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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Don't rule out Burnley at massive odds

The tactical expert speaks his mind

Burnley manager Sean Dyche
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Best bet for the weekend
Burnley to get a draw at Manchester City at 10-1. I’m opening myself up to ridicule here, but Burnley are tremendous at denying the opposition shots from good positions, and City have seemed determined to work the ball into those positions – I think they could find themselves frustrated.

Vulnerable favourite
Chelsea have been very disappointing in their last three matches, and look too short against Watford.

I’m not completely sold on Marco Silva’s side, who were disappointingly passive for an hour against Arsenal, but if Watford press early to replicate Roma’s midweek approach they could cause Chelsea problems.

Where’s the value at Wembley on Sunday?
I’m backing a draw at 5-2. Premier League games between Klopp and Pochettino have produced three draws from four matches – the exception was at Anfield last year, when Sadio Mane stole the show.

He’s out this weekend, though, so I forecast another stalemate.

Who would be a good fit for the Leicester job?
Sean Dyche seems the natural choice. He’s proved excellent with a defensively-minded, well-organised, counter-attacking Burnley side, and he could step up to the next level with Leicester’s attacking talent.

Some suggest bigger clubs might be in for him, but stylistically I can’t see him suiting Everton as much as Leicester.

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Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

Kevin Pullein

Name the four European World Cup playoff winners
Switzerland, Denmark, Croatia and Italy seem the obvious choices, although I’m far from convinced by Italy, who have been playing a ludicrously open system under Gian Piero Ventura and might be troubled by a well-organised, if uninspiring, Sweden side.

Give us a midweek winner
I think Arsenal will hammer Norwich, who have the derby away at Ipswich on Sunday and therefore barely any preparation time for a trip to the Emirates on Tuesday.

That means a choice between very tired players, and an inadequate second string. Arsenal are also in action on Sunday but clearly have more depth.

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I’m opening myself up to ridicule here, but Burnley are tremendous at denying the opposition shots from good positions
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