Chelsea v Spurs
The lunchtime kick-off is a Jose Mourinho derby, the former Chelsea boss now enjoying life, more or less, with Tottenham. It was definitely less this midweek, with the Spurs boss bemoaning the fact that his injury-ravaged side are “like a gun without bullets” after their defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Spurs are unbeaten in their last four league games, though, while Chelsea haven’t won a single game in their last four league outings. There’s a sense that the natives may be getting a little restless at Stamford Bridge, and no wonder – the Blues have only tasted victory twice in their last seven home matches in the Prem.
With both teams showing frailties, this one feels like a bit of a conundrum. Factors we could previously bank on – a reliable Mourinho defence, for instance – have gone out the window. But even a Spurs team that let in goals and don’t have an obvious attack may be able to find a way to score against this opposition; Chelsea have lost to Bournemouth and West Ham at home this season, after all.
Back Tottenham or draw in the double chance market at 23/20.
Burnley v Bournemouth
The Clarets are in their best form of the season so far – which isn’t the most impressive boast, admittedly, but does give backers of the home side cause for optimism. The Cherries have had a couple of crucial wins in the last month or so, but both victories came at home – on the road, Bournemouth have lost their last four games on the bounce.
Eddie Howe’s problems might not be over yet, and with Burnley winning their last three encounters with the south coast side, everything points to another satisfying afternoon for Sean Dyche’s team.
Back Burnley to win at 57/50.
Crystal Palace v Newcastle
It’s been three straight losses for Roy Hodgson’s Palace – but the similarly shaky Newcastle were turned over 4-0 by Arsenal last time out. Is this a golden opportunity for Palace to claim their first win of 2020?
Perhaps, but I’m more interested in goal markets. Both teams are crying out for a reliable goalscorer – Benteke scored his first of the season for Palace last week, while the Magpies’ current top scorer is Jonjo Shelvey with five goals.
Furthermore, in three of Newcastle’s last four games the team have scored no goals, while Palace drew blanks in two of their last three. I considered backing under 0.5 in the Total Goals market at 6/1, but you can give yourself a bit of breathing space with a slightly bigger margin:
Back Under 1.5 in the Total Goals market at 8/5.
Sheffield United v Brighton
The Seagulls are another side searching for their first win of the year – while Sheffield United have won three on the bounce, including their FA Cup victory against Millwall last month.
A win for the Blades this weekend could see the side move ahead of either Tottenham or Chelsea, depending on results in the London derby. With Man City supposedly set to miss out on the Champions League next season, could Chris Wilder earn a place in the elite competition?!
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; for now, the home win this week looks a good bet.
Back Sheffield United to win at 19/20.
Southampton v Aston Villa
Booed off the pitch after their last outing against Burnley, Southampton have blown hot and cold this season, with eight league defeats coming at St Marys. Can the Saints improve that dismal record against a similarly unreliable Villa on Saturday?
With Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side losing at home this season to, amongst others, Bournemouth, Everton and West Ham, it’s not out of the question that Villa can come here and get a result. There again, Southampton also have the quality to beat this team, and Ralph could definitely use a home win to get fans back on side.
With both sides desperate for a positive, I think each team could cancel the other out. Two of Villa’s last three away games have ended in deadlock, and this one could end all square too.
Back the draw at 13/4.
Leicester v Man City
Man City may be reeling at developments off the pitch, but their quality on the pitch is not in doubt. With the Foxes fading in recent weeks, and main man Jamie Vardy without a goal in 2020 – that’s from eight appearances – the visitors are favourites, and rightly so.
If you’re wary of backing a Man City side that have already slipped up plenty of times this campaign, though, fair enough – maybe there’s another angle worth exploring.
Assuming Rodri starts, the man City man might be worth backing at 5/2 to pick up a yellow card. He’s been shown nine yellows already for City this season – including three in his last five games.
The brilliant Spaniard made headlines after making more passes than the entire West Ham team in Wednesday’s match, but he’s not so hot on discipline, and may attract the referee’s attention once again on Saturday night.
Back a yellow card for Rodri at 5/2.
Man Utd v Watford
You never quite know what to expect from United, but on the basis that they’re in the midst of a reasonably good run at the moment, while Watford’s revival under Nigel Pearson has slowed dramatically in the last month, anticipating a home win would seem the obvious conclusion.
There’s a disclaimer that United’s recent good (ish) results have come against Man City and Chelsea. Against Club Brugge, they looked very ordinary for much of the game, even if they earned a draw through a smart Anthony Martial goal.
How about this – seven of Utd’s last eight games have featured two goals or fewer (the exception was the 6-0 drubbing of Tranmere). Meanwhile, Watford have scored one goal or fewer in four of their last five games. Therefore, unders looks a decent shout – if you want to add some oomph to the bet you might combine it in a double with Man Utd to win.
Wolves v Norwich
After sticking four past Espanyol on Thursday, Wolves will be feeling pretty pleased with themselves. Diego Jota scored a hat trick, for the second time in as many Europa League outings – but perplexingly, he didn’t score a single goal in the eight games between those two European matches.
Maybe DJ isn’t the man to back to find the net in Sunday’s match, then. How about this as an alternative – three of Wolves’ last five games in the league have been draws, with Newcastle and Leicester both earning a point at Molyneux. If Wolves are a little weary after Thursday’s match, perhaps Norwich can force another stalemate.
Back the draw at 10/3.
Arsenal v Everton
Arsenal and Everton played out a tedious 0-0 draw when they met just before Christmas, but both sides have improved since then. Unbeaten in five matches, albeit against uniformly second-rate opposition, this is a real test for Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their last nine games – but for all that, they’ve only won twice in the Prem under Arteta. I think the Toffees might have enough about them to earn a draw once again here.
Back the draw at 13/5.
Liverpool v West Ham
After Liverpool suffered a rare defeat in the Champions League (just like we said they would here), might the Merseyside team be about to unravel? It seems unlikely, particularly given the fact that West Ham haven’t won a league game since New Year’s Day.
It should be a straightforward win for the home side, and David Moyes may limit his ambitions to keeping the score down – after the midweek loss to Man City, desperately looking for positives, the Scot said that “goal difference may be important” at the end of the season, presumably implying a 2-0 loss to City wasn’t the worse result.
Will Liverpool blow off steam by scoring a bunch of goals, or will the Hammers be able to keep the home side at bay? Klopp’s team have scored either one or two goals in seven of their last eight league games, so it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise if this turned out to be another low scoring win for Liverpool.
Back Liverpool to win and under 2.5 goals at a combined 7/2.
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