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Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton faces The Courteeners frontman and Manchester United fan Liam Fray

Sutton's Predictions

Arsenal’s only Premier League defeat this season came at the hands of Manchester United, so how will the Gunners get on when they play Erik ten Hag’s side again on Sunday?

“United were quite fortunate when they beat Arsenal at Old Trafford in September,” BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton said.

“I think Erik ten Hag’s team are good enough to win this game too, just by playing on the counter-attack at Emirates Stadium.

“But Arsenal are full of confidence, and their goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is playing extremely well too – they have to be the favourites.”

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

For this weekend’s fixtures, he is up against The Courteeners frontman Liam Fray.

The Courteeners released the 15th anniversary reissue of their debut album, St Jude, on 13 January. They play a hometown celebration gig on 9 June at Manchester’s Heaton Park.

The Courteeners
St Jude was originally released in April 2008. It reached number four in the UK album charts and won the inaugural Guardian First Album Award. The band have released five more albums since, and all of them have made the top six

Liam is a Manchester United fan who is on a high after his side’s Manchester derby win last weekend, and feels Ten Hag deserves all the credit for their resurgence.

“It had been a while since we’d been on a level playing field with City going into a derby,” Liam told BBC Sport.

“We believed we could win it… and we did. Our form and performances have been great. You can see the signs on and off the pitch that it’s not just a temporary thing. The manager has transformed everything.”

United made a slow start under Ten Hag, losing their first two league games, but they have flown up the table in recent weeks and only a late Crystal Palace leveller on Wednesday stopped him claiming a 10th successive win in all competitions.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to be doing so well, so soon,” Liam added.

“I knew how well Ten Hag had done at Ajax domestically and in Europe but I had no idea how he would fare in the Premier League.

“It’s a different beast and, as can happen with some players, people don’t always adapt well when they come here.

“It’s still early days but after six months he’s already shown that he can be as influential and successful as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, and hopefully even more so.

“Whatever he’s doing on the training pitch is working wonders and his attitude and disciplinary skills are a breath of fresh air after the obvious dressing room issues that have reared their head over the last few years.

“Ten Hag has come in with a great attitude and approach and it feels like the start of a long-term project for him rather than a quick fix.

“You can see how infectious his work has been across the whole club with the success of the men’s, women’s and youth teams. It’s a really exciting time to be a United fan.”

The Courteeners frontman Liam Fray
United played iconic Courteeners track ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ at Old Trafford when they won their 20th league title in 2013. Title number 21 is taking a while to arrive so they could always play another Courteeners song, ‘What Took You So Long?’, when it does, but Liam says his pick would be ‘No One Will Ever Replace Us’

The below fixture grid includes Manchester City’s game with Tottenham on Thursday, which was rearranged from week seven, when Asking Alexandria guitarist Ben Bruce was the guest.

Result Sutton
THURSDAY, 19 JAN
Man City v Tottenham x-x 3-1 2-1* (Ben)
SATURDAY, 21 JAN
Liverpool v Chelsea x-x 1-1 1-1
Bournemouth v Nott’m Forest x-x 0-1 0-1
Leicester v Brighton x-x 1-2 1-2
Southampton v Aston Villa x-x 1-1 1-1
West Ham v Everton x-x 0-0 2-0
Crystal Palace v Newcastle x-x 1-1 0-2
SUNDAY, 22 JAN
Leeds v Brentford x-x 2-2 2-2
Man City v Wolves x-x 2-0 3-0
Arsenal v Man Utd x-x 3-1 1-2
MONDAY, 23 JAN
Fulham v Tottenham x-x 2-1 1-1

* Ben Bruce’s prediction from week seven.

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 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated

THURSDAY, 19 JANUARY

Man City v Tottenham

Man City v Tottenham (20:00 GMT)

I originally went for a 3-3 draw when this game was meant to be played in September, but I am definitely not saying that now.

I know Manchester City have not been at their fluent best recently but they should still have too much for a Tottenham team who have put in some really disappointing performances.

I think it’s fair to say that Spurs boss Antonio Conte cuts an unhappy figure at the moment, and you could extend that kind of mood to the entire club – it is not a happy camp.

Tottenham beat City home and away last season, but that was when they were playing well.

Conte’s preferred style of play, to defend deep and break quickly, suits this game very well but, even if they get some joy and Harry Kane scores, City will still win.

The defending champions are playing catch-up to Arsenal now, but we are only halfway through the season and things can change very quickly – I still think they will win the title despite being eight points behind.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Ben Bruce’s prediction: 2-1

SATURDAY, 21 JANUARY

Liverpool v Chelsea

Liverpool v Chelsea (12:30 GMT)

How on earth can you call this game? Both sides have been incredibly inconsistent this season, and it is impossible to know what they will do next.

I’ve been unconvinced by Liverpool for a while now, because of their lack of energy and legs in midfield, and their defeat at Brighton last weekend was not even that big a surprise.

I know the Reds then went and beat Wolves in the FA Cup, but I’ve not seen anything that makes me think they are going to bounce back and clinch their first league win of 2023.

It is a similar story with Chelsea, because we don’t know which Blues team will turn up at Anfield.

They got an important win over Crystal Palace last time out but they needed some big saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga to get over the line.

A win would be a huge boost in confidence for both teams, but it is hard to make a case for either of them to take the three points.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Liam’s prediction: 1-1

Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest

Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil has lost all six games since being appointed on a permanent basis, including four league defeats where the Cherries have not even scored.

Their confidence must be rock bottom, whereas Nottingham Forest must be feeling completely the opposite – they come into this game on a real high after climbing away from the bottom three.

Forest keep strengthening their squad, signing Brazilian duo Danilo and Gustavo Scarpa this month, and it looks like Newcastle striker Chris Wood is also on his way soon.

Steve Cooper’s side have only won one away league game all season, against Southampton at the start of January, but I am backing them to get a repeat result on their return to the south coast.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-1

Liam’s prediction: 0-1

Leicester v Brighton

Leicester v Brighton

It is four league defeats in a row for Leicester now. They seem to have lost their way since the World Cup because they were in great form before the season paused in November.

In contrast, Brighton are not just winning games, they are doing so in style.

I think everyone is enjoying watching the Seagulls under Roberto de Zerbi – it seems a long time since they were struggling to turn their good play into goals under Graham Potter, because they are free-scoring now.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Liam’s prediction: 1-2

Southampton v Aston Villa

Southampton v Aston Villa

Southampton look like they have turned a corner, with a huge win at Everton coming off the back of their progress in both domestic cups.

Saints are still bottom of the table but they have something to build on now. It has been interesting to watch James Ward-Prowse play as a number 10, and it seems like a smart move from their manager Nathan Jones.

Villa have only played two away league games under Unai Emery, against Brighton and Tottenham, and have won them both. This game smells like a draw to me though.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Liam’s prediction: 1-1

West Ham v Everton

West Ham v Everton

Is it possible for me to make a prediction where both teams lose?

Both managers are under a lot of pressure, and neither side seems able to score many goals.

West Ham boss David Moyes didn’t get the result he needed when his side lost to Wolves last weekend, but their performance was even worse.

While there has been lots of criticism of Everton’s owner and the club’s board, Frank Lampard’s record of only one win and 10 defeats in their past 13 games does not stand up to much scrutiny either.

Are either of these teams really capable of taking the game to the other one? I am not sure, and I cannot bring myself to back either of them.

It’s difficult to say they are both suited to doing anything, to be honest, but they are both marginally better on the counter-attack, and will be hoping they can nick something from what will probably be a very nervy – and possibly quite boring – game.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-0

Liam’s prediction: 2-0

Crystal Palace v Newcastle

Crystal Palace v Newcastle (17:30)

Newcastle were a bit fortunate on Sunday, when Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic slipped to mis-kick his penalty with the score at 0-0 before the Magpies nicked it late on.

It is things like that which make you think it is going to be their season, in terms of a top-four finish, especially when you consider how strong they are defensively.

This is another tough test for them, though. As I keep saying, Palace are impossible to predict – but they are generally a bit better when they take on the teams at the top of the table.

Newcastle will be without injured midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who has been such a star for them, and they might have to settle for a point this time.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Liam’s prediction: 0-2

SUNDAY, 22 JANUARY

Leeds v Brentford

Leeds v Brentford (14:00 GMT)

Leeds’ 5-2 defeat at Brentford in September was a real low point for their boss Jesse Marsch, who is still under pressure now.

Marsch is always bullish, win or lose, to talk his side’s performances up and he is a manager who wears his heart on his sleeve.

He could do with a home win – Leeds thumped Cardiff in the FA Cup on Wednesday but they haven’t managed a league victory since 5 November.

Brentford are dangerous though, especially on the counter-attack, and they are streetwise from set-pieces too. I don’t see them losing here.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-2

Liam’s prediction: 2-2

Man City v Tottenham

Man City v Wolves (14:00 GMT)

People are looking for things that are wrong with City at the moment but they have still had a very good start to the season in terms of points.

According to some reports I’ve read, Erling Haaland is the problem – which is just ridiculous. I looked into where their goals have come from in the past couple of seasons and of course they were spread around more, but his scoring record is amazing.

According to some people, we are at the stage where he shouldn’t play, which is a ridiculous call to make.

Wolves will be awkward opponents but I still don’t think they score enough goals, and I don’t see City slipping up again.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Liam’s prediction: 3-0

Arsenal v Man Utd

Arsenal v Man Utd (16:30 GMT)

I always have a sneaky feeling for Manchester United in games like this, with Marcus Rashford so good on the counter-attack and Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen having the eye for the pass that would put him through.

On the flip side, I just wonder how much Wednesday’s draw against Palace will have taken out of Erik ten Hag’s side, who will be missing the suspended Casemiro in midfield too.

As I said on the Monday Night Club on Radio 5 Live, United’s biggest issue at present is managing expectation, because after winning nine games in a row some of their fans started to think they are title contenders again.

Yes, they have found some consistency with their performance levels but it is Arsenal who have set the standard this season, with 15 wins and only one defeat in their first 18 league games.

This will be a great game to watch because of United’s threat on the break, but Arsenal are at home and they are playing like they believe they can beat anyone at the moment.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Liam’s prediction: We have a good chance but it’s going to be a tight game. Arsenal are having a great season. The patience they’ve shown in Mikel Arteta over the years is now paying off. They’ve got to be favourites for the title as it stands, but of course that all changes on Sunday if we beat them. Maybe ask me about that title race on Sunday night! 1-2

Liam on what would be a successful season for United now? For me it already is one. The atmosphere and good feeling around the fanbase and club is something we haven’t felt for a long time. We’re still in all competitions so a trophy seems like a realistic target and obviously, Champions League qualification is a must.

MONDAY, 23 JANUARY

Fulham v Tottenham

Fulham v Tottenham (20:00 GMT)

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte said his side had to take more risks in the second half against Arsenal last weekend, when Spurs were behind and chasing the game.

But the way Spurs have been starting so many games this season so badly, surely they need to take more risks from the off?

Fulham will definitely be playing on the front foot. They were unlucky not to get anything against Newcastle last week, and they will go for it again here.

I can see them beating Spurs, and cranking up the pressure on Conte even more.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Liam’s prediction: 1-1

Chris Sutton and was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Sutton do last time?

From the last set of Premier League fixtures, Sutton got seven correct results from 10 matches, with two exact scores, giving him a total of 130 points – his highest score of the season.

He beat singer-songwriter Gaz Coombes, who got six correct results, with two exact scores, for a total of 120 points – enough to send him top of the guest leaderboard, despite his defeat.

The Fulham versus Chelsea game counts towards week seven, when that game was meant to take place. Neither Sutton or his guest, Asking Alexandria guitarist Ben Bruce, scored any points from that fixture.

Manchester United’s game at Crystal Palace on Wednesday also counted towards that set of results. Chris went for a 1-0 United win, while Bruce went for a 1-1 draw and got 40 points, meaning he leads 40-0 with two of the 10 games played. Their scores will be updated when the remaining eight matches from that set of games take place.

Gaz Coombes 120
Ali Bruce-Ball, Modernlove drummer Cian McCluskey 110
Chris Sutton (average after 19 weeks) 72
Ian Broudie, GK from Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, Editors bassist Russell Leetch, Aaron Moorhead, Phoenix singer Thomas Mars 70
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 1,370
Guests 1,280

How did you get on?

What a week this was for people who voted on the outcome of the games. You didn’t call the Manchester derby correctly – 34% of you said United would win, while 40% backed City – but that was the only result you got wrong.

You were less successful with the games rearranged from week seven, however, with 80% of you going for a United win at Selhurst Park.

Like Chris and Ben Bruce, you also failed to see Fulham’s win over Chelsea, but only just. The official results showed 34% of you went for a Fulham victory – exactly the same percentage that went for a draw – but when the statistics were examined, they showed that 72 more people went for a draw.

Position Correct results
1. You* 9/10
1. Chris 7/10
2. Gaz Coombes 6/10

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

1. You 100/188 (53%)
2. Chris 93/188 (49%)
3 Guests 92/188 (49%)

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