Brighton v Liverpool
Brighton have made a strong start to the resumption of the season, beating both Everton and Southampton away from home, and only losing to league leaders Arsenal. Roberto De Zerbi seems to be getting his ideas across well, and they’ll be confident of getting a result against an inconsistent Liverpool side.
The Reds have won just three of their last seven games in all competitions, and while their Anfield form is passable, their away form has been poor this season. Indeed, their domestic road trips have resulted in a W2-D2-L5 record. A 3-1 defeat to Brentford last time out in the league was compounded in a 2-2 draw at home to Wolves in the cup, a tie they can consider themselves fortunate to still be in, and confidence must be low in the Liverpool camp right now.
A 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture means Brighton have lost only one of their last five meetings with the Merseyside club, though we’re sceptical about going for the home win here. Virgil van Dijk is out for the visitors, though they’re unbeaten in the last 14 league matches that he hasn’t started. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of those outings since last season though, and we’d still expect a tight outing, so the handicap appeals on the underdogs.
BRIGHTON +1 HANDICAP
Everton v Southampton
A huge bottom of the table clash sees Everton try and climb out of the relegation zone as they host bottom of the league Southampton, though to do so they’ll need to end their eight game unbeaten run in all competitions. Frank Lampard has received public backing from owner Farhad Moshiri despite their recent struggles that have seen them lose three successive home matches. They have a strong head-to-head record in their favour, having not lost to the Saints in 17 outings here at Goodison Park, a run that stretches back to 1998.
Southampton come into this off the back of an impressive performance against Man City, where they outplayed Pep Guardiola’s outfit for large portions of their deserved 2-0 victory, and new manager Nathan Jones will be desperate to carry that momentum into this clash. Jones has come under some questioning after a poor start in charge, though he’ll be determined to pick up his first Premier League points here in their bid for survival.
A good head-to-head record isn’t enough for us to get behind the hosts after a poor run of form, and unders looks the most likely outcome. Southampton haven’t netted more than once in a game since they beat Chelsea 2-1 back in August, a run stretching 13 matches, while the Toffees aren’t exactly electric in front of goal either, scoring just three in their last six, and they’ve only netted more than once themselves in two of their 18 matches this season.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
Nottingham Forest v Leicester
A little upturn in form has taken Forest off the bottom of the table and put a small bit of daylight between themselves and the relegation zone. While they’ll take confidence from recent results, they’ll no full well any downturn will see them right back in the relegation zone and they’ll be determined to push on and widen that gap. They’ve lost just two of their last eight league games, which came against Man United and Arsenal, and they have a strong chance of getting a result her eat home to a Leicester side that have failed to pick up where they left off before the break.
Indeed, Brendan Rogers’ men have lost all three of their league matches since returning, though they have had a relatively tough run against Newcastle, Liverpool and Fulham. Their only wins have come in domestic cup competition against lower league sides MK Dons and Gillingham, so a win here is vital for confidence going into the second half of the season.
Steve Cooper’s charges have now gone unbeaten in seven matches at home, a run in which they’ve faced all of Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea, and we’ll back them to get a result against a depleted foxes outfit, that have struggled without the creative spark that James Maddison brings.
FOREST TO WIN
Wolves v West Ham
Wolves would consider themselves unlucky to not have already qualified for the fourth-round of the FA cup as they were denied a late winner at Anfield by a dubious offside call. They were unable to dust themselves off in midweek either, as they faltered in a penalty shootout to Forest, though there are certainly promising signs under new manager Julen Lopetegui, even if results haven’t been flowing.
West Ham came through a tough contest 1-0 away to Brentford in the cup having already lost their home league fixture to the Bees just a week prior. They played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Leeds in the interim, though they need to be picking up league wins fast if they want to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
Wolves’ poor home form is mirrored by that of the Hammers on the road. Indeed, the Midlands side are contending with a four match losing run at Molineux, while David Moyes’ charges have an unwanted seven match unbeaten run on the road.
The inkling would be to side with the new manager looking to make improvements rather than the one seemingly on his way out in the coming weeks, though we’ll ere on the side of caution and take the unders here. Wolves have a league low five goals scored on home soil this season, while only in that game at Elland Road have West Ham managed to score more than once on the road this season.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
Brentford v Bournemouth
Wins over West Ham and Liverpool means Brentford come into this clash off the back of successive victories for the first time this season. They won’t be too disheartened by their early FA Cup exit at the hands of West Ham, and they can now focus on climbing as high in the table as possible. Only once, back in April, have the Bees won three successive league matches, though it’s hard to back against them repeating the feat here against a Bournemouth side low on confidence.
Only in back-to-back matches against Everton have Bournemouth not lost across their last nine matches across all competitions. While they’ve now failed to score in four successive league outings. They’re winless over their last six league away outings now, and the manager bounce looks to be over as they fall ever closer to the drop.
In worse news for Bournemouth, Ivan Toney may make his return this weekend, even if it is from the bench, and it looks very likely that they’ll improve on their already impressive home record here at the Community Stadium. Only Arsenal have got the better of them here this season, and it’s hard to envisage anything other than a home win.
BRENTFORD TO WIN
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