With league leaders Chelsea dropping points to Liverpool during the week, it was the prime opportunity for the chasing pack to capitalise. As things turned out, Arsenal went through a shock loss at home to Watford, whilst Tottenham failed to capture all 3 points having to settle for a draw against bottom of the table Sunderland. Perhaps the saving grace for 2nd placed Tottenham this week is Chelsea have to face Arsenal at home whilst they host Middlesbrough. It’s also an opportunity for Liverpool and Manchester City to close the gap also with games against Hull and Swansea respectively. Of course it’s always easier said than done and going by results during the week, who knows what will happen this weekend.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 4th Feb
Match Day 24 Best Bet: Southampton vs West Ham – Both teams to score – Yes at $1.8
Head to Head multi Bet: Everton win ($1.75), Crystal Palace win ($1.73), West Brom win ($2.37), Tottenham win ($1.25) = $8.96
Chelsea vs Arsenal
Both sides stuttered in their last matches but Arsenal truly went through a shock result against Watford. Down 2-0 at one stage, the match ended 2-1 with plenty of questions to be asked about Arsenal’s capabilities to with the title after such a result. This is now the perfect opportunity to show their ability against the league leaders but it does right now look a little bit too much to ask. Chelsea also dropped points during the week but they blew an opportunity to beat Liverpool 2-1 with Costa missing a penalty chance. This is an interesting match also when looking at the records so far between the top 5. Chelsea have taken so far just 7 points in 6 games against top 4 sides this season whilst for the Gunners have taken just 4 points from their 4 games against top 6 sides. That’s also where Arsenal now have a difficult run home this season with games to play still against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester City. Adding to Arsenal’s woes is their midfield depth. Right now they are short through injuries to Cazorla and Ramsey whilst Xhaka is suspended and Elneny is away on International duty. Add to that no recall clause for Jack Wilshere and there’s an Arsenal side here that will be stretched in midfield. With that it’s now Chelsea’s game to lose here.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Half-time Draw at $2.1 (75%)
Next Best: Chelsea to win either half at $1.48
West Brom vs Stoke
The Baggies have a competitive game on their hands here with Stoke visiting whilst on a 4 games undefeated streak in the league. They’ll need to bring that form into this with West Brom themselves one of the more consistent sides in the league this season. The Baggies have won 3 of their last 5 and sit in a really good position rounding out the top 8. One of the key differences about this side compared to last season is they are far more clinical. Last season they managed to score just 34 goals whilst after 23 games this season they’re already at 31. This is thanks largely to improvements in Rondon but also the additions of players like Chadli who brings an attacking threat they previously haven’t had. Add in that they’ve only lost 3 times at home this season being against top 4 sides (Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal) and this looks a match where at minimum they’ll get a point though they are overall better placed through injuries and form to take all 3.
Predicted score: West Brom 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.91 (80%)
Next Best: West Brom to win at $2.37
Watford vs Burnley
After such an incredible result away from home to win 2-1 at Arsenal, Watford will be on a high ahead of their home match here against Burnley. They have the base to make this two straight wins as well purely based off Burnley’s away form which still remains poor with 1 point taken from 10 games. The momentum that Watford can now take into this match after breaking a 7 game winless streak in the league should be enough to see them over the line here. At best Burnley might be able to push for a draw but right now it would be somewhat of a shock to see them take all 3 points here after their away form so far this season.
Predicted score: Watford 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.57 (85%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $1.91
Southampton vs West Ham
Both sides endured losses last week of vary degrees with West Ham thumped by Manchester City at home whilst Southampton fell short against Swansea away losing 2-1. The Saints remain a little light at the back with Van Dijk still out injured but they should be competitive enough against a West Ham side that is somewhat unpredictable at the moment. The Hammer’s last 6 away games have produced 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses which includes draws against Manchester United and Liverpool. Overall this season though on the road they’ve only won 3 times so they do have some momentum based on recent performances away but similarly Southampton have only lost 3 times at home this season with their main issue coming up front where they have struggled to score a lot of goals. That’s where new signing Gabbiadini may play a part against a hammers side that concedes 1.8 goals per away game. This should be a pretty good contest and one where perhaps the goals will be flowing.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.8 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.93
Hull vs Liverpool
Both sides will be buoyed by their last results with Hull managing a 0-0 draw away at United whilst Liverpool can take some confidence about keeping the league leaders to a 1-1 draw. Hull are an ever improving side at the moment, particularly at home and it makes for an interesting proposition for Liverpool who are often inconsistent against teams outside the top 6. It’s no more evident than when you look at Liverpool’s recent away form over the last 6 games. They’ve claimed 2 wins, 3 draws, and a loss. Not that bad really but draws to Southampton and Sunderland along with a loss to Bournemouth in that time shows how inconsistent they can be. This looks like another match where they could easily drop points on that basis as well. Hull have only lost once in their last 6 home games which shows they are well and truly up for a fight to avoid the drop. A point here against a top 6 side would boost their morale immensely too. In the end Liverpool should win this, but really there’s no real confidence about picking that result so I’m backing a draw.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.68 (85%)
Next Best: Hull Double Chance at $2.7
Everton vs Bournemouth
Everton are in a strong position here to claim another 3 points with the visit of Bournemouth. The challenge for Bournemouth here is really to turn around their away form where they have won just twice this season but it looks like that will be a big ask. Everton’s squad is pretty healthy right now and they have only lost once at home this season when they lost 1-0 to Liverpool. With Bournemouth also struggling to keep the goals out when on the road (22 conceded), Everton could certainly have a bit of fun in this one.
Predicted score: Everton 3-0
Best Bet: Everton to win at $1.75 (90%)
Next Best: Everton to win to Nil at $2.88
Crystal Palace vs Sunderland
Both of these sides are stuck in the relegation zone right now but for Palace in particular, a win here gives them an opportunity to get out. They also have some momentum after picking up a win last time out when they beat Bournemouth 2-0 away. Relegation battling sides can always produce the unknown but Palace look the best equipped in this particular one. Sunderland produced a big point at home during the week when they kept Tottenham scoreless for a 0-0 draw. Perhaps though that’s where Sunderland’s chances of survival remain this season, at home. On the road they’ve been poor to claim just 4 points so far and with Palace looking to make it 2 straight and with some momentum, they may have to wait for their next home game for a positive result.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-1
Best Bet: Crystal Palace to win at $1.73 (80%)
Next Best: Crystal Palace to score 2 or more goals at $1.72
Tottenham vs Middlesbrough
Spurs have now had 3 games in a row where they’ve failed to perform to their recent high standards. Hopefully for their sake it’s just a small blip in their quest to chase down Chelsea and they’ll be keen to get back on the winners list at home this week with Chelsea facing Arsenal. Their form has been affected by some key outs in recent weeks with Vertonghen still a while off returning whilst the absence of Lamela looks to be hurting them of another key option in the final third. You have to back Tottenham in this one though despite their recent patchy form. They’re yet to lose a home game this season whilst conceding just the 5 times at home. With Middlesbrough winning just once on the road it seems like a stretch for them to get something in this one. They’re lack of firepower up front is highlighted by the fact they are the only side in the league to have scored fewer than 20 goals in their 23 games which doesn’t bode well against the equal best defence in the league.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-0
Best Bet: Tottenham to win to Nil at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.57
Manchester City vs Swansea
The recent surge in form for Swansea may be held here when they travel to Manchester City who will be looking to build on their 4-0 win over West Ham during the week. That win was Man City’s 2nd win in their last 5 matches but a win here puts the pressure on the top 4 sides above them to keep their place. The addition of the exciting Gabriel Jesus up front looks to have given them another dimension that possess a lot of energy and drive. He had a great game against West Ham during the week and against Swansea this week he’s no doubt going to cause problems. Swansea of course have won 3 of their last 4 as they look to keep out of the relegation zone but this one looks to be a bit of a stretch to be able to get any more points this week. One thing that does look likely is goals for both sides with the last 7 meetings between these two in all competitions producing goals for both sides.
Predicted score: Manchester City 3-1
Best Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $2.02 (85%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83
Leicester vs Manchester United
Neither Leicester of Manchester United have had a great run at things lately and this looks like it’ll be a pretty even one. Leicester have been pretty poor this season overall but they tend to get up for the bigger games like this whilst United have had to settle for 3 straight draws. United’s struggles seem to stem from their lack of firepower despite possession the likes of Ibrahimovic and Martial. Of the top 6 sides this season, they’ve scored the fewest goals (33) by a whopping 12 goals to the next lowest side in Tottenham (45). Their defence has kept them in things having conceded a respectable 21 times but they just seem to lack that final 3rd edge to turn some of their 9 draws this season into wins. Perhaps this is draw number 10 just to frustrate Mourinho that little bit more.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Half-time Draw at $2.1 (85%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.77