We have a new league leader and despite how well they have been playing this season it’s still surprising that Leicester sit top of the league after 13 games. It’s incredible given they were in the relegation zone this time last year but credit to them and their management. Manchester United also shifted up to 2nd after losses for Manchester City and Arsenal see them slip to 3rd and 4th respectively. What is more tantalising for the remainder of the season is that we have just 5 points separating 5th to 11th and just 9 between the top 11 which should make the title race for the short term extremely open so don’t be shocked if there’s a bit more shuffling at the top in the coming weeks. It’s also fitting then that we have a top of the table clash between Leicester and Manchester United. A win for Leicester will give them much more credibility than it would for United at this stage of the season.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 28th November
Aston Villa ($2.7) versus Watford ($2.75), Draw ($3.2)
Villa are still yet to register their 2nd win of the season and sit 4 points behind Bournemouth at the bottom of the table. They won’t have an easy game this week either against Watford who whilst are sitting comfortably at the moment in 13th, are in need of a win after back to back losses. Their last two games were tough fixtures against top 4 opposition in Leicester and Manchester United but Villa won’t be an easy 3 points by any means. Their 4-0 thumping at the hands of Everton last week should mean we will see a bit of a response from Villa at home this week. The difficulty is that Watford are a really well organised side and are difficult for even the top sides to break down at times so I think Villa might still find it tough here. A point won’t be beyond them but anything more than that I can’t see happening yet and for me this is a Watford game to lose.
Predicted score: Watford 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.55 (90%)
Next Best: Watford to win either half at $1.94
Sunderland ($3.1) versus Stoke ($2.37), Draw ($3.25)
The Black Cats registered their 2nd win of the season last week and it was a big one to win away from home against Crystal Palace who are normally pretty tricky. They now have some momentum for the visit of Stoke this week but I think they’ll have it a bit tougher here. Stoke have found form lately by winning 4 of their last 6 and have only lost once away from home this season which was at Arsenal. Sunderland are certainly starting to build a little under Allardyce but their credentials of stringing two wins together this season doesn’t give me a lot of confidence to back them here. Stoke are the side to beat given their strong away record and simply that they just don’t concede a lot of goals away from home (only 5 conceded in 7 games). I’d expect Sunderland to be more competitive than earlier in the season but Stoke should be taking the 3 points.
Predicted score: Stoke 1-0
Best Bet: Stoke to win either half at $1.74 (85%)
Next Best: Stoke to win at $2.37
Bournemouth ($3) versus Everton ($2.37), Draw ($3.3)
Bournemouth managed a point last time out away from home at Swansea which is a pleasing result but they need to build on that with Everton visiting this week. Everton have been good this season currently sitting in 7th winning 2 of their last 3 scoring 11 goals in the process. Confidence will be starting to build at Everton from their last 3 results and I’m sure they still themselves as capable of fighting for the European places with just 4 points to 5th and 6 to the top 4. I think they’ll have too much for Bournemouth this week as well in what will either be a competitive high scorer or a rough day for Bournemouth given Everton’s ease of scoring lately. Bournemouth have the worst defensive record in the league with 27 goals conceded and whilst it may be somewhat inflated by the 10 goals combined they conceded to Tottenham and Manchester City it shows they struggle against the better attacks. An attack with an in form Lukaku (5 goals in the last 3 games) has the potential to make it an ugly day for Bournemouth once again.
Predicted score: Everton 3-0
Best Bet: Everton to win at $2.5 (80%)
Next Best: Lukaku to score anytime at $2.37
Crystal Palace ($1.75) versus Newcastle ($4.8), Draw ($3.75)
After losing to Sunderland last week I’m sure Palace will be looking to bounce back quickly for the visit of Newcastle. Palace are a good side and shouldn’t be losing to the likes of Sunderland and equally they shouldn’t be losing to Newcastle either based on their record thus far this season. Newcastle are perhaps on their best patch of form this season having won 2 and drawn 1 of their last 5 but they have a lot of work to do to win away from home here. Their last away game they managed to beat Bournemouth 1-0 but prior to that they had only taken 1 point away from home this season. Despite that poor record, Newcastle might be able to take as positive ahead of this one is that Palace haven’t really performed that well at home this season where they have won just twice in 7 games. In saying that, Newcastle don’t really have much to back them up away from home so this should be a 3rd win for Palace at home this season.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.98 (80%)
Next Best: Crystal Palace to win at $1.75
Manchester City ($1.53) versus Southampton ($6.5), Draw ($4.1)
The shock of last weekend was Manchester City losing 4-1 at home to Liverpool and they’ll no doubt be eager to turn that result right around when they host Southampton this week. City have now lost 2 and drawn 1 in their last 3 games in all competitions after their 1-0 to Juventus in the Champions League during the week. For Southampton they too will be looking to bounce back from a loss by losing 1-0 to Stoke last week. They’ll need to do it without front man Graziano Pelle though due to his suspension which could see them a little livelier up front with the pace of Long, Mane, and Tadic potential to cause havoc. City have a somewhat depleted defence with Kompany and Mangala out injured but I think the Mangala injury is a blessing in disguise because he was horrific against Liverpool including an own goal. In the end I think Manchester City will still win this one but the shuffling of central defence I think will create opportunities for Southampton with their pace to cause particular problems for Demichelis.
Predicted score: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Both Teams to score – Yes at $1.67 (75%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.63
Leicester ($3.1) versus Manchester United ($2.3), Draw ($3.4)
Not many would have thought that after 13 games we’d have a top of the table clash between Leicester and Manchester United but that’s the Premier League for you, constantly throwing surprises at you. I’m not sure why Manchester United are favourites here other than that they have the best defensive record in the league with just 9 goals conceded. The flipside here is that Leicester have the best offensive record in the league with 28 goals from 13 games with no signs of slowing that rate of scoring just yet. The only thing that will surprise me in this one is if Leicester don’t score which will show that Manchester United’s defensive record is justified as the best in the league at the moment. But that is difficult to see happening as Leicester don’t look like slowing down. Vardy will be eager to make it 11 games in a row that he’s scored in to beat the record of Van Nistelrooy. One thing is certain which is Leicester will go for it. They have nothing to lose, they have a heap of momentum, and they are high on confidence.
Predicted score: Leicester 2-1
Best Bet: Leicester Draw No Bet at $2.2 (70%)
Next Best: Leicester to win either half at $2.03
Tottenham ($2.5) versus Chelsea ($2.8), Draw ($3.4)
A big London derby here with Tottenham hosting Chelsea in what should be a great spectacle. Tottenham are undefeated across their last 12 league games and have lost just 3 times this season in all competitions from 19 games. For Chelsea their struggle is still lingering around a bit despite winning in the Champions league during the week and registering their 4th league win of the season over Norwich last time out. I might be a Tottenham fan, but I’m not convinced that Chelsea have started to turn the corner after those two results. A win here and they are arguably starting to get back on track but they still have plenty more corners to take. Tottenham fans will remember fondly the last time they played Chelsea at White Hart Lane where they won 5-3 with Kane an standout with 2 excellent goals. He’s in top form at the moment too scoring 9 goals in his last 6 in all competitions and he’ll no doubt cause some problems for Chelsea’s defence this week. The big query for Tottenham is how they prepare for this game having to travel during the week for their Europa League fixture. I think the adrenalin of a derby should boost them so I don’t think it will affect them too much. Despite the bias, Tottenham should be winning this. They’ve been the better side all year and sit equal 2nd in the league for the best defensive record conceding just 11 goals.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.82 (80%)
Next Best: Tottenham Draw No Bet at $1.78
West Ham ($1.95) versus West Brom ($4), Draw ($3.5)
Both sides here had differing results last week with West Ham thumped by Tottenham 4-1 whilst West Brom shocked Arsenal to win 2-1. I think West Brom will be pretty tricky for West Ham this week too as they have a pretty good away record winning 3 of their last 5 albeit against some lowly opposition. It was clear for West Ham that they were missing their new star in Payet and I think he’ll again be missed here. There didn’t seem to be much fluidity in their attempted attacks against Tottenham and I think West Brom will make it pretty difficult to get through this week as well. They’ll also be without Mark Noble in midfield through suspension which is somewhat countered by the expected start of Alex Song after injury. In saying that I don’t think it will make it any easier for West Ham to score given the baggies have only conceded 4 times away from home. This will be a tight one and a likely draw for me.
Predicted score: Draw 0-0
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2 (75%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.91
Norwich ($5.5) versus Arsenal ($1.6), Draw ($4)
The tough run of fixtures continues for Norwich with the visit of Arsenal this week and it won’t be easy. Arsenal bounced back from their loss to West Brom by beating Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 in the Champions League during the week with Ozil and Sanchez bouncing back to form combining for 3 goals and 1 assist. I think those two will again cause problems here with another big win beckoning. I don’t hold much hope here for Norwich as they’ve shown at times to be pretty poor defensively and if Arsenal can produce the same as they did during the week it could be a big loss for them here.
Predicted score: Arsenal 3-0
Best Bet: Arsenal to win at $1.6 (95%)
Next Best: Arsenal to win both halves at $4.3
Liverpool ($1.44) versus Swansea ($8), Draw ($4.33)
Week 14 wraps up with Liverpool and Swansea facing off. Liverpool are starting to grow in confidence but still have a bit of work to do before they really start to hit their stride. I think defensively they have work to do as they are still prone to mistakes at the back having conceded in their last 5 games in all competitions. Offensively they showed their potential in their last league game with a stunning 4-1 win over Manchester City and I think that could be a turning point for them in the short term. Their opponents this week are struggling to get back in form and have taken just 4 points from their last 5 games. I think they’ll find it difficult this week to get much out of this one. Liverpool I don’t think will produce a flawless defensive display but their firepower up front should be more than enough to produce another 3 points under Klopp.
Predicted score: Liverpool 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.76 (85%)
Next Best: Both Teams to score – Yes at $1.83