English Premier League Game Week 24 Preview

English Premier League - Football

The premier league is starting to heat up as we begin the final 15 games of the season with Manchester City topping the table 1 point ahead of Arsenal. It certainly looks a 3 horse race at this stage with Chelsea only 3 points behind Manchester City, though this weekend’s match between Manchester City and Chelsea could prove to be a title winning result with Arsenal’s run home seemingly more difficult. Either way this season is set up to have a cracking finish that could well go down to the wire and given that I’m writing this on the last day of the Jan transfer window there could well be some deadline day signings that could also have an impact on the title as well. Let’s get stuck into week 24 in the meantime though.

Best Bets this week:

Manchester United to beat Stoke at $1.59

West Brom/Liverpool – Over 2.5 goals at $1.61

Good looking value this week:

Southampton to beat Fulham at $2.24

Odds from Betfair as at 31/1/14

Newcastle ($1.99) versus Sunderland ($4.5), Draw ($3.6)

We begin with a derby and what a match this could be with Newcastle somewhat weakened from the departure of Cabaye when they host Sunderland this week which gives Sunderland a sniff. With Remy also suspended for the next few games it’s good timing they have signed the talented Luuk De Jong although he apparently won’t make his debut here if you believe Pardew. It means Ameobi will likely lead the line in his absence. There is a great opportunity here for Sunderland to build on that win they had over Stoke during the week. With Cabaye gone, Remy suspended, and the likes of Cisse injured it seems a big ask for Newcastle to win here. Cabaye is a huge loss for his creativity and goal scoring prowess and it’ll be interesting to see how they cope with his loss. They still have plenty of attacking threats through Ben Arfa and Sissoko but they’ll need a bit more than that for this one. Sunderland will know they can win here having done so last season and with almost a full squad from Poyet to select from they could get a point here at least.  Sunderland have not lost to Newcastle in their past 4 games.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.77

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

West Ham ($2.98) versus Swansea ($2.64), Draw ($3.4)

All credit to West Ham for getting a point at Chelsea during the week no matter the style of play they implemented – Sorry Mourinho but you’ll have to moan about it to someone else. Taking on Swansea at home this week they’ll have their eyes on the 3 points here despite Swansea getting a solid home win over Fulham during the week. Swansea haven’t been that good away from home lately with only 2 points from their past 5 games and although West Ham haven’t been great at home this season they do now have some structure and a focal point in Andy Carroll back. They also have some more striking depth with Boriello likely to provide cover off the bench. I think West Ham with their relegation scrap heating up will take it up to Swansea here who are relatively comfortable at the moment in 11th.

Predicted result: West Ham 2-1

Best Bet: Double chance West Ham at $1.57

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Cardiff ($2.3) versus Norwich ($3.6), Draw ($3.45)

Cardiff have had a very tough introduction to life in the top flight and they face some stiff competition again this weekend in Norwich though they’ll be a little more comfortable having played Man City and Man Utd the past 2 games. The reality here for Cardiff is if they do not win they will almost certainly be relegated. Currently on 18 points and 3 off safety a loss could push them further out of reach to get ahead of the likes of Sunderland, Stoke, and West Brom. Norwich had a decent result during the week to Newcastle with a draw but they would have been a little disappointed not to get the 3 points. I think there will be plenty of fight shown from this Cardiff side this weekend and with a decent, albeit not extravagant, signing in Kenwyne Jones they have a bit more firepower to push for survival if they hit some form. Cardiff to get a desperately needed win this weekend.

Predicted result: Cardiff 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.85

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Everton ($1.56) versus Aston Villa ($7.6), Draw ($4.3)

Both sides had contrasting fortunes during the week with Everton copping a whopping from Liverpool as well as an injury to Lukaku. Villa meanwhile had a morale boosting 4-3 win over West Brom with a much fitter Benteke starting to get back to his best – he now has 3 goals in 3 games which will boost his confidence immensely. Villa have been pretty decent away in their last 5 as well with 2 wins and a draw to go with 2 losses. Everton though have been superb this season and although they are struggling with an injury crisis at present, they are still a massive chance at home. Their problems this weekend will be their striking department with Lukaku out, Kone injured, Loanee Traore not yet fit, and having just sold Jelavic. It could be left to Naismith to lead the line though they will have goal scoring depth in midfield with Mirallas, Barkley, and Osman all more than capable of troubling Villa’s defence here. I can see Everton flooding the midfield with 6 bodies so they should have plenty of possession and should create more than enough chances here though with Benteke a threat on the break I wouldn’t be surprised to see Villa get a draw or win here in an upset.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.18 looks value to me

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Fulham ($3.6) versus Southampton ($2.24), Draw ($3.5)

It’s now 3 losses on the trot for Fulham and another tough opponent this weekend with Southampton making the trip to London. Southampton are certainly in much better form with 2 draws and a win over their last 3 with their draw against Arsenal at home during the week a fantastic result. There’s a fair bit of transfer speculation on deadline day that whilst it could strengthen Fulham long term it could unsettle them in the short term. Introducing new players doesn’t always have an immediate impact so I can’t see any new signings having a big impact on the weekend. Holtby is one potential who could have an influence for them creatively for the remainder of the season but the loss of Berbatov could be a blow short term if he in fact does make it back to Tottenham. Meanwhile Southampton just look to be minding their own business and there doesn’t seem to be as much pressure on them heading into this one. Given their good performance during the week against Arsenal I’d have to go for a Southampton win here against a struggling Fulham side that has only taken 10 points from 33 at home this season conceding 2 goals a game on average.

Predicted result: Southampton 1-0

Best Bet: Southampton to win at $2.24

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Hull ($4.1) versus Tottenham ($2.08), Draw ($3.5)

A tricky game here for Tottenham after their 5-1 thumping at the hands of Manchester City during the week. Whilst the score line was in some respects a blowout after that controversial red card and disallowed goal, they were nonetheless outplayed by a superior side. Hull are heading towards a 5 game losing streak and whilst they have strengthened in attack it’s looking like it make take some more time for Jelavic and Long to gel together. They do however look like a potent partnership in the making and they could trouble Spurs at home with Hull generally excellent at home this season for a newly promoted side. Perhaps worryingly for Hull though is that they haven’t scored in their last 4 games and Spurs will be looking to bounce back quickly from their midweek defeat. We could see Spurs strengthend by the returns of Sandro, Paulinho, and Vertonghen which would be a big boost. I think Hull will be tough here at home as they have been most of the season but I think Spurs will bounce back. These are the games they have to win.

Predicted result: Tottenham 2-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.93

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Stoke ($7.2) versus Manchester United ($1.59), Draw ($4.2)

Manchester United look like a new side with Mata roaming around in midfield and with RVP back they are a chance to push back into the top 4 come season’s end. Stoke as a result will face stiff competition this weekend when they host Manchester United. Positively for Stoke though this season is that their home record has been strong having only lost twice and they have also only conceded 12 times. They are however coming off 5 losses in their past 6 games and I don’t think they’ll be able to stop a somewhat rejuvenated Manchester United this weekend. It’s early days with Mata blending into the team and there are questions over RVP and Rooney’s fitness but there were good signs against Cardiff during the week so I think they’ll have enough here to get a solid away win.

Predicted result: Manchester United 2-0

Best Bet: Manchester United to win at $1.59

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

West Brom ($6) versus Liverpool ($1.66), Draw ($4.3)

West Brom played out a thrilling loss to Villa during the week going down 4-3 and will have to welcome the free scoring Liverpool this weekend. Liverpool have scored 11 in their past 3 games so are looking like they are back to their menacing best. Sturridge has 4 in his last 3 whilst Suarez has 3 which is more than most sides can ask of their attackers. They do however have a mixed away record with 3 losses in their last 5 away due to a leaky defence which has let through 10 goals in those games. Recent fixtures between these two have been even as well with 3 wins a piece in the last 6 meetings however Liverpool certainly look to have the upper hand with Sturridge and Suarez firing. If they can somehow mitigate their influence on the game they may just have a chance but it’s difficult to go past this Liverpool side with a strong chance of finishing in 4th this season.

Predicted result: Liverpool 3-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.61

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Arsenal ($1.23) versus Crystal Palace ($17.5), Draw ($7.2)

A London derby is always good fun and this one between Arsenal and Crystal Palace can go one of two ways. Arsenal will either bounce back from that draw with Southampton putting in a strong performance here or Palace will take it up to Arsenal and the finish will be tight. Palace are making some noises in the transfer market which will serve them well for the remainder of the season with Tom Ince and Joe Ledley a couple of names to watch out for. Arsenal though are one of those sides that have been excellent at home not losing since their opening day defeat to Villa. They will also want top spot back knowing that Manchester City and Chelsea have a tough fixture the following day which could put them back on top. There’s fight in this Palace side but I think Arsenal will have too much class for Palace at home.

Predicted result: Arsenal 3-0

Best Bet: Arsenal half/full time at $1.68

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Manchester City ($1.89) versus Chelsea ($4.8), Draw ($3.8)

The big fixture of the round sees Manchester City host Chelsea in what should really be an epic clash. I am however a tad unexcited with the prospect of both sides playing safe and dishing up a dull draw however with both sides seeing this as a crunch game in the title race we should get a cracker here. City were in cruise control again during the week beating Tottenham 5-1 and whilst the score line may have been a blowout thanks to a 10 man Spurs side, they still played sublime football regardless. Chelsea were frustrated by a West Ham side parking the bus and will face a massive test here with Manchester City taking 33/33 points at home this season. In the big games away against Manchester United and Arsenal, Chelsea have managed 0-0 draws but they could concede here against an irresistible Manchester City attack that averages 3.81 goals a game at home and also thumped Arsenal 6-3 and Manchester United 4-1 at home. Injury concerns over Aguero with a hamstring injury could hamper their efforts here but they have depth with Negredo and Dzeko more than capable if he can’t start. Should be a tight game but giving the nod to Manchester City here.

Predicted result: Manchester City 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.66

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

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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