In the brave new world of staggered UEFA knockout ties, by the time they take to the field on Saturday, Spurs will have enjoyed a nice 10-day break between games since their 3-0 steamrolling of Bundesliga table-toppers Borussia Dortmund — dodging the dreaded European hangover.
Granted, they really owe this break to the fact Crystal Palace dumped them out of the FA Cup last month, but what else did they expect from a game in which they gave Georges-Kévin Nkoudou his first start since December 2017?
Anyway, that doesn’t matter — Nkoudou’s on loan at Monaco now, he can’t hurt you anymore, Spurs fans.
All that said, the Lilywhites aren’t the only ones to benefit from a weekend off as Burnley haven’t played since beating Brighton 3-1 on February 9th. They may have been massacred by Man City in the FA Cup, but Sean Dyche’s men haven’t lost a Premier League game since the 5-1 mauling at Turf Moor by Everton on St Stephen’s Day (jog on with your Boxing Day sh*te).
Burnley also remain the only team to take points off Man United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over, and that was a game they should have won having been 2-0 up in the dying minutes.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s have won five of their last six in the league — United, ironically, being the team to inflict the solitary loss — so we expect them to not do a Spurs and win this one at 4/6.
Having started the New Year off with back-to-back losses, Wolves have won three and drawn one of their last four league matches and have also advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Sitting in seventh on 39 points, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men are currently the best of the rest in the top flight, so we reckon they’ll add to the 11 goals they’ve racked up from their last four league games here.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, managed to go from trouncing Chelsea 4-0 at home to lose 2-0 away to relegation battlers Cardiff City in the space of three days; they have struggled for consistency and were brushed aside by Liverpool last time out.
That said, Eddie Howe’s charges are unbeaten in their last four home games at Dean Court in the league. After sticking four past Chelsea though, that’s worth at least one against Wolves (no matter how Sarri a backline the Blues have at the minute), so we’re going with both teams to score at 3/4 for this one.
Having come through a tough run of games against Man United, Chelsea, Cardiff, Man City, Spurs and Wolves with seven points, Newcastle are still embroiled in the relegation dogfight – but could be much worse off. While beating City at the end of January wrought an unexpected three points, of much more importance was the 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Cardiff.
The Geordies are currently sitting in 16th, level on points with the Welsh side but with a vastly superior goal difference. With a softer run of fixtures coming up, Rafa Benitez’s men can focus on getting more points on the board — starting with bottom-dwellers Huddersfield this weekend. Every terrier has its day and, unfortunately for Jan Siewert, his side have had theirs in the Premier League.
With just one point from their last 13 games — an enthralling 0-0 draw with, you guessed it, Cardiff — Huddersfield look as good as gone and it’s just a matter of who they can drag down with them.
While they gave Arsenal a hell of a fright last time out, we reckon the Toon will prove too much at St James’s Park, so we’re backing Newcastle to win at evens.
Leicester sit in 12th just five points above Palace in the table at the moment, but given the current form of both sides you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the other way around.
Roy Hodgson has guided Palace into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup without conceding a goal, while he almost had them nick a point off his old club Liverpool in a dramatic 4-3 defeat at Anfield last month. Since then, they’ve ground out two draws and a win in the league to maintain a critical distance from the relegation scrap below them.
In contrast, Leicester City have earned just four points from a possible 18 since the turn of the year and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Newport County. The only thing you can say for the Foxes is that they’ve been scoring goals; the 1-0 defeat to Man United is the only time they’ve drawn a blank in 2019 so far. They just haven’t been able to stop them going in at the other end.
But we reckon at home to a Palace team distracted by the #MagicoftheCup, Claude Puel’s side may be able to stop the slump (sort of), so we’re backing the draw at 9/4.
* All odds correct at time of posting.