Michael Carrick targets swift return after revealing irregular heart rhythm
Manchester United captain... Premier League
After victory last week over TV presenter Claire McCollum in the first predictions battle of the year, I’m looking for an unbeaten run in 2015.
Today’s opponent, Joanne Hayden, the Marketing manager of Linwoods, is sure to provide a stern test though. Linwoods is the title sponsor of the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards which take place on January 26 at the Ramada Plaza hotel in Belfast. Check out the predictions from Joanne and I below and my thoughts on the games.
ASTON VILLA v LIVERPOOL (Today 3pm): Villa fans are lining up a protest against owner Randy Lerner’s reign at the start of this game with supporters in the Holte End asked to vacate their seats for the first eight minutes. Why eight minutes? Well, Lerner has been in charge at Villa for eight years. Get it? Yes. Good idea? Roaring the team on would be better. Villa don’t score much, but Liverpool aren’t prolific this season either. The shackles will come off at Villa Park. Expect goals.
Beacom Prediction: Villa 2 Liverpool 3
Hayden Prediction: Villa 1 Liverpool 2
BURNLEY v PALACE (Today 3pm): Will the ‘new manager bounce’ continue for Palace at Turf Moor? Burnley’s home form has been impressive lately, but they may come unstuck against Alan Pardew’s men.
Beacom Prediction: Burnley 1 Palace 2
Hayden Prediction: Burnley 0 Palace 0
LEICESTER v STOKE (Today 3pm): Tough one to call. Bottom of the table they may be, but Leicester are in reasonable form. Better stick with a draw.
Beacom Prediction: Leicester 1 Stoke 1
Hayden Prediction: Leicester 1 Stoke 0
QPR v MAN UTD (Today 3pm): Big day for Rio Ferdinand with his old club coming to town. Harry Redknapp should do himself a favour though and keep the ex-England defender out of the QPR side. Rio was a fine defender at his peak, but he’s reached a stage in his career where retirement and Strictly Come Dancing should be on his mind.
Beacom Prediction: QPR 1 Man United 2
Hayden Prediction: QPR 0 Man United 2
SWANSEA v CHELSEA (Today 3pm): Could be a tasty match this. Other teams in the Premier League fear Chelsea and seem content to lose narrowly to them. Garry Monk’s Swansea, however, are not in that category. They’ll give it a go. Plus with Wilfried Bony joining Manchester City, his team-mates will be keen to show their success so far this season is not all about him. Incidentally, £30 million for Bony? Dangerous striker for sure, but Swansea are laughing all the way to the bank.
Beacom Prediction: Swansea 2 Chelsea 2
Hayden Prediction: Swansea 0 Chelsea 2
SPURS v SUNDERLAND (Today 3pm): Spurs fans fear Sunderland’s new signing Jermain Defoe will score against his old side. Not going to happen. Harry Kane will find the net though.
Beacom Prediction: Spurs 2 Sunderland 1
Hayden Prediction: Spurs 1 Sunderland 1
NEWCASTLE v SOUTHAMPTON (Today 5.30pm): The Saints should be full of confidence after last week’s victory at Manchester United but after being embarrassed at St Mary’s earlier in the season, fired-up Newcastle will be seeking revenge.
Beacom Prediction: Newcastle 1 Southampton 1
Hayden Prediction: Newcastle 1 Southampton 0
WEST HAM v HULL (Tomorrow 1.30pm): Fresh from their thrilling FA Cup replay penalty shoot-out triumph over Everton, the feelgood factor will remain for the Hammers. Thank goodness some Eastenders are happy!
Beacom Prediction: West Ham 3 Hull 1
Hayden Prediction: West Ham 3 Hull 0
MAN CITY v ARSENAL (Tomorrow 4pm): Game of the weekend. Will Arsenal end their winless run against big clubs? Probably more chance of David Ginola becoming Fifa President! This one is being billed as Sergio Aguero v Alexis Sanchez. Both are wonderful to watch and will obviously have a big say in the outcome, but even more influential will be City’s David Silva. There are few who can control a game more. He’ll make the biggest difference of all.
Beacom Prediction: Man City 2 Arsenal 1
Hayden Prediction: Man City 0 Arsenal 0
EVERTON v WBA (Monday 8pm): With apologies to WBA’s Northern Ireland trio Gareth McAuley, Chris Baird and Chris Brunt, home win.
Beacom Prediction: Everton 2 WBA 1
Hayden Prediction: Everton 1 WBA 0
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