Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton v Gladiators star Bionic

28 March 2024 0 By Total Football News
Sutton's Predictions

Contenders, ready! BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton has been crushing all-comers this season, but could he finally have met his match?

Standing in his way this week is mighty 6ft 6in Gladiators star Bionic, who is warming up for Saturday’s Grand Final of the iconic superhumans gameshow by taking on Sutton at predicting Premier League scores – sadly we could not arrange for pugil sticks to be involved.

“I would love to take on Chris at a power game like Duel, but I don’t think he would last too long with me on the podium,” Bionic said.

“There are a few games like Gauntlet or The Wall, where if you are quick and nimble, it is going to help you, but that doesn’t really apply to Chris either.

“The pundit I’d really like to see on Gladiators is Micah Richards. Imagine him on Duel – he would give it a real go!

“‘Big Meeks’ is looking good at the moment and he has clearly been hitting the gym. Chris? Not so much.”

You can see Bionic in the Gladiators Grand Final on Saturday from 17:50 GMT on BBC One and iPlayer.

Gladiators star Bionic
Bionic has 48cm biceps and can deadlift 300kg – that’s the same as lifting 66 PS5 consoles

Middlesbrough fan Bionic, whose real name is Matty Campbell, was a talented footballer as a teenager and came close to having a professional career before taking up bodybuilding.

“I loved playing outfield but I ended up becoming a goalkeeper almost by accident really,” Bionic told BBC Sport.

“When I was about 14, my team’s keeper got injured during a cup game so our manager just threw the tallest kid in goal – the tallest kid being me.

“I ended up making about 20 saves but we still lost 7-0, so you can imagine how bad we were that day!

“But the opposition manager was a scout for Middlesbrough and despite losing 7-0 I still got scouted. A week later I was training with their first-team goalkeepers – Jason Steele, Danny Coyne and Connor Ripley.

“They threw me in at the deep end really. I think all the keepers at the club always trained together but it was still pretty crazy for me, because I had never played in goal before that game.

“I was also a massive Boro fan so I went from watching them at the Riverside a week earlier to training with them, out of nothing really.

“I never got signed from there because I had never done it before, but that led to me thinking that I would give it a go and see what it was like to be a goalkeeper, and I started playing in goal permanently.

“From then on, I was one of those kids who never quite had enough to make it. I was in and out of clubs for trials all the time, places like Derby County and Peterborough, but I never quite got there in terms of a contract.

“Being honest, I think my height was the main attraction because at 14 or 15 I was 6ft 3in so clubs were just like, ‘let’s give him a go’.

“The game has evolved a lot since then and, these days, it’s just as important how a keeper is on the ball. I was actually pretty good with my feet as well, but I just never quite made it in terms of being signed up.”

Gladiators star Bionic
Bionic would love to see Middlesbrough win promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 2017. “It’s where we belong!” he said. “We are only seven points off the Championship play-offs but our form has been like a yo-yo all season – you never know what you are going to get, which is typical Boro!”

Bionic says he found there was “life after football” when he discovered the gym while recovering from a car accident when he was 17, and he is keen to get the message across to other budding players who don’t make the grade.

“I was involved in a car crash which put me out of football for about eight months and, after that, I was never the same,” he explained. “I could never get going to where I was before and, from that point, my passion switched from football to the weights in the gym – and the rest is history.

“Football really phased out from there, because I was already becoming frustrated going to clubs and being let go, time and time again. There is more help in place now for kids who get released but I know it’s hard to go through that at a young age.

“When it happens to you, you think you are the only one and you are left thinking ‘I am not good enough’ while you see the rest of your mates signing contracts.

“I’ve been there and, if it has happened to anyone who is reading this, then just remember it is not the end of the world, even if it feels like it at the time.

“I found something that I actually enjoyed more than football and it led to what is happening now with Gladiators. It has been absolutely amazing, so I am really glad I made the decisions I did.”

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

When?ResultSuttonBionic
SATURDAY, 30 MARCH
Newcastle v West Hamx-x2-11-2
Bournemouth v Evertonx-x1-13-2
Chelsea v Burnleyx-x2-03-0
Nott’m Forest v Crystal Palacex-x1-02-1
Sheff Utd v Fulhamx-x0-20-2
Tottenham v Lutonx-x4-12-0
Aston Villa v Wolvesx-x2-12-2
Brentford v Man Utdx-x2-21-3
SUNDAY, 31 MARCH
Liverpool v Brightonx-x3-12-0
Man City v Arsenalx-x1-01-1

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

SUTTON’S PREDICTIONS

SATURDAY, 30 MARCH

Newcastle v West Ham

Newcastle v West Ham (12:30 GMT)

Newcastle’s hopes of a trophy ended when they were knocked out of the FA Cup before the international break so it feels like a big end to the season for their manager Eddie Howe, starting now.

The same applies to West Ham boss David Moyes too, because there has been plenty of speculation about his future too, as well as criticism from fans.

But the Hammers are still in Europe, with a Europa League quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen to look forward to, while Newcastle’s campaign has unravelled a bit in the past few weeks.

League position is all Newcastle have to play for now and I don’t think Howe can afford to let this campaign peter out. They are four points behind seventh-place West Ham with a game in hand, so a win here would be massive for them.

And, while Howe’s side have not been as strong defensively this season, I still always feel they have a goal in them. That’s why I reckon they will edge this.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Bionic’s prediction: Newcastle have been very up and down all season. Their schedule affected them at the start and they have had a number of injuries as well. West Ham have been more consistent and I think they will take the win here. 1-2

Bournemouth v Everton

Bournemouth v Everton (15:00)

I keep thinking Everton will turn a corner and get the win they have been waiting so long for, but it has not happened yet.

They were a bit unlucky to lose to Manchester United in their last game, on 9 March, but things are not going to change until they start taking the chances they are creating.

Bournemouth’s comeback against Luton essentially means they are safe with 10 games to go, which is a position Everton would love to be in.

Sean Dyche’s side beat the Cherries at Goodison Park in October but I just don’t see them winning this one, even though they are desperate for the points.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Bionic’s prediction: Everton badly need a win but I look at what Dominic Solanke is doing this season and I am going to go with Bournemouth. 3-2

Chelsea v Burnley

Chelsea v Burnley (15:00)

I really cannot win with Burnley, who beat Brentford at Turf Moor last time out after I had given up on them ever getting anything at home.

I don’t seem to do much better with Chelsea, whose inconsistency for most of this season has made predicting their results very difficult, but I am pretty confident I will be right about them this time.

Recent results for Mauricio Pochettino’s side have actually been a lot more steady and, with the FA Cup semi-finals to come, they can still finish a disappointing season on a positive note.

Chelsea were too strong for Burnley earlier in the season, and I am expecting the same story at Stamford Bridge.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Bionic’s prediction: Chelsea should have too much quality. I am backing Cole Palmer to get a couple of goals. 3-0

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace (15:00)

Nottingham Forest should have beaten Luton in their last game, and the points they dropped there could prove pivotal in their fight to stay up.

This is Forest’s first game since the points deduction that saw them fall below the Hatters and drop into the relegation zone but they have been in wretched form recently, and I am not sure what kind of reaction we will see from them here.

Crystal Palace’s last game was a draw against Luton too – I was at Selhurst Park to see it, but I still don’t know what to expect from them under new boss Oliver Glasner.

Glasner has had a bit of time on the training ground with some of his players in the past couple of weeks so we might see some signs of that here.

I just don’t see Forest losing this one, though. The big question is whether they will do enough to win it.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-0

Bionic’s prediction: The points deduction might rally Forest a bit – they need it to, because their form has not been very good – but their fans will get behind them, which should help. 2-1

Sheff Utd v Fulham

Sheff Utd v Fulham (15:00)

Fulham blew Tottenham away in their last game and even though they are not quite the same force on the road, they should be too strong for Sheffield United.

Marco Silva’s side have got better and better as the season has gone on and, in Rodrigo Muniz, they have got a striker who is bang in form.

We know the Blades will dig in and work hard but at the moment that is pretty much all they have got. It won’t be enough.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-2

Bionic’s prediction: Fulham have surprised a lot of people this season with the way they have gone about their business. Muniz did literally nothing for Boro when he was on loan with us last season but he cannot stop scoring at the moment. 0-2

Tottenham v Luton

Tottenham v Luton (15:00)

I remember watching Tottenham play at Kenilworth Road in October when they should have been out of sight after the first 10 minutes, but still ended up nicking the points after Yves Bissouma was sent off before half-time.

I am not expecting Spurs to make such hard work of this game, and we should see a response from them after their heavy defeat against Fulham.

I admire Luton, and I am a fan of their approach under manager Rob Edwards. They are more expansive than they were at the start of the season, and I understand why, but maybe it is time for them to play with a bit more balance.

If Luton go to Tottenham and go toe-to-toe with Ange Postecoglou’s side, that is very brave. It paid off when they went to Newcastle, and nearly won but I don’t see it working again here.

Sutton’s prediction: 4-1

Bionic’s prediction: I really want Luton to stay up – I love Rob Edwards and what he is doing, and his side are fighters. They don’t always get the results they deserve though. Ross Barkley is playing so well, he could win this game for them single-handedly but, being realistic, I don’t think they will have enough to go to Spurs and win. 2-0

Aston Villa v Wolves

Aston Villa v Wolves (17:30)

Wolves were on the wrong end of an upset when they lost to Coventry in the FA Cup last time out, but this has still been a good season for them. They can still finish it strongly but at the moment they are stretched by injuries.

That’s one of the reasons I fancy Aston Villa here. They were humiliated by Tottenham in their last home game and that is definitely not going to happen again this time.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Bionic’s prediction: Wolves are another side who have surprised everyone – I had them down to be relegated at the start of the season but now I see their manager Gary O’Neil being linked with the Manchester United job – it’s crazy how much things can change in six months. Villa are having a great season too but they are just having a little wobble at the moment, so I am going for a draw. 2-2

Brentford v Man Utd

Brentford v Man Utd (20:00)

This is an interesting one. Brentford thumped Manchester United 4-0 in this fixture last season but the Bees are in terrible form at the moment with just one point from their past six games.

Manchester United beat them at Old Trafford in October but only after two Scott McTominay goals in stoppage time, and they are not exactly flying either.

United will score but I can still see this being another tricky afternoon for Erik ten Hag’s side, and they might have to settle for a point.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-2

Bionic’s prediction: United are still a team where you don’t know what you are going to get. Even when they win, they don’t always play well but I am going to back them here. Brentford are struggling and if Ivan Toney doesn’t turn up then they have got no chance. 1-3

SUNDAY, 31 MARCH

Liverpool v Brighton

Liverpool v Brighton (14:00 BST)

There is talk about Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi possibly being the next Liverpool manager when Jurgen Klopp leaves in the summer but this is not really an audition for the the job because the Reds’ new sporting director Richard Hughes is supposedly a big fan of his anyway.

Regardless of where that subplot goes, the Seagulls will definitely fancy their chances on Sunday.

Brighton have been a bit of a bogey team for Liverpool recently, especially at Anfield where they have not been beaten since 2019.

I can see why this has been such a dangerous fixture for Liverpool because of the way that Brighton play, but if the Reds are anywhere near their best then I still think they will win this time.

They have to really. If they want to win the title, they have to win games like this.

There might be a bit of anger from Liverpool after the way they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup last time out, and that might help.

Mohamed Salah was not at his best in that game, but he has had a couple of weeks to get his fitness levels up and he could make the difference here.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Bionic’s prediction: This will be quite straightforward for Liverpool. 2-0

Man City v Arsenal

Man City v Arsenal (16:30)

I can see this game being as cagey as when these two sides met at the Emirates in October and Arsenal grabbed a late winner.

I don’t think there will be a lot of goals this time, either. Again, it is going to be decided by what happens in the big moments rather than one side dominating play, but that just makes it harder to call.

When I think about City’s form I am not exactly convinced by some of their recent performances because they have not been as free flowing they usually are.

They are also yet to beat any other teams in the top five in the league this season… but then you check their results and they have still won 20 of their past 22 games in all competitions.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are top, having scored the most goals in the top flight this season, and conceded the fewest. They also come into this game on the back of eight straight league wins.

If City lose this then they will be four points behind the Gunners with nine games to go and, on the face of it, it could be curtains for them.

But, at times like this, I judge City on how they have delivered in the past, especially at the Etihad.

That’s why I am still going to back Pep Guardiola’s side, even though they have not quite been at the level they reached last season.

Whatever happens here, though, the title race is not over for anyone. All we have learned so far is that we have got three incredible teams, and I don’t see any of them dropping away before the end of the season.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-0

Bionic’s prediction: I sat and thought about this one for about 10 minutes. My head says draw but my gut feeling is that Arsenal are going to nick something and I did not know what to go with, especially with City defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker being doubts after getting injured playing for England – a lot depends on whether one or both of them makes it.

I have ended up going for a draw in the end but I don’t think anyone can confidently predict this one, because of what Arsenal are doing this season. 1-1

Bionic on the title race: I have always had a soft spot for Arsenal – although obviously I am Boro through and through! – but the obvious narrative would be Jurgen Klopp winning the title in his last season at Liverpool. That would be crazy, but I just think a late City charge is going to break the hearts of all those Liverpool fans, and that is what I am going with.

How did Sutton do last time?

Sutton is making predictions for every Premier League game this season against a variety of guests.

Before the international break, he got one correct result from the four Premier League games in week 29 but it was an exact score for Luton’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest, giving him 40 points so far.

He beat Anna Friedberg and Emily Linden from alt-rock band Friedberg, who also got one correct result but they did not manage an exact score, leaving them on 10 points with six games still to be played.

It goes down as a win for Sutton for now, with the final outcome to be decided when the remaining games are played.

Sutton was right about the outcome of two of the four FA Cup quarter-finals, the same as his guests, but those scores do not count towards the leaderboard or their total scores.

Anthony Joshua150
Ross from Twin Atlantic140
Eddie Hearn130
CBeebies presenter Rhys Stephenson120
Barry Can’t Swim110
Anish Kumar100
Fabian Edwards, Joelah from 1Xtra, KSI, Midas the Jagaban90
Jermain Defoe, ‘Hollywood’ Chris Dobey, Songer80
Chris Sutton78 (average after 29 weeks)
David Earl, Keke from 1Xtra, Jazzie Zonzolo70
Dave from The Zutons, Tommy Fury, Joe from Nothing But Thieves, Sam from Twin Atlantic60
Gabe of Jamie Johnson FC, Ed Leigh, Tash from The Football Academy, Matthew Vaughn, Rick Witter50
AEW wrestler Claudio Castagnoli. Tom Ogden and Joe Donovan from Blossoms, Declan McKenna, JayO40
Vigil star Dougray Scott, Felix White30
Willie J Healey, Bria Keely of Better Joy20
Suggs, Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring, Anna Friedberg and Emily Linden from Friedberg10
data-reactid=".4d61ny3sey.0.0.0.1.$table-139.1.$row-1">
Chris Sutton2,250
Guests1,960

How did you get on?

You were wrong about all four of the Premier League games, with only 14% of you backing Fulham to beat Tottenham and 16% predicting that Burnley would overcome Brentford.

Like Chris, Anna and Emily, you were right about two of the FA Cup ties, although again these don’t count towards the tables below.

Everyone was correct about Manchester City and Chelsea going through, but only 23% went with Manchester United to get past Liverpool at Old Trafford and just 8% thought Coventry would beat Wolves at Molineux.

=1. Chris1/4
=1. Guests1/4
3. You0/4

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

1. You159/283
2. Chris 153/283
3. Guests140/283

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This article was originally posted on https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/68655493