A big week of English Premier League action ahead starting with some fixtures this weekend that are fewer than normal due to the FA Cup Semi Finals. Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal will play later next week as they go head to head in the Semi Finals. It’s quite interesting the timing of Chelsea and Tottenham’s tie given the gap in the title race has closed to 4 points. A win for either side this weekend could give the winning side an edge mentally ahead of the remaining 6 fixtures in the league season. It is still of course a big ask for Spurs to close that gap given they only have 2 more home games compared to 4 for Chelsea, but anything can happen in this league. Which leads well into the fight for survival this weekend with Middlesbrough, Hull and Swansea in the thick of the action.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 21st April
Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough
The Cherries were simply outclassed at Tottenham last time out and will be keen to get back to their home ground this week against less daunting opposition. They host Middlesbrough who will be desperate for points given they need to close the current 6 point gap to survive. They were close against Arsenal last time out but ultimately fell short with Arsenal just that slight step ahead in quality even though they are out of form. Any suggestion that Bournemouth won’t have as much to play for in this one is off the mark as well. They need another win to pretty much almost guarantee their survival and there’s little doubt they’ll be aiming to close that one out here and it will ultimately put a nail in the coffin for Middlesbrough.
Predicted score: Bournemouth 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.8 (80%)
Next Best: Bournemouth to win at $1.83
Hull vs Watford
The key for Hull’s success for the remainder of this season in their fight for survival will rest on their home form. They have a narrow two point buffer on Swansea who sit in 18th and a home game here gives them a great opportunity to at least keep that 2 point gap going. They are going so well that they have won 5 of their last 6 matches at home in the league and are undefeated in their last 7 at home in the league. That form is almost too hard to ignore and points to a Hull win here. Watford will be competitive sure, but they have little left to play for this season and their away form hasn’t been that great either.
Predicted score: Hull 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.99 (85%)
Next Best: Hull to win at $1.91
Swansea vs Stoke
Swansea will be chasing hard for a win here and at the same time hoping that Hull stumble against Watford. Stoke easily took care of Hull last week at home when they won 3-1, but on the road here against a side keen on survival they might find this a little tougher. Away from home they might also drop in their intensity levels slightly and with Swansea wanting this that little bit more, they should be able to secure a win here in a close match.
Predicted score: Swansea 1-0
Best Bet: Swansea to win either half at $1.63 (85%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.71
West Ham vs Everton
The Hammers had to settle for an away draw at bottom of the table Sunderland last time out and they now face a tough ask in hosting Everton this week. The problem for West Ham is that they just have been very inconsistent this season and at home on form they have been poor with just one win in their last 5. Everton on the other hand are not without a chance of a top 5 or 6 finish this season equal on points with Arsenal in 6th (albeit that they have 2 games in hand). This should make for an open contest but one that Everton should be able to claim the 3 points in.
Predicted score: Everton 3-2
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.62 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.76
Burnley vs Manchester United
Burnley will be hoping to continue their strong home form that will see them survive this season. They host Manchester United in match that had it been earlier in the season they would have a very strong chance of capturing a draw or an upset win. United have found form lately though and even over their last 19 matches in all competitions they have only lost once. Their win over Chelsea last week as well would have given them great confidence of a strong finish in their top 4 ambitions whilst it also gave them momentum in their Europa League win against Anderlecht that sees them through to the Semi Finals. It’s hard to ignore United and the form they are starting to gain for the remainder of the season and they should be able to capture a narrow win here.
Predicted score: Manchester United 1-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to win at $1.66 (85%)
Next Best: Manchester United to win to Nil at $2.4
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
At first glance this looks like a match that will produce goals and diving into it a little further there’s no changing that thought. Liverpool can score easily as we’ve seen throughout the season but just as easily they tend to concede quite a few as well. Add to the mix a Palace side that is in great form and we have a recipe for plenty of entertainment in this one. Palace have scored at least once in their last 7 league games and 8 in their last 4 to go along with wins over Chelsea and Arsenal. They have a lot of belief and momentum about them right now and that puts them in good stead heading into this one. Liverpool have a lot to play for so it’s difficult to see them giving in too much but Palace just might cause an upset in the sense that Liverpool might not find it that easy to claim all 3 points.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.65 (90%)
Next Best: Double Chance Crystal Palace at $2.4
Chelsea vs Southampton
Having claimed a 4-2 win over Tottenham in their FA Cup Semi Final at the weekend, Chelsea will now build on that momentum as they look to put a tighter grip on the title. Hosting Southampton here should for the most part be pretty straight forward and although the Saints have won 3 of their last 4 away, this is opposition at a much higher level. Chelsea also have the added bonus of a rested pair in Hazard and Costa as they only made sub appearances in the FA Cup against Tottenham. There is of course the danger of Chelsea perhaps showing a little complacency in this one but in the end they should be at minimum getting a narrow win here.
Predicted score: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to lead at Half-Time at $1.83 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.79
Middlesbrough vs Sunderland
A fight between the bottom two here and one which really gives little hope to the winner. A Middlesbrough win keeps them in slight touch of safety but even if they do win, they’ll still be 6 points off safety with 4 games to go and that’s really just too much of a stretch. Perhaps in knowing that though, Middlesbrough might just play without the weight of pressure on fighting to survive. The same can be said of Sunderland, who although have 2 games in hand, would still be 6 points off safety after those catch-up games. Neither side is a strong attacking threat with just 6 goals between them in their last 6 matches and whilst things may open up here in the realisation that survival is really just out of reach, things should still be pretty even and quite tight on the scoreboard.
Predicted score: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Half-Time Draw at $2 (75%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.65
Arsenal vs Leicester
The Gunner’s claimed an extra time win over Manchester City in their FA Cup Semi Final and now face a tricky test in hosting Leicester this week. Arsenal’s win doesn’t hide the fact that they have been in very poor form winning just 2 of their last 6 matches. Their home form isn’t as bad with just one loss in their last 6 on recent form but there’s certainly a chink in their armour right now. Leicester on the other hand are finishing off the season strongly having won 4 of their last 6 and won’t be without a chance of hurting Arsenal here. That hurt might only come in the form of a goal to even things up before Arsenal close this one out narrowly here. The FA Cup Semi Final win will have given them a boost and that momentum should see them to 3 points here. The signs of the return to form of the likes of Ozil and Sanchez won’t do their chances any harm either. A win for Arsenal here will go a long way to them finishing the season off on a high for their top 4 chances.
Predicted score: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Exactly 2 or 3 goals at $2.1 (80%)
Next Best: Half-Time Draw at $2.4
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
This will be a tough match for Tottenham as Palace are in sparkling form right now. They also need to deal quickly with the disappointment of their 4-2 loss against Chelsea in the FA Cup in a match where they had their chances. It’ll either produce a strong response in their quest to chase down Chelsea in the title race or there’s the chance they may come out a little flat here with Palace taking advantage. Palace’s run of form as seen them to wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in their last 5 matches. Getting a win here over Tottenham would be the icing on the cake and could really unravel Tottenham’s season ahead of their North London derby this Sunday with Arsenal. In the end though, it’s difficult to predict an upset here. Although Tottenham lost 4-2 to Chelsea, they were for the majority probably the better side. The return of Kane recently from injury and the form from the likes of Eriksen and Alli should be more than enough to see them through here but just expect it to be tight.
Predicted score: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.62 (85%)
Next Best: Tottenham to win at $1.62
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Just 1 point separates these two rivals as they both look to capture a top 4 spot. Given they both have 2 games in hand on 3rd placed Liverpool though, they both have a great chance of finishing in the top 4. United in particular are building strong momentum with 4 wins in their last 6 and conceding just twice. They will have to finish off the season without Ibrahimovic though with his recent injury sidelining him. There’s also added concerns over Pogba who is under an injury doubt ahead of this one though it’d be surprising if he didn’t play a part here. City have their own injury worries though as well with Silva, Aguero and Stones all doubts and although there could be a return for Gabriel Jesus, they too look under strength. Either way though, this does look pretty even and one where both sides will have their chances. With both sides enjoying 2 games in hand on current 3rd placed Liverpool, that may allow things to open up a little more here rather than being a tight 0-0 or 1-1 draw. Either way this does look like a draw but there just might be a few more goals than we think.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Bothe teams to score – Yes at $1.67 (90%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.77