The Scout: EPL Week 24

Manchester City v Everton

This could be the game that takes Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League – even if only briefly. With leaders Liverpool (51 points) and third-placed Arsenal (49 points) to play later on the weekend, second-placed City (also on 51 points) will be looking to get the jump on their title rivals.

And a home fixture against struggling Everton won’t worry Pep Guardiola too much. A mid-week Phil Foden-inspired 3-1 victory over Brentford was a reminder that things don’t always go City’s way – Neal Maupay scored a surprise opener for the home side. But three goals from Foden confirmed they most often do.

City have won five successive matches, a run of success that started with victory over the Toffees in December.

To make matters worse for Sean Dyche’s side, Erling Haaland made a recent return from injury after more than seven weeks on the sidelines.

Unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium, City have drawn three times on home soil against Liverpool (1-1), Tottenham (3-3) and Crystal Palace (2-2). They’ve averaged 2.45 goals per game.

Everton’s away form is solid with five wins and two draws from their 11 games. When they get things right defensively, they can be a tough nut to crack with eight clean sheets and just 1.3 goals conceded per game. But they have scored at a rate of just 1.13 goals per game from the two chances they create, on average, each match.

Despite their run of six matches without a win, a late goal from Jarrad Branthwaite earned a 2-2 draw with Spurs that extended to three matches Everton’s unbeaten streak. A goalless draw against Villa was followed by another against Fulham before Branthwaite brought down the house at Goodison Park.

Suggested Bet: City to win + Both teams to score – NO + Erling Halaand to score – YES (Same Game Multi) @ $2.38*

Luton Town v Sheffield United

Luton Town’s resurgence under Rob Edwards is no secret. After starting their first Premier League season with four successive defeats, and being tipped as hot favourites for the drop, the man in charge has sparked a promising revival.

Unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions, Luton have also scored eight goals in their past two games, while Sheffield United have been leaking like a sodden paper cup.

Luton have lost only one of their past six games when they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea. But a win and a draw against Newcastle (1-0 and 4-4), a 4-0 thrashing of Brighton, a 3-2 win over Sheffield United and a draw against Burnley has suddenly got Hatters fans believing.

Eight goals in their last two games (v Brighton and Newcastle) has revealed a new dimension to Luton’s capabilities. Elijah Adebayo has scored four goals in those two games to take his season total to nine.

Attacking fullback Alfie Doughty has been in fine form, while midfielder Ross Barkley has rolled back the years with his recent performances. He has three goals and three assists for the season.

The Blades have conceded eight goals in their past two matches, a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace compounded by a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa. Just one win from their last 12 Premier League games is relegation form, which is reflected in their position at the bottom of the table.

Luton are fourth bottom and 10 points clear of Chris Wilder’s side, whose top scorer is Oliver McBurnie with four goals. At the other end of the pitch, controversial defender Anel Ahmedhodzic will need a big performance to dampen the Luton threat.

Suggested Bet: Luton to win + Total goals over 2.5 + Both teams to score (Same Game Multi) @ $3.35*

West Ham United v Arsenal

Fresh from beating Liverpool, Arsenal will be looking to rub salt into West Ham’s wounds after they were beaten by Manchester United.

The Hammers had gone slightly off the boil with three successive wins over Wolves, Manchester United and Arsenal giving way to draws against Brighton, Sheffield United and Bournemouth before the Red Devils burst their bubble on Sunday.

David Moyes’ side had slightly less possession and almost twice as many shots (22 to 12) but lost 3-0. It was just their second defeat in their last 12 Premier League games, although a 5-0 thrashing by Fulham in December stands out as their worst day at the office.

Kalvin Phillips’ loan move from Manchester City to West Ham didn’t start well with an error that led to the Bournemouth goal in a recent 1-1 draw. He didn’t start in the next game against Manchester United.

Tomas Soucek and Konstantinos Mavropanos were the thorns in Arsenal’s side with a goal apiece the last time the teams met in late December. That 2-0 victory came despite Arsenal’s dominance in every department (possession, shots, shots on target) except the one that matters most.

England duo James Ward-Prowse and Jarrod Bowen will be key figures if there is to be an upset for the Hammers, who are seventh on the table, 13 points behind third-placed Arsenal.

The Gunners’ recent blip, which included defeat to the Hammers and Fulham, feels like a long time ago given their resurgence. A 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace steadied the ship, and subsequent victories over Nottingham Forest and Liverpool have got them steaming ahead.

The win over Liverpool was particularly important to their title aspirations with goals from Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard earning them a 3-1 victory last weekend.

Suggested Bet: Half Time/Full Time Draw/Arsenal @ $4.70*

*Odds correct as at 9am, 8th February 2024.

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