Premier League Predictions
Every week Sports Editor Steven Beacom takes on a reader or well known personality trying to predict the scores for the weekend fixtures in the Premier League. It is three points for naming the correct scoreline and one point for getting the result right. Today he does battle with Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards co-host Claire McCollum
It's the first Premier League predictions battle of 2015. In the last one of 2014, former Linfield boss David Jeffrey beat me by a single point, so hopefully I'll start this year as I mean to go on, with a win. Today's opponent is TV presenter Claire McCollum, the wonderful co-host of the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, sponsored by Linwoods, and taking place on January 26 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel. Be there or be square and in the meantime check out our predictions and my thoughts on all the games.
SuNDERLAND v Liverpool (Today 12.45pm): It's still hard to believe that Steven Gerrard is leaving Liverpool for LA in the summer. You think if that can happen Mario Balotelli might score soon! Too much? Yeah, probably right. For Stevie G now every game he plays, when selected, will be even more scrutinised than before as he waves a long goodbye. This fixture will be his last league outing at the Stadium of Light, where he has shone and scored superb goals previously. Then again, name me a ground where he hasn't? Also sure to be in the spotlight are under-fire Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and captain in waiting Jordan Henderson, both facing their former club.
Beacom Prediction: Sunderland 1 Liverpool 2
McCollum Prediction: Sunderland 1 Liverpool 2
Burnley v QPR (Today 3pm): QPR's away record in the league this season: Played nine, lost nine. Only one result here then!
Beacom Prediction: Burnley 1 QPR 2
McCollum Prediction: Burnley 2 QPR 0
Chelsea v Newcastle (Today 3pm): Jose Mourinho is upset the FA are charging him for saying there's a campaign against Chelsea. Cheer up Jose, you could win FOUR trophies this season and have Eden Hazard in your side. If you were boss of Newcastle, then you really would have something to moan about!
Beacom Prediction: Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
McCollum Prediction: Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
Everton v Man City (Today 3pm): Tasty tussle. Everton boss Roberto Martinez, after a worse Christmas than the Mitchell family on Eastenders, needs to avoid a fifth loss in a row. Might just get his wish.
Beacom Prediction: Everton 1 Man City 1
McCollum Prediction: Everton 0 Man City 2
Leicester v Villa (Today 3pm): Midlands derby. I fancy a home win and let's face it, Leicester need one.
Beacom Prediction: Leicester 2 Villa 1
McCollum Prediction: Leicester 1 Villa 1
Swansea v West Ham (Today 3pm): A month ago at Upton Park against Swansea Andy Carroll scored his first goals since March. Watch out for those high balls Swans. You have been warned.
Beacom Prediction: Swansea 1 West Ham 1
McCollum Prediction: Swansea 0 West Ham 2
WBA v Hull (Today 3pm): Tony Pulis has already got down to business at WBA. He has been telling the Albion players in that straight talking way of his exactly what he wants and demands. I'm sure our boys Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt and Chris Baird were listening.
Beacom Prediction: WBA 2 Hull 1
McCollum Prediction: WBA 1 Hull 1
Palace v Spurs (Today 5.30pm): Welcome home Alan Pardew. The Eagle has landed. Spurs are in fine form, but Pardew's return will ensure a raucous atmosphere and at least a point for the home side.
Beacom Prediction: Palace 1 Spurs 1
McCollum Prediction: Palace 1 Spurs 2
Arsenal v Stoke (Tomorrow 1.30pm): Stoke beat the Gunners last month at the Britannia. Completing the double at The Emirates? Two words: Alexis Sanchez.
Beacom Prediction: Arsenal 3 Stoke 1
McCollum Prediction: Arsenal 2 Stoke 0
Man United v Southampton (Tomorrow 4pm): Red Devils v Saints. Van Gaal v Koeman. Third v fourth. Jonny Evans v Steven Davis (if Paddy McNair gets a game hopefully he won't be benched early like when the sides met in December). That night United got luckier than the awful Jake Humphrey landing the plum presenting job on BT Sport. Bar Steve McManaman their pundits aren't up to much either. Thankfully this is on Sky Sports. Hope they have the dream team of Carragher, Neville and Souness out.
Beacom Prediction: Man United 2 Southampton 2
McCollum Prediction: Man United 1 Southampton 0
The state of play
Steven Beacom 4 The Public 6