FA Cup Semi-Finals & Premier League Matchday 31: Pochettino’s Men can Make History
The big game of the weekend comes at Anfield on Sunday when champions-elect Manchester City are the visitors and we can expect plenty of goals.
Since losing at home to City back in September, Chelsea have won their last seven home Premier League games and have conceded just three times in the period. The Blues were in Carabao Cup semi-final action on Wednesday but I do not expect fatigue to play a part given the strength of Antonio Conte’s squad.
The Foxes have scored and conceded in 14 of their 22 league games so far this term and they may find the back of the Blues net on Saturday. They don’t have a great recent away record, however, against “big six” opposition given they are without a win in their last 12 PL away games.
Tip: Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 15/8
Palace have lost just one of their last 11 league games after a terrible start to the season and they will want to bounce back after their defeat at Brighton in the FA Cup earlier in the week.
Burnley have been excellent on the road in the league so far this season, but I just think the Eagles will take the points, having rested their talisman Wilf Zaha at the Amex on Monday.
Palace should have beaten City at Selhurst Park in their last home game and I think they will have too much pace and power for the Clarets in what should be an entertaining game.
Tip: Palace to win at 21/20
Huddersfield have drawn three of their last four games and I expect the Terriers to again have to settle for a point against a West Ham side who are unbeaten in their last three away league games under David Moyes.
I wouldn’t expect to see many goals at the John Smith’s Stadium in what is likely to be a tight, tense affair.
Tip: Game to finish either 0-0 or 1-1 at 23/10
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Newcastle have picked up seven points from their last four games and I expect them to maintain their recent improvement with a win against Swansea at St James’s Park.
Swans’ did come from behind to win their last away league game at Watford but they remain at the-foot-of-the table and did lose their last seven on the road before their trip to Vicarage Road.
Tip: Newcastle to win at 9/10
Watford have lost six of their last seven Premier League games and have lost more points (16) from winning positions than any other side in the division. I haven’t lost faith in the Hornets, however, and expect them to beat a Southampton side who are, themselves, without a win in nine league encounters.
There are normally goals when these sides meet (34 in the last eight) and I expect to see the hosts keep the points on home soil.
Tip: Watford to win at 29/20
West Brom have never lost a home league game against Brighton and, although they have not won in their last 20 PL games, I think the Baggies can keep the points at the Hawthorns.
There are unlikely to be many goals despite the fact that the last three league games between the sides have finished 3-1 to the hosts. The Seagulls have failed to score in eight of their away league games so far this season, and I think the Baggies will win a low-scoring contest.
Tip: West Brom to win at 5/1
Harry Kane (96) is just two goals away from becoming Spurs’ top scorer in the PL with my old England teammate Teddy Sheringham currently ruling the roost on 97.
Kane has scored twice in his last two PL games against Everton. The England striker will become only the seventh player in the history of the competition to score two or more goals against the same opposition in three successive games if he grabs a brace or more at Wembley.
Everton played well in patches at Liverpool in the FA Cup last time and it will be interesting to see if manager Sam Allardyce gives the exciting Ademola Lookman his head after his Anfield cameo.
That said Everton have only won one of their last 43 away league games against the “big six” and I cannot see them getting a result in the capital.
Tip: Harry Kane to score two or more goals at 23/10
Bournemouth have never beaten Arsenal in six previous games although they were three-nil up in this corresponding fixture last season before having to settle for a point.
The Cherries have conceded in their last nine league games and it is hard to see them keep a clean sheet against the Gunners. That said I cannot see the Gunners holding out for 90 minutes and there ought to be a number of goals at the Vitality Stadium.
Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 1/2
Liverpool begin life without Philippe Coutinho in what promises to be one of the games of the season played between the two most exciting sides in the division.
I was asked this week if I thought Riyad Mahrez, who has been linked with a move to Anfield, would be the ideal replacement for Coutinho but I couldn’t agree. As good a player as Mahrez is, he might not possess the pace or work ethic that Jurgen Klopp might be looking for and I wonder where he would fit into the starting XI – certainly not instead of the brilliant Mo Salah on the right side of the front three.
Liverpool will be looking for revenge after their 5-0 defeat at the Etihad earlier in the season, but make no mistake they were every bit as good as City until Sadio Mane was red-carded at 1-0.
It should be a cracker with plenty of chances and goals played in a white-hot Anfield atmosphere – I cannot wait!
Tip: Over 3.5 goals at 5/4
You have to go back to 1976 for the last time Stoke won at Old Trafford and it is hard to make a case for the managerless Potters given their current form.
I’ve been impressed by the development in Jesse Lingard’s game this season and his 11 goals and five assists make him something of an unsung hero at Old Trafford. Stoke fans can take heart from the fact that they have never lost an away league game on a Monday night – until now!
Tip: United to win to nil at 19/20
Michael’s weekend wager: Watford, West Brom and Manchester United at 5/1