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Too much excitement for an old man to handle

You can tell Louis van Gaal is getting old when he has to write down the score immediately after each goal.

At least that's what I presume he's scribbling down in his oversized notepad. It could be, of course, that he's actually playing Sudoku in a bid to stop himself nodding off.

Van Gaal has admitted than even he, the architect of this much-maligned Manchester United team, is bored by the football they produce.

Admittedly, that was before Tuesday's 3-3 exciting draw with Newcastle United in which his frantic pen moved noticeably faster than any of his back four.

“Too exciting” was probably the entry, and he was clearly unimpressed with the freedom displayed by his players.

It all points to some furiously regimented and repetitive defensive drills in the lead-up to Sunday's match-up with familiar enemies Liverpool.

A 1-0 win of drudgery and lifelessness, you suspect, will leave the Dutchman beaming.

11am kick-off unless stated
Tomorrow's games
Tottenham v Sunderland

8.45am
Are Spurs about to do a Spurs and peter out in the second half of the season? That might be a little harsh given the progress made by the North London club this season.

After their home defeat to Leicester City, it's hard to see Sunderland having the steel to repeat that achievement.
Prediction: 2-0

Bournemouth v Norwich City
Bournemouth are without a win in four, which is a worry during what is a critical run of games for Eddie Howe's side.

They have new faces in their squad and Norwich shot themselves in the foot away to Stoke City, so the stakes are high.

Alex Neil's side to put up resistance, but the home side to edge it.
Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea v Everton

Phil Jagielka's return appeared to sure up Everton's backline against Manchester City, and they should fancy their chances against Chelsea, who are unbeaten under Guus Hiddink, but have drawn three of their past four leagues games.

Prediction: 2-2

Man City v Crystal Palace

City struggled for inspiration in midweek with Sergio Agüero still not hitting the heights fans have come to expect. Crystal Palace suffered the embarrassment of losing to Aston Villa, and will get little joy here.

Prediction: 3-0

Newcastle v West Ham United

Andy Carroll is out, ruling out a return to his boyhood club. That should be a boost to the home side who will bid to follow up an encouraging point at home to United.

A mere hunch, and against common sense, but a home win.

Prediction: 2-1

Southampton v West Brom

Ronald Koeman was a relieved man as his team got back to winning ways against Watford. They may find things a little tougher against Tony Pulis's robust outfit, who have won two of their past three games and troubled Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: 1-2

Aston Villa v Leicester City

1.30pm

Big game for both clubs. Villa will be desperate to build on their first win in aeons, while Leicester — everyone's favourite second team this season — know a win is crucial ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

A Champions League place is fast becoming a real prospect for Claudio Ranieri and his players.

Prediction: 1-3

Sunday's games

Liverpool v Manchester United

10.05am

The headline act — and a hugely intriguing one. Can Jürgen Klopp inspire another high-octane ambush that saw off City and Chelsea, or will Van Gaal's boys take advantage of the abyss that resembles the Liverpool defence at present?

Both teams have problems right now but Liverpool's extra vibrancy and energy in front of the Kop may swing it.

Prediction: 3-2

Stoke City v Arsenal

12.15pm

Usually the fixture Arsène Wenger least looks forward to each season — and this is no different, although Stoke are a slicker prospect this campaign.

Mark Hughes's team have won four of their past five at the Britannia, but Arsenal need to show title-winning grit and application during their most-hated away trip.

A defining moment in Arsenal's season.

Prediction: 0-1

Monday's game

Swansea City v Watford

4pm

Swansea's plight is alarming and they have fast become a good tip for relegation. Their managerial situation is unsteady and Watford have impressive cohesiveness and a sharp front line.

Prediction: 0-2

Boring, boring United: Van Gaal's team finally showed some signs of life against Newcastle
<p>Did you win?</p>

The Royal Gazette Fantasy Football league has $3,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.

The champion receives a prize worth $1,000, second collects $500, third $300 and fourth $200.

In addition to this, the best manager each month wins a gift certificate valued at $100.

None of the monthly winners so far this season have claimed their prizes. They are:

August: Bruce Swan (Bruce’s Foxes)

September: Cameron Smith (Chay Life FC)

October: Steven Simons (The Chosen Ones)

November: Shane Rozario (Just Like Trump)

December: Bruce Swan (Bruce’s Foxes)

• Contact me at jburton@royalgazette.com for more information.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 15, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated January 15, 2016 at 3:12 pm)

Too much excitement for an old man to handle

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