We know, we know! It's NYE - first-stepping, midnight kisses and partying! However, before you get going, don't forget it's Week 22 of the FREE-TO-ENTER StanJames Predictor Competition. Just the five games this week, which we'll be watching on the couch with you!
The first match kicks off at 12.30pm, so make sure you get your scores in before then as we cover all Five of Monday's matches for Week 22.
So, what do I have to do to enter this FREE COMPETITION?
All you have to do is head over to our Predictor Competition, complete the quick registration form then simply enter your selections for the upcoming Premier League fixtures. Three points are awarded for a correct score and one for a correct result. The overall winner will bag a £25 Free Bet and anyone who finishes in the top 25 players will receive a £5 free bet.**
Don't forget, in order to collect your prize you must have placed at least one bet (any stake) in the 14 days prior to playing. Full T&Cs can be found here!
** Free bets will be credited within 48 hours.
BRIGHTON 0 V 1 BOURNEMOUTH
Two points and one place separate these two, and this promises to be as tight as those positions might suggest. Bournemouth will be on a high from their 2-1 win over Everton, their first in 10 matches, especially as Brighton were held to a 0-0 draw at struggling Newcastle.
The sides have met twice already this season, Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe netting in a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture in September. Just four days later Josh King netted the extra-time winner to send Brighton crashing out of the League Cup.
Long-term absentee Steve Sidwell remains the only absentee for Chris Hughton. Josh King is hamstrung, whilst Jermain Defoe, Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith are long-term absentees.
What We Sayin'?
Brighton have been fairly solid at the Amex, a hard-to-beat side wo play to their strengths. However, they are the lowest scoring side outside the bottom three and therein lies their problem. If Bournemouth get their noses in front then that could be that. We’ll take a narrow away win, 0-1 pays 13/2. BTTS – No is 8/11.*
BURNLEY 2 V 1 LIVERPOOL
Burnley are without a win in four and now host a free-scoring Liverpool side who are scoring for fun, especially away from home, where they have scored more goals on their travels than any other side in the Premier League this season – including Man. City! The Clarets were held to a battling 0-0 draw at Huddersfield on Saturday and Sean Dyche will have been pleased with their attitude. Going forward, he knows his side can match most in the #PL – can they match Liverpool? Time will tell!
Goal machine Salah scored his 22nd and 23rd goal of the campaign, in all competitions, as the Reds came from behind to beat a lively Leicester. However, the Egyptian wonder signing was forced off with a knock, which may see Klopp revert to his policy of rotation… ah well, Saido Mane to threaten the Turf Moor fortress instead!
Burnley fans will breathe easier as James Tarkwoski returns to the fold. Chris Wood, who failed a late fitness test against Huddersfield is only 50/50 for this one. Heaton and Brady remain sidelined. For The Reds, Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno are all still sidelined, while Daniel Sturridge is a doubt.
What We Sayin'?
Burnley will feel that they should have beaten Man United after going 2-0 up. If they start in a similar vein they could give the Reds a real game. Having Tarkwoski back is a real boon and he’ll certainly beef up their defence. This is our ‘left-field’ prediction, but we’ll taking Burnley to frustrate, and ultimately, beat Liverpool today. 2-1 is a tempting 20/1. BTTS and over 2.5 goals returns 7/5, whilst Ashley Barnes as first GS is 6/1.*
LEICESTER 1 V 0 HUDDERSFIELD
Four + four = ? You tell us! Huddersfield are unbeaten in four, while Leicester haven’t won in four and a win for the Terriers would see them move level with the Foxes… so who’ll be the big dog today? With just one defeat in six for Wagner’s Terriers – against champions Chelsea at that – Huddersfield will have no qualms facing Leicester. The King Power can be a tough place to visit, but they’ll look to quieten the crowd and plant the seed of doubt early. Will it bloom, or will it flourish?
Leicester are starting games well, they are just not finishing them. Last week we predicted they would open the scoring against Liverpool before falling away and the same could happen today. Five without a win doesn’t make for fun reading for Leicester fans and they’ll want to put that right as soon as possible.
Ben Chilwell seems to have a serious dose of flu and is a doubt for this one. Robert Huth lacks match fitness but might be recalled to beef up the defence. Michael Hefele, Philip Billing and Jon Stankovic remain sidelined, along with long-term absentee Kachunga.
What We Sayin'?
Not sure about this one, TBH. Leicester to score first appeals (8/15), though Huddersfield will want to fight fire with fire and attack from the off. Can Leicester hold them at bay? We’ll take that as a yes, but not without a real scare along the way. 1-0 is 21/4. 1-0 with Vardy 1st GS returns 14/1.*
STOKE 2 V 2 NEWCASTLE
If ever there was a six-pointer, surely this is it! Mark Hughes rested a few of his team in Chelsea’s 5-0 battering of the Potters with one eye on this game. Psychologically that may have left its mark, but Stoke simply need to dust themselves down, square their shoulders and take on Newcastle mano-o-mano. Sitting 15th in the table, just two points clear of the relegation zone Hughes knows his side need to start picking up points – and lively!
Newcastle also know the import of this game. They sit in 16th, just a point behind Stoke, and whilst their 0-0 draw at Brighton won’t have had everyone singing their praises it was, at least, another point gained. The Toon players are really fighting for Rafa, and this could be the difference in a game that’s sure to be as nervous and cagey as any yet seen in the #PL this season.
Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Bruno Martins Indi, and Stephen Ireland are all out whilst Erik Pieters faces a late fitness test for the Potters. Florian Lejeune, Aleksander Mitrovic, Jesus Gamez, and Isaac Hayden remained injured for the Toon.
What We Sayin'?
As nervous and cagey as we think this will be, we can see goals in this… if only by way of error rather than brilliance. Neither are renown as being big scorers, so we’ll instantly snap up the BTTS and over 2.5 goals at 7/5. 2-2 is 12/1.
EVERTON 1 V 2 MAN UNITED
Everton v Manchester United is a strange one this season, as both teams are having indifferent terms. However, Everton, under Sam Allardyce are a totally different proposition to the team who rocked up at Old Trafford in September. Rooney has a new lease of life under Big Sam and the England legend is loving life at his spiritual home. True, they were on the losing end of a thriller against Bournemouth last time out – their first loss under Sam – but they’ll love taking on a stuttering United today.
United have gone four games without a win and were knocked-out of the League Cup by Bristol City. They had to come back from 2-0 down to draw with Burnley and followed that up with a 0-0 draw against Southampton. United are now in third place in the league and Jose will want to start 2018 with a bang, starting with victory over Everton at Goodison.
Ramiro Funes Mori, Maarten Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman remain out for Everton, whilst Ross Barkley is not yet match fit. Lukaku, stretchered off with a head injury last time out will be out for at least this game, joining Ibrahimovic on the injury table. Bailly and Carrick remain long-term absentees.
What We Sayin'?
Everton have developed a real solidity under Sam, with Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate looking a real partnership. However, should Manchester United win, they’ll set a record for most Premier League wins for a team against a specific opponent, and we’ll take them to do just that (4/5). Rooney to score first is 13/2, and you can see the ex-united star doing just that. BTTS and United win is 7/2.*
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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