ALEX CROOK

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

ALEX CROOK PREVIEW: The Return of the Premier League

Star Sports football ambassador Alex Crook looks ahead to the return of the Premier League following the international break…


⚫ NEWCASTLE v WEST HAM ⚒️

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It never rains but it pours for Newcastle when it comes to injuries.

The treatment room at St James’s Park has resembled a scene from Casualty for much of the season with Sven Botman the latest admission after being ruled out for up to nine months with a knee issue while midfielder Lewis Miley is also sidelined after being injured on England under-21 duty.

In contrast, West Ham have a pretty clean bill of health and look a huge price for the win at 11/4 with starsports.bet.

Newcastle have just two of their last seven games and their season is in danger of ebbing tamely away following a lacklustre FA Cup exit at Manchester City. They have also conceded 15 goals in their last six league outings.

Victory for David Moyes’s side would open up a seven-point lead on their hosts in the race for a European place and as long as Lucas Paqueta stays fit they should be more than capable of a top seven finish.

The Brazilian is the player that really makes the Hammers tick and has built up a an almost telepathic understanding with summer signing Mohammed Kudus.

I like the look of Kudus at 31/10 with starsports.bet to score at any time. The Ghanaian netted his first Premier League goal in the reverse meeting at London Stadium and can take advantage of Newcastle’s defensive frailties, assuming he recovers from the shoulder problem that ruled him out of international duty.


🐝 BRENTFORD v MANCHESTER UNITED 🔴

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Manchester United have had so many false dawns this season that it is hard to predict with any certainty whether their incredible last-gasp FA Cup quarter-final victory at home to Liverpool can be the turning point of the season.

Even if it proves to be the case it is probably too late for the Red Devils to salvage a Champions League place given they trial fourth-placed Aston Villa by nine points and are six points behind Tottenham in fifth.

However, it is still imperative that Erik ten Hag’s side finish the season strongly to help convince new minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe that the Dutchman is the right manager to take them forward.

Hardly a day goes by when a new name is not linked with the Old Trafford hot-seat, but my understanding is there is still every chance ten Hag can save his job and victory at a Brentford side in freefall to back up their Liverpool heroics would be a big step in the right direction.

The Bees have lost seven of their last nine games and can count themselves fortunate that both Everton and Nottingham Forest have been hit by points deductions and that the three clubs promoted from the Championship last season have struggled to put wins on the board.

Defensively Thomas Frank’s side have been all over the place in recent games and United have the attacking weapons to take advantage, but are vulnerable at the back themselves so I am expecting goals.

Rasmus Hojlund was in brilliant form before his recent injury lay-off but made his comeback for Denmark during the international break and will surely go straight back into the United team while Ivan Toney’s confidence will be sky high after scoring on his full England debut against Belgium in mid-week.

A build-a-bet of United to win and both Hojlund and Toney to score pays around 7/1 with starsports.bet.


🔴 LIVERPOOL v BRIGHTON 🔵

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Liverpool have the advantage of playing before championship rivals Manchester City and Arsenal face-off at the Etihad on Sunday and can lay down a marker in the title race by beating Brighton to go top, for a few hours at least.

Jurgen Klopp’s troops were left reeling by Amad Diallo’s late sucker punch goal at Old Trafford that ended their hopes of a quadruple, but the Reds did more than enough to win that FA Cup quarter-final so I’m not expecting any sort of hangover this weekend.

In fact, inconsistent Brighton may find themselves facing the wrath of a wounded animal when the pair step out at an expectant Anfield.

The Seagulls have proved themselves a thorn in Liverpool’s side in recent seasons but their current form does not suggest they are capable of producing any kind of upset, especially given the Merseysiders near perfect home record this season.

They can score goals but concede too many and clean sheets have been in short supply.

Even the absence of Mo Salah did not prove a major disruption and it is seriously impressive that they have managed to get to this stage of the season with only two league defeats to their name.

Salah made a goalscoring return in the cup defeat at United and will be the first name on a lot of fantasy league manager’s team sheets. I am backing the Egyptian to inspire his team to a pretty straightforward victory and a build-a-bet of Liverpool to win, over 3.5 goals in the game and Salah to score at any time comes in at around 2/1 with starsports.bet.

I will also be playing a small treble on Manchester United, given they are odds against, West Ham and Liverpool at 12/1 with starsports.bet.

Good luck,

ALEX CROOK


RECOMMENDED BETS
BACK West Ham to win 1pt at 11/4 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Mohammed Kudus to score at any time 1pt at 10/3 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

Build-a-bet: Manchester United to win and both Rasmus Hojlund and Ivan Toney to score 1pt at 7/1 with starsports.bet

Build-a-bet: Liverpool to win, Mo Salah to score and over 3.5 goals 1.5pts at 2/1 with starsports.bet

Weekend treble: Manchester United, West Ham and Liverpool 0.5pts at 12/1 (⭐️ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


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