The second set of Premier League matches in quick succession begins on Saturday when half of the division are in action to start a weekend which could be pivotal at both ends of the table when all is said and done.
We have five matches in total on Saturday and it is a typical day in terms of the fact that we begin and conclude events with TV games and then the three games in the traditional slot will have the updates in the usual places.
Early Kick Off
The action gets underway at Goodison Park where Everton will look to come out of the bottom three for a few hours at least after they dropped into the relegation zone in midweek. Tottenham Hotspur are the visitors to Merseyside and they will look to put the pressure on the teams around them in the race for the Champions League and build on what was a very positive result for them in midweek. Everton are without a win in five in the Premier League and lost to Spurs in the reverse fixture just prior to Christmas and won’t want to go down again while Spurs have lost just once in seven in the league and are going well.
There are three matches in the traditional 3pm slot on Saturday afternoon and the bottom of the table very much remains in the spotlight. The pick of the matches is the one from the Amex Stadium where Brighton and Hove Albion will be looking to bounce back from the mauling they took in midweek when they host a possibly buoyant Crystal Palace side after their victory last time out. These sets of fans don’t like each other so the M23 derby is nicely set up.
Away from that game all eyes will be on St James’ Park to see if two teams who had fine wins in midweek can follow that up when Newcastle United look to continue to put a league campaign that has flagged a touch back on track. Luton Town are the visitors to Tyneside looking for their first Premier League double. The other match comes from Turf Moor where Burnley are beginning to enter must-win territory when they host a Fulham side who just need to find a result or two soon for their own peace of mind.
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We conclude with another match which is going to have an impact at the bottom end of the table as Sheffield United continue what is becoming an increasingly important need for points when they play host to a suddenly in and out Aston Villa side. Sheffield United are now nine points from safety, which could be 10 by the time they kick off, and are entering the territory where a draw is no use to them. Villa slipped up at home in midweek and will be looking to right that wrong and stay firmly in the mix for the top four so this one is also nicely poised.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the Saturday action with the first of those a more speculative punt at St James’ Park where the 12/5 on Luton Town to score the last goal looks a touch on the high side. Luton have scored 15 times in the last 15 minutes of matches this season, which until they battered Brighton in midweek had accounted for more than half of their goals. They also score a number of goals with substitutes as well and with Newcastle having so many injuries there is a good chance that the players Luton bring off the bench will have more impact on the game than their hosts. Even when Luton have lost recently they scored the final goal of the game against Chelsea. In fact, if we take out the 0-0 cup draw with Bolton, Luton have scored the last goal in the last seven matches in all competitions that they have scored in. Newcastle have conceded the last goal in their last five in the Premier League, including in a 3-1 win at Aston Villa in midweek. The 12/5 that Luton, who relentlessly finish matches strongly, score the last goal just looks too big to me.
The other bet which catches my eye over the course of Saturday comes in the late game where goals should come freely. Sheffield United went to Aston Villa just before Christmas and royally parked the bus but they won’t be able to get away with that in this game, one because a home crowd won’t allow it and also because draws are no use to them anymore, especially at home. They are going to have to fight fire with fire but this is a team who have just conceded three times to Crystal Palace while Luton have scored three at Bramall Lane in recent times. The Villa defence has lost a bit of its stature in recent weeks so I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Sheffield United score at some point along the way, especially with Ben Brereton Diaz now offering a bit more of a force going forward. The goal line for this one is 2.75 and I’m comfortable taking Sheffield United on any line at home now which is under three as they have to push it to try and win and leave themselves vulnerable, especially to class outfits like Aston Villa.
Back Luton to score last vs Newcastle for a 2/10 stake at 3.40 with Bet365
Back Sheffield United vs Aston Villa – Over 2.75 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.85 with Bet365