Basement battlers Burnley, Palace and Leicester all in action
The fight to avoid the Premier League trap door could take a twist this weekend, as Burnley tussle with Crystal Palace (2/1 with Coral to be relegated) at Turf Moor, bottom dwellers Leicester City host Stoke City and Aston Villa (11/4) duel with Liverpool.
Aston Villa v Liverpool
It was only earlier this season in September that Villa boss Paul Lambert was being hailed as a master tactician. The Villans, 15/4 to defeat Liverpool for the second time this term, enjoyed a fine start to the season, which included a 1-0 triumph over the Reds at Anfield.
Fast-forward to just a few months later and the Birmingham-based boss is now under-fire, as Villa have slumped to six league outings without a win, netting just once along the way.
Creativity has clearly been the Villa Park club’s downfall, but new signing Carles Gil, a talented young playmaker plucked from Valencia for £3.2m, should provide a much needed boast.
Back Lambert’s new signing Gil, 4/1 to score anytime, to have an immediate impact, with sharpshooter Christian Benteke also great value at 7/4 in the same market to end his goal drought against Liverpool’s rickety rearguard.
Brendan Rodgers’ Reds were not at their best when they last met upcoming hosts Aston Villa, but the Merseyside men appear reinvigorated of late with four wins from their last five games.
As the resurgent Reds have triumphed on their past three visits to Villa Park, Liverpool are odds-on at 4/5 to win, with top scorer and skipper Steven Gerrard 6/1 to fire home first.
Burnley v Crystal Palace
New Palace boss Alan Pardew got off to a great start against Tottenham last time out and will be hoping the buzz from his arrival at Selhurst Park hasn’t worn off yet.
At 9/4 to oversee a second league triumph on the trot, Pardew and injury-plagued Palace can pick both scorers from the Spurs victory.
Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon are 15/8 and 10/3 in the anytime market respectively, while much is also expected of Wilfried Zaha after his excellent cameo.
Hosts Burnley also boast promising predators, and the dynamic duo of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes are 9/2 and 5/1 to strike first and last respectively.
The Clarets are 11/8 to take all three points in front of the home faithful, but backing a draw at 11/5 may be more prudent as these two teams split the spoils in their early encounter this season and have done so in 17 of their previous duels.
Leicester City v Stoke City
The Foxes, 8/5 to win, may be propping up the Premier League table but their escape plan has already begun in earnest.
After securing three wins from their last four outings, including 1-0 victories over Aston Villa and Newcastle United, back the Midlands men at 13/2 to triumph over Stoke with the same scoreline.
Frontman Leonardo Ulloa is 11/2 to be on target first, but Nigel Pearson is still awaiting clearance to field new striker signing Andrej Kramaric.
The visiting Potters are always tough to beat but have been troubled on their travels, losing five of their last eight.
A 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal cannot have helped morale, but Mark Hughes’ side are still 21/10 to draw.