English Premier League Game Week 20 – New Year’s Day Preview

English Premier League - Football

Welcome to the New Year’s Day Premier League Preview where we have 10 great looking games to keep us entertained. There’s been a huge amount of football played over the past few weeks through the Christmas period and it’s certainly given us some fantastic games of football as well as weakened some sides through injuries. Let’s hope though that we are still treated to some fantastic contests and stunning results on New Year’s Day much in the fashion of Hull’s demolition of Fulham or the fantastic end to end football we saw between Chelsea and Liverpool, albeit a little rough. It’d also be nice to see a few more surprise results at the top of the table to continue the tight battle between the top 7 or so sides. Let’s hope that 2014 is just as good as how 2013 has been thus far.

Best Bets this week:

Manchester United versus Tottenham Both Teams to Score at $1.67

Manchester City to beat Swansea at $1.65

Good looking value this week:

Everton to beat Stoke at $2.10

West Brom versus Newcastle over 2.5 goals at $1.98

Swansea ($5.8) versus Manchester City ($1.65), Draw ($4.3)

We start off the New Year with Swansea hosting Manchester City with Pellegrini sure to change up his side again after fielding a somewhat weaker side against Crystal Palace on the weekend in an effort to keep his stars fresh. It almost went undone though as Palace certainly troubled Man City on numerous occasions. Manchester City though are still in incredibly good form, especially over their last 8 games winning 7 with 1 draw whilst piling on 26 goals and only conceding 9 times. It’ll be interesting to see how Swansea approaches this one given that they have only won once (twice all season) at home in their last 5 and are coming up against the toughest sides in the competition at the moment. Have to go with Manchester City here with their big guns coming back in as they should be fresher. Also it looks like Joe Hart has his mojo back and it’s a big bonus for them in their push for the title in the second half of the season.

Predicted result: Manchester City 2-0

Best Bet: Manchester City to win at $1.65 looks good value

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Arsenal ($1.24) versus Cardiff ($17.5), Draw ($7)

Arsenal host Cardiff in their New Year’s Day fixture and it’s looking like a regulation victory for the Gunners here. Arsenal had a tough encounter with Newcastle away last week but managed to scrape through for a 1-0 win with Giroud back on the scoring sheet after a drought since 23rd November. Their opponents have been struggling of late with the turmoil off the field and have only won once in their past 9 games. Their away record is no better either with only 6 points from a possible 27 which is looking like being 6 from 30 after this game. They also let a 2 goal lead slip against a Sunderland side that has struggled this year so that will not do their confidence any good. They may find a little in Arsenal’s growing injury list with the likes of Ozil a doubt having missed the Newcastle game but in the end I can only see a comfortable Arsenal victory here.

Predicted result: Arsenal 3-0

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.67

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Crystal Palace ($2.42) versus Norwich ($3.4), Draw ($3.35)

This Palace side seems to be growing in confidence week on week even despite their loss to Manchester City on the weekend. It was a great display from Palace even with perhaps a second string Man City team put on the pitch by Pellegrini. They were threat throughout and under Pulis I think they’ll trouble plenty more sides for the remainder of the season. They’ve also been strong at home recently winning 2 and drawing 1 of their last 4 at home to revive their season. Their opponents in Norwich were unlucky to not grab a point against Manchester United on the weekend with a Welbeck goal on 57 minutes enough to break the deadlock. Norwich have also done well in their past couple of away games picking up a win against West Brom and a draw at Sunderland. That for me leaves the game pretty well balanced with a slight edge to Palace given that it’s at home.

Predicted result: Crystal Palace 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.72

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Fulham ($2.46) versus West Ham ($3.25), Draw ($3.4)

The hapless Fulham take on West Ham and will be hoping to drastically turn around their second half humiliation at the hands of Hull on the weekend letting 6 goals through. They have however been ravaged by injuries to their defence with both Senderos, Hangeland, and first choice keeper Steklenburg out injured. West Ham haven’t had much of a good time either of late with their last win coming against Fulham on 30th of November with only 2 points taken in their last 6 games. Their away form has also been pretty poor with only the one win and 3 draws from 9 games and they’ll be desperate for a win here to potentially push them out of the relegation zone in the short term. I feel the game against Hull was a bit of a blip and I can’t see that sort of result repeating for them again. I also feel they’ll bounce back pretty strongly at home this week to register a win with Berbatov leading the way as he endeavours to secure a suitor in the January transfer window.

Predicted result: Fulham 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.66

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Liverpool ($1.3) versus Hull ($12), Draw ($6.6)

This could be one of the games of the round with Liverpool hosting a Hull side that beat them away and are coming off a confidence filled 6-0 thumping of Fulham. Liverpool have also had two tough losses to Manchester City and Chelsea over the Christmas break so they’ll be looking to atone for that as well as their loss at Hull earlier in the season. It could also be a timely return for Suarez to get back on the score sheet having not scored against Man City or Chelsea. It’ll be interesting to see which Hull side turns up though as their away record is abysmal compared to their home record losing 6 of their 9 away games with only the 1 win which was against Newcastle back in September. Unproven away I have to go with Liverpool here though I won’t be surprised to see plenty of intent shown by Hull after their confidence building performances over recent weeks against Manchester United and Fulham.

Predicted result: Liverpool 3-2

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.58

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Southampton ($4.2) versus Chelsea ($2), Draw ($3.65)

Southampton had a fantastic contest away at Everton on the weekend despite going down 2-1. Chelsea scraped through against Liverpool in a feisty encounter and they’ll again have their hands full against Southampton on New Year’s Day. Chelsea have been a bit mixed away from home with 3 losses and 3 draws from their 9 and they’ve only take a point from their last two away games. They did win their last meeting with Southampton at home winning 3-1 which will give them some confidence heading into this one. They’ll need to be wary of Southampton’s frontline which has been performing well despite results not going their way. They’ve scored in each of their last 7 games with a spread of goals across Lallana, Osvaldo, Rodriguez, and Lambert. I think one thing is for sure in this encounter, and that’s goals. Southampton have been leaky of late letting in 15 goals in their past 8 when in their first 11 they’d only let 5 through. I don’t think Chelsea will sit back here like they do against the top sides such as Arsenal and Manchester City. Add to this that the last 6 encounters between these two has produced 24 goals and we should at least see another 3 here. Chelsea’s ability to rotate with their squad depth should give them extra legs here as well to notch the win.

Predicted result: Chelsea 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.98

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Stoke ($4.2) versus Everton ($2.1), Draw ($3.45)

Stoke take on Everton with and Everton win looking a good bet here. Stoke suffered defeat against a resurgent Tottenham outfit on the weekend which seemed largely inevitable given their injuries and suspensions. The visitors will welcome back Tim Howard in goal when he missed the game against Southampton due to the red card he copped against Sunderland. It’s a timely return for him for a tough trip on the road with Jagielka likely to miss again. It was also a timely return to goal scoring for Lukaku on the weekend which will give him confidence here against a Stoke side that let 3 slip through against Spurs. I think Stoke will bounce back early here but Everton should run over the top of them in the end. The likes of Coleman, Barkley, Lukaku, and McCarthy make for an exciting young side that should get the job done.

Predicted result: Everton 2-0

Best Bet: Everton to win at $2.1

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Sunderland ($2.22) versus Aston Villa ($3.7), Draw ($3.45)

An undefeated Sunderland in their last 4 take on a depleted Aston Villa side that has only take 1 point in their past 5 games. It could be another similar result here for Villa given key injury concerns surrounding Vlaar and Benteke in particular with Ciaran Clark also missing due to suspension. It was a tight finish for Sunderland away on the weekend to Cardiff where they snatched a draw in the dying minutes and they’ll be hoping to take the initiative here against a struggling Villa side. Villa’s injury concerns are a bit too much for me to consider them a chance of a point here. If Vlaar is passed fit and Benteke has a chance of at least making the bench to play an impact role it gives them a sniff but I think Sunderland will take their chance here for a win at home taking all the confidence they can in their result against Cardiff.

Predicted result: Sunderland 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.81

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

West Brom ($2.54) versus Newcastle ($3.05), Draw ($3.5)

This should be a good game between West Brom and Newcastle with 5 of the last 6 meetings between these two producing over 2.5 goals with 3 producing over 3.5. Let’s hope the trend continues for an entertaining encounter here. Newcastle are still in good form despite their home loss to Arsenal on the weekend and they’ll look to get back to winning ways here with only 2 losses in their last 10 games. They’re also without any major injury concerns so should be able to field their best eleven here to go for maximum points. West Brom have been solid without being spectacular since the departure of Steve Clarke but they have thus far failed to register a win since and haven’t since 2nd of November. Newcastle haven’t lost to West Brom in their past two meetings at West Brom and I think they’ll be able to get the win here with their good form putting them in a strong position here.

Predicted result: Newcastle 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.98

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Manchester United ($1.84) versus Tottenham ($4.9), Draw ($3.9)

The final fixture for the first day of 2014 sees a big one between Manchester United and Tottenham with Manchester United looking to beat a Spurs side that they haven’t beaten in their last 3 encounters. Man United have been playing some good football of late with 4 wins on the trot although their last two could have been draws against Hull and Norwich and this will no doubt be their toughest test of their past 4 games. Potential for RVP to return form injury either from a starting spot of the bench could be the key to the result here as would the return of Rooney after he missed the Norwich game with injury. If both those miss it certainly leaves the door open a little for Tottenham. Spurs had a good win over Stoke on the weekend which will give the team plenty of confidence heading into this one but Paulinho will likely miss due to an ankle injury which will be a blow as he was in excellent touch against Stoke. I think the edge is with Manchester United here with home advantage and confidence taken from recent results. Tottenham’s return to an attacking style of play could also leave them a little exposed to conceding a couple of goals although they should at least get on the scoresheet here.

Predicted result: Manchester United 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.67

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Please Note:
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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As an Australian growing up AFL was always my no.1 sport especially given I was lucky enough to grow up a few blocks from Carlton’s home ground, Princes Park, where I was lucky enough to attend many games. That’s where my passion for sport began but it was until the early 2000’s when I discovered a real passion for football with the Socceroos 2002 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay accelerating my football journey. From there I began to follow the Premier League and haven’t looked back since. These days I’m a massive Tottenham fan where I’ve enjoyed many sleepless nights religiously watching them without missing a game despite many roller coaster feelings. There’s just something magical and glamorous when you watch the EPL and knowing the Profits owners Drew and Euan through studies, I’m now lucky enough to be able to share my thoughts on each game each week of the season.

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