After two good winners in midweek Mike Norman returns with his three recommended bets from Saturday's 3pm games in the Premier League, and he believes Manchester United might be in for a harder game than the odds suggest at Old Trafford...
"Four of Man United's last five Premier League gams at Old Trafford against non 'big-six' clubs have finished 1-0 (v Brighton), 1-0 (v Bournemouth), 2-2 (v Burnley), and 0-0 (v Southampton).
Back Huddersfield +2 @ 13/8 against Man Utd (best bet)
(Significant Opta Stat: Swansea have won more points in the five league games under Carvalhal (10) than they did in their previous 17 matches (9).)
As regular readers will know I really like Leicester, and along with Everton they are easily one of the best teams in the Premier League outside of the 'big six'. Don't be surprised at all if the Foxes and the Toffees finish seventh and eighth this season; in what order I don't know.
But right now I want to be against Claude Puel's men, especially when they're odds-on against a team that has just defeated Liverpool and Arsenal.
But the main reason for opposing the Foxes, as it was in midweek, is the Riyad Mahrez saga. As soon as the Algerian put in a transfer request on Tuesday it was obvious that Leicester were going to be making the headlines off the pitch, and that they'd not be quite at their best on it.
Mahrez reportedly failed to turn up for training again on Thursday so it's impossible to see him lining up against Swansea on Saturday, and a starting XI without Mahrez is undoubtedly a weaker one.
Another reason for opposing the home side is the excellent form Swansea are in. Carlos Carvalhal has been a breath of fresh air since arriving at the Liberty Stadium and it appears his team are responding magnificently to his high spirits and enthusiasm.
The Swans have won three of their last four in all competitions, including those massive wins over two 'big six' clubs, they're on an unbeaten run of six games, and their only defeat under Carvalhal was a narrow one to Tottenham.
Swansea will arrive at the King Power Stadium in confident mood, and against a Leicester team likely to be without Mahrez again I'm happy to get the Welsh outfit on my side.
Lay Leicester @ [1.83] to beat Swansea
(Significant Opta Stat: Manchester United haven't lost consecutive Premier League games since May last year, which featured an away defeat to Tottenham.)
Newcastle produced one of the most negative performances I've ever seen at home to Manchester City this season, and it has to be said that Huddersfield weren't much better at home to Liverpool on Tuesday night.
The Terriers were very negative from the off, played five at the back, and rarely looked like causing the Reds any problems. Even when they were two goals down they still appeared to have a defensive mentality rather than try to get back in the game.
But I feel that if David Wagner adopts the same tactics at Old Trafford on Saturday then his team might have a bit more success.
United are as short as 2/15 to win the game on the Sportsbook, so that tells us all we need to know about who is likely to dominate this match. Jose Mourinho's men will have lots of possession, they'll play much of the game in Huddersfield's half, but you still sense that unless they get an early breakthrough then they'll have to play a patience game against what is sure to be a packed and well organised defence.
The Red Devils have been in decent form, winning five on the spin before Wednesday night's defeat at Spurs. They also recorded six consecutive clean sheets, but that could work against them here with Wagner setting his men up for a 0-0 draw knowing how tough it is to get on the scoresheet against United.
Mourinho's men regularly scored four in a game earlier in the season, but four of their last five Premier League gams at Old Trafford against non 'big-six' clubs have finished 1-0 (v Brighton), 1-0 (v Bournemouth), 2-2 (v Burnley), and 0-0 (v Southampton).
That's just four goals scored and two wins in four games when United were heavy odds-on favourites to win. In all four of those matches backing the away side with a two-goal lead would have paid dividends, so at 13/8 I'm happy to do exactly that in the hope that Huddersfield go to Old Trafford and play just as negatively as they did against Liverpool in midweek.
Back Huddersfield +2 @ 13/8 against Man Utd (best bet)
(Significant Opta Stat: Southampton are now 12 games without a win in the Premier League, the worst current run in the divison.)
I don't have a strong opinion on the remaining Premier League 3pm kick-offs but I can't resist backing Over 2.5 Goals at the Hawthorns simply based on the price.
There's very little in our favour historically as this is one of the lowest scoring fixtures in the Premier League; there have been just seven goals scored in the last nine meetings between these two at Albion's home.
But I dare say they've never met under such circumstances as they meet on Saturday, both clubs in the relegation zone and both desperate for the win in what is a huge six-pointer.
Southampton desperately need to break this winless run. I mentioned back in November that they could be in danger of slipping down the table because of the tough fixtures they had to come in the subsequent two months, but here we are almost four month later and they are still in massive trouble.
The Baggies have improved slightly of late, winning 3-2 at Anfield in the FA Cup, beating Brighton 2-0 at home, and drawing 1-1 away to Everton. Those were all excellent results so Alan Pardew's men should have some renewed confidence and belief that they can escape the drop.
It's pretty much a coin toss for me as to whether we get a tight, low-scoring game like we have in previous seasons, or whether both teams go out believing they can win and play out an entertaining affair. So based on that, odds of [2.44] about witnessing at least three goals are worth chancing in the hope that it's the latter.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.44] in West Brom v Southampton
You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2017/18 Season P/L
Staked: 92 pts
Returned: 105.41 pts
P/L: +13.41 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)