 2-1 win last Sunday on the south coast against Bournemouth. The Gunners were helped on their way on the half-hour mark when Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma scored an own goal. The Cherries equalised in 1st-half stoppage time but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the Gooners winner midway through the 2nd-half to give Arsenal all 3 points and move them to just a point behind Chelsea in 5th place in the Premier League.
That goal takes Pierre-Emerick’s tally to 8 for the season so far which is the same as Sergio Aguero at the Top of the goal scoring charts. After a couple of 1-1 Draws for Arsenal, they will cherish that win against the Cherries and the Gunners faithful will relish this chance to get one over their North London rivals.
Tottenham got arguably the result of Game Week 13 beating the previously unbeaten Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley. Dele Alli got Spurs off to the perfect start capitalising on some very poor defending by the Blues and heading the ball past the helpless Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa. Harry Kane got his obligatory goal midway through the 1st-half and Son Heung-Min got a superb individual goal in the 2nd-half to give Spurs all 3 points despite a late consolation from Chelsea.
That win meant Tottenham leapfrogged Chelsea in the Premier League table and now sit 3rd, 3 points ahead of their North London rivals.
Tottenham play in the Champions League at Wembley on Wednesday night against Inter Milan, whilst Arsenal play on Thursday night in the Europa League and have to travel a mammoth 3000-mile round-trip to Ukraine to face Vorskla. That could be key to this game and team selection for the Thursday night trip is vital.
This game last season was played in mid-November and the Gunners got the better of Spurs with Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez getting the decisive goals in the 2-0 win.
Bet 365 offer Arsenal as slight favourites at 3/2, the Draw at 12/5 and 17/10 for Tottenham to be Top North London boys and come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 10/1 for a 2-2 Draw and 2/1 that Arsenal Score in Both Halves and the same 2/1 that Tottenham also score in Both Halves.
LIVERPOOL v EVERTON
Third and final Round of Derby Day Sunday sees the Merseysiders go head-to-head at Anfield live on Sky Sports.
Both come into this game at Anfield off the back of great wins.
Liverpool got a great result away at Vicarage Rd, beating Watford 3-0, even playing the last 10 minutes with 10 men after Jordan Henderson received a 2nd yellow and ultimately a red. After going in at half-time all square at 0-0, Mo Salah got Liverpool’s 1st.
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a beautiful free kick to make it 2-0 and after Jordan had been sent off, Roberto Firmino made it 3-0 to give the Reds all 3 points and continue Liverpool’s unbeaten run. With Chelsea losing against Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City are now the only 2 teams that remain unbeaten.
This will be a tough test against their Merseyside rivals after the midweek Champions League game against Paris St Germain but Anfield is a fortress for the Reds at the moment and with home advantage, Liverpool won’t be too worried.
Everton beat Cardiff 1-0 on Saturday and come into this Merseyside Derby on a 3-game unbeaten run. Gylfi Sigurdsson got the all-important goal against Cardiff and that takes the Icelandic stars tally to 6 for the season so far which is an excellent return. Everton are quietly going about their business and are comfortably in 6th place in the Premier League. Comfortably because they only have Manchester United near them. However, the Toffees are 5 points from 5th placed Arsenal. The glimmer of hope Everton can take from this challenge against Liverpool is that the Reds play in Paris on Wednesday night and Marco Silva has all week to prepare Everton.
This game last season was played at virtually the same time at the beginning of December and finished in a 1-1 Draw. Mo Salah gave the Reds a 1-0 lead just before half-time. Wayne Rooney equalised for his boyhood hero’s midway through the 2nd-half by way of a penalty.
Bet 365 offer Liverpool at Odds On 4/11, the Draw at 15/4 and 15/2 for Everton to be Top Merseyside boys and come away with all 3 points.
Bet 365 offer 11/1 that Liverpool Win 3-1 and 11/8 that there are Over 3.5 Goals.
Home Win 3–1