Leeds vs Burnley
After a Manc spanking, can Leeds restore some festive cheer for their support with a convincing performance against Burnley? The West Yorkshire side have lost three of their last four games and whatever the affection their all-or-nothing style inspires, Marcelo Bielsa’s inability to compromise means the team can often be vulnerable.
Anti-hipsters are already revelling in Bielsa being bested by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; they’ll be unbearable if Sean Dyche out-tactics the South American here. But it could happen, with Leeds only winning twice this season at Elland Road to date, and Burnley coming here on the back of a four-match unbeaten run against three decent sides, and Arsenal.
It would be nice to think that when attacking intent collides with workmanlike pragmatism, the more poetic approach will prosper – but that’s not always the case. Leeds have conceded 13 goals through set pieces this season, and Burnley may be capable of adding to that number here. Backing Burnley or the draw in the double chance market might be worth a look here at 57/50.
West Ham vs Brighton
The Irons have only won once so far this month but will be disappointed if they fail to take all three points against a Brighton side that have one victory in their last 12 league outings.
Last time out the Seagulls could only earn a draw against whipping boys Sheffield United – and that was despite the Blades having been reduced to 10 men at the end of the first half.
In this fixture last season, Brighton fought back from two goals down to take a share of the points – but David Moyes has succeeded in tightening his team up since then. Like turkey at this time of year, revenge could be a dish served cold on Sunday.
Back the West Ham win at 11/8, or if you’re up for something more unconventional, back Angelo Ogbonna to score at 10/1; the defender has found the net twice in his last five appearances, and could be hopeful of making up for the own goal he scored against Brighton back in the 3-3 draw in February.
Liverpool vs West Brom
If Baggies fans were hoping the arrival of Big Sam would inspire a new competence in their side, they were quickly disabused of that notion against Aston Villa. Five minutes into Allardyce’s reign, West Brom conceded a goal; before the first half was over, Jake Livermore was shown a red card.
Allardyce may be able to shore up the Baggies defence in time, but his no frills (or thrills) approach might not be particularly motivating to players that seemed to be largely onside with former manager Slaven Bilic. Not that I suppose it will make much difference against Liverpool either way, who will surely demolish this team.
Back Liverpool to win to nil at 7/10.
Wolves vs Tottenham
Each of the last four matches between these two sides has been surprisingly frenetic, Wolves winning 3-2 in North London last time out, with this fixture ending with a 1-2 away win to Spurs a year ago.
Despite plenty of goals on the menu in recent previous meetings, though, this might be a quieter affair. With both sides stumbling in the last few weeks, avoiding defeat might be deemed more important than seizing the victory. The draw is a 9/4 shot.
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