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Big weekend at the bottom

Big weekend at the bottom

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The Premier League is back this weekend and proceedings kick off at 12:30 on Saturday when Leicester welcome Stoke to the King Power Stadium.

Claude Puel’s men beat Championship Sheffield United in the FA Cup and still sit eighth despite not winning any of their last three league matches.

The 19th-place Potters would love to be in Leicester’s position and appear in real danger of the drop.

Boss Paul Lambert says his side have been working hard after having last weekend off and is fully aware that they need to start picking up points.

The game between these sides earlier in the season finished 2-2 and it could be a similar story on Saturday. Another draw looks handy at 27/10, as does both to score at 20/23.

Arguably the highlight of the three o’clock games comes at Anfield where Liverpool welcome West Ham.

The third-place Reds have lost just once in the league since October and will relish playing against the Hammers, whom they smashed 4-1 back in November, ending Slaven Bilic’s reign.

Bilic’s replacement David Moyes saw his side win last time out against Watford but they still seem in danger of being sucked back into the relegation mire.

Before winning on Merseyside in 2015, the Hammers had failed to take the points in front of the Kop since 1963 and another tough afternoon beckons.

Liverpool’s convincing win in their most recent meeting suggests it could be another case of over 3.5 goals at 11/10 and with the home win so short, maybe look to the 49/20 on offer for Mo Salah to net twice or more, just as he did in Stratford.

There are some big games at the bottom of the table on Saturday afternoon, most notably West Brom’s match against Huddersfield.

The Baggies have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons and their off-field energy is not currently being matched by their efforts once they cross the white line.

When you are propping up the table, winning home games against teams in your vicinity is vital and that’s precisely what the fourth bottom Terriers are.

A recent 4-1 win over Bournemouth will have lightened David Wagner’s mood and the 2-0 FA Cup loss to Manchester United last time out is unlikely to have dimmed his view.

The rumour mill suggests Alan Pardew could pay for a defeat with his job and another bad day could beckon, with Huddersfield tempting at 7/2.

Third-bottom Southampton are also in action at three and face a long trip north to Burnley.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s side saw a four-game unbeaten run come to an end last time out in the league against Liverpool but bounced back by beating West Brom in the cup.

They will be keen to continue that momentum and are perhaps travelling to Turf Moor at exactly the right time.

Despite sitting seventh, the Clarets are yet to win in the new calendar year and despite Sean Dyche’s best efforts, seem to have subconsciously switched off with survival all but assured.

Burnley won 1-0 at St Mary’s back in November and another cagey encounter appears likely. Southampton could edge it though, and an away win seems a brilliant price at 17/10.

It also promises to be tense at the Amex where Brighton welcome fellow strugglers Swansea.

Both have experienced timely upturns in form and will have been targeting this game, despite their FA Cup exploits.

Chris Hughton and Carlos Carvalhal will be imploring their troops to keep things tight and chances could be at a premium.

Swansea are 10 without defeat but the Seagulls have a habit of shading these types of games and could triumph at 11/10.

To conclude at three, Newcastle make the long trip to the south coast for a clash with Bournemouth.

The Magpies won the last time these two played in the top flight at the Vitality and seem to be heading in the right direction, with their shock win over Manchester United being the highlight in their run of three unbeaten.

Bournemouth were unceremoniously outclassed 4-1 by Huddersfield last time out but like Saturday’s opponents, have had a fortnight off to recharge their batteries.

Intriguingly, Eddie Howe’s men have won their last three at home in the league 2-1 and a repeat of that outcome is 17/2.

Newcastle are pretty hit and miss on the road and could come unstuck, with a Cherries triumph most likely at 11/10.

The late game on Saturday comes down at Vicarage Road where Watford welcome Everton.

Neither have impressed this season, with the Hornets winning just two of their last 14 in the league, while the Toffees have a habit of coming unstuck on the road, losing their last four.

Injuries are mounting up for both Javi Gracia and Sam Allardyce and this could lead to a hugely entertaining game.

It is a hard one to call but Everton’s shocking away form suggests it could be Watford’s day, with the home win and both scoring 33/10, while over 3.5 goals tempts at 53/20.

Sunday’s early encounter sees Crystal Palace host Tottenham at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles have failed to soar in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six, while in contrast, Spurs are unbeaten in 14.

These two tend to play out entertaining encounters and with the away win quite short, that outcome and both to score at 39/20 cannot be dismissed.

We round it all off with arguably the game of the weekend in the English top flight as Manchester United host Chelsea.

Both played out midweek Champions League draws against Spanish opposition, although there is no doubting that the Blues’ efforts against Barcelona were far more impressive than United’s tame stalemate in Seville.

Neither Jose Mourinho nor Antonio Conte currently appears at one with their surroundings and it looks set to be a cagey affair.

With so much to lose in the battle for the top four, both will look to hold each other at bay and the draw at 9/4 seems to be the most sensible outcome.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.