FA Cup Semi-Finals & Premier League Matchday 31: Pochettino’s Men can Make History
Two massive north west derbies on Sunday in the Premier League and once again I’ve shared my thoughts exclusively with BetVictor on all the weekend action.
David Moyes will break an unwanted Premier League record in Saturday’s early kick off when he manages a side for the 41st successive PL game who start the fixture in the relegation zone.
I would be surprised if that unwelcome run ends following the visit of the champions, despite an improved showing from the Hammers at the Etihad last weekend. The hosts may well score but with Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata in such good form for the visitors, it is difficult to look beyond an away win.
Tip: Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 9/4
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) December 4, 2017
The last time Watford won at Turf Moor in the league (3-2, April 2004) a certain Sean Dyche was in the Watford side, but if there is to be a winner when the sides meet this weekend I think the Hornets can nick it.
Watford have scored at least twice in their last eight away games in the PL and if they can maintain that sequence, they could take the points between two sides who have been outstanding in the first half of the season.
Tip: Watford Draw No Bet 23/20
Back-to-back 0-0 draws on the road for Crystal Palace and I think they will continue to climb the table against Bournemouth back on home soil.
The Eagles have scored twice in their last four PL home games and the hope is that Christian Benteke can find his shooting boots and take some of the pressure off the excellent Wilfried Zaha whose absence earlier in the season coincided with Palace’s poor start to the campaign.
Tip: Crystal Palace to win at 21/20
The first top-flight meeting between these two clubs, with their other 50 league encounters divided between the second and third tiers of English football.
The Terriers have lost their last four PL games, are struggling for goals and I think these two newly promoted sides will share the spoils in a low-scoring game.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 19/10
The last time Alan Pardew managed a side at the Liberty Stadium (Crystal Palace, November 2016) they lost 5-4, but I would be surprised if we witnessed another nine-goal thriller at the weekend given the hosts have only had 27 shots on target in their 15 PL games so far this term.
The Baggies have only won once on the road so far this year and I think one goal might be enough in what promises to be a tense, nervous affair in south Wales.
Tip: Under 1.5 goals at 6/4
Spurs have disappointed in the PL so far this term and they badly need to get back to winning ways if they are to mount a top four challenge. Indeed Mauricio Pochettino’s side are currently nearer the bottom of the table (16 points) to the top of the table (18 points) which is something of a surprise given their excellent league record in the last couple of years.
Premier League history will be made at Wembley if the hosts beat Stoke by four or more goals given Spurs have won the last three PL games between the sides 4-0. No side has ever beaten another opponent by four or more goals in four successive PL games but a return to winning ways in the league is far more important for the north London outfit.
Tip: Spurs to lead at halftime/fulltime at 4/5
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has never lost three successive home PL games but the Magpies have only won once since mid-September and their dip in form is a major concern.
Leicester boss Claude Puel – on the other hand – has never won three successive PL games but goes into the trip to St James’s Park on the back of successive wins. A point may suit the hosts more than the visitors but I expect to see an entertaining draw.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 23/10
It's #Arsenal next up at St Mary's! ⚽️
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 6, 2017
Arsenal have had a modest record at St Mary’s in recent times but if they win at Southampton on Sunday it will be a third success for the Gunners on the south coast following their wins in the league and FA Cup earlier in the year.
The Gunners played some terrific football against Manchester United last week and they are unlikely to come up against a keeper as inspired as David De Gea was on Sunday. The Saints are in decent form themselves but I fancy Arsenal in what promises to be an open entertaining contest.
Tip: Arsenal to win at 37/40
Liverpool have scored 12 goals in their last two games and it will be some feat if Sam Allardyce were able to get a point for his Everton side who will find the Reds at Anfield a different proposition to his first challenge as Blues manager – Huddersfield at Goodison.
Liverpool are high in confidence, have pace and power in abundance and it could be a very long afternoon for the Blue half of Merseyside.
Tip: Liverpool -1 on the handicap at 8/11
I would have been more confident of United ending City’s run of successive PL wins, which currently stands at 13, had Paul Pogba been available but I am convinced we will see goals at Old Trafford in what promises to be a wonderful end to the weekend action.
Romelu Lukaku scored in both games against City for Everton last season and if the striker were to get the winning goal in a Manchester Derby, it would be a pivotal moment in his United career.
Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 20/23
There is £50,000 up for grabs in the free-to-play Golden Goal game on the Manchester Derby and my prediction is:
Goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku
Correct Score 2-1 to Manchester United
There is still time to enter this weekend’s Golden Goal competition!
Michael’s weekend wager: Palace, Liverpool and Arsenal to win at 9/2