West Brom and Villa in derby duel plus Palace clash with Stoke
Stoke City coach Mark Hughes believes the Potters, just five points above the drop zone, are in a “false position” and “other clubs will be looking too that they are in a false position like us.”
Hughes’ side take on Crystal Palace (2/1 with Coral to be relegated) who, despite a recent rub of the green, are also dangling perilously close to the trap door.
In what could be a crucial round of fixtures that may shape the bottom of the Premier League heading into Christmas, struggling West Bromwich Albion also face a resurgent Aston Villa.
West Brom v Aston Villa
It will be a short journey for Villa, as they make their way to The Hawthorns for an eagerly awaited derby duel.
The visiting Villans are 11/4 for victory, which is no surprise considering they have been defeated just twice by the Baggies in their past 24 battles.
Paul Lamberts men will head into the clash with confidence after staging a comeback triumph against Leicester City last time out, and are now aiming to secure three wins in a row.
It was not the results but the performances that will have thrilled the Villa Park faithful, with Gabriel Agbonlahor (7/1 to strike first), Christian Benteke, Ciaran Clark and Alan Hutton all putting in impressive shifts.
Brilliant frontman Benteke has a history of tormenting the hosts, having netted two in his last four appearances against the Baggies, making him 5/4 to score anytime.
In a boost for the Villans, they may be able to welcome back Fabian Delph, although midfield partner Ashley Westwood is still sidelined.
West Brom, meanwhile, have been woeful in recent weeks and are without a win in five. Leading man Saido Berahino’s pace and directness is always a danger to opposition defences, however, so he is 5/1 to open the scoring on home turf.
Crystal Palace v Stoke City
Neil Warnock and Hughes revive their rivalry as the Potters head to Selhurst Park. Stoke have enjoyed mixed results this term and have yet to register back-to-back victories in the Premier League.
However, after downing Arsenal, Hughes’ men should be high in confidence and are 2/1 favourites to take all three points.
An impressive attack featuring former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic, 11/4 to score anytime, in sensational form and Peter Crouch, 13/2 to draw first blood again, could trouble the hosts.
Warnock’s side should also beware Mame Biram Diouf and Jon Walters, who is 7/1 to close the scoring, but have shown in recent outings that they can shut out some of the best.
The Eagles have taken points from clashes with Liverpool, Swansea City and Tottenham this term and can benefit from Stoke’s dodgy away form.
Australia skipper, and AFC International Player of the Year, Mile Jedinak was the last to be on target for the Londoners, and is 4/1 to net again anytime.
With both clubs’ inconsistencies on show, a draw at 11/5 may be the best value, with Palace also at 6/4 to thrill home fans with a win.