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Martin Laurence’s Pick 6 Preview

Burnley vs Manchester United

It’s been a tricky spell for Burnley, whose position in seventh place in the Premier League is finally coming under threat after a run of just three points from six games. The fixture list at the turn of the year has been unfavourable to say the least, so a meeting with United hardly offers any respite. Mourinho’s men have bounced back from three draws with comfortable wins over Everton and Stoke and looked back on form against the latter with Paul Pogba running the show.

The hosts never roll over, particularly at Turf Moor, but their confidence will have no doubt taken a hit and an away win seems inevitable to me, even if the margin of victory is narrow.

0-1 / 0-2 / 1-2

 

Leicester vs Watford

Watford will have taken confidence from their late comeback against Southampton but there’s no disguising the fact that Marco Silva’s men have seemingly ran out of steam over the busy winter period. The Hornets’ only victory in their last ten league games came against their hosts this weekend, who will be keen to exact revenge as a result.

Following a dip in fortunes after a bright start under Claude Puel, the Foxes look a force once again and were unfortunate not to be ahead at Chelsea before grinding out a point when reduced to 10-men. With Riyad Mahrez in fine form and Jamie Vardy back fit I’d expect a home win but Watford very rarely fail to score, doing so just twice in 13 matches since the beginning of November.

3-1 / 2-1

 

West Ham vs Bournemouth

Both of these teams were in FA Cup replay action in the week but while West Ham secured a late win over Shrewsbury, the Cherries were picked off by an understrength Wigan side and played a day later than their hosts to boot. The morale will still be relatively high following the excellent win over Arsenal last weekend but the same can be said of the Hammers, who have climbed to 11th in the table.

David Moyes’ appointment has had the sort of impact that so few would have predicted, with the Scot able to get the best out of the star players at the club where Slaven Bilic failed. Indeed, with Arnautovic and Lanzini on song and in tune with one another, a narrow home win seems the most likely outcome.

2-1 / 1-0 / 1-1

Sheffield Wednesday vs Cardiff

Jos Luhukay has a big job on his hands to lift the gloom that is taking over at Sheffield Wednesday right now, but did at least get off to a decent enough start in the Steel City derby last weekend. Cardiff were down in the dumps a little themselves following four straight defeats but returned to form in fine fashion with a second half demolition of lowly Sunderland, proving they are more than willing and able to heap misery on those in desperate need of a win.

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The Bluebirds were in action in the cup in midweek too, securing progression to the fourth round, and back-to-back victories will have boosted their spirits ahead of what is now becoming a favourable trip to Hillsborough. The Owls have lost their last three in the league at home and I’m banking on that becoming four in Saturday’s late kick-off.

0-2 / 1-2

 

Southampton vs Tottenham

The reverse fixture on Boxing Day ended in a seven-goal thriller and while I don’t think we’ll see quite the same sort of game at St. Mary’s, Pochettino’s return promises to be an entertaining one. Tottenham have found their form in front of goal again after all and Harry Kane is just two goals away from joining the Premier League’s 100-club. He’ll sense a real opportunity to do so on Sunday, given that his goals so frequently come in twos and threes.

With Yoshida out and Van Dijk now gone, Saints’ defensive resolve isn’t what it once was and hasn’t been all season in truth, while their struggles for goals at the other end are well documented. Another win to nil should be on the cards for Spurs.

0-2 / 0-3

 

 

Inter vs Roma

Two sides that until recently harboured aspirations of a title challenge, it’s fair to say both Inter – winless in five – and Roma – winless in three – could do with a statement victory in Serie A right now.
While they have faced tricky fixtures over the last few weeks, it’s been a disappointing spell for both, epitomised by their struggles in front of goal, with the visitors scoring just three and the hosts just twice in their last five matches respectively.

That said, their defences have remained relatively tight, so while there’s plenty of firepower at both ends it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was a frustrating night for the strikers once more. It’s too tough to separate for me, so a score draw is my prediction in San Ciro.

 

1-1 / AOD

 

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