By Dave Kelner
Last Updated: 31st January 2020
The Punt: Episode 28 – Thursday 30 January
I suppose the feature game this weekend is Spurs v City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and it is José v Pep, but Spurs are a massive 36 points behind Liverpool, and last season’s Champions, Manchester City, are already trailing the Reds by 19 points. Jürgen Klopp’s side are setting an unprecedented pace, but enough about that, let’s discuss the Premier League TV games.
Leicester City v Chelsea
Leicester have been a little up and down in recent weeks and there’s a possibility that they might suffer a hangover after being knocked out of the League Cup by Villa midweek, but I’m certain Brendan Rodgers will want to guard against that and there really is very little between the two sides.
Chelsea started off the campaign in tremendous form away from home, however they’ve only picked up seven points in their last six on the road and they look short enough in the market to go to the King Power and win.
Jamie Vardy is enduring a dry spell and while not many would want to side with him in his current form, he’s all class and will find his touch sooner rather than later. I’m surprised there’s only a cigarette paper between the two in terms of the odds. Leicester have to be the bet.
Manchester United v Wolves
Manchester United have agreed a deal with Sporting Lisbon for Portuguese midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, and this suits both clubs. Sporting receive a much-needed cash injection, and Manchester United are no longer forced to play Jesse Lingard week-in-week-out. If I had a pound for every time Gary Neville uttered the words ‘Lingard has to do better there’ during United’s heroic failure at the Etihad on Wednesday night, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
United are unbeaten in 11 home games against Wolves in all competitions, but I’ve been so impressed with the way Raúl Jiménez and Adama Traoré have linked up recently, it’s impossible to ignore the current quote on the visitors.
Traoré has already put Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andrew Robertson through the wringer this season and whichever side he attacks down, United will have to be on high alert.
The Cup results have given United fans a little more cause for optimism, but there have been so many false dawns this season, I’ll be taking Wolves to win and both teams to score in this one.
Burnley v Arsenal
Who would have predicted that after 24 Premier League games, Arsenal and Burnley would be locked together on 30 points? Not me, that’s for certain. The Gunners have only won six games all season. SIX! Burnley have won nine and I can’t see many punters being sucked in to backing the Arsenal at a shade of odds against.
Mikel Arteta has definitely had an influence on some of the younger players in the squad and the recent performances of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have been strong, with the latter named an obvious goalscorer bet, provided he starts.
Arsenal have won their last 11 games against Burnley in all competitions, but stats are there to be broken, and Burnley’s directness will unsettle the Arsenal’s backline, which is made up of a number of misfits. I can’t see this being pretty, but Sean Dyche has built this team in his image and I fancy Burnley leapfrogging Arsenal this weekend.
Spurs v Man City
This feels a little underwhelming, doesn’t it? There’s such a chasm between Liverpool and the rest, that this is just a matter of jostling for the positions behind them. It’s a much more important game for Spurs. José Mourinho will want to secure Champions League football next season, and without it, he might not be able to spend in the summer. Without money, Mourinho won’t have success.
This is actually the 23rd meeting between José and Pep, and Mourinho has lost 10 games against the Spaniard, four more than he has against any other manager.
It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect in this one. Having watched City on Wednesday night, siding with them at around about the ½ mark looks extremely unwise and I’m tempted to have a glance at Son Heung-min, in the absence of Harry Kane.
Son terrorised City in the two Champions League meetings last season and even though the return of Aymeric Laporte makes them that little bit more solid defensively, he should have some joy in a game I’m hoping will be entertaining.