Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
A wonderful weekend for Premier League leaders Manchester City who moved 11 points clear at the top of the table following victory at Old Trafford in the Manchester Derby.
Another full set of Premier League fixtures midweek and I have spoken exclusively with BetVictor ahead of the games.
There have only been nine goals scored in eight Premier League games at Turf Moor so far this season and it is hard to imagine we will see a goal-fest midweek.
One goal was enough for the Clarets against 10-man Watford on Saturday and these are difficult times for Mark Hughes’ side who conceded five at Wembley at the weekend. The Potters have taken just 41 points from their last 40 PL games and may struggle again in Lancashire midweek where one goal again may be enough to separate the teams.
Tip: Burnley to win at 13/10
Palace had a gilt-edged opportunity to climb the table but squandered a late penalty against Bournemouth at the weekend and who knows how important those two points might be at the end of the campaign.
Christian Benteke certainly owes his side, and all Eagles fans, a big game against Watford given he hasn’t scored in his last 12 games for the club over a period of 852 minutes. Palace have scored twice in their last five home games, however, while the Hornets were also free-scoring on the road before they drew a blank with 10-men at Turf Moor at the weekend. I expect to see goals – as is the norm – at Selhurst Park.
Tip: Both teams to score at 13/20
Huddersfield have won three of their last four home games and the only defeat in that period was courtesy of a late Manchester City winner.
Chelsea only dropped 21 points in their title season last term but have already dropped 16 after their loss at West Ham on Saturday. They must get back to winning ways against the Terriers although it won’t be easy in the John Smith’s Stadium.
Tip: Chelsea to win to nil at 11/10
Newcastle don’t have the best of records against Everton losing six of their last seven games and the Magpies have only picked up one point from their last seven league games. Rafa Benitez will have been disappointed to concede three at home to a good Leicester side at the weekend and they must improve defensively if they don’t want to get embroiled in a relegation battle.
That said Everton were poor at Anfield despite picking up a valuable point on Sunday and Benitez has never lost a home PL game against the Blues. I expect that run to continue midweek although both sides may have to settle for a point.
Tip: Match to finish in a draw at 23/10
Two improving sides in opposition on the south coast where Claude Puel will make a quick return to St Mary’s with his Leicester side who have won their last three league games.
Saints have only lost one of their 11 home Premier League games against the Foxes and that loss was back at the Den in 2000. This should be an entertaining affair between two inform teams and I can’t split them.
Tip: Draw and both teams to score at 15/4
Manchester City will break Arsenal’s record for successive PL wins (14 between February and August 2002) if they win in South Wales midweek. To put into some context City’s unprecedented start to the season they have picked up 46 points from 16 games. That tally was enough to finish eighth in the PL in the 2016/17 season!
The Swans don’t score, or concede, many goals but I think they will find the visitors too hot to handle at the Liberty Stadium and expect to see Sergio Aguero back in the side and back among the goals having been left out of the team at Old Trafford.
Tip: Sergio Aguero to score first at 13/5
Liverpool have to put behind the loss of two points in the Merseyside derby and it will be interesting to see what side Jurgen Klopp starts with at Anfield against West Brom, having shuffled his pack for the visit of Everton on Sunday.
The Baggies have scored in their last six PL games at Anfield and may do so again midweek, but I take the Reds to get back to winning ways.
Tip: Liverpool HT/FT at 7/10
Romelu Lukaku has scored five times in four games against Bournemouth in the Premier League, including four in one game back in February, but badly needs a goal in a United shirt with just one in his last nine in the PL.
United may have lost their long unbeaten home record to City on Sunday but they played their part in a terrific game. You have to go back to January 2014 for the last time United lost back-to-back home games and the Cherries might be in for a long night.
Tip: United -1 Handicap at 3/4
Brighton have never won at Wembley in three previous visits and it is hard to make a case for the Seagulls who have picked up just one point in their last four games and were no match for another of the newly-promoted clubs Huddersfield at the weekend.
Harry Kane’s brace against Stoke now means the striker has scored 50 goals this calendar year for club and country and the striker will be looking to add to that impressive tally when Chris Hughton takes his side to face his old club.
Tip: Spurs at win to nil at 37/40
A fascinating game at the London Stadium with West Ham looking to build on a fabulous win against champions Chelsea at the weekend and Arsenal desperate to return to winning ways having salvaged a point at St Mary’s courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s late header.
Arsene Wenger must do without the injured Aaron Ramsay, which is a blow to the Gunners, and I was taken with the Hammers spirit and defensive qualities against Chelsea. If there is to be a winner midweek, I think it will be the hosts.
Tip: West Ham Double Chance (draw or win) at 5/4
Midweek treble: Burnley, Liverpool and Chelsea at 3/1