After threatening to do so for a few weeks, Neil Harvey finally bagged four winners from four last weekend, to make it 10 winners from his last 12 selections. Can he maintain his form? Find out in this week’s Overs Or Unders…
Arsenal v West Ham United – 15:00
The journey to the Emirates may be one of the shortest trips West Ham make this season, but it might also prove one of the least enjoyable. For the Gunners are in full flow at present. Since the turn of the year, they’ve played five home games in the league and won them all. And they’ve been winning in style too. Five goals against Aston Villa was the highlight, with Arsene Wenger’s men netting 14 times in total during that run. Unsurprisingly all five of those games ended high scoring.
That doesn’t bode well then for West Ham, who’ve conceded in all but one of their 13 away fixtures this season. And they conceded at least two goals in more than half those matches. Sam Allardyce’s team have now gone six league games without a win, with a 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace the definite lowlight. And that kind of defensive frailty could well be seized upon by Arsenal’s array of talented forwards. It should be said though, that while the Hammers are bang out of form, they could still find the net themselves against a team who’ve kept just five clean sheets in 13 home games.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.608/13
Sunderland v Aston Villa – 15:00
I can’t say I’m expecting much goalmouth action in this game. Excitement perhaps. But not many goals. Both teams are on the cusp of the drop zone and should be scrapping for their lives here. A draw would not be a disaster though for either team, as it’s a result that would ensure neither drops into the bottom three.
Of course victory would go a long way to securing either team’s survival. But neither Gus Poyet nor Tim Sherwood appear to have the kind of weapons at their disposal needed to turn this into a shootout. Only one team has scored fewer goals in the Premier League this season than Sunderland. And that team is yes, Aston Villa. Sunderland have struggled up front, scoring on average less than a goal a game at the Stadium of Light. That strike rate isn’t good. But then again it looks brilliant when compared to that of Villa, who somehow have managed to score only four times in their 14 away games.
Both sides have similar records and could well cancel each other out. And with so little attacking prowess on display, the call here simply has to be ‘Under’.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.608/13
Chelsea v Southampton – 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
I’ve long believed this title race would go right to the very end and now I can see where the gap at the top might start to close. Chelsea could well be feeling tired, irritated and dispirited following their controversial Champions League defeat in extra time in midweek. Certainly it wasn’t the best preparation for this match against a stubborn Southampton side who are as hard working as any I’ve seen.
The Saints are not the division’s greatest entertainers when on their travels. Of their 13 away matches, only four have been high scoring. But then goals have hardly been in abundant supply for the home side either – Chelsea’s last six league games at Stamford Bridge were all low scoring. Jose Mourinho’s modus operandi has been to strangle opponents into submission at home this season. But if there’s one team built to deal with that approach, I’d argue it’s Ronald Koeman’s team, who are patience personified.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.855/6
Everton v Newcastle United – 16:00
Nerves are a strange thing. They can totally inhibit someone from performing to the best of their ability, no matter how great the talent. Everton look to be a classic case. And the result has been that the goals have dried up for Roberto Martinez’s underachievers. Just three scored in their last five home games tells the sorry tale for the Toffees. But with the relegation battle creeping up on them, I think we’ll see Everton sense the danger, throw off their suit ala Clarke Kent and reveal their true superpowers. Everton’s home matches have been averaging almost three goals a game and I think this will be one of their more entertaining fixtures.
Life may be hard for Roberto Martinez right now, but it must beat being John Carver. The Newcastle incumbent is doing his best to drink from the poisoned cup that is caretaker management, but failing all the same. A 5-0 thumping by Man City recently was a chastening experience. But given his predicament, Carver can be forgiven for burning briefly but brightly, He’ll want to go out in style. And that should mean plenty of goals between here and the end of the season.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.206/5
2014/15 Season P/L