Hull City v Newcastle United - 12:45
I'm taking a slight leap of faith here. The stats after all show that Hull's home games have been low-scoring of late, with their last four going under 2.5 goals. However, the Tigers did notch a valuable win in their last home game, with a 2-0 victory over Everton. Those were the first goals they'd scored at the Kingston Communications Stadium since November and must have brought huge relief to manager Steve Bruce, whose side remain a point inside the relegation zone.
But my instincts tell me Hull are a side to get with for goals now. They need to start getting results and at home is obviously the best place to get them. Plus what better opponents to have next than a rudderless team who've begun slipping down the table. Newcastle are extra motivated to get results too. No sooner has he taken charge, than interim manager John Carver has some fans wanting him out. His only chance to win favour is to come up with results and fast. And that will mean being proactive. So with both teams having strong reasons for chasing a result, I'll oppose recent form and call goals here.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.546/4
Chelsea v Manchester City - 17:30
Whenever Jose Mourinho finds himself in a position of advantage, it seems to me that he usually plays to defend it. Be it in a two-legged cup affair or in a drawn-out league campaign. So I'm fully anticipating that Chelsea will be highly cautious going into this game. Not negative, simply prudent. And that City will have to instigate the aggressing themselves if this is to become a street brawl.
If that is the case then City have their work cut out. Chelsea can boast five clean sheets in a row in the league at Stamford Bridge. City could only score once away to Leicester and Everton recently and will need to be careful themselves not to overcommit in search of the win they need to close the five point gap at the top of the table. City themselves are solid at the back, possessing the division's second meanest defence on the road and so goals could take a while to come.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.9520/21
Arsenal v Aston Villa - 13:30
It's seven low-scoring away games in a row and counting for Aston Villa, who have found the back of the net themselves just two times during that run of matches. But while their attack is awol, you have to at least give credit to Villa's defense which limited the home sides to less than a goal a game over that same period.
This week the Cliff Thorburn's of the Premier League will be away to an Arsenal side who continue to flatter to deceive, mixing in great results with bewildering ones. Bottom line is though, the Gunners are only in fifth place and have dropped points in 40% of their games at the Emirates. If Villa need a stat to cling to, that's the one. And that's exactly what I expect Paul Lambert's side to do, cling on, for as long as they can, ideally long enough to chalk up another low-scoring result.
Only three times out of ten have Arsenal scored more than twice at home in the league this season. So if the onus is solely on Arsene Wenger's side to come up with the goals, then we should play the odds and go under the total here.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.3211/8
Southampton v Swansea City - 16:00
Six games unbeaten in the league and Southampton have the smell of Champions League football well and truly back in their nostrils. And their timing couldn't be much better because they now face a Swansea side that, while very talented, seems to have lost its way of late. Gary Monk's side again find themselves hovering between footballing heaven and hell, adrift in midtable. Their recent 5-0 thumping at Chelsea followed failure to beat QPR and West Ham and a 4-1 loss at Liverpool. For whatever reason, the Swans are not looking as effortless as they can do.
In terms of goals though, they're still producing and have scored in each of their last five away from home. They'll probably have to bag at least a couple though to get something from the Saints. Ronald Koeman's team are scoring a touch over two goals a game at St. Mary's this season and are flowing, as indeed should be the goals in this game.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.226/5