Weekend Preview: (6th May & 7th May)
The Battle for the Premier League continues with Manchester City welcoming Leeds United to the Etihad alongside Big Sam while Arsenal take a trip to Newcastle in what is undoubtedly the game of the weekend. We look at these games and the drama at PSG ahead of their visit to Troyes but before we do, head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have. You can also read about our new feature; the Pick 11 Jackpot Bet here.
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Manchester City vs. Leeds United
It is not often that an opponent of Manchester City receives more attention than the team itself, but the hiring of Sam Allardyce, a legendary figure in football, is an exception. Big Sam was appointed as manager until the end of the season after Javi Gracia was sacked, and his primary objective is to ensure that the team avoids relegation. Despite a reputation of keeping Premier League sides from being relegated, Big Sam’s last attempt at a relegation battle with West Brom was unsuccessful in the 2020/21 season and he’ll want to get back to saving ways. Currently, the team is outside the relegation zone by only goal difference, and Allardyce has reportedly been promised a £2.5m bonus if he manages to keep the team from being relegated. However, the team faces a challenging schedule, including a visit from Newcastle and matches against West Ham and Spurs. In April, Leeds set a record for conceding the most goals in a single month in the Premier League, letting in 23 goals in 7 games, which he will aim to rectify.
Manchester City are coming off a routine 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday. The Hammers were without a few players, including Declan Rice, because of an illness that spread round the team and though they put up a brave fight, they were overpowered by the league leaders. Erling Haaland’s scored a record-breaking 35th league goal of the season while Phil Foden’s late goal was the club’s 1,000th under Pep Guardiola in just 404 games. Man City have won their last 3 meetings with Leeds by an aggregate scoreline of 14-1 and when both sides met at the Etihad last season, it was a 7-0 battering. A victory in this game could temporarily put Guardiola’s side 4 points clear at the top, with Arsenal playing Newcastle 24 hours later.
Manchester City Form: D-W-W-W-W
Leeds United Form: L-L-L-D-L
Manchester City has won fourteen straight games at the Etihad in all competitions, and the 2-1 loss to Brentford back in November is their only home loss in over a year. Leeds have just two league wins away from home this season, drawing three and losing twelve.
- King’s Combo: Haaland to score and Man City to win @1.40
- Over 2.5 Goals @1.31
- Both teams to score @1.84
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace
The London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace will see a remarkable 44-year age difference between the two managers. 31-year-old Ryan Mason will be leading Spurs, while 75-year-old Roy Hodgson will be at the helm of Crystal Palace. Hodgson’s return to football after an 8-month break has been successful, with the Eagles all but securing their safety. Since Hodgson took charge, Crystal Palace has won 4, lost 1, and drawn 1 in their last 6 games. They have also improved their scoring record, going from just one goal in five league games before Hodgson to 13 goals in six games under him, averaging just over 2 goals per game. Young talents Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise have thrived under their new manager, contributing to eight goals (four goals and four assists) in the past six games. Against Spurs, who have kept 14 clean sheets in 27 Premier League matches against them (52%), which is their highest rate against any team faced more than 20 times, Eze and Olise would need to step up to help break this trend.
Tottenham Hotspur’s recent form has been abysmal, to say the least. They have gone from being one of the favorites for a Champions League spot to hoping for a Europa League finish. Currently, they are on their third (interim) head coach of the season, having lost three out of their last four games. Their last clean sheet was in late February when they beat Chelsea 2-0. This season, they have conceded 57 league goals (including 15 in their last four games) and are on track to surpass the 61-goal mark set in the 2007/09 season. While their attack has been decent and they have scored at least once in 14 of their last 15 league games, their defensive struggles have been insurmountable, and it could prove to be their downfall in the upcoming match.
Tottenham Hotspurs Form: W-L-L-D-L
Crystal Palace Form: W-W-D-L-W
Tottenham have lost just one of their last 15 league meetings with the Eagles, a 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park last season. In that 15 game span, they’ve won 12 games against Palace and drawn 2.
Liverpool vs. Brentford
Liverpool secured their fifth consecutive victory after defeating Fulham 1-0 on Wednesday night. Mo Salah scored a controversial penalty, which was his 18th league goal of the season and his seventh in a row at Anfield. The win moves the Reds within four points of a top-four spot with Trent Alexander-Arnold once again being instrumental in their impressive performance and continuing to excel in his new advanced position.
In the meantime, Brentford has ended their run of 6 consecutive games without a win by securing successive victories over Chelsea and Nottingham Forest. Ivan Toney scored a goal in the latest triumph, taking his tally to 20 league goals this season, which is an impressive achievement for the English striker. The Bees will now seek a third successive league win for the first time since January, which included a 3-1 win over Jürgen Klopp’s men at the Gtech Community Stadium. Manager Thomas Frank would aim to secure Brentford’s first ever league double over the Reds but would likely adopt a more conservative approach given their poor record against sides in the Top 5 of the table. The Bees have won just 2 of 14 of these games, losing 7 and drawing 5. However, both victories have come away from home; a 4-1 win over Chelsea last season and a 2-1 win at the Etihad last November.
Liverpool Form: W-W-W-W-W
Brentford Form: L-L-D-W-W
Since a 4-3 loss in November 1937, Liverpool haven’t lost at home to Brentford in all competitions, winning 7 and drawing 2 in 9 meetings since then.
Newcastle United vs. Arsenal
In a crucial match for Arsenal, they will face Newcastle at St James’ Park, needing a win to stay close to Manchester City in the league table. Pep Guardiola’s team, who will have played against Leeds United a day before this game, are likely to be four points ahead of Arsenal at kickoff, making it even more vital for the Gunners to secure a victory. Meanwhile, Newcastle will also consider this game as a must-win. A triumph here would almost guarantee them a place in the Champions League for the first time since the 2002/03 season. With their recent good form, Eddie Howe’s squad will be confident of their chances against Arsenal.
Newcastle’s recent form has been outstanding, winning eight of their last ten games. Despite Arsenal holding the record for the most league clean sheets against Newcastle, which is 29, Eddie Howe’s team has performed exceptionally well lately and would not be intimidated by this statistic. In their previous matches, Newcastle has been scoring freely, netting five goals against West Ham, six against Tottenham, four against Everton, and three against Southampton. Over their last six games, they have been averaging 3.3 goals per match, a fact that Arsenal’s defense should be cautious of. Newcastle’s clinical finishing has been their strength in recent weeks, with Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron, and Alexander Isak, all ranking in the Top 6 for conversion rate among players with 10+ Premier League goals this season. In fact, Alexander Isak currently holds the league’s best conversion rate at 40%, even better than Erling Haaland’s 38%.
Following Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Tuesday, they achieved a new milestone of going an entire season without losing a London Derby, a feat they had never accomplished before. The Gunners secured the win with two quick goals from their captain, Martin Ødegaard, and a third goal from Gabriel Jesus, breaking their four-game winless streak. While another long-haired Norwegian player may have been making headlines in England, Ødegaard has had a fantastic season, with an explosion in his attacking output, resulting in 14 goals and 7 assists – the best season of his career so far. Alongside Bukayo Saka, who has 13 goals and 11 assists, Gabriel Martinelli with 15 goals and 5 assists, and Gabriel Jesus with 10 goals and 5 assists, Mikel Arteta’s front three is capable of causing significant damage to Newcastle’s defense.
Newcastle United Form: W-L-W-W-W
Arsenal Form: D-D-D-L-W
Arsenal have failed to score in their last two league meetings with Newcastle, which includes a 2-0 loss to the Magpies when these sides met last season. Eddie’s Howe’s side are one of 3 teams the Gunners have failed to beat at least once this season, along with Southampton and Manchester City.
West Ham United vs. Manchester United
Manchester United’s poor away form against top-half teams continued as they suffered a gut-wrenching defeat to Brighton on Thursday. In what was an evenly balanced and rare entertaining goalless game, both sides looked set to share the points before Luke Shaw’s 95th minute handball led to a Brighton penalty. World Cup winner, Alexis Mac Allister made no mistake from the spot as he fired past David de Gea to give the Seagulls all 3 points. This defeat was Erik ten Hag’s seventh loss against top-half teams, with the only exceptions being a win at Fulham and a draw at Spurs.
Manchester United will have the opportunity to cement their position in the top 4 when they visit West Ham this weekend. Despite their struggles on the road against top-half teams, the Red Devils have remained unbeaten in away games against teams in the bottom half. Furthermore, they have an impressive record against West Ham, having won their last five league encounters and even securing an FA Cup fifth-round victory in March.
West Ham isn’t out of the woods yet in the relegation battle as 4 points separates them and the drop zone. Having lost to Manchester City during the week, they too would aim for a bounce back win in this game. However, the Hammers have a historical problem of losing leads against the Red Devils, having won only 7 out of 21 Premier League games in which they had a lead, while losing 7 and drawing 7. Although David Moyes will welcome back some key players, including Declan Rice, there is a possibility that the team might be focused on the upcoming Europa Conference League semi-final against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, which could be a distraction that works in favor of Manchester United. David Moyes is on the verge of winning his first cup in his 25-year managerial career while also securing European football for West Ham next season.
West Ham United Form: W-W-L–L-L
Manchester United Form: L-W-D-W-L
Besides the back-to-back losses to start the season, Manchester United have followed up their 8 losses (in all competitions) with victories in the next game.
Troyes vs. Paris Saint-Germain
It’s all falling apart over in Paris and there’s a worry this could lead to an unprecedented collapse in the title race with just 5 games remaining. Their 10 point lead just 6 match days ago has now been cut down to 5 points following their 3 losses in 6 games including last week’s loss to Lorient – their first to them since 2010. The table-toppers have lost 6 league games in 2023 – the third most by a team in the top half of the table.
Adding to the already precarious situation, there has been a significant development in the PSG camp. Lionel Messi, the 35-year-old Argentine forward, has been suspended from the team – an unprecedented event since the Qatar Sports Investment group took over. Messi had taken an unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia and failed to show up for training, prompting a two-week suspension from the PSG board. Several hundred of PSG fans gathered outside the club’s headquarters on Wednesday, setting off smoke flares, chanting about Messi, Neymar and Italy midfielder Marco Verratti while a few then went to Neymar’s home to further protest agianst their “overpaid and underperforming superstars”. To make matters worse, reports emerged 24 hours later that Messi would leave the French champions when his contract expires this summer. The club has had to increase security measures at the homes of all three players and their manager, Christophe Galtier, as well as the training ground. All these off-pitch issues could pose a significant distraction when PSG travels to Troyes for their upcoming match.
Troyes are without a win in 16 league games (D3, L13) and have won just once in 2023. They’re currently 18th on the table and are 10 points away from safety, making their chances of survival slim. Their 4 league wins and 70 goals conceded rank 2nd worst in the league and this weekend’s opponents, PSG, have scored the most league goals against them (51). In fact, PSG’s largest ever away win in the league came against Troyes back in 2016 (9-0) with Zlatan Ibrahimović famously grabbing 4 of the 9 goals.
Although PSG would typically be expected to win this match, their recent struggles make it a more difficult prediction. In their previous encounter earlier this season, PSG narrowly won in a thrilling 7-goal match. Troyes had taken the lead twice through a Mama Balde brace, but PSG responded with goals from Carlos Soler, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Mbappé to go 4-2 up. Palaversa scored a late goal to make it 4-3, but PSG held on for the win.
Troyes Form: L-L-L-D-L
Paris Saint-Germain Form: L-W-W-W-L
Troyes are winless in their last 14 league games at home (D9, L5) – the longest active streak in the top five European leagues.
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