The Scout: EPL Week 32

Everton v Burnley

It’s crunch time for Everton and Burnley as the battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League heats up.

Both teams are coming off midweek draws, with Everton salvaging a point through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s penalty against Newcastle United, and Burnley blowing a lead against Wolves after Jacob Larsen had put them in front.

Neither side can afford defeat in this one, although Burnley are in a worse position – 19th compared to Everton’s 16th. The six-point penalty for breaching financial conditions could yet haunt the Toffees.

Everton, managed by former Burnley boss Sean Dyche, have twice had the better of the Clarets this season. The Toffees ran out comfortable winners in November when the teams met in a League Cup clash – a 3-0 win coming via goals from James Tarkowski, Ashley Young and Amadou Onana.

Back in December, Everton also beat the Clarets in the Premier League with first-half goals from Onana and Michael Keane sealing a 2-0 win.

But if Burnley needed a thread of positivity to hang on to, they can take some comfort from the fact that Everton haven’t won a Premier League game since then. That’s 13 games without a victory, although they have managed six draws during that spell, including against Tottenham (2-2), Aston Villa (0-0), Brighton (1-1) and Newcastle (1-1).

Despite their predicament, Burnley have at least managed one victory and five draws from their most recent 13 matches. Last month’s 2-1 win over Brentford, thanks to goals from Larsen and David Fofana, was much needed although it failed to shift Burnley from the position they’ve occupied for the past 13 matches.

Abdoulaye Doucoure is Everton’s top scorer with six goals, although he has failed to find the net in his last eight games. Larsen, Fofana, Zeki Amdouni and Lyle Foster have each scored four times for Burnley this season.

Suggested Bet: Draw @ $4.20*

Brighton v Arsenal

After giving Liverpool a scare last weekend, Brighton will be aiming to go one better when they take on another of the Premier League’s title challengers. Brighton had taken a shock second-minute lead against Liverpool, through Danny Wellbeck, but were eventually beaten 2-1.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has given Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta headaches in the past. Last season, De Zerbi watched his side score second-half goals through Julio Encisco, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan in an upset 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium.

Arteta made amends in December when Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz were on target in a 2-0 win.

The Gunners go into this one at the top of the Premier League table after a 2-0 midweek win over struggling Luton Town, goals coming from Martin Odegaard, courtesy of a Kai Havertz assist, and a Hatters own goal.

After losing to Liverpool, Brighton were held to a disappointing draw by Brentford in midweek. De Zerbi’s men had 67% of possession, 24 shots to five, and six on target, compared to the Bees’ two. A draw, rather than the victory the Seagulls deserved, has left them ninth, and on the fringes of a European place next season.

The visit of Arsenal will be a much tougher task. The Gunners have won nine of their most recent 10 Premier League matches, a goalless draw against Manchester City the only blot on an otherwise perfect record.

Arsenal may be without top scorer Bukayo Saka, who has 13 Premier League goals this season, as he fights to shake off an injury. But there is a great deal more to admire in the Gunners.

Declan Rice has made a huge difference to Arsenal since joining from West Ham this season. A non-stop midfield presence he has also scored six goals, including two in his past four matches.

Ex-Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz has scored four goals in his past six games and looms as another threat to Brighton.

Suggested Bet: Arsenal to win + Both teams to score – NO + Total goals under 3.5 (Same Game Multi) @ $3.55*

Manchester United v Liverpool

*This preview was published before Friday morning games – Liverpool v Sheffield United and Chelsea v Manchester United.

Manchester United won’t be challenging for Premier League silverware this season but a win over Liverpool would be celebrated long and hard by their often-disappointed supporters.

For all the pop and fizz of rivalries in recent times involving United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea, nothing quite stirs fans in England’s north-west like Sunday’s big one.

The gap between title-challenging Liverpool and sixth-placed Manchester United has grown considerably in favour of the Merseyside club since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down from management 11 years ago. In 26 years at Old Trafford, the Scotsman won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles.

But despite concerns over their current boss, Erik ten Hag won the League Cup last season and has steered his team into the FA Cup semi-finals with a win over Liverpool. Goals from Scott McTominay, Antony, Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo gave United a thrilling 4-3 extra-time win. It makes sense for ten Hag to remind his players of this recent encounter and what might be possible on Sunday.

There were also positive signs for United in their goalless draw at Anfield in December, although no-one at the club would want to rewind the clock further back. When Liverpool have beaten United in recent fixtures, they have done so in devastating fashion. A 7-0 thrashing at Anfield last season, in which Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah each scored twice, stands out as particularly painful day for United.

Salah has a special affinity for this fixture, the Egyptian international scoring 10 goals in his last seven games against United, which included five goals in two games in the 2021-22 season. He scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory and two in a 4-0 win.

There is a huge amount at stake in this one as Liverpool chase just a second Premier League title and United target European football next season.

Suggested Bet: Under 2.5 goals + Both teams to score – NO (Same Game Multi) @ $4.90*

*Odds correct as at 10am, 4th April 2024.

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