Premier League predictions: Chris Sutton on Man City v Arsenal title showdown & other midweek games


Sutton's Predictions

Leaders Arsenal and champions Manchester City meet in a title showdown on Wednesday, but who will come out on top?

“After going three games without victory, Arsenal can approach this as if the pressure is off,” said BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton.

“But that run of draws was so damaging, and you can see that doubt has kicked in. If the Gunners can win, it would be an incredible turnaround after what has happened to them in recent weeks.”

Sutton is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, against a variety of guests.

Some of his attempts at guessing the correct scorelines have been frighteningly bad – so it is appropriate that this time he is up against two specialists in horror – Evil Dead Rise writer and director Lee Cronin and Living With Chucky writer and director Kyra Gardner.

Evil Dead Rise is the fifth film in the classic Evil Dead franchise, and was released in UK cinemas on 21 April. It is currently number two in the global box office.

Living With Chucky is a documentary exploring the impact of the Chucky films – Kyra’s father, Tony, was the special effects expert who brought the iconic killer doll to life in the famous Child’s Play movie series. It came out on digital download in the UK on 24 April.

How does Sutton think he would fare if he ever met Chucky? “I have worked with Robbie Savage,” he explained. “So Chucky doesn’t scare me.”

Kyra Gardner and Chucky
Could Chucky feature in a football film in the future? “I doubt it,” laughed Gardner. “The ball would be about as big as he is.”

Gardner grew up in the United States as a keen junior footballer and had to choose between a soccer scholarship and majoring in film at college.

She told BBC Sport: “I don’t keep up with much in the professional world now, but I did play soccer, forever.

“I started when I was about three. My mum got me into it – she had never played it herself, but she wanted us to play. Then I played club soccer from the age of seven all the way to 17.

“I played centre-midfield and had the opportunity to take it further and perhaps maybe make a career out of it, but I couldn’t because of film school. They wouldn’t let you be on a sports scholarship while being on an arts programme at the same time.

“I miss it it a lot, because soccer was my whole world for such a long time. Now it is like I have this skill that I don’t use any more – but I will make a comeback eventually!

“Women’s soccer is such a big sport in the United States so I am not surprised it has become so popular in the UK too, but it has taken a while.

“I lived in London for a few months a few years ago and although everyone would talk about soccer all the time, I never heard anyone mention women’s soccer games.

“It’s great to hear that is changing and it has taken off in a big way, as it should – but just remember who the world champions are when the World Cup comes along this summer!”

Evil Dead Rise writer and director Lee Cronin
Being so cantankerous means Chris Sutton doesn’t have to fear being targeted by the demons in Evil Dead Rise. “The Deadites only hunt the innocent, so I think Chris will be all right,” said Cronin. “They won’t come after him because he’s not nice enough.”

Cronin has supported Liverpool since he was a young boy in Ireland, and remembers the exact moment he chose the Reds.

“Really specifically, I have been a Liverpool fan since August 1990 when I was eight years old,” he told BBC Sport. “That came off the back of me waking up to football when the Republic of Ireland played at Italia 90.

“I spoke to my cousin, who was a little bit older than me, about who I should support and he had a copy of Shoot! magazine where the centre pull-out was squad photos of Liverpool on one side, and Manchester United on the other.

“I took one look at United and said ‘no way’ and became a Liverpool fan.

“I definitely made the right choice but in hindsight it wasn’t the best time to start following then, three months after they had become champions in 1990. I had to wait a very long time to see them do it again and I spent the next few years being surrounded by United fans at school, which wasn’t much fun at all.

“I remember going to watch Liverpool play a couple of pre-season friendlies in Ireland and it was the era of players like Istvan Kozma so it wasn’t exactly a glamour team.

“Things did get better though and the standout player for me in the years that followed was always Robbie Fowler. His finishing was just something special. He was the player that, when you were a kid and you went down your local field, you would try to finish like he did.

“I remember when he came back a few years later and had that swansong with Liverpool at the end of his career – that was probably the most excited I have ever been by a Liverpool signing, even though he was long past the peak of his powers by then.”

When?ResultSuttonKyra Lee
Wolves v Crystal Palacex-x1-11-22-2
Aston Villa v Fulhamx-x2-12-02-1
Leeds v Leicesterx-x2-12-13-2
Nott’m Forest v Brightonx-x1-20-21-3
Chelsea v Brentfordx-x1-10-11-1
West Ham v Liverpoolx-x2-20-21-2
Man City v Arsenalx-x3-12-33-1
Everton v Newcastlex-x0-20-31-1
Southampton v Bournemouthx-x2-10-12-1
Tottenham v Man Utdx-x1-32-11-2

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



Wolves v Crystal Palace

Wolves v Crystal Palace (19:30 BST)

Crystal Palace are still unbeaten under Roy Hodgson but they didn’t really carry a goal threat in Saturday’s draw with Everton.

From Roy’s point of view, the job he was brought in for was to make sure Palace stayed up and it is as good as done. They are not mathematically safe but they are nine points clear of the relegation zone with six games to play so I think they have got enough points in the bag already.

Wolves still need another win, or maybe two, but they are hardly on the edge either.

The obvious result to go for here is 1-1, because I can’t see there being loads of goals and both sides would probably be delighted with a draw.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Kyra’s prediction: 1-2

Lee’s prediction: There are goals in this game but they might cancel each other out. 2-2

Aston Villa v Fulham

Aston Villa v Fulham (19:45)

Aston Villa got away with it a bit at the weekend. I tipped them to beat Brentford but they did not really get going against the Bees and were lucky to get a draw.

Just when it appeared that Fulham’s players had signed off for their summer holidays, they have now won back-to-back games – deservedly so each time – and look really committed.

It will be close but Villa are at home and have been in good form under Unai Emery so I still fancy them to sneak this one.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Kyra’s prediction: 2-0

Lee’s prediction: Villa are on a great run. 2-1

Leeds v Leicester

Leeds v Leicester (20:00)

I keep tipping Leeds to pick up points at home and to be fair I have only been about 10 goals out. I backed them to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 and draw 1-1 with Liverpool and they lost those games 5-1 and 6-1.

Javi Gracia has picked up three wins and a draw in his nine league games in charge, which is the reason they aren’t in the relegation zone, but he must have massive worries about his defence and only Bournemouth have conceded more goals in the top flight this season.

Snapshot of the bottom of the Premier League table: 15th Bournemouth, 16th Leeds, 17th Leicester, 18th Everton, 19th Nottingham Forest & 20th Southampton

I don’t fancy Leeds to keep a clean sheet here, but Leicester have defensive problems of their own.

The Foxes’ win over Wolves on Saturday was enormous for their new manager Dean Smith because it got them out of the bottom three, and with a home game against Everton to come on Monday they could open up a bit of a gap on the relegation zone in the space of a week.

I don’t think that will happen, though. For no reason whatsoever I am going to say a home win for Leeds. They have been smashed in their past two games at Elland Road but this might be third time lucky for me, as well as them.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Kyra’s prediction: 2-1

Lee’s prediction: I am feeling brave so I am going for Leeds to edge this. 3-2


Nottingham Forest v Brighton

Nottingham Forest v Brighton (19:30)

Nottingham Forest showed a bit of fight against Liverpool at the weekend but still left Anfield empty-handed. It is going to be just as hard for them to get anything from this game.

Brighton are going to have to pick themselves up after the disappointment of their FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout defeat, but I thought they were the better team against Manchester United at Wembley.

I’ve got to say that, while I admire what Arsenal and Manchester City have done this season, the Seagulls under Roberto de Zerbi are my favourite team to watch, with the confidence they show and the risks they take.

All the Seagulls players have a great understanding of their team’s patterns of play and, while they might be feeling a bit flat after the weekend, I think they will be too good for Forest.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Kyra’s prediction: 0-2

Lee’s prediction: Forest are not in a good place at the moment. 1-3

Chelsea v Brentford

Chelsea v Brentford (19:45)

Frank Lampard has lost all four of his games as interim Chelsea manager. He won’t be in charge at Stamford Bridge next season but he is a proud man and will be desperate to deliver a positive result this time, with talk that Mauricio Pochettino is about to take over.

Unfortunately for Lampard, I’m not sure all his players feel the same. The way some of them have conducted themselves this season makes me wonder if they really care – the Blues are five points behind Brentford in the table for a reason.

The Bees were good against Villa at the weekend after a little spell where their results had just fallen away and we know how well organised they always are.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 1-1

Kyra’s prediction: 0-1

Lee’s prediction: This will be pretty dull. 1-1

West Ham v Liverpool

West Ham v Liverpool (19:45)

West Ham have had a great week with two four-goal wins, in the Europa Conference League and then at Bournemouth, but their improvement goes back further than that.

The Hammers have taken 10 points from their past four games and they are at the stage where another win will probably be enough to keep them up.

I am not sure they will get it here, despite the improvement of Michail Antonio. This season, like a lot of West Ham players, he has been a bit of a disappointment, but things have really clicked for him of late.

They will make life difficult for Liverpool and while I think Jurgen Klopp’s side will score goals, I still don’t trust the Reds defensively – Nottingham Forest caused them problems so West Ham will too.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 2-2

Kyra’s prediction: 0-2

Lee’s prediction: This is the big event of the night and the game everyone is talking about. I am still really cautious about our form, but I am going to back us here. 1-2

Lee on Liverpool’s season: My favourite player now has got to be Mohamed Salah because I love a goalscorer, but I was a huge fan of Georginio Wijnaldum and think we have really been missing his consistency in midfield. People go on about the effect of Sadio Mane leaving but for me Wijnaldum was the engine of the team and he was the bigger loss.

Man City v Arsenal

Man City v Arsenal (20:00)

I am very confident with my prediction for this game – the only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether Arsenal would score.

The Gunners are playing this match at one of the worst possible moments because City have found their rhythm and are hitting some incredible form.

Snapshot of the top of the Premier League table: 1st Arsenal, 2nd Man City

I really hope Arsenal are brave and take the game to City because the Gunners’ attack is their strength, but in many ways that will play into the home side’s hands.

Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus – on his return to Etihad Stadium – will all carry a threat, but we have seen how vulnerable they are at the back in the past few weeks, and how on earth do you stop Erling Haaland and co?

If, say, Nathan Ake is out injured then that will hamper City a bit, but I still see Pep Guardiola’s side really dominating the game, and they are absolutely relentless when they come forward.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Kyra’s prediction: So the title is on the line in this game? I have to go with Arsenal here because they are the team I know the best. 2-3

Lee’s prediction: Being a Liverpool fan, I know what it is like going toe-to-toe with City. I think Arsenal have had an amazing season but I think their energy has started to drop, while City have really started to hit top form. 3-1


Everton v Newcastle

Everton v Newcastle (19:45)

Everton reminded me of Sean Dyche’s old Burnley side when I watched them against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin came into the team and they were very direct, with balls into him and then trying to find runners off that.

They were also hoping for Alex Iwobi and Demarai Grey to spark something with some individual brilliance but it didn’t really happen, and you could really see why the Toffees are the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season.

This is the last game they need after dropping into the bottom three. Everton don’t carry enough of a threat and then you are left asking whether they can keep an in-form Newcastle side out.

I don’t think they can, and being at home won’t make any difference, because the Magpies will frighten the life out of them.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 0-2

Kyra’s prediction: 0-3

Lee’s prediction: This is more out of hope than expectation. I am still thinking about Liverpool making the top four and although Newcastle have just had a big win, there is still a bit of inconsistency in their team and they are our best hope of sneaking in there, more so than Manchester United. It’s a heck of a long-shot though. 1-1

Southampton v Bournemouth

Southampton v Bournemouth (19:45)

Bournemouth could effectively relegate Southampton here.

Saints would not be mathematically down, of course, but they will still be feeling sick after dropping points so late on against Arsenal and a defeat would be a huge blow to them.

Will that happen, though? On paper, yes. Southampton’s home form has been wretched while Bournemouth had been doing pretty well until they ran into West Ham at the weekend.

I am going against the grain, though. This is very difficult to call but I just have a feeling Saints will get something here. They won’t keep a clean sheet, though.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Kyra’s prediction: 0-1

Lee’s prediction: I changed my mind on this one – my thinking now is that display at Arsenal will give Southampton a bit of a bounce. 2-1

Tottenham v Man Utd

Tottenham v Man Utd (20:15)

I really fancy Manchester United here. Tottenham just capitulated against Newcastle and they are in such a mess that they have just fired their interim manager, Cristian Stellini.

Snapshot of 3rd to 8th in the Premier League: 3rd Newcastle, 4th Man Utd, 5th Tottenham, 6th Aston Villa, 7th Liverpool & 8th Brighton

If Newcastle had continued scoring at the same rate they did in the first 21 minutes, then they would have ended up winning 22-0.

Will Spurs bounce back, after one of the most gutless displays I have ever seen? I am not convinced.

United were fortunate to get through their FA Cup semi-final with Brighton. I enjoyed the game and how it panned out, and Erik ten Hag’s side were quite effective on the break.

I don’t see them scoring as many as Newcastle did, but I definitely don’t think Tottenham will keep a clean sheet.

I am sure Spurs won’t be as bad as they were on Sunday, but I just can’t back them at the moment.

Chris Sutton’s prediction: 1-3

Kyra’s prediction: 2-1

Lee’s prediction: This is the one that sticks in my throat because I don’t want to be honest, but I think United will win. 1-2

Chris Sutton, Kyra Gardner and Lee Cronin were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

How did Sutton do last time?

From last weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Sutton got four correct results from eight matches, including one exact score, giving him a total of 70 points.

With two games still to be played, he is leading Enter Shikari bassist & QPR fan Chris Batten, who got three correct results with one exact score, giving him a total of 60 points.

Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria230
Keke from 1Xtra140
Gaz Coombes120
Ali Bruce-Ball, Modernlove drummer Cian McCluskey, Jack Rowan110
Liam Fray of The Courteeners100
Editors bassist Russell Leetch80
Chris Sutton (average after 32 weeks)70
Ian Broudie, GK from Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Corey Deshon, Joelah from 1Xtra, Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno, Aaron Moorhead, Phoenix singer Thomas Mars70
AntsLive, Ronnie Huxford from Those Damn Crows, Ross MacDonald from The 1975, Chris Batten, Ryan Porteous60
Justin Benson, Al Greenwood from Sports Team, Dapz on the Map, Chesney Hawkes, Maulo50
Blake Bowman, Tom from Dry Cleaning40
Jessica McHale, Olivia Chomczuk, Casper van Dien, Black Honey guitarist Chris Ostler, DMAS’S frontman Tommy O’Dell, Oli Shasha from FEET, Stereophonics guitarist Adam Zindani30
Juice Menace, DJ Schak, Patrick Whelan20
Trampolene frontman Jack Jones10
Chris Sutton2,230

How did you get on?

Only 12% of you thought Southampton would avoid defeat at Arsenal but you were correct about wins for Fulham, Liverpool and Newcastle.

PositionCorrect results
1. Chris4/10
=2. Guest3/10
=2. Guest3/10

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

1. You161/314 (51%)
2. Chris149/314 (47%)
3. Guests142/314 (45%)

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