After a midweek 2-0 sweep, Adrian Clarke is back with his latest Premier League Insights Column with two selections for the weekend ahead…
FREE SCORING MAGPIES LOOK A GOOD THING AT HOME TO THE SAINTS
The moods couldn’t be more different.
Winning seven of their last eight matches, including the last couple by a healthy aggregate of 10 to 2, Newcastle United’s players and fans are throwing shapes on cloud nine heading into Sunday’s clash at home to Southampton.
A place in the Champions League beckons, and there are no signs whatsoever of nerves from Eddie Howe’s vibrant, suddenly free-scoring side. Did you see Alexander Isak’s outrageous dribble assist at Goodison Park?!
As they prepare to embark on an arduous 680-mile round trip for Hampshire to Tyneside, it’s fair to say Southampton aren’t feeling quite so chipper.
The knock-on effect of squandering two points late-on at Arsenal in their previous match, saw them get beaten 1-0 at home to Bournemouth in midweek.
It should have been an atmospheric derby match with everything on the line, but Ruben Selles’ side put up a meek display in front of a soaked, half-empty St Mary’s.
They know the Championship trap door is looming, and this half-hearted display hinted they have accepted their fate.
For obvious reasons, the Magpies are relatively unbackable at 1.36, but pairing the home win with a goals angle is something that has its appeal.
The line I like is Over 2.5 goals, which bumps the price up with Matchbook to 2.06.
Howe’s men have nine wins from 15 at St James’ Park this term, losing just once.
Earlier on in the campaign many of those victories were low-scoring affairs. In fact, just a third of their home matches have seen three goals or more scored this season.
This, I suspect, is behind that juicy price rise.
Of late though, Newcastle United have released the handbrake, and that’s why I can see goals in this Sunday afternoon fixture.
Six of the Magpies’ last seven wins have seen over 2.5 goals plundered, and they’ve scored at least twice in each game, with the average total during that spell reaching four goals per game.
Newcastle’s 4-1 demolition of Everton on Thursday night was mightily impressive, and they should feel they are capable of slicing through the Saints with just as much ease on their own patch.
After all, Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson, Joe Willock, Joelinton and Jacob Murphy are all in sizzling form.
Southampton have drawn two and lost six away to top-half teams this season, conceding three or more in five of those contests. Their last three meetings with Top 6 sides have also spawned 17 goals!
All in all, it feels like Newcastle’s magical momentum could be too much for them this weekend.
Backing Newcastle United & Over 2.5 goals at 2.06, feels like a nice play that I suspect will prove popular with punters. It has already been trimmed in from 2.16, so don’t hang around if you’re on the same page.
TIPPING A NARROW BRIGHTON SUCCESS AT HOME TO WOLVES
Brighton & Hove Albion need a pick-me-up, and I sense that a first home match in four weeks could be just the tonic they need to re-energise their push for a European place.
They’ve had better weeks.
Despite playing pretty well at Wembley Stadium, it was demoralising for the Seagulls to lose on penalties to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final, a match they started as favourites.
In midweek, perhaps still feeling psychologically bruised over ‘what might have been’ they went down 3-1 at Nottingham Forest, producing an unusually disappointing second-half performance.
Roberto de Zerbi might have given them a pass that night, but he won’t allow his players to feel sorry for themselves any longer. For this reason, I anticipate a strong, positive reaction at home to mid-table Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves aren’t the world’s greatest travellers, beating Everton and Southampton away from home this season. And that’s it.
Scoring only 12 goals in 16 road trip matches and losing nine, you’d have to agree a price of 7.2 with Matchbook on a Wolves success is both fair and reflective of where they’re at.
Three clean-sheet wins from their last four games (all at home, all against mid-table fodder) will have boosted morale, but a trip to the AMEX, with so much at stake for the Seagulls, represents a very different proposition.
Brighton boast a great record in this type of fixture too.
In seven matches at home to bottom-half opponents, they have claimed six wins and a draw so far in 2022-23. And five of those encounters produced clean sheets for the Sussex outfit.
Wolves, in their seven games away to top-half opponents, have lost four and drawn three. None of those matches delivered more than three goals.
In fact, and this is a remarkable stat, not a single Wolverhampton Wanderers away game this season has produced over 3.5 goals! Half have gone over 2.5, but not once has there been a fourth goal.
So, surprise surprise, that is the line I am drawing for my second selection of the weekend.
For the reasons outlined, I do see a focused and determined Brighton & Hove Albion win, but to get more juice, I want to couple it with Under 3.5 goals.
Individually the market makes those 1.55 and 1.44 shots, respectively, but when we bring them together, Matchbook offers up a far more attractive price of 2.34.
It’s Brighton & Under 3.5 for me.
- NEWCASTLE UNITED & Over 2.5 goals v Southampton (2.06)
- BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION & Under 3.5 goals v Wolverhampton Wanderers (2.34)
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