Saturday Premier League Tipsheet: Black Cats and Cherries to serve up goals

Sam Allardyce's Sunderland can play out another high-scoring six-pointer
Sam Allardyce's Sunderland can play out another high-scoring six-pointer

We have six Premier League games kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm on Saturday afternoon, and our regular previewer Mike Norman has taken a look at them all and provided a recommended bet for each...

"The Black Cats scored seven goals in their last two victories thanks in large to Jermain Defoe, and it's his sort of scoring ability that will give Sunderland a fighting chance of survival this season."

Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.26/5 in Sunderland v Bournemouth

Strong travelling Spurs to see of goalless Eagles

Crystal Palace 3.65 v Tottenham 2.245/4; The Draw 3.55/2

A home loss to Leicester apart, Tottenham have enjoyed an excellent four weeks, winning five and drawing two of their other seven games including that impressive revenge win over the Foxes in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.

Spurs are still unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, and they're unbeaten in eight away games in all competitions, and it's this form on their travels that makes Mauricio Pochettino's men the bet in this fixture.

Another reason to side with Spurs here is Crystal Palace's recent form, and the fact that they haven't been as good at Selhurst Park this season as they have away from home.

Palace have now lost three league games on the spin, all without scoring a single goal, and when you include their two goalless draws immediately prior, it's now five consecutive league games in which Alan Pardew's men have failed to find the net. Very worrying form indeed.

We all know how inconsistent a lot of clubs have been in the Premier League this season, but on current form it's impossible to advise anything other than an away win here.

Recommended Bet
Back Tottenham to Win @ 2.245/4

Defences to come out on top at King Power Stadium

Leicester 2.1211/10 v Stoke 4.03/1; The Draw 3.55/2

Known as the great entertainers who couldn't keep a clean sheet for love or money (or a pizza) it's perhaps escaped the notice of many punters that Leicester don't actually concede many goals these days.

Claudio Ranieri's men have conceded more than once in a league game on just the one occasion since October, and in their last four Premier League matches they've recorded three clean sheets and conceded just a single goal.

With that improved defensive record - no doubt a deliberate tactic from Ranieri to get more men behind the ball - has come a vast dip in the amount of goals scored at the other end - just two in their last five league outings for example.

On Saturday Leicester host Stoke, who have been masters of the away clean sheets this season. Mark Hughes' men have recorded six shut-outs on the road since late September alone, and from November onwards they've recorded a further five clean sheets at the Britannia Stadium.

You never know what to expect with this Leicester side, but they definitely seem to have tightened up now that a top four finish has become ever so realistic, and with two in-form goalkeepers and defences on show a low-scoring game is well worth a wager.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 1.5 Goals @ 3.412/5

United no home bankers against back-to-form Saints

Man Utd 1.8910/11 v Southampton 5.04/1; The Draw 3.613/5

Although Manchester United are now just seven points off the top of the table thanks to a slight upturn in form, their most recent improvement - if that's what you want to call it - has come away from home.

If you're only as good as your last home game then United's last performance at Old Trafford was terrible - a late 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup. True, they beat Swansea on home soil recently but prior to that there's a home loss to Norwich and a string of goalless draws and low-scoring matches.

So I really can't see Louis van Gaal's men suddenly turning on the style, especially against a Southampton side that has improved recently themselves, and will set-up to frustrate the home side - as most teams seem to do quite easily - as they attempt to build a decent unbeaten run of their own.

Ronald Koeman's men won back-to-back home games in the Premier League, both without conceding, and that will have gone a long way to restoring some much needed confidence. The Saints need to get back on track away from home now, and they'll see a trip to Old Trafford as a perfect opportunity to do so.

Few people will expect Southampton to win, so the pressure is all on United. And if LVG's men start in their usual pedestrian style then I can see the Saints growing into the game and avoiding defeat.

Recommended Bet
Lay Man Utd to Win @ 1.910/11

Count on goals in another huge game for the Black Cats

Sunderland 3.211/5 v Bournemouth 2.56/4; The Draw 3.55/2

Following back-to-back league wins Sunderland were soundly beaten at Tottenham last week, but I don't think Sam Allardyce will be too concerned about how recent results have gone.

The Black Cats scored seven goals in their last two victories thanks in large to Jermain Defoe, and it's his sort of scoring ability that will give Sunderland a fighting chance of survival this season.

Allardyce's men are four points adrift of safety at present, but a victory over Bournemouth will bring them to within three points of Eddie Howe's men and effectively bring a few more clubs right into the thick of a relegation battle. So we can rest assured that the Sunderland boss has had this game as a 'must-win' fixture for some time.

That doesn't necessarily mean they will win of course, but at least we know they'll be attack-minded, just like they were in another six-pointer at Swansea 10 days ago.

So I can definitely see goals being scored in this match, especially with The Cherries - who have scored six goals themselves in their last three matches - knowing what a win will do to their own survival chances.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.26/5

Away win to drag Hornets back into the relegation picture

Watford 2.166/5 v Newcastle 3.8514/5; The Draw 3.55

Watford obviously didn't want Christmas to come. The Hornets won four straight league games leading up to the festive period but they've since taken just one point from a possible 15, losing their last four Premier League games while scoring just two goals in the process.

Quique Flores' men do have a FA Cup win to call upon in the middle of that poor run of league form however, and the reason that's highly significant is because it was a 1-0 victory over Saturday's opponents Newcastle.

But the result that day doesn't tell the full story. The Magpies were the better side, controlled possession and registered more shots at goal. And with Newcastle's form since that game improving, a chance is taken on Steve McClaren's men here.

Newcastle scored three in a home draw with Manchester United immediately after the loss to Watford, and last weekend they recorded an excellent victory over in-form West Ham while The Hornets were putting in a toothless display at struggling Swansea.

Similar to the Sunderland game, a win here for Newcastle will bring Watford back into the relegation picture and on current form I have to believe they'll achieve it.

Recommended Bet
Back Newcastle to Win @ 3.8514/5

Tight West Midlands derby the likely outcome

West Brom 2.166/5 v Aston Villa 4.1; The Draw 3.412/5

Aston Villa are gunning for Europe, or at least that's how it must feel having gone four games without defeat in all competitions.

I say the above tongue in cheek of course, but on a serious note remaining unbeaten for just four games, even when two of those matches were against a League Two side, will go a long way to instilling some much needed confidence and belief in the Villa camp.

West Brom have been quite inconsistent of late - three wins, four draws, and three defeats in their last 10 outings - but they are undoubtedly the better side, and with home advantage they really ought to take all three points here.

But the fact that this is a West Midlands derby taints my confidence somewhat as history shows that games between these two sides, regardless of form, are often extremely tight. Of the 19 Premier League meetings between these two, 11 of the resulted in a victory for either side (seven to Villa, four to West Brom), and all 11 were won by just a single-goal margin (eight of them by a scoreline of 2-1).

With the above in mind, and with no confidence in predicting the match outcome, I think it's worth dutching a few scorelines in the Correct Score market to reflect recent history.

Recommended Bet
Dutch 2-1, 1-1, and 1-2 Correct Scores @ 3.613/5


*You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

**For individual match previews of every single Premier League game visit our dedicated Premier League section here on Betting.Betfair.

Premier League 2015/16 Season P/L

Staked: 138 pts
Returned: 144.95 pts
P/L: +6.95 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

**2014/15 P/L = +35.3 pts from 215 staked (ROI = 16.42%)

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