Bournemouth v Burnley
It’s been a slow restart for Gary O’Neil’s men who have lost four on the bounce without registering a single goal. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 matches now, with their only wins in that run coming over an inconsistent Everton side.
Burnley meanwhile are in flying form winning 13 of their last 15 matches, while they’ve only lost three times in 29 outings across all competitions this season. One of those was a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, which can be expected, and they’ve been extremely impressive around that result, barring a calamitous second half performance away at Sheffield United at the beginning of November.
Despite being a Championship outfit, that relegation only came last season and they have a good recent head-to-head record with Bournemouth, winning four of the last five meetings. It’s unclear which sides both Gary O’Neil and Vincent Kompany will opt to field here, though Burnley’s momentum should bode well, and we’ll back them as underdogs here.
BURNLEY TO WIN
Brentford v West Ham
Goals either side of halftime saw West Ham turnover a 1-0 deficit at Elland Road in midweek, though a late Rodrigo equaliser meant the points were shared, leaving David Moyes’ men dangerously close to the drop. Safety will be the main cause for concern for the Hammers, and we will likely see a tinkered-with team here in what’s a busy and crucial part of the season.
Brentford look to be coming into some form with back-to-back league wins for the first time this season, one of which came over West Ham themselves. Brentford took a 2-0 lead early on and could afford to coast for the rest of the contest, in a testament to how little threat the Hammers posed.
League form means the Bees go into this contest as favourites, though we’ve seen time and time against that league form doesn’t always transfer over to the cups, largely owing to lots of changes in personnel. West Ham have some strong fringe players in their ranks, and the lack of results from the first team in the league will give those featuring here some real incentive to make their mark, and as underdogs we’ll back the visitors here.
WEST HAM TO WIN
Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle
Back-to-back draws for Newcastle now has hindered momentum, though a 0-0 against league leaders Arsenal last time out is by no means a poor result and confidence will still be high in their ranks as they’ve still managed to lose just one of their 21 outings in all competitions this season.
Wednesday are on a serious run of form themselves having gone 17 matches unbeaten now. The quality of opposition is obviously inferior to that of Newcastle’s, but they’ll be confident of giving this one a good go.
Despite Sheffield’s form there’s a clear gulf in class here. The Magpies will rotate a lot here with their main focus being on the league, though their squad remains deep and they’ll be on the front foot for the majority of this contest. While they’ve not scored for two games now, that won’t worry them in the slightest and we’d expect them to put on a show.
NEWCASTLE –1 HANDICAP
Spurs v Portsmouth
Tottenham are seemingly out of their rut after they pulled off a 4-0 win away at Selhurst Park, the North London side had yet another scrappy first half but pulled away thanks to a quickfire brace from Harry Kane in the 48th and 53rd minutes. Son Heung-min also managed to net his first Premier League goal since his hat-trick against Leicester back in October.
After Portsmouth’s heroics at the beginning of the season where they were unbeaten in their first nine league matches, picking up six wins in the process, they’ve gone on to win just one match in their last 13 (W1-D7-L5) which leaves them in 12th place. Pompey are winless in their last nine league matches and will be desperate to pull off a shock against a struggling Spurs side.
Against League One opponents, Portsmouth have conceded nine goals in their last five matches, so it isn’t hard to see that they might be in for a thrashing here. Whilst Tottenham haven’t been winning all of their games, they are in the highest echelon of English football and have only failed to score twice in their 18 Premier League matches. Spurs have scored 37 goals this year, which puts them third in the Premier League goalscoring table, and we believe they will dominate this game.
TOTTENHAM TO WIN AND OVER 3.5 GOALS
Palace v Southampton
Crystal Palace were not up to scratch in their previous match, as a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Tottenham means it’s time to go back to the drawing board for Patrick Vieira. There were some poor decisions made in the last match, with Andre Ayew failing to deliver after the manager had put his faith in him, as the Eagles could have gone a goal up if he just slotted a ball through to Michael Olise in the first half.
Southampton are seemingly going from bad to worse with Nathan Jones at the helm, with their 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest making it six league defeats in a row and they are clearly struggling for ideas. The Saints have lost 10 of their last 13 league matches and something needs to change from inside the camp if they want to stay up for another year.
The Saints’ away record is a key issue right now as they’ve lost seven of nine on the road in the league, as they only picked up wins against Leicester (2-1) and Bournemouth (1-0), whereas Crystal Palace have always had a good home record because of the support they receive at Selhurst Park. The Eagles have a record of W4-D1-L4 and their four losses came against Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham (with nine men) and Chelsea.
CRYSTAL PALACE TO WIN
Middlesbrough v Brighton
Middlesborough have been on a fantastic run as of late, with seven wins in their last nine games (W7-D1-L1), with their only loss coming against league-leaders Burnley, who seem to be the team to beat in the Championship this year. Boro sit in fifth, but may drop out of the play-off spots if Millwall or Luton can get a result in their extra match.
Roberto De Zerbi has had an up and down time with Brighton so far. It took six games to get his first win for the Seagulls but since then they’ve won four of their last six league games, bringing his overall record to W4-D2-L5, which is better than what most fans would of expected after the departure of Graham Potter.
When Boro have played the top six teams in the Championship, they’ve only come out on top in one match which was a 2-1 away win at Blackburn, leaving them with W1-D1-L4 against the teams currently in the play-off places. Despite Boro’s lack of wins against the top sides in the Championship, they still managed to score in five of these matches, which does open an angle for both teams scoring.
Brighton have been strong against sides in the bottom-half of the Premier League table, with only one loss in their eight matches against such teams (W6-D1-L1), as five of these eight also had both teams scoring. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to us if De Zerbi played a weaker team than usual, but we can still expect Brighton to come out on top here.
BRIGHTON TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Liverpool v Wolves
After Liverpool stringed four wins in a row, it seemed like the struggling team may have been back and ready to surmount their charge up the table, but a 3-1 loss to Brentford was not on the cards. They were severely outplayed and there were some moments of terrible defending, while at 2-0 down at the halfway point Jurgen Klopp had to take Virgil van Dijk off and replace him with Joel Matip.
Julen Lopetegui’s side were unable to convert their early lead against Aston Villa into a win and instead had to settle for a draw. Daniel Podence struck first after a 12th-minute opener, but they conceded close to full time when Danny Ings hit home in the 79th minute thanks to a lovely ball from Tyrone Mings and a slip for Jose Sa.
New signing Cody Gakpo will be available for selection against Wolves and we expect him to start in that left wing role he usually plays. He played upfront or as an attacking midfielder for the Netherlands, so Klopp has lots of options with such a versatile player.
Liverpool have only lost one home game in the Premier League (2-1 v Leeds) whilst the opposite can be said for Wolves’ away games, with only one win to their name (W1-D3-L5). The two “Big Six” sides that the Wanderers have played on the road both ended in losses-to-nil, whilst three of Liverpool’s home wins have ended in clean sheets.
LIVERPOOL TO WIN TO NIL
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