Welcome to the week 27 preview of the English Premier League where we have some exciting fixtures to take place for the weekend ahead. It’s certainly going to be a tense final 12 games for the top 7 clubs with the potential for any of the top 7 to finish in the top 4 if they string some games together and competitors falter. It’s an outside chance for Manchester United 11 points off Liverpool but stranger things have happened. Meanwhile Everton sit 8 points off Liverpool and 5 off Tottenham with a game in hand so they too have a chance of finishing in the top 4 which would be a massive result for them. It means someone has to fall out though and the two most likely would be Arsenal or Liverpool. Arsenal no doubt have the quality but a tough run of games awaits whilst Liverpool are a little sketchy when not playing at Anfield. Either way though it sets up the final stretch of the season to be a nail biter.
Best looking bet
Liverpool versus Swansea – Over 2.5 goals at $1.51
West Brom versus Fulham – Both teams to score at $1.75
Newcastle to beat Aston Villa at $2.14
Odds from Betfair as at 21/2/14
Chelsea ($1.6) versus Everton ($7.2), Draw ($4.1)
This should be a good contest with Chelsea taking on Everton. Chelsea have been brilliant at home all season with 11 wins and 2 draws giving them the best home record in the league. They’ve also been solid defensively at home with only the 9 goals conceded and only 2 in their past 5 at home. Everton are a tough assignment here for Chelsea regardless of their patchy form in their last 5 with 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw which without giving an excuse can somewhat be attributed to injuries to key players. They look to be in a good position though this week with their best 11 able to play with the exception of Lukaku who is injured (although ineligible against his parent club anyway). We should see Traore given his first Premier League start of the season up front and he could pose a threat here if provided the right service. His goal against Swansea in the FA Cup on the weekend should boost his confidence to no end as well. I like the look of this Everton side but it’s hard to go past Chelsea at home here.
Predicted result: Chelsea 2-0
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.6
Best Bet Confidence: 70%
Arsenal ($1.34) versus Sunderland ($12), Draw ($5.7)
Arsenal sits in 2nd place 2 points above a Manchester City side with a game in hand and need a win here to give them an edge on their rivals as they fight for the title. Their form hasn’t been the best of late in terms of results with a scoreless draw against Manchester United followed by a tight win over Liverpool in the FA Cup and a loss to Bayern Munich during the week in the Champion’s league. They played some good football against Bayern but a red card dropping them to 10 men was always going to be mission impossible against Europe’s best team. And whilst on paper they face an easier opponent in Sunderland this weekend I think it could be a tighter score line than what some may think. Sunderland have been in a good patch of form with 3 wins from their past 5 as well as an FA cup win over Southampton on the weekend but they need a few more good performances to ensure their safety. It’ll be a tough trip to Arsenal and whilst I don’t think they’ll win I do think they’ll put in a solid display early on to be in the contest before Arsenal takes over later in the game.
Predicted result: Arsenal 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.16
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
Cardiff ($2.82) versus Hull ($2.88), Draw ($3.25)
Neither side here is safe just yet from relegation with just the 5 points separating the two with Hull in a much stronger position at this stage of the season. Cardiff need points no matter how they can get them as they have a few more tough games coming up with Tottenham, Fulham, Everton, and Liverpool to follow of which they look like only getting a point off Fulham at best at this stage. A positive for them though is they have looked pretty good in their last 2 home games whilst Zaha has slotted in well and provided a much needed attacking boost up front. Hull had a tough loss to Southampton at home last week but their previous game was a strong 2-0 win over Sunderland away which was their second of the season. Whether they can do it against a relegation fuelled Cardiff remains to be seen but they have been playing well enough to at least get a draw here. McGregor should be back in goal for Hull as well which will boost their defensive confidence here. Looking at a tight game here and whilst it could be an open game I’m not expecting a lot of goals.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.62
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
Manchester City ($1.19) versus Stoke ($20), Draw ($8.8)
Manchester City take on Stoke this weekend having seen their last fixture postponed due to some extreme weather. A home win here looks on the cards as Stoke fight to stay above the relegation zone just 3 points off the drop coupled with a poor away record. Stoke have only managed the 6 points away from a possible 39 this season and it very much looks like mission impossible here with the added pressure of a leaky defence away having conceded 12 goals in their last 5 away games. Manchester City will be looking to respond here as well after their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona during the week so it could be a bad time for Stoke to play at the Etihad this weekend. I’m not sure if Aguero will be fit in time for this weekend but his return is good timing for their last 13 games starting with Stoke this weekend. Even if he doesn’t play, Jovetic, Negredo, and Dzeko will provide more than enough attacking threat.
Predicted result: Manchester City 2-0
Best Bet: Man City/Man City Half/full time at $1.58
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
West Brom ($1.82) versus Fulham ($4.9), Draw ($4)
It can’t be said any other way for Fulham but they must start winning starting with West Brom this weekend. Their managerial situation is a bit of a shambles having now sacked Jol and Meulensteen to now bring in their 3rd manager for the season with Felix Magath taking charge. I’m not sure how the Fulham players will react to all these drastic off field changes but I think it’ll be more positive on the field than off it. Their last game against Liverpool was a tough loss for them to endure with a late penalty giving them nothing in a game where they fought valiantly. They also put in a good performance at Manchester United to get a point so for me I feel they’re heading in the right direction. West Brom won’t be pushovers at home though and despite only the 1 win from their past 16 games they are undefeated at home over their past 5. I think Fulham will come out hard here and surprise West Brom so I’m going for a bit of a surprise result here as long as they can keep the goals out.
Predicted result: Fulham 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.75
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
West Ham ($3.2) versus Southampton ($2.5), Draw ($3.35)
This should be a really good contest with both sides in some good form with Southampton well and truly safe from relegation whilst West Ham look pretty safe although only 4 points off the drop. West Ham have won their last 3 but more importantly they have kept clean sheets for their past 4 games which will be a boost against a Southampton side that likes to score having only failed to score 4 times this season. Andy Carroll misses this game due to suspension so Carlton Cole will no doubt take his place up front with plenty of support behind him in Nolan along with the likes of Downing and Jarvis. Southampton’s trump card here though comes in the form of Lallana who has been excellent this season. Along with Rodriguez I can see Southampton breaking this West Ham defence though at the end this should finish in an exciting draw.
Predicted result: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.8
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
Crystal Palace ($6.6) versus Manchester United ($1.62), Draw ($4.2)
Massive game here for both sides with Crystal Palace fighting to avoid the drop and Manchester United hoping to make a late push for the top 4 from 7th on the table. United face a tough opponent here too with Palace winning their past 3 at home and the knowledge that they’ve frustrated big teams at home as well. Palace so far this season have lost 1-0 to Spurs, 2-0 to Arsenal, and drawn 0-0 with Everton whilst only conceding a total of 15 goals in all their home games so far. In Tom Ince they also have an attacking spark and it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs against United here. Man United haven’t won in their past 3 but they did have a positive result at Arsenal despite the dull nature of the game itself. The last time they played Palace it took a penalty to break the deadlock and a late Rooney goal to seal the deal and it could be a similar close affair here. It’s no secret that United have been woeful this season but I don’t think we can count them out here. I think Palace will fully take it up to United and themselves have a great chance of winning in an upset. United should have just enough quality to get over the line though in tight one, although I’m not 100% set on a United win here.
Predicted result: Manchester United 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.91
Best Bet Confidence: 70%
Liverpool ($1.31) versus Swansea ($12.5), Draw ($6)
Well with Liverpool coming off a late victory over Fulham 3-2 it should be a regulation win here at home. Liverpool have shown a few times that after big wins when they travel away they tend to be a little sketchy in their form and it showed against Fulham. That 5-1 win over Arsenal was absolutely sublime football and with 16 goals scored in their past 5 home games it’s hard to justify anything other than a home win here. Swansea are coming off some good results with a 3-0 win over Cardiff, and away draw at Stoke, and a home draw over Napoli in the Europa league but this will be a massive ask for them to get much from this one with Liverpool almost perfect at home. 11 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss at home with 38 goals scored and 9 conceded is a fantastic home record. A win will also give keep them ahead of Tottenham who look to be closing in on 4th place. A solid win for Liverpool beckons here.
Predicted result: Liverpool 3-0
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.51
Best Bet Confidence: 90%
Newcastle ($2.14) versus Aston Villa ($4), Draw ($3.45)
Newcastle were outplayed in their last game against Tottenham and face a fairly strong opponent here in Aston Villa this weekend in what looks a fairly even contest on paper. Both sides have performed poorly of late with the edge to Villa given their 0-0 draw to Cardiff last time out. Newcastle have suffered 3 heavy defeats with 3-0 losses to Sunderland and Chelsea followed up with a 4-0 thumping by Tottenham. It’s not the ideal start for Newcastle after losing star player Cabaye as they face another tough game here. What swings the game in Newcastle’s favour here though is the return of 3 important players. Loic Remy returns from suspension along with Coloccini and Tiote from injury which will be a massive boost for the team and the fans. Whether all 3 have an immediate impact and all start the game remains to be seen but I think that gives the advantage to Newcastle either way. I don’t think they’ll win convincingly over Villa but come the final whistle I think they’ll bounce back for a much needed morale boosting 3 points here.
Predicted result: Newcastle 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $2.10
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
Norwich ($3.95) versus Tottenham ($2.12), Draw ($3.55)
Tottenham travels to Norwich knowing that they have a great chance at another 3 points boasting the best away record in the league. There are a couple of things to consider though that could make it tough for Spurs here. Firstly they are coming off a tough loss in the Europa league in the Ukraine against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. They’ve also had some indifferent form following their Europa league fixtures. Following 6 wins in Europa League fixtures they have had 3 critical losses in the Premier League. Firstly to West Ham when they lost 3-0 at home, then to Newcastle at home, and then that 5-1 thumping at home to Liverpool. It doesn’t make for great reading and it could point to a tough assignment against Norwich here. Perhaps the key difference though is that they’ve been playing much better football lately and some key players in Adebayor, Lloris, Lennon, and Walker were all rested from the trip to the Ukraine. I think this will be a tight game with Norwich desperate for points given they are in 16th and only 1 point above the drop. They’ll need to drastically turn their form around though with only 1 win from their past 11 games. Spurs haven’t played all that well after their Europa league fixtures but they should bounce back here for a tight win over Norwich with Adebayor the key.
Predicted result: Tottenham 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.93
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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