The action doesn’t stop with mid-week EPL action with 5 games Wednesday morning followed by another 5 on Thursday. Here we look at Wednesday action with Thursday to be posted later in the week.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 29th February
Aston Villa ($4.75) versus Everton ($1.8), Draw ($3.4)
They showed some fight but it wasn’t enough for Villa in their match against Stoke at the weekend. Another loss puts another big dent in their survival chances and the visit of Everton makes for another tough day at the office. Everton will be fresher as well given their match day 27 was postponed so it’s all advantage Everton ahead of kick off. The extra little break would have given them a little more time to prepare for where they went wrong in their last match where they lost 1-0 to West Brom. Given that extra time and the situation Aston Villa find themselves in, Everton should come out on top here.
Predicted score: Everton 2-1
Best Bet: Everton to win at $1.8 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.96
Bournemouth ($2.8) versus Southampton ($2.5), Draw ($3.3)
Bournemouth had a scrappy 0-0 draw last time out against Watford and may face an uphill battle against Southampton here. The Saints may have lost to Chelsea at the weekend but they were right in the game with Chelsea needing an 89th minute winner to claim the 3 points. Before that game Southampton had gone 6 games without conceding a goal and you’d have to back them in to reclaim that form against a Bournemouth side that has scored just once in their last 3 games. The Saints should be pretty eager to get back to winning ways as well knowing that a win here keeps them in touch of a top 5 finish with 10 games to go.
Predicted score: Southampton 2-0
Best Bet: Southampton to win either half at $1.78 (80%)
Next Best: Southampton to win at $2.5
Leicester ($1.61) versus West Brom ($5.5), Draw ($3.8)
Potential title winners Leicester got away with one at the weekend when they were almost held to a nil all draw against Norwich. It just goes to show how potentially difficult Leicester’s run home in the last 11 games will be. People will talk about how easy their run in the coming weeks is but when the whistle blows and we’re not talking about what’s on paper, sides will make it really difficult for them. Norwich restricted Leicester to just 3 shots on target and for a side that has conceded 51 goals, that’s a pretty awesome effort against a side that has scored 49. It’s important to point out too that Leicester average just over 13 shots on goal per game and Norwich held them to 8 at the weekend. For West Brom, I feel like they’ll make life just as difficult for Leicester this week. Whether it’s enough to get something from the contest may be a difficult one but Leicester seem to struggle more against the sides that sit back a bit as it restricts their counter attacking power. It should be another close contest but it’s still difficult to go against the trend of results that has been going Leicester’s way at the moment. The loss of tackling machine Kante to injury in midfield shouldn’t be underestimated either so how that impacts their chances will be interesting.
Predicted score: Leicester 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.71 (70%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2
Norwich ($5.5) versus Chelsea ($1.61), Draw ($3.8)
Finally back to back wins for Chelsea in the league and something they can now try to build on for the remaining 11 games this season. A top 4 spot still seems a distant ambition but some credibility and a push up towards the top 5 or 6 isn’t beyond them. They take on a Norwich side who will be disappointed not to have gotten a point from Leicester last time out and are still hanging above the drop zone by the thinnest of margins on goal difference. If they had of gotten a draw at Leicester I think they may have been able to take that momentum into this game knowing full well Chelsea are still not at their best. With that said though, there seems to be some momentum building at Chelsea and their win at Southampton was a great one given Southampton were in such excellent defensive form.
Predicted score: Chelsea 3-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.61 (85%)
Next Best: Chelsea to score 2 or more goals at $1.62
Sunderland ($2.6) versus Crystal Palace ($2.75), Draw ($3.2)
Wednesday wraps up with Palace making the trip to Sunderland and both sides will be desperate for the points. Sunderland will no doubt have a bit more desperation about them given their plight in 19th position and a point off safety but Palace haven’t won a league game in 2016 and will need points sooner rather than later. For a side that has conceded 51 times this season, to concede just the 6 over their last 5 games suggests they are digging in for the fight and I’d expect no less here. They still have a great chance of surviving and points here would be massive for them. Palace are short on confidence and I think they may struggle once more to capture that elusive victory.
Predicted score: Sunderland 1-0
Best Bet: Sunderland to win either half at $1.82 (70%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.63
West Ham ($3.8) versus Tottenham ($1.95), Draw ($3.6)
A London derby amplifies things a bit here but this was always going to be a big game. Tottenham are right in the title race just 2 points off Leicester and want a win ahead of their biggest game of the season against arch rivals and title rivals Arsenal this weekend. Spurs have a lot of momentum with 6 straight league wins and their latest against Swansea was the 5th time they have come from behind to win this season, 3 times more than any other side. The hammers too have been in some great form this season but have won just twice in their last 6. Where they have been strong though has been at home where they have lost just twice this season with their last loss at home coming against Bournemouth back in August. At the same time though, Tottenham have lost just once away this season which was on the opening day of the season and given their current form you have to back them to get something from this game. West Ham will come at them but I have to stick with Spurs to keep their run going.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.91 (85%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2.1
Stoke ($1.91) versus Newcastle ($4.2), Draw ($3.5)
Newcastle have had an extended break but Stoke will have the momentum after a win at the weekend against Bournemouth. The relegation fight only gets tougher from here for Newcastle after 5 straight losses and they’ll be hoping some fresher legs will be enough to get something from this tough fixture. It makes for an interesting build up to the game because Newcastle will have had a lot of time, almost 3 weeks, of no competitive football to work on things for this match but that in turn could make them a little rusty in addition to the building pressure of the relegation fight. The other thing that I’m not so hot on for Newcastle at the moment is that they just haven’t been scoring enough goals. Away from home in 13 games they’ve scored just 7 times and conceded 31 so that coupled with such a long break doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that they will get a good result here.
Predicted score: Stoke 2-0
Best Bet: Stoke to win at $1.91 (75%)
Next Best: Stoke to lead at Half-Time at $2.5
Arsenal ($1.33) versus Swansea ($10), Draw ($5)
Arsenal fell further behind Leicester and Tottenham at the weekend when they lost away to Manchester United. It’s certainly not a massive gap but it’s a gap nonetheless and something they’ll want to ensure doesn’t grow this week against Swansea. If they are going to win the title this season then the equation is really simple, they must win and quickly. Swansea proved to be a test for Tottenham on the scoreboard but in reality they were dominated with Spurs making 28 shots on goal to 8. If they allow Arsenal to take hold of the game the same way then it’ll be the same result here and with the expectation of Arsenal bouncing back I have to go with an Arsenal win here.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-0
Best Bet: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2 (80%)
Next Best: Arsenal Handicap -1 at $2
Liverpool ($2.5) versus Manchester City ($2.87), Draw ($3.3)
A rematch of the Capital One Cup on the weekend happens straight away here with City heading to Anfield looking to maintain the momentum from that Cup win. They also need a win in the league as they’ve lost their last 2 and are currently 9 points off the top albeit with a game in hand. Liverpool won’t be shy about wanting to win either as they currently sit in 9th with a 9 point gap to the top 4 which looks a very unlikely ambition for them now. For me I feel that City have a lot more to play for given they are still title contenders. Add to that a fitter Kompany with a few games under his belt after an injury layoff and an Aguero in good form they should be winning this. There could be evidence of a bit of a cup hangover but for me I’m going to stick with Man City to get the 3 points here.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Manchester City Draw No Bet at $1.97 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.87
Manchester United ($1.61) versus Watford ($6), Draw ($3.75)
United are coming off 2 good wins and plenty of excitement as well with some breakthrough performances from the youthful Marcus Rashford who has 4 goals in his last 2 appearances. The win over Arsenal too gives them a big boost in their top 4 hopes when really they shouldn’t be in the discussion given their inconsistent and somewhat unconvincing season under LVG. But they’re 3 points off the top 4 at the moment and that will give them some drive to push on for Watford here. For Watford they were frustrated against Bournemouth last time out in a scoreless draw. I think part of their issue is that they just haven’t been scoring enough goals lately with just 4 in their last 6 games. They’ve still maintained their pretty good defensive record where they’ve conceded the equal 3rd lest goals at 28 but they’ll need more than that to stop a United side that surprisingly are on the up.
Predicted score: Manchester United 2-1
Best Bet: Half-time Draw at $2 (70%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.17