Martin Laurence has a crack at Friday’s Pick 8, join his Syndicate here!
Saint Etienne vs Marseille – X/2
Marseille are the form team in Ligue 1 right now, rising to second having dropped just two points from the last 18 available. Their attacking players are on fire, scoring 15 goals in their last two matches – even if their last game was against lower league opposition in the cup. Saint Etienne, meanwhile, have won back-to-back games for the first time since the opening three games of the season but both came against modest opposition to say the least. With just one goal in their last five meetings with OM I don’t see the hosts winning a third on the spin.
Fiorentina vs Juventus – 2
Sensing a very real threat to their dominance in Serie A from Napoli, Juventus are turning on the style and look to be close to their best at a crucial time of the campaign. Their 7-0 win over Sassuolo last week was their 13th in a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, in which time they’ve conceded just one goal! A hit and miss Fiorentina side should have no chance.
Millwall vs Cardiff – 1/X/2
Over their New Year blip, the Bluebirds are proving that they can sustain a promotion bid against the odds but a trip to in form Millwall is a potential banana skin. The reverse fixture ended in stalemate and Neil Harris’ are unbeaten in seven at home, despite facing the current top two in that time. It’s a tough one to call but the hosts could frustrate another promotion hopeful this weekend.
Tottenham vs Arsenal – 1
Records can of course go out the window when local rivalries come into the equation but there is no disguising Arsenal’s woeful away record this season. After defeat at Swansea in their last match on the road, the Gunners have won just three of 13 away games, while Tottenham are unbeaten in 12 at home. Pochettino tends to have problems against esteemed opposition away from home but that’s not been the case at Wembley after a shaky start, defeating the likes of Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Manchester United at their temporary home. You should be able to add Arsenal to that list after Saturday.
Sheffield United vs Leeds – 1/2
Two sides that are bang out of form, in terms of results at least, while a catastrophic run would have to occur for Chris Wilder’s position to come under threat, Leeds sacked Thomas Christiansen early in the week. Barnsley born and bred Paul Heckingbottom was something of a shock replacement and will need to get off to a quick start to win over the fans. A stalemate at Hull in their last away outing was the Whites’ first draw on the road all season and while this should be a tight game I wouldn’t back another stalemate.
Stoke vs Brighton – 1
In what is a huge game at the bottom, Stoke know that they can’t afford to lose any more ground on their visitors having seen the Seagulls pull three points clear with a win over West Ham last weekend. Home comforts should be the difference in this one though, with the Potters decent if unspectacular at the Bet365 Stadium while Brighton are dismal on the road, with just two points from the last 21 available.
Swansea vs Burnley – 1/X
Given the form of his Sheffield Wednesday side before his departure late last year, few would have predicted the impact Carlos Carvalhal would have at Swansea. The Welsh outfit were at the foot of the table upon his appointment but climbed out of the relegation zone with another impressive result at Leicester last weekend and followed that up with a morale boosting 8-1 win in the cup in midweek. Burnley picked up a superb point of their own against league leaders Manchester City last time out but a lack of goals has seen their winless run stretch to nine.
West Ham vs Watford – X
A tough game to end the ticket between two of the leagues most depleted sides, Watford’s win against Chelsea gave them a much needed boost last time out though they were helped by a red card for the visitors early on. The Hammers, meanwhile, are struggling without star duo Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic and over their last five home games have a balanced goal difference, with three draws in that time. Another could be on the cards this Saturday.
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