Sutton's Premier League predictions v Declan McKenna
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Sutton's Premier League predictions v Declan McKenna

Jan 13, 2024
Sutton's Predictions

The Premier League’s mid-season break is upon us, with 10 games staggered over the next two weeks.

The first five matches take place this weekend, with three of the top five in action – and all hoping to cut Liverpool’s lead at the summit, with Aston Villa able to move level on points with the Reds if they beat Everton.

BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton said: “Villa are very capable and well drilled and they can tear a strip off anyone on their day, like they did against the Toffees in August.”

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

For part one of week 21, he takes on singer-songwriter and Tottenham fan Declan McKenna.

McKenna’s latest single, Elevator Hum, is out now. His new album, What Happened To The Beach?, is released on 9 February.

Declan McKenna
McKenna starts his tour of the UK and Ireland in March and heads for Europe in April

McKenna grew up in Cheshunt, a few miles up the road from Tottenham, in a Spurs-supporting family – and they were the only team for him too.

“Of course it’s a choice but it’s quite an easy one to support the greatest team the world has ever seen,” he told BBC Sport.

“It’s also convenient that Northumberland Park is a 10-minute train ride from my hometown and that my older brothers helped me assimilate.

“I went to my first game was when I was I six or seven but I’ve been watching them longer than that, at least it definitely feels longer. I was watching before I knew what was going on, I just knew somewhere deep down it was, in fact, fun.

“I was always a fan of Robbie Keane and used to emulate his world-famous cartwheel/roly-poly gun-fingers celebration at any given chance.

“But I grew up with such club legends as Ledley King, Aaron Lennon, and, of course, Teemu Tainio too.”

Declan McKenna
In 2020, McKenna’s last album, Zeros, narrowly lost a chart battle for the number one album slot to The Rolling Stones, who had re-released Goats Head Soup

McKenna met one of his current Spurs heroes, Son Heung-min, when he visited Tottenham’s training ground in the summer.

Son signed McKenna’s guitar after he played him one of his songs, Sympathy, but he says another of his tracks, Sonny, was not inspired by the South Korean striker.

“Not quite! I had a song lying around called Sonny that was honestly a coincidence, but the lore around it seems to be evolving,” McKenna explained.

“Nonetheless he’s a legend and was a truly lovely guy, very professional and easy to chat to. The whole thing was quite unreal, but I had a great time and now I’ve just got the guitar lying in my room.

“I’m not really the type to have something like that and never use it but I should probably get it varnished sooner rather than later.”

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

When? Result Sutton Declan
FRIDAY, 12 JANUARY
Burnley v Luton 1-1 1-1 2-2
SATURDAY, 13 JANUARY
Chelsea v Fulham x-x 2-1 2-2
Newcastle v Man City x-x 1-3 1-2
SUNDAY, 14 JANUARY
Everton v Aston Villa x-x 1-1 1-3
Man Utd v Tottenham x-x 1-3 0-3

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

SUTTON’S PREDICTIONS

FRIDAY, 12 JANUARY

Burnley v Luton

Burnley 1-1 Luton

This is a difficult one to kick off with.

Burnley beat Luton at Kenilworth Road earlier in the season but they have a terrible home record with just three points picked up from a possible 30 so far.

It’s a huge game for Vincent Kompany’s side because they are four points behind the Hatters, who are also in the bottom three.

Win it, and they not only beat the team immediately above them, it could also be seen as the launchpad for the improvement they will surely need at Turf Moor if they are going to stay up.

It’s not a must-win game in terms of the points that are up for grabs, but feels like it because of the belief that a victory would give them.

I just don’t see it happening for them on Friday, though. For starters, the Clarets don’t score enough goals – they have managed only 20 in their first 20 games – and Luton appear to be far more streetwise.

By that, I mean Luton seem to know how to get a result even when their performance probably doesn’t merit one.

They beat Newcastle and Sheffield United over Christmas and although they did not deserve to beat the Blades from the way they played, they were able to capitalise when they were allowed back into the game.

It makes me think Luton won’t lose this and smells like a 1-1 draw to me.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Declan’s prediction: Thinking this will be a heated contest, I’m inclined to fancy Luton but Turf Moor will make it tough for them. 2-2

SATURDAY, 13 JANUARY

Chelsea v Fulham

Chelsea v Fulham (12:30 GMT)

Again, where do I even start with this one?

Chelsea had won three games in a row in all competitions and were showing a bit of consistency before they lost to Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

I think they have made some progress this season, but only because of how bad they were last season – they scored 38 goals and got 44 points in 2022-23.

They have got 34 goals already this time and their points-per-game is up from 1.15 to 1.4 but it’s still not exactly anything to shout about. They have been average all season and I was expecting a lot more from the money they have spent.

I’ve backed them, and been wrong, many times already this season so do I make the same mistake again?

It doesn’t help me much that there’s not too many reasons to go with Fulham here, either. Their last league game was their excellent home win over Arsenal, but their form away from Craven Cottage is poor.

Marco Silva’s side always seem to carry a threat when I watch them but they have won only one out of 10 games on the road.

What we see from them at Stamford Bridge might depend on how jaded they are from their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday and, against my better judgement, I am going for a Chelsea victory.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Declan’s prediction: Fulham are feeling more together this season. It’s hard to say which Chelsea will turn up, and I’d love to back Fulham over those ‘orrible boys in blue, but I can still see them bagging a few goals, I can taste another score draw but will be rooting for Fulham. 2-2

Newcastle v Man City

Newcastle v Man City (17:30 GMT)

I’ve got a bit of confidence with calling this one, compared to the first two games this week.

Unfortunately for Newcastle, I think this is a bad time to be playing Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side did all right in the first half of the season, but did not really get going by their standards.

Now they have got Kevin de Bruyne back – with a new hairstyle too – and I just wonder if we will see a different look about City for the rest of the season.

Newcastle have lost three in a row in the league but I think the most important game for them recently was their FA Cup win over Sunderland last week – there would have been a bit of heat on their manager Eddie Howe if they had lost to a Championship team and their local rivals.

We know how the Magpies play, and they will go for it, so I am expecting a few goals, I just think City will score most of them.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-3

Declan’s prediction: Has anyone suggested calling this one the ‘El Cashico’? Newcastle have been inconsistent but City are also yet to get to their best. I think the away day will be tough for them, but you can just picture that bit of magic getting them over the line – Bernardo Silva wonder goal incoming. 1-2

SUNDAY, 14 JANUARY

Everton v Aston Villa

Everton v Aston Villa (14:00 GMT)

Aston Villa wiped the floor with Everton at the start of the season and the Toffees are on a bad run in the league with three defeats in a row over Christmas, but I really don’t see this one as a straightforward ‘top beats bottom’.

We know Villa are well organised but they’ve not always been that convincing recently, for example when they drew with Sheffield United or only got over the line late against Burnley.

Everton, meanwhile, are desperate for a result because those defeats have left them only a point above the relegation zone, and they could even be back in the bottom three by kick-off if Luton beat Burnley on Friday.

Eventually, though, I think Everton will get things together again under Sean Dyche. It’s just a question of when he gets them in gear, and you don’t want to meet them the day that happens.

I scored my last professional goal with a textbook header in a 1-0 win for Villa at Goodison Park in 2006, and I am not going to rule out them following the form book by going there and winning again, it’s just I fancy Everton to get something out of this one.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Declan’s prediction: Villa should have more going forward. If only football was played on paper, this would be a much easier task. 1-3

Man Utd v Tottenham

Man Utd v Tottenham (16:30 GMT)

What’s been interesting about the Premier League this season is how many sides have been so inconsistent – and Manchester United definitely fall into that category.

They found a way of winning in their last home game, against Aston Villa but then could not follow it up when they went to Nottingham Forest a few days later and lost.

Old Trafford is certainly not a fortress for Erik ten Hag’s side at the moment and it is worrying for them that only the bottom two sides have scored less than the 22 goals they have hit in their first 20 league games.

Scoring has not been a problem for Tottenham so far – they have scored 20 more than United – but I do worry about how they will cope without Son Heung-min, who is away at the Asian Cup.

Former Chelsea forward Timo Werner has signed on loan this week and we know he has electric pace and can be a nightmare to play against, but he is not usually clinical enough in front of goal. It will be interesting to see how he gets on.

I still think they will win this one without Son, though. Spurs have not done the double over United and beaten them home and away in the league since the 1989-90 season, but I am backing them here.

We know how Tottenham will play, because they play the same way against everyone, and they will create plenty of chances.

There is a possibility Tottenham’s approach might suit United, and Alejandro Garnacho seems to be growing in confidence every week. He will be a threat but the question is how many of his team-mates are going to turn up?

Sutton’s prediction: 1-3

Declan’s prediction: We should be confident about taking our ballistic ‘Angeball’ to a moody and divided Old Trafford crowd. I can see us taking the three points in one of many ways, my favourite would be of course a Werner debut hat-trick which is what I’m going with. 0-3

Declan on which Spurs players have impressed him this season: A lot of them to be fair! Guglielmo Vicario has to be one of the best keepers in the league this season, James Maddison and Micky Van de Ven were near perfect at the start so I’m keen for them to get fit and back in the squad. Destiny Udogie and Pedro Porro, of course, have started well too, but there’s been something to like from everyone – a good attitude and desire across the board despite a few setbacks, and the difference to the past few seasons is like night and day.

Declan on life under Ange Postecoglou: I’ve loved it. Every game is engaging which was not the case last season at all, and we’ve come back to find better form after the injury and suspension issues in a way that’s encouraging. I think Ange is a great manager and has brought the club exactly what it needed; great young players who want to be here and a style of football that is positive and suits the team. The feeling around the club is something completely different – a bit of belief is healthy for us and hopefully will lead to good things.

Declan on Tottenham’s title chances: We’re a tad fortunate to be as close to the top as we are but we have to go for it now. No-one has run away with it just yet and, with Madders and Micky coming back into the team, we’ll be a much more difficult side to beat… so who knows? Top four would still be a good result, of course, but you can feel this team is ambitious for more and, at full strength, can challenge the best in the league. The game is about glory and all that, so why not dream?

How did Sutton do in the FA Cup third round?

There have been winners in 24 of the 32 ties so far, and Sutton picked 17 of them.

With eight replays scheduled for later this month, he trails singer-songwriter and Liverpool fan Banners, who correctly chose 21 of the teams already through to round four.

How did Sutton do in the last set of Premier League games?

The last set of Premier League fixtures were at the turn of the year. Sutton got four correct results from 10 games from the games in week 20, including one exact score, for a total of 70 points.

He beat Shed Seven frontman Rick Witter, who also got four correct results, but with no exact scores, giving him 40 points.

Anthony Joshua 150
Eddie Hearn 130
CBeebies presenter Rhys Stephenson 120
Barry Can’t Swim 110
Anish Kumar 100
Fabian Edwards, Joelah from 1Xtra, KSI, Midas the Jagaban 90
Chris Sutton 79 (average after 20 weeks)
‘Hollywood’ Chris Dobey, David Earl, Keke from 1Xtra, Jazzie Zonzolo 70
Tommy Fury, Joe from Nothing But Thieves 60
Gabe of Jamie Johnson FC, Tash from The Football Academy, Rick Witter 50
AEW wrestler Claudio Castagnoli. Tom Ogden and Joe Donovan from Blossoms 40
Vigil star Dougray Scott 30
Willie J Healey, Felix White 20
Suggs, Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring 10
Chris Sutton 1,570
Guests 1,360

How did you get on?

Another winning week. You were caught out by Fulham’s win over Arsenal – only 13% of you saw that coming – but you only got two other results wrong.

1. You 7/10
2. Chris 4/10
3. Guest 4/10

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

1. You 111/198
2. Chris 100/198
3. Guests 94/198

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