RIGHT ON TYNE
With the prospect of Saudi Arabian oil money still sloshing about, it is amazing what can be done for a player who now needs to save their career and with Newcastle moving quickly out of the blocks on Sunday, the Magpies now find themselves comfortably in mid-table.
Considering Steve Bruce was a name that Newcastle supporters refused to mention at the start of the season, it is testament to the hard work that he has put in and the results, his players have gone onto achieve.
Whether Bruce is still in charge for the start of the 2020/21 campaign remains to be seen and, in all honesty, there is arguably a bigger question mark over whether the Saudi takeover of Newcastle goes ahead or not.
That is something that cannot be answered in the next week or so and therefore, the focus shifts to the visit of Aston Villa in midweek and with Dean Smith’s men picking up a solitary point from their last two home outings, things are looking pretty bleak for the West Midlands outfit.
Once again, it was their defensive issues that came home to roost on Sunday and after conceding two quickfire goals to Chelsea after the interval, their surprise 1-0 lead at the break was wiped out.
Newcastle’s confidence and especially that of Joelinton’s will be high after such an impressive win over Sheffield United – a team that Villa themselves, could only draw with last Wednesday and with that in mind, there does seem to be a decent bit of value in a Newcastle home win.
Summary: Back the Magpies in midweek, at odds of 2.30
SPURS TO KICK ON
After being held to a 1-1 draw on Friday night, Tottenham’s faint hopes of a top four finish look all but evaporated now and although a Champions League return looks unlikely, they cannot throw in the towel just yet.
There’s always the argument of whether finishing ninth instead of sixth is beneficial the following season as in doing so, it leaves a club without any midweek European competitions and instead, they can put their full attention into the domestic programme instead.
Yes the gaming of this particular system has paid dividends in the past and both Leicester and Chelsea will be exponents of that. However, parking a European trip for a year does come with a caveat and one that means, you must go on and win the title instead or the sacrifice is for nothing.
Something that could prove a stretch too far for Tottenham and therefore, they may be better off aiming for a sixth place finish and in turn playing in next season’s Europa League – which in turn, could eventually offer a backdoor route into the 2021/22 edition of the Champions League.
Then again, we are probably getting a little ahead of ourselves in terms of Tottenham’s Euro roadmap and instead, the focus should be on Tuesday night’s clash with West Ham, one that they should win rather comfortably.
Summary: Back Tottenham to win, at odds of 1.70
SAINTS VS GUNNERS
With Southampton all but safe from the threat of relegation, there’s always the question of what happens in the final eight games of the season. Do they kick on and try and finish as high up the table as possible, or do they take their foot off the gas.
On the evidence of what was witnessed on Friday, it seems as if the Saints are going to opt for the former and with upcoming opponents Arsenal having lost their last two away games, it could mean rich pickings for the South Coast outfit.
On paper, Arsenal do have the better squad but as Brighton showed on Saturday, football matches aren’t won on paper and therefore, the Gunners know that they will be in for a fight at the St Mary’s Stadium.
With Danny Ings and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot, backing either or even both to score anytime at odds of 2.20, is arguably the shrewdest move in ths one.
In addition to that, Southampton will look to take advantage of Arsenal’s away day woes and although they may lack the overall quality to land a third straight killer blow, Saints and a double chance seems a good combination.
Especially when you consider that Arsenal will be without Bernd Leno through injury and this has the potential to make their backline even more porous. With that in mind, Southampton at 1.50 on the double chance, could be a solid accumulator addition.
Summary: Back the hitmen to score, back the Saints not to lose.