Leicester are clinging to a Champions League qualification spot, winning just one Premier League game post-lockdown after seemingly being a shoo-in for a top-four finish. The Foxes failed to take advantage of their rivals dropping points at the weekend, losing 4-1 to strugglers Bournemouth in disconcerting fashion.
Brendan Rodgers’ men were in full control at the break, only to crumble in the second half, committing a myriad of avoidable mistakes in a shocking performance (xG: BOU 2.5 – 1.3 LEI). Although Çaglar Söyüncü will be suspended for the rest of the season, key players James Maddison and Ben Chilwell could be available for this fixture having missed significant time during Leicester’s poor run.
Leicester’s Champions League hopes remain in their own hands, but they need to rebound quickly at the King Power Stadium, where they face an in-form opponent.
Sheffield United have looked rejuvenated in recent weeks, gaining 10 points from a possible 12 and Saturday’s 3-0 win was extremely impressive, completely dominating a third-placed Chelsea side that had previously been in good form (xG: SHU 2.6 – 1.5 CHE).
However, according to xG, the Blades have been unconvincing away from Bramall Lane this season, conceding chances equating to 1.7 xGA per game on average, while struggling to create opportunities (1.2 xGF per game).
Chris Wilder’s side can count themselves as fortunate to have only allowed 19 goals from a total of 29.3 xGA on the road, winning just four games away from home all season. At the prices, Leicester look the value play here to get a hugely important win.
Everton enter this match-up on the back of an embarrassing 3-0 loss at Wolves, failing to cause their opponent any problems at the back (0.3 xGF), and looking seriously vulnerable in defence (3.2 xGA). Despite a very promising start under Carlo Ancelotti, Everton’s underlying numbers in attack have taken a steep decline since the restart, averaging a lowly 0.8 xGF per game.
However, Everton are unbeaten in their last ten league games at Goodison Park, posting solid numbers (1.8 xGF, 1.3 xGA per game), so a change in fortunes is possible against a relegation candidate.
Aston Villa notched their first league win since January at the weekend, comfortably beating Crystal Palace 2-0 thanks to a Trézéguet brace (xG: AVL 1.9 – 1.0 CRY).
Unfortunately for Villa, their closest rivals in the relegation scrap – Watford, West Ham and Bournemouth – also claimed victory, so they remain four points from safety with three games to play. Villa have looked fairly blunt in attack as a result of being tighter defensively, though, scoring just four goals since the restart, while averaging 1.1 xGF per game.
After some dire performances, Everton need a reaction here, and it is worth backing them to do so at the prices available.
Southampton have enjoyed themselves post-break, picking up 11 points from a possible 18, including a 1-0 win against Manchester City and a 2-2 draw with Manchester United. Their last home outing was that 1-0 win over City, but the Saints were extremely fortunate to get the three points on that day, allowing a whopping 3.5 xGA yet somehow keeping a clean sheet.
Performances on the road have been good all season (28 points from 18), and that has continued post-break (W2, D2), but they have found life difficult at St Mary’s throughout this term. They have collected just 17 points from 17 home games, and that isn’t a surprise given their underlying process (1.4 xGF, 1.8 xGA per game), but we do tend to see chances at both ends in Saints home games.
Brighton had it tough last week, having to play champions Liverpool and runners-up Manchester City in the space of three days, losing both, conceding eight goals and 7.4 xGA across the two games.
They were pathetic against City (xG: BHA 0.1 – 4.7 MCI), but against Liverpool, Graham Potter’s side won the xG battle against the champs, creating a host of good chances (xG: BHA 2.9 – 2.7 BHA).
The Seagulls aren’t yet guaranteed their safety, sitting five points clear of the drop zone with three games remaining, but have performed like a top half team according to xPoints. Away from home they rank as the 10th best team according to xPoints, with their process of 1.4 xGF and 1.7 xGA per game a very solid return, and shows that they also tend to see chances at both ends.
This will be an intriguing game between a high-pressing Southampton side and a Brighton team that like to play total football, with chances likely to be created from Saints turnovers and Brighton’s ability to beat the press. Goals looks the way to go here, so back over 2.5 goals.
All three of these selections in a treble will give you odds of 7/1 with Paddy Power.
Tips for Thursday night’s Premier League action
- Carole Baskin To Replace Grant Mccann As Hull Boss
- Man City Ban Exclusive: Uefa’s Secret Plot To Punish Club Anyway
- Brendan Rodgers Prepares 25 Envelopes Ahead Of Leicester V Sheff Utd Clash