Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton v Shed Seven singer Rick Witter

29 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

Sutton's Predictions

Liverpool are top of the Premier League, but will they start the new year with a bang when they face Newcastle on Monday?

BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton said: “I am still backing Manchester City to win the title, but I did think Liverpool would challenge them when I made my predictions at the start of the season.

“Liverpool are not always that convincing, but they have been very good at finding a way to win games even when they don’t play well – and they will find their shooting boots against the Magpies.”

Sutton is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches again this season, against a variety of guests.

For the fixtures taking place from 30 December to 2 January, he takes on Shed Seven singer and songwriter Rick Witter, who is a Manchester United fan.

Shed Seven’s new album, A Matter of Time, is released on 5 January.

Shed Seven singer Rick Witter (left)Witter (left) was born in Stockport and followed in his father’s footsteps by supporting Manchester United. He made his first visit to Old Trafford when he was five, but had to be a fan from afar after moving to Torquay aged six, Whitley Bay aged nine and then York when he was 11

Like most United fans, Witter hopes better times lie ahead at Old Trafford now Sir Jim Ratcliffe has taken control of United’s football operations, alongside a minority stake in the club, but he is not sure what should happen next.

“It has been such a frustrating season,” Witter told BBC Sport. “I can’t get my head around our lack of consistency, which makes it hard to comment about what needs to change.

“One minute we look almost unbeatable and you think ‘this is more like it’, then the next we are the worst thing you have ever seen, and it is difficult to explain why. You are just left wondering what is going on.

“We blow so hot and cold with our attitude too – sometimes the players look really up for it, but another day it seems like they can’t be bothered. It is such a weird scenario all round.

“Erik ten Hag has got a squad of players who on paper look like they could beat anyone, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening as much as it should.

“Then you have the soul-destroying thing of seeing how the stadium is leaking. It’s like there doesn’t seem to be any heart there at the minute, and it’s a real big shame. But I am hopeful that all changes – and quickly.

“I did an interview with the United website at the start of the season, when we had started quite well and I was quite jubilant about how Ten Hag was going to do really well.

“But from then on it has turned out to be a really weird journey that the team have been on. We are only halfway through the season, but when you see us crashing out of all these things that we were often winning, it doesn’t give you much hope.

“My feeling is that Ten Hag needs to get a few new players in who want to play for Manchester United. He has to do it quickly or he’s gone.”

Shed SevenShed Seven have had 15 top-40 singles and six top-40 albums in the UK. A Matter Of Time is their seventh studio album

Witter has a soft spot for York City too – he moved to York as a boy and it is where Shed Seven formed in 1990.

York, who are two points above the relegation zone in the National League, have been out of the Football League since 2016 and Witter feels a return could be some way off.

“York is a big enough city to deserve to have a club in the Football League and it still seems weird that we’re not,” Witter said.

“The aim is to get back, but the club’s been in what seemed like a transitional period for ages, so getting out of the National League North last season was a massive step forward.

“The problem York have had for a while is that they will get a good player and then sell him, and you are not going anywhere like that.”

Chris Sutton and Rick Witter were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

When?ResultSuttonRick
SATURDAY, 30 DECEMBER
Luton v Chelseax-x1-11-3
Aston Villa v Burnleyx-x2-04-0
Crystal Palace v Brentfordx-x1-11-1
Man City v Sheff Utdx-x3-03-0
Wolves v Evertonx-x0-12-2
Nott’m Forest v Man Utdx-x1-21-3
SUNDAY, 31 DECEMBER
Fulham v Arsenalx-x0-11-2
Tottenham v Bournemouthx-x3-11-1
MONDAY, 1 JANUARY
Liverpool v Newcastlex-x3-13-1
TUESDAY, 2 JANUARY
West Ham v Brightonx-x2-11-2

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

SUTTON’S PREDICTIONS

All matches kick off at 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated.

SATURDAY, 30 DECEMBER

Luton v Chelsea

Luton v Chelsea (12:30)

Luton are in the relegation zone, but they have an identity and a cause and they always look like they are excited about playing in the Premier League. I am not sure you can say the same about Chelsea, for all the money they spent in the summer transfer window.

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino named the club’s youngest Premier League team in Wednesday’s win over Crystal Palace, which came courtesy of a debatable late penalty. I’m not sure they deserved it, but at least it meant I got one of my predictions about them right for a change.

I was tempted to go with another Chelsea win this time too, because I don’t think the Hatters can keep their intensity going after such a busy Christmas period, but I am going to go with a draw.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Rick’s prediction: Luton have given a few teams a scare at Kenilworth Road, but I am basing this on the fact Chelsea really need a win. It will be close, though – 1-1 for a while, then Chelsea will get a couple of late goals. 1-3

Aston Villa v Burnley

Aston Villa v Burnley

Aston Villa have slipped up in their past two games, against Sheffield United and Manchester United, picking up one point when I thought they would take all six.

Villa manager Unai Emery said after their defeat at Old Trafford that he is still happy to have 39 points, and he was quite right to emphasise the fact they have over-achieved, but they are surely disappointed not to have pushed on in the past week.

Still, they should bounce back here. Burnley have picked up more points away (eight) than at home (three), but I don’t see them keeping Ollie Watkins quiet.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Rick’s prediction: Despite those past two results, Villa are having a great season. Going by the form of both sides, I can only see this being a big home win – so watch me look silly when Burnley take the points. 4-0

Crystal Palace v Brentford

Crystal Palace v Brentford

Palace have gone eight games without a win, while Brentford have lost their past four.

I still think they will both will stay up, but Brentford’s run in particular is a bit of a worry and is their worst in the top flight since January-February 2022, when they lost five in a row.

This is the sort of game which will probably be decided by the odd goal, but I can’t split the two sides. They are both mediocre at the moment, so I am going to go with a mediocre draw.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Rick’s prediction: This has got mid-table draw written all over it. 1-1

Man City v Sheff Utd

Man City v Sheff Utd

Sheffield United are bottom of the table, but we’ve seen some improvement since Chris Wilder took charge at the start of December.

I am not sure it will do them much good at Etihad Stadium, though. Manchester City became world champions over Christmas, but they had a decent festive period at home too, with their win at Everton plus teams above them dropping points.

United were competitive against City at the start of the season and only lost to a late Rodri goal, but their challenge here is to hang on in there.

I just don’t see them doing it, and it could end up as an avalanche if City score early.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-0

Rick’s prediction: I was dreading doing this one. I love Sheffield and I wish the Blades well, but this is pretty much nailed on to be a comfortable home win. 3-0

Wolves v Everton

Wolves v Everton

This should be a really good game and is very tough to call.

Wolves have won their past two games, while Everton have lost both of theirs, but I still like what I see from the Toffees – they had a go against Tottenham and Manchester City and were unlucky to have nothing to show for it.

Wolves have been impressive too, and manager Gary O’Neil deserves a lot of credit for steering them into mid-table after walking into a mess when he took over just before the season. However, I fancy Everton to sneak this one.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-1

Rick’s prediction: I know Sean Dyche a little bit and he is a really nice fella – we played Nottingham Rock City in October and he came and had a few pints with us. Everton have done incredibly well since their points deduction and, although they come into this off the back of a couple of defeats, there is no way their heads will drop. 2-2

Nottingham Forest v Man Utd

Nottingham Forest v Man Utd (17:30)

I really don’t know what to expect here.

Manchester United were phenomenal in their second-half comeback to beat Villa, and I was really pleased to see Rasmus Hojlund get off the mark in the Premier League.

As for Nottingham Forest, I don’t know where their brilliant win at Newcastle or Chris Wood’s hat-trick came from.

What will both teams do next? I am going to go with United to maintain their momentum, but I can’t say I am totally sure.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Rick’s prediction: When I started thinking about these predictions it was before Forest appointed Nuno Espirito Santo, and my first thought was a United win. I am going to stick to my guns because, after beating Villa, we desperately need to go on a winning streak. We also need to be beating teams near the bottom of the table. 1-3

Rick on United’s top-four hopes: That might be pushing it, but I’d like to think that, now we are out of Europe and the Carabao Cup, it gives us the opportunity to concentrate on getting back in the Champions League next season. All it takes is a run of games and you are back in the mixing pot, as we showed in Erik ten Hag’s first season.

SUNDAY, 31 DECEMBER

Fulham v Arsenal

Fulham v Arsenal (14:00)

This is a huge game for Arsenal after their surprise defeat by West Ham.

The Gunners are widely considered to be a bit more streetwise than last season, but they have 10 fewer points after 19 games than they did in the the 2022-23 campaign, when they were out in front for so long.

This time they are playing catch-up to Liverpool, with City hot on their heels – Pep Guardiola’s side would go above them if they win their game in hand.

Fulham have hit a bit of a bump in the road, with three straight defeats, but it is not long since they were flying and scoring loads of goals.

Fulham will make it hard, but Arsenal will find a way of winning this one – they really have to.

There’s been plenty of talk already about how manager Mikel Arteta needs to sign another striker in January. Brentford’s Ivan Toney has been linked for a while, but he has not played for months because of his suspension. He will have been training, but how much match sharpness does he have?

Arsenal are trying to win the title, so they haven’t got time to wait for anyone to get up to speed. If we are looking at the names that are supposedly within their grasp, Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke stands out as the best candidate.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-1

Rick’s prediction: Fulham’s form has dropped off a bit, but they have still had a good month in terms of scoring goals. I was looking at my Fantasy Football team and thinking about sticking a few of their forwards in it. I am still backing Arsenal to edge it, though. 1-2

Tottenham v Bournemouth

Tottenham v Bournemouth (14:00)

What Arsenal do in January is going to be vital in deciding how they finish their season, but the same applies to Tottenham.

Spurs’ defeat against Brighton was a sore one for manager Ange Postecoglou, who is without injured defender Cristian Romero for up to five weeks. He is such a key player, so that is a real stinker for them.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, cannot stop winning. They are on fire, and so is Dominic Solanke with eight goals in seven games.

I can’t see Spurs’ makeshift defence keeping him out, but they will come out on top. It might take a Postecoglou rocket to get them back on track, but they have plenty of creative players and can cut Bournemouth open.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Rick’s prediction: Bournemouth are doing well and Spurs are like us at the minute – a bit hot and cold. It must be so frustrating supporting them too. 1-1

MONDAY, 1 JANUARY

Liverpool v Newcastle

Liverpool v Newcastle (20:00)

With one win in four Premier League games, this has turned into an even bigger match for Newcastle manager Eddie Howe, whose side have struggled on the road all season.

Newcastle need to keep faith with Howe, but after this game they face north-east rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup and then host Manchester City, so they have to find a win from somewhere.

I don’t see it happening at Anfield, though. A lot of people are banging on about Arsenal challenging City for the title, but Liverpool are the team who will push them closest.

Liverpool will miss Mohamed Salah when he goes away with Egypt to the Africa Cup of Nations in mid-January, but they have enough firepower to win without him – and he will be around to play in this one.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Rick’s prediction: Newcastle have lots of injuries and seem to have lost a bit of form. Liverpool are going to up the ante, so I am going with them to win. 3-1

Who do you want to win the Premier League this season – and who do you think will win it? Well, it’s not going to be us. I would say that Arsenal have got the biggest chance of stopping City but – and I don’t mean to sound fickle because I used to love the Tottenham home kit where the sleeves went down to the elbows – I want Spurs to win it.

TUESDAY, 2 JANUARY

West Ham v Brighton

West Ham v Brighton (19:30)

West Ham sucker-punched Arsenal on Thursday, as they so often do against teams who really come on to them – they did it against Tottenham at the start of December, and it was the same story when they beat Brighton at the beginning of the season.

The Seagulls will fancy themselves to put that right on the back of their win over Spurs, but you just know that the Hammers will be happy to sit in and frustrate them.

Mohammed Kudus and Jarrod Bowen are so important to West Ham and the way that they hit teams on the break, and I can see them playing a key role here too.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Rick’s prediction: I am going for Brighton to win this for no other reason than it looked good when I wrote it down on my piece of paper. 1-2

How did Sutton do last time?

Sutton got three correct results from 10 games from the festive fixtures in week 19, including one exact score, for a total of 60 points.

He beat Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring, who got one correct result, with no exact scores, giving him 10 points.

Anthony Joshua150
Eddie Hearn130
CBeebies presenter Rhys Stephenson120
Barry Can’t Swim110
Anish Kumar100
Fabian Edwards, Joelah from 1Xtra, KSI, Midas the Jagaban90
Chris Sutton79 (average after 19 weeks)
‘Hollywood’ Chris Dobey, David Earl, Keke from 1Xtra, Jazzie Zonzolo70
Tommy Fury, Joe from Nothing But Thieves60
Gabe of Jamie Johnson FC, Tash from The Football Academy50
AEW wrestler Claudio Castagnoli. Tom Ogden and Joe Donovan from Blossoms40
Vigil star Dougray Scott30
Willie J Healey, Felix White20
Suggs, Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring10
Chris Sutton1,500
Guests1,320
P19W10D5L4

How did you get on?

A few surprise results caught you out, as well as Chris and his guest.

Only 17% of you backed Manchester United to beat Aston Villa at Old Trafford, while 12% of you were right about West Ham winning at Arsenal… but the biggest shock was Nottingham Forest’s success at Newcastle. A mere 6% of you saw that coming.

1. You4/10
2. Chris3/10
3. Guest1/10

*Win, draw, loss prediction based on highest % of vote for each match.

1. You104/188
2. Chris96/188
3. Guests90/188

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