Leicester v Brighton
The Foxes are going through another downturn with their 2-0 defeat away at Forest a fifth loss in six appearances in all competitions since Christmas, with the exception a narrow 1-0 win over League Two’s bottom side Gillingham. That includes four consecutive league defeats, during which they’ve shipped eight goals, having only conceded three across their previous eight top-flight games.
Brighton seem to be going from strength-to-strength and everyone expected a quick downfall after Graham Potter left for Chelsea, though Roberto De Zerbi has carried on the work his predecessor laid down. The Seagulls have a very good chance of getting some form of European football this year and that will be the players’ main source of motivation at present.
Brighton have been scoring goals for fun under De Zerbi, netting at least once in each of their past eight league matches and producing a tally of 21 in total, which really shows us the impact and difference between Potter’s Brighton and De Zerbi’s. Nine of the 13 matches that de Zerbi has been in charge of have resulted in over 2.5 goals coming off and we think that’s the safest bet here.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
Southampton v Villa
Nathan Jones got his first league win at the helm of the Southampton at the weekend, a crucial result against fellow strugglers Everton, preventing the Saints from getting cut adrift at the bottom of the standings. This victory was imperative for Nathan Jones because if they’d lost, it would have been the club’s seventh in a row, though the Saints can now boast three victories on the spin when including cup wins over Crystal Palace and Man City.
Villa have been a force to be reckoned with since Unai Emery’s return to the Premier League, and although it may not have worked out at Arsenal, he is certainly taking his second chance by the scruff of the neck. They’ve only lost one of six league matches since his appointment (W4-D1-L1), which includes two huge wins over Man Utd and Tottenham.
Southampton’s record at St. Mary’s has been particularly dismal, with the club just W2-D3-L10 since the start of March. They’re W1-D3-L5 in the current campaign alone, with that sole victory coming back in August (144 days before this fixture takes place).
We think that Villa are at a very acceptable price to get the win here after the improvements made under new management, especially when taking into consideration the poor run that Southampton have endured in league action and in particular on home turf.
ASTON VILLA TO WIN
West Ham v Everton
West Ham’s last league win came at the end of October (2-0 v Bournemouth), while since then they’ve really struggled and are winless throughout their past seven matches (D1-L6). David Moyes has overtaken Frank Lampard to become the favourite for the next manager to leave his post, though a win here could swing things the other way, as Lampard is a close second on the list.
The Toffees are in a similar situation to West Ham as they are also winless in their last seven league appearances, losing five of these, while their record over their past 11 reads a terrible W1-D2-L8. Whereas the Hammers are struggling to score, Everton’s main issue is conceding, with the Toffee’s letting in at least two goals in five of their last six matches, as the exception strangely enough came on the road at Man City.
It’s clear to see that both teams have been struggling recently, so we should steer clear of the match outcome market and instead turn our attention to the goals or BTTS markets. West Ham have seen seven of their last 10 matches finish with under 2.5 goals, while nine of their 10 matches against bottom-half opponents have had the same result. Six of Everton’s nine away games have seen under 2.5 goals, with none of them exceeding three strikes, and even though they’ve only seen four of 10 matches against teams in the bottom 10 go under that line, we still think it’s a good value bet.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
Bournemouth v Forest
Bournemouth had a run of six matches unbeaten from the end of August to the middle of October (W2-D4), but since then the Cherries have really nosedived, losing eight of nine matches as the sole win came when hosting Everton. They’ve been unable to cope defensively, conceding at least twice in seven of their last eight, while they’ve also started floundering in attack as they’ve failed to register a goal across their past four (combined 0-9 scoreline).
Steve Cooper faced a difficult start to the season where his side lost seven of their opening 10 fixtures, but the Tricky Trees have come on a lot since then. Forest’s record during their subsequent nine matches reads W4-D3-L2, with their only losses coming against high-flying Arsenal (5-0) and a rejuvenated Manchester United (3-0).
Forest were leading 2-0 at the break in the reverse fixture, but a poor second-half display saw them concede three times and resulted in a defeat against their relegation rivals. We think they are in a much better place than they were the last time they played each other, as seen by the uptick in form recently, whereas Bournemouth have gained the least number of points over their last eight Premier League matches.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST TO WIN
Crystal Palace v Newcastle
Michael Olise scored a fantastic free kick at the death of their midweek game against Manchester United. Not only was the goal a wonder, but it also meant that the Eagles walked away with a point against one of the most in-form teams in the league. If they can get at least a point from this one, it will have been a successful week for Patrick Vieira’s men.
Newcastle currently boast the longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League, with their 14-game run pipping next-best Arsenal’s 12 without a loss. However, their attack has been sloppy in recent weeks as they run the risk of losing this streak, with only one goal in their last three games (89th minute v Fulham). The defence is still watertight though, keeping them in the European race as they’ve only conceded once across their last seven matches and none over the past five.
Palace’s record against the top 10 is not what they were looking for, as they are currently winless against these sides (D4-L6). Although these two teams have seen a fairly high number of both teams scoring in their matches, this hasn’t been the case so much recently. At least one side has failed to score in seven of Palace’s last nine games, while the same has been true in eight of Newcastle’s past 10.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE (NO)
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