You can’t beat a bit of bonus Premier League action in midweek, and there are some pivotal fixtures to get excited about on Wednesday night.
The pick of the bunch is a glamour clash between Spurs and Manchester United. Our football odds expert Adrian Clarke looks ahead to that encounter, plus a couple of key games that will shape the relegation battle…
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United | 31 Jan 20:00
Wembley Stadium holds extremely fond memories for Manchester United and their new superstar signing Alexis Sanchez, so the 47/20 on an away win beneath the arch stands out as a lovely value bet this Wednesday.
It’s six straight wins for the Red Devils at Tottenham’s temporary home, and their new forward doesn’t know what it feels like to lose there either.
A man for the big occasion, Sanchez bagged five goals in four successful competitive matches there for the Gunners – and England fans may also recall his brace in a 2-0 win for Chile against England.
A huge week ahead 💪
🗓 Wednesday: @ManUtd (H)
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 29, 2018
It’s a pitch that’s usually kind to him and his new club, so Spurs may need to play extremely well to fend off their opponents in this one.
On their day, Harry Kane and co can blitz anyone in the division, as Liverpool will testify, but aside from that 4-1 hammering, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been pretty horrendous against the big cheeses this term.
In their other five matches against Top 7 teams they have lost the lot. So, for this reason, the 5/4 on a home win looks short.
To be frank there is a growing feeling of stagnation with Spurs.
We all know how good their first XI is, and what a top coach they have at the helm, but do the board have the ambition to compete for the signings they need to keep pace with the rest?
Right now it doesn’t feel that way, and as a consequence, United arrive with a far springier step.
Forget that nonsense about a Wembley hoodoo though.
Tottenham have accrued 25 points from 12 home games in 2017-18, which is far from shabby, and in Son Heung-Min and Kane they have two guys who will punish any weaknesses. If they get beaten it won’t be down to any fictional curse.
Now that he’s no longer distracted by transfer rumours I do think Alexis Sanchez will take United to a higher plain, especially in the way he creates chances.
Statistically, he lays on far more opportunities than any of his new teammates and is proven as a regular goal-getter too. Yes, he’s wasteful in possession, but when there’s a sniff of a chance his end product rarely lets him down.
Those are speculative wagers that could easily come off.
I feel this fixture has come at a bad time for Tottenham, who are on a slightly flat run of form. Without Toby Alderweireld they look fragile at the back, and in central midfield they haven’t been right for weeks.
Paul Pogba has the ability to boss this contest.
To me, this has the look of a 2-1 Manchester United success. If you agree, odds of 19/2 are available with Grosvenor.
Newcastle United v Burnley | 31 Jan 19:45
They still cheer Rafa Benitez’s name on the St James’ Park terraces, but performances from his players have by and large been abject for a while.
Yes they need an influx of new bodies, but is the Spaniard getting the best from his current average-at-best squad? I don’t know if he is.
The Magpies are without a home victory since October 21, and continue to look pretty toothless in attack. Playing a very defensive brand of football, there has not been much to excite the masses.
At 8/11 Burnley or the Draw could be a sensible shout.
One saving grace for them ahead of this hugely important midweek match is Burnley’s form.
MEDIA: Kenedy has been chatting to the media today ahead of Wednesday’s @premierleague clash with Burnley.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 29, 2018
Sean Dyche’s side appears to have hit the proverbial brick wall, losing three straight games, and scoring just once in four outings. They will be hoping new boy Aaron Lennon gees them up, but it’s a goalscorer they need.
They have been tremendously hard to beat away from home, keeping clean sheets in a third of their games away from Turf Moor – and are easily good enough to hold Newcastle – but if they do concede, have the Clarets got what it takes to salvage something? That’s the issue.
Call me the prophet of doom if you like, but I’m forecasting a gloomy night all round by plumping for the 0-0 draw at 23/4.
It’s hard to see this one developing into a free-for-all in front of goal.
Southampton v Brighton & Hove Albion | 31 Jan 19:45
It wasn’t an afternoon they’ll be talking about for years to come down at St Mary’s (there’s a very real chance most Saints fans have forgotten what happened already) but their 1-0 success at home to Watford in the FA Cup could be just the boost they need to climb away from trouble.
Make no mistake Southampton are in the mire. They haven’t won on home turf in the Premier League since November 26, but I am seeing signs of an upturn. Prior to their cup win, they were pretty impressive against Spurs too.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 29, 2018
At 3/4, I view them as home bankers for the visit of Brighton.
The Seagulls have only hit the back of the net in three away matches during 2017-18, and are almost entirely reliant on their solid home displays to keep them afloat.
A 3-0 home win for Southampton (23/2) isn’t beyond the realms of possibility and I would also back their new Argentine striker Guido Carrillo to score on his debut at 8/5. His record suggests he will be a key figure.
If the Saints fluff their lines here it will be alarming for their survival prospects, but I don’t think they will.