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Tough tests for northeast teams whilst West Ham hit the road

Three exciting Saturday afternoon fixtures will be taking place, as Sunderland visit high-fliers Southampton, Newcastle United welcome feisty Leicester City and Sam Allardyce aims to celebrate his birthday with a win as West Ham United take on Burnley.

Southampton v Sunderland
Saints coach Ronald Koeman and Italy attacker Graziano Pelle will be aiming to enjoy their moment in the spotlight, after being crowned Premier League Manager and Player of the Month respectively.

The duo will be hoping to impress yet again, with poacher Pelle 6/1 to bag a brace or better and add to his current tally of four league goals in six games.

Gus Poyet’s Sunderland side, meanwhile, will make their way to the south coast to face a Southampton team who have yet to lose on home turf in all competitions this term. Koeman’s well-organised outfit have conceded just one goal at St Mary’s, making them odds-on favourites at 4/7 to take all three points and 29/20 to win to nil.

Despite failing to taste triumph on the road so far this season, the Black Cats seem to have had luck on their side in recent clashes with the Saints, and have not lost to their upcoming opponents in their previous eight encounters. Three score draws in the last five clashes between the two teams means they are good value at 11/4 to split the spoils once more.

Poyet’s boys have also finally found form, defeating Stoke City 3-1 last time out, and are an enticing 11/2 to make it two wins on the trot. Scotland international Steven Fletcher was the talk of the town after emerging from his goal drought to score two against the Potters, and is 7/1 to fire home first and be the one to break the resistance of Koeman’s excellent backline.

Newcastle United v Leicester City
Under-pressure Alan Pardew secured some much-needed breathing space after the Magpies earned a point against Swansea City, but is still waiting to steer Newcastle (11/10 to win) to their first Premier League victory of the season.

The Toon Army have a fairly impressive recent record against the Foxes, having defeated them 49 times in league and cup, but Nigel Pearson’s tenacious team (5/2 to claim all three points) are a different prospect to past Leicester sides.

Pearson in particular will have something to prove, as he returns to his old stomping ground, having managed the Magpies in two brief caretaker stints between 2007 and 2008.

In a boost for the St James’ Park faithful, Dutch duo Tim Krul and Daryl Janmaat are both expected to be fit, whilst prolific Papiss Cisse (5/1 to fire home two or more) will be hoping to thrill the home fans once again after netting four times in three appearances. His opposite number, Leicester star striker Leonardo Ulloa (11/2 to open scoring), will also be aiming to get a goal and overcome the disappointment of missing out on an Argentina call-up.

Burnley v West Ham United
The Hammers head north to face Burnley, who will be buoyed after finally finding their scoring boots last time out against Leicester. The Clarets (13/8 to win) are still to claim their first Premier League scalp this season and will be hoping to ruin Sam Allardyce’s birthday celebrations by defeating the east Londoners at Turf Moor.

Michael Kightly fired home first against the Foxes to break Burnley’s six game scoring duck, and is available at 10/1 to open the floodgates once again.

Allardyce’s side (7/4 to triumph) boast a superior goal threat, however, with summer signing Diafra Sako strengthening the Hammers’ attack significantly. After netting four times in his last four appearances, the Senegalese striker is 15/8 to score anytime, with a re-energised Stewart Downing 20/1 to complete his renaissance by hitting home first.

Neither Sean Dyche’s side, nor their visitors, are renowned for their gung-ho approach, so are also good value at 21/10 to end the match on even terms.