English Premier League – Match Day 17

English Premier League - Football

Week 17 of the English Premier League will be one without the controversial, but entertaining, Jose Mourinho. Having been sacked from the club a few days ago, it gives Chelsea a fresh start to try and now rescue something from their season. They certainly need some rescuing given they sit in 16th on the table and just 1 point above safety. With Mourinho now gone, you’d expect a response from the players this weekend against Sunderland, but if they lose again then maybe the issues run a bit deeper. Apart from the Chelsea show this weekend, there’s still plenty of action to be had. There’ll be plenty of interest once again with Leicester as they head to Everton looking to maintain their 2 point lead over Arsenal at the top of the table. A win could increase that gap if Arsenal are held by Manchester City in their fixture. Things can change pretty rapidly though and they will given the busy fixture period over Christmas is about to begin with 40 games to be played from this weekend until the 4th of Jan.

**Odds from Sportsbet as at 19th December

Chelsea ($1.33) versus Sunderland ($10), Draw ($5)

With Mourinho gone, I think we can expect to see a freedom about Chelsea this weekend. Generally you see a response from sides when their managers are sacked, it’s just not often that those managers won the title the previous season. It was clear that the players were not on the same page as Mourinho but I feel like they’ll have a statement to make against Sunderland this week. For Sunderland, I feel like they’re a bit unlucky this week. With Mourinho still at the helm you’d probably give them a slight chance of pulling off a point but I think Chelsea will be too strong. Hazard could miss for the Blues but I don’t think he’ll be missed too much given he hasn’t really performed at his peak this season anyway. Expect a wary and resistant Sunderland in patches but look for Chelsea to bounce back for a much needed win.

Predicted score: Chelsea 2-0
Best Bet: Chelsea to win to Nil at $1.91 (80%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.62

Everton ($2.1) versus Leicester ($3.4), Draw ($3.6)

This should be a really good game not just because Leicester have been flying this season losing just the 1 game but Everton have been a tough side to beat this season. Everton are undefeated in their last 6 and have lost just the 3 games this season but have probably been hurt by the 8 draws that they have registered so far this season. The problem has been that they just haven’t been able to kill off games as they’d like. They have drawn their last 3 games and in 2 of those they have taken the lead only to not hold on for the 3 points. The way Leicester play I think puts Everton in a dangerous position of getting 4 draws in a row here. Everton are good enough to compete with Leicester but Leicester are just so dangerous on the break that you have to give them every chance of walking away at bare minimum with a point. Another win for Leicester won’t be a surprise either given they have only lost once this season and the damaging duo of Mahrez and Vardy is enough to trouble any defence in the league.

Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.58 (90%)
Next Best: Leicester to score 2 or more goals at $2.3

Manchester United ($1.44) versus Norwich ($7.5), Draw ($4.5)

United have been on a flat run lately without a win in their last 3 games to add to a concerning lack of goals. United have scored just twice in their last 3 games with there being a clear need for more support up front for young Martial. That support should come in the form of Wayne Rooney, but he himself needs to find some form having scored just twice from 12 games this season. This weekend could be a good opportunity for him to find some form again after returning from injury. Norwich have been playing better lately in that they haven’t been conceding as many goals as they were earlier in the season. In their last 6 games they’ve conceded 7 times compared to 21 in their first 10 games which suggests an approach to a more defensive mindset of late. That’s all well and good but they need to start creating more goals if they are to climb out of the relegation zone. In terms of the outcome of this one, I can see Man United winning but I don’t think it will be by more than 2 goals.

Predicted score: Manchester United 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.89 (75%)
Next Best: Half-time draw at $2.2

Southampton ($2.7) versus Tottenham ($2.7), Draw ($3.2)

One of the more even looking contests of the weekend with Southampton hosting Tottenham. Spurs had a bit of a wakeup call last time out when they had a shock loss to Newcastle. It was a shock not only because it was Newcastle but because it also ended a 14 game unbeaten run. In a way though it’s probably a loss they needed as recording another draw (given they have 8 already) wouldn’t have done them much good psychologically. That loss will refocus them towards getting a win this week and I think they’ll bounce back fairly strongly. They’ll be away from home and away from the pressures and expectations of the home crowd which I think will be a bonus. It’s not to say Southampton won’t have their chances this week but they haven’t been playing the greatest lately and may struggle to find some form against a Spurs side eager to atone for last week.

Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.99 (85%)
Next Best: Tottenham to win at $2.7

Stoke ($2.4) versus Crystal Palace ($3), Draw ($3.3)

Both Stoke and Crystal Palace have been hard to beat lately with both sides just losing 1 of their last 6 games with both recording 3 wins and 2 draws as well. There is one difference between the two over the last 6 games though in that Stoke haven’t been able to match Palace’s goal scoring with Stoke managing just the 4 goals. Perhaps more importantly for Stoke though has been that they have conceded just twice in that time which has enabled them to gather points without having to score lots of goals. As a result I think Stoke will be looking to keep Palace pretty quiet and get them on the break which may mean we’re in for a pretty low scoring contest. Palace are equally pretty strong in defence having conceded just 4 times in their last 6. As for a winner I don’t think there is a clear victor here. This will be an evenly fought battle but shouldn’t be a lot of goals either so a draw may be the go.

Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Half-time draw at $1.91 (80%)
Next Best: Draw at $3.3

West Brom ($2.4) versus Bournemouth ($3), Draw ($3.3)

Both sides are undefeated in their last 4 with Bournemouth winning their last 2 games against Chelsea and United to give them some great momentum. West Brom though won’t be easy to beat and I think it will be difficult for Bournemouth to make it 3 in a row here. West Brom have drawn their last 3 games against good opposition in West Ham, Tottenham and Liverpool so are in a good position to get some more points this week. They were a little unlucky against Liverpool last week when they let through a late goal from Origi to drop the win which they’ll no doubt be disappointed by. This is a tough game to look at because both sides have been playing good football and this could easily just end in a draw. For me though I have to back to home side here. Bournemouth have done incredibly well to win their last 2 games but I just can’t see them beating West Brom and I can’t really see West Brom settling for a draw. The momentum is certainly with Bournemouth but I can’t help but think they may get a little ahead of themselves after 2 great results.

Predicted score: West Brom 2-1
Best Bet: West Brom to win either half at $1.77 (75%)
Next Best: West Brom Draw no bet at $1.73

Newcastle ($1.95) versus Aston Villa ($3.9), Draw ($3.5)

Newcastle had an incredible win over Tottenham last weekend to add to their great win over Liverpool in the previous game they played. Those two results will give them great confidence and belief when they host Villa who remain rooted to the foot of the table on just 6 points. I think it’s only going to get worse for Villa as well unless they can break through for their second win of the season at some point. I don’t think that point will come this weekend though as Newcastle are on a roll, are out of the relegation zone, and will believe they can win this one now. With that said, I do think Villa will be in this game but I can just see Newcastle stealing it late.

Predicted score: Newcastle 2-1
Best Bet: Newcastle to win at $1.95 (80%)
Next Best: Newcastle to win either half at $1.52

Watford ($4) versus Liverpool ($1.91), Draw ($3.6)

They have definitely flown under the radar but it’s great to see a side like Watford climb up to 7th on the table on the back of 3 straight wins. They were of course 3 pretty favourable fixtures but they can show they belong in the top half of the table if they can get a win here over Liverpool. I think they’ll have their chances too as Liverpool really haven’t kicked on under Klopp just yet and are probably struggling for some consistency. A massive positive for Liverpool last time out though was no doubt the return of Captain Henderson from injury. With more game time under his belt he’ll no doubt be a key to the rest of their season in their midfield. One thing that is clear for Liverpool is they are struggling to consistently find the back of the net. They’ve only scored 20 times this season which for a side with top 4 aspirations just isn’t good enough. The added injury woes again to Sturridge don’t help but they need to get more out of the likes of Benteke who at his best is a 20 goal a season striker. Watford have been underestimated this season and I think they have a great shot at getting another point here. I can’t see Liverpool winning convincingly and they’ll find out that Watford are a good side.

Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Double chance Watford at $1.8 (75%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.71

Swansea ($2.1) versus West Ham ($3.6), Draw ($3.4)

I’m finding it difficult to see why Swansea can win this game. West Ham haven’t been great themselves but they have played some better football conceding just once in their last 3 which all turned out to be draws. Swansea have lost their last 3 to leave them just above the relegation zone on goal difference. I think the issue for both sides though is going to be where the goals are going to come from. Since Payet’s injury, West Ham have struggled to regularly find the back of the net whilst for Swansea they have scored just 3 times in their last 6 games (conceding 12 in the same period). Neither side has the form to warrant a win here and I kind of think this will be a bit of a dull draw anyway. West Ham have been playing ok enough for them to gather another point but equally they probably won’t get the 3 points just like Swansea.

Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.68 (90%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2



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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