Football

Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton faces Modernlove drummer and Liverpool fan Cian McCluskey

Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton faces Modernlove drummer and Liverpool fan Cian McCluskey

Everton’s draw with Manchester City on Saturday surprised pretty much everyone, but can the Toffees follow that up by beating Brighton on Tuesday and end their run of five Premier League games without a win?

“This is a completely different test for them, though. They are at home and the onus will be on them to break Brighton down, but they are not a team that creates a lot of chances.”

Sutton is making predictions for every top-flight game this season, against a variety of guests.

For the latest set of fixtures, from 2 to 5 January, he is up against Cian McCluskey, drummer with Irish indie band Modernlove and a Liverpool fan.

Modernlove tour the แมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด States for the first time in March before playing a series of gigs in the UK later in the spring.

modernlove.
Cian (second right) is the drummer with Modernlove who were formed in Drogheda in 2016. Their track Follow You was voted 88th-best international song of 2022 by Rolling Stone magazine

McCluskey did not have much choice about which team to support – his dad made sure of that.

He told BBC Sport: “When I was about five or six, my friend across the road supported Chelsea, at the time when Didier Drogba was tearing up the Premier League and they won back-to-back league titles in 2005 and 2006.

“I came home with a Chelsea shirt on, and my dad took it off, threw it in the bin and sent me out of the house – he told me it had to be Liverpool – I wasn’t allowed to support anyone else.

“I wanted to watch football, so there was no option – I am glad about it now though!

“My first proper memory of football full-stop was watching us win the 2005 Champions League final with my dad, but I really remember us winning the FA Cup final the following year.

“My hero was always Steven Gerrard, and I loved Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso too – it broke my heart a lot when he left.

“There’s quite a few to choose from now, and I love Roberto Firmino so much but just for how amazing he has been for so long I have to say my favourite is Mohamed Salah – he is the obvious choice but he is incredible to watch.”

Result Sutton Cian
MONDAY, 2 JAN
Brentford v Liverpool x-x 1-2 1-2
TUESDAY, 3 JAN
Arsenal v Newcastle x-x 2-1 2-0
Everton v Brighton x-x 1-1 0-0
Leicester v Fulham x-x 2-0 1-2
Man Utd v Bournemouth x-x 3-0 3-0
WEDNESDAY, 4 JAN
Southampton v Nott’m Forest x-x 1-1 0-1
Leeds v West Ham x-x 2-1 0-2
Aston Villa v Wolves x-x 1-1 2-1
Crystal Palace v Tottenham x-x 1-2 2-3
THURSDAY, 5 JAN
Chelsea v Man City x-x 0-3 1-3

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

SUTTON’S PREDICTIONS

Games kick off at 19:45 GMT unless otherwise stated

MONDAY, 2 JANUARY

Brentford v Liverpool (17:30 GMT)

This fixture ended up in a 3-3 draw last season, in an absolutely cracking match.

Brentford will have a real go at Liverpool again this time, but I think their hopes rest heavily on the fitness of striker Ivan Toney, after he was injured in their win over West Ham.

Whether Toney is fit or not, Liverpool will still create plenty of chances at the other end and I am actually a big fan of Darwin Nunez, who is in my Fantasy team. He has missed a few opportunities recently, but he is going to come good here.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Cian’s prediction: Toney is always dangerous but I am really hoping we win this one. 1-2

Cian on Liverpool’s season: “I think our title hopes have gone already – I’m quite realistic about that! The top four is the aim for us now this season, but there is a lot more to come from this team.

“I’ve had other Liverpool fans ask me whether we should sack Jurgen Klopp, which is just ridiculous. We are not going to get 90-odd points every season, so it’s stupid to expect that.

“The team keeps evolving and football is cyclical anyway – we could do with a couple more midfielders and we need to solidify up our back line a bit, but I am pretty confident we will be back at it next season and right in the title race.”

TUESDAY, 3 JANUARY

Arsenal v Newcastle

I was wrong about both of these teams last time out – Newcastle were unlucky not to beat Leeds, but I was miles out when I said Arsenal would lose to Brighton, although the Gunners had to weather a storm at the end of the game.

Arsenal are seven points clear at the top of the table now, and they are coping with every problem that gets thrown at them.

It will be the same again here. Newcastle are well organised defensively, but Mikel Arteta’s side are so impressive going forward.

Arsenal’s other two league games in January are against Tottenham (away) and Manchester แมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด (home).

At the end of this month, we will have a much better idea about whether they can go the distance in the title race, but at the moment they look like they mean business.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Cian’s prediction: Neither of these teams look like losing but I am going with Arsenal to take the points. 2-0

Everton v Brighton

The sooner that Brighton’s World Cup winner, Alexis Mac Allister, is back in action for them the better but they do have another key midfielder, Moises Caicedo, back from suspension for this game, which is a big boost.

Everton got a great point against Manchester City but they really need a home win now to follow that up, and I am not convinced they have enough firepower to get it.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Cian’s prediction: I don’t see any goals here. 0-0

Leicester v Fulham

I like the way Leicester play and it was working very well against Liverpool until Wout Faes scored those two incredible own goals, which was a bizarre way to lose a game.

Fulham, in contrast, were arguably a bit lucky to beat struggling Southampton last time out and I thought Marco Silva’s side were pretty ordinary – if they play like that again here, Leicester will win comfortably.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Cian’s prediction: Fulham have surprised a lot of people this season, so more of the same from them. 1-2

Man Utd v Bournemouth (20:00)

I am a bit worried about where Bournemouth are heading – they have lost six of their past seven league games and conceded two poor goals from set plays against Crystal Palace.

With five successive wins in all competitions, Manchester แมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด are heading in the opposite direction.

It obviously helps a lot that Marcus Rashford is playing so well at the moment, but Erik ten Hag is doing a very good job and they are a team that looks full of confidence.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-0

Cian’s prediction: แมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด are on a really good run. 3-0

WEDNESDAY, 4 JANUARY

Southampton v Nottingham Forest (19:30)

Southampton have lost all three league games under Nathan Jones and have the worst home record in the Premier League – they have taken only six points from a possible 24 at St Mary’s Stadium, and haven’t won there since August.

But Nottingham Forest are the top-flight team with the worst record on the road – they have picked up only two points from eight away games, and scored only once.

Forest were great at home to Chelsea on Sunday and deserved to beat them but, for some reason, they don’t seem able to play that way away from the City Ground.

Both teams are desperate for a win to climb out of the relegation zone, but it’s hard to make a case for either of them to come out on top – I’m going for a draw.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Cian’s prediction: Southampton are really bad at the moment, while Forest have been decent in their past two games. 0-1

Leeds v West Ham

Leeds gave Newcastle a decent game last time out, and defended well to get a draw. Ordinarily, I would say the way they play suits West Ham but, whatever is wrong with the Hammers, I don’t see it improving here.

David Moyes’ side have lost their past five Premier League games while only scoring twice and that lack of goals is probably their biggest problem.

So, I am writing West Ham off here – although I’ve been wrong about them so often this season, that is probably good news for their fans.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Cian’s prediction: My girlfriend’s dad is a Leeds fan, so I have watched them a lot and I don’t trust them at all to win anything – they don’t score enough goals. 0-2

Aston Villa v Wolves (20:00)

We’ve already seen an improvement from Wolves under Julen Lopetegui. They lost to Manchester แมนเชสเตอร์ ยูไนเต็ด last time out but they ran them very close and played with a bit of purpose, and I am expecting that to continue here.

I like what Unai Emery is doing with Aston Villa too and it will be interesting to see his approach here. They are also a well-drilled side, and this should be another close game.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Cian’s prediction: Villa played well against Liverpool last week and they should be too good for Wolves. 2-1

Crystal Palace v Tottenham (20:00)

This is a game between two teams who are both so inconsistent it is hard to know exactly what to expect.

I really don’t have a clue whether Tottenham will turn up, but if they don’t win then I do know that their manager Antonio Conte will have an excuse ready – it’s never his fault, is it?

I don’t think Spurs have been good enough all season and I can understand why their fans have been so frustrated when they have phoned up to complain on about Conte’s style of football on BBC Radio 5 Live’s 606.

Crystal Palace’s performances have also been very up and down and although they got a good win against Bournemouth last time out, there is no guarantee they will follow that up here and carry the same attacking threat we know they possess.

In fact, it’s far more likely they will find a way of stuffing this up, regardless of how well Tottenham play.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Cian’s prediction: Tottenham will probably win, but not without a struggle. 2-3

THURSDAY, 5 JANUARY

Chelsea v Man City (20:00)

I like Graham Potter and I want him to do well at Stamford Bridge but if you were a Chelsea fan you would be a bit worried about what you had seen under him so far.

His side were lucky to escape with a point against Forest on Sunday but the result isn’t the problem, it’s more the manner they got it.

I am a Potter fan but I am not seeing any style or identity from his team at the moment, and they will need to put up much more of a fight against City.

I think Pep Guardiola’s side will play with some anger and take out some of the frustration of their draw with Everton here. Chelsea will pose a threat on the break, but they could be overwhelmed at the other end.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-3

Cian’s prediction: City will definitely win this one. 1-3

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

How did Sutton do last time?

From the fixtures played between 30 December and 1 January, Sutton got three correct results from 10 matches, with no exact scores, giving him a total of 30 points.

His winning run was ended by Afrobeats star Maulo, who got five correct results, also with no exact scores, for a total of 50 points.

Ali Bruce-Ball 110
Ian Broudie, GK from Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, Editors bassist Russell Leetch, Aaron Moorhead, Phoenix singer Thomas Mars 70
Chris Sutton (average after 17 weeks) 64
Ross MacDonald from The 1975, Ryan Porteous 60
Justin Benson, Al Greenwood from Sports Team, Dapz on the Map, Chesney Hawkes, Maulo 50
Blake Bowman, Tom from Dry Cleaning 40
Jessica McHale, Olivia Chomczuk 30
Juice Menace, Patrick Whelan 20
Chris Sutton 1,090
Guests 1,030

How did you get on?

From more than 33,000 votes, only 9% of you thought Everton would get anything at Manchester City, but that was not the only result to catch you out.

Position Correct results
1. Maulo 5/10
2. You* 4/10
3. Chris 3/10

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

1. You 87/166 (52%)
2. Chris 81/166 (49%)
3 Guests 80/166 (48%)
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