English Premier League Game Week 25 Preview

English Premier League - Football

There’s some massive games this weekend both at the top and the bottom of the table which should keep us on the edge of our seats for most of the weekend. Liverpool hosting Arsenal is set to be one of the biggest clashes of the weekend with a win for Liverpool giving them some breathing space on Everton and Tottenham whilst a win for Arsenal will keep Manchester City at bay for another week at least. It doesn’t stop their either with Tottenham hosting Everton with a win for both sides boosting their top 4 chances. Then we’ve also got the derby between Swansea and Cardiff which is made all the more interesting after the somewhat premature sacking of Michael Laudrup. So with plenty to get through let’s have a look at the games for the weekend.

Best Bets

Liverpool versus Arsenal – Both teams to score at $1.57

Southampton to beat Stoke at $1.54

Best Value

Sunderland to beat Hull at $2.16

Crystal Palace to beat West Brom at $2.66

Odds from Betfair as at 08/02/2014

Liverpool ($2.26) versus Arsenal ($3.5), Draw ($3.6)

We begin with the biggest matchup of the weekend in what looks to be a pretty tough clash for both sides. Liverpool have been excellent at home taking 31 points of a possible 36 though this will be their biggest test of the season against a genuine title contender. For all of Liverpool’s excellent performances they are yet to have beaten a Chelsea, Arsenal, or Manchester City. To me they have been fantastic this season but have been undone against the top sides. The have the key ingredients to a top 4 side but need strength in midfield and in particular a holding midfielder to support Lucas and provide further cover to their somewhat suspect defence that has injuries with Agger & Sakho set to miss again along with Johnson. That opens the door for Arsenal who have depth and plenty of quality through midfield despite injuries to key players. This is a big test for Arsenal as well though without a big scalp away from home. This is a difficult game as it’s hard to see Liverpool having a big impact without being able to dominate midfield against the likes of Ozil, Rosicky, Cazorla, and Arteta but it also brings an unknown with Suarez and Sturridge a threat whenever they get the ball. I think this will be a tight game and a draw looks a likely result for me.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.57

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Aston Villa ($2.16) versus West Ham ($3.9), Draw ($3.5)

Villa take on West Ham this weekend and it’s not looking good for the Hammer’s with their appeal for Carroll’s red card rejected. It’s not a good time for West Ham either as they sit in 18th a point off safety as they had been in some decent form after a draw with Chelsea and a strong win over Swansea last week. With Carroll out Carlton Cole should lead the line here whilst Winston Reid could make a return which should boost their defence. Whilst Villa haven’t been solid at home this season neither can it be said about West Ham away and with Carroll out I think it gives Villa a good shot at getting back to back wins at home for the first time this season. Benteke has found some form as well in recent weeks which has given them a big boost. Villa in a tight one for me.

Predicted result: Aston Villa 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.88

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Chelsea ($1.25) versus Newcastle ($17), Draw ($6.8)

Newcastle travel to Chelsea having suffered a humiliating loss to rivals Sunderland last week and have their work cut out again here. As if it couldn’t get worse for Newcastle with Remy suspended, Cabaye sold without a replacement to add to injuries to Cisse and Coloccini there has been news that Tiote is also set to miss with injury. Chelsea are flying at home as well which makes it look like mission impossible here with 10 wins a 2 draws from their 12 home games thus far. A huge win over Manchester City away in their last game was massive in context for their title credentials as well and they won’t want to take the foot off the gas here. They’ll need to be on their toes though as wounded sides can surprise and there was some decent looking signs from De Jong who is likely to lead the line this week with Remy out and Shola Ameobi set to miss. Regardless though I think there’s too many outs and question marks over Newcastle for this one.

Predicted result: Chelsea 2-0

Best Bet: Chelsea half/full time at $1.76

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Crystal Palace ($2.66) versus West Brom ($3.1), Draw ($3.25)

Crystal Palace were on a good run winning 2 games at home before going down to Arsenal away last week. West Brom meanwhile are searching for a win having only picked up the one win in their past 14 games whilst their last 5 away they have only taken 2 points. Palace are a strong side at home under Pulis and have their sights set on a strong performance here in their fight for survival. For a newly promoted side Palace don’t concede a lot of goals. They’ve only conceded more than 2 goals on 3 occasions this season and at home they have conceded only 14 in 12 games of which 7 came from games against Fulham and Newcastle. That shows incredible resilience and a great platform to build off for the remainder of the season. There’s belief in this Palace side and I think they’ll get the win here at home against a West Brom side that isn’t overly potent in front of goals.

Predicted result: Crystal Palace 1-0

Best Bet: Palace to win at $2.66 looks like good odds.

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Norwich ($10) versus Manchester City ($1.37), Draw ($5.6)

Norwich take on Manchester City this weekend with past fixtures between these two producing crazy amounts of goals. The last five games between these two has produced 32 goals with Norwich contributing 8 of those. Earlier this season we also saw the 7-0 thumping that Manchester City delivered to Norwich and whilst we may not see that score line again here we could still see 3 or 4 goals scored. This is a must win game for Man City after their loss to Chelsea at home last week which has left them level on points with Chelsea. Man City will still be without Fernandinho, Aguero, and Nasri but they still possess more than enough firepower to get over the line here. Norwich’s strong defensive record over their past 10 games conceding only 9 times could come unstuck here with Dzeko looking a threat.

Predicted result: Manchester City 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.56

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Southampton ($1.54) versus Stoke ($8.4), Draw ($4.2)

The Saints host Stoke this weekend with both sides coming off well-earned wins last week. Stoke has a massive win over Manchester United at home whilst Southampton took the 3 points off Fulham away. Southampton are no doubt the team to beat here having won 2 and drawn 2 of their last 4 games and are a hide side to beat at home. Whilst Stoke have been solid through patches this season, their away form needs improvement with only the one win away from home to go with 2 draws and 9 losses. Stoke will be buoyed by that win at United last week and will hope to take some momentum into this fixture but they’ll need to quickly refocus as Southampton are a very tricky side with the likes of Lallana, Rodriguez, and Lambert to deal with. I think Stoke will provide a test early but I expect Southampton to get the 3 points by the final whistle.

Predicted result: Southampton 2-0

Best Bet: Southampton to win at $1.54

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Sunderland ($2.16) versus Hull ($4), Draw ($3.4)

For me this is perhaps one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend. Both sides are level on points and just separated by goal difference. Perhaps the key difference is that Hull have generally been a better side at home than away whilst Sunderland have been up and down both home and away. Sunderland have improved drastically as well over their past 9 games having looked almost certain to be relegated after 15 games into the season. They have only lost once in their past 9 games and will be a tough test for Hull this weekend. It just goes to show that there is plenty of football left in the season with 13 games remaining. Hull had a hard fought and well-earned draw at home with Spurs last weekend and were perhaps unlucky not to take the 3 points. But their problems are not at home with only 1 away win this season to go with 7 goals scored and 21 goals conceded in 12 away games. Whilst they’ll likely survive off their home form they’ll need to work on their away form for next season. Sunderland have been fantastic of late under Poyet and I’d expect them to get the points here at home to continue their surge up the table to safety.

Predicted result: Sunderland 2-1

Best Bet: Sunderland to win at $2.16 looks good value here

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Swansea ($1.92) versus Cardiff ($4.92), Draw ($3.6)

With Laudrup let go by Swansea it’ll be interesting to see how interim manager Garry Monk sets up his side this weekend against rivals Cardiff. I can’t see him tinkering too drastically with the side’s setup but you’d certainly expect a response from the players under a new voice albeit with the somewhat unexpected departure of Laudrup. Cardiff had a good win over Norwich at home last weekend and will hope to repeat those efforts here. A good sign for them was loan player Zaha who came off the bench to provide an assist and I’ll think he’ll play a big part in their push for survival this season with goals and assists. I think the boost Swansea will get under Monk will be somewhat cancelled out by the fact this is a derby and that Cardiff have now had some time under Solskjaer. The pressure seems to be on Swansea here but with Cardiff only taking 6 points from 36 from away games I’m leaning towards an exciting draw here.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.9

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Tottenham ($2.18) versus Everton ($3.75), Draw ($3.5)

The Sunday fixtures begin with a big matchup with Tottenham hosting Everton. Everton had a fantastic come from behind win over Aston Villa with a fantastic free kick from Mirallas earning them the 3 points. It was a great win considering Everton were playing without a striker with Lukaku out injured whilst loan signing Traore is close to overcoming injury and shouldn’t be too far off. Tottenham had to make do with a tough draw away at Hull last weekend but with a host of stars back in contention returning from injury they certainly have more options than their opponents this weekend. Along with Lukaku and Traore Everton will be without Kone, Gibson, Oviedo, and Deulofeu which will make this a tough test. Their big threats though will come from midfield and with Mirallas expected to lead the line in front of a packed midfield of 5 it could stifle Tottenham’s run forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sherwood opted for one striker to ensure his midfield isn’t over run. With Townsend back in contention along with the returns of Paulinho and Vertonghen last weekend I’d expect a strong performance here from Tottenham against a weakened Everton outfit.

Predicted result: Tottenham 2-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.02

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Manchester United ($1.22) versus Fulham ($19.5), Draw ($7.5)

The final fixture of the weekend sees Manchester United taking on Fulham in what should be a good contest. Manchester United will be looking to bounce back strongly from their defeat to Stoke whilst Fulham will look to improve from their defeat to Southampton to give them a 4 game losing streak. A win is much need this weekend as they sit in last place 4 points off safety. It will be interesting to see if Dempsey, Holtby and Mitroglou can fire them to safety and strong performances in the remaining games as it’s a good looking mix on paper at least. They aren’t without a shot against United either as Moyes seems to be struggling to find the right team balance as well as finding the right positions for Rooney and Mata to occupy on the field. I think Fulham will surprised United early here with their backs against the wall but I’d expect United to end up with the 3 points come the final whistle at their home ground.

Predicted result: Manchester United 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.52

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

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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