Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with Paul Higham and George Pitts providing a best bet and score prediction for each clash.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Man Utd v Norwich (Paul Higham)
On the face of it this should be a cakewalk for fifth-placed United facing rock-bottom Norwich, who are huge 6/1 outsiders at Old Trafford.
Context is everything in football though, and after a pasting at Arsenal, a dour draw at Wolves and another chasing against Man City the pressure is once again intensifying on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
So all of a sudden, what should be a gimme now has a lot more pressure about it as a poor result here would be disastrous for a manager who then has an FA Cup replay and a trip to Liverpool to deal with next week!
It’s incredible that United are fifth in the table, it may say more about the quality of the league as a whole than it does solely about them, and even more amazing that they have lost just one home league game all season.
The Canaries are the worst away team in the league but, while Carrow Road sees more goals than anywhere else in the top flight, Norwich's away games see the second-fewest and it’s clear the way to thwart United is to stack the defence and limit space.
Eight of ten of Norwich’s away games have yielded under 2.5 goals and they have managed just five on the road all season, so a nervy low-scoring affair is the one we’re going for. United should pinch it, but it may be tough going.
Prediction: Man Utd 1-0 Norwich (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
Best bet: Under 2.5 goals at 11/8
- Man Utd’s last two home league games against promoted sides have seen them lose 0-2 against Cardiff and draw 2-2 with Aston Villa – they’ve not failed to win three consecutive such games since February 1990.
- Norwich have lost 16 of their last 20 away Premier League games (W2 D2) since winning 2-1 at Old Trafford against Man Utd in December 2015.
- As caretaker manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjær averaged 2.46 points per game in the Premier League (P13 W10 D2 L1) – as permanent boss, he is averaging just 1.34 points per game (P29 W10 D9 L10).
Chelsea v Burnley (George Pitts)
Chelsea have lost their last two Premier League games at Stamford Bridge but four points from their last two away games means they still have a nice five-point cushion over Man United in fifth.
Burnley go into this clash on the back of a three-match losing run in the league and Sean Dyche will hope that scoring four in the FA Cup win over Peterborough last week will give them renewed confidence.
The Clarets have been pretty inconsistent away from home, from going close in 2-1 defeats at Arsenal and Leicester to being hammered 5-0 at Tottenham.
The Spurs defeat was most definitely an off day and Dyche's squad will have benefitted from a much-needed week between matches after the hectic festive period.
While Chelsea are highly unlikely to lose three on the bounce on home turf, the visitors can at least get on the score sheet and the price at a fraction under evens is worth taking.
The Blues are 14th in the home table and have conceded 10 goals in as many games at the Bridge and the Clarets, who scored twice in the reverse fixture, a 4-2 defeat at Turf Moor, have plenty of reasons to be travelling to the capital without fear.
Best bet: BTTS at 23/20
- Chelsea are looking to complete the league double over Burnley for the first time since 2009-10, following their 4-2 victory at Turf Moor in the reverse fixture.
- Chelsea haven’t lost three consecutive home Premier League games since November 1993 under Glenn Hoddle.
- Burnley are currently on a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats – the ninth time since the start of last season they have endured such a run.
- Chelsea have conceded 28% of their Premier League goals in the final 10 minutes of games this season (8/29), the highest percentage of any team.
- Ashley Westwood has provided 12 Premier League assists since the start of last season for Burnley, three more than any other Clarets player. Westwood has assisted each of their last three league goals.
- Since the start of last season, no Premier League player has started more open play sequences ending in a goal than Chelsea’s Jorginho (11, level with João Moutinho).
Everton v Brighton and Hove Albion (George Pitts)
Two clubs with high hopes for the future under their respective managers - Carlo Ancelotti hoping to take Everton to the next level while Graham Potter is making waves on the south coast, having already earned a new long-term Brighton contract since arriving in the summer.
In the six league games since Marco Silva's departure (including Duncan Ferguson's caretaker stint), the Toffees are fourth in the form table and their only loss in that time was a hard-fought defeat at Man City, which is fair enough really.
Brighton's away form has not been great with just two wins from 11 and with Ancelotti's reign still in its early days, the feel-good factor can continue here.
The Toffees' good form has noticeably been down to starting games well, keeping tight and making it count in the second half.
Against Chelsea, three second-half goals were scored in the game in total, against Newcastle there were two and three in the defeat to City at the Etihad. And in the narrow victory over Burnley, Dominic Calvert-Lewin's goal came late on.
Brighton, meanwhile, could be a little more restrained in order to stop Everton's attacking threat, as they often do away from the Amex, and of the 29 goals they have conceded this term 17 have come in the second half, so you can see how this game might pan out.
Backing two or more goals in the second half at 11/10 is a great option and does not rely on the final outcome in the event of an upset or draw.
- Brighton have never won away against Everton in any competition, drawing two and losing five of their visits.
- Brighton have lost five of their last seven Premier League away games (W1 D1); since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Seagulls have lost more top-flight away matches than any other club (30).
- Since Carlo Ancelotti’s first Premier League match in charge on Boxing Day, Everton have had more shots than any other team (50).
- Among defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (59) has created more chances in the Premier League this season than Everton’s Lucas Digne (46). Since the start of last season, no player has created as many chances (117) or has more assists for the Toffees in the Premier League than the Frenchman (7).
- Carlo Ancelotti is set to face Brighton for the first time in the Premier League – the Italian has beaten 21 of the 22 teams he has faced in the competition, with his current side Everton the only one he’s failed to beat (P4 W0 D2 L2).
Leicester City v Southampton (George Pitts)
The build-up to this one is all about that 9-0 thrashing in the reverse fixture - so much so, Southampton's social media team have muted any mention of the fixture on their Twitter feed.
It came in the middle of a dreadful run that saw the club go without victory in the Premier League for eight games and you could not have imagined Ralph Hasenhuttl still being in charge for this one with the way it was going.
The board deserves credit for hanging fire and the Austrian boss deserves credit for such a run that has seen them move out of the relegation zone and up to 12th and four unbeaten, including shock wins over Chelsea and Tottenham over the festive period.
The run has to come to an end sooner or later and Leicester, the league's third-best team on home soil, could well end it, but do not expect it to come close to double figures.
After his goal in midweek, this could be a great time to back Kelechi Iheanacho to get on the score sheet. He is odds on in places but at just under 2/1 best price, the 23-year-old should start and hopefully he can impress and finally kick on after two-and-half fairly underwhelming years (he really has been there that long) at the King Power.
He averages nearly three shots per game this season and a strike from him could be vital with no Wilfried Ndidi in midfield.
- Leicester earned the biggest away win in English top-flight history in the reverse fixture against Southampton, winning 9-0 at St Mary’s in October. They last did the Premier League double over Saints in 1999-2000.
- Southampton won this exact fixture 1-0 last season – they’ve never won back-to-back away league games against Leicester before.
- Since losing 9-0 to Leicester, Southampton have conceded just 13 Premier League goals in 11 games – in this time, only Liverpool (7) and Leicester (11) have conceded fewer.
- Southampton have collected 16 points from their last eight Premier League games (W5 D1 L2), one more than in their previous 20 games in the competition (W3 D6 L11).
- Brendan Rodgers has won as many Premier League games in 31 matches in charge of Leicester as his predecessor Claude Puel did in 56 games (19 wins); only three of 24 players used by Rodgers never appeared under Puel (Ayoze Pérez, Dennis Praet, James Justin).
- Among players with at least five Premier League goals this season, the two players with the best shot conversion rate are Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (35%) and Southampton’s Danny Ings (27%).
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United (George Pitts)
Wolves may be without a win in their last three games in all competitions, but here is an opportunity for them to bounce back and keep within touching distance of the teams chasing that final top-four spot.
Newcastle's form on the road is already dreadful, but their alarmingly long injury list makes it even more difficult to see them getting something at Molineux. They had six players return to training this week but it remains to be seen how many more can return to the starting XI.
There was a temptation to back the hosts to get off to a good start, or to back them to score at least three, but there is an anytime goalscorer price at 3/1 that is too good to turn down.
That is on Adama Traore, who has had a promising month or two and is finally starting to show his potential.
The former Barcelona winger, as well as receiving public praise from Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, waited a long time for his first Premier League goal but this season he has four to his name and is running high on confidence.
The 23-year-old - who once attracted interest from NFL teams, according to team-mate Romain Saiss this week - has attempted 15 shots in his last six Premier League games, eight of them coming in his last two Molineux outings.
The Magpies' defence has not been great on the road, conceding 21 in 10 games, and Traore can ride the wave and get another here.
For a man in his confidence and starting in a front three against an inconsistent and defence that could be changed yet again due to injuries, that 3/1 is too good to pass up for a small play.
Best bet: Adama Traore to score anytime at 3/1
- Wolves have lost their last two Premier League games, last losing three in a row back in November 2018.
- Wolves have scored the first goal in just six different Premier League games this season, fewer than any other side. However, they’re one of just five sides still unbeaten when opening the scoring this term, winning five and drawing one of those six games.
- Wolves winger Adama Traoré has created 22 chances following a ball carry in the Premier League this season; only Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has more (24). Traore has progressed the ball upfield with a carry the furthest distance in the division this season (3781m).
- Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has registered a league win over Wolves with six different clubs (Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Sunderland, Hull and Aston Villa). Should he win this match, they would be only the second club he’s beaten with seven teams, along with Blackburn Rovers.
Crystal Palace v Arsenal (Paul Higham)
It’s a big test for Mike Arteta’s side after some promising signs of late – first a scintillating performance against Man United and a great second-half response against Leeds when in danger of suffering an upset.
Both of those showed a new character and willingness to work hard for their new boss, but this game at Selhurst Park is exactly the type that Arsenal of old would take lightly and switch off from. You get the sense that will not be acceptable for the Spaniard.
There’s almost 35 years difference between Arteta and Roy Hodgson but experience can only take you so far when there’s such a talent gap between two squads. Palace actually start the day a point above Arsenal in the league – that’s a surprise but also an indication of just how bad the Gunners have been this season.
It’s also a slightly false position given that Palace’s last eight league games have come against teams currently in the bottom nine of the division – they got 13 points from 24 and lost just once but tougher tests are ahead, including here.
Palace usually score at home, and Arsenal will still give them a chance at some point even if they are matching Arteta’s instructions, but the Gunners should come away with three points.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 14 away league games against Crystal Palace (W7 D6), going down 0-3 in April 2017.
- Arsenal are looking to record consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since winning their final game of 2018-19 and their opening two matches of this campaign.
- Crystal Palace are the only side yet to score more than twice in a single Premier League match this season. Indeed, the Eagles’ Premier League games have seen fewer goals than other side’s matches this season (42), while Selhurst Park is the lowest scoring ground in the top-flight this term (18).
- Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is averaging a goal or assist every 88 minutes in Premier League London derbies (10 goals, 4 assists) and has scored against all five London teams he’s faced, with two goals coming against Crystal Palace.
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We're back with another Sporting Life Accumulator with four Sky Bet EFL teams fancied for victory. This week's price is 16/1.
Odds correct as of 2130 GMT on 09/01/20
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