English Premier League Game Week 26

English Premier League - Football

Welcome to the week 26 preview of the EPL where we’ll look at the first 4 of the mid-week fixtures. Whilst there isn’t any big matchups in these first 4 games, we do have a few sides desperate for points in their push for survival which should make things interesting. Cardiff need a win to push themselves towards safety as they currently sit in 19th but face a tough opponent in Villa whilst sides like Hull who look safe are still only 4 points off the drop. Likewise Norwich who are 2 points off the drop face a big test against an in form West Ham. So whilst there isn’t any big names playing besides Chelsea we should still have some entertaining football regardless. With some cracking fixtures ahead Thursday morning is sure to be an entertaining one. The matchup that is undoubtedly gaining the most attention is that of Arsenal taking on Manchester United with a loss for either side further denting each sides current ambitions whilst a draw for the Gunner’s would surely be almost as big a blow as that of their thumping loss to Liverpool on the weekend. Either way the outcome of this match could be crucial to the remainder of each side’s ambitions for the remainder of the season.

Best Bets

Chelsea to beat West Brom at $1.52

Stoke double chance at $1.47 against Swansea

Best Value

Quite like the value on a West Ham win over Norwich at $2.14

Everton versus Crystal Palace – Under 2.5 goals at $2

Odds from Betfair as at 10/2/14

Cardiff ($2.5) versus Aston Villa ($3.15), Draw ($3.45)

Cardiff head home after a demoralising defeat against rivals Swansea where they succumbed 3-0 and will be hopeful of notching a win over Aston Villa who were beaten at home by West Ham. It perhaps wasn’t all that surprising that Cardiff were defeated given their away form is abysmal having lost their last 6 away with their only away win coming against Fulham back in September. The positive that they can pin their hopes on though is that their home form is much better with 2 wins a draw from their last 5. I think Cardiff will bounce back here but I’m not convinced they’ll get the 3 points as they generally struggle to get clean sheets with just the 3 so far at home whilst Villa have scored in all bar 3 of their away games. Seemingly evenly matched I’m going for a draw here in what seems a fair result.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.81

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Hull ($3.15) versus Southampton ($2.6), Draw ($3.3)

Great win for Hull on the weekend to beat Sunderland 2-0 away to give them their 2nd away win of the season. Away points are as good as gold for sides like Hull in their push for survival and with a strong home record and sitting on 30 points they look pretty safe at this stage. Perhaps even more pleasing was the goals came from their new strike partnership in Long and Jelaivc and it’s starting to look like a pretty handy forward line with a few games together now. Southampton though are a strong opponent this week despite their 2-2 draw with Stoke where they had 9 shots on target to 3. This should be a good game and although Southampton will look to control the game with their passing and possession I can certainly see Hull having a good crack here. Southampton will need to be at their best though with Hull hard to crack at home with only goals conceded in 12 games. We could be in for a low scoring match here as a result and I quite like the draw here with Hull generally strong at home.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.68

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

West Ham ($2.14) versus Norwich ($3.85), Draw ($3.55)

It was a solid win for West Ham over the weekend beating Villa 2-0 away especially considering they were without focal point Andy Carroll. It was again left to Nolan to do the scoring who now has 4 goals in his last 2 games and could well add to his tally with Norwich set to visit. Norwich will have their work cut out for them here too with West Ham dropping only the 4 points from their past 5 games the confidence looks to be building as they fight their way out of relegation to sit in 15th. Norwich did well to quell the impact of a depleted yet still very strong Manchester City forward line in their 0-0 draw over the weekend. Their recent record though doesn’t read very well with 1 win in their last 10 games. For a side that looked so promising with their summer signings they certainly haven’t had the impact they would’ve liked thus far. I can’t help but go with a home win here for West Ham after 2 fantastic wins in their last 2 games against the odds.

Predicted result: West Ham 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.77

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

West Brom ($7.6) versus Chelsea ($1.52), Draw ($4.5)

West Brom have a massive task this week in attempting to replicate their last meeting with Chelsea which ended in a 2-2 draw whilst also trying to stop the rampaging Eden Hazard who produced a great performance against Newcastle with a hat-trick on the weekend. Since their meeting earlier in the season in early November West Brom have only won once and are without a win over their last 5. They were beaten 3-1 by Palace on the weekend despite having 11 shots on target and plenty of possession. This West Brom side sits in a pretty precarious position at the moment in 18th and another loss will put them in serious jeopardy of relegation with games against Fulham and Manchester United to follow. I’m expecting some fight here from West Brom but I Chelsea should get their 7th away win of the season to cement their place at the top for another week at least.

Predicted result: Chelsea 3-1

Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.52

Best Bet Confidence: 90%

Arsenal ($2.16) versus Manchester United ($3.8), Draw ($3.6)

We begin with the big matchup between Arsenal and Manchester United. Both sides had undesirable results on the weekend with Arsenal absolutely stunned and completely outplayed by Liverpool. Manchester United meanwhile suffered a heart breaking draw in injury time through a Darren Bent equaliser. But that is just how the season has been for United and whether you blame the players or the new manager it matters little as they have been way below their performances last season. It will be interesting to see how both sides react this week. A win for Arsenal will keep the title dream running with a loss potentially pushing them down to 3rd with Liverpool nipping at their heels where they could be 2 points behind. With a run of games to come in March of Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City, and Everton, this is a crucial game for them to win.  For Manchester United a win keeps their top 4 chances alive even if they look slim at the moment. Whilst I don’t think we should look too much into Arsenal’s performance against Liverpool purely for the fact that they just switched off after they went 2-0 down in 10 minutes, I do think there is more pressure on Arsenal here to get the result with the expectations fading on Manchester United’s hopes this season. Whether that opens the door for a win for United I’m not so sure but they have enough to trouble Arsenal if they come out with the right attitude. I might be off here, but I’m going for a draw here in what could be a pretty open game.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.68

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Everton ($1.49) versus Crystal Palace ($8.8), Draw ($4.5)

It was a tough loss for Everton on the weekend at White Hart Lane and they have a pretty tricky opponent in Crystal Palace this week. Palace had a great win on the weekend over West Brom and their new signings look to have settled in well with Ince and Ledley on the scoring sheet and there seems to be some confidence growing in this group. Their last 4 games have delivered 3 wins and a loss to Arsenal which is a fantastic turnaround after 1 win from their first 11 games of the season. The last time these two played it ended in a 0-0 draw and it could be a similar result here with not many goals to be had though I feel Everton should be a little too tough away with only 1 loss at home all season. We could also see Traore make his first appearance for Everton here and he could well be the difference up front.

Predicted result: Everton 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals $2 – 7 of Palace’s last 8 away games have been under 2.5 goals.

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Manchester City ($1.19) versus Sunderland ($22), Draw ($8.4)

Whilst Sunderland hold an excellent recent record over Manchester City at the Stadium of Light, it could be a different story here at the Etihad. Manchester City are coming off two tough results with a loss at home to Chelsea and a goalless draw at Norwich and they’ll be eager to turn that form around. Sunderland also stumbled a little when they lost at home to Hull on the weekend (all due respect to Hull though, they’ve been great this season). City will still be without Aguero and Fernandinho and whilst they haven’t scored in their last two games I’d expect things to be a little different in this one. City are chasing Chelsea for top spot now and a loss or draw puts them a game or so behind. I’m expecting a return to goal scoring form here for Manchester City against a spirited Sunderland outfit.

Predicted result: Manchester City 3-1

Best Bet: Manchester City half/full time at $1.58

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Newcastle ($) versus Tottenham ($), Draw ($)

It’s been a tough run of late for Newcastle and it stays that way for this game as they host Tottenham this week. Tottenham have been pretty inconsistent this season but one thing they can be pleased with is their away record which is the second best in the league. They’ve won 8, drawn 2, and lost 2 of their 12 away so far. It puts them in a good position for this fixture against a Newcastle side that have lost their last 3 at home and have compiled just 4 points in their last 7 games. Newcastle will be tricky though for Tottenham either way though and they’ll be looking to repeat their last meeting when they won 1-0 away at White Hart lane. The difference though is that Cabaye is gone, Remy serves his final game of a 3 game suspension, and Debuchy misses with injury. Add to this injury concerns over Tiote and Coloccini it could be another tough result here for Newcastle. Tottenham will need to bring their A game though as they’ve not really dominated a side this season but could have to settle for a draw with a win not looking overly convincing just yet for Spurs.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.96

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Stoke ($) versus Swansea ($), Draw ($)

Stoke had a good result away at Southampton to get a draw after their home win over Man United  a week earlier and it puts them in a good position here against Swansea. The Welsh side though themselves did have a good result against rivals Cardiff on the weekend which was a great result to start life without Laudrup. It gives them 2 wins from their last 3 which is a good return but they still haven’t won an away game in their last 6 away. Stoke are tough at home too which could make this a tough fixture to get something from. Stoke have lost twice at home this season and Swansea don’t have the greatest away record with 7 losses to go with 2 draws and 3 wins. I expect Stoke to make it tough here for Swansea with a low scoring game on the cards and a tight win for the home side.

Predicted result: Stoke 1-0

Best Bet: Stoke double chance at $1.47

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Fulham ($8.4) versus Liverpool ($1.44), Draw ($5.3)

Fulham produced a morale boosting draw away at Manchester United on the weekend but they face a stern test here against a Liverpool side that was in cruise control over the then league leaders Arsenal to win 5-1. The blemish on Liverpool for me though is their away form. They have been incredible at home winning 11 games from 13 with 38 goals scored and just 9 conceded but their away record paints a different picture albeit relatively consistent with 4 wins, 4 draws, and 4 losses. Their last and most recent big win at home was against Everton where they dished out a 4-0 thumping on 28th of Jan. the next game they played away at West Brom and drew. It was the same when they thumped Fulham 4-0 at home earlier in December and they then came out and played that incredible 3-3 draw away at Everton in the next game. I just wonder whether they switch off a little after such emphatic home victories which could play into the hands of Fulham though they’ll need to play very well to get something from this game here. Their draw with Manchester United showed some great resilience even if it was a last minute equaliser. Perhaps what decides it for me here though is Fulham’s poor form over their 4 games prior to this result where they lost 4 in a row. Add to that they have conceded 13 goals in their last 5 and it seems unlikely they can stop goals from Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho, Sterling, and perhaps even Skertl. Hard to go past Liverpool regardless of what’s happened earlier in the season though.

Predicted result: Liverpool 3-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.53

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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