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Sunday 15 May 2022 14:51, UK
Our tipster Jones Knows thinks Leeds can start their march to survival, Norwich can win at Wolves and Man City's game at West Ham will go goal crazy.
Tottenham may have ignited their top-four hopes on Thursday but this is a fiddly fixture for them. Burnley have the defensive capabilities to frustrate to a level that makes the 1/3 with Sky Bet on the home win very easy to oppose. I'm not comfortable backing Spurs on the back of a tight turnaround either, suffering surprise defeats to Middlesbrough, Southampton and indeed Burnley when having four or fewer days to prepare. I'm happy to take the draw.
Dwight McNeil remains a player of interest in the goalscorer market for Burnley.
He is carrying the fight for the club, performing excellently down the right as he cuts in on his preferred left foot.
The 22-year-old fell down the pecking order under Sean Dyche after struggling with his form but is back to his best and he has just three games left to break his goalscoring duck for the season.
He has the quality to find the net. McNeil has taken more shots (47) and more shots on target (14) without scoring than any other Premier League player this season. That is a wild statistic for a player of his calibre. The 9/1 with Sky Bet is worth following for him to score.
End of season matches where nothing of note is on the line always should prick the ears of punters that like to play the goals market.
Just a quick look at the basic data tells the story that the average goals per game shoots up in May. Over the past five years, Premier League matches have averaged around 2.75 goals per game. In May that average jumps to 3.05 as teams play with more freedom with the shackles of pressure released. That 3.1 average has held up so far in May this season so games like this one should see the over goal line cop for punters.
And I'm happy to throw in both teams to score to boost the price.
This may look a tough task on paper for Leeds against a Brighton side that have beaten Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Wolves in their last six matches. However, with so much on the line for Leeds and nothing for Brighton, a home win should be backed at 6/4 with Sky Bet.
Graham Potter continues to do a fine job with limited resources at Brighton but his teams are not reliable playing against defensive teams who play to stifle the opposition. His teams do have problems playing against deep and compact defensive lines - something Jesse Marsch simply has to go to for this encounter.
For example, in matches facing Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson, Nuno Espirito Santo, Bruno Lage, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce and Steven Gerrard - all managers that concentrate on organisation and defensive structure - Potter's record reads P29 W4 D15 L10.
Leeds simply have to win. And the Elland Road faithful can help them take their relegation fight to the last day.
In an average campaign for Leicester, James Maddison has shone brightly and showed why next season should be built around his skills playing in the free role. His goal against Norwich in the 3-0 win on Wednesday was his 15th goal across all competitions and his eighth in the Premier League from his last 19 appearances.
Jamie Vardy's potency in front of goal does remain strong, especially against the weaker teams in the division but the first goalscorer market is far too skewed in his direction with him just 7/2 with Sky Bet to fire first. Maddison has proven he's Leicester's most dangerous attacking weapon this year so the 13/2 on him to bag the first goal does seem a little generous against a Watford team that will struggle to contain him.
This Manchester City side are probably now the greatest ever Premier League team, yes?
What they are doing to top-class football teams at the moment is frightening. Pep Guardiola's side became the first team in English top-flight history to win five consecutive league games by a margin of at least three goals, achieving that feat while in the midst of the pressure-cooker environment of a title race. It's led to them winning their last five Premier League games to an aggregate score of 22-1. Expect the same level of attacking poetry to be seen this weekend as they all-but wrap up the title.
City will be asked questions by this West Ham attack though in what should be a 'you attack, we attack' type of game.
Guardiola's side are roaring to a Premier League title despite an injury crisis across their back four. Ruben Dias is out, Aymeric Laporte is almost certainly out and Fernandinho is a doubt. And the way Chiquinho gave Oleksandr Zinchenko - a fine footballer, but not a natural defender - the run-around in the midweek win at Wolves certainly bodes well for the possibilities of Jarrod Bowen having a big say in this match.
I'm fully expecting West Ham to score but the 4/7 with Sky Bet for that to happen has made me go hunting elsewhere and Bowen's goalscorer price is a beauty at 7/2. He is West Ham's top scorer this season with 16 goals (10 in the Premier League), scoring seven goals in his last 13 Premier League starts since January 12 as his stock continues to rise.
I wouldn't be going anywhere near Wolves at 2/5 with Sky Bet considering their miserable end to a campaign that threatened to be one to remember in February. Bruno Lage's side have lost five of their last eight Premier League games at Molineux, including defeats to Leeds, Brighton and Crystal Palace. That's not including a 1-0 reverse to Norwich in the FA Cup in February.
The ease at which Brighton and Manchester City breezed through their faltering back three should bode well for even a team like Norwich to find a way to goal. It's now seven games without a clean sheet for Lage's men whose mantra of being hard to beat is a thing of the past, conceding 16 goals in that period - no team in the Premier League has conceded more. A metric backed up by expected goals against which is the second-worst in that period (16.0).
Norwich, who do play with endeavour but little quality, are worth a swing at 13/2 with Sky Bet for the away win.
Such is the embarrassment of losing to the Canaries, two clubs decided to get rid of their manager in the aftermath as Sean Dyche at Burnley and Rafael Benitez were shown the door. I wouldn't rule out the hat-trick.
Everton's Premier League survival will be confirmed if they win here and Leeds fail to win at home vs Brighton. They will also be safe barring a mathematical miracle with a draw if Leeds lose.
Frank Lampard's approach of keeping the back door closed and playing no-nonsense football is working the oracle. In their last six Premier League games, Everton have conceded just four goals - an impressive feat when you factor in the level of opposition has included Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Despite a victory potentially being enough to guarantee their survival, I can't see Lampard changing this risk-free style of football. Five of those last six matches have fallen under the 2.5 goals mark and the 4/5 with Sky Bet for that to happen again looks a solid wager.
I'm going searching for a bigger price though and like the look of the 0-0 half-time correct score at 15/8 with Sky Bet. In their last 11 games combined there have only been nine goals scored in the first half of games with seven of those games going in at the break goalless.
The temptation was very high to row in with a Newcastle win at 16/5 with Sky Bet as Arsenal will have to show some serious mentality to get over Thursday but the Toon's lack of motivation and record under Eddie Howe against the top five teams has tempered my enthusiasm.
Howe has faced all the top five teams since taking over and has lost all seven games to an aggregate score of 21-2. He has improved Newcastle but they have overachieved on what their performance metrics have put forward. I'll play safe and take the draw.
My eyes have been drawn to Dan Burn for a potential betting angle.
If you take out the fixtures with Manchester City and Liverpool - two teams that give little opportunity for set piece situations to their opponents - then Burn has managed at least one shot in 10 of his 12 appearances for Newcastle. Howe isn't afraid to go direct from wide free-kicks and Burn is always the one tasked with attacking the first contact. That is leading to good opportunities falling his way inside the box that have equated to a 0.91 expected goals figure. That marks him out as one of the most dangerous centre-backs in the opposition box.
The 10/11 with Sky Bet for him to have a shot is one of the best bets of the weekend.