Adrian Clarke is back with his Premier League Matchbook Insights column – and has two confident plays this weekend…
LEICESTER LOOK LIKE LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER AT ON-FIRE MANCHESTER CITY
I hope Dean Smith had plans on Tuesday night.
For If Leicester City’s interim head coach did tune in for Manchester City’s Champions League demolition job on Bayern Munich, you fear he’ll be more of a trembling wreck on Saturday night at the Etihad than the German giants were during a torrid final 20 minutes.
That was football of the very highest standard. Truly elite. And if Pep Guardiola’s side can torment a Bayern team full of superstars, led by the excellent Thomas Tuchel, heaven knows what they could do to the Foxes.
Leicester City have lost seven of their last eight and were dire last weekend when succumbing 1-0 to fellow strugglers Bournemouth.
They are at their lowest ebb, and if ever there was a fixture they didn’t fancy, it’s surely THIS version of City, away from home, this weekend.
The key numbers are all a little bit scary.
In all competitions, Guardiola’s men have netted 37 goals in 10 matches at home so far in 2023.
Away specialists Aston Villa, super stubborn Newcastle United, the dangerous RB Leipzig, Vincent Kompany’s on-song Burnley, arch-rivals Liverpool, and the mighty Bayern Munich are their last six Etihad opponents.
All might have fancied getting a result but the aggregate score from those six straight Manchester City wins is 25-2. Which is frightening.
From a betting perspective you must side with the hosts here, but what is the best way in?
A -2.5 handicap (2.22) has to come under consideration given the form, and it’s a gamble which has landed in six home Premier League matches for the champions this term.
Any Other Home Win also stands out for me at 2.78. Basically, that bet means any home win where City score at least four goals proves to be a winner at a nice price. That’s landed in seven of 12 victories.
My preference though is a selection that has cashed out in nine of 14 home Premier League games at the Etihad this season and that’s Manchester City & Over 3.5 (2.14).
The new manager bounce could have an impact of course, but the gulf in class and form between these two teams right now is just too cavernous to ignore.
The Foxes are all over the place at the back, and as a collective, while Guardiola’s players are right in the sweet spot. The sweetest of sweet spots judging by Tuesday night.
In seven of those 12 home wins they have covered this goal line on their own, but Leicester are often worth at least one goal away from home too, so Over 3.5 feels very achievable.
We get all manner of score lines on board, most of which are handsome home wins. This is surely the most likely outcome…
SPURS USUALLY FIND A WAY AT HOME TO BOTTOM HALF SIDES
It’s easy to snigger at Tottenham Hotspur right now, and as a fully-fledged Gooner I’m as guilty as anyone, but there are certain matches where you have to fancy them.
And for me, a home fixture against Bournemouth ticks that box. Yes, Gary O’Neil is doing a stellar job, and I firmly believe he will keep the Cherries up, but this is not the type of game they tend to thrive in.
Away to current top-half teams in 2022-23, Bournemouth have taken two points from a possible 27. And in six of those losses, they also failed to score.
They are big underdogs for a reason.
As mediocre as Spurs are right now, they tend to get the job done in front of their own supporters in this type of encounter.
Believe it or not, they have a perfect 100 percent win record when hosting opponents below 8th this term.
Since losing the North London Derby (snigger) they’ve also strung together five straight wins, with Manchester City, Chelsea and Brighton on that list.
Manager or no manager, the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min really should have more than enough to keep that run going on Saturday afternoon.
My best route in is to pair Spurs with Over 1.5 goals at 1.78.
It’s a healthy jump from 1.5 on Tottenham, and it’s a goal line that’s been breached in all but two of Tottenham’s 15 home matches.
Overall, 83% of Spurs games have seen Over 1.5 goals, and where the Cherries are concerned it’s still a healthy 77% figure.
If you believe a home win is the safest pick here, and it surely has to be, then it’s a goal line we can feel confident of surpassing.
Bournemouth have enough spirit to provide the odd scare, but it should be three reasonably comfortable points for the hosts as they chase a top-four finish.
- MANCHESTER CITY & OVER 3.5 GOALS v Leicester City (2.12)
- TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR & OVER 1.5 GOALS v Bournemouth (1.77)
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