It’s week 17 of the Premier League and another week at the top for Chelsea who don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Now with 10 straight wins and a very healthy 6 point lead at the top of the table, they’ll be looking to maintain that against Crystal Palace this weekend. The chasing pack of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City have stumbled lately and have some difficult fixtures this weekend which could extend Chelsea’s lead. Arsenal’s loss to Everton mid-week would have been particularly disappointing given they face Manchester City away this week. With Liverpool on the road away to Everton and with Everton on a high after their shock win over Arsenal, there’s every chance that Chelsea’s 6 point lead pushes out further.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 17th December
Match Day 17 Best Bet:
Head to Head multi Bet: Chelsea win ($1.61), West Ham win ($1.67), Stoke win ($2.5), Tottenham win ($1.2) = $8.06
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
Chelsea will be looking to make it 11 straight wins to maintain their 6 point lead at the top of the table when they take on Crystal Palace this week. Sometimes there comes a point in these win streaks where a loss or draw gets closer as the weeks roll on. Palace are certainly capable of an upset but they just don’t have the form behind them ahead of such a big game here. They came close against Manchester United during the week but ultimately fell short late in the game to lose 2-1. It’s looking like this will be similarly tight this weekend. Of Chelsea’s last 5 wins, 4 have been by just the 1 goal. Perhaps the longer this streak goes, the more anxious the performances may be. For this weekend at least though, another win beckons.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.61 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.62
Middlesbrough vs Swansea
Swansea have somewhat of a mini revival in their last 4 matches with 2 wins but they still sit comfortably in the relegation zone 3 points off safety. Middlesbrough won’t be easy though, especially on the road for Swansea as their last 2 wins have come at home. On the road is where they’ve really struggled for results with just 4 points taken from a possible 24. In contrast, Middlesbrough haven’t been much better when you look at their home record with just 7 points from a possible 24. The key difference is they concede nowhere near as often as Swansea and that’s what could set these two sides apart. Swansea have conceded 15 more goals than their opponents this weekend though Middlesbrough’s issue is up front where they don’t score enough goals. Difficult to see a clear winner from either side here so a draw may be the fair result here.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.7 (85%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $2
Stoke vs Leicester
2016/17 has been a long season so far for Leicester. They’ve had plenty of highs in their Champion’s League campaign, but in the league they have really struggled to emulate last season. Their counter attacking style doesn’t seem to work as well this season with just 4 wins this season. They’ve only beaten Palace, Swansea, Burnley and Manchester City. The City win was particularly impressive but other than that they have just disappointed. Stoke are a good side and are difficult to beat at home with their last 6 matches producing just the 1 loss. Leicester may be capable of taking something from this at best, but Stoke will certainly have the upper hand. It’s important to also note that Leicester’s away record with just the 1 point taken from 8 games is very poor, especially from a side that’s strong on the counter.
Predicted score: Stoke 2-1
Best Bet: Stoke to win at $2.5 (70%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.03
Sunderland vs Watford
The Black Cats may still be rooted to the bottom of the table, but they can take a lot from their last 6 matches heading into Watford this weekend. They’ve won 3 of their last 6 but of their 3 losses over the same period, only one of these has been a significant disappointment when they lost 3-0 to Swansea. Their 2-0 loss to Liverpool and the 1-0 to Chelsea during the week were still good performances given the potency of their opponents. Watford will be difficult for Sunderland but they’ve not been in the best of form when on the road. They’ve lost their last 3 on the road and have only won twice away this season. There should be a few goals in this one as well with neither side particularly strong defensively but this is a great opportunity for Sunderland to get another 3 points to try and haul themselves off the bottom.
Predicted score: Sunderland 2-1
Best Bet: Sunderland to win either half at $1.78 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.06
West Ham vs Hull
Depending on other results, Hull should be bottom of the table after this weekend. They’ve really struggled this season whilst they also now have the worst defence in the league with 35 goals conceded from 16 games. They have an interesting match this week against West Ham who have had their own struggles this season as they look to try and push towards the top 10. It’s clear for the hammers though that the transition to their new stadium has been a lot harder than they would have thought with just 3 wins from their 8 home matches. They have started to pick up some form there though with a 1-0 win over Burnley and losing just 1 of their last 5 at home. They still have plenty of issues, but they should win this one.
Predicted score: West Ham 2-0
Best Bet: West Ham to win at $1.67 (80%)
Next Best: West Ham to lead at Half-Time at $2.1
West Brom vs Manchester United
Narrow wins is what is keeping Manchester United in touch with the top 5. They’ve won their last two matches but just the 1 goal and may need that sort of form to get past West Brom who are currently the form side of the competition if you disregard Chelsea. The Baggies have won 4 of their last 6 matches and what is really unlike West Brom, they’ve been scoring goals. Their last 6 games have produced 13 goals and just as impressive has been their defence with just the 5 goals conceded. The key point for this match is that although United have found a bit of momentum with some narrow wins, West Brom are looking the more complete side and look a difficult team to beat. The Baggies should at least be able to get a draw here as United still have yet to really convince.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $2.05 (85%)
Next Best: Double Chance West Brom at $2.1
Bournemouth vs Southampton
Based on the table, this looks a really even match with both Bournemouth and Southampton sitting on 21 points and separated by just 2 goals on goal difference. Both sides have struggled for consistency this season though with Bournemouth unable to string multiple wins together whilst Southampton have only been able to put together two straight wins earlier in the season. One thing for sure is that Southampton have been a more difficult side to beat as evidenced from their 6 draws. Those draws have prevented them from sitting a lot higher on the table. Even just converting two of those draws to wins would see them in 7th. Bournemouth will be difficult to beat at home here as they’ve only lost twice at home this season but Southampton won’t be easy to beat here either.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $1.91
Tottenham vs Burnley
There’s some momentum building for Tottenham now and in what is a crucial part of the season heading into Christmas and New Year’s fixtures. They’ve won two of their last 3 but at home they are yet to lose a match and facing Burnley this weekend, it doesn’t look like they’ll lose anytime soon at home. Burnley still have a horrible away record with just 1 point taken on the road and just the 1 goal scored. Spurs have scored 17 times at home this season and conceded just 4 so it could be a tough day for Burnley here.
Predicted score: Tottenham 3-0
Best Bet: Tottenham to win to Nil at $1.91 (90%)
Next Best: Tottenham to score 3 or more goals at $1.83
Manchester City vs Arsenal
The glamour match of the weekend here with title hopefuls Manchester City hosting Arsenal. This has been made particularly more important with Arsenal losing to Everton mid-week and falling further behind Chelsea, whilst for Man City it’s an opportunity to jump ahead of the Gunners. Often what happens with these sorts of matches though is that both sides tend to cancel each other out. City currently don’t have the firepower with Aguero out suspended whilst for Arsenal, their loss to Everton during the week may have an impact on their confidence levels. The Gunners do look the more potent side at the moment though, and for City that will be a worry. The Gunners have knocked in 13 goals in their last 5 matches whilst City have conceded 9 in their last 5. City have had inconsistent performances this season at the back thanks to injury and form. They’ll look to be a lot tighter this week but it may be difficult to keep Arsenal quiet for the full 90 minutes.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.5 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.6
Everton vs Liverpool
A derby to finish the weekend’s action off with Everton hosting Liverpool. Both sides had a win last time out with Everton breaking through after a 5 games winless streak to beat Arsenal 2-1 at home. For Liverpool, they’ve had a fantastic season so far to sit in 2nd, but the cracks are starting to appear again for them defensively. That has resulted in some inconsistent performances in their last 5 games where they have won just twice. The win for Everton during the week will have been massive for them and should go a long way to putting in a good performance here against a big rival. Liverpool can’t be counted on defensively and their inconsistent performances recently may see them having to settle for a draw here.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.62 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.74