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Premier League Tips: January 4th

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Leeds United vs West Ham United

Wednesday night’s clash at Elland Road is a huge game with both clubs too close for comfort to the relegation zone.

Leeds managed a creditable 0-0 draw with Newcastle last time out, but Leeds have only won three of their eight home games. Undoubtedly, they will be looking to put that right against the Hammers and they are capable of scoring goals.

The goalless draw on Tyneside was a defensive approach which has not been seen too often from Jesse Marsch – and they will not be so cautious at Elland Road.  Both teams have scored in Leeds’ last five games prior to the Newcastle game and Leeds did manage to find a way to breach Man City’s defence at Elland Road last week.

The two previous home games also saw plenty of goals with the Whites losing a five-goal thriller with Fulham before they defeated Bournemouth 4-3.  Only twice have they managed shut-outs in West Yorkshire and West Ham, who have won their last two visits to Elland Road, will be hopeful of scoring.

David Moyes accepts he is under pressure after a run of five straight defeats. They did give it a good go at Arsenal in their last away game and were in front until the 53rd minute when Arsenal then took over.

But only Forest have a worse away record than Moyes’ men and confidence could be a big problem for the Hammers.  There’s no doubt they would both love to get a ‘W’ next to their records, but it may just pay to go with the draw.

Key Stats

  • West Ham have lost their last five PL matches
  • West Ham have scored at least two goals in their last five matches against Leeds in all competitions
  • West Ham have conceded at least two goals in their last four PL matches
  • West Ham have won their last two PL trips to Elland Road 2-1

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham’s return to Premier League action after the World Cup has been underwhelming to say the least.

A draw at Brentford was quickly followed by a home defeat to Aston Villa which was met with boos at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

And now all eyes will be on Selhurst Park to see how Harry Kane and Co react to Antonio Conte’s explosive post-match remarks.

The Italian, who guided Spurs into the top four last season, has tried to temper expectations this time around with Spurs sitting in fifth spot, two points off fourth place.

Conte described their finish last season as “a miracle” and said he could not guarantee anything this time around, such is the high standard in the Premier League.

Just how his players react to being labelled “little guns” as opposed to the “bazookas” arriving at their competitors remains to be seen.

A reaction is needed and quickly otherwise you get the feeling that things could turn rotten quickly in north London.  But a glance at Spurs’ defensive record tells you they are struggling to keep their opponents at bay. They have conceded at least two goals in their last seven Premier League games.

Their last clean sheet was in October and another would be more than welcome for Conte right now.  Palace have been strong at home and the 3-0 home defeat to Fulham came out of the blue.

Palace failed to have a shot on target and were well beaten by the Cottagers, but Patrick Vieira’s men got back to winning ways at Bournemouth.

Palace have beaten Aston Villa, Leeds, Wolves and Southampton at Selhurst Park and they will try to put Spurs under pressure early and see how Spurs respond.

Palace surrendered possession against Bournemouth but they still managed 15 shots – if they can get anywhere near that against Spurs, you would fancy them to get on the scoresheet.

Given Spurs’ defensive problems it looks like a game in which both teams will score – and it could be a game with plenty of goals.

Key Stats

  • Tottenham have conceded at least two goals in their last seven PL matches
  • Crystal Palace and Tottenham have registered over 2.5 goals in their last three matches in all competitions

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