Sutton’s Premier League & Carabao Cup predictions v Defoe

22 February 2024 0 By Total Football News
Sutton's Predictions

Liverpool are chasing four trophies this season and are looking to lift their first on Sunday when they play Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final – but how much will the Reds be weakened by injuries?

BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton said: “The Liverpool team that beat Luton on Wednesday had five changes from the side that beat Chelsea on 31 January, and I am left wondering if their big guns are going to be fit?

“If they aren’t, Chelsea have a real chance. This is a one-off game and I don’t know why, but I have a feeling about Chelsea, even if I don’t think they would beat Liverpool under any other circumstances.”

As well as the Carabao Cup final, Sutton is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches again this season, against a variety of guests.

For this weekend’s games, and Sunday’s big game from Wembley, he takes on former England striker Jermain Defoe.

‘Defoe’, a new feature-length biography about the 41-year-old’s life and professional career, is in UK cinemas for one night only on 29 February.

“I’ve not seen the completed version yet,” Defoe told BBC Sport. “I don’t want to see it before the premiere, I want to watch it all on the night.

“The stuff I’ve seen, of course I’m happy with it. It was the right time to tell my story, for people to understand who I am and where I came from. Hopefully they enjoy it.”

Jermain DefoeDefoe scored more than 300 senior goals in his professional career before retiring in 2022. He started work as Tottenham’s under-18s coach later that year

The film tells Defoe’s life story from his childhood in east London to his current position as a coach at Tottenham’s academy, and his ambition to be a top-flight manager.

“I didn’t have it easy as a kid, but I wouldn’t change anything,” Defoe explained.

“I wouldn’t change my journey because my background meant my mindset from a young age was that I needed to work harder than the person next to me.

“So, for me, everything was like a competition. Even when I went to Lilleshall [the Football Association’s former School of Excellence] or when I signed for West Ham when I was 16, I thought the same way.

“I joined West Ham from Charlton for £1.6m before I had even kicked a ball but I only walked into the building with potential, that was all. I knew there were no guarantees that I was going to make it.

“I wanted to make my family proud and I knew to do that, I had to work hard. That meant, whatever the person next to me was doing, I had to do more.”

Defoe went on to score 162 Premier League goals for West Ham, Spurs, Portsmouth and Sunderland, placing him ninth on the competition’s all-time scoring list, and win 57 England caps.

“I always gave everything, because I always felt I had something to prove,” he said. “My life could have been very different with the distractions I had around me, so I feel blessed and I am grateful for what I achieved.

“I felt like some things in my career were meant to be, but I had to work hard too though, because talent alone is not enough.

“You can’t just think ‘oh yeah, I’m doing well, I’m going to be a footballer’ because if you don’t put the hard yards in too, you won’t make it – I don’t care how good you are.

“I see kids in academies who are the best players but don’t have the right mindset. Then there are the ones who might not be in the most talented group but they are willing to work hard every day, and they keep on improving. That was the way I always saw it.”

Jermain DefoeAs well as detailing his career, ‘Defoe’ also tells the story of his life off the pitch

One of the players who inspired him as a boy was Arsenal striker Ian Wright, who moved to West Ham a few months before Defoe joined the Hammers.

“Growing up, I loved watching Wrighty, copying his movement and studying his finishing,” Defoe said. “Then, the day I arrive at West Ham, he is the first person I see.

“I am quite spiritual, so this is what I mean when I say some things are meant to be. What are the chances that a young kid from the East End, who is totally obsessed with Ian Wright, just happens to be in the same building as him on the day I sign my first professional contract?

“Wrighty was not just there at the same time, he helped me as much as he could. Joe Cole was in the West Ham youth team with me and he always said it was like the master and the apprentice. He [Wright] was coming to the end of his career then, while I was at right at the start. I was a sponge, and I soaked up everything I could.

“We used to sit together and speak for hours. He would hold on to my kit in training so I would time my runs better, and we would practise finishing together too.

“It all meant that when I made my first-team debut the following season in a League Cup tie against Walsall, I was confident and I was ready.

“I scored within about six minutes of getting on the pitch and it was a brilliant feeling, but it just didn’t happen out of nothing.

“I knew it was all down to the hard work I had put in on the training pitch, and that’s the message I pass on to young players I work with now, when I am trying to get the best out of them.”

Chris Sutton and Jermain Defoe were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

When?ResultSuttonJermain
SUNDAY, 25 FEBRUARY
Chelsea v Liverpoolx-x1-2 AET1-2

AET = After extra-time

When?ResultSuttonJermain
WEDNESDAY, 21 FEBRUARY
Liverpool v Luton4-12-04-1
FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY
Chelsea v TottenhamP-PP-PP-P
SATURDAY, 24 FEBRUARY
Aston Villa v Nott’m Forestx-x2-03-1
Brighton v Evertonx-x1-23-1
Crystal Palace v Burnleyx-x1-01-1
Man Utd v Fulhamx-x2-12-1
Bournemouth v Man Cityx-x1-31-3
Arsenal v Newcastlex-x2-12-1
SUNDAY, 25 FEBRUARY
Wolves v Sheff Utdx-x2-02-0
MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY
West Ham v Brentfordx-x1-22-2

Chelsea’s game against Tottenham has been postponed because Chelsea are in the Carabao Cup final. Liverpool’s fixture against Luton was brought forward for the same reason.

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, 24 FEBRUARY

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest

Both of these teams won last weekend, and it feels like Nottingham Forest have picked up a bit even if their results have not always reflected their improvement.

Villa’s brilliant home form has dropped off – they have lost their past three games there in all competitions – but that is only a blip. Ollie Watkins is back in form and they should return to winning ways on Saturday.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Jermain’s prediction: 3-1

This was the game at the end of last season where Everton absolutely demolished Brighton. Sean Dyche’s side were brilliant that night, and their win went a long way towards keeping them up.

Everton are badly in need of a repeat of that result this time, too. Although they have drawn three of their past four games, they haven’t won in the Premier League since 16 December.

Brighton have been back in the goals recently after a spell at the start of the year where they could not score, but I am going to back Everton to nick this one.

They will have the same gameplan they used when they beat the Seagulls in May, which is to defend deep and counter-attack quickly. If it works again, they will win.