Aston Villa v Norwich
I’ve mentioned this bet on here before (and been successful) and I like it again this weekend. Aston Villa’s home form is the reason they’re not in the relegation zone, losing just two of their last seven league games in the West Midlands. Their two defeats were against the Premier League’s current top two – Liverpool and Leicester – and, even then, they put in good performances against the high-flying pair.
Their only away win this season actually came against this weekend’s opposition, Norwich, and they’ll be hoping to do the double over the Canaries with a win on Boxing Day.
Norwich, who were promoted with Villa last season, are currently three points and two places below Thursday’s opposition. Unlike Dean Smith’s side, however, they are in the relegation zone and desperately need three points to get them out of danger. Their away for hasn’t been great and, despite just one defeat in their last three league games away from Norfolk, they’ve lost six of their nine matches on the road this season.
It’s getting to the stage where the term ‘relegation six pointer’ can be used with some meaning to it, and this is certainly one of those occasions. Villa cannot afford to lose this game because they will seriously be involved in a relegation battle and, after working so hard to get back to the top tier, the former European champions will not want another season in the Championship.
I think Villa will have too much quality going forward for this Norwich defence to handle and, with the home crowd behind them, I like the look of them to win here. 1.940 looks a decent price and I’m happy to take that on a side looking up rather than down.
1×2 Betting Recommendation: Aston Villa to win at 1.940
Tottenham v Brighton
Whilst many thought that when Jose Mourinho took the Tottenham job he’d tighten up the defence, the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss has instead got the attacking quality out of his side. Before they faced Chelsea on Sunday, Spurs have scored 19 goals in their seven matches under the ‘Special One’ – an average of nearly three a game. Dele Alli, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane have started to form a really good partnership and they’ll be looking for more goals on Boxing Day.
However, they’d conceded an average of 1.7 goals per game before Sunday’s match and, without Hugo Lloris and a consistent defence, they’re struggling to stay solid. Centre-back Toby Alderweireld has signed a new contract this week which could provide a boost, but I’m not a fan of their full-backs or Paulo Gazzaniga in goal, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them concede again on Thursday.
Brighton have started to find some form and they’ve now gone three matches without defeat. A win over Arsenal and two draws against Wolves and Crystal Palace have pushed them up to 13th in the table.
Summer signing Neal Maupay has also began to find his feet in the Premier League, scoring in his last three consecutive matches. The lively striker, who cost the Seagulls around £20m in the summer, has begun to look a real threat for Graham Potter’s side and he will be confident in scoring again against a shaky and ageing Spurs defence.
Collectively, over 2.5 goals has landed in 64% of these two sides’ games and 61% of their respective home and away games. So, I like the look of over 3 Asian goals at 2.000. Three goals would give us our money back and four or more would see a full payout.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.00 Goals at 2.000
Manchester United v Newcastle
Steve Bruce returns to the ground where he made over 300 appearances as a player, hoping to get one over on another former Manchester United player and now manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on Boxing Day.
Bruce has won both games he has faced Solskjaer as a manager – beating United with Newcastle 1-0 at the start of the season and thrashing the Norweigan’s Cardiff side 4-0 in 2014 when he was Hull boss. The two managers’ experience couldn’t be more different and it will be interesting to see if that has an affect at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Before their game against Watford on Sunday, United hadn’t lost a game since the end of November, a run of six games, and have appeared to find some form. However, they’ve drawn three of those games and won two by just a single goal, with some unspectacular performances along the way. Solskjaer is struggling to find solidity at the back and have failed to keep a clean sheet since their 1-0 win over Leicester at the end of September.
Going forward they do look impressive, with Marcus Rashford scoring 14 goals in his last 16 games for club and country. They also have Anthony Martial, Dan James and Mason Greenwood finding some form and they will all look forward to testing themselves against a stubborn Newcastle defence.
Newcastle will set up to contain the Red Devils and would probably take a 0-0 draw if you offered it to them. Their defence has looked really impressive of late and, if they do lose this game, I can’t see it being an absolute thrashing.
I like the look of Newcastle with a +1.25 start on the Asian handicap, and we’d be guaranteed profit even if Bruce’s side lose by a single goal. That’s available at 2.090 and looks a really nice price.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Newcastle +1.25 at 2.090
Preview by: @AdamGoodwin
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