Have a lie-in. Cook a fry-up. Sit back on the sofa all afternoon to watch three spectacular Premier League matches in succession. Your Sunday is sorted! Here is our football guru Adrian Clarke with a look ahead to what promises to be a season-defining day…
Middlesbrough v Manchester United – Sunday 19th March 12:00 Noon
Flat-lining Middlesbrough will be hoping for a Shakespearian spike in the Leicester City mould after giving boss Aitor Karanka the chop this week.
Whether they go from being rubbish to a revelation in the space of days (like the Foxes) is perhaps too much to ask, but the timing of the Spaniard’s dismissal is potentially bad news for Jose Mourinho, the man who used to mentor the departed coach.
It was obvious Boro’s players were bored stiff of Karanka’s defensive mindset, so I’ll be amazed if the men in red don’t have a spring in their step for the visit of Manchester United.
Liberated, the 7/5 that’s available on Middlesbrough or the Draw is a price that appeals.
They haven’t scored in five matches against top-flight opposition, but I don’t see another blank in this one. Logic suggests they have to score sometime, and how often do we see manager-less outfits release the handbrake after a change.
Alvaro Negredo to score the first goal (Price Boosted to 9/1) or roaming midfielder Marten de Roon (19/1 to score anytime) are two names I’d look out for to break that duck.
This could also be the Premier League match to suit those of you who like punting on refereeing decisions.
Jon Moss has the whistle at the Riverside, and is the top flight’s second most prolific yellow card brandisher with 4.4 per game. He loves a caution.
The combative Adam Clayton (12/5 to get a yellow) and constant-fouler Marouane Fellaini (12/5) will get you in the money if Moss takes their names.
Prior to pressing the panic button I’d have had this down as a solid away win, but with spirits lifted and the visitors arriving on the back of a busy schedule, my score selection is a feisty 1-1 draw at 7/1.
If Middlesbrough don’t get anything from this contest, they’re going down.
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton – Sunday 19th March 2:15pm
All eyes will be on Son Heung-Min in a match I’m dubbing the ‘Victor Wanyama Derby’.
With star turn Harry Kane sidelined with a busted ankle, the South Korean is expected to lead the line, and he will be on cloud nine after his monster hat trick against Millwall.
The 17/10 on Son to score will attract plenty of interest.
Southampton, who won at White Hart Lane last season, could have done without a two-week break. They’ve scored 10 goals in their last three outings, but you wonder if momentum has now been lost.
Worryingly for Claude Puel, they also have a habit of coming up short against the big boys. Southampton have just one league victory to their name against a top half side this season, Everton at home.
Don’t be surprised if the Saints start well though.
They’ve led at half-time away from home five times this term, and super signing Manolo Gabbiadini is the man Spurs need to keep tabs on. The Italian has been generously price-boosted by Grosvenor to score the opener at 7/1.
If Tottenham do trail, don’t write them off.
Mauricio Pochettino’s scrappers have accrued more points than anyone else after conceding first in 2016-17 (14 points) losing just two of the ten matches where they trailed. They have character.
That’s why I like the look of Spurs to win after going a goal behind at 19/2, or a less complicated 2-1 success (15/2)
For those of you love a devilish flutter, Victor Wanyama is being offered at 22/1 to mark his own ‘derby’ by seeing red against his former club.
Manchester City v Liverpool – Sunday 19th March 4:30pm
Battered, bruised and berated by their manager for blowing a Champions League lead in Monaco, the last thing Manchester City need is a pivotal showdown against their Premier League bogey side.
And that’s why I fancy them to beat Liverpool.
It’s not often a team of City’s ilk are offered at Evens on home turf, and I believe that’s a price worth taking for a set of players that will pumped up to please their fans.
What about Liverpool’s four straight wins against City, I hear you ask?
Isn’t Jurgen Klopp unbeatable against the Top 6?
Two fair points. Well made.
However, although I believe both teams are bound score at 10/17 (it’s happened in 77% of PL games at the Etihad this term, and have you seen their defences?!) I’m unconvinced that Liverpool have what it takes to win.
Klopp’s boys have only managed to notch more than one goal, once in their last seven away trips, and if that’s not improved upon I doubt they’ll get a point.
This Manchester City side arrive on a dower, but they have been visibly more assertive in front of their own supporters in 2017, and I’d back them to score over 1.5 goals against a fragile visiting rearguard (39/50).
Sergio Aguero – who suffered a rare off night in Monte Carlo on Wednesday – has scored in all four home games he’s had against Liverpool, so my pick is a Manchester City triumph featuring an Aguero goal anytime. Jump on that one at 11/5.
The Super Sunday matches have a number of Price Boosts available so be sure to check them out before you place your final bets.
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