There are three games to enjoy this Premier League Saturday, starting with Manchester City taking on Leeds at the Etihad Stadium.
City need just 11 points from their remaining seven league fixtures to guarantee winning a fifth Premier League title, and the odds would suggest they will pick up another three here as they have won 27 of their past 28 matches in all competitions.
Leeds gave them a good game at Elland Road in October, drawing 1-1, and are sure to attack again. But this City team is now a very different animal and an open game could suit them to a tee.
City have a crucial Champions League game to consider midweek, and that means changes are likely from the side that played on Wednesday.
Gabriel Jesus only came on in the second half of City’s match on Wednesday, and thus is likely to start today. He’s one goal away from becoming just the second Brazilian player to reach 50 Premier League goals, after Roberto Firmino, and we’ll take a punt that he scores a brace today.
The second game sees Liverpool host Aston Villa, keen to avenge their 7-2 thrashing at Villa Park earlier in the season.
That said, the Reds haven’t taken all three points at Anfield in any of their past eight games there since the middle of December. They showed the same worrying defensive lapses against Real Madrid midweek, and the team knows the pressure is on in terms of claiming a top four position.
Villa can afford to sit deep and hit Liverpool on the counterattack, a policy that has worked well for the opposition in the recent past. Ollie Watkins scored a hat trick against the Reds in the reverse fixture. He has the pace to trouble the Liverpool back four and scored last weekend. We’ll take the 7/2 on offer that he scores any time today.
The late game sees Crystal Palace take on Chelsea at Selhurst Park. The Blues are in a similar position to Liverpool, in that they need all the points possible to try and claim a top four spot, but they enter the game on the back of an excellent win against Porto in Spain midweek.
That victory was important given last weekend’s 5-2 defeat to West Brom, and the whole club can now put that surprise loss down to being a one-off, maintaining their confidence.
Crystal Palace underlined how solid they are with their draw against Everton on Monday, but they have lost their last six league matches against tonight’s opponents, their worst run in this fixture.
We think Palace will try and make things difficult for their illustrious opponents, by sitting back and playing on the break.This would mean Chelsea have a lot of ball in midfield – step forward Mason Mount.
The midfielder has become one of Chelsea’s most important players, forcing his way into the England team in the process. He loves to shoot from distance – 55% of his shots have been from outside the box this season – and has scored six times. We’ll take a punt he nets from outside the penalty area tonight.
Man City/Leeds: Jesus to score a brace, 1 pt, at 7/1, SkyBet
Liverpool/Aston Villa: Watkins to score anytime, 1 pt, at 7/2, Paddy Power
Crystal Palace/Chelsea: Mount to score from outside the penalty area, 1 pt, at 16/1, SkyBet