Leeds vs Tottenham
Marcelo Bielsa might be the patron saint of footballing hipsters, and Leeds supporters unequivocally love the man for what he’s done for their club. But. Four defeats in Leeds’ last five games? Six goals shipped against Liverpool?
It sounds like a gag to say Bielsa could learn a thing or two from Sean Dyche. Except the Clarets conceded once against Liverpool a couple of weeks back. They also drew against Man Utd, and have just won back-to-back games against Spurs and Brighton.
Two differing footballing philosophies for sure. But Leeds’ quixotic approach under their coach could yet see them sucked into the relegation fight, with Burnley and Newcastle both improving.
It will be fascinating to see how the Yorkshire side fare against another troubled team at Elland Road on Saturday. Spurs might have been sublime against Man City but their default setting seems closer to ridiculous. The aforementioned midweek loss to Burnley means Tottenham, like Leeds, have lost four of their last five league matches.
Antonio Conte sounds very much like a man regretting his decision to relocate to North London. Still, with Leeds’ morale surely at a low ebb and the side beset with injury-enforced absences, an away victory does seem the most likely outcome here. Whether you have sufficient faith in this frequently underperforming Spurs team to back them to win at 10/11 is another matter.
It’s indisputable that Leeds’ games mean goals, though. Three of their last five matches have each seen six goals scored. Backing over 5.5 goals here is available at 17/2, though the slightly more cautious over 3.5 goals at 8/5 is the more realistic option, obviously.
Brentford vs Newcastle
Newcastle are unbeaten since late December, and face a Brentford side who have lost six of their last seven league games. Is there any possible reason to think the Bees can get a result here?
There’s an argument that says Newcastle are amongst the least good sides the Bees have had to face in the last couple of months. Except that after spending much of the season looking like relegation candidates, the Magpies seem to have got their act together.
Three wins in four league games suggest Eddie Howe has turned his team’s fortunes around. On Brentford’s current form, the Mags will surely be disappointed not to take at least a point here.
The draw is a 9/4 shot – but maybe it’s worth having a look at Chris Wood to score, too. The former Burnley man is yet to net for his new club, and is 12/5 to do so at any time here. Wood scored against Brentford earlier this season for the Clarets, too.
There is the possibility of Christian Eriksen making an appearance for Brentford here, too, by the way. Not to put any pressure on the Dane, but if you think he can begin his time with the Bees in style, Eriksen is 4/1 to score at any time.
Brighton vs Aston Villa
Are Brighton rubbish now? Graham Potter was acclaimed as the future of English football management for masterminding draw after draw after draw earlier this season. Now the Seagulls coach has led his side to three defeats in four matches in all comps. Over-rated.
No, of course not; I’m just being a twerp. In any case, Brighton will be looking to produce a more positive showing against Steven Gerrard, who has also been acclaimed as the future of English football management and would probably kill for a draw after his most recent result.
It’s one win in seven for the Midlands side. Last time out, Villa were beaten at home by the past of English football management, Roy Hodgson’s Watford somehow doing a number on them.
Anyway, this looks a good opportunity for a reset for the hosts – who are 13/10 to win. But similarly, it’s a wonderful chance for Coutinho to pop up with a goal and help out his old pal Mr G. Phil is 17/2 to score first.
Crystal Palace vs Burnley
Palace smashed four goals past Watford on Wednesday, raining on the parade of former boss Roy Hodgson. Can Patrick Vieira’s side build on that positivity by winning against Sean Dyche, whose Burnley have looked resurgent in recent weeks?
Whoever comes out on top here, it seems wise not to expect another goalfest. In the five games prior to the Watford result, the Eagles scored a total of three goals in five league matches.
Meanwhile, Burnley have lost just once in their last six outings, but five of those games saw the team score one or fewer goals. Neither team’s current form suggests a bonanza of goalmouth action. Then again, when these two sides met earlier this season it was a 3-3 barnstormer of a match.
As ever when I have even less idea than usual about just what on earth could possibly transpire, I resort to backing goal scorers. For the hosts, Edouard Odsonne is looking to score in his fourth consecutive home game. And the Frenchman is a tempting 9/2 to open the scoring here.
For Burnley, Wout Weghorst scored his first for the club against Brighton last weekend, and could be a decent shout to produce the goods again on Saturday. Wout is 13/5 to find the net.
Man Utd vs Watford
Last time these sides met, Watford won and Man Utd’s then manager got the sack. That won’t happen for a variety of reasons this week, not least of which is that Watford’s last six away wins have come under six different managers. With last week’s win over Villa, Hodgson’s already met his quota of on-the-road wins.
The Hornets have now scored twice in two games, which is a veritable goal-rush by their standards. Still, they will surely be outclassed by a United side that, away from the ceaseless social media snark, are unbeaten in seven league games. Even if they were pretty bad against Atletico Madrid this week.
Forget that, though. United have won two of their last three home games in the Prem without conceding. Against a Watford team that struggle to find the net, backing United to win to nil looks a reasonable option. You can back that bet in our Match Events section at 11/10.
Everton vs Man City
In Frank Lampard’s brief time with Everton, the story so far is good wins at home, straightforward defeats on the road. That simple pattern seems likely to come to an end with Man City’s visit.
Or does it? Could be the Toffees are taking on City at an auspicious time. Pep’s team were rocked back on their heels by Tottenham last weekend, after all. If Everton do win, they’ll be doing their city rivals Liverpool a huge favour, with the gap between those two sides currently just three points.
At this point we should acknowledge that City have won their last nine encounters with Everton in all comps. In four meetings in 2021 alone, City scored 13 goals to Everton’s one.
Even with Lampard’s apparent desire to play on the front foot, it’s tough to see City getting caught out in the same way as Leeds or Brentford, two of the Prem’s less robust defences. Prior to the Tottenham incident, City had conceded two goals in six league games.
This should be a return to business as usual for City then, not that there’s a great deal of appeal in backing the visitors. Riyad Mahrez might be worth considering to score for Pep’s side, however. Mahrez has 10 goals in his last 13 appearances for City, and five in his last five. He is 17/4 to score the opener here.
West Ham vs Wolves
David Moyes’ team won 4-0 last time these sides met at the London Stadium. But the Irons only win in the last six weeks or so has come against Watford, with Leeds earning a rare win against Moyes team on a visit to the capital last month, and Newcastle earning a draw in East London last week.
That suggests West Ham can be got at here. Both these sides are in the hunt for a top four finish, though Wolves defeat against Arsenal on Thursday handed the impetus to the Gunners.
Still, Arsenal are the only team to have beaten Wolves in their last nine league games, with the Old Gold having won six times over that period. Bruno Lage’s men are 29/10 to win here. That’s pretty tempting, given West Ham might be running out of steam.
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