Manchester United vs Wolves, Tottenham vs Manchester City among games live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 30/01/20 2:41pm
The Premier League is back – and so is Charlie Nicholas with his top-flight predictions. Who’s he backing this weekend?
Chelsea are up and down. Is Michy Batshuayi a replacement for Tammy Abraham? No. Could he do a short-term job? Possibly. He is not a link-up player, but more of a penalty-box player and Abraham has more than that. But they have limited options ahead of Deadline Day. Some of the young players have gone slightly off the boil. Leicester will have had a lot taken out of them over the festive period. They were strong favourites against Aston Villa and failed to make the final. Brendan Rodgers will not like losing cup ties, as he had none of that with Celtic. Jamie Vardy came on and James Maddison played well, but they do not have balance right. There is a vulnerability at the back for Leicester and they will be questioning themselves. They have more than enough for the top four but both will be more than happy with a point from this one.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
What a game! It feels like a must-not-lose scenario. Bournemouth were pathetic against Arsenal, they were dreadful. What do Eddie Howe and his assistant do? The week before, they got a result as they went back to basics but is he trying to prove Dominic Solanke is the solution? He could be this weekend but I am not seeing it yet. Aston Villa will be mentally and physically tired. When you get success in the cup, it drains you. Bournemouth must not lose, but if they were to win, they could be out of the bottom three and jump a few positions.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: Hosts to edge it?
Super 6 fans might be having headaches over this one. Home advantage seems to be prevailing, with 36 per cent of players predicting a Bournemouth win, while 33 per cent are backing Carabao Cup finalists Aston Villa. Play Super 6 for free.
This is a very interesting game again. Will Sheffield United edge it 1-0 given they have been strong away from home all season? Or could Wilfried Zaha nick a penalty and a win for Crystal Palace? Palace could go level on points with Sheffield United if they win. Both sides deserve applause for how they have performed this term. It is a sensational season right across the Premier League table, with the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal all rebuilding. It’s a tough game to call but I’m going for a rare Sheffield United slip-up.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Crystal Palace 1-0 Sheffield United (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: Too close to call?
Only 12 per cent separates the three outcomes in this one. A steady 26 per cent of Super 6 competitors have backed the hosts, while 36 per cent are expecting Sheffield United to come away with all three points, with 38 hoping for the draw. Play Super 6 for free.
The Liverpool machine just rolls on. I did think they looked a little on edge against Wolves but they got through again and then strolled through at West Ham with minimum stress. The graft and determination is there and a break is just around the corner. They will not worry about the FA Cup scenario and have some time off. Southampton have been impressive. Ralph Hasenhuttl is brilliant – I did not see the need to get rid of him or ever think he was under any pressure in his position. He has been courageous and he has the energy back in Southampton. He has Danny Ings, Nathan Redmond and Shane Long all playing well for him. I think he may go with a back five for the Liverpool match – who can blame him? Saints are dangerous, but when Liverpool pin teams in, they do not let you off the hook and it is the wide men that do that to you. There is no relief through the midfield either. I can’t see this machine faltering. I am so impressed.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Liverpool 3-0 Southampton (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: No Mane, no problem?
Sadio Mane is a doubt for Liverpool’s clash with Southampton but 93.7 per cent of Super 6 players are backing Liverpool to score two or more, regardless. What scoreline takes your fancy? Play Super 6 for free.
It is a cracking game for differing reasons. We know the position that Norwich are in, while talk of a Newcastle takeover is cranking up again. This is the one game where Steve Bruce could get his side to put a gap between them and the rest. There are bundles of injuries for them but Danny Rose looks to be on his way in. The past has been hanging over Newcastle; Bruce and Rafael Benitez have differing CVs but Bruce is very good under these circumstances. It does not always work, he sometimes takes a hit, but he always seems to find himself in a situation where he never gets the credit he deserves. Is it just the 40 points that are required this season for safety? I’m backing Newcastle to move closer to that with a win here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Newcastle 2-1 Norwich (7/2 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: Geordie joy?
A hefty 29.7 per cent of Super 6 entrants have gone with the same scoreline as Charlie in this clash, while 74 per cent have backed Newcastle to move further up the table. What score will you predict, with £250k up for grabs? Play Super 6 for free.
This is another belter. Everton are sitting pretty in 12th on 30 points. If Watford win, they close the gap to four points. I have done enough of Everton this season, and I still cannot work them out. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been brilliant, their best player by a mile, but I do not get the midfield or the balance at the back. Bernard can be taken off after 45 or 60 minutes – he creates stuff, but he just does not score. I am so unsure of them and cannot make them out. Watford’s honesty is probably going to get them over the line here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Watford 2-1 Everton (10/1 with Sky Bet)
Super 6: Hornets to bounce back?
Watford suffered their first loss in seven with defeat to Aston Villa, but can they rediscover their form against Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton? Just under 30 per cent think so. Where will you play your cards, with £250k to be won? Play Super 6 for free.
It is a worrying situation for West Ham and Brighton have problems of their own. I thought for a spell that Brighton deserved to be higher. They keep and move the ball well and making the signing of Aaron Mooy permanent is a boost but they are on a poor run. Graham Potter will not change his style but it is a must-win scenario for West Ham in order to relieve some of the pressure. What did they expect when David Moyes came in? They need to give the whole process time. Lukasz Fabianski is a big miss and Moyes needs more from Sebastien Haller. The wide areas are key. Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson, if fit, will be pivotal, on top of Michail Antonio returning to the team. West Ham need to take care of these games at home and get over the line, which I think they will.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: West Ham 2-1 Brighton (9/1 with Sky Bet) :
Super 6: Make some noise for Moyes?
Six in 10 Super 6 players are predicting a win for David Moyes’ side after a bleak run in the Premier League. Agree? Play Super 6 for free.
Manchester United vs Wolves – Saturday Night Football, live from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm
Man Utd vs Wolves
February 1, 2020, 5:00pm
Manchester United are all over the place, though I applaud Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s personality and the way he handles the mayhem, even if I think he is overprotecting the players. Supporters being at war with Ed Woodward is utterly ridiculous but Solskjaer has done well to manage the pressure. I think he will get through to the end of the season – but not beyond, though. United beat Wolves in the FA Cup, but this is a different proposition. I think Nuno’s side will get revenge here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Manchester United 1-2 Wolves (11/1 with Sky Bet)
Burnley vs Arsenal
February 2, 2020, 1:00pm
It is a tough game for Arsenal. They are the same as Burnley – intriguing in their inconsistency. Arsenal fans do appreciate what Mikel Arteta is trying to do, bringing appetite and energy to the team and giving his side the chance to learn from the philosophy he has brought in. The young players have bought into it. I think he has inherited a mess, though. To draw 12 games is a scandal and the defence has been useless. Perhaps Pablo Mari will be able to bolster it – we’ll see. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is coming back fresh, which could be the difference here.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Burnley 1-2 Arsenal (8/1 with Sky Bet)
Tottenham vs Manchester City – Super Sunday, live from 4pm on Sky Sports Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
Tottenham vs Man City
February 2, 2020, 4:00pm
Tottenham got an amazing deal with £16m for Christian Eriksen. I thought Inter Milan would wait until the summer. They have got out of jail with that, but you cannot get out of jail with their defence, even with Hugo Lloris back. They are sapped of all energy and Eric Dier looks like he is running through treacle. Why have they brought a winger in Steven Bergwijn ? They have it all wrong. This is not a Jose Mourinho signing. This is about business and bringing in some money. Can Jose get them to the top four? I am not sure. Man City on the other hand, have been racking up some goals. Leroy Sane is back in training but Aymeric Laporte is back – what a massive boost that is. Raheem Sterling has been so quiet but he is ready to spark at some point and he does like a London trip, so this could be the one for him.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Tottenham 1-3 Manchester City (10/1 with Sky Bet)