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As the second international break approaches, teams in all four leagues will be looking to sign off this particular part of the season with a win. As things stand going into the weekend’s action, Liverpool, Swansea, Ipswich and Exeter lead the top four divisions in England. Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League means they will remain top regardless of what happens in their fixture against Leicester, but what about the other three? Will they maintain their positions at the top of the Championship, League One and League Two? Charlie Mullan assesses the weekend’s action highlighting some of the bets available.
BTTS and over 2.5 goals between Liverpool and Leicester
What a week it has been for Liverpool. After scraping a 1-0 win at Sheffield United last Saturday, they went through a rollercoaster of emotions on Wednesday night in the Champions League. They saw a 3-0 lead against RB Salzsburg disappear as the Austrians equalised with three goals in 21 minutes either side of half-time, but a Mohamed Salah goal gave the Reds their first win in their defence of the Champions League and their attention now switches to the return of their former manager, Brendan Rodgers.
The Northern-Irish man will fancy his side’s chances of getting something from this fixture which could see goals for both teams. Four of Leicester’s last six league games have seen BTTS land while four of their last five have seen a minimum of 2.5 total goals scored. Leicester (6/1) are 21/2 to win at Anfield despite conceding a goal to Liverpool who are 17/10 to win with goals for both teams. Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals is trading at 21/20 with SportPesa.
BTTS: Arsenal v Bournemouth, Bristol City v Reading, Northampton v Leyton Orient
When Arsenal (5/11) fell behind to Scott McTominay’s goal at Old Trafford on Monday night, there was very little signs of panic throughout the Arsenal team. It was almost like they expected to equalise and they did so on the hour mark to make it their sixth successive league game in which there were goals for both them and their opponents. Not only that, but all three of their home league games this season have seen at least three goals scored which was also the case in Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Standard Liege which they won 4-0.
As for Bournemouth (11/2), they are now becoming regulars on BTTS accumulators given it has landed in all seven of their league games this season. Also, in the last six league games involving the Cherries, there has been three goals or more scored. Last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to West Ham was the fifth game in a row that ended with exactly four goals scored. To win with BTTS landing, Arsenal are priced at 5/4 while the visitors to the Emirates are 31/4 with a score draw trading at 15/4. Both teams to score and over 2.5 total goals is on the market at 20/29 with the Gunners 4/5 to win with a minimum of three total goals while Bournemouth are 19/4 to claim the three points with over 2.5 total goals scored.
Bristol City (21/20) host Reading (53/20) with the Robins hoping to extend their unbeaten run to 10. However, four of City’s last five Championship fixtures have seen the points shared which has halted their progress up the table. The last of those was City’s 1-1 draw at Brentford in midweek when they rescued a point with their equaliser coming three minutes from time.
Reading are finding it hard to get a win. After beating Huddersfield 2-0, they have lost four of their last five games with the other being a 1-1 draw with Steve Cooper’s high-flying Swansea. Fulham taught the Royals a lesson in midweek when they left the Madjeski Stadium with a 4-1 win. Reading’s goal in the 89th minute meant BTTS landed for the third Reading game in a row. The two league meetings last season saw goals for both teams and there is a very good chance history could repeat itself. City are 51/20 to win this game with at least one goal for Reading who are 5/1 to win with BTTS.
Leyton Orient (13/5) travel to Northampton (20/21) wondering if this fixture will turn out to be the ninth successive League Two game involving Orient in which there are goals for both teams. Last weekend’s 3-3 draw at home to Port Vale was the eighth in a row in which BTTS has landed. The first three games the O’s played on their return to the Football League failed to see BTTS happen. Orient face a Northampton team that has drawn their last two games 2-2. The Cobblers are 5/2 to win this game with goals for both Northampton and their visitors who are 21/4 to keep the trend going this weekend. A score draw is trading at 33/10.
2.5+: Man City v Wolves, Derby v Luton, Fleetwood v Ipswich
Wolves (21/1) travel to Manchester City (1/8) on Sunday feeling good about themselves after securing their first win in the Europa Group stage with an injury time goal from Willy Boly beating Besiktas on Thursday night. However, they have never won a league game following a European tie this season and it’s very difficult to see them going to the Etihad and beating the defending champions. However, stranger things have happened.
One thing that could be guaranteed is goals. Every league game City have played this season have produced a minimum of three goals including last week’s 3-1 win at Everton when they needed two goals in the final 20 minutes to beat the Toffees. Wolves have scored two goals in three of their last four Premier League matches and if they can continue that, then it will only take one goal from Pep Guardiola’s side to secure the over 2.5 goals bet. City are priced at 10/23 to win with over 2.5 total goals scored while Wolves are a generous 37/1 to win with at least three total goals scored. Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals is on the market at 7/5.
Derby’s season has already been worthy of a Netflix documentary with their inconsistent performances on the pitch and the off the field shenanigans that saw Richard Keogh’s career plunged into doubt after a car crash which led to two of his team-mates being arrested. All is not well at Pride Park.
A midweek win could have eased the tension around the club, but with virtually the last kick of the game, Barnsley snatched a 2-2 draw. It was the seventh time in Derby’s last eight matches that BTTS had occurred including the last four. Their last two games have seen five and four total goals scored. Luton (13/5) are finding their feet in the Championship and after taking four points from their last two games and they go to Derby (21/20) full of confidence.
Fleetwood (7/5) have been giving spectators watching their matches recently value for money with 15 goals in their last four League One fixtures. All four have had a minimum three goals and if this fixture produced three or more goals, it will be Fleetwood’s seventh league game of the season to do so.
Ipswich (39/20) look set to make an immediate return to the Championship under Paul Lambert as they take a two-point lead at the top of the table to Highbury in what is the game of the day in the division. Last weekend, the Tractor Boys swept past Tranmere 4-1 thanks to three goals in the second half. Over 2.5 total goals is available at 11/10 while Fleetwood are 3/1 to win with three or more total goals scored. Ipswich are 4/1 to win and stay top of the table with over 2.5 total goals scored.