English Premier League Game Week 33 Preview

English Premier League - Football

Welcome to another week of EPL action with plenty of big games to keep us entertained. Perhaps the most critical fixture of the weekend looks to be Everton taking on Arsenal. The interesting thing here is that Everton are just 4 points behind Arsenal with a game in hand so a win here puts them in pole position for a top 4 spot with winnable games against Sunderland and Crystal Palace to follow. For Arsenal it’s no doubt a must win game to keep the gap on Everton and given they have a slightly easier run home compared to Everton it could well decide who ends up in the top 4, assuming of course that Arsenal can recapture their best form. Let’s just hope we get treated to a cracking roller coaster match, for the neutrals at least.

Best looking bets

Everton versus Arsenal – Both teams to score at $1.71

Hull versus Swansea – Both teams to score at $1.93

Odds from Betfair as at 29/3/2014

Manchester City ($1.36) versus Southampton ($10.5), Draw ($5.8)

Every game from here to the end of the season is pretty much a must win for Manchester City given they have Liverpool and Chelsea to contend with for the title as well. Heading into this fixture against Southampton, they certainly have advantage on their rivals with 2 games in hand and 4 points behind Liverpool and 2 behind Chelsea. With this being a home fixture it’s certainly pointing in the favour if City here. The game is probably all the important in terms of a win as they face Liverpool at Anfield next week so points outside of that meeting could be crucial. They had a tough meeting with Arsenal last week which ended in a 1-1 draw and whilst Southampton are a good side, I can’t see City losing this one. Regardless of the outcome though, we should see a pretty exciting match with a number of Southampton’s stars looking to impress for possible World Cup selection. Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert, and even Shaw are all in with a chance of selection so they’ll certainly be looking to have a good performance. Meetings between these two in recent times have been pretty even with Southampton winning 2 of the last 5 in all comps with City winning the other 3. Importantly though for City is that they haven’t lost their last 3 at home to Southampton in all competitions but we have seen both sides score in these last 5. Look for a City win but don’t be surprised to see Southampton get on the scoreboard.

Predicted result: Manchester City 3-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.51

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Aston Villa ($2.06) versus Fulham ($4), Draw ($3.65)

It’s getting awfully late for Fulham to start getting results to ensure their safety from relegation and they face yet another difficult fixture this weekend against Villa away. In a positive for Fulham, they were for the most part fairly competitive in the first half against Everton last week before they pretty much faded in the second half to hand Everton another win. Both sides are coming off 2 losses with Villa losing to Manchester United last week and Stoke at home the week prior to that so in some ways you could say Villa are in poor form themselves. The flipside of that is that Villa has the luxury of knowing they are for the most part safe from relegation. Whether that can play into the hands of Fulham remains to be seen but it’s starting to become clear that Fulham have not fought hard enough. It probably hasn’t helped that their striker signing in Mitroglou has been injured the majority of his time at Fulham since Jan. He would have been someone the club would have looked at that could potentially have pushed for their survival. With Darren Bent unable to play against his parent club it leaves them pretty light up front but at least they won’t have to deal with Benteke this weekend given his Achilles injury. Clubs fighting relegation can always be unpredictable and whilst a win is unlikely for Fulham I do think they’ll be a good chance for a draw if they work for it.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.71

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Cardiff ($2.48) versus Crystal Palace ($3.35), Draw ($3.3)

Cardiff take on Crystal Palace this weekend in what should be a pretty tight game. Palace sit just 5 points above the drop with Cardiff on the edge in 18th position. A win for both sides is crucial to their goal of staying up in the top flight for another season. Cardiff had a well-earned draw against West Brom last week whilst Palace stunned and frustrated Mourinho to get a shock 1-0 win over Chelsea in what will no doubt fill the team with plenty of confidence. The home crowd will no doubt ensure they make a hostile reception for Palace here which will be interesting to see what effect it has on both sides. The crowd can be a big factor for Cardiff here to help heap the pressure on the opposition and I can’t help but feel it will give them a boost this weekend to get something from this game. They’re in with a pretty good shot of survival as well if they continue to pick up some points in their remaining games and at the end of the day they have nothing to lose really. What could make it difficult for Cardiff this week though will be to break down Palace’s stubborn defence under Pulis. Cardiff isn’t a side that can score heavily often and nor is Palace a side that gets scored heavily against either so we could be in for a real tight tussle here.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.75

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Hull ($2.78) versus Swansea ($2.92), Draw ($3.3)

Hull take on Swansea this week in what looks to be a pretty even contest. Hull are generally a solid side at home whilst Swansea have had a couple of good results in their last 2 games with a draw away at Arsenal and a 3-0 win over Norwich at home. Hull will be without McGregor to suspension but the more than capable Harper will be able to comfortable cover for him here. For me I see this as a battle of the midfield giving good service to their strikers with Jelavic and Long for Hull taking on Bony and Michu from Swansea. For the most part we should see both sides field their best XI and although Hull have had a pretty good return from their home games, their last 5 at home has been a little off losing 3, winning 1, and the other a draw. I think that can play into the hands of Swansea who will be full of confidence after their past 2 games. Bony is also becoming a menacing striker for opposition defences to handle so this Hull defence could have their hands full. At the end of the day though I’m expecting a pretty even contest with a draw looking the likely outcome.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.93

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Newcastle ($3.95) versus Manchester United ($2.1), Draw ($3.6)

An interesting matchup here with Newcastle taking on Manchester United. Who would have thought that for all their struggles this season that Man United would at least have the best away record in the league at this stage of the season? I certainly wouldn’t have thought that when they were struggling so badly throughout this season. They’ve won their last 3 on the road and are starting to pick up a bit of momentum which will do them good with no doubt some world class players likely to be added to the squad for the 2014/15 season. Defensively over their last 5 away they’ve been solid as well only letting in 2 goals which in comparison to their first 11 away games where they let through 17 goals is a good turnaround in that area. It’s looking like a tough game for Newcastle to get something out of this one against a somewhat rejuvenated Manchester United. Both sides have some key outs though arguable Newcastle’s are more critical. Manchester United will be without RVP and Rooney whilst Newcastle will need to deal with injuries in the form of Krul, Debuchy, Sissoko, and Remy who are all in their best XI. With Newcastle’s form dropping lately and Manchester United starting to believe a little it’s likely we’ll see an away win this time.

Predicted result: Manchester United 2-0

Best Bet: Manchester United to win at $2.1

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Norwich ($2.42) versus West Brom ($3.3), Draw ($3.4)

Norwich will be looking to turn around their disappointing 3-0 loss away to Swansea as they prepare to take on a West Brom side that couldn’t shake a Cardiff side that stole a 3-3 draw. The key factor in this game is Norwich’s strong home performances in comparison to their away form. They haven’t lost at home in their last 6 with their last defeat at home coming against Manchester United back in December. Since then they’ve played 6 at home for 3 wins and 3 draws and perhaps more importantly they’ve only conceded once in those 6 games. For some reason they turn into a different side when away from home so I don’t think we should look too much into last week’s poor result at Swansea. With Yobo likely to come back into this Norwich defence I think they’re good shot at some more points again here. West Brom still look to be a side in some trouble sitting just 3 points off the drop they need at least 2 to 3 wins to ensure survival you would think. With one win from their past 11 though it’s not looking overly likely at this stage. Although they have 5 draws from these past 11 as well, they have all come at home so it’s really away where they seem to struggle. I’d expect a tight tussle this weekend but I dare say Norwich’s home form will put them in good stead here.

Predicted result: Norwich 2-1

Best Bet: Double Chance Norwich at $1.4

Best Bet Confidence: 90%

Chelsea ($1.3) versus Stoke ($14.5), Draw ($6)

Chelsea had a shock loss to Palace last week and they face another stubborn side this weekend in Stoke who are quite capable of troubling the top sides on their day. Despite that away loss though, it takes nothing away from Chelsea’s home form which still sees them undefeated at home this season and undefeated over their past 25 home fixtures in the premier league. It’s an incredible run of form that they’ll be looking to continue against Stoke here. Stoke though are in some good form themselves with 4 wins from their last 5 though this will be their biggest test of their last 5 so far. If this was a home game for Stoke I’d be pretty open minded to a Stoke upset but Chelsea’s home form has kept them in the title race this season and a win is much needed here in their race for the title with Liverpool now ahead of them and Man City not far behind.

Predicted result: Chelsea 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.9

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Everton ($2.5) versus Arsenal ($3.1), Draw ($3.5)

The biggest game of the weekend takes place on Sunday with Everton hosting fellow top 4 hopefuls Arsenal. With Arsenal struggling for results lately and Everton flying, we should be in for a really good contest here. Everton have won their last 5 games heading into this one so they’ll no doubt be high on confidence and perhaps even more so considering this is a home game where they have only lost once at home all season. Arsenal on the other hand have been stumbling lately winning only 2 of their last 8 games so it seems to be the injury toll and pressure is getting to them a little. It’s interesting though because Everton have suffered plenty of injuries themselves this season and still have players such as Kone, Traore, and Pienaar out whilst there are doubts over Barkley and Jagielka also for this clash. Everton just seem to have a lot of belief at the moment as well as a lot of their younger players playing to their best. This will be a tight contest that should go to the final whistle but I’d expect this to be a tight draw which would probably be a welcome result for both sides considering neither wants to lose as it’d put even more pressure on them for the race for the top 4.

Predicted result: Draw 2-2

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.71

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

West Ham ($9) versus Liverpool ($1.42), Draw ($5.2)

This could be a tough game for Liverpool but one in which a positive result could really put them in a strong position for the title ahead of their crunch match against Manchester City next week at home. 8 wins in a row is an incredible run of form and even more so when you consider the amount of goals they’ve piled on in those games. They’ve managed to put in 30 goals in those 8 games whilst also having a respectable goals against tally of only 10. Confidence is clearly sky high at Liverpool and perhaps even more so after that 4-0 thumping of Tottenham last weekend. West Ham are themselves in some pretty good form with 6 wins from their last 9 although there is no doubt this will be a huge test for them to try and stop Suarez and Sturridge along with Coutinho and co in midfield. West Ham’s last 5 at home has seen 4 wins and 1 loss with just the 4 goals conceded so there’s no doubt Liverpool will need to be at their best to get past this defence but considering the way in which Liverpool have knocked in the goals this season, it’s hard to see anything other than a high scoring game and a Liverpool win.

Predicted result: Liverpool 3-2

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.47

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Tottenham ($1.6) versus Sunderland ($6.8), Draw ($4.3)

The final game of this week takes place between Tottenham and Sunderland in a game which both sides need to win. Tottenham are a slim chance of still pushing for top 4 but will need to rely heavily on other results if they are to get through. Sunderland meanwhile are back struggling in the relegation zone and sit 4 points off safety at the moment. Whilst they do have some games in hand they also have an incredibly tough run home starting here with Tottenham. They then host Everton before then facing Manchester City and Chelsea away. These 4 games alone could well decide their season finishes. Tottenham will have a few injury worries head of this game with Vertonghen and Soldado to miss with injury although they should welcome back Adebayor and Chiriches. Given Tottenham’s pretty poor form at home this season we should see a pretty tight contest from Sunderland here though you’d still expect Tottenham to get the 3 points come the final whistle.

Predicted result: Tottenham 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.83

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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