Two And a Half Goals: Toffees will get stuck into Saints

Leighton Baines and Everton have been in dangerous form this season

Four Over/Under 2.5 goals bets for the weekend's football action from the Inside Man

"Three of Newcastle’s five league games have been short on goals, including two of their three on the road."

Back Under 2.5 goals @ 1.8910/11

Saturday
Everton v Southampton

It's often the best policy to be wary of things that look too good to be true. But on this occasion we really shouldn't look the gift horse in the mouth, as Everton look like good things to score a hatful against the Saints.

Last week's win away to Swansea was beyond impressive. David Moyes's side controlled the game from the start, continued to look the more dangerous throughout, and eventually cruised to a 3-0 win against what until then, remember, had been a much-hailed Swansea team.

Left back Leighton Baines found himself camped in the left-wing position, such was Everton's territorial dominance. While Marouane Fellaini resembled a rampaging bull, as he galloped through the open spaces being afforded by the home defence.

Southampton's impressive 4-1 win over Villa last week made it four goalfests in five weeks for them. Nigel Adkins continues to go with the 'our best defence is a strong offence' approach, with Rickie Lambert their main beneficiary. And long may it continue. With 12 goals scored in Southampton's two away games so far, it sets us up for another treat, both from a footballing and betting perspective.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 2.5 goals @ 1.645/8



Reading v Newcastle
Reading began the season is swashbuckling style, much like Southampton. It hasn't worked though. Brian McDermott's side sit bottom of the table, and without a point since their draw with Stoke on the opening day of the season.

But after playing in a carefree manner during high-scoring losses to Chelsea and Tottenham, it seems the Royals may have realised the error of their ways. Last week, they allowed West Brom just four shots on goal, exactly half the number they'd allowed Spurs the week before. That change in approach resulted in an unlucky 1-0 defeat.

Getting a first win now means everything to McDermott, so I expect him to persist with substance over style against Newcastle this week. And given the Magpies' recent form, this should make for a low-scoring encounter. Three of Newcastle's five league games have been short on goals, including two of their three on the road. Alan Pardew's team have yet to score more than twice in a match, while last year's revelation Papis Cisse is now goalless in five. I expect a real scrap here, and a low-scoring one at that.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 goals @ 1.8910/11


Sunday
Aston Villa v West Brom

Villa are the Premier League's 'Jekyll and Hyde' act at the moment. Humbled by Southampton one week, then stunning Man City in the Capital One Cup just a few days later.

What we can say with some confidence though is that Villa should score, as they have done in each of their last four games. Darren Bent finally found the net last week, and experience tells us that forwards often go on runs when it comes to scoring. More importantly though, Villa face a banged-up West Brom defence, which contains only one definitely-fit full-back following injuries to Goran Popov, Liam Ridgewell and Steven Reid.

West Brom have won all their home games this season, but have yet to win away. That combined with their injury woes, leaves them looking extremely vulnerable for what's always a highly passionate Midland's derby.

But while the Baggies look in trouble at the back, they remain dangerous up front. Loan-signing from Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku, has been getting rave reviews and has netted twice already. This in a forward line that put five past Liverpool and Everton in total and now faces a Villa defence that's kept just one clean sheet in five.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.01/1

Vallodolid v Rayo Vallecano
For me, the prices on this match are just plain wrong, here's why.

First up, Valladolid are a tight outfit. From their five matches so far, four were low-scoring, with just nine goals scored in all. And significantly, the exception came from a 2-1 loss away to an Atletico Madrid side who produce goals wherever they go at present.

As for Vallecano, well they are La Liga's cat. Don't provoke them and they'll happily curl up in the corner, sending themselves and fans to sleep, as seen in their 0-0 draw with Sevilla. But corner them, and they'll come out with their claws flailing, as witnessed in their 4-3 loss at Atletico Madrid.

The Atletico game can be forgiven though. As mentioned, the Madrid side are rampant at present. Of Vallecano's four other games, three of those were low-scoring. In fact, those four matches produced just five goals in all, and that was including a 2-0 loss to Real Madrid.

Like I said, Vallecano can come out fighting, if provoked. But there's nothing to suggest Valladolid are the sort of side to do that.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 goals @ 2.0421/20


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