Premier League preview: Will Lukaku decide the Merseyside derby?

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Liverpool vs Everton

Everton are agonisingly close to achieving one of their main goals for the season by closing the gap on Liverpool. Based purely on their form over the past few months, the Toffees would be favourites, but they don’t have a great record against their Merseyside rivals.

The Reds haven’t lost to them in the league since 2010, and over their last six derbies, Everton have lost three and drawn three. However, if you’re choosing to back the Blues at 18/5, Romelu Lukaku could be the difference – Liverpool will be without Adam Lallana, whereas Ronald Koeman has a proven goalscorer he can rely on week in, week out. That could just give Everton the edge.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

Just when Palace looked like getting out of trouble, they’re likely to face a setback here. Sam Allardyce will probably have written this one off, as have the bookies, with the visitors at 10/1. Eden Hazard has been on the sidelines so even if he does return, Diego Costa is the man to back to score first at 9/4.

Burnley vs Tottenham

Tottenham haven’t won an away game in the Premier League since New Year’s Day, but that’s partly because they’ve had a run of games at home.

The big question will be how they cope without Harry Kane, and Dele Alli will be many fans’ choice to score first at 4/1. Christian Eriksen is another decent shout at 6/1, the Dane having scored 10 goals already this season from midfield.

Man United vs West Brom

Jose Mourinho has made no secret of the fact that he’s had serious selection problems going into this one. That will be no excuse if they don’t pick up the three points, though, as West Brom just aren’t the same away from home.

The Baggies have conceded 10 goals in their last four games on the road, and even without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, United should win comfortably. That is, their performance should be good, but it could well go under 2.5 goals, which is at 21/10.

Watford vs Sunderland

Jermain Defoe will no doubt still be on a high from his goal for England against Lithuania. The trouble is, he’s shown time and again this season that he’s basically a one-man team. The 35-year-old may be the most obvious goalscorer on the pitch, but Troy Deeney may be a more sensible choice to score first at 4/1.

Hull vs West Ham

Hull’s revival under Marco Silva has been severely tested in recent weeks. Oddly, West Ham are also much better away from the apparently cursed London Stadium. The Hammers are 19/10 to pick up the three points, just as they’ve done three of the last four times they’ve faced Hull.

Leicester vs Stoke

There doesn’t seem to be any stopping Leicester at the moment.
Still unbeaten under Craig Shakespeare, they’ll fancy their chances against erratic Stoke. Strangely, the Foxes are only at evens to win this one, despite the fact that the momentum is clearly with them. Alternatively, they’re at 2/1 to win by 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1.

Southampton vs Bournemouth

This could be a difficult one to call, so sitting on the fence, a draw is at 3/1. For Eddie Howe, this season has been all about proving his credentials for a top job – should it come up – and he’s done that by steering the Cherries out of their recent crisis with seven points out of their last possible nine.

SkyBet have boosted the odds of Josh King up to 9/1, which could be a real blessing as he’s netted five goals in his last four games.