The key storylines in Wednesday’s Premier League games
The bulk of the midweek Premier League action arrives on Wednesday night, and there are some intriguing fixtures lined up.
Claude Puel returns to his old club as Leicester City boss, while a big-money Manchester United signing is looking to rediscover his form against a side he’s torn apart before.
They’re just a couple of the big midweek storylines the Coral News Team are casting their eye over…
Puel on course for happy homecoming at St Mary’s
Claude Puel oversaw a respectable but forgettable season at the Southampton helm last term, before getting the boot. And the Frenchman returns to St Mary’s for the first time as Leicester boss.
The early signs suggest the former Monaco gaffer could be in the process of transforming the Foxes fortunes. Leicester have now won three successive Premier League games, including a comfortable victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
As for the club who sacked the 56-year-old, they’ve managed just two wins in 11 Prem matches. The signs suggest their former manager could heap more misery on Saints, with Leicester to Win good value at 11/4.
Perfect fixture for Lukaku to banish the blues
Manchester United slumped to a first home defeat since November 2016 against fierce rivals Man City on Sunday. And much of the blame was aimed at striker Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian was ineffectual in attack, and at fault for both of the visitors’ goals. Having now scored just twice since the end of September, some around Old Trafford are beginning to have their doubts about the 24-year-old.
However, Wednesday’s meeting with AFC Bournemouth could be just the tonic for the Red Devils man.
Lukaku has managed six goals in his previous five meetings with the Cherries. And seven of his eight league goals for United have come against clubs in the bottom half of the Prem. The marquee summer signing is 4/5 in the Anytime Scorer market.
Make no mistake…Magpies are in a relegation battle
Of the three sides promoted from last season’s Championship, Newcastle United were widely considered to be the best equipped.
Having lifted the title under former Champions League-winning boss Rafa Benitez, they spent the summer bringing in highly-rated prospects like Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo.
But things have not gone to plan on Tyneside. The Magpies now sit just two points above the drop zone, and are bottom of the form book – with one point from five games.
In truth, they’ve deserved no more than they’ve got. A series of disjointed recent displays have seen Newcastle lose 3-0 at home to Watford, and go from 1-0 up to 3-1 down at Old Trafford in under 20 minutes.
Whether it’s communication, tactics or personnel which needs to change, the Magpies need to sort things fast. They host Everton on Wednesday night, with the visitors currently looking the better bet for victory at 11/5.
Can Irons see off another capital heavyweight?
West Ham United fans had had precious little to cheer ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Chelsea, but that had all changed by mid-afternoon. Marko Arnautovic’s sixth-minute goal was enough to win it for the Irons in a battling display.
However, the upcoming game against Arsenal at London Stadium could indicate whether that was a one-off display or a sign of improvement under David Moyes.
Past history suggests you’d be unwise to write the Irons off in this game. They won 2-0 at the Emirates in August 2015, and came within minutes of doing the double over the Gunners later that season.
For the visitors’ part, they’ve been a model of inconsistency this season. That makes a Hammers’ win something of a risky bet, but the Double Chance: West Ham or Draw looks backable at 17/4.
There are three more Prem fixtures on the cards on Wednesday night. Wilfried Bony faces his old club as Swansea City host Manchester City.
Elsewhere, Liverpool are at home to West Bromwich Albion, while Tottenham Hotspur face Brighton & Hove Albion.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing