Swansea City vs Liverpool: Reds At 7/1 To Run Riot In South Wales

Bottom of the table Swansea City host Liverpool on Monday night at the Liberty Stadium. Liverpool’s last match saw them end Manchester City’s invincible run in one of the most magnificent performances of the season.

Swansea’s last outing was a bit less spectacular. Their 1-1 draw with Newcastle United did not have the nation talking like Liverpool’s humbling of City, but it was an important point for Carlos Carvalhal and his side.

The Swans could pull themselves up to 18th with a victory in this one. The window is yet to have the impact on the Swansea squad that Carvalhal might have hoped when he was appointed. There’s been plenty of rumours about the Welsh club, but that’s not much help when you’re trying to survive.

The awkward news for Swansea is that Liverpool are undefeated in 14 Premier League matches, while the hosts have won just once in seven league outings. It’s hardly surprising that Liverpool are 2/7 for the win at the Liberty Stadium. Feel free to pop that into an accumulator if you’re convinced Jurgen Klopp’s side will stroll this one, but there’s no value in it as a single.

I think this might have to lead me into the territory of wincasts. With Liverpool always likely to score multiple times, there are good bets to be found. The odds aren’t astoundingly good, but Roberto Firmino to score and Liverpool to win at 7/4 is decent. The Brazilian has scored six in his last 10 appearances, and remains one of the Premier League’s most underrated players.

Swansea have improved under Carvalhal. The trouble is, Liverpool’s form makes them almost unplayable at the moment. The Swans have the second-worst expected goals in the league, and have even underperformed that. While Liverpool will give teams a chance, Swansea are the least equipped to take advantage of such an opening.

The 4/5 price on the home team to fail to score is on the short side, but I can still see some value in it given Liverpool’s inevitable domination of the ball.

Liverpool’s front three – led by Firmino – were not exactly troubled by the absence of Philippe Coutinho against City. I don’t think Coutinho’s departure is a disaster by any means and, unfortunately for Swansea, might just spur Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah on further. Salah has found the net nine times in his last 10 matches. The Egyptian to score the last goal and Liverpool to win is another tempting wincast at 19/5.

Swansea remain the favourites to be relegated at 11/50. Far from a shock given their league position of course, but there are signs that Carvalhal could pull the team towards safety. Reinforcements, though, are a necessity if they are going to secure another season in the top flight.

These matches are often considered to be a chance for ‘bonus’ points from teams in the bottom-half. Even that seems a severe improbability for the Swans, though, who I think must focus on avoiding a complete loss of momentum.

Liverpool could be down in fifth by the time they kick-off, but this is more an opportunity to boost goal difference than a risk of losing ground.

TIP: Liverpool to win 3-0 @ 7/1

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Carabao Cup: 3/1 For Goals Galore In Second Leg

The Carabao Cup returns to our screens this week. The first legs seem a distant memory amidst the transfer window chaos, don’t they? Well, even so, this is a significant few days for all four of the clubs involved as they could book themselves the first competitive Wembley date of the season.

So, we are here to pick through the betting markets for the two fixtures and find some value.

 

Bristol City vs Manchester City

Manchester City were given one of their toughest evenings of the season against Bristol City at the Etihad Stadium. Such is the chasm in quality, though, the Championship side eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat thanks to a Sergio Aguero winner. That wiped out any intrigue from this second leg, unfortunately.

Lee Johnson’s team have been superb this season, and played with an exciting, ambitious press in Manchester. They have little choice but to take a similar approach into the second leg. Their fans will make it quite an experience for City’s stars under the lights, and no doubt fire up the home players in the process.  

Form is not on the side of the hosts for this one, mind. Their record in the Championship recently has been poor, seeing them take just one point from their last four in the league. A speck of positivity can be found, though, that the point was gained in their last outing.

The Robins will up their game for this one, however. That’s what happens in cup ties like these, and that’s why we will all sit their gorping at our screens hoping for an upset.

Manchester City, meanwhile, will need to either put in a disastrous performance or be ludicrously unlucky not to win this. I fear they could win pretty handsomely, too. Pep Guardiola’s side were not their brilliant best against Newcastle, but they will not need to be to beat Bristol City.

As the home side chase the game we may well see goals at both ends, so at least this could be entertaining.

TIP: Over 3.5 goals @ 13/10

 

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal and Chelsea ended poor runs of form at the weekend. The Gunners have slipped way off top four pace, and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest, while Antonio Conte’s side had gone winless since the turn of the year, including being taken to a replay and extra time by Norwich.

Chelsea kicked off the Premier League weekend by thrashing Brighton, with Eden Hazard and Willian tearing the out-of-form Seagulls apart. An hour or so later, Arsenal raced to an early 4-0 lead as they cruised past Crystal Palace.

Both teams needed those results. It sets this semi-final second leg up beautifully after the 0-0 at Stamford Bridge.

It was a turgid affair in west London. We can expect something altogether more expansive at the Emirates, largely because neither team – particularly a depleted Chelsea – will be all that keen on an extra 30 minutes.

This is a tricky one to call, so I am going to edge away from any match result betting. Chelsea at 6/5 is the way to go if that’s what you fancy, though.

If Hazard and Willian or Pedro – who returns from suspension – can repeat their Amex Stadium display then Chelsea will book themselves an afternoon with Pep Guardiola at Wembley. I think the Blues will just make it through, but I prefer the over 2.5 bet in a tie as closely-fought as this one.

TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 17/10

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Brighton vs Chelsea: 24/5 For Narrow Away Triumph

Antonio Conte will still be fuming about Wednesday’s match with Norwich when this match begins at Saturday lunchtime. The controversial FA Cup replay saw red cards for Alvaro Morata and Pedro, meaning the Spanish pair are suspended as Chelsea look to end a draw-dominated start to 2018.

The Blues squeaked through that replay on penalties, but it did mean another 120 minutes of action for a squad that – as Conte keeps saying – is a bit thin. Brighton had no such fixture, though Chris Hughton’s side have their own form issues.

The hosts for the televised weekend-beginning fixture have taken just seven points from their last 10 Premier League matches. More worryingly, they have scored a not-so-grand total of four goals in those matches, which is unsurprisingly the worst in the league over the stretch. The Seagulls are 9/10 to fail to score again.

If Brighton fans are here searching for positives, they can take a look at the goals conceded. They have let fewer goals in that every team outside the top seven, and one less than Arsenal. Pair that with Chelsea’s difficulties in the final third of late, and it could be a surprisingly good afternoon.

From then on, things are a bit bleaker. Hughton’s side have only one win in 12 league matches, and, while Chelsea are not creating enough to be as scary an opponent as Liverpool or Manchester City, the Blues have kept clean sheets in five of their last six Premier League matches.

The visitors might be pleased to be without Morata for this one, though. He has been in a Fernando-Torres-esque run of form, and another opportunity for Michy Batshuayi could be the change that ignites this Chelsea attack, though the Belgian struggled in midweek. Batshuayi, despite not being Conte’s favoured option, has a good goal scoring record, he is priced at 7/2 to open the scoring.

Ross Barkley could make his Chelsea debut at the Amex Stadium. The midfielder recently signed from Everton is not fit to play from the start, but will probably be available from the bench given the suspensions suffered in midweek. For Chelsea fans feeling particularly optimistic about Barkley, he is 3/1 to score anytime.

Even after their dire run, Brighton are a tough team to break down. That’s testament to Hughton’s organisational skills. Hughton has long been an underrated manager, and he deserves plenty of credit for what he has done to keep Brighton in contention for safety at this point. Chelsea will not have an easy time picking up three points this weekend, and might, as they often do, end up relying on a piece of Eden Hazard magic.

Hughton needs funds if Brighton are to stay up. The lack of attacking threat will allow Chelsea to commit too many bodies forward, I think, and should see the Blues eventually get the breakthrough. It could be a tense afternoon for Chelsea fans, though, who will be well aware that defeat could see them drop out of the top four.

The visitors are nowhere near their best form at the moment. I still think that the quality of Hazard and Cesc Fabregas should be enough to snatch a narrow win – 888sport are currently going 24/5 for a 1-0 away win.

TIP: Chelsea to win 1-0 @ 24/5

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Manchester United Lead 45/1 Premier League Accumulator

Premier League news has largely been about off-field activities of late. Whether it’s chatter about Alexis Sanchez or rumours over Newcastle’s potential new owners, the already decided title race has made this a pretty underwhelming season to this point.

We still have plenty to discuss, mind. It’s one of the most open relegation fights we have seen in years, and the top four contest is alive and well with no team consistent enough to cement a place behind Manchester City.

This weekend is like every other Premier League weekend throughout the season. So that means it is time for a 3pm kick-off accumulator…

 

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

Arsenal’s defeat to Bournemouth was a final goodbye to their top four hopes. The gap is now eight points, the same as it is to Leicester in eighth.

Anything about the Gunners right now is centred around Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil. That might be fortunate for Arsene Wenger, as it has provided a slight distraction from their one win in five Premier League form.

via GIPHY

Crystal Palace continue to impress under Roy Hodgson. It was expected from their early season numbers, but the guidance of Hodgson has certainly aided them. I think the Eagles will be comfortably safe this season.

This is the best chance of a Premier League upset this weekend. I won’t go as far as backing that, but I certainly expect goals.

TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 4/7

 

Burnley vs Manchester United

Burnley have taken three points from their last six Premier League matches, all of which were draws. Three goals have been scored in that period. The Clarets’ freakily good start to the season has predictably come tumbling down, albeit in part down to suspensions and injuries.

Manchester United were ruthless against Stoke on Monday night to close the gap to Manchester City to 12 points. Jose Mourinho’s side have put together a run of three clean sheets, and maintained their second-place with back-to-back wins.

Two months ago, Burnley would almost be favourites for me in this one. Right now, though, it could be a case of how many for United.

TIP: Manchester United to win @ 11/20

 

Everton vs West Bromwich Albion

Sam Allardyce meets Alan Pardew in the ultimate ‘experienced Premier League manager’ clash. The two supposed ‘safe pair of hands’ appointments have hardly worked miracles.

The visitors are stuck in the bottom three still, but can at least take some hope from their win against Brighton last time out. The hosts have two points from their last five league outings. Theo Walcott, recently acquired from Arsenal, may give Everton a boost ahead of this contest though.

Everything makes this match seem like a battle of attrition. Pardew would probably take draw, though a win could take the Baggies out of the bottom three. Allardyce will be keen to tighten up a defence that has conceded eight in three league matches.

In their last nine Premier League matches each, these two teams have scored a combined 14 goals. All of this makes under 2.5 the obvious pick…

TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 13/25

 

Leicester vs Watford

Leicester are one of the few surviving mid-table teams this season. Claude Puel’s men progressed past Fleetwood in midweek, and can sit comfortably for the rest of the season far clear of 18th.

Watford might be beginning to look down. Following their stellar start, Marco Silva’s side have taken five points since December 1st. Their attack is not as fierce as it was in the opening weeks of the season, and the defensive instability remains.

The Foxes are seeing the best of Riyad Mahrez at the moment, and I fancy the Algerian to make the difference in this one. His creative edge is exactly what Watford have struggled against.

The hosts have recovered from a poor Christmas period. I reckon they could win this quite easily.

TIP: Leicester to win @ 4/5

 

Stoke City vs Huddersfield Town

Paul Lambert takes charge of his first Stoke match this weekend and it’s the most important one of their season. The Potters are 18th before a ball is kicked this weekend, their late-season schedule makes points a necessity over the next few weeks.

An improved performance at Old Trafford on Monday has injected some positivity to the club, though an improvement isn’t exactly saying much given recent standards.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, were thumped by West Ham last weekend. They have now not won in five Premier League matches.

Investment is key for both of these teams in the January window, but Lambert and David Wagner will have to make do with what they have for this one. Their meeting a few weeks ago ended in a draw, and I think this one may well go the same way.

TIP: Match to be drawn @ 47/20

 

West Ham vs Bournemouth

Having both spent time lingering around the bottom three, these two are beginning to build somewhat of a cushion. They are separated by just one point, Bournemouth – who trail West Ham – are four clear of the drop zone.

Both teams notched enormous wins last weekend. West Ham’s thrashing of Huddersfield was another tick in the box for David Moyes, who has brought the best form out of Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian is one of the best players in the league at the moment.

Bournemouth came from behind to beat Arsenal. That’s the sort of result that can turn a season around.

I have really liked what I’ve seen from Moyes’ Hammers. I backed them last weekend and I think they will have enough to win this one, too.

TIP: West Ham to win @ 21/20

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Southampton vs Tottenham: 33/20 Spurs To Cruise To Win?

There is major discontent on the south coast ahead of this contest. Southampton have now gone 14 Premier League games without a win, a run that stretches back to November – and Mauricio Pellegrino could be the next top-flight boss to lose his job unless Saints are able to turn things around. And they will need to turn things around quickly…

Unfortunately for Pellegrino, beating this Tottenham side is no easy feat. Spurs have scored 29 goals in their last 10 matches, including five in their win against Southampton on Boxing Day. In addition, the visitors have kept six clean sheets during this run and 888sport punters can back Mauricio Pochettino’s side at 33/20 to win to nil on Sunday afternoon.

 

Southampton: A Sinking Ship?

Like it or not, Southampton are in a relegation fight. Swansea City, currently bottom of the table, are just four points behind Pellegrino’s men and fans are starting to look nervously at the battle below. Southampton may look to keep things tight in the first half and the 6/5 for a draw at half-time is a decent price, the hosts won’t want to fall behind to an early goal.

Saints do tend to score on home soil – Pellegrino’s side have scored in seven of their previous eight fixtures at St Mary’s. I am expecting Spurs to buck that trend but a home goal wouldn’t be a total shock with that statistic in mind. However, Southampton have beaten Tottenham just once since 2005 and it would take a brave man to back against the visitors in this fixture.

 

Spurs Going From Strength To Strength

Harry Kane has been in blistering form since the start of December, notching three braces and two hat-tricks in nine games. The England star, tipped at 20/1 in our 2018 World Cup Golden Boot preview, is now sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League standings as he looks to win the award for the third season in a row.

Davinson Sanchez may be a little brash with some of his decision-making but the Tottenham defender has really come of age this year. Since joining the club from Ajax last summer, the 21-year-old has matured into a top talent and he is now a regular in the starting line-up. At 3/1 to pick up a card in this clash, he is well worth backing.

 

Prediction

Look no further than a Tottenham victory here and Spurs fans will be confident of securing another clean sheet. Pochettino’s side should dominate possession and that should restrict Southampton’s chances to create opportunities in attack. With the likes of Kane, Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son in fine form, Spurs could score at will.

If Tottenham take the lead, they will be very difficult to stop. 33/20 for an away win without conceding a goal represents solid value in my book – that could be the bet of the weekend…

TIP: Tottenham to win to nil @ 33/20

CORRECT SCORE: Tottenham to win 2-0 @ 7/1

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Manchester City vs Newcastle United: 27/20 For Dominant Home Win

Manchester City’s incredible unbeaten run is finally over. After threatening to avoid defeat for the entire campaign, Pep Guardiola’s men came unstuck against Liverpool as the Reds put four past City’s hapless defence in front of a jubilant Anfield crowd. But that was then and this is now – and City will be keen to get back to winning ways in style this weekend.

Newcastle United are in disarray. With just two wins in their previous 14 Premier League games, Rafa Benitez’s men are struggling and Magpies fans are looking nervously at the relegation battle below. It looks like the proposed takeover of the club is now OFF and there is a very dissatisfied atmosphere at St James’ Park. This one could get ugly for the visitors…

 

City Will Be Licking Wounds After Liverpool Defeat

The Blues were off colour at Anfield but still showed plenty of quality at the attacking end of the field, scoring three goals away from home for the sixth time this season. That particular defeat shouldn’t really affect City as they prepare for the visit of Newcastle, in fact it could even spur the Blues on as they look to make amends.

With 13 goals in 18 games this season, Sergio Aguero could be the thorn in Newcastle’s side once again. The Argentina star has bagged 11 goals in 11 fixtures against the Magpies and is a 21/10 shot to open the scoring on Saturday. The visitors have conceded 11 goals in their last two trips to the Etihad and stopping Aguero will be one of Benitez’s primary objectives.

 

Newcastle Need To Spend This Month – FACT

Mike Ashley, take note. Reports suggest that Benitez, currently 8/1 to be the next top-flight manager to leave his position, is not happy with the Newcastle owner and investing in January could be the difference between safety and relegation. Newcastle will be hoping that lady luck is on their side when they travel down to Manchester on Saturday night…

For Newcastle, this one is all about damage limitation. The Magpies were criticised for their defensive performance in December’s return fixture but they almost pulled it off – it will be much tougher this time around though. With City expected to dominate from start to finish, Ciaran Clark at 11/5 to be carded is a reasonable price.  

 

Prediction

As previously mentioned, City should have enough attacking quality to put Newcastle to the sword here. Benitez will be demanding transfer funds and Ashley has no choice but to co-operate. In the return fixture, Newcastle defended resolutely and restricted City to one goal and the Magpies may try and do the same here.

On home soil, the Premier League leaders should create plenty of chances and Newcastle may be in for a thrashing. The 27/20 available for City to score over 3.5 goals is an excellent price, Aguero and co can fire the Blues to another convincing triumph in front of the Etihad Stadium faithful.

TIP: Manchester City to score four or more goals @ 27/20

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Liverpool vs Manchester City: 3/1 For Exciting Anfield Score Draw

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be quietly confident of ending Manchester City’s unbeaten run this weekend and 888sport punters can back the Reds at 21/10 to emerge victorious in front of an expectant Anfield crowd. The hosts are on a decent run of their own, avoiding defeat in each of their last 18 competitive fixtures on home soil.

Meanwhile, the visitors have dropped just four points so far this campaign – this City side might just be the greatest team in Premier League history. Pep Guardiola’s men did lose to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League but the Blues were poor on that night and City’s domestic form has been simply sublime throughout the 2017/18 campaign.

With Philippe Coutinho out of the Anfield exit door, the onus will be on Mohamed Salah and co to fire Liverpool to victory. The Egypt star is second only to Harry Kane in the Golden Boot charts and is a 5/1 chance with 888sport to open the scoring. In such a high profile fixture, it is tough to predict a first goal scorer but the 13/8 available for a Salah goal in 90 minutes is still a great price.

For City, Kevin de Bruyne could make the difference once again. The Belgium midfielder is a 2/1 chance to assist an away goal; an excellent price considering his form this campaign. At 9/1 to score from outside the penalty box, De Bruyne is worth considering here. Those fans with long memories will recall his strike against Chelsea earlier this season – he may be set for another major impact.

Virgil van Dijk will give Liverpool defensive stability at some point in the future and fans are expecting big things from the Dutchman. Going up against the likes of Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling will be no easy feat though and the 11/5 on offer for Van Dijk to be carded is solid value.

Both teams to score looks like an absolute certainty in this fixture – punters can get 4/9 for at least one goal at each end. With so much attacking talent on show, it is almost impossible to envision a low scoring encounter. Liverpool have failed to score in just three of their last 27 league games whilst City have scored in all but one of their previous 19 league games.

Backing a team to win in this contest is difficult to say the least. On home soil, Liverpool are always confident and they do tend to raise their game on the big stage. But Manchester City are on another level and Pep’s men could extend their unbeaten record this weekend. With all of that in mind, opting for the draw may be the best option of all.

3/1 for a score draw, whether that is 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3, represents excellent value for money – it could be the bet of the weekend. An early goal could set the tone for a very exciting game of football and this might even be one of the matches of the Premier League season.

TIP: Both teams to score and match to finish a draw @ 3/1

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Crystal Palace Head Saturday’s 24/1 Premier League Accumulator

The carnage of the festive period is just a distant memory now. We have had FA Cup action, Carabao Cup excitement and a fair bit of transfer chatter.

This weekend sees a return to English footballs everyday work, the Premier League. As is now a famous tradition here at 888Sport, I will now waffle on about the Saturday 3pm kick-offs.

 

Crystal Palace vs Burnley

Since Roy Hodgson was appointed, Crystal Palace have the league’s tenth best record. Since the beginning of December, the Eagles have the sixth best record.

Burnley, on the other hand, have won one in six league matches. Sean Dyche’s side were always expected to regress at some point this season, but their stellar first few months of the season means they remain seventh. The Clarets have dropped off the top six pace, though, and are now just four points above eighth-placed Leicester.

‘Momentum’ would suggest a home win here. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Palace finish above Burnley this season, and I think the gap may well close this weekend.

TIP: Crystal Palace to win @ 21/20

 

Huddersfield Town vs West Ham United

Four points separate these two prior to kick-off. Huddersfield have drawn their last two at home, having failed to find the decisive goal against Stoke or Burnley.

West Ham are on a very good run. Only four teams have taken more points across the last seven Premier League matches, and David Moyes’ men look set to pull away from the bottom three over the next few weeks.

The Terriers are one of the lowest scoring sides in the league. Chances will not come easily against this resolute West Ham side, and I think we are set up for a cagey affair. The form of the Irons makes the price on them to avoid defeat very good value, though.

TIP: West Ham to win or draw @ 1/2 

Newcastle United vs Swansea City

Newcastle have staged a revival in recent weeks. It was capped off by the thrashing of Luton at St James’ Park last weekend, and the Magpies will see the visit of Swansea as a key opportunity to increase their safety cushion.

The away side remain at the foot of the table. Victory here cannot take them out of the bottom three, but the Welsh club must find a way to take points from fixtures like this if they are to pull off an improbable escape.

Swansea’s inability to score and Newcastle’s solid defensive record in front of their bellowing home crowd make this a relatively easy call for me – under 2.5 goals is my tip for this one.

TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 4/7

 

Watford vs Southampton

Watford’s sensational start has hit seriously treacherous waters. The Hornets have taken four points from the last 24 available, and could soon find themselves in the tension of a relegation scrap. They are only five points above the relegation zone.

Southampton have had an equally bad period. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have not won in nine Premier League fixtures. Pellegrino is the clear favourite to be the next manager sacked, and Saints are level on points with 18th placed Stoke City.

This is a tough one to call. Southampton have not been quite as bad as their form suggests, but confidence is at rock-bottom. Watford, meanwhile, continue to be shaky at the back.

I am tempted to sit on the fence with a draw, but I am going to side with Watford’s potent attack.

TIP: Watford to win @ 29/20

 

West Brom vs Brighton

West Brom desperately needed their FA Cup victory last weekend. Alan Pardew’s difficult start to life at the Hawthorns got some sweet relief, but now they return to the real business. The Baggies are four points short of Premier League safety.

Brighton have won just one of their last 11 Premier League matches. Chris Hughton’s side continue to battle, but the lack of quality must be a frustration for the former Newcastle manager. I don’t envisage a change to their game plan for this one, however.

This is a contender to be last on Match of the Day. Victory is a necessity for West Brom, and I think they might snatch their first three points of the Pardew reign.

TIP: West Brom to win @ 11/10

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Everton: 5/1 For Comfortable Home Win

The TV cameras head to Wembley for this Saturday’s evening kick-off. Fifth host ninth, separated by a 14-point chasm. Everton are only seven points clear of the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s fixtures. Tottenham are equidistant between Manchester City and the bottom three.

Ambitions for this season were similar at the beginning of this campaign. Tottenham were targeting another top four finish, and Everton were ready to prove they belonged in the top six. Spurs’ goalposts have not really moved, but the Toffees’ greatest concern is now a top half finish.

Spurs added a gloss to their FA Cup win over Wimbledon late on. It was no walkover against for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, but they avoided the sort of upset that their north London rivals suffered. To start the Cup weekend, Everton suffered a painful derby defeat to extend their winless run to five.

Sam Allardyce brought immediate improvement when he was appointed. The former England manager now faces a tough task to correct the path of the ship again. This is a no-lose match for Allardyce and his side, who will set up in a typically pragmatic way as we have seen on several occasions since his appointment. Everton are understandably at a very short 4/6 to fail to score on Saturday evening.

Spurs were frustrated by West Ham in their last Premier League outing. David Moyes’ side had a game plan similar to what we will see from Allardyce, and it worked. It was a pretty drab affair in truth, aside from two wonderstrikes in the second half. Breaking teams down has been an issue for the Lilywhites.

There’s little value to be found in Spurs’ goal scoring. The 6/5 on the home side to score over 2.5 is tempting, but this is against an Allardyce side after all. It’s not going to be goals galore, and I think it’s best to stay well away from Spurs’ goal scoring as a result. Unless, of course, it’s about Heung-min Son to score. He’s 19/5 to net first.

This could be a fairly turgid match. The midfield will be a crowded place, with Gylfi Sigurdsson drifting narrow from the left flank, and Christian Eriksen doing the same for the hosts. The full-backs carry a lot of responsibility for the attacking play for both sides as a result. Son against Jonjoe Kenny is the key battle for me, and Kenny – who has two yellows in 13 league starts this term – is good value at 13/4 to receive a card.

Given that I have tipped Everton to fail to score, it’s pretty tricky to suggest that the visitors will win this one. Spurs’ downturn in home form has been nowhere near as dramatic as was suggested in the opening weeks of the season, and Everton have won just one league match on the road all season, scoring a mere eight goals in the process.

I don’t recommend changing your Saturday evening plans to watch this one. Spurs fans, though, should be quietly confident about their chances of going level on points with Liverpool.

Tip: Spurs to win 2-0 at 5/1

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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Carabao Cup: Chelsea Top First Leg Double Header

League football has taken a back seat for the last week. After the carnage of the festive period, the calendar year begins with the excitement of the FA Cup Third Round, and less historic, but equally intriguing, League Cup semi-finals.

Two matches over Tuesday and Wednesday this week could go a long way to deciding who meets at Wembley. Will it be all over by Thursday? Will we see a shock? Well, that’s what we are here to chat about…

 

Manchester City vs Bristol City

When the pair of Cities were drawn together, it was met with a collective ‘oooh’. In part, because Championship Bristol City were drawn with the unstoppable Premier League leaders. In part, too, because of the what could have been had Manchester United squeaked past the west country side.

Bristol City were magnificent as they broke the hearts of Jose Mourinho’s men, just as they have been for much of this season. Lee Johnson’s side reside a mere two points off the automatic promotion places.

Their FA Cup tie with Watford was played under the shadow of this upcoming blockbuster trip to the Etihad Stadium. The 3-0 defeat gives no indication of the performance we will see on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Manchester City were giving Burnley a sniff before crushing their optimism. City were not themselves for the first 45. Then they reminded everyone that they’re the best side in Europe this season with a rampant second half performance.

It’s of no surprise that the hosts are the strong favourite – at 2/15 in fact – but there’s still value to be found in this one.

I don’t see Bristol City making it through over the two legs. I do, though, think they can frustrate City. Pep Guardiola’s side have found a way more often than not this season, but I think Johnson’s men can evade a thrashing.

TIP: Under 3.5 goals @ 5/6

 

Chelsea vs Arsenal

Much like Lee Johnson, Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger named line-ups at the weekend with their heads clearly turned to the midweek Carabao Cup action.

Conte saw his Chelsea side slip to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Norwich. Arsenal were the subjects of the ‘cupset’ of the weekend, though, as they lost 4-2 to Nottingham Forest on Sunday evening. Both performances were poor, and hardly set them up for League Cup success at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

In their last league outing, the Blues and Gunners faced off at the Emirates. It developed into a thrilling match, ending 2-2 thanks to a stunning late Hector Bellerin strike. The failings of both teams were clear that evening. I’d be surprised to see such an open match at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

That was their second encounter of 2017/18, having played out a drab 0-0 in west London back in September. Fitting of the highly competitive top six (excluding Manchester City) this season, there’s little to split these two, particularly having rested many of their stars at the weekend.

It is the attacking players that will have all the attention. And, on this occasion, rightly so. Neither team’s defence looks certain of shutting the other out, this will be as much about limiting the damage the other can inflict.

The Blues sit seven points clear of their capital rivals in the Premier League. Arsenal will be desperate to bounce back from the disastrous result in Nottingham on Sunday, but Arsene Wenger is again a man under pressure. It’ll be a close run thing – and I expect this to go down to the wire in the second leg – but the hosts should have enough to take a slim advantage to the Emirates.

TIP: Chelsea to win @ 4/5

 

*Odds subject to change – correct at time of writing*

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