Mike Norman is hoping to start 2020 with a trio of winning tips in the Premier League, including goals galore involving Spurs and a shock result for Manchester City...
"This looks a game certain to entertain, and backing Over 3.5 Goals at 2.915/8 will be my best bet of the day to see in the new year."
Leaky Spurs to ensure thriller at St Mary's
Southampton 3.55 v Tottenham 2.186/5; Draw 3.7511/4
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Only Everton - with 30 goals against - have conceded more goals than Tottenham this season of all the clubs currently in the top half of the table. Only Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester City have scored more than Spurs however, and on New Year's Day the Lilywhites face the team with statistically the second worst defence in the Premier League.
This looks a game certain to entertain, and backing Over 3.5 Goals at 2.915/8 will be my best bet of the day to see in the new year.
Despite Jose Mourinho having a reputation as being a manager that organises his teams extremely well he is yet to put that defensive stamp on this set of Tottenham players. In his 10 games in charge since taking over from Mauricio Pochettino Spurs have kept just one clean sheet, and away from home they've conceded an average of exactly two goals per game (five games played, 10 goals conceded).
Despite generally struggling this term Southampton have only failed to find the back of the net once in their last 11 matches, and Ralph Hasenhuttl's men are going into this clash in the best form they've been in all season; four wins and one draw from their last seven matches.
So given the trends there's every reason to expect the Saints to get on the scoresheet once or twice here, but what really seals the deal in terms of this being a goalfest is the fact that Southampton haven't kept a clean sheet at St Mary's all season.
In fact they've conceded a total of 25 goals in the 10 games they've played in front of their own fans this term. Take out the 'freakish' 0-9 drubbing by Leicester and that still means they've conceded an average of almost two goals per game at St Mary's.
This game looks absolutely destined to contain goals. Here's hoping 2020 doesn't start with a trend-busting dull game of football.
Resurgent Hornets can shock Wolves
Watford 3.412/5 v Wolves 2.3611/8; Draw 3.55/2
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My next two selections are based around the 'new manager bounce' theory. In fact I'm starting to wonder whether it really is just a theory. It must be a high percentage of teams that, for whatever reason, have an immediate upturn in results when they appoint a new manager.
Nigel Pearson is a perfect example. I can think of a few managers who would have asked to take charge after the away trip to Liverpool. But not Pearson. He went there, had a game plan, and his Watford team performed very well. They lost 2-0 but there were some massive positives to take from that game.
Since their trip to Anfield the Hornets have taken seven points from a possible nine including winning both games at Vicarage Road - against Manchester United and Aston Villa - by an aggregate score of 5-0.
That has to give Pearson's men confidence, and they go into this home clash against Wolves full of momentum. It will be a tough game for sure, but I'd have Watford a bit shorter than 3.412/5 for the win in all honesty and I have to back them to take all three points.
Nuno Espirito Santo's men are a far better team than I've previously given them credit for but I have to question how much they left on the pitch at Anfield on Sunday.
Wolves performed extremely well in that game and had a few tough calls against them in going down 1-0, so you have to wonder if morale has been dented slightly, and of course, they've played more games this season than any other Premier League team, so fatigue has to play a part during the busy Christmas period.
Chance taken on Toffees avoiding defeat
Manchester City 1.292/7 v Everton 12.011/1; Draw 6.86/1
Live on BT Sport 1
I genuinely don't believe the markets have caught up with how far Manchester City are playing below the standards they've set during their back-to-back title winning campaigns.
That's not a criticism, far from it, but the stats are there for all to see. City lost just two games in the 17/18 season, and four last term, yet they'd lost five league games at exactly the halfway stage of this season. They accumulated 100 points two seasons ago and 98 points last season. This term they're on course to accumulate around 80-85 points.
Of course, there are reasons behind City's drop in form but that doesn't concern me, and yes, they are still the second best team in the country right now, and arguably the best team in the country on their day.
But there's absolutely no way I could have any confidence in backing Pep Guardiola's men at just 1.292/7 given the regularity that City are conceding goals, and that they're playing a team who really is benefiting from the 'new manager bounce'.
And Everton haven't just got any new manager, they've got one of the very best and a serial winner in Carlo Ancelotti, and the Toffees have won their first two games under their new boss.
Everton are one of the form teams in the Premier League in fact and are unbeaten in five games since the departure of Marco Silva. They had some tough games in that spell too, having to play the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. And they also held highflying Leicester to a 2-2 draw in regulation time in the EFL Cup. Not too shabby form indeed.
I'm not kidding myself however. Manchester City can turn it on at any time and beat anyone easily on their day, but right now they're not at their absolute best, they're conceding goals regularly, and they're facing an in-form team. At 4.47/2 I'm happy to get the Draw and Everton win on my side in the Double Chance market.
*You can follow Mike on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Mike's 2019/20 Season P/L:
Staked: 77 pts
Returned: 73.31 pts
P/L: -3.69 pts
- 2018/19 P/L = +10.97 pts from 112 pts staked (9.79% ROI
- 2017/18 P/L = +20.09 pts from 128 pts staked (15.69% ROI)
- 2016/17 P/L = +42.63 pts from 160 pts staked (26.64% ROI)
- 2015/16 P/L = +14.99 pts from 234 pts staked (6.4% ROI)
- 2014/15 P/L = +35.30 pts from 215 pts staked (16.42% ROI)
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.915/8 in Southampton v Tottenham (best bet)
Back Watford @ 3.412/5 to beat Wolves
Back Draw or Everton (Double Chance) @ 4.47/2 v Man City
*1pt each bet, 2pts best bet