FRESH from a treble in his last Premier League piece, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) analyses this week’s midweek card.
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace | Tuesday 19:45
This is fascinating and should tell us lots. As we know, Sam Allardyce hasn’t had the impact at Crystal Palace most people suspected and this fixture cranks up the pressure further.
Form figures of P8 W1 D2 L5 are not what Palace fans were hoping for and Allardyce is still waiting for his first win in the league – the platform that really counts for the ex-England boss of course.
Arsenal are the only Top 6 side Palace have faced under Allardyce and defeats against Swansea and West Ham alongside a home draw against weak Watford doesn’t bode well.
The South London side have a torrid end to the season on the fixture list with them facing all of the Top 6 in their final 11 league matches. Before those games kick in though they have five matches they can target something from, starting here against Bournemouth.
The thing that unites these sides is their proclivity for conceding goals. Palace have leaked 41 while Bournemouth bring 39 to the table (a far worse figure than their league position of 12th suggests).
Palace have conceded in their last eight league matches and have just one clean sheet in their last 27 Premier League games – a shocking statistic.
On paper their defence hasn’t ever really looked up to a top-half/mid-table Premier League standard and that has certainly came home to roost in the last year.
Bournemouth’s figures are just as alarming with leaks in 11 of their last 14 conquests. The damaging thing for the Cherries is the volume of the goals they’re conceding per game.
From those 11 games, not one featured just a single goal in their net. Eight of them saw exactly scored three against them with the other three featuring two goals in their debit column.
Goals haven’t been an issue at the other end though with the Cherries scoring in 11 of their last 12 league games. It’s less clear for Palace in this department but I do think with the stakes so high and Bournemouth’s questionable defence they’ll be able to take advantage.
At 37/50 it’s not the biggest price I’ll put up but I’m more than happy to get involved with Both Teams To Score. Let’s hope a scrappy bottom half of the table clash prevails.
Burnley v Leicester | Tuesday 19:45
We’ve been here before gentlemen, many times in fact, but why stop now eh? While Burnley keep winning at home at handsome prices why oppose them?
Yeah I know their data is shit. But the most important bit of data is this home record: P12 W8 D1 L3. Eight wins from their first 12 home matches is the best run from a promoted side since Blackburn in 1992/93. Hats off Sean Dyche.
It’s worth reiterating again that most of the damage to their home record stems from earlier in the season. Perhaps a bit rusty in their new Premier League surroundings they lost to Swansea at Turf Moor on the opening day of the season and dropped points against Hull in September.
Home defeats have taken place of course, well just two, and they came against Top 6 sides Arsenal and Manchester City. The former of those was very much an unlucky last minute loss. All in all though, what a record.
For Leicester, you just sense an uneasy three and a half months ahead. They lie in the bottom six, they haven’t won away this Premier League season, players are tweeting against the manager accusing him of disloyalty, will their Champions League exit send them further down this black hole?
It’s certainly worrying times and you’d be hard pressed to back them with any confidence. They’ve won just one of their last seven league matches and haven’t won away in nearly 10 months in the league.
Leicester’s spirit looks brittle at the moment (the antitheses of last year) and they come up here against a side with truckloads of spirit on their unfashionable home patch. At 19/10 Burnley can’t be ignored and because of that big price they’re available at Evens on the Draw No Bet market.
Middlesbrough v West Ham | Tuesday 19:45
Middlesbrough make my column for the third consecutive time and I’m taking the opposite route to Saturday by taking them on here on Tuesday night.
By all accounts Boro were pretty blunt on Saturday against Accrington in the FA Cup and their 1-0 win was tough to take for those of us who had backed them -1.5. Hopefully I’ll get revenge here.
It’s not been a great few weeks for the club. They haven’t won since before Christmas in the league and have scored just three goals in their last five PL matches.
It’s no secret that this team are struggling in the final third and with just 18 goals notched all season in the league they lie rock bottom in the scorers table.
On top of this, manager Aitor Karanka has upset the fans with post-match remarks and he seems hugely irritated and grumpy most of the time in press conferences. The vibes aren’t great on and off the pitch.
Opponents West Brom have lots to be happy about. They sit 8th in the table and have no relegation concerns to worry about over the next four months.
Yes, there’s a sense of disconnect between fans and manager Tony Pulis, but it’s not having any effect on what’s happening on the pitch at the moment.
West Brom have won three of their last four league matches and haven’t lost to a side outside the Top 6 since September. Middlesbrough are miles off the Top 6.
Albion have been the perfect example of flat track bullies this season and I’d be surprised if they lost on Tuesday night. It’s Draw No Bet West Brom for me at 11/10.
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace – Both Teams To Score (37/50 Marathon Bet)
Burnley v Leicester – Burnley Draw No Bet (Evens Marathon Bet)
Middlesbrough v West Brom – West Brom Draw No Bet (11/10 Marathon Bet)