The Scout: EPL Week 29

Burnley v Brentford

What must Vincent Kompany be thinking? A former Premier League winner with Manchester City, Kompany had been through plenty as Burnley boss even before last weekend’s implosion.

A four-game losing streak, and a spell of nine games without a win, looked like it was going to end after David Fofana’s opener and an own goal put them 2-0 up against West Ham. But the advantage disintegrated in the second half and Burnley were forced to hang on for a point.

Kompany has continued to put on a brave face, but the table doesn’t make for pleasant reading. Burnley are second bottom and 10 points adrift of safety with just three wins and five draws from 28 games.

If they are to mount a miraculous escape and remain in the Premier League, a win over battling Brentford is all but essential.

The Bees have been in a slump of their own with just 10 points picked up from the 51 available in their past 17 Premier League games. Currently 15th and only five points above the drop zone, Brentford can’t afford to allow this run to continue.

Within a whisker of gaining what would’ve been a morale-boosting point against high-flying Arsenal last weekend, Brentford conceded a late goal to lose 2-1.

Not even the return of Ivan Toney from suspension has been able to force significant change. The Brentford striker has impressed with four goals in nine appearances since his return to action from an eight-month ban for breaching the Premier League’s betting rules.

Brentford can look back fondly on a 3-0 win over Burnley in October when goals from Yoane Wissa, Bryan Mbeumo and Saman Ghoddos sealed a deserved win.

Suggested Bet: Brentford to win + Ivan Toney first goal scorer (Same Game Multi) @ $5.20*

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur

Fulham won’t fear the visit to Craven Cottage of Tottenham Hotspur even though they are facing a tough assignment against an in-form opponent.

They will be keen to respond to last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Wolves and have the runs on the board to suggest they will make it tough for Ange Postecoglou’s side. The Cottagers have claimed some impressive scalps this season, including recent wins over Manchester United (2-1) and Brighton (3-0), as well as 5-0 victories over Nottingham Forest and West Ham back in December.

The goals have been shared around the team with Rodrigo Muniz, Raul Jimenez, Alex Iwobi and Bobby De Cordova-Reid having contributed five each in Fulham’s 40-goal haul. Fulham can be defensively vulnerable, conceding 1.57 goals per game, although they have managed seven clean sheets this season.

It might be wishful thinking on the part of Fulham boss Marco Silva, whose team is 12th, to expect to keep Tottenham goalless this weekend.

Postecoglou’s side, on a high after beating Aston Villa 4-0 in their last outing, have scored in every Premier League game this season, which includes a recent run of just one defeat in eight games.

Spurs have created 2.33 big chances per game and have scored at a rate of 2.19, which means the likes of Son Heung-Min, James Maddison, Dejan Kulusevski and even Pedro Porro are as effective in creating opportunities as they are in scoring them.

There is some concern that key defender Micky van de Ven may not be fit to play, which would be a big loss. But fifth-placed Spurs’ win over Villa has boosted their Champions League hopes for next season and they will be keen to continue the momentum.

Suggested Bet: Spurs to win + Total goals over 3.5 + Player shots on target over 0.5 – Son Heung-Min (Same Game Multi) @ $4.25*

West Ham v Aston Villa

Expect Aston Villa to revert to type after a change of formation backfired against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.

Villa went with five defenders, changing from their usual back four, and paid for it with Spurs earning a 4-0 win, although two of the goals came in second-half stoppage time and around half an hour after John McGinn had been sent off.

That defeat left fourth-placed Villa just two points ahead of fifth-placed Spurs, who have a game in hand, and in a less comfortable position as the race for Champions League places heats up.

Maximum points against West Ham is now essential but that has been made more difficult by the absence of the suspended McGinn.

The Villa captain has started every Premier League game and has been a key figure in Villa’s resurgence under manager Unai Emery.

Villa, who face Ajax in a second-leg Europa Conference League game at home in the early hours of Friday (WA time), are no one-man show with Ollie Watkins, Douglas Luiz and Leon Bailey amongst their top contributors.

West Ham, who have a Europa League second-leg tie against Freiburg also on Friday morning, are seventh in the Premier League.

Their most recent outing – against struggling Burnley – didn’t go to plan, although it finished with a point when Danny Ings scored in stoppage time after Lucas Paqueta was on target earlier in the second half.

Hammers manager David Moyes seems to ride constant waves of criticism but the draw with Burnley came after victories over Brentford (4-2) and his former club Everton (3-1).

Now unbeaten in their last three league games, West Ham have put behind them a three-game losing streak that included defeats to Manchester United (3-0), Arsenal (6-0) and Nottingham Forest (2-0).

Suggested Bet: Villa to win + Total goals over 2.5 (Same Game Multi) @ $2.95*

*Odds correct as at 10am, 14th March 2024.

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