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The Scout provides his selections for this weekend's EPL action, brought to you by the TABtouch Blog.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur – Saturday, October 28 (3am WA time)
Tottenham Hotspur are starting to creep into the title conversation after a run of nine games unbeaten that has taken them two points clear at the top of the Premier League.
This week's win over Fulham, courtesy of goals from James Maddison and Son Heung-Min, was one of seven victories this season. Only Arsenal (2-2) and Brentford (2-2) have prevented Spurs from taking all three points.
Title talk – that is, the possibility of Spurs upsetting defending champions Manchester City in the race for the trophy – seems a little premature but it's hard to argue with the hard facts of success so far. Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou has registered more points in his first nine games than any other manager in a debut Premier League season.
On recent evidence, it's difficult to mount a case in favour of Crystal Palace, whose only win in their past five games was against Manchester United, courtesy of Joachim Andersen's goal. They backed up that success with a goalless draw against Nottingham Forest before last weekend's 4-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
Three draws, three defeats and three victories – Odsonne Edouard scored twice and Eberechi Eze was also on target in a 3-2 win over Wolves, while Edouard also found the net in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United – tells the story of Palace's inconsistency.
Since limping off with a hamstring injury against Manchester United, Eze's absence has made it even tougher for the Eagles, who are likely to be without the England midfielder for at least another couple of weeks. Midfield changes have provided opportunities for Jefferson Lerma, Jairo Riedewald and Jeffrey Schlupp but none have been suitable replacements for Eze.
If Spurs are to stay in the title-race conversation, a comfortable win over Palace is a given. Goals have come easily to Spurs, who have scored two or more in eight of their nine games under Postecoglou. Maddison has shone brightly with three goals and five assists, while Son has scored seven goals.
Suggested Bet: Spurs to win + Maddison to score (Same Game Multi) @ $3.25*
Bournemouth v Burnley – Saturday, October 28 (10pm WA time)
Losing has been a breeze for these two teams who have mustered just a single win between them in 18 fixtures this season.
That solitary success was earned by Burnley, who had Lyle Foster and Jacob Bruun Larsen to thank for their goals in a 2-1 win over Luton Town. A draw against Nottingham Forest, secured through Zeki Amdouni's goal, has been the Clarets only other positive result amidst a sea of seven defeats.
It would be great to be able to say that manager Vincent Kompany's bold approach is starting to pay dividends but we're not in the business of lying. The truth is, Burnley conceded six goals in their opening two games of the season against Manchester City (3-0) and Aston Villa (3-1). They have conceded seven in their most recent outings – a 4-1 home defeat to Chelsea was followed by last weekend's 3-0 loss to Brentford.
Burnley have averaged just 0.78 goals per game and have conceded 2.56 per match. If only they had an opportunity to take on a team this weekend that was just as bad. Step forward Andoni Iraola and Bournemouth.
That's right, second-from-bottom Bournemouth are a point adrift of third-bottom Burnley and have scored only 0.67 goals per game. They do have a marginally better defensive record, although when you have conceded 2.22 goals a game in nine matches, you're not really defending well.
Draws with West Ham, when Dominic Solanke scored a late equaliser, Brentford (Solanke was again on target while David Brooks scored a second) and Chelsea (0-0) have hinted at the possibility of improvement, but Cherries fans are still waiting.
They have conceded 12 goals in losing their most recent four matches against Brighton, Arsenal, Everton and Wolves.
It's hard to see how either of these teams can find a way to win.
Suggested Bet: Draw @ $3.60*
Manchester United v Manchester City – Sunday, October 29 (11.30pm WA time)
The first Manchester derby of the season takes Pep Guardiola's City into dangerous territory, as Erik ten Hag's United aim to extend a three-match winning streak. It's hard to believe but after losing six of their first 10 Premier League and Champions League games, United have scraped past Brentford (2-1) and Sheffield United (2-1) before a midweek win over Copenhagen.
The Champions League victory against the Danes was notable because the club's most maligned players suddenly assumed hero status. Harry Maguire headed home what turned out to be the winner and goalkeeper Andre Onana saved a stoppage-time penalty.
So, after defeats to Crystal Palace and Galatasaray, suddenly things are looking up at Old Trafford. But for how long?
City, who brushed aside Swiss club Young Boys in a midweek Champions League fixture, have not exactly been flying in the Premier League. Last weekend's 2-1 win over Brighton came after league defeats to Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers. It's unusual territory for Guardiola, who has a collection of stars to call on, including Erling Haaland, who scored twice against Young Boys.
The big Norwegian, who broke all sorts of goalscoring records last season, has scored only once in the past four Premier League games – he bagged the second goal against Brighton. And yet, he is still the Premier League's top scorer with nine goals.
It would be just like Haaland to fire up for the derby as he did last season when he scored a hat-trick in a 6-3 win at the Etihad Stadium. Things didn't go quite as well for City at Old Trafford where goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford edged United to a 2-1 win after Jack Grealish had opened the scoring for the visitors.
The tale of the season so far is that second-placed City are six places and six points above United, who go into this weekend's fixtures in eighth place.
While City continue to be free scoring (they average 2.11 goals per game), United have struggled up front (1.22 per match). Their problems are made all the more obvious by the fact that midfielder Scott McTominay is their leading scorer with three goals.Suggested Bet: City to win + Both teams to score NO + Under 2.5 goals (Same Game Multi) @ $4.25*
*Odds correct as at 9am, 26th October 2023.MARKET