Week in Sport Betting Preview : Redemption for Jose Mourinho and Anthony Joshua
- 2-8 December
- Live on Sky Sports and Amazon Prime
The festive bonanza of football really kicks off this week with Premier League action from Tuesday to Thursday as squads are stretched and the managerial merry-go-round really begins to spin. There is also a monumental fight on Saturday in Saudi Arabia as Anthony Joshua attempts to gain revenge over Andy Ruiz in their rematch for heavyweight supremacy.
Mourinho to teach Solskjaer a lesson
Arguably the tastiest contest of the Premier League week sees Manchester United host their former manager Jose Mourinho, who is riding a wave of momentum since taking over as Tottenham boss. The Portuguese has won all three of his games in charge of Spurs, scoring 10 goals in the process. It has not been completely perfect as the north Londoners have conceded six goals across those games, but three wins from three is all the Special One could have hoped for.
In contrast, United are really struggling to muster up victories, especially in the Premier League, in which they have managed just four this season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Spurs have come up with only one more, but two of them have come since Mourinho arrived. The Red Devils were pretty dreadful in a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday and were very lucky to come away with a 3-3 draw from Sheffield United the previous week.
Mourinho has plenty of work to do at Tottenham, but they look a clearly better side than United at the moment. The Red Devils have a better goalkeeper, but the Spurs defence, midfield and front line is superior to United’s and they are also in better form. Solskjaer’s side are dangerous, and Spurs’ defence is still leaky, so we can expect United to score, but Tottenham should pick up a fourth straight win on Wednesday night.
The Foxes to Have No Problems with the Hornets
Arguably the most impressive side in the Premier League this season has been Leicester City who are sitting second in the table having won their last six league games and seven in all competitions. The Foxes have the best defence in the division, conceding just nine goals in 14 games, while they have the second best attack, netting 33 times.
They are wonderful stats and numbers that Watford can only dream of as they prop up the table with just one win and eight points to their names. Quique Sanchez Flores has been sacked, following Javi Gracia out of the door and now the Hornets are searching for their third manager of the season as the Championship looks their most likely destination.
Watford have proved completely blunt this campaign, scoring just nine goals in 14 contests and it is unlikely they will find a cutting edge against the solid defence that Brendan Rodgers has put together since arriving at Leicester. It is a wonderfully balanced back five, which offers a brilliant centre-back partnership and attack-minded full-backs in front of an excellent goalkeeper.
There is little to suggest that Watford can achieve much at all against Leicester, other than the vague idea of a change in management creating a spark somewhere in the squad. The Hornets don’t score goals and the Foxes don’t concede them. Leicester will win this one and without too much trouble.
Joshua to Get his Gold Back in the Gulf
Away from British shores, one of the country’s biggest stars will be in action on Saturday night as Anthony Joshua looks for redemption after his stunning loss to Andy Ruiz in June.
AJ went to Madison Square Garden, New York to make his American debut against the enormous underdog in Ruiz, expected to make short work of him and set up a super fight against the likes of Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. The Destroyer ripped up the script on that Saturday night, fighting back from an early knockdown and stopping Joshua in the seventh after dropping the Brit four times.
It was a superb performance from the Mexican-American at the world’s most famous arena and leaves him with the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO heavyweight titles. Joshua is looking to get all his gold back, but it will be far from easy, despite going in as a considerable favourite again.
Joshua will have all the physical advantages that he enjoyed, and failed to make the most of, in the first fight, with four inches in height and eight in reach over his opponent. The weights will be very interesting this time around, with both men expected to come in lighter than six months ago. Ruiz was 20lbs heavier last time and there might be a similar difference this time around with both men likely to come in around 10lbs lighter. Both should be faster, more agile and confident of not gassing out over 12 rounds.
Despite being the heavier man in the first contest, Ruiz clearly has the faster hands and probably the faster feet as well. He will likely retain this advantage despite Joshua trimming down as the Destroyer simply has these natural talents that his foe does not possess. AJ has natural power that Ruiz cannot boast, but both men have their own physical gifts.
The key to this fight is whether Joshua can use his natural advantages properly this time around having completely failed to do so last time around. Can he keep the much shorter man at range with his jab and have him fearing the huge right hand whenever he attempts a charge forward? This is what trainer Rob McCracken will have been drilling into his charge, to keep it simple and nullify the threats of the champion.
Even during the first fight McCracken was trying to get Joshua to simply employ his jab and look for a one-two whenever necessary. This will be the tactics they will look to use in Saudi Arabia, it will not necessarily be a classic contest, they will look to do what they did in the win over Joseph Parker in March 2018, box their way to victory against the smaller man. It is a plan that Wladimir Klitschko used successfully for years and Joshua, who desperately needs to win this fight, will be happy to do it.
Ruiz is capable of causing serious trouble again, but really a lot of his success in the first fight came from an unusual punch behind the ear of Joshua which scrambled his senses. Without that happening and with AJ boxing a lot quicker and smarter this time around, this could be a pretty forgettable 12 round victory for the Olympic gold medallist.
- Man Utd have not won back-to-back Premier League games for over six months
- There has not been a draw in Man Utd vs Tottenham in the last 10 meetings
- Spurs are now six games without defeat in all competitions
- Leicester have won 10 of their last 12 Premier League games
- Watford have scored just nine goals this season, five less than any other team
- The Hornets have won just one games this season and are already six points adrift of safety
- The Foxes have scored 33 goals in 14 games, second only to Manchester City
- Anthony Joshua has a four inch height and eight inch reach advantage over Andy Ruiz
- Joshua was ahead on two judges’ scorecards when he was stopped by Ruiz in the first fight
- Ruiz has a knockout ratio of 64.71% with Joshua’s at 91.3%