The hot streak continues, and it’s now 13 winners from the last 16 selections for Neil Harvey, who’s made Hull against Chelsea his banker game of this week’s Overs or Unders…
Newcastle United v Arsenal – 15:00
The Gunners are on a roll. Five straight league wins mean they’re now within just a point of Manchester City and can even be mentioned as title outsiders. A consistent flow of goals has been fundamental to that form, with the Gunners scoring at least two in each of those games. And the chances of that goal spree continuing look good. Of their 15 away matches, Arsenal have scored in 13 and conceded in 12. So straight off the bat, you have to fancy both teams to find the net here.
Newcastle’s home matches and Arsenal’s road trips both average a fraction shy of three goals a game. And there’s every reason to think both sides will bring a positive approach. Arsene Wenger’s into all or nothing territory now. It’s win every game or go home as far the league stands. So expect Arsenal to do just that – win – or go out all guns blazing. Meanwhile Newcastle boss John Carver is playing with free spins at the Newcastle FC amusement arcade. He knows that closing time is coming, but he’s intent on enjoying himself right until the end. Carver’s team have nothing to lose and should breach Arsenal’s defence at some point. So regardless who wins, I’m expecting an entertaining game and at least three goals.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.748/11
Southampton v Burnley – 15:00
I fancy a similarity of styles could make for an awkward game here. Both teams have based their campaigns on organisation, work ethic and stout defence. In fact Southampton are now turning that approach into a fine art and as a result their last six home games have all been low-scoring. The Saints have the joint second-best home defence in the Premier League and will fancy their chances of seeing-off the league’s third worst attack.
Ronald Koeman could be in for a taste of his own medicine though, and he may not like it. Sean Dyche has Burnley extremely well drilled and they can make life difficult for a Saints team who in my opinion have looked less effective when having to play the role of aggressors. Southampton have scored an average of 1.66 goals at home. And now they face a team that lies just a point from safety and which held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at the Bridge recently. No doubt the Clarets would settle for another point here. And even if they don’t get it, they could well keep the score down while trying.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.9210/11
Liverpool v Manchester United – 13:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
When Liverpool play host to the better teams it usually results in lots of goals. Just look at their games at home to sides in the top seven. Every one of those fixtures has produced a high scoring result. And the only top-seven team they’ve yet to play? Manchester United.
A win would see Liverpool leapfrog United into a Champions League spot. So the incentive is there not to settle for anything less than a win. And with Brendan Rodgers’ side having scored at least two goals in each of their last seven at Anfield, they should feel confident about getting a result. United meanwhile have found the net in 11 of their 14 away games. If they score here, that would obviously leave Liverpool needing to push for least two. And in that scenario the goals could start to come thick and fast at either end.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.021/1
Hull City v Chelsea – 16:00
Live on Sky Sports 1
This might seem like a mismatch on paper. But just whoa there. Because a look at Hull’s home record reveals that of the 14 Premier League teams to travel to the Kingston Communications Stadium this season, only four scored more than a single goal. In fact the Tigers have the best home record of any team in the bottom half of the table. That might still suit Chelsea just fine. After all, they’d likely be happy to eke out a 1-0 win, just as they did at West Ham two weeks ago. And given that they have the second best defence in the division, the Blues are quite capable of repeating that feat.
But while victory is desired, a draw would still be of use given Chelsea’s six point cushion over the pack. Jose Mourinho is a pragmatist and will know a point in the hand wouldn’t be worth gambling should the score be tied deep into the game. And in a season where the bottom three could go down with an unusually low tally, Hull too could make good use of a point. With so little incentive for either team to take chances, I won’t either. So I’m aiming low.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.824/5
2014/15 Season P/L