English Premier League – Match Day 21

English Premier League - Football

Plenty of football this week after the 3rd round of the FA cup over the weekend with fixtures mid-week followed by another round of fixtures this weekend. The race for the title still remains wide open albeit that Arsenal have a handy 2 point lead over 2nd placed Leicester with Manchester City just another point behind. Tottenham too are in with a chance but have a 6 point gap to overhaul Arsenal at this stage. They could begin to at least close the gap on Leicester when they meet for the 2nd time in 4 days this week after their FA Cup draw with their meeting at home to Sunderland a further opportunity to grab some vital points. For Manchester City, they have two really tough fixtures with the visits of Everton and Crystal Palace certain to provide a test. Likewise Arsenal have two difficult games with Liverpool and Stoke away but if they can manage those games then they are well on the way to the title. With the EPL though there’s sure to be a surprise or two and this week’s games will be no different.

**Odds from Sportsbet as at 11th January

Aston Villa ($3) versus Crystal Palace ($2.4), Draw ($3.25)

Villa still remain rooted to the bottom and will remain there regardless of the result from this match with Palace. They have a mountain to climb being 11 points off safety with the chances slowly running out. There’s no doubt they’ll spend in January to try and rectify their situation but it looks downhill form here. Palace meanwhile have been great given they currently sit in 7th and just 2 points off the top 5. They had a tough outing in their last match against Chelsea but I think they’ll bounce back here. I have no doubt Villa will be resolute in defence but they just haven’t been creating enough chances to get their way out of trouble. The other problem is Palace don’t concede a lot of goals with just 19 from 20 games ranking them the 4th best defence in the league.

Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-0
Best Bet: Crystal Palace to win either half at $1.77 (80%)
Next Best: Crystal Palace to win at $2.4

Bournemouth ($2.1) versus West Ham ($3.5), Draw ($3.4)

This could be one of the more entertaining fixtures this week with Bournemouth losing just 1 of their last 9 games in all competitions. Likewise for West Ham, they look to have found their mojo again thanks to wins over Southampton and Liverpool but they too have also been difficult to beat recently. They’re undefeated in their last 8 games and with main man Dimitri Payet back in the side they could again start pushing for the top 4. For me though I don’t think that guarantees 3 points here by any means. Bournemouth have only picked up 2 points in their last 3 games but in those games they’ve kept Leicester and Palace scoreless whilst also having a respectable result of a 2-0 loss away to Arsenal. For me this one looks like a draw.

Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2 (75%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72

Newcastle ($4.33) versus Manchester United ($1.8), Draw ($3.6)

Newcastle remain in the bottom 3 after 3 straight losses and face a tricky visit from Man United here. It’s no secret that Man United have been far from convincing with just 5 points from their last 6 games, but it’s perhaps a little bit of unpredictability that may be an advantage here. They narrowly beat Swansea in their last game and were lucky in the FA Cup against Sheffield United. I think they’ll face a tough test themselves because despite Newcastle losing their last 3 games, they’ve at least kept things tight losing just 1-0 in each of them against Arsenal, West Brom, and Everton. The uncertainty and unconvincing nature of how Man United are playing at the moment too leads me to feel that Newcastle can get something from this and especially if they can mount the pressure early. The last two meetings between them have also only produced 1 goal and regardless of the result I don’t think we can expect more than 1 or 2 goals here.

Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.7 (70%)
Next Best: 2nd Half most goals at $2.1

Swansea ($1.75) versus Sunderland ($5), Draw ($3.5)

Another two sides that are struggling with Swansea sitting in 17th and Sunderland in 19th with both just registering 4 wins for the season thus far. Sunderland may have a little momentum winning their last game but the credentials for that win are not that great given they beat Villa who are well and truly relegated already if not for a miracle. Swansea whilst they have been poor this season have seen some of their better results in recent weeks with 5 points from their last 4 games. Their loss to Man United last time out they were still in the game throughout and had their chances. I think they’ll be keen to atone for their FA Cup exit against Oxford United too when a weakened side lost 3-2. For Sunderland I don’t think they’ll be uncompetitive I just think that Swansea are the better side at the moment.

Predicted score: Swansea 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.64 (85%)
Next Best: Swansea to win at $1.75

Chelsea ($1.4) versus West Brom ($8.5), Draw ($4.33)

Recent results may be starting to suggest that Chelsea can push back towards the top 4. They’re playing with a lot more freedom as one would expect under new management and for the short term at least they will be hard to beat. It’s not a great time to be playing them and I think Pulis and West Brom will be well aware of that so I expect to see a pretty stubborn defensive display from the Baggies here. Speaking of West Brom, they too have found some form with wins over Newcastle and Stoke pushing them to just 3 points outside the top 10. It makes for a tricky test for Chelsea in their endeavour to push up the table as West Brom won’t be beaten easily. Their last two meetings have seen the spoils shared with Chelsea lucky to get away with a 3-2 win earlier in the season with West Brom winning their previous meeting 3-0 last season. Whilst this will be a tough test for both, I have to go with Chelsea. The freedom they are playing with at the moment should be enough to get the 3 points but it will be close.

Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.85 (85%)
Next Best: Chelsea to win and Over 2.5 goals at $2.2

Manchester City ($1.5) versus Everton ($6), Draw ($4.5)

Inconsistency has been evident in their season yet Manchester City still remains well in the hunt for the title. They face a difficult fixture here though with Everton on their day able to match it with anyone. The problem for Everton though is that they just haven’t been winning enough games recently. They do have a decent record against City having won 5 of the last 12 meetings in all competitions, however they haven’t beaten City away since 2010 and that could be a crucial mental barrier to their efforts here. One other key factor that has been troubling Everton this season is that whilst they have been excellent up front scoring the 3rd most goals this season, they’ve also conceded a lot with 29 putting them in the bottom 6 defensively. Manchester City might be a bit inconsistent lately but one thing they have done is score and score heavily at times. Almost 2 goals a game puts them at the top of the league and I think that could mean goals in this one.

Predicted score: Manchester City 3-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – yes at $1.53 (85%)
Next Best: Over 3.5 goals at $1.61

Southampton ($1.95) versus Watford ($4.1), Draw ($3.3)

With 1 win from their last 5 games, Southampton will be desperate for another win but it will be difficult with Watford themselves in need of a win having dropped to 9th after two straight losses. Watford have been excellent this season but this league can be unforgiving at times and the losses to Tottenham and Manchester City put them in an unfair position given how well they played in both of those games and throughout this season. A strong away win here though will put them right back into top 4 calculations. They’ll have their chances too with Southampton not boasting the strongest of home records with just the 4 wins whilst Watford have lost just twice on the road. With Southampton not really convincing lately it’s difficult to go past Watford given their performances this season. They may have lost their last two but they were up against top opposition so tough results were in some ways expected.

Predicted score: Watford 2-1
Best Bet: Double Chance Watford at $1.83 (90%)
Next Best: Watford to win either half at $2.48

Stoke ($1.95) versus Norwich ($4.1), Draw ($3.3)

Stoke faltered last time out against West Brom when they were on a good run with wins over Manchester United and Everton. Norwich will provide a test here as Stoke look to bounce back to some form. Norwich have found some good form themselves lately winning their last 2 games with wins over Villa and Southampton though I dare say this will be a much tougher test for them. This one is simple for me and it just comes down to that I cannot see Norwich making it 3 in a row. Stoke are too good a side as well to not get something from this either and I can see them bouncing back for a win.

Predicted score: Stoke 2-0
Best Bet: Stoke to win at $1.95 (80%)
Next Best: Stoke to win to Nil at $3.1

Liverpool ($2.87) versus Arsenal ($2.4), Draw ($3.4)

It doesn’t get much tougher for Liverpool after a loss to West Ham, a draw in the FA Cup with Exeter and now the visit of the league leaders. One positive they can take into this though is they will have some fresh first teamers coming back into the side after Klopp played a lot of youth against Exeter. Whilst that will give them a boost I also think that Arsenal might just be too tough for them. They are full of confidence sitting at the top and I doubt they will switch off too much here. They may play with a little more caution given Liverpool can be dangerous such as when they thumped Manchester City away from home, but overall I’d expect Arsenal to win this. There’s just a bit too much instability with Liverpool at the moment in that I don’t think Klopp has the players he wants so there will be more changes to come via transfers etc. with that uncertainty I think this is Arsenals to win.

Predicted score: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Arsenal to win either half at $1.69 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.82

Tottenham ($1.75) versus Leicester ($4.75), Draw ($3.6)

Another match between Tottenham and Leicester at White Hart Lane after their FA Cup draw at the weekend. It was a great game from both sides and I’d expect no less here with both sides in Champion’s league calculations in 4th and 2nd respectively. Looking at their FA Cup meeting, Tottenham for the most part dominated the contest but Leicester showed their relentless counter attacking style to lead 2-1 only for a late penalty to give Tottenham another chance in the upcoming replay. What will make this interesting is that both sides will welcome back their best players for this one. The likes of Mahrez and Vardy didn’t appear with the latter still overcoming an injury whilst for Tottenham they can be expected to see Kane start from the outset alongside Lloris, Vertonghen, Lamela, and Alli. Whether that means we will see a similar score line I’m not so sure as I feel like there’s a bit more on the line in this one so it may be a little more cagey. Their previous meeting earlier in the year saw a 1-1 draw and I feel like it will be the same in this one. I’d expect Spurs to play almost with 3 central defenders like they did against Watford which may limit some of the chances for both sides. This is a game where both sides want to win but neither want to lose and whilst both will go for a win I can see this being a draw.

Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.87 (80%)
Next Best: Half-time draw at $2.1

Author

mm

Goal

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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