It is Arsenal v Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday and David John has a 5/1 anytime goalscorer selection.
Recommended bets: Sunday Premier League
Liverpool v Southampton (1330 BST, Sky Sports 1)
Jurgen Klopp was right on the money this week with his claim that no-one at the top can afford to squander any chances as the race for a Champions League place continues.
The Reds kept themselves right in the hunt with a scrappy 1-0 success at a stubborn Watford on Monday with the pair only separated by the one piece of quality as Emre Can expertly finished Lucas’ superb centre.
It might have been frustrating for the German on the touchline watching his team unable to extend their lead and get some breathing space but we are well past the point where style points count and it is all about the result.
Along with three points, other plus points included a return after a month out for Adam Lallana (lively, brilliant volley that came back off the bar but not quite up to full match speed) while Philippe Coutinho’s dead leg is not as bad as first feared.
His presence at Anfield will be a major boost if fit for duty as the home side attempt to justify another odds-on quote on the back of slipping up on Merseyside against Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
It would be reasonable to argue they are overdue a performance in front of their own fans but Southampton have already proven a tough nut to crack for them this season.
There have been three meetings so far and Liverpool have failed to register a goal never mind a win while the smash-and-grab performance at the end of January to thwart a Wembley appearance against Manchester United in the EFL Cup final still smarts in this part of the north west.
The Saints huffed and puffed last week but could not break down Hull at St Mary’s – including blowing a chance from the penalty spot - and under-fire Claude Puel and his team were booed off the pitch.
The Frenchman’s future at the club remains up in the air and despite rather flagging over the past few weeks with no wins in three games, this has been a good season on the whole with them coming extremely close to even landing some silverware as well.
More worrying news has emerged though of a possible bust-up behind the scenes – obviously denied by those closest to the action – but there is rarely smoke without fire when it comes to these issues with the potential of a moody performance one for punters to ponder.
Oft-injured striker Charlie Austin is scheduled to play for the U23s on Friday night and could make a late bid for a place in the squad if healthy – he has been missed and Southampton's front-line has looked increasingly insipid of late.
These two have sparred together more than most this season so there should have very few secrets from the other but I can’t see the hosts stumbling again and can press on in their top-four quest with a comfortable success.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
o Jurgen Klopp hasn’t won any of his three previous Premier League games against Southampton (D2 L1). Liverpool had won their previous three v Saints prior to his arrival.
o Southampton have won just one of their last five visits to Anfield in the Premier League (D1 L3), 1-0 in September 2013 with a goal from current Liverpool player Dejan Lovren.
o Liverpool are yet to score against Southampton in three games this season - drawing 0-0 in the Premier League in November and losing both League Cup semi-final legs 1-0.
o Jurgen Klopp now has an identical record to Brendan Rodgers in his first 65 Premier League games in charge of Liverpool: W33 D18 L14, winning 117 points.
o Since Klopp first took charge of Liverpool in October 2015, there have been 208 goals scored in Premier League games involving the Reds – more than any other side.
o Even if Southampton win their remaining five Premier League matches this season, they’ll still fall under their league points tally in 2015-16 (63) and 2014-15 (60) and would only be able to equal their tally in 201314 (56).
Arsenal v Manchester United (1600, Sky Sports 1)
It is not too long ago this used to be one of the fixtures in the Premier League but it has to be said there is not a great deal of fanfare surrounding the latest renewal.
United, by the admission of Jose Mourinho, fancy the Europa League much more at the moment while Arsenal’s dizzying fall from grace since the turn of the year shows no sign of slowing down this side of oblivion.
It is the Gunners though who have been chalked up as relatively well-backed favourites at the Emirates after bookmakers reacted to the news Mourinho could sling any sort of combination on to the field in a bid to give some of his big names a rest.
To be honest, you can’t really blame him either. United have a precious one-goal lead from the away leg of the European semi-final against Celta Vigo while 10 games since the start of April and another round of injuries to deal with seems to have the playing staff flagging badly.
There is still plenty of depth at Old Trafford – certainly enough to be a match for Arsenal at the moment – and any theory on what the potential starting XI will be boosted by the return of Chris Smalling and Juan Mata from spells on the sideline.
A pacey and in-form Marcus Rashford was on target in northern Spain but ran himself into the ground before limping off so Anthony Martial seems the obvious replacement but the star of the show could well turn out to be Paul Pogba.
He was the driving force behind the midweek victory and has shown steady improvement back at Old Trafford all season.
It probably has not been quite as much as would have been expected for a player that cost the thick end of £90m but finding your feet under that sort of scrutiny still takes time and it will be next season before we see more like the finished article in England.
He certainly seems to be finishing the season strongly and has more than enough energy in his legs to keep up the surging runs from midfield into goal-scoring positions.
A threat from set-pieces as well, the time has arrived for him to end a Premier League drought in front of goal stretching back to New Year’s Eve and the 5/1 on offer is very tempting.
Arsenal were outclassed without a doubt at White Hart Lane last week as they sunk to a 2-0 loss to their north London neighbours but there was also more than a hint of acceptance this season has gone beyond recall.
They are labouring six points off the top four at the time of writing with a game in hand and while manager Arsene Wenger seemed to just about cement his future at the club thanks to reaching the FA Cup final, their continued scratchy form in the top flight is a reminder the Frenchman might be better off elsewhere.
The layers clearly favour some sort of positive Arsenal response after the derby woe but Wenger has never got any change from Mourinho in a competitive clash.
So I am inclined to agree with Roy Keane’s cheeky midweek assessment that the visiting second-stringers can still come out on top.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
o Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Manchester United at the Emirates last season is their only win in 11 Premier League games against them (D4 L6).
o Manchester United haven’t lost consecutive away Premier League games against Arsenal since November 2001.
o Arsenal were 3-0 up against Manchester United in this exact fixture last season, with Alexis Sanchez scoring twice. This is the only time that the Red Devils have conceded three goals in the opening 20 minutes of a Premier League game.
o Sanchez is two goals away from scoring his 50th Premier League goal for Arsenal, becoming the 8th player to do this for the Gunners. o Wayne Rooney has scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal than any other player in Premier League history (11).
o Alexis Sanchez needs just one goal to register his best-ever return from a single campaign in Europe’s big five leagues (currently on 19, tied with 2013/14 for Barcelona).
o However, just six of Alexis Sanchez’s league goals have come at home this season in the Premier League (32%) despite playing at the Emirates on 16 occasions in 2016-17.
o This will be Arsene Wenger’s 58th match as Arsenal manager against Manchester United in all competitions. It’s the side the Frenchman has faced most often with the Gunners, but also the side he’s got the lowest win rate against (29% - minimum of 15 games).
Posted at 1625 BST on 05/05/17.
Recommended bets: Saturday Premier League
Manchester City v Crystal Palace (1230 BST, Sky Sports 1)
Palace seemed to be coasting to safety a couple of weeks ago but back-to-back home defeats means they still have some work to do starting with a fairly daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium.
Defeats to Tottenham and Burnley leaves them fifth bottom and once more perspiring a little bit heavier but at the same time knowing just three points somewhere should just about do the trick.
This is exactly the sort of fixture Sam Allardyce has relished of late having knocked off Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool and he must ask his players to come up with the goods yet again up against one of England’s big guns.
There is no question he has the tools at his disposal in attack but a huge worry remains at the back with a sudden shortage as Scott Dann, James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho are all set to miss out.
It will be an area Allardyce must focus on closely after Burnley caused them all sorts of issues in their own penalty box - City still have plenty to play for and the return of the deadly Gabriel Jesus to play alongside Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero completes a trio that could run riot.
It is a relief for the Eagles that playmaker David Silva is a big doubt while John Stones could be ruled out from a defence that still looks clueless at times and is in need of a pretty big summer overhaul.
Panic was still the initial reaction when threatened by Middlesbrough in the 2-2 draw last week and there will undoubtedly be a decent chance or two for Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke to get them rolling.
So with that in mind, it is totally understandable to see both sides to score at no bigger than 4/6 but the destiny of the match very much comes down to how strong Palace can remain at the back.
I don’t see them holding out for long on this occasion considering their current predicament and a handy home win gets the nod to leave Allardyce and company still looking over their collective shoulder.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Crystal Palace
o Manchester City have won eight of their last nine Premier League games against Crystal Palace (L1), with their only defeat in this run coming in April 2015 (1-2 at Selhurst Park).
o Crystal Palace haven’t kept a clean sheet against Manchester City in the Premier League since May 1993 under Steve Coppell, conceding in all 11 meetings since.
o The Citizens are unbeaten in six home games against Palace in the Premier League (W4 D2), winning all four games at the Etihad; while they are unbeaten at home in 11 in all competitions, dating back to 1991.
o The Eagles have not scored on any of their previous three trips to the Etihad in the Premier League – the last player to score for Palace there in the competition was Darren Powell in January 2005 (1-3 defeat).
o Manchester City have lost two of their last three home Premier League games in the early Saturday kickoff slot – 1-3 vs Leicester last season and 1-3 vs Chelsea in December.
o Two of Manchester City’s last four Premier League games at the Etihad have finished 0-0; this after just one of their previous 119 at home had finished goalless in the competition.
o Christian Benteke has scored against 22 different clubs in the Premier League, but Manchester City are one of the six teams he’s faced and is yet to score against in the competition (0 goals in 7 apps).
o Sergio Aguero has scored in seven of his last eight appearances in all competitions for Manchester City.
Bournemouth v Stoke (1500)
In-form Josh King was the saviour once more for the Cherries last weekend as they consigned Sunderland to the second tier and put themselves within one point of total safety.
They sit in 10th place and are for all money fine over the line so can go about the business of securing a top-half finish in a nice and relaxed manner following just two defeats in their last eight games – those coming against Chelsea and Tottenham.
Manager Eddie Howe has been keen to stress there will be no slacking off although it would not be a bad thing in the longer term for the club if King’s flow of goals dried up a little as the Norwegian international attracts covetous glances from some bigger Premier League fish.
Three wins from four at home recently and 10 goals scored is good form in anyone’s book and another three points in the sun on the south coast would not come as any sort of shock against a side that has flagged terribly on the road.
They have only managed to beat Sunderland away from the Potteries since mid-December and the drought without an away goal currently stands at an astonishing six and half games.
That makes for grim reading as manager Mark Hughes has proved himself once again the master of treading water in the middle of the top-flight standings and there are rumblings a change at the top could potentially be in the offing.
That said, January signing Saido Berahino could be of interest to punters this weekend and I fancy him to break his goalscoring duck at last in red and white stripes at 9/4.
The 23-year-old is trying to rebuild a career after his sulky exit from West Brom and losing 5.5kg since moving to Staffordshire and the promise to take only one week off over the summer suggests he is committed to getting back on track.
He has looked increasingly sharp over the last few weeks thanks to regular football and his display against West Ham suggests he is not a million miles away from that first goal.
We might not see the best of him until next season but Hughes is “keen to get him on the scoresheet” and coming up against this backline – although improved of late – represents a significant opportunity.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-2 Stoke
o This will be just the fourth meeting between Bournemouth and Stoke in the Premier League, with the Cherries getting their first win over them in this season’s reverse fixture (L2 previously).
o Stoke City have won just one of their last six away games at Bournemouth in all competitions (D2 L3), although this did come on the most recent trip (3-1 in February 2016).
o There hasn’t been a draw between Bournemouth and Stoke since October 1999 in all competitions, with the Cherries winning three and the Potters winning six of the nine meetings since.
o The eight goals scored in this fixture in the Premier League have all been registered by different players (three for Bournemouth and five for Stoke).
o The Cherries have won their last two Premier League games – they’ve not won three in a row in the competition in over a year (March 2016).
o Stoke City haven’t scored in any of their last six Premier League away games, with their goalless drought now standing four minutes’ shy of 10 hours (596 minutes) since Peter Crouch’s 34th minute goal at Sunderland in January.
o Josh King has scored 12 goals in his 16 Premier League appearances so far in 2017 – this tally is just three fewer than Stoke City overall (15 goals in 16 games) in 2017.
o King now has 15 goals in the Premier League this season and needs three more in 2016-17 to equal the most scored by a Norwegian player in a single PL season: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (18 in 1996-97 for Manchester United).
Burnley v West Brom (1500)
A buoyant Clarets outfit could move within one point of the Baggies with success at Turf Moor as they try to build on finally notching an away victory this season.
There was no fluke about the performance either at Crystal Palace as they controlled the game tactically and at last managed to put away two chances with clinical efficiency.
I wonder whether as well there was a little additional motivation to deliver the goods for ‘absent’ midfield hero Joey Barton and the 39 points they now have on the board looks good enough.
Grounded manager Sean Dyche did not celebrate with anything more than a cup of coffee on his way home from London though but is keen to press on with a top-half finish still very much in play.
Their outstanding home form has dropped off a little with just one victory in five in all competitions but an odds-against quote is a tempting play here to rediscover the winning knack against a West Brom team that can’t seem to get out of its own way at the moment.
Talk a little over a month ago of smashing the 50-point barrier in the Premier League for a first time seemed a formality having swept aside Arsenal and drawn with Manchester United at Old Trafford but they have been stuck in a considerable rut ever since.
The tally now stands at four straight defeats and no goals scored although they have hardly been blown away in three 1-0 reverses but that little bit of extra quality Tony Pulis always craves has been obvious by its absence.
He is not helped on that front once again with Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu still sidelined which leaves Salomon Rondon – fresh from his cataclysmic error to set up Leicester’s winner last week – as the lone goal threat up front.
The Venezuelan has not scored in 19 games and it could be another long afternoon against a sound Burnley defence behind which Tom Heaton is looking for an 11th clean sheet of the campaign.
Dyche will admit that Burnley’s worst effort all season came at The Hawthorns in a 4-0 November drubbing (3-0 down before the break) but they look in good shape to make amends.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 West Brom
o Burnley are looking for their first Premier League victory over the Baggies, having drawn one and lost two of the previous three.
o West Brom have averaged 3.3 goals per game against Burnley in the Premier League (10 goals in 3 games); their best-such record versus an opposition side in the competition.
o The Clarets’ last win over West Brom in league competition came in August 2007 in the Championship (D1 L3 since).
o The Baggies’ largest margin of victory in the Premier League is four goals, which they’ve done on five occasions. Two of those have been against Burnley (4-0 in September 2014 and November 2016).
o West Brom need five more points to equal their best Premier League points return in a season (49), but claimed just one point in April towards their current tally, losing each of their last four.
o The Baggies have failed to score in five consecutive league games for the first time, with their drought currently standing at 465 minutes.
o Burnley won their first away game of the season in the last round of matches, and just their fifth away Premier League win overall – none of their previous four wins on the road has been followed by a victory in their next PL game (D2 L2).
Hull v Sunderland (1500)
This is the classic “pressure off” situation for Sunderland now their relegation after a decade in the top flight has been confirmed but such is the way they have been shambling around under David Moyes, you just wonder whether any ability or willingness is still there.
There have been numerous examples in the past of teams putting in a performance once their fate has been sealed but the Black Cats have been so bad for so long, recapturing the winning habit looks an exceptionally tough ask.
They have picked up a paltry seven points since Boxing Day and you have to wonder what sort of motivation remains for a good number of players to perform under Moyes with their futures clearly elsewhere come the summer.
Hull, on the other hand, are still in the thick of a survival scrap and have the chance to pile some additional pressure on third-bottom Swansea prior to the late kick-off.
It is clearly a good chance to put some distance between themselves and the drop zone and the way Marco Silva’s side have risen to the challenge against Watford and Southampton lately is credit to the way the manager has encouraged his team to deal with the situation.
Perhaps the rub of the green is also going their way with a penalty saved at St Mary’s while a couple of timely Harry Maguire challenges in the penalty box were crucial in picking up another point on the south coast.
Maguire and Andrea Ranocchia continue to prove an outstanding combination at the back and I would fancy them to keep a lid on Jermain Defoe again as his run of domestic games without a goal now stretches back to the start of February.
Moyes will surely attempt to play the “give the fans a performance” card in the build-up but they look too far gone and if Hull are anywhere near their best they can land the odds with another vital victory ticked off.
Prediction: Hull 2-0 Sunderland
Leicester v Watford (1500)
The Foxes were probably better value than a 1-0 victory at West Brom last week suggests but the way Jamie Vardy pounced to deliver the telling blow was reminiscent of his form from last season as he made it nine goals in 13 outings.
They are back to last year’s prices as well with an odds-on quote to get the better of the Hornets and one more victory will ensure their safety in what has been a pretty tumultuous season in defence of their title.
Watford start the day on the same number of points as the hosts and are not quite mathematically safe either as they limp towards the end of the season.
Three defeats in four games means manager Walter Mazzarri is under some pressure with some twitchy owners seemingly on the brink of pulling the trigger again in the summer and trying to get another manager in to improve their lot.
The Italian came under fire once more after a dour effort in the 1-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on Monday but the nuts and bolts of the display were actually pretty positive.
They frustrated the Merseysiders for long spells and in my book, the only criticism you could level at Mazzarri was a lack of ambition in the second half having gone behind to Emre Can’s wonder volley.
This stacks up as a tricky game to call but I can certainly see the visitors going down the route again of containing their rivals for as long as possible in an attempt to try and grind out at least a point.
Vardy seems the obvious choice for a Leicester breakthrough although Shinji Okazaki could be a viable alternative having been singled out by Craig Shakespeare in terms of making more of a contribution in front of goal.
A slightly more athletic lunge in the six-yard box at West Brom would have got him on the end of an excellent Vardy centre and his manager’s words could add a little extra motivation.
He is short enough in the anytime market though and a tendency to be hauled off after an hour means I will leave this fixture alone in terms of a bet.
Prediction: Leicester 1-0 Watford
o Hull have won just one of their previous four home Premier League games against Sunderland (W1 D1 L2) and have never scored more than once in any of those matches.
o After beating Hull in their first four Premier League contests, Sunderland have won just one of their last five against them, though this was the reverse fixture 3-0 this season (D1 L3).
o Victor Anichebe scored twice in Sunderland’s 3-0 win over Hull in November but hasn’t scored in his 12 Premier League games since.
o Jermain Defoe has scored four times in five Premier League games against Hull.
o However, Defoe’s goalless run in the Premier League now stands at 10 appearances and 945 minutes since scoring against Crystal Palace on February 4th.
o A win for Marco Silva would see him equal Steve Bruce’s record of seven home wins in a Premier League season for Hull set in 2013/14
Swansea v Everton (1730, BT Sport 1)
The late game is full of uncertainty at this stage in terms of the state of mind of the hosts.
Worst case scenario, they could be five points adrift of fourth-bottom Hull if they see off relegated Sunderland but could also potentially swap places with the Tigers if the Black Cats do manage to pull some sort of result out of the fire.
This is very much a game to wait and check the lie of the land before making a final decision about placing a wager but at this early stage, the Swans do seem to have shaken off a damaging malaise over the last couple of weeks.
A victory over Stoke and a draw with Manchester United is a definite upturn in their form but the question is has it come too late for Paul Clement – particularly if Hull have done the business earlier in the afternoon?
It is a good decision by the owners to reveal they will stick with Clement regardless of what happens between now and the end of the season and that little bit of certainty in the players’ heads can only be a good thing with a battle still ahead.
Everton are guaranteed no worse than seventh and could climb a bit higher still but a hefty home loss to Chelsea, just one goal from Romelu Lukaku in six and a rickety away record with no wins since January 21 gives them a rather vulnerable look.
It has been pretty good overall though in Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge despite the wind coming out of their sails but one man to look to for some inspiration is defender Ashley Williams on a first trip back to face his former team.
He won’t want to give anything away readily despite the current plight at the Liberty Stadium and I get the feeling Clement will require the very best from star names Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente to find a way through.
The nature of this game will be much easier to assess come 5pm Saturday evening so a tentative pick at this stage would be a stalemate.
Prediction: Swansea 1-1 Everton
o Leicester City have lost just one of their previous five Premier League games against Watford, but this was in November 2016 (W3 D1).
o Watford have gone 15 matches against the Foxes in any competition without keeping a clean sheet, last shutting them out in February 2008 in the Championship.
o Riyad Mahrez has scored in Leicester’s last two Premier League games against Watford. o Mahrez could make his 100th Premier League appearance in this match, the first Algerian to reach this milestone.
o The Foxes have claimed 40 points this season in the Premier League, 41 less than their final points total from their title-winning season but just one adrift of their points tally in 2014/15.
o The Hornets have lost nine of their last 11 Premier League away games (W1 D1), including each of the last four without scoring.
o Leicester City have won all four of their Premier League home games under Craig Shakespeare – only three managers have ever won their first five at home in the competition (Manuel Pellegrini – 11, Sven Goran Eriksson – 9 and Carlo Ancelotti – 7).
o Jamie Vardy has scored nine goals in his last 13 competitive appearances for Leicester City, this after netting just six goals in his previous 31 apps for the club in 2016-17.
Posted at 1815 BST on 04/05/17.
Recommended bets: Sunday Premier League
Recommended bets: Friday Premier League
West Ham v Tottenham (2000 BST, Sky Sports 1)
The West Ham board continue to ponder their next move over whether to retain manager Slaven Bilic and this is an excellent opportunity for the Croat to put forward his case for a renewed deal.
That said, the Hammers have not been given a great deal of hope by the layers at around the 7/1 mark as they try to apply some brakes to the Tottenham juggernaut.
However, a feisty London clash, four games without defeat and the fact they came within a whisker of pulling off a shock win earlier in the season at White Hart Lane suggests they won’t be a pushover.
There have been too many defensive horror shows from the hosts at the London Stadium to suggest snapping up the odds available but three clean sheets in the last four games is at last a very promising change in direction.
“We are in a good place now and look forward to the challenge,” said central defender Jose Fonte while the return in goal of Adrian has also added some stability after producing a couple of smart saves during the 0-0 draw at Stoke last week.
It was a lively display all told at the bet365 Stadium but still either lacked a crucial spark in front of goal or found Jack Butland in the way. The prospect of getting Andy Carroll back is tantalising yet there still has to be grave doubts if they are required to score a handful of times here to keep up.
It is nine straight Premier League wins for Spurs and they have the chance to turn the screw a little on Chelsea as victory would see them move to within one point before the latter take to the field on Monday.
They swarmed all over Arsenal last weekend to claim the north London bragging rights this season and were more than happy to add to the current woes of their closest rival.
Maurico Pochettino and his side seem to be thoroughly enjoying the title pursuit and there have been very few signs of tension as push now comes to shove over the closing weeks.
Manchester United at home are up next but to me this looks the trickiest of Spurs’ remaining fixtures in a hostile, ramped-up derby atmosphere.
It will be by far the toughest test as well for an improving West Ham defence but I am prepared to take a punt on the home side at least keeping things respectable with a wager on under 2.5 total goals.
Prediction: West Ham 0-1 Tottenham
o West Ham have picked up just one win from their last five Premier League meetings with Spurs (D1 L3), however it did come in this fixture last season (1-0 at Boleyn Ground).
o Spurs will have the chance to achieve a league double over West Ham for the first time since 2012/13, in what was Andre Villas-Boas’ only full season at the club.
o The Hammers, meanwhile, could win back-to-back home games against Spurs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998/99 and 1999/00.
o Harry Kane has netted five times in his last five Premier League games against West Ham, although each of them have come in games at White Hart Lane.
o Kane has scored 19 goals in 26 Premier League derbies (0.73 goals per game), compared to 51 goals in 83 apps against non-London opposition for Spurs (0.61 goals per game).
o The England striker has 18 goals in his last 20 Premier League appearances against opposition from London. o West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini has scored 13 Premier League goals; eight of which have come in 13 London derby appearances (62%).
o After overseeing wins in four of his first five Premier League games against London opposition, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has won just two of 10 since (D3 L5).
o Between them, Harry Kane and Dele Alli have 38 Premier League goals. This is the most by a Spurs duo in a Premier League season since 1994/95 (also 38 - Klinsmann 20 and Sheringham 18).
Posted at 1625 BST on 05/05/17.