Harry’s Picks: Week 188 min read
Mourinho’s Spurs go marching on
Jose Mourinho is back in management and overseeing his opening games as the new Tottenham gaffer has certainly lifted spirits in North London.
Spurs ran out cosy 3-2 winners over capital rivals West Ham last weekend and a rousing 4-2 success, after trailing 2-0, against Olympiakos on home soil in the Champions League on Tuesday saw them progress to the next round.
Tottenham look to be playing with a freedom and creating plenty of chances, so fans can look forward to an exciting second half of the season. They have a good chance of completing a quick hat trick of victories when Bournemouth are the visitors this Saturday.
The Cherries may only be a point and place below but have suffered back to back PL defeats and are finding goals difficult to come by, having bagged just three times in their last six appearances.
Tottenham will feel they are very much back in the hunt for a top-four place and can win this and close the gap even further.
Foxes to get their teeth into Toffees
Leicester City were 2-0 winners at Brighton last time out and, with five PL victories in a row, will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of welcoming lowly Everton on Sunday afternoon to the King Power Stadium.
Jamie Vardy is in terrific form and with twelve top-flight strikes finds himself two clear in the race for the Golden Boot award.
A miserly eight goals conceded has also helped the Foxes this term and they are riding the crest of a wave, finding themselves the nearest challengers to table-toppers Liverpool.
Everton are at the wrong end of the table and just four points ahead of Norwich who were 2-0 winners on Merseyside last Saturday. They face a tricky end to 2019 and the 9/1 about the Toffee men for relegation could well look good value come early January. They will be hard-pressed to stop the hosts and I envisage plenty of happy home fans at full time.
Wolves can blunt Blades at Molineux
Despite having what many would view an indifferent start to their campaign, Wolves suddenly find themselves up to fifth position after a run which has seen them secure seven points from their last nine on offer.
They welcome surprise package Sheffield United to Molineux next with the Blades a point and place behind following their dramatic 3-3 draw with Manchester United last Sunday.
United have defied the critics and with only three defeats have given themselves a platform to avoid a quick return to the Championship. Whether they can maintain those early high standards looks questionable and Wolves will look to expose a defense that seemed to creak against the Red Devils.
Too many draws have hurt the Midlands outfit but with Raul Jimenez leading the line, Wolves have a forward who is bang in form and very dangerous. A win can keep them in the hunt to make a top-four assault and confirm themselves as dark horses.
Clarets tough to topple at Turf Moor
Burnley are another unfashionable club exceeding expectations and proving difficult to beat. In seventh position, the twin strike force of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood are proving a real handful for opposing defenses and the Clarets will fancy themselves at home to Crystal Palace.
Only big clubs Liverpool and Chelsea have taken points away from Turf Moor and Burnley are strong once paired against teams in the lower reaches.
The Eagles are falling away after a hat trick of losses and with only one goal scored in those reverses will be arriving low on confidence. Burnley can send them packing and keep their own top-six hopes well and truly alive.
Whites won’t go easy on Woodgate
It’s been a tremendous November for Championship title favourites Leeds United who have picked up maximum points from their four games.
Late winners away at Luton last weekend and Reading on Tuesday night have their fans believing the Whites can finally make a return to the top flight following fifteen years in the second tier.
Patrick Bamford continues to lead the line and find crucial goals alongside the in-form Jack Harrison, whose pace and trickery from the wing have been very important in recent weeks.
Yorkshire rivals Middlesbrough are at Elland Road next, led by former United fans favourite Jonathan Woodgate who began his playing career with Leeds.
It’s proving a difficult introduction to life as manager however, with Boro currently sitting just above the bottom three and facing a battle to survive this term. They looked set to pick up a welcome victory last Sunday when leading Hull City 2-0 but a red card for Marvin Johnson turned the match in the Tigers favour and Boro had to finally settle for just the one point in a 2-2 draw, thus intensifying the pressure around the club.
There was welcome relief on Wednesday when a narrow 1-0 victory over bottom side Barnsley gave them a first victory in eleven matches but Leeds represents a big rise in class and Middlesbrough will be targeting easier fixtures to get the points needed to move away from the drop zone.
West Brom returned to the summit with a 4-1 thumping of Bristol City on Wednesday and are currently two clear of their rivals meaning Leeds must win to keep the pressure on as the big two threaten to move clear in the automatic promotion spots.
Opt-in to the Harry’s Picks offer here and place 5 bets of £2 or more on any sports market from Monday to Friday. You will be credited a £1 Free Bet by 10am on Saturday to use on Harry’s Picks. Find Harry’s Picks Week 18 market here.