Bournemouth vs Chelsea
Surely there must come a time when Frank Lampard bucks his recent losing trend. Not to labour the point, but Lamps has currently lost ten games in a row.
That atrocious run combines Lampard’s six games in charge at Chelsea with his last four at Everton.
It’s fair to say performances since Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge aren’t doing his reputation any favours – even if the club’s problems go beyond the interim manager.
Briefly, the owners have spent roughly £600m on transfers in the last 18 months, ditched Thomas Tuchel for Graham Potter, then ditched Potter for Lampard months later, all while plummeting down the Premier League table.
Chelsea aren’t even finding the net with any regularity; they’ve scored twice under Lampard. Meanwhile, Bournemouth scored four goals in their last home game (against Leeds, who’ve admittedly been shipping goals for fun in the last month).
Gary O’Neil’s side have also won six of their last nine league matches – stats that Chelsea fans can only dream of at this point. You have to figure this could be another trying result for the West London club. Take Bournemouth for the win at 5/2.
Man City vs Leeds
In a turn of phrase that may come back to bite him very quickly, new Leeds boss Sam Allardyce declared himself to be on a par with “Pep, Klopp, and Arteta” in terms of managerial ability.
Is Big Sam trying to take the pressure off his players by making such an outlandish statement? Is Allardyce a master manipulator?
Or does the new coach actually believe his words? It’s not the first time he’s referred to his own greatness, after all.
After the pints of wine, the England fiasco, and a style of football “from the 19th century” according to Jose Mourinho, Allardyce will never be a glamourous name. And this perceived lack of respect seems to genuinely vex the man.
Still, Allardyce is at least rated for his ability to help teams avoid relegation. That said, in his last job he was unable to prevent West Brom from plunging out of the Premier League in 2021.
Leeds have four games left to escape the drop. If they do go down, it’s hardly Allardyce’s fault. The new manager will face Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham in the coming weeks. But before that, his side are away to Man City, a side that have dropped just two points in their last 12 matches.
Having taken the reins only a couple of days ago, it’s difficult to know how easily the Leeds players will be able to adapt to Allardyce’s tactics on Saturday.
And with the West Yorkshire side having shipped four goals against Bournemouth at the weekend, it’s virtually impossible to see Leeds getting anything from this match.
Of course, I scoffed at the idea of Roy Hodgson’s return to Palace, so what the hell do I know. Maybe Allardicio really will do a number on City this weekend. I’d genuinely love to see it. Betting-wise though, the more obvious approach is to back the hosts to enjoy a fairly routine win.
Maybe it’s worth taking a chance on Rodri to score against the visitors. The Spaniard has scored in his last two games against Leeds. He was unfortunate not to find the net against West Ham earlier this week, too.
Spurs vs Crystal Palace
Tottenham’s fans may not agree, but you can’t say watching the side isn’t entertaining at the moment. Three down after 15 minutes against Liverpool last time out, Spurs fought back to 3-3 – only to concede a fourth with practically the last kick of the game. Yikes.
Six of Tottenham’s last eight matches have seen at least four goals scored; and oddly, Crystal Palace have been pretty hot to trot lately, winning out against West Ham in a match that boasted seven goals, and putting five past Leeds last month.
With Palace in newly confident mood and Spurs’ defence too accommodating, this could be another entertaining watch for the neutral. Over 3.5 goals is a 37/20 shot. Eberechi Eze has scored four times in his last five games, and is 22/5 to find the net here for Palace.
Wolves vs Aston Villa
Wolves need to pick themselves up after a 6-0 spanking from Brighton. Trouble is, Villa have been pretty good of late, even if their 10-game unbeaten run came to an end against Man Utd last time out.
Julen Lopetegui will presumably impress upon his side the importance of keeping it tight at Molineux. But Villa’s star striker Ollie Watkins has scored in each of his last six away games; it’s easy to fancy him to make his mark once more here. Watkins is 9/5 to score at any time.
Liverpool vs Brentford
Liverpool still have a chance of claiming a Champions League place; that may well be motivation enough for the Reds to claim another victory at Anfield on Saturday.
The Merseyside team were beaten 3-1 by Brentford back in January. But Jurgen Klopp’s side have won their last five league games, and should have too much for the Bees here.
Diogo Jota has five goals in his last five appearances for Liverpool, and is 11/8 to score at any time against Thomas Frank’s team.
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