Lee Davy takes a look at the weekend’s Premier League action including a crunch visit to Wales for the champions, a mouth-watering tie between Liverpool and Spurs, and a stern test for Burnley as Chelsea come knocking.
Here is a preview of the weekend’s fixtures in Week 25 of the English Premier League.
Hull is about to emerge from a fixture list nightmare that has seen them pitted against Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool, and now Arsenal, but no matter what the score at The Emirates, Hull will be happy with the four points accrued through an Old Trafford draw and victory at Anfield.
Marco Silva has been filing the fangs of the Tigers since his arrival. His side has won seven points from twelve since he took over Mike Phelan’s parking space, and kept clean sheets in their last two Premier League games.
Arsenal will be desperate to give Hull a good kick in ahead of their season-defining Champions League Round of 16 match against Bayern Munich. The Gunners have lost their last two games, effectively ruling them out of the title race, but they will pick up all three points in this one.
Bodog Bets: Arsenal – 335, Hull +850, Draw +450
Stoke v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace’s tie against Stoke has come at the perfect time for a team shorn of confidence after their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Sunderland.
The Eagles have beaten Stoke in six of the last seven games, including six successive victories, so Big Sam will be hoping for more of the same as he tries desperately to gain traction in the Premier League relegation race.
Stoke’s run of three games unbeaten ended with defeat at The Hawthorns last week, but the result could have gone either way. With Stoke comfortable in mid-table, I expect them to win in this one pouring more molten lava onto the CV of the shamed England manager.
Bodog Bets: Stoke Evens, Crystal Palace +275, Draw +240
Man Utd v Watford
Watford surprised Man Utd when the two teams played at Vicarage Road earlier in the season, but you can only see one winner at Old Trafford.
United extended their Premier League unbeaten streak to 15-games after trouncing the Champions Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Henry Mkhitaryan playing a starring role as United finally added goals to their dominant play.
Watford will arrive at Old Trafford full of the joys of Winter. They are on a four-match unbeaten run, including two successive wins against Arsenal and Burnley, and have that 3-1 victory in September to set the pulses racing during the team talk.
It’s United for the win for me, though.
Bodog Bets: Man Utd -400, Watford +1100, Draw +475
Middlesbrough v Everton
Middlesbrough, like Bournemouth and Leicester, is floating down the Premier League table like a cannonball, and the last thing they need is a visit from Everton.
Boro hasn’t won in the league since the middle of December and has only scored seven goals in eight games in all competitions. Everton, on the other hand, comes into the match on the back of the 6-3 destruction of Bournemouth – a game that saw Romelu Lukaku score four to take him to the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
Everton has earned 17 of 21 points since losing to Liverpool in mid-December. I expect them to pick up at least one more at the Riverside, possibly all three.
Bodog Bets: Boro +275, Everton +105, Draw +230
West Ham v West Brom
West Ham has won three of their last four Premier League games since Dimitri Payet fled to Marseille. West Brom has won four of their last six. So it’s going to be tight at the London Stadium.
The Baggies beat West Ham in a six-goal thriller back in September, but Slaven Bilic and his men have toughened up since then, putting an impressive string of results together to move them from the relegation zone to ninth in the table.
West Brom is chasing a Europa League place after Tony Pulis has gotten them playing the football of their lives. Andy Carroll’s form – five games in his last seven starts – gives the Hammers the edge for me in this one.
Bodog Bets: West Ham +120, West Brom +235, Draw +230
Sunderland v Southampton
After suffering three defeats on the trot, Sunderland has bounced back with style after holding Spurs to a goalless draw at The Stadium of Light before taking Crystal Palace to the cleaners in a 4-0 win on the weekend.
David Moyes will be buzzing after that victory, and I think they will add another three points to their tiny tally with another home win, this time against suffering Southampton.
Since the Saints beat Liverpool, over two legs, to make the English Football League (EFL) Final, they have lost three consecutive games, conceding ten, and only scoring two, to see them drop to within six points from the drop zone.
With Virgil van Dijk still out with an ankle injury and Jermaine Defoe on top form, I think Sunderland will pinch the points in this one.
Bodog Bets: Sunderland +290, Southampton -105, Draw +240
Liverpool v Spurs
The tie of the weekend has to be Liverpool vs. Spurs. A one-time title challenging clash that has lost that top-tier banner after Liverpool’s recent poor displays.
Since beating Man City in the Premier League on the last day of December, Liverpool has exited both domestic cup competitions, and have failed to win any of their past five Premier League fixtures, including losses against lowly Swansea and Hull.
By comparison, Spurs are soaring. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are on an 11-game unbeaten run, that has seen them hang onto the coat tails of the runaway leaders Chelsea.
There was a time when Anfield was a fortress. Unbeaten in a year at home, they have now lost three and drawn two of their last five. It was 1-1 when the sides met at White Hart Lane, and I think the game will finish the same this weekend.
Bodog Bets: Liverpool +115, Spurs +240, Draw +235
Burnley v Chelsea
Burnley’s incredible home record will be severely tested when the champions in waiting come knocking on the weekend.
28 of Burnley’s 29 Premier League points have come at Turfmoor. Chelsea is a machine whether they play home or away. It will be difficult for Chelsea, but I see them taking all three points as they take another stride towards the title.
Bodog Bets: Burnley +700, Chelsea -245, Draw +360
Swansea v Leicester
Swansea vs. Leicester is the most intriguing game of the weekend for me.
The Welsh side has been breathing fire after Paul Clement’s arrival at the club and host the Champions having won two of their last three games, including a sterling performance against Man City at The Etihad that saw them lose a point in the dying seconds.
Leicester, on the other hand, is having a nightmare and would have surely parted company with Claudio Ranieri had the Italian not secured a job for life after last season’s incredible success.
Nine of the players who won the Premier League faced Man Utd in their 3-0 stuffing last week. So you can’t blame the loss of players. It has to be ego. The Leicester players have forgotten they are Foxes instead prancing around like Peacocks, and the last I looked, Dragons ate Peacocks for breakfast.
Bodog Bets: Swansea +140, Leicester +200, Draw +225
Bournemouth v Man City
Eddie Howe is in an awkward spot.
Last season, they surprised everyone with their early season form before dropping like a stone at the end of the season, and they have fallen into a familiar pattern.
Bournemouth isn’t just losing; they have conceded 31 goals in their last 12 games, including six against Everton, making it the 12th time of the season they had conceded three or more goals in a match.
Man City come to town at a good time. With the Cherries ripe for the picking, and Gabriel Jesus playing so well, Sergio Aguero, can’t get a kick, I see nothing but an away win in this one.
Bodog Bets: Bournemouth +550, Man City -220, Draw +365
Premier League Table
1. Chelsea – 59
2. Spurs – 50
3. Man City – 49
4. Arsenal – 47
5. Liverpool – 46
6. Man Utd – 45
7. Everton – 40
8. West Brom – 36
9. West Ham – 31
10. Watford – 30
11. Stoke – 29
12. Burnley – 29
13. Southampton – 27
14. Bournemouth – 26
15. Middlesbrough – 21
16. Leicester – 21
17. Swansea – 21
18. Hull – 20
19. Crystal Palace – 19
20. Sunderland – 19
Premier League Title Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City +1200