Tottenham are the hosts as Manchester United go in search of a sixth straight win under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be desperate to wipe the smile off the Norwegian’s face at Wembley.
The mood is good at United but Sunday’s fixture will be the toughest test of Solskjaer’s short reign.
Before that, West Ham and Arsenal kick off the latest round of Premier League fixtures at lunchtime on Saturday with Manchester City and Wolves rounding things off on Monday night.
Here’s our game-by-game betting guide with the matches kicking off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated otherwise.
West Ham v Arsenal – Saturday 12.30pm
Marko Arnautovic has had his head turned by the Chinese Super League and it’s terrible timing for Manuel Pellegrini, who is determined to keep hold of a player who has three goals in his last two games. But Arnautovic isn’t the type to take rejection well and you’ve got to wonder how much the transfer talk will affect him against the Gunners. The hosts are already outsiders (13/5 with the visitors 21/20), have won just one of their last 21 meetings with Arsenal and have conceded at least once in their last eight league games at home. But only Bournemouth, Burnley and Fulham have a leakier defence on the road than inconsistent Arsenal, so going for goals should be the safety net in this one. More than 3.5 in the game is 11/8 and more than 4.5 is 3/1. Andy Carroll is not guaranteed a start under Pellegrini but he loves a goal against the Gunners, four in his last two home games against them and he bagged his first of the season last week against Birmingham. He’s 13/2 for the opener and the same price for the last goal (check the line-up first).
Marko Arnautovic is wanted by a team in China but West Ham are desperate to keep him
Brighton v Liverpool
Two defeats in a row – by Man City and Wolves – is not a crisis. Having a treatment room full of central defenders… that could be. Liverpool still have Virgil van Dijk fit, this season the best in the league in his position, but with Dejan Lovren lasting just six minutes of the FA Cup loss to Wolves and Joe Gomez and Joel Matip already sidelined, Fabinho looks set to play at the back. Brighton might fancy their chances of taking advantage but they’ve lost all three Premier League games against the Reds with the aggregate the score standing at 10-1. An away win is no better than 1/3 but you can get Liverpool at 11/5 to win with both teams scoring.
Virgil van Dijk (left) is the only fit central defender Jurgen Klopp has to call on this weekend
Burnley v Fulham
The FA Cup came at the wrong time for Burnley as they were enjoying their best spell of the season in the league, a monster TWO-GAME winning run. That’s how bad it’s been this term for Sean Dyche and Co but they made it three straight victories against Barnsley and should be backed for a fourth when Fulham arrive. They’re 29/20 to take the points or 15/4 to win by a one-goal margin. You can get 21/10 with Sky Bet they win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1. Chris Wood has been on the scoresheet on all three of their recent wins and is available at 6/1 for the opener or 11/5 at any time. He’s 7/2 in the score-win double.
Cardiff v Huddersfield
Cardiff will welcome Huddersfield with open arms considering their last two visitors, Man United and Tottenham, smashed home eight goals between them. But before United and Spurs stormed south Wales, Brighton, Wolves and Southampton were all sent packing and the Terriers, whose FA Cup loss at Bristol City last weekend followed eight straight defeats in the league, should also leave with their tails between their legs. The hosts can be backed at 13/10 for the win while them to be winning at half-time and full-time also appeals at 3/1.
Crystal Palace v Watford
Two wins and five goals from 10 home games is a miserable return and a stinking state of affairs for Palace fans to put up with at Selhurst Park, and it’s hard to see them getting the better of a Watford side who have lost just one of their last six away games in all competitions. On the plus side for Palace they remain one of the tightest units on their own patch and only Chelsea and Liverpool have conceded fewer home goals than their nine or kept more clean sheets than their four. A draw is the best bet here – at 12/5 – while 0-0 is worth a nibble at 9/1.
Leicester v Southampton
The likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell missed Leicester’s FA Cup defeat by Newport and Claude Puel was probably wishing he did too after the decision to rotate his team backfired at Rodney Parade. With his big guns back for the visit of his old team, it’s hard to make a case for Saints, winless in four now the Ralph Hasenhuttl honeymoon is over. Leicester can edge this. They’re evens for the points or 17/5 by a one-goal margin.
Chelsea v Newcastle – Saturday 5.30pm
It will be no surprise to see Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle trying to strangle the life out of this one, that’s how he sets up against the big clubs, and in seven games against teams from the top six this season he’s lost five of them by the odd goal. On this occasion he might not have to squeeze too hard to keep the damage down as scoring has become a bit of an issue for the Blues – three blanks in their last six in all competitions. But they should still be backed against a Toon side on a 12-game winless streak away from home against the big six, a run where they’ve lost the last nine, and a steady if unspectacular 2-0 might appeal to correct-score backers at 5/1.
Chelsea, with Eden Hazard in their ranks, should have enough in the tank to get past Newcastle
Everton v Bournemouth – Sunday 2.15pm
Nikola Vlasic this week claimed the football Everton were playing under Sam Allardyce was ‘awful’ and whether the midfielder, who is on loan in Russia, is right or wrong, the same word could be used to describe the results under current boss Marco Silva. Two wins in their last nine, and one of them a narrow affair against League Two Lincoln. Mistakes aren’t just creeping in, they’re barging in and making themselves comfy as, according to Opta, Everton have made more errors leading to opposition shots in the last eight games than they did in the 13 matches before. If they give Bournemouth a sniff they could be in trouble but a draw looks the best bet here and all square with both teams scoring is 4/1.
Tottenham v Man United – Sunday 4.30pm
Five straight wins, a smiling manager, a few days in the sun and a night out with young players singing initiation songs – life as a Manchester United player is good again. Now for the first real test of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s short reign. Anyone who took Solskjaer to win his first four league games at the 9/2 flagged up in these pages a few weeks ago will be enjoying their winnings while those who took the 16/1 he took maximum points from his opening five in the top flight will be hoping everything comes together for United at Wembley. That’s the only way they’ll leave with Solskjaer’s 100 per cent record intact. It’s impossible to see United not conceding but it would be wrong to expect a goal rush from the hosts, despite their 3-0 win against United earlier in the season. That was at Old Trafford and it’s been written almost weekly that Spurs have won more, lost fewer and scored more goals away from Wembley. In four of their last six at the national stadium they only managed a single goal and with United back to rippling the net for fun, the 13/5 for an away win is worth a punt. United are 5/1 to win with both teams scoring. Solskjaer is still 4/1 to get the job beyond his short-term deal with the man in the opposite dugout on Sunday, Mauricio Pochettino, still heading that market at 7/4.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli will be hoping to wipe the smile off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s face
Man City v Wolves – Monday 8pm
It’s a bet365 bet builder for the Monday night game. Raheem Sterling ended his own mini drought with a goal in his last game, against Rotherham, and fit-again Kevin De Bruyne is making up for lost time. Get on them both to score. In their last 13 games City have only shut out non-Premier League sides Rotherham and Burton (although they did hammer 16 goals past them) and in most of their recent games the combined corner count has been in single figures. So, De Bruyne and Sterling at any time, under nine corners in the match and both teams to score – 33/1.
Kevin De Bruyne is back for Manchester City and forms part of this week’s bet builder
BEST BETS FOR THE WEEKEND
HOMES: Burnley, Cardiff, Hull, Portsmouth, Mansfield 26/1 several firms
AWAYS: Stoke, Swansea, Scunthorpe 33/1 bet365
DRAWS: Everton v Bournemouth, Birmingham v Middlesbrough, West Brom v Norwich 42/1 several firms
ANYTIME SCORER: Andy Carroll, Callum Wilson, Chris Wood 26/1 Betway
Both teams to score in first half: Brighton v Liverpool, West Ham v Arsenal 18/1 several firms