Arsenal vs Bournemouth
I can’t see anything other than a dominant Arsenal performance here as they host a Bournemouth side who have been appalling on the road this season.
The Cherries’ 1-0 win at Wolves was just their 2nd of the season and no side has lost more away matches (8) than the visitors in this one.
8 points from 36 available has been the defining factor in Gary O’Neil’s side finding themselves 2nd bottom.
Following the loss to City, Arsenal have bounced back with 3 good wins; most recently dismantling Everton 4-0 at The Emirates in midweek.
Arsenal have won 9/12 at home this season, record that can only be bettered by Man City.
Bournemouth suffer a huge 2.03 xGA on average when playing away. With Arsenal in the goal scoring groove, particularly with the switch to Martinelli at striker, they should make light work of their lowly opponents.
Middlesbrough vs Reading
Micheal Carrick has transformed this Boro side, leading them on an incredible charge up the table and in to contention for an automatic play-off place.
Their hopes were dealt a blow by the loss to West Brom last time out, nonetheless they should get back on track against Reading this afternoon.
Boro have won 6 straight home games in the Championship and haven’t tasted defeat here since October.
Reading started the season brilliantly but since then it’s been a steady decline which now leaves them in 14th.
Their away form has been hugely detrimental to their hopes of a play-off push.
The Royals have the 2nd worst away record in the division. Only Huddersfield (10) have taken fewer points than Reading’s 11.
They’ve managed 1 point in their last 6 away league games and have failed to score in each of their last two (vs Cardiff & Sunderland). In fact, it’s just 1 win since September on the road for Paul Ince’s side.
With Chuba Akpom rattling in 19 goals so far this season, Boro have one of the most dangerous players in the division at their disposal.
In their last 3 home games, Akpom has netted 5 goals.
Ipswich vs Burton
Ipswich are hunting down Plymouth in 2nd after Argyle picked up a solitary point from their last 2 matches.
The Tractor boys have won 2 on the spin, scoring 5 & conceding 0.
At home they’ve lost just 1 game all season. Scoring 33 and conceding 12 in 16 matches.
Burton have picked up a good handful of points lately and pulled themselves somewhat clear of the relegation mire.
This is a very tough test though. Ipswich have one of the best squads in the league and are a cut above Burton in basically every aspect.
Ipswich’s metrics at home are exceptional. They average 2.25 xGF and an xGA of just 0.68 – basically they create loads of chances and barely allow their opponents any.
They dominate the ball too, with 60% on average and they’re taking nearly 17 shots per game.
Burton are shipping over 2 goals per game on the road on average and I’d expect more of the same here.