Burnley is back in action for the first time since losing 5-0 at Manchester City on Monday night. The Clarets will be looking to bounce back at home to Watford, who drew 1-1 with Leicester in their first game back. Southampton can reach 40 points for the season if they can beat Arsenal, who has lost their last two matches.
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Caution is the key for both Burnley and Watford
This game at home to Watford cannot come soon enough for Burnley, who was soundly beaten 5-0 away from home for the second time this season when Manchester City was the side doing the damage on Monday night. It was Tottenham who inflicted the previous drubbing at the start of December, and Sean Dyche got a positive response from his players following that loss when Burnley won their next two games 1-0. Dyche will hope for a similar response this time against a Watford side who rescued a point in a 1-1 draw against Leicester despite conceding the opening goal in the 90th minute.
That was the fourth successive EPL game in which the Hornets have failed to score a first half goal. Burnley has scored just three goals before halftime in their last 18 league matches. Therefore, any goals scored in this fixture could come in the second half, which was the case in the reverse fixture at Vicarage Road on November 23 when all three goals came after the interval. I can see this game being a tie at half-time (-103) and probably without a goal (+163) in the opening 45 minutes. Before their capitulation at Manchester City, when they trailed 3-0 at the break, Burnley had started the previous six second periods either leading or tied. In addition, they have been level at halftime in two of their previous three home league games.
Prediction: Tie at half-time (-103)
Players to consider for DraftKings DFS
The absence of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes was all too evident during Burnley’s 5-0 loss at Manchester City. It deprived the Clarets of an outlet option. When they did clear their lines, possession was lost cheaply and City was allowed to attack at will. Barnes remains sidelined with a hernia, but Wood could return to the squad. Jay Rodriguez ($5,800) and Matej Vydra ($5,700) saw very little of the ball at the Etihad and combined for a total score of 3.3 DFS points. If Wood is missing, then the pair really has to impose themselves on the game more and make something happen out of nothing.
Watford is winless in their last four road games and they will have revenge on their mind following their 3-0 loss at Vicarage Road earlier in the season. On a night to forget for everyone wearing a Burnley shirt, Dwight McNeil ($7,800) was the best player on show to score 4.9 points. Your best bet could be James Tarkowski ($3,300), who has good memories playing against Watford. The defender has scored in two of the last three meetings. For Watford, Craig Dawson ($3,500) increased his value by scoring an injury time equalizer at Leicester on Saturday to earn 12.3 DFS points. Fellow defender Christian Kabasele ($2,800) created the goal to weigh-in with 9.6 points – his best return since the Hornets’ 2-0 win against Manchester United. And you can never rule out skipper Troy Deeney ($7,000), who scored one goal and set up another in his side’s famous 3-0 win over Liverpool prior to lockdown.
Prediction: Troy Deeney to score (+160)
Saints to pour more misery on Arsenal
Southampton beat Norwich 3-0 in their first game back following lockdown, while Arsenal lost in their return to action 3-0 at Manchester City before losing 2-1 at Brighton three days later. Based on that, you would expect Southampton to add to Arsenal’s current woes. This will be the Gunners’ third successive road game in the league and their away form suggests this will be another struggle for Mikel Arteta’s side. Any hopes Arsenal had of qualifying for Europe are fading fast, unless they can rediscover the form they showed before lockdown when they were unbeaten in eight with four wins and four draws.
Conceding late goals has become a trend with Arsenal in their last two encounters with Manchester City and Brighton both scoring in the 90th minute or later. However, it was Arsenal who benefited from a very late goal in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, which earned the Gunners a point in a 2-2 draw. Since the last 0-0 draw between these two sides, there have been two or more total goals scored in the last nine meetings with both teams scoring (-177) in four of the last five encounters.
Prediction: Southampton to win the first half (+210)
Players to consider for DraftKings DFS
Stuart Armstrong ($7,100) enhanced his growing reputation with another goal in Friday’s 3-0 win at Norwich. It was his fourth goal in a very impressive season and his third away from home. In two of his last three games, Armstrong has earned 24 or more DFS points, and if he finds his rhythm early, this could be another productive fixture for him. Southampton would be a lot worse off this season without the goals scored by Danny Ings ($9,300), who has contributed 42% of his side’s EPL goals this season. His goal at Norwich was his 16th of the campaign and his eighth away from home. Of the last five league goals Southampton has scored against Arsenal, four of them have come from Ings, who scored twice in the first meeting this season and twice in Arsenal’s visit to St Mary’s last season.
Arsenal’s defeat at Brighton was compounded by the injury to first choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who injured his knee in the 2-1 loss. Emiliano Martinez ($4,400) conceded both goals after taking the gloves and will hope for a better performance at St Mary’s. Martinez has managed two clean sheets in his last nine games for the Gunners, which puts more pressure on his defenders to protect him. Nicolas Pepe ($9,200) was the pick of Arsenal’s players at Brighton, scoring their only goal of the game in his first match since the league returned. Averaging 20.1 points a game, Pepe proved he should be on the teamsheet every game. Buyako Saka ($5,900) also impressed for Arsenal in an attacking sense with an assist and two shots to end the day with 13.4 DFS points. Alexandre Lacazette ($6,600) has three goals in his last two games against the Saints, who he clearly enjoys playing against, and for the value he is right now, he might just be worth taking a chance on.
Prediction: Ings to score (+107)
Set your lineups here: EPL $50K Counter Attack [$10K to 1st].
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