Will Costa, Sanchez and Manchester City Bounce Back This Weekend?
Pep v Pochettino is the standout tete-a-tete this weekend, but there’s plenty of other Premier League action to get stuck into too.
Resident football expert Adrian Clarke runs us through his picks for the televised matches…
Liverpool v Swansea City
Swansea boss Paul Clement knows what it feels like to win at Anfield, but his new charges may find it a little trickier to get a result than the Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid side that triumphed 3-0 on Merseyside when he was assistant manager with the Spanish giants in 2014.
Actually, strike that. It won’t just be trickier; they’ll need a miracle to win away at Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.
Okay, the Welsh strugglers may be lifted by a trio of new signings, full back Martin Olsson, midfielder Tom Carroll and winger Luciano Narsingh, but Clement has a serious job on his plate to revive a side that’s in truly terrible shape. They simply can’t defend.
I’d be looking at the handicap bets, in particular the 0-2 start for Swansea, and still be backing Liverpool at 10/7 for the victory.
Penalty taker James Milner is often overlooked for goalscorer bets, but he’s nabbed two spot kicks in his last three appearances against the Swans, and was cool as a cucumber when Liverpool won a penalty last weekend. He’s 23/20 to score anytime.
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
On-fire Spurs are on a run of six straight Premier League wins for the sixth time in the competition’s history, but never have they managed to secure victory number seven.
Based on how inept Manchester City were at Everton last weekend (coupled with the fact they have lost three in a row to the North Londoners) plenty will be lumping on Mauricio Pochettino’s men at 27/10, or Tottenham on a Draw No Bet at 8/5.
I’d be inclined to do the same if I wasn’t a Gooner!
When I study the formbook, tactical ploys used by each manager of late, and compare their respective back lines it’s easy to lean towards the visitors. On the back of last Sunday’s debacle you’d expect a reaction from City, and Pep Guardiola will have laid down the law in training, so there should be a determined response.
With Goalscorer Price Boosts for all the televised games with Grosvenor, how about tipping new boy Gabriel Jesus to snatch the glory and headlines on his debut?
The Brazilian wonder kid is the real deal, and it would be some story if he made an impact in this one. He’s 33/20 to score anytime, which would most likely be from the bench.
Or you can grab the price boost on Harry Kane to score first at 11/2.
Southampton v Leicester City
Is this the moment the champions end their away day jinx? One or two subtle indications suggest it might be.
Claudio Ranieri’s men have certainly shown signs of improvement on their last three road trips. A gritty 2-2 fightback at Stoke City with ten men, a goalless stalemate at Middlesbrough, and a 2-1 FA Cup success at Everton, hint that confidence is on the rise.
With the Saints in patchy uninspired form, odds of 19/5 on the Foxes could be worth a nibble.
Don’t bank on it being a high scoring contest. St Mary’s has only witnessed 21 Premier League goals in 2016-17, the second lowest tally of all the stadiums. Claude Puel’s men desperately need a striker to hit top gear, and right now, it’s only their solid defence that’s keeping their head above water in the lower-to-mid-table region.
Arsenal v Burnley
Alexis Sanchez’s sulky (and pretty hilarious) reaction to being substituted at Swansea last weekend was blown up to be something it wasn’t, but don’t be surprised if Burnley bear the brunt of a Chilean backlash. He’s 29/10 to score first, and I’d back him to grab more than one.
Fresh from calls from his manager to score more goals, I wonder if there will be a reaction from fellow Gunners superstar Mesut Ozil, too. Illness ensured the German enjoyed a short winter break, and with batteries nicely recharged I’d fancy him at 23/10 to score anytime.
It’s hard to make any sort of case for Burnley. They’re as resolute as anyone on home territory, but have scored just THREE goals away all season, collecting one measly point.
Backing Burnley not to score is 33/50. This should be a straightforward Arsenal success.
Chelsea v Hull City
We can’t guarantee if he’ll be involved or not, but this encounter feels like it’s the Diego Costa show before a ball has been kicked.
Will Antonio Conte bury the hatchet and select him to start? Could he keep faith with the XI that smashed Leicester, and leave his striker on the bench? Is the Italian prepared to omit Chelsea’s main man altogether once more?
Should the moody front man – whose head has been turned by the riches of China – earn a reprieve from his boss, all eyes will be on the Spaniard’s body language.
Odds of just 5/9 on the Chelsea star to score, also prove the bookies’ think he’ll put the recent spat with Conte behind him in positive fashion. I’m inclined to agree on that front.
Even though Hull City are showing signs of progress under new gaffer Marco Silva, they are 17/1 outsiders for a valid reason.
I fancy Costa to score in a comfortable 3-0 (6/1) win for the leaders.
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