Some midweek madness in the English Premier League this week
Tuesday 10th February
20.00 Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
It’s all about Spurs star man, Harry Kane, at the moment. His star is rising faster than a speeding bullet, his powers becoming more apparent than a rapid advance of male pattern baldness (which, judging by his hair line, should kick in when he hits his late 20’s) etc etc. Whatever the hyperbole, the young man is the form centre forward in the league at the moment.
He put Arsenal to the sword with two goals at the weekend, the second of which being an incredibly well crafted header that’s well worth checking out. Enjoy him now before the fanfare reaches nauseating levels. Liverpool should be worried about Kane. Their defence has had an admirable resolve of late, having conceded three goals in their last eight matches.
The issue is that the shield in front of the defence, Lucas Leiva, has picked up an injury that will mean some tinkering on the part of manager Brendan Rodgers. Should he set up with Gerard and Henderson as the two midfielders in front of the defence or will he bring Emre Can up from the back three to fill on of those two slots? Rodgers can draw comfort from the fact that his team destroyed Spurs earlier this season and will hope to once again get the better of Spurs this time around. Not surprisingly, the bookies make Liverpool favourites to win but with Kane, Erikson and the rest of the Spurs team playing so well at the moment, the odds of 7/2 from Betfred for the Spurs win are well worth a think.
Wednesday 11th February
19.45 Chelsea v Everton
This feels like a strange match to preview given that the ‘advice’ will be to consider options other than what seem like the most obvious outcome. Chelsea are now seven points ahead of their nearest rivals, Manchester City – seven points is the largest gap in points between consecutively placed teams in the league table. Chelsea aren’t quite playing as consistently well as they did in their imperious pre-Christmas form but there has been little flukey about their hold on top position. Mind you, they have been fortunate to see the previously gaining Manchester City fade back into the distance and they are, most likely, the only team left that can present Mourinho with any real challenge.
Actually, forget about the opening line altogether. This column was entertaining notions of a rejuvenated Lukaku coming out with a beast of a performance that hassles and harries Chelsea all night to grab an unlikely win away at their hosts. Seriously, though, how likely is that? The dreamers among you will love the 21/2 being offered by Betvictor for the Everton win but the jaded realist’s will nod sagely at the 1/3 for the Chelsea win from just about everyone.
19.45 Southampton v West Ham
This column had a slight fancy on a wobble for Southampton against QPR last time out but was (weirdly…) proven wrong on that. We won’t be making that mistake again. Instead, this time we’ll push for the draw. Southampton have one of the meanest defences in all of Europe, in spite of the fact that they sold two of last season’s starting back four for about £50 million last summer. Funnily enough, though, their home form isn’t quite as you good as you might think (W1 D1 L2 since the start of the year) and West Ham will fancy getting something from this match. Their away form is usually good enough to get at least a point and any losses are rarely a spanking. They have the players capable of getting goals and are more than able to keep their defence tight should they need to fall back. Totesport, among many others, are offering 14/5 for the draw.