As we settle back into normality following the holiday season just passed, we can once again look ahead to another weekend of top football action across England, Scotland and Wales.
We even have a local derby to look forward to this Saturday lunch time and that is where we begin.
West Brom travel to their local neighbours this Saturday lunchtime for a game they dare not lose.
New Baggies coach Sam Allardyce badly needs the points if he is to keep his new team in the English top flight.
After opening up his reign at the Hawthorns with a draw against Liverpool away, he hasn’t yet landed a win.
There would surely be no better place to get it.
West Brom are currently six points adrift of safety and have gone five Premier League games without a win.
Wolves though are a good outfit these days and there is a big gulf in quality between the two right now.
Nuno Espirito Santo will fancy his chances of a win and we do too.
That said, neither of these two have been setting the league alight in front of goal this season so a thriller isn’t to be expected.
Wolves to win to nothing.
Cardiff City V Norwich City – Saturday 15:00
Championship leaders Norwich City travel the Welsh capital on Saturday afternoon for a three-o-clock kick off against Cardiff City.
The Canaries are currently sitting on a four point lead ahead of the chasing pack as they look to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.
They will fancy their chances too against a Bluebirds team that are going through something of a rough patch, losing five of their last six games in all competitions.
Neil Harris’ team are currently 15th in the Championship and only recently lost 2-0 in the reverse fixture the other side of Christmas, which kicked off their losing streak.
Throw in missing key players like striker Kieffer Moore and captain Sean Morrison, and it becomes really hard to find anything positive to say for Cardiff going into this match.
We’ll go with an away win and back the home team to score, but not much more than that sadly.
Celtic V Livingston – Saturday 15:00
Neil Lennon’s Celtic might just be ready to throw in the towel regarding this season’s title – not that they’ll ever admit it – but things do seemed to have calmed down a bit now regarding his future in the job.
The Bhoys are currently 21 points behind their fierce rivals Rangers, although do have three games in hand, but Rangers are showing no signs of slowing down.
Expect Celtic to put some good results together all the same, beginning with Livingston this weekend.
Livingstone are enjoying a decent season to be fair and have recorded nine wins in ten matches.
They might well come unstuck here though.
2-1 win to the Bhoys.
Liverpool V Manchester United – Sunday 16:30
The top two in the division clash in this weekend’s mega tie when Liverpool host Manchester United.
This is always a huge game but there is more riding on that usual this season.
The Red Devils are three points clear of the champions following a switch in form between the two teams.
Liverpool had been odds-on favourites for the tittle following their 7-0 win away at Crystal Palace in mid-December. That, though, remains the last time they won as their campaign has faltered slightly.
Throw in a long injury list, not least long term injuries to their main centre back pairing, and concerns begin to formulate.
To that end, Jurgen Klopp will desperately hoping that Joel Matip passes any last minute fitness tests thrown at him.
If he does, it could make all the difference.
One player back for the home team is Thiago who has all the class and quality to dictate the flow of the game which is why, assuming the home team have at least one recognised centre half in their starting line-up, they can be backed to win.
Paul Pogba’s deflected strike gave United a 1-0 win at Burnley in the week, sending them top in the process.
But where United fans will worry is their side’s record in the big games, where too many of their top names have a tendency to go missing.
Unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can reverse this trend, defeat awaits the visitors this Sunday.
Home win, both teams to score.
Arsenal V Newcastle United – Monday 20:00
Arsenal went into Christmas in horrible form, with speculation swirling around their manager’s future.
A boxing day win over Chelsea, however, does seem to have turned things around somewhat for Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
They have now won three out of their last four and it’s the visiting boss who’s job security is being called into question.
Job speculation goes with the turf when you’re the Newcastle boss, so this won’t affect Steve Bruce in the slightest.
He still needs a win for his Magpies in London on Monday night though.
Sadly for Bruce, they go into the game in poor form, winless in their past five matches and it takes a leap of faith to put our money on them here.
Home win for the Gunners.
- Saturday 12:30, English Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers V West Bromwich Albion, Wolves win to zero
- Saturday 15.00, EFL Championship: Cardiff City V Norwich City, Norwich to win
- Saturday 15.00, Scottish Premier League: Celtic V Livingston, Celtic to win 2-1
- Sunday 16.30, English Premier League: Liverpool V Manchester United, home win and both teams to score
- Monday 20:00, English Premier League: Arsenal V Newcastle United, Arsenal to win