Chelsea v Arsenal

Saturday February 4, 11:30pm AEDT

Diego Costa failed to secure the three points for Chelsea from the penalty spot at Anfield, but a draw is nonetheless a decent result for the league leaders, particularly with Arsenal and Spurs both dropping points. The Gunners were stunned at the Emirates by Watford, who were able to hold on to the early 2-0 lead they took by running out 1-2 winners in the end.

The 3-0 thumping at Arsenal proved something of a turning point for Chelsea as Antonio Conte implemented the 3-5-2 formation during the second half of that loss when his side were already three down and since then the Blues haven’t looked back, winning 15 of their last 17. They’ve won 10 of 11 at Stamford Bridge, with the sole defeat against Liverpool early on in the season, and have kept clean sheets in six of their last eight at home.

Arsenal have won only two of their last six on the road and those victories have come against Swansea and West Ham, who were down in 19th and 16th respectively at the time. They’ve picked up only one point from their three trips to top-seven sides to date, and that was a somewhat fortuitous draw at Old Trafford in a game where they were very much second best. What’s more, they’ve lost six of their last seven trips to Stamford Bridge (the exception was against Andre Villas-Boas’ side in 2011/12), failing to score in five of these defeats. As a result, Chelsea look a massive price at 2.06.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Chelsea Win at 2.06

Watford v Burnley

Sunday February 5, 2:00am AEDT

Watford were winless in seven heading into their visit to Arsenal, but they produced a massive upset to win 1-2 and move up to 13th, eight points clear of the relegation zone. Burnley, meanwhile, continued their remarkable home form as they edged out Leicester 1-0 and are two points clear of their hosts here.

After defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea in their opening two home games of the season, Watford have since lost only twice in their last nine at Vicarage Road, with one of those defeats against Spurs. Indeed, if we exclude results against top-five sides, the Hornets are W10-D9-L3 at home since the start of last season, with five of those wins coming in their nine home games against bottom-six sides.

Burnley are of course not currently in the bottom-six, but their away form is the worst in the division as they’ve picked up only one point from their 10 road games. However, there have certainly been signs of improvement in recent weeks as they were only beaten 2-1 at Spurs, Man City and Arsenal, and they were unfortunate not to pick up at least a point in their last road game at the Emirates.

Sides that have recorded shock away wins when their hosts were 1.4 or shorter have tended to struggle in their next game in the Premier League, winning just four of 13 such games since 2014/15 (W4-D4-L5), perhaps suffering something of a hangover. As such, we think Burnley will at least double their away points tally for the season here, so we’re laying Watford.

Betting Strategy

LAY – Watford at 2.26

Southampton v West Ham

Sunday February 5, 2:00am AEDT

Southampton slumped to their fifth defeat in six games as they were beaten 2-1 at Swansea and so they drop down to 12th, now 10 points off Everton in 7th. Indeed, they’re a point behind West Ham, despite the Hammers’ 0-4 thrashing at the hands of Man City as they begin life without the recently departed Dimitri Payet.

Saints have won three of their last five at home and their three defeats in their last 16 at St. Mary’s have all come against top-eight sides. However, with Fonte joining the Hammers and the excellent Virgil van Dijk out injured, Saints have a makeshift centre-back pairing of Stephens and Yoshida at the moment, and they could prove vulnerable against an in-form Andy Carroll, who has three goals in his last three appearances.

The Hammers had won two on the bounce prior to the defeat against City, netting six in the process, whilst they’ve lost only one of their last five on the road, managing draws at both Anfield and Old Trafford. As a result, and with Southampton’s injury concerns and poor form at the moment, the hosts look too short at 1.79 and we’ll be laying them at that price.

Betting Strategy

LAY – Southampton at 1.78

Everton v Bournemouth

Sunday February 2, 2:00am AEDT

Everton came from behind to rescue a point at Stoke and extend their unbeaten run to six games as they look to secure seventh spot, leading West Brom by four points now. Bournemouth, meanwhile, were beaten 0-2 at home by Palace, their fourth defeat in their last seven and so they’ve dropped down to 14th.

Everton’s only home defeat this term came courtesy of a Sadio Mane injury time winner and they’ve won their last two at Goodison Park by an aggregate of 7-0, against Southampton and Man City, having managed only two home clean sheets prior to that. They have been held to draws by Palace and Swansea, but they look to be in much better form at the moment and will expect to make it four wins in five against a struggling Bournemouth side.

The Cherries have the fourth worst defence in the division and have shipped 28 in their last 12 games, conceding exactly three goals in four of their last five on the road, including in a 3-1 defeat at Hull in their last away game. They’ve lost seven of their 11 away matches this term and as a result Everton look a fair price at 1.76, a similar price to an out of form Southampton at home to West Ham, but one we’re much more keen on. Since four of Everton’s last five home wins were by more than one goal, while five of Bournemouth’s last six away defeats were by more than one, we’re backing the Toffees -1 on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Everton -1 Asian Handicap at 2.38

West Brom v Stoke

Sunday February 5, 2:00am AEDT

West Brom drew at Middlesbrough midweek to remain in eighth, four points off Everton and four clear of their visitors here, Stoke. The Potters also drew, at home to Everton, and look set for another top-half finish, which looked unlikely when they were bottom after six games having picked up only two points.

While the Baggies have lost seven of eight winless games against the sides above them this term, they’re W9-D5-L1 against the rest of the division and W6-D1-L0 at home. However, the strength of their opponents in those six home victories can certainly be questioned and we don’t think it justifies them being as short as 2.38.

They’ve won five of their last six at the Hawthorns, but the last three of these were against bottom-four sides, while the other two were against an out of form Watford and Burnley, who have been dire on the road, while their other home win came against West Ham when they were down in 17th. Despite that easy run of fixtures they’ve managed just two clean sheets in their last nine at home and so we’re looking to take them on.

Stoke have lost just four of their last 18 and three of those defeats came at Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, and if we exclude those they’ve won three of five unbeaten road games. Peter Crouch looks to have found a new lease of life and netted his 100th Premier League goal against Everton and with the likes of Afellay, Arnautovic and Shaqiri all now fit, we expect the Potters to pick up at least a point here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Stoke +0.25 Asian Handicap at 2.0

Hull v Liverpool

Sunday February 5, 2:00am AEDT

Hull continue to improve under Marco Silva as they managed a goalless draw at Old Trafford and so moved up to 19th, now just four points from safety. Liverpool, meanwhile, came from behind to pick up a point against Chelsea, whom they still trail by 10 points. That was their third stalemate in four and they’ve now won only one of their nine games in all competitions this year.

Hull have lost only one of their last six at home and that was against Man City, but they have generally struggled when hosting the top sides this term, losing all four against they’ve played against the current top-six whilst scoring only one goal. However, they only trailed at the break against Arsenal after they were reduced to 10 men in the first half and they’ve looked well-organised under Silva, so we expect them to be tough to break down.

Liverpool have drawn their last two on the road, at Man Utd and Sunderland, but they’re generally pretty good when travelling to the lesser sides as they’ve gone W8-D1-L1 at bottom-six teams since the start of last season.  However, they led at the break in only four of these games and we think it might take them until the second half to get the breakthrough.

With Mane returning and the likes of Matip and Coutinho now getting somewhere near full fitness we expect Liverpool’s results to improve, but with a run of fixtures that sees them play Spurs, Arsenal and City in their five games after this one, they’ll be desperate to pick up three points here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Draw/Liverpool HT/FT at 4.75

Crystal Palace v Sunderland

Sunday February 5, 2:00am AEDT

Crystal Palace picked up only their second win in 17 as they won 0-2 at Bournemouth to move within two points of safety and give Big Sam his first victory since taking over. Sunderland also picked up a decent result as they held Spurs to a goalless draw at home, though they’re three points off Palace and will need a result here to avoid slipping away from the rest of the division along with Hull.

Palace have lost seven of their last eight at home but only one of those was against a side in the bottom-eight. They beat each of the bottom-three at home last term and whilst many would be reluctant to back a side in the relegation zone at 1.67, the reason that they’re that short is because Sunderland are in dire form on their travels.

The Black Cats have lost nine of their 11 away games this term and have shipped 12 in their last four on the road, including a 3-0 defeat at Swansea, their only trip to a fellow bottom-six side so far. However, they lost only one of their five trips to the bottom-six last season and while Palace are deserved favourites, we’re going to take a chance on the Black Cats being competitive as they were against Spurs, by backing them +1 on the Asian Handicap. With some reinforcements added in the transfer window and Ndong back from the African Cup of Nations, we expect their form to pick back up again after a tough spell.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Sunderland +1 Asian Handicap at 1.78

Tottenham v Middlesbrough

Sunday February 5, 4:30am AEDT

Spurs were held to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light but with their North London rivals losing against Watford, Pochettino’s men are up to second, though they remain nine points off Chelsea. Boro, meanwhile, drew 1-1 at home to West Brom, their third stalemate in their last four, leaving them just two points clear of the relegation zone.

Spurs have won their last six at White Hart Lane, with clean sheets in four of their last five, and they haven’t lost at home this term. They’ve already hosted five of the current bottom-six, winning four of these without conceding and being held to a draw by Leicester. What’s more, they’ve won all 14 of their home games against promoted teams since 2012/13, with clean sheets in nine of the last 12 of these, whilst they were also ahead at the break in seven of the last nine.

Boro are now winless in six, during which time they’ve scored only three goals and their stalemate at Watford in their last away game was their sixth in their last 10 on the road. Indeed, they managed draws Arsenal and City, though they were edged out 2-1 by Man Utd in their penultimate away match and we expect Spurs to also get the three points. We’re backing them to win without conceding.  

Betting Strategy

BACK – Spurs Win to Nil at 1.95

Manchester City v Swansea

Monday February 6, 12:30am AEDT

Man City picked up only their second win in five as they thumped West Ham 0-4 at the London Stadium as they remain in fifth, but with the rest of the top-six all dropping points, it proved to be an excellent result for the Citizens. Swansea picked up an impressive result of their own as they beat Southampton 2-1 at home, their third win in four, as Paul Clement has had an immediate effect and taken the Swans out of the relegation zone already.

City kept their first clean sheet in five against the Hammers and with three wins in their last four at home (the other was a game that they dominated against Spurs but had to settle for a draw), they’ll expect to record back-to-back wins. However, with only two clean sheets at the Etihad all season, there’s a good chance they’ll have to score a least twice, as they have done in their last four at home, if they’re to get past Swansea.

The Swans have netted five in their last two, with Sigurdsson and Llorente both in fine form, and since they’ve netted in all but three of their last 12 on the road, we expect them to find the net here. Indeed, they’ve scored in seven of their nine trips to top-six opponents since the start of last season and so both teams to score looks a big price at 1.98, whilst Man City to win and both teams to score is also of interest at 2.6.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Both Teams to Score at 1.78

Leicester v Manchester United

Monday February 6, 3:00am AEDT

Leicester were undone by an 87th minute Sam Vokes winner at Burnley, their third defeat on the bounce as they’ve now managed only one goal in their last six. As a result they’re down to 16th, now just two points clear of the relegation zone. Man Utd, meanwhile, were held to a goalless draw at home to Hull, their third stalemate on the bounce, and so they’re now four points off Liverpool in fourth.

Leicester have lost two of their last three at home, 0-2 against Everton and 0-3 against Chelsea, and while they beat Man City 4-2 at the King Power, the Citizens were woefully out of sorts at that stage. Claudio Ranieri will have hoped that result might have kick-started their season, but they’ve lost five of eight since then, failing to score in six of these.

United have won three of their last four on the road and have won four of five at bottom-half teams this term and so we expect them to get back to winning ways here. They created plenty of opportunities against Hull but ran into an inspired Eldin Jakupovic and against a Leicester defence that’s conceded at least twice in five of their last six at home, they should have more joy. We’re backing Utd to win without conceding.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Man Utd Win to Nil at 2.75


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