Crystal Palace vs Fulham
If neither of these teams have quite the momentum of a runaway freight train, nor is it all doom and gloom for either club. Fulham, as mentioned in Saturday’s preview, look to have a fighting chance of avoiding relegation.
But Palace, despite barely having a sniff against Brighton midweek, nevertheless scored two pretty sweet goals to claim all three points. The Eagles are not always a team to rely on, but writing them off against the league’s weaker sides has mostly proven a mistake this season; Palace have already beaten Fulham away, stuck five past West Brom at the Hawthornes, and seen off both Sheffield United and Newcastle in 2021.
In fact, Palace have won each of their last three Premier League encounters against Fulham, and the hosts are a decent 5/2 to take the victory here. I’m prepared to take a chance on Roy Hodgson’s side to nick the win in Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off.
Leicester vs Arsenal
Foxes to flummox the Gunners? Brendan Rodgers’ side are doing well enough that the manager was linked earlier this week with a move to Tottenham, once Jose’s made his fond farewells.
Still, with Leicester third in the league and on course for the Champions League right now, Brendan is more concerned with North London’s other team this week. And you’d have to fancy the Foxes to get the better of these stop-start Gunners.
The Midlands side have lost just one of their last 12 matches, with wins against Liverpool and Aston Villa in recent weeks, even if their struggles in Europe continue. For Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, it’s three defeats in four league outings, and while Arteta’s job seems in little danger, his side are still outside the top 10 right now. It’s not good enough, Gunners.
Arsenal haven’t won once in their last four league games against Leicester, three defeats and a draw since April 2019. The one bit of good news for the Gunners is that Aubameyang appears to be rediscovering some of his previous excellence, with a hat-trick against Leeds, and two goals against Benfica on Thursday.
Auba is 37/20 to score at on Sunday; but Harvey Barnes holds plenty of appeal to score for Leicester at 11/4 too, with Barnes getting on the score sheet in his last two league outings. The hosts are 6/4 for the outright win.
Tottenham vs Burnley
Spurs are in a bit of a slump with one win in their last six league games, while in direct contrast, scrappy underdogs Burnley have… one win in their last six league games.
A glance at the history between these two, though, and the omens aren’t good for Sean Dyche. In this fixture last season, Spurs won 5-0. More damningly, it’s five wins in six at home for Spurs against the Clarets in the Prem – and Jose Mourinho has never lost a game against Burnley, either.
You want more? Oh, we’ve got more. Burnley haven’t beaten Tottenham in the top flight since October 1974, when Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting was No.1. Oh-hoh-hoh-hoh, indeed.
Anyway, as underwhelming as Spurs have been lately, surely Mourinho’s pride will not allow his record to slip this week. Harry Kane scored twice in this fixture last time – he’s 14/5 to bag the opener on Sunday.
Chelsea vs Man Utd
The impression of Thomas Tuchel as an ice cool tactician of infinite ruthlessness might have been furthered by his decision to substitute the substitute when he took off Callum Hudson-Odoi after half an hour last week, during Chelsea’s draw against Southampton.
That said, the sight of Tuchel’s features contorted in rage, gnashing his teeth, flailing his arms and seemingly stopping just short of hurling himself to the floor whilst wailing like an infant don’t suggest boundless reserves of wisdom or maturity. It’s kind of fun to watch, and it also makes me think he’s kind of a dick.
Still, Chelsea are unbeaten under their tetchy Teutonic coach, and the Blues impressed with a Champions League win over Atletico Madrid mid-week. United are faring well in Europe too in the Europa League, though they couldn’t find the net against Sociedad on Thursday night – and while they are unbeaten in their last five league games, they’ve dropped points against West Brom, Everton and Arsenal, while even Sheffield United turned them over last month.
Is this the kind of game where United shine? Well, they’ve beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their last three encounters (FA Cup, League Cup, Prem).
But in away games against the other bigger names this season, they’ve had to settle for draws against Leicester, Liverpool and Arsenal, and this could this be another inconclusive affair. Yep, I’m leaning towards the draw at 9/4.
Sheffield United vs Liverpool
It’s four straight defeats for Liverpool in the league. The reigning champs are listing badly, and even if they are playing the worst side in the Premier League on Sunday, there are doubts about Jurgen Klopp’s men right now, whoever they face.
Liverpool have lost to Burnley and Brighton since January. In the ongoing experiment in insanity that is the current league campaign, who’s to say Chris Wilder’s side can’t join those underdogs with a victory of their own? The Blades earned a win against Man United last month, and may be fired up to take advantage of a team that appear to be in the throes of a sporting nervous breakdown.
Trouble is, the hosts still don’t have a reliable, regular scorer of goals. Liverpool aren’t scoring either, but they at least have the talent to do the business; it’s just not firing right now.
A change, as Sheryl Crow once put it, could do you good, Jurgen – enter Diogo Jota. The forward was briefly brilliant for Liverpool before his injury, and may be fit to play a part in this match on Sunday. If he does, he could make an immediate impact for the Reds. It could be worth backing Jota to be the last goal scorer at 9/2.
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