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Fool Britannia Rule Britannia; Lambo out to play his Trump card with Stoke.

MAN CITY'S defeat at Liverpool last week won't stop them strolling to the title but at the other end there is a fascinating fight to avoid the drop.

Just 10 points separate the Premier League's bottom 12 so it's no surprise chairmen get edgy if their club loses three or four on the spin.

The three sides occupying the relegation places have all changed managers this season while above them Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace brought in experienced men who have been instant successes.

Paul Lambert is the latest boss to join the drop fight after replacing Mark Hughes at Stoke. His appointment is probably the most underwhelming of the season and Potteries fans would have been less surprised if Donald Trump had taken over.

Paddy Power reacted by paying out on Stoke to go down and while that's harsh they are third favourites at 13-8 with bet365 behind West Brom (6-5, William Hill) and Swansea (1-4, Betfred).

Huddersfield are 2-1 at BetVictor and they provide Lambo's first opponents at the Britannia today. It's vital the Scot gets off to a fast start but this is a tough test.

David Wagner's visitors will press and press and make life uncomfortable for a side lacking in confidence. New bosses usually give clubs a bounce but I'm backing the draw here at 12-5 with McBookie.

Everton's fast start under Sam Allardyce has been halted, which is probably why they were so keen to sign Theo Walcott as well as striker Cenk Tosun. It's six without a win but I'm on the Toffees at 6-5 with Marathonbet to get back on track at home to West Brom.

West Ham and Bournemouth both fielded weakened teams in midweek FA Cup replays ahead of today's meeting in London. The Hammers are now unbeaten in six and are evens with bet365 to pick up the points.

With doubts about the future of Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez, boss Davie Moyes has given Marko Arnautovic a free role in attack and he's responded with five goals in seven outings. The Austrian was one of those left out against Shrewsbury and is 6-1 at Sky Bet to score first.

Arsenal look in poor shape on and off the field with Alexis Sanchez moving closer to the exit door and their defence a mess at Bournemouth.

Palace will give them a good test at the Emirates and tempt some at 6-1 with McBookie. Roy Hodgson's men were unlucky to lose 3-2 at home after Christmas and I'm on Palace not to lose at 17-10 with Unibet.

Man City, 1-33 for the title, host Newcastle in the tea-time game.

Newcastle's last four Premier League visits to the Etihad have resulted in 6-1, 5-0, 4-0 and 4-0 defeats. Based on that consider City minus three at 11-4 with betfair while minus two pays 11-10. Over 3.5 match goals is 19-20 at Marathonbet. Best bets in the Championship are Aston Villa who are 4-7 at McBookie to make it four league wins in a row against Barnsley. Leaders Wolves should see off Nottm Forest and are 9-20 at Marathonbet.

CAPTION(S):

PAUL IN Lambert is hoping to lift Stoke and, below, Theo Walcott

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 20, 2018
Words:533
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