The fight for top spot isn’t really there at the moment with Chelsea possessing a healthy 9 point lead over Tottenham in 2nd. As far as genuine title contenders go outside of Chelsea, it’s probably fair to say Tottenham have had the best credentials thus far. Just 2 games lost for the season and the best defence in the league with just 16 goals conceded. But there’s a feeling now that Manchester City are starting to come back into calculations just 1 point off 2nd spot and coming off 2 wins. The injection of Gabriel Jesus in attack will be a huge factor in their chances for the remainder of the season especially with 3 goals in his last 2 matches. It adds a little more to the title race that was starting to tire a bit with Chelsea still way ahead.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 11th Feb
Match Day 24 Best Bet: Double Chance West Brom (vs West Ham) at $1.62
Head to Head multi Bet: Arsenal Win ($1.3), Stoke Win ($2.15), Chelsea Win ($1.4), Manchester City Win ($1.45) = $5.67
Arsenal vs Hull
The Gunners are on a bit of a horror run of form losing their last two against Watford and Chelsea. The loss to Chelsea was always going to be a tough match but the Watford loss was a shock and one they’ll want to rectify here against Hull at home. Having slipped now to 4th, a win is critical this weekend and the pressure will be on with Hull having won on the road at Liverpool last time out. It should make for an interesting match as Hull won’t approach this game with as much fear or hesitancy as they may have previously before that win at Liverpool. Arsenal though, even despite their midfield crisis, should be strong enough to withstand a spirited Hull.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals $1.47 (90%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83
Manchester United vs Watford
The Hornets have found some genuine form lately which gives them a great base heading into this match against Manchester United. They’re undefeated in their last 4 which includes an away win at Arsenal and although this is at Old Trafford, it’s by no means a sure thing for the home side. United may have only lost once at home this season but the Draws column looks a whole lot different. Currently they have had to settle for more draws than wins at home with 6. They’ll have a bit of a fight on their hands here too with Watford looking a transformed side in attack. Deeney (3 goals in his last 3 games) has been well supported up front by Niang particularly in their win over Burnley when he contributed a goal and an assist. The addition also of Cleverly on loan in midfield gives them a different option pushing forward and right now they look a better side as a result. They could trouble United a bit here as these are the sorts of sides when in form that United don’t like playing at home though in the end a win for United looks the slightly more likely outcome in a low scoring contest.
Predicted score: Manchester United 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.17 (80%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2.5
Middlesbrough vs Everton
Without a league win since 18th December the frustration for Middlesbrough will continue to build. They play Everton this weekend who are in some pretty good form particularly with an in form Lukaku up front who smashed in 4 goals last time out. One thing that Middlesbrough do have though is the equal 4th best defence in the league with just the 27 goals conceded which is funnily enough shared with Everton. This weekend may be a difficult one though as Everton are starting to build some momentum away from home. They’re on a 4 game undefeated run on the road which should put them in good stead here.
Predicted score: Everton 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.59 (85%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $1.91
Stoke vs Crystal Palace
Both of these sides are coming off a loss last time out but Palace in particular will be fighting for every point here given they sit in 19th and 2 points off safety. The issue they have though is they will be down in confidence after losing 4-0 at home to bottom of the table Sunderland. To have that result leading into a tough away fixture at Stoke will be quite difficult to turn around. Stoke have been in solid form at home lately where they are on a 6 game unbeaten run (albeit 4 draws in all of that). That makes it a tough ask for Palace but you will often get a response from the players after such a poor result last time out and there’s every chance Palace can do that here. They have an injection of new players that should help them along the way with the potential debuts of Sako and Milivojevic who will be keen to turn things around. Expect a response from Palace, perhaps not a winning one but at least a much more competitive one.
Predicted score: Stoke 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $2.13 (80%)
Next Best: Stoke to win either half at $1.55
Sunderland vs Southampton
Suddenly for Sunderland they’ve found themselves some form with a draw at Tottenham and then a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace last time out. They now host Southampton who have dropped in form lately winning just once in their last 6 games. A lot of that can be attributed to key injuries but mostly their form has been built off a lack of goal scoring power. They’ve worked to address that long term with the signing of Gabbiadini who scored on debut against West Ham last week. That’s a good start but they need to kick that into gear here against Sunderland who’ve conceded 42 times this season. Whether they have enough to claim the 3 points is questionable but with Sunderland looking competitive, this could be a pretty even contest overall.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Sunderland to win either half at $2.29 (75%)
Next Best: Sunderland Double Chance at $1.8
West Ham vs West Brom
Both of these sides enjoyed wins last time out with West Ham now sitting comfortably inside the top 10 with 3 wins in their last 4. This is a tough game for them though as West Brom have been really good this season. You could argue that they could do with more goals than the 32 that they currently have, but this is a vast improvement on their overall total for all of last season when they scored 34. Even defensively they have been rock solid in comparison where they have conceded just 29 times so far this season compared to 48 overall for all of the previous season in the league. So despite the form of West Ham, this presents as a big challenge. The Hammers don’t have the greatest home record this season where they have won 5 and lost 5 from their 12 matches. In saying that, it’s difficult to deny the recent form of West Ham where they have also scored 9 times in their last 4. In the end it doesn’t look like there is a clear winner and a draw does look a fitting result right now.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Double Chance West Brom at $1.62 (90%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.8
Liverpool vs Tottenham
The matchup of the weekend here with Liverpool hosting Tottenham. There’s been some great contests between these two in recent times and you can quite simply throw out recent form, particularly for Liverpool. Liverpool have been on a really poor run without a win in their last 5 matches where the goals have really seemed to dry up. They’ve scored 7 times in their last 6 compared to 45 in their previous 18 matches. Add to that a shaky defence and you have a worry on your hands in you are a Liverpool supporter. It’s not the right time, but Liverpool’s lack of focus on recruiting in defence in recent seasons will continue to let them down. Looking ahead to this match though, they will have some things in their favour. Tottenham’s away form is questionable with just 4 wins this season. Their 6 draws keeps them competitive but they have far from excelled on the road. Liverpool are also undefeated in their last 6 against Tottenham at home so there’s a challenge for Tottenham to overcome that. A win here for Tottenham would keep them in the title race, especially if Chelsea slip up, but truth be told this may be a match where things aren’t so simple and Liverpool will certainly get themselves up for this against a top 4 side.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.85 (80%)
Next Best: Both Teams to score – Yes at $1.67
Burnley vs Chelsea
This is a more interesting match than what it looks like initially. Burnley have the 3rd best home record in the league this season where they have lost only 3 times. Their defensive record too is very strong where they have conceded just 11 times in 13 games. That’s something Chelsea should be careful of heading into this one regardless of their own position in the league. Burnley’s 3 losses at home have come to Swansea (1-0) Arsenal (1-0), Manchester City (2-1) which are clearly all very close matches on the scoreboard and it’s been that way most of season. Taking Chelsea’s position and form out of this, this does look like a danger game where they could drop points. Expect a tough a scrappy contest one where luck will come into it more than anything. Chelsea might win but don’t expect it to be easy and the element of luck questions any level of certainty in this match at all.
Predicted score: Chelsea 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.9 (75%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2.3
Swansea vs Leicester
One side is on the up here and the other can’t seem to get off the ground when away from home. It’s a stunning but not all that surprising that last season’s League winners Leicester are struggling this season. Leicester still just have 3 points on the road this season and are in now real danger of relegation which in itself would be stunning. Swansea on the other hand have turned around their fortunes with 3 wins in their last 5 and have a chance to secure win number 7 this week to give them an extra buffer on the drop zone where they currently have a 2 point gap. Leicester still have the capabilities, they just don’t have the confidence or form to warrant anything other than another loss this weekend. It’s looking grim and particularly against a side on the up.
Predicted score: Swansea 2-1
Best Bet: Swansea Draw No Bet at $1.67 (90%)
Next Best: Swansea to win at $2.37
Bournemouth vs Manchester City
After coming off a 6-3 loss on the road, you don’t want to be coming home to be then playing a top 4 side on the up. That’s what is happening this week with Manchester City looking to continue their upward trend winning their last 2 matches. It won’t necessarily be an easy win but City have the excitement machine in Gabriel Jesus who looks like he’ll propel them into title contentions later this season if Chelsea ever stumble. Bournemouth are without a win at home in their last 4 and although the 6-3 loss to Everton won’t be overly confidence damaging, a poor performance against City here won’t do them any favours and is really a match where it’s going to be difficult to gain any confidence if the match starts poorly.
Predicted score: Manchester City 3-1
Best Bet: Manchester City Half-Time/Full-Time at $2.1 (85%)
Next Best: Manchester City -1 Handicap at $2.25