Man City vs Brentford
The final weekend of Premier League fixtures before the World Cup is here. And it’s possible that not every player taking part in the winter extravaganza / ethical minefield will necessarily be giving it their all this weekend.
Assuming he’s fit to play, Erling Haaland has no such concerns of course, with Norway absent from the Qatar event. Still, some players’ desire to avoid last minute injuries could affect the intensity of matches.
Even so, Man City are unlikely to blunder against a Bees side that aren’t exactly buzzing. Thomas Franks’ men lost on penalties to Gillingham in the Carabao Cup earlier this week. And Brentford have one win in their last nine matches in all comps.
This lunchtime kick-off may turn out to be a “job done” kind of game for Pep Guardiola, rather than a tour de force performance; with that in mind, under 3.5 goals at 19/20 might be worth a look.
Bournemouth vs Everton
Bournemouth have already dealt out one pasting to the Toffees this week, turning over Frank Lampard’s side 4-1 in the Carabao Cup.
The Everton side was much changed from the line-up Lampard chose against Leicester last weekend. It’s possible the visitors can give a better account of themselves on Saturday.
That said, the Merseyside team have won just one of their last six league games. Lamps may be feeling a little pressure here.
The Cherries’ home record against Everton is surprisingly robust; Bournemouth are unbeaten at the Vitality in their every Premier League meeting, dating back to 2015.
And just because Everton may want to respond to the recent loss, it doesn’t necessarily follow they’ll be able to. Lampard’s side have won one away game in the Prem in this campaign, and have failed even to find the net in four of their last five Premier League games. The Bournemouth win at 37/20 is appealing.
Liverpool vs Southampton
While Liverpool fans grapple with the possibilities thrown up by the news that owners FSG may be planning to sell the club, the rest of us have a simpler dilemma to figure out.
Is it a good idea to back Liverpool to beat a team that are performing badly, when Jurgen Klopp’s last two defeats have come against Nottingham Forest and Leeds?
The Saints got shot of Ralph Hasenhuttl this week, with former Luton coach Nathan Jones replacing the Austrian. Jones will be in charge for this game – so can he possibly inspire his new side to take something at Anfield?
The visitor’s most obvious problem is that they’ve scored just one goal in their last five away games. Fired up or not, Southampton lack threat up front. And Liverpool’s win away to Tottenham in the Prem might suggest Klopp’s side are moving in the right direction again.
For Saints, thoughts of a new manager bounce may have to be delayed ‘til after the World Cup. Southampton’s last five trips to Anfield have all ended in defeat – with the visitors unable to find the net on a single occasion. That points to a Liverpool win to nil, which can be backed at 13/10.
Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace
Forest are unbeaten at home in their last four in all comps. And Steve Cooper’s side looked sharp against Spurs in the Carabao Cup this week, knocking the North London side out of the competition with goals from Renan Lodi and Jesse Lingard.
Yet after three wins in four league matches (they lost to Newcastle on penalties in the Carabao Cup this week), Crystal Palace seem to be in a pretty good place too.
But despite that recent win over West Ham, Palace’s away form isn’t the best. Before beating the Irons, they’d failed to win on the road in this campaign. Maybe it’s better to stop trying to figure out the likely winner here; backing Both Teams To Score at 22/25 might be a better option.
Tottenham vs Leeds
Antonio Conte says Harry Kane is “very tired”. Not what England fans want to hear, with the World Cup just over a week away. At least Kulusevski and Richarlison were fit enough to make appearancea against Forest midweek. Not that it did them much good.
Tottenham lost 2-0 away to the Tricky Trees in the League Cup, and the north London side have lost their last two home games in the Premier League too.
With Leeds having scored eight goals in their last three Prem games, the visitors are showing plenty of spirit right now. There’s every chance Jesse Marsch’s side can find the net, and perhaps they can do even better; back Leeds or the draw in the double chance market at 11/8.
West Ham vs Leicester
The Foxes have picked up a bit of momentum after a terrible start. But West Ham are in reasonable nick themselves.
Rather than back either of these sides, it might be worth considering Leicester’s Harvey Barnes to continue his recent run of good form in front of goal.
Barnes has three goals in his last four league games, and is 4/1 to find the net at any time at the London stadium.
Newcastle vs Chelsea
Newcastle’s league form is excellent; Graham Potter’s honeymoon period at Chelsea is definitely done, the Blues racking up three defeats in four outings.
With confidence high, Eddie Howe will feel the visitors are there for the taking in this teatime kick-off. And rightly so – it’s not exactly going out on a limb to get behind a side that have climbed to third in the Premier League, lost once all season, and are still improving. Get stuck into the home win at 11/8.
Wolves vs Arsenal
Wolves won their Carabao Cup tie against Leeds earlier this week. But in the Premier League the Midlands side have mustered one win in eight matches. New coach Julen Lopetegui is finally on board, but he doesn’t officially take charge of the club ‘til next week.
The Gunners were defeated in their own League Cup tie against Brighton on Wednesday. But it seems likely that Arteta will quickly move on from that disappointment.
Going into the World Cup break on top of the Premier League would be a great psychological boost for a team that probably didn’t expect to be leading Man City for the title at this point.
To make sure of that, Arsenal need to win at Molineux in the late kick-off. The Gunners are heavy odds-on favs to do so, however.
To give the price a little extra juice, you could back Arsenal to win and Under 4.5 goals at 4/5 in our Pre-packs section. Arsenal have scored just one goal in each of their last three away games in the Prem, which was enough to win two of them (Chelsea and Leeds). If you think that trend can continue, Arsenal are 13/2 to win 1-0.
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