Wolves v Leeds
7th place Wolves host the relegation threatened Leeds United in a game both sides will be targeting 3 points for differing reasons. Wolves have recovered from a dip in form with 2 wins on the bounce against Watford and Everton, sides in a similar position to Leeds themselves.
Lage’s side have rediscovered their foundations for their form, picking up back to back clean sheets in their wins, taking their tally to 11 for the season, only bettered by the top 4. Molineux has been a sight for close games this season, seeing just 26 goals, showing the defensive resilience of this Wolves side. Contrast that with a Leeds side who have shipped 36 goals on their travels at over 2.5 per game. Against a defensively stable side, Leeds conceding so many and failing to keep a clean sheet in 15 is a recipe for disaster.
Defensive issues have been the main reason for Leeds’ poor away form with just two wins in 14 road games. Leeds have failed to score in their past 3 away games (all defeats) include against one of the worst defensive units in Leicester.
Leeds are without Cooper, Phillips, Roberts, Firpo and possibly Rodrigo tonight meaning Marsch will have to shuffle the pack to fit his 4-2-3-1 system with the lack of a number 10, a particularly key position against a 3-4-3 to play through the lines. A more defensive Leeds midfield should free up the creativity of Ruben Neves, who has a goal and assist in his last two performances.
I can’t look past Wolves to win in this game at such good value of 2.2. Traditionally, Wolves have a good record in this fixture going unbeaten in their last 6 games against Leeds, even when Leeds were the better side last season. Now Wolves are pushing for Europe and Leeds battling relegation and I expect them to bring home 3 points today.
Aston Villa v Arsenal
The sole Saturday fixture of this week will see Arsenal look to complete the double over a Villa side who have found their form in front of goal recently. Villa return to Villa Park looking to add to their 4-0 victory over Southampton in their last home game.
Arsenal were upstaged by the seemingly invincible Liverpool on Wednesday night. Goals from Jota, and Firmino saw off the Gunners as they barely had a sniff, outclassed from start to finish. Despite that, Arsenal are in fine form, winning 5 on the bounce before Liverpool and will look to go for 3 points at Villa to extend their gap over 5th place for that UCL spot.
As both Arsenal and Villa look to return to form after defeats, I’m expecting both sides to go for the 3 points. Villa don’t exactly play without confidence at home and over 2.5 goals has landed in 69% of their home games across the season, even when their attack wasn’t blending at the start of the season. The Gunners have also found a balance going forward led by the phenomenal form of Martin Odegaard, scoring 2 or more in their last 4 games before Liverpool.
Over 2.5 Goals landed in the reverse fixture this season as the Gunners beat an out of sorts Villa side 3-1. They face a much tougher Villa team today who will pose more of a threat at home and going forward particularly.
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