Our tipster David John previews Tuesday's Premier League games and flags up a 9/2 anytime scorer pick in Burnley v Stoke.
Burnley v Stoke (1945 GMT)
Mark Hughes’ tenure as Stoke boss invariably hangs by a thread on more than one occasion each season and that is the case currently after a feeble effort from his players against Tottenham at Wembley.
This was a Spurs side struggling to find their best form in the Premier League but they were made to look world beaters by the visitors, who had thrown in the towel by the closing stages as Mauricio Pochettino’s players walked in a fifth goal on the counter attack with the Potters reluctant to even chase back.
The Stoke boardroom were less than amused too now they have conceded three more goals than anyone else in the top tier and a statement from them that the team must get something out of the next two games represents more than a veiled threat to Hughes’ position.
The Welshman has the obvious option of shaking up the starting XI and he does actually have some previous this season of pulling a rabbit out of the hat after a gritty victory away at in-form Watford following a 7-2 drubbing by Manchester City and a 2-1 home loss to Bournemouth.
I am still not sure though that 5/2 represents an overly-generous price to turn things around at Turf Moor against a Burnley side who continue to impress with their organisation and application under Sean Dyche and are only outside the European places currently on goal difference.
This is very much a collective effort but midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson has certainly caught the eye lately and is surely very close to adding to the lone goal he has registered to date in his Clarets career.
He had chances once more on Saturday in the victory over Watford that required good saves from Heurelho Gomes and now has an added string to his bow on free-kick duty with Robbie Brady sidelined, allied with those tireless forages forward into the opponent’s box.
The Icelandic international is just the right player to capitalise if Stoke continue to dither away at the back and leave Jack Butland exposed.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Stoke - Sky Bet odds: 17/2
Crystal Palace v Watford (2000 GMT)
Congratulations to Christian Benteke on landing the award for the Premier League’s Most Turgid Penalty Kick after his effort from 12 yards was saved by Bournemouth’s Asmir Begovic - and would have been by 95% of the Selhurst Park crowd.
Controversy swirled around his stoppage time spot-kick too as the big Belgian took the ball from Luka Milivojevic – who had scored a penalty earlier in the game – in a selfish bid to end his own scoring drought and his failure to convert robbed the Eagles of two vital points and leaves them propping up the standings once more.
As a result, Benteke is a best price of 11/2 to make some sort of reparation to his team-mates with the opening goal against the Hornets and 2/1 in the anytime betting.
He seems to be getting in the right places but his wait to get the ball over the line goes on and it will be interesting to see if he has the minerals to step up with a positive performance after that debacle at the weekend.
His team as a whole put in a great deal of effort for not much reward once more and Roy Hodgson must surely feel his team are on the brink of a big victory sometime soon to really get them motoring.
Watford could provide a reasonably stern test despite their decent away record this term suffering a blip at Burnley having had to play more than half of the match with 10 men following Marvin Zeegelaar’s straight red card.
They tried hard to overcome the disadvantage and get level at Turf Moor but it is not quite happening for Marco Silva’s men currently and two defeats from their last three suggests they could be finding their level as teams start to figure out where the dangers lie.
Nullifying the opposition’s main threats is an ideal job brief for the outstanding Hodgson and I would be optimistic they can dig themselves out of the hole they are in as there are certainly more than three teams worse than them in the section when it comes to discussions about the drop.
I fancy the hosts to take advantage of Watford’s slight wobble at the moment and Benteke can pop up and silence his critics as well to complete a good evening for the south Londoners.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 3-1 Watford - Sky Bet odds: 16/1
Huddersfield v Chelsea (2000 GMT, BT Sport 1)
Chelsea put in a pretty leggy effort in the defeat at West Ham with Antonio Conte’s key performers all looking less than sharp at the London Stadium after a tough midweek battle in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid.
That is not a good enough an excuse for me from an organisation bankrolled by a billionaire and leaves them with a 14-point deficit to bridge on Manchester City as a repeat title bid seems all but sunk approaching only the halfway point of the season as they are clearly unable to cope with a battle on the European front as well.
Barcelona are up next in February so Conte will now focus on the top four domestically instead and have everything crossed for some sort of monumental collapse up at the Etihad Stadium.
They are a pretty short odds-on shot to get back on track with three points in West Yorkshire against a team that is a force to be reckoned with at the John Smith’s Stadium and got a lovely confidence booster with a 2-0 victory over Brighton at the weekend.
A performance that may not have been the most attractive on the eye delighted manager David Wagner and was a polar opposite from the limp effort previously at Everton and ended a streak of four straight defeats.
The Terriers seem to get every ounce out of a raucous fanbase so tackle this encounter with nothing to lose and a bit of swagger no doubt judged on four home victories already this season, including the notable scalp of Manchester United in the middle of October.
They gave leaders Manchester City a decent-sized fright as well so Chelsea better be on their game or those punters that have already taken the 10/1 on a home victory could be in for a nice little pre-Christmas financial boost.
That said, I think that Chelsea will pull themselves together driven on by the tireless N’Golo Kante in midfield and sneak back south with a narrow victory, but both teams to score at an odds-against quote certainly grabs the attention.
Prediction: Huddersfield 1-2 Chelsea - Sky Bet odds: 8/1
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Posted at 1500 GMT on 11/12/17.