Saturday Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Another Hammers blow coming Newcastle's way

Mike fancies David Moyes to record another win as West Ham boss on Saturday
Mike fancies David Moyes to record another win as West Ham boss on Saturday

This weekend officially commences the festive fixture programme where shock results are not uncommon. Trying to predict them isn't easy, so our man Mike Norman is sticking to the usual gameplan for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs...

"Rafa Benitez's men have dropped into the relegation zone following four straight defeats, and they've now taken just a single point from the last 27 available to them."

Back West Ham @ 2.226/5 to beat Newcastle

Man City 1.132/15 v Bournemouth 30.029/1; The Draw 12.011/1

(Significant Opta Stat: Bournemouth have conceded nine goals in two previous Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium, losing 5-1 and 4-0.)

Manchester City continued on their merry way with another impressive victory last weekend, and at this rate they'll have the title wrapped up - mathematically that is - by the end of March. They'd need to be at least 19 points clear with six games to go for that to happen.

City's domestic dominance means there's barely anything to say about them that hasn't already been said, or that we don't know already. Put simply, they are quite brilliant on their day.

So this game is as much about how Bournemouth approach it as anything else. And unfortunately for the Cherries - but luckily for the neutrals - they will probably go to the Etihad Stadium and give it a right go, but ultimately cop a heavy defeat.

That's not a criticism, it's rather refreshing in fact as Eddie Howe's men don't really know how to keep it tight and they always feel that their best form of defence is to go on the attack. But when you play that way, you need absolutely everything to fall into place and you need the opposition to underperform. When it doesn't then a big defeat - like they one they suffered against Liverpool last week - is always likely.

So I have to back a comfortable home victory here. Even at this busy time of the year I'm not sure the City players have it in their nature to take the foot of the pedal, so if they get their noses in front with time to spare then I can easily see them recording a similar scoreline to their two previous Premier League home games against the Cherries - 5-1 and 4-0 victories.

Recommended Bets
Back Man City -2 to Win @ 2.56/4

Southampton 1.664/6 v Huddersfield 6.611/2; The Draw 4.03/1

(Significant Opta Stat: Southampton haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine Premier League games, the joint longest current run in the competition, along with Newcastle.)

I've spoke a lot this season about Southampton's poor form at St Mary's, and that they rarely score in front of their own fans, while it was only last week that I was informing the world that Huddersfield hadn't scored an away goal since the opening day of the season.

So I dare say no-one would be surprised if I was to put up the 0-0 as my recommended bet in this game. But that's not going to be the case, quite the opposite in fact, as I really fancy an entertaining game to be played out on Saturday afternoon.

Mauricio Pellegrino's men should take confidence from their decent showing at Chelsea last week, but more importantly they'll know that this is a very winnable game, and with back-to-back away fixtures to Tottenham and Man United to come, taking three points here is crucial.

I'm not sure the Saints will change their style or go more attacking because of the circumstances, from what I've seen of them at home they've generally played very well and created many chances but just had little luck in front of goal, so there's probably no need to change anything. I just sense that everyone will be on their game and know the importance of taking all three points.

But we can also expect a confident Huddersfield side to turn up at St Mary's after David Wagner's men ended their goalless run away from home in emphatic style by putting four past Watford last Saturday.

And a bit like Southampton, the Terriers will see this as a winnable game, knowing that Pellegrino's men don't have the best home record in the world.

My gut feeling is that this will be an entertaining affair, and that witnessing three or more goals is far more likely than the odds suggest, especially given the Opta stat above that tells us that the Saints have now gone nine consecutive league games without keeping a clean sheet.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.166/5

West Ham 2.226/5 v Newcastle 3.9; The Draw 3.412/5

(Significant Opta Stat: West Ham have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three Premier League fixtures.)

I have to admit that I wasn't totally convinced by West Ham's appointment of David Moyes, but the early signs have been very encouraging.

It started with a pleasing performance at Man City, where they only lost late in the game by a narrow margin. But the three league games that followed - against Chelsea, Arsenal, and away to Stoke - resulted in seven points taken and three clean sheets. A magnificent return.

The Hammers have to take confidence from that recent run but they mustn't get complacent against struggling Newcastle. If Moyes' men reproduce the kind of performance they've been putting in lately then it's impossible to look beyond a home victory.

Even when the Hammers were out of form they still recorded wins without conceding at home to other clubs expected to be in a relegation battle - Huddersfield and Swansea - so they really shouldn't have nothing to fear from the Magpies.

Rafa Benitez's men have dropped into the relegation zone following four straight defeats, and they've now taken just a single point from the last 27 available to them. They've also gone seven away games without a win, and the only victory they recorded on the road this term was at Swansea, and that form hasn't exactly worked out with the Welsh side now rock bottom of the Premier League.

So this looks like a bit of a home banker to me, as long as West Ham don't think they just have to turn up, which is always a worry when you're on a good run and hosting a team in dire form.

Recommended Bet
Back West Ham to Win @ 2.226/5


You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Premier League 2017/18 Season P/L

Staked: 72 pts
Returned: 87.97 pts
P/L: +15.97 pts

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

- 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)

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