Saturday sees eight Premier League games and the highlight has to be the tea-time kick-off as Arsenal host Chelsea.
Chelsea to win @ 7/5
The Gunners have come unstuck in recent weeks, winning only one of their last four Premier League fixtures, and were particularly listless in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at West Ham.
Unai Emery appears to be going back to the drawing board but the same cannot be said for opposite number Maurizio Sarri, who seems happy to persevere with his preferred tactical shape.
August’s 3-2 win for the Blues showed the best and worst of both of these teams and while Sarri’s tactics may not be producing the thrills that highlighted his time at Napoli, they are winning games.
Chelsea have not won for almost three years at the Emirates although Saturday represents the perfect chance to claim a fourth win in five league outings.
Newcastle v Cardiff – under 1.5 goals @ 37/20
While there are likely to be fireworks in north London, the same is not expected 280 miles north when Newcastle take on Cardiff.
The 18th-placed Magpies received a boost in midweek as they defeated Blackburn in the FA Cup and while Rafael Benitez made a number of changes, he will hope that victory can re-energise his squad.
Opposite number Neil Warnock’s political views may split opinion but there are no doubts that he is doing a good job, with the Bluebirds still outside the drop zone.
A victory for either side is paramount on Saturday but do not expect a cracker. Home advantage may just help Newcastle to win at 21/20 but, with such a cagey game expected, look for under 1.5 goals.
West Ham to win @ 39/20
Bournemouth’s start to the season suggested a run at the European spots could be on the cards. However, they have won just two of their last 14 in all competitions and seem to be freefalling down the table.
In contrast, West Ham’s miserable opening part of the campaign, which included August’s 2-1 defeat to Saturday’s opponents, is now long gone and they themselves could be contenders for a Europa League finish.
Manuel Pellegrini will be keen to keep expectations low but his team have been good on the road, going five unbeaten before losing at Burnley at the end of December. The Hammers have a poor record against Bournemouth, failing to win their last four meetings, but this looks like their chance to end that run
Manchester United to win to zero @ 20/21
Much has been made about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s start to life as caretaker boss at Manchester United and he will expect his team to continue his perfect run at home to Brighton.
The Seagulls have won the last two meetings between the pair but both of those came on their own patch against a United team seemingly devoid of both confidence and ideas under Jose Mourinho.
Last weekend’s 1-0 victory at Tottenham was seen as Solskjaer’s first real acid test and an inspired David de Gea helped them keep a clean sheet.
Brighton have found their shooting boots in recent weeks but have scored two or more just twice in their last eight. In a game where they are likely to be second best from the off, they are unlikely to trouble their hosts.
Watford to win and both to score @ 43/20
One of this season’s most unpredictable teams are Watford and they will look to boost their European hopes on Saturday against resurgent Burnley.
The Hornets were 2-1 winners at Crystal Palace last weekend and, with just one clean sheet in their last 12, they are usually worth a watch.
Burnley seem to be back on track after an alarming first half of the campaign, compromised by their European foray, and they have won their last four in all competitions.
However, they were second best when the pair met in August, going down 3-1, and Javi Gracia’s men look set to do the double.
Liverpool to win to zero @ 4/5
Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders Liverpool have lost some of their sparkle in recent games although they showed plenty of spirit to win 1-0 at Brighton last weekend.
Saturday sees them face a Crystal Palace side who simply cannot put a run together, following up wins over Wolves in the league and Grimsby in the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat to Watford.
Their position in 14th sums up their season, with the Eagles always seemingly hovering over the relegation spots. Palace won three in a row at Anfield between 2015 and 2017 but do not look in the mood to cause an upset.
Southampton v Everton – over 3.5 goals @ 23/10
The other Merseyside club are also in action and Everton will need to be wary against improving Southampton.
Ralph Hasenhuttl seems to have a feel for what is needed at St Mary’s and after losing out to Derby on penalties in the FA Cup on Wednesday night, he will feel they owe the fans a performance.
Everton recorded an encouraging 2-0 win over Bournemouth last time out but Marco Silva still has a point to prove, with his side having won just twice on the road this season.
Between December 15 and Boxing Day, the Toffees conceded 14 goals in three games and with the Saints only having one clean sheet in their last 12 in the league, this could be an entertaining encounter.
Wolves to win @ 27/20
Finally to the first game on Saturday where Wolves welcome inconsistent Leicester to Molineux.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side went down 3-0 at Manchester City on Monday and will have to make do without towering defender Willy Boly after he received a contentious straight red at the Etihad.
That made it three defeats in five for Nuno’s 11th -placed side although they have developed a habit of beating teams above them. They can leapfrog ninth-places Leicester with a win on Saturday.
Claude Puel admitted on Thursday he is struggling to fathom his team’s current form and, with little to play for in the remainder of the season, their focus may already be waning.
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