After a short break from league action, things return to normal with week 23 of the Premier League this weekend. The theme continues at the top of the table with Manchester City enjoying a 15 point lead over nearest rival Manchester United. This could however be the week that Manchester City drop some more points as they did not long ago when they drew 0-0 against Crystal Palace. An enticing away fixture at Liverpool promises a lot, even despite the departure of Coutinho. They lose an attack dimension in Coutinho but have arguably strengthened overall in defence with Van Dijk who will no doubt help tighten what has been a problem area for Liverpool for many years. A loss for City though wouldn’t be catastrophic for their title chances but it continues the intriguing battle for top 4 places that is getting hotter and hotter each week.
Week 23 Best Bet: Huddersfield versus West Ham – BTTS – Yes at $2
Week 23 Best Value Bet: Liverpool Draw No Bet versus Manchester City at $2.3
Week 23 Head to Head Multi Bet: Chelsea Win ($1.28), West Brom vs Brighton Draw ($3), Tottenham Win ($1.25), Watford Win ($2.4) = $11.52
**Odds from Sportsbet.com.au as of 11th January
Chelsea vs Leicester
Leicester sometimes have a habit of causing the big teams trouble with their strength on the break whilst they absorb pressure from the opposing side. This will be an interesting match for Chelsea after having numerous solid chances to put Arsenal away in their last match that ended 2-2. Morata in particular was poor up front unable to finish some quality chances that really would have put the game to rest. The break is of little benefit to Chelsea though given they also had to play the Semi-Final of the EFL cup against Arsenal during the week which ended in scoreless draw. Leicester as a result may have a slight edge freshness wise though it’s difficult to go past Chelsea’s recent run of home games where they have won their last 7 straight in the league. Expect a few close calls but Chelsea should pull through this one.
Predicted Result: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to lead at Half-Time at $1.67
Best Value Bet: Leicester to score exactly 1 goal
Crystal Palace vs Burnley
This promises to be a good contest. Palace have lost just 1 of their last 6 at home as their push back up the table continues whilst Burnley are still enjoying life in 7th place. For Burnley though, they have fallen away slightly in recent matches and are without a win in their last 5. Part of their problem is they don’t score enough goals, just 4 in their last 6 and 19 for the season thus far. Palace have stemmed the flow of goals that they were conceding to now just 6 in their last 6 matches compared to 27 in the prior 16 matches. The addition of N’Koudou on loan from Tottenham is a quality addition for Burnley and although he has a lot to prove he has pace and trickery that Burnley don’t really have. He may not impact straight away but he has the potential there. For this match though, things look too even to call.
Predicted Result: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $1.91
Best Value Bet: Under 1.5 goals at $2.78
Huddersfield vs West Ham
Both sides are a bit up and down and hard to rely on. The Hammers have won on the road just once this season and this could be another difficult trip for them with Huddersfield not giving things away too easily at home dropping just 3 games. Without having much confidence about which type of West Ham side is going to turn up, a draw looks a decent likely outcome for this one. The Hammers no doubt have the quality in their side to beat these sorts of teams, they just need to turn up with more consistency to build that confidence in them that they can get the results more regularly than what they currently are.
Predicted Result: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: BTTS – Yes at $2
Best Value Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $2.45
Newcastle vs Swansea
Winning 2 of their last 4 has given Newcastle a bit of confidence about the way they are going right now and adding their FA Cup win over Luton Town last weekend makes it 3 wins in 5 matches. That’s some good foundations for momentum against the struggling Swansea who still sit dead last on the table on goal difference. After a good win over Watford, they had to endure a tough time against Tottenham but they kept fighting in that match which was a positive sign. They’ll continue that fight here and may just give Newcastle a bit of a surprise who potentially could be going into this one a little complacent after a few good results.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.56
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3.3
Watford vs Southampton
Watford have now made it 5 losses in their last 6 but despite that they look better placed for this match than Southampton. The Saints have taken less points than Watford over their own last 6 matches managing just 2 draws and 4 losses. On form, Southampton are bottom of the table over the last 6 matches conceding 13 goals whilst scoring just 5 of their own. Watford are only 1 place higher, but the added advantage of home leaves them well placed to bounce back here.
Predicted Result: Watford 2-1
Best Bet: Watford Draw No Bet at $1.67
Best Value Bet: Watford to lead at Half-Time at $2.88
West Brom vs Brighton
West Brom may be last on the table, but they’ve only lost 3 times at home this season and for a side in the position they are in, they have conceded a reasonable 15 goals. Their problem, like a number of sides, has been scoring them with just 4 goals to their name in their last 6 matches. Looking at Brighton though, they aren’t exactly a goal scoring powerhouse but they are a side that fights hard. An away win looks pretty unlikely but a home win isn’t really looking that much of a better chance. Brighton still haver a lot more to work on but they can be competitive here against a side that doesn’t score regularly, so it will be tight.
Predicted Result: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: BTTS – No at $1.53
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3
Tottenham vs Everton
If not for their draw last time out against West Ham, a Tottenham win here would almost be a no brainer given the form they were in. That result against West Ham though should fire them up to bounce back here against Everton. Key players are coming back at the right time which will only strengthen the home side here. Everton have hit a dip in form in losing their last 2 matches and being without a win in their last 4. The arrival of Tosun for Everton gives them another attacking option up front but he may take some time adjusting to a new league so we can’t expect a lot from him in this one. By then anyway, Tottenham may have taken this game out of reach to bounce back from that poor West Ham draw.
Predicted Result: Tottenham 3-0
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.66
Best Value Bet: Tottenham -2 Handicap at $3.3
Bournemouth vs Arsenal
There’s every chance this is another inconsistent performance from Arsenal here. They’ve drawn 4 and won 2 in their last 6 matches and the cracks are continuing to show with the inevitable departure of Sanchez in the coming weeks. Part of Arsenal’s problem is the Manager just seems to do odd things these days with his line-up and I’m sure that’s not giving the players a lot of confidence in executing his plans. Bournemouth have had some decent results in recent matches and although they haven’t exactly been consistent here, they will know Arsenal are not playing their best and are a little vulnerable here.
Predicted Result: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: BTTS – Yes at $1.5
Best Value Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $2.27
Liverpool vs Manchester City
The big match of the weekend here and the one in which Liverpool will be looking to turn the tables on their opponents after their last meeting ended in a 5-0 loss thanks largely to the sending off of Mane relatively early in the game when they were only a goal down. Liverpool of course will be without Coutinho after his departure to Barcelona but they are still a very strong attacking side without him. It could also open things more up to Mane who earlier this season was in pretty good form. Alongside Salah and Firmino, Liverpool have all the tools to cause City defensive issues. The addition too of Van Dijk from Southampton in defence will help shore up a defence against what is a star studded City attack. As for a result though, I’m feeling this may be the match where City finally lose a league game this season. It’ll of course be a tight one but it’s about time!
Predicted Result: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Liverpool Double Chance at $1.62
Best Value Bet: Liverpool Draw No Bet at $2.3
Manchester United vs Stoke
Manchester United have been labouring lately with 3 straight draws though the visit of Stoke is a promising fixture for them to turn that form around. Stoke of course could throw up anything here after sacking Hughes, but they’d really need to produce something special to cause such an upset, even if Manchester United aren’t at their best right now. De Gea leads the league in clean sheets and I’d expect him to produce another one here.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 3-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to win to Nil at $1.91
Best Value Bet: Manchester United -2 Handicap at $2.8