The Scout: EPL Week 36

Luton Town v Everton

Time is running out for Rob Edwards to save Luton Town’s season and, on current form, it’s not easy to make a case for them against Everton.

The Hatters are on 25 points and occupy the last relegation place. Nottingham Forest are a point above them, while second-last Burnley (24 points) are also in the three-way fight to avoid the drop. Only one of the three can survive with Sheffield United already relegated.

Luton have had their moments during their first ever Premier League season. They’ve enjoyed taking on Newcastle with a home win secured by Andros Townsend before a 4-4 draw at St James’ Park.

A 4-0 victory over Brighton, in which Elijah Adebayo ran riot with a hat-trick, was another highlight. But since then, Luton have won just one of their 14 Premier League matches when goals from Jordan Clark and top scorer Carlton Morris saw off Bournemouth 2-1.

They’ve conceded 77 goals and scored just 48, which highlights the problems they’ve had at both ends of the pitch.

Given Everton’s off-field distractions – they have been deducted eight points for a financial breach – Sean Dyche has done a remarkable job in steering them to safety.

Recent victories over Nottingham Forest (2-0), Liverpool (2-0) and Brentford 1-0 were Everton’s response to a 6-0 defeat to Chelsea. Idrissa Gueye has scored two in three games, while Dwight McNeil, Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have contributed goals in the recent winning streak.

Everton have also been excellent defensively (aside from the Chelsea debacle) conceding just 48 goals all season. Only top three sides Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have conceded fewer goals.

Suggested Bet: Everton to win + Total Goals under 2.5 (Same Game Multi) @ $6.25*

Arsenal v Bournemouth

Arsenal are top of the table but in no position to start celebrating just yet. With Manchester City a point behind and with a game up their sleeve, the Gunners can’t afford to drop points against Bournemouth.

And on closer inspection, this is unlikely to be the stroll in the park Arsenal experienced earlier in the season when goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz and Ben White sealed a 4-0 victory.

Back then, Bournemouth were second bottom and without a win in their first nine games of the season. Times have changed, as manager Andoni Iraola has settled in.

The Cherries don’t have a great deal to play for with European places virtually out of reach and no threat of relegation, thanks to an impressive recent run of results.

They will go into this game having earned six points from their past two games, while they’ve lost only twice in their last 10 Premier League games. Defeats to Aston Villa and Luton, sit alongside draws against Manchester United and Sheffield United, and victories over Brighton, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Everton, Luton and Burnley.

Their most recent win over Brighton, secured by goals from Marcos Senesi, Enes Unal and Justin Kluivert, kept them 10th on the table.

Arsenal, though, are a different beast with just one defeat in their past 15 league games. That loss to Villa has made way for victories over Wolves (2-0), Chelsea (5-0) and local rivals Tottenham (3-2).

With the best defence in the competition and the most potent attack – Arsenal have conceded just 28 goals and scored 85 – this is not a game that should get away from them, despite the pressure.

Suggested Bet: Half Time/Full Time – Draw/Arsenal @ $4.75*

Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Manchester City will have the luxury (or pressure) of knowing whether a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers will take them back to the top of the table.

With leaders Arsenal, who are a point ahead of City, playing earlier on Saturday night, any slip-up by the Gunners will be welcome news to Pep Guardiola.

Not that City need a helping hand. Having played a game fewer, victories over Wolves, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham in their last four games will wrap up a fourth successive Premier League title.

They are also accustomed to the pressure that comes over the final weeks of a title-chasing season, which suggests there will be no slip up against Wolves.

After a goalless draw against Arsenal at the end of March, City have won five successive games. A Phil Foden hat-trick helped them to a 4-1 win over Aston Villa and Kevin De Bruyne scored twice in a 4-2 success against Crystal Palace, while defender Josko Gvardiol scored his first Premier League goal in a 5-1 thumping of Luton.

There has also been a recent 4-0 win over Brighton and last weekend’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, which came via another Gvardiol goal and Erling Haaland’s 21st goal of the season.

After the disappointment of exiting the Champions League on penalties against Real Madrid, City can focus on the Premier League and FA Cup – they meet Manchester United in the May 25 final.

Wolves have had some good moments this season, not least a 2-1 win over City at Molineux when Hwang Hee-Chan scored the winner. They have twice beaten Tottenham (2-1 twice) and Chelsea (2-1 and 4-2).

Wolves’ top scorers, Matheus Cunha and Hwang, appear to be over their recent fitness troubles, which is a positive sign for manager Gary O’Neil. Cunha and Hwang have scored 11 goals each.

Suggested Bet: City to win + Total goals over 3.5 + First goal scorer – Erling Haaland (Same Game Multi) @ $3.85*

*Odds correct as at 10am, 2nd May 2024.

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