The home stretch of the 2016/17 English Premier League season kicks back into gear this weekend and although the title looks still a long shot for Tottenham, a tricky away fixture for Chelsea potentially could open things up. Chelsea play after Tottenham again this weekend but have a tricky away fixture at Manchester United this weekend where any points dropped could be Tottenham’s gain if they beat Bournemouth at home this week. If Chelsea win though, a 7 point lead with 6 games to go might just be too much of a gap to be cut down by Tottenham. At the other end of the table things are starting to look more certain as well. Sunderland have very little hope of survival with a 10 point gap to safety whilst Middlesbrough look gone as well with a 6 point gap to safety. Swansea in 18th are just 2 points off safety but have a lot of work to do to if they are to survive.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 14th April
Tottenham vs Bournemouth
Spurs have an unbelievable home record this season with 14 wins and 2 draws from 16 games. A loss here in itself would be unbelievable as would a draw in many ways. The added bonus of Harry Kane returning to action last week makes the task all the more difficult for Bournemouth here and on the road they haven’t been the tidiest of defences. In 16 away games they’ve conceded 33 times and 14 times in their last 6 away from home. Going by Tottenham’s dominance of Watford last week where they won 4-0, this could be very much a similar performance and result.
Predicted score: Tottenham 3-0
Best Bet: Tottenham to win to Nil at $2.3 (85%)
Next Best: Tottenham to lead at Half-Time at $1.62
Crystal Palace vs Leicester
Palace are one of the form sides in the league right now winning 5 of their last 6 including wins over Chelsea and Arsenal. Key to that success has been their defence where in their last 6 they’ve conceded just 4 times. Leicester will be an interesting battle for them but it’s one where they have the momentum to pull through. Leicester had been on a great run of form before losing to Everton 4-2 last time out in the league. They are also coming off a narrow loss in the Champion’s league away to Atletico Madrid and that run of results coupled with the fact that this will be their 3rd game away from home in a row may leave them a little short of energy. Palace should keep the momentum going here especially as they need a few more wins to guarantee survival.
Predicted score: Crystal Palace 2-1
Best Bet: Crystal Palace to win at $1.75 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.85
Everton vs Burnley
Everton have a sniff of a top 6 spot but they need to continue to get winning results given the teams above them have a game or two in hand. Burnley is the opposition this weekend but is one that Everton should account for with little issue. Away from home, Burnley have the worst record in the league with just 4 points taken from 16 matches. 3 of those 4 points have come in the last 5 matches away from home but Everton is a side that is difficult to stop when they get going. They’ve scored 38 times at home this season (ranked 4th) and conceded just 12 (ranked 4th). Burnley are a good side at home but away from home they just can’t stop the opposition.
Predicted score: Everton 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.73 (80%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.91
Stoke vs Hull
Hull needs to win here to keep the pressure on Swansea who sit just two points behind in 18th. They won’t be without a chance here either as Stoke are on a poor run after losing 4 straight but they’ll need to buck their own losing run away from home because they’ve lost their last 4 on the road and have won just once away this season. This might be a game where Stoke actually wake up and realise they need a few more points to guarantee survival. Problem is that Hull will be playing with nothing to lose here and that opens things up at both ends where they look to push forward it’ll allow Stoke opportunities. Expect a close contest here and one that might just end in a well fought draw.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.83 (85%)
Next Best: Half-time Draw at $2
Sunderland vs West Ham
10 points off safety and bottom of the table, Sunderland look like they have little to no chance of surviving this season. Though possible, they can still reach that magical 40 point mark which would see them safe but that would mean winning all remaining 7 matches starting with West Ham here. West Ham haven’t been in the greatest of form but are coming off a 1-0 win over Swansea that gives them some momentum into this one. This does however feel like it’ll be a match that Sunderland will be going all out for because they really have no other choice but to start winning. A loss here would almost be the final nail in the coffin so there might be a performance at home built off a lot of emotion.
Predicted score: Sunderland 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.95 (80%)
Next Best: Sunderland to win either half at $1.95
Watford vs Swansea
Swansea need to win or at least take a point from this in their fight for survival but their away form doesn’t give them a lot of hope. They’re on a 5 game losing streak away from home and have taken just 10 points on the road this season. They may have a chance of something though as Watford continue to battle through defensive injuries that saw them well and truly beaten 4-0 last week at Tottenham. The return of Llorente for Swansea could be just the injection of attacking threat they need to push for survival and with the amount of defensive injuries that Watford have, that could be key here. The flipside is that for Watford surely Troy Deeney will return up front after sitting on the bench at Tottenham last week and that might just even things out.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Swansea to win either half at $2.07 (70%)
Next Best: Double Chance Swansea at $1.53
Southampton vs Manchester City
The Saints are finding some form of late to finish the season off strong with 4 wins in their last 6 and it gives them some confidence ahead of a home match against Manchester city this weekend. City won for the first time in 5 matches last time out and will be keen to snatch up 3 points here in order to keep pace with 2nd placed Tottenham and 3rd placed Liverpool. Southampton will be banking on repeating the last time they played City at home when they won 4-2 before then managing a 1-1 draw at City earlier this season. That Drawn result looks like it might be a similar result in this one. City need to build back some momentum after a relatively poor run and their 3-1 win over Hull won’t count for much with Southampton a step up from there and capable at the moment of holding their own.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.59 (85%)
Next Best: Double Chance Southampton at $2
West Brom vs Liverpool
Liverpool sit 3rd on 63 points at the moment but have the unfortunate downside that they have played a game extra than 4th placed Manchester City who are just 2 points behind and have played 2 extra over Manchester United on 57 points. An away trip to West Brom adds to the pressure this week and although the Baggies are out of form with just 4 points taken from their last 6 matches, they’ll be up for this against a bigger club. Away from home is often where Liverpool tend to stutter as well and have had an underwhelming run over their last 6 matches on the road with 3 draws, 2 losses and the solitary win. The last 3 meetings between these two at West Brom have resulted in draws and unsurprisingly low scoring ones with just 4 goals scored in those 3 matches. Expect West Brom to keep things pretty tight here in an effort to frustrate Liverpool. The continued absence of Mane here is a bonus for West Brom where they now really just need to keep tabs on Firmino and Coutinho who of course and brilliant attacking threats, but can at times have quiet days which they may just do here.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Double chance West Brom at $1.83 (80%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72
Manchester United vs Chelsea
This will be a closely watched match not least due to it being a clash between two big clubs but the fact that United are hunting for a top 4 finish whilst a loss or dropped points for Chelsea would open up the door a little more for Tottenham to keep the pressure on in the title race. With that then, this looks to be one where goals won’t be the order of the day. Both sides will be keen not to give too much away and if there’s one thing that both sides have been pretty good at this season, it’s defence. United have conceded just 24 goals thus far compared to Chelsea’s 25 and particularly for United they have been strong at home conceding just 11 times. United’s real issue though has been more that they just haven’t scored enough from other avenues outside of Ibrahimovic. That shows in their home matches this season where they’ve scored just 21 times which ranks 14th in the league. That doesn’t bode too well against a Chelsea side that is expected to put more focus on defence this weekend to ensure that they have the best chance of taking the 3 points. That focus on defence and perhaps equally so for United points to a match that won’t produce a lot of goals and it’s difficult to go against Chelsea.
Predicted score: Chelsea 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.63 (85%)
Next Best: Chelsea to win either half at $1.86
Middlesbrough vs Arsenal
In other circumstances this would be an Arsenal win but things are looking very dire for Arsenal right now. They’re 7 points off a top 4 spot and are looking down on confidence after a really poor result at Crystal Palace last time out making it 4 straight losses on the road. That could really open up the door for Middlesbrough who need a win to keep in touch of safety and a big upset here could really propel them in that quest for the remainder of the season. There is of course the chance that Arsenal come out firing here after a poor run but honestly they just look shot and disinterested. They might also find it a frustrating day against Middlesbrough who although sit in 19th have only conceded 17 times at home this season.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.11 (75%)
Next Best: Double Chance Middlesbrough at $2.4