Burnley v Leicester City: Jamie Vardy to score anytime – 13/10
If Brendan Rodgers didn’t know after Claude Puel’s departure from Leicester City who the main man at the club is, he certainly knows now.
There’s no doubting that Jamie Vardy unhappiness with the Frenchman’s regime at the King Power Stadium was a key factor in Puel’s exit, but it looks like Rodgers has learned to keep his star man onside and has reaped the benefits so far in his short spell in charge.
Vardy’s brace, coupled with a commendable unselfish assist for Youri Tielemans helped the Foxes to a 3-1 victory over Fulham last week as ‘Project Character’ picked up its first win at the helm.
The former England striker is actually creeping into top form and you may not have noticed that he’s netted five goals in his last five Premier League games. Burnley are next on his list, as the Clarets defence have been far from vintage of late.
Sean Dyche’s men have conceded in each of their last eight games and that will have a poacher like Vardy licking his lips. That’s why we’re tipping him to net anytime at 13/10.
Bournemouth v Newcastle: Bournemouth to Win to Nil – 12/5
One of the mid-tableiest of mid-table fixtures you can imagine, the only disappointment is there’s none of the grizzled Premier League managerial merry-go-round regulars involved – where’s an Alan Pardew shuffle when you need it?
Rafa Benitez would be justified in breaking into a brief salsa step to celebrate his Newcastle side’s sashaying up the table and away from the drop zone. They’ve won five straight games at home, rescuing their top-flight status from a dire opening stretch in the league, where they lost seven and drew three of their first 10 league games.
But that St James Park form hasn’t been recreated on their travels. They’ve picked up six draws, but just two wins – Burnley and Huddersfield hang your heads in shame – though they’ve been playing good teams close recently, losing by a single goal to both Spurs and Chelsea, and earning draws at Molineux and Vicarage Road.
That’ll be some encouragement for their trip to the Vitality Stadium. They might need it with Bournemouth’s form at home. Yes, they lost to City 1-0 in their last showing on the south coast, but they’d won four in seven prior to that, including a 4-0 win over Chelsea. Brighton, West Ham and, inevitably, Huddersfield were also sent packing from the seaside town without a point in that run, while Wolves and Watford earned points in score draws.
We fancy Bournemouth to win this, and with Newcastle not the most regular scorers at home and Eddie Howe’s side picking up a few clean sheets on their own ground in recent times, Bournemouth to Win to Nil at 12/5 is our pick – though you could wuss out and take them at Evens just to win.
West Ham v Huddersfield: West Ham to win – 8/15
The team that is chasing a hat-trick of home wins against the side that can’t win away from home.
Straightforward, right? Huddersfield haven’t won any of their last eight games away – losing 7 and drawing one. What is more worrying for the Terriers – who are anchored to the bottom of the Premier League – is that they haven’t scored in each of their last six games on the road.
The last time the Hammers chased a home-win hat-trick they bombed out by losing to Watford 2-0.
Since then however, they’re unbeaten in six home games, winning four and scoring at least two goals in four of those games. With Huddersfield’s last away league win coming last November against Wolves, we’re backing West Ham at 8/15 to get the job done and to put another nail in the coffin of their ever-fading survival hopes.
* All odds correct at time of posting.