Manchester United V Norwich | Saturday 11th January 2020, 15:00
It was yet another disappointing night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Tuesday as Manchester United were swept aside by their nearest rivals and were rather fortunate to get away with just a two-goal defeat.
United currently find themselves in fifth in the Premier League but are five points behind Chelsea. In theory at least, a home game against Norwich represents their easiest task of the season and failure to win could have a damning effect on the Norwegian’s time at Old Trafford.
I do expect United to win this one but don’t expect it to be comfortable. To date this season, they’ve already lost to strugglers Watford and Bournemouth and at home to Crystal Palace. They’ve also failed to win at home to Aston Villa so there will be very few home fans thinking of this game as a banker.
Norwich’s problems are obvious – they concede too many leads and too many goals in general. To date this term they have let in 41, four more than any other side. They’ve also failed to gain a single point on the 13 occasions they have conceded first. They have however, like United, seen both sides oblige in 13 of their 21 (62%) matches so far this term.
All this leads me to believe that a home win with both sides netting is the way to go, especially with the home side so shorn of defensive options. That is available at 15/8 with Boylesports and obliged when these two met at Carrow Road.
The Norfolk side will certainly cause Solskjaer’s team problems, but Messrs Rashford, James and Martial should make their class count again.
Wolves v Newcastle | Saturday 11th January 2020, 15:00
Every league seems to have a side defying the data and Newcastle are certainly that in the top-flight of English football. Steve Bruce’s side have gained an impressive 25 points from their first 21 matches this season but the Expected Goals (xG) data suggests that should be nearer 15.
The Geordies have been boosted by a lot of single goal victories, often via goals from defenders and there is a concern about the reliance of goals from this area. Striker Joelinton has just one goal from 21 games and the attacking pair of Allan Saint-Maximum and Miguel Almiron have also looked poor in front of goal.
That said, the former in particular is a real asset from open play and he may well be back from injury for this encounter.
Even if the Frenchman is, I like the look of a Wolves victory and Under 3.5 Goals to be scored here. To date this season, Newcastle have lost seven of their 10 away fixtures and only three have contained three goals or fewer. However, those other defeats came against Norwich, Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester United, all of whom tend to see more goals than Wolves games.
This bet has landed in three of Wolves’ four home victories this season and given that the last three games between these two have contained just seven goals, I struggle to see a goalfest.
At 21/20 with Betway it gets my vote.
Manchester United v Norwich – Manchester United to win and Both Teams To Score (15/8 Boylesports)
Wolves v Newcastle – Wolves to win and Under 3.5 Goals (21/20 Betway)