West Ham v Chelsea

Saturday December 9, 11:30pm AEDST

David Moyes has started off with a draw and back-to-back defeats but his side at least put in a far more resolute showing at the Etihad to that at Goodison, only going down 2-1. However, their will be an extra onus to improve their performances at the London Stadium where their only victory in the last five has been against rock-bottom Swansea. The Hammers conceded at least three times in the three losses in this run, two of which were against Big Six sides. In fact, since vacating Upton Park they’ve lost seven of eight hosting such opposition, conceding an average of three goals a game across the defeats with five by at least a two-goal margin.

Chelsea are building some momentum after a run of six wins from seven unbeaten games as their big guns Alvaro Morata and particularly Eden Hazard are starting to fire. They’ve picked up as many points on the road as they have done at Stamford Bridge this season and have a very good record travelling to weaker sides under Antonio Conte. Excluding the Big Six, they’ve won 16 of 19 away matches during the Italian’s tenure, but just seven were by more than one goal so we’ll keep the one goal victory on-side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chelsea -1 Asian Handicap at 1.88

Burnley v Watford

Sunday December 10, 2:00am AEDST

We have two sides that are over-achieving in relation to pre-season expectations as Burnley sit a place and three points above Watford in 8th despite losing at Leicester last time out. At home, The Clarets lost to Arsenal when last seen at Turf Moor in what was their first defeat in six there, but prior to the visit of the Gunners they’d hosted all six of the bottom-six sides. They only went W3-D2-L1 across these fixtures, managing just five goals and they’ve been dealt a cruel blow as their most influential attacker Robbie Brady was stretchered off at the King Power. Prior to his departure, Burnley had managed seven shots at goal in the first 25 minutes and this season the Irishman has made more than double the amount of key passes than any of his teammates.

Watford, meanwhile, secured another impressive result as they held Spurs at home. They’ve looked particularly dangerous on the road, going W4-D1-L2 this term and scoring at least twice in all seven of these fixtures. Sean Dyche’s side are unlikely to offer the Hornets as much space to counter as many of their pervious hosts but with the Clarets looking a little short up front, we don’t envisage the visitors losing here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Watford 0 Asian Handicap at 2.18

Crystal Palace v Bournemouth

Sunday December 10, 2:00am AEDST

Palace moved off the foot of the table for the first time this season following their second consecutive goalless draw on the road. It means they’re unbeaten in their last four, but they’ve still won just twice this season and so look a touch short at around evens, especially against a Bournemouth side who’s only defeats in their last nine have been against top-seven sides.

The Cherries are unbeaten in three on the road, winning two of these and all against bottom-half clubs, and a key part of their recent improvement has been shoring up at the back. They currently have the sixth best defensive record in the division – only bettered by top-seven clubs – and have let in just six in their last nine at all venues. As a result, many of their games have been tight to start with and the half-time draw has landed in nine of their last 14, including goalless opening periods in four of their last five on the road. The Eagles have certainly showed more attacking intent at home, but Roy Hodgson is a cautious manager by nature and in fact six of their last seven have also been all-square at the interval.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – HT Draw at 2.1

Huddersfield v Brighton

Sunday December 10, 2:00am AEDST

Huddersfield are sliding towards the relegation zone at an alarming rate having lost seven of their last nine but only two of these defeats were at home and they were against Man City and Spurs. Excluding those two, The Terriers are unbeaten at The Kirklees which includes a victory over Man Utd as well as the other promoted side, Newcastle.

Brighton took their first thrashing of the season at home to Liverpool as they continue to struggle against the league’s top sides, but if we exclude matches with the Big Six, they’ve gone W3-D4-L0 since losing at Bournemouth in September when they also led for a while. These two have been in the same league for the past five seasons and Brighton have a W4-D5-L1 against their rivals but three of their last four trips here have finished all-square.

All-promoted team clashes tend to be cagey affairs and since the start of last season seven of the eight such matches have been goalless at the break and all seven of these saw fewer than three strikes, while five had no more than one. We wouldn’t put anyone off backing ‘unders’ but given the likely tight nature of this encounter, the draw is instead our preference.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Draw at 3.04

Swansea v West Brom

Sunday December 10, 2:00am AEDST

Swansea find themselves at the foot of the table following a run of six defeats from seven winless matches where they’ve netted just three times. No side in the Premier League has picked up fewer points on home soil than The Swans this term but they at least have the pleasure of welcoming a side that are winless in 13. Since sacking Tony Pulis West Brom have drawn three times, including Alan Pardew’s first game in charge and Pards immediately changed to a more attacking line-up, switching from five at the back to a 4-3-3. It paid dividends with 20 shots at the Palace goal but with key creative forces Phillips, Chadli and Morrison all side-lined, they lacked any real cutting edge.

Six of The Baggies’ seven road trips this term have seen fewer than three strikes and with their main creative options limited we’re not expecting a classic against the division’s lowest scorers. Paul Clement’s defence have at least shown some resilience as only six sides have conceded fewer this season and in their last 12 matches, eight have had no more than two goals with Under 1.5 Goals landing in six of these.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at 2.44

Tottenham v Stoke

Sunday December 10, 2:00am AEDST

Spurs are now four points off Liverpool in fourth following their 1-1 draw at Watford and their only victory in their last six was against a struggling Palace. However, this looks an excellent opportunity to return to winning ways against a Stoke side that have struggled against the big teams in recent times. Although they defeated Swansea last time out, the Welsh side are rock-bottom and Mark Hughes’ charges were completely outclassed by Liverpool prior to that. In their only trip to a top-six side this term they were dismantled 7-2 at the Etihad in what was the sixth time in their last nine trips to the ‘Big Six’ they’ve conceded four or more, with one of the others a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Spurs are uncharacteristically struggling for goals with just four in their last six, while at Wembley they’ve netted more than once on just a solitary occasion this term. However, it won’t take much for their attacking players to suddenly ignite and they have fond memories against The Potters, thrashing them 4-0 in the last three meetings. Pochettino will have to contend without two of his key defenders though as Sanchez is suspended while Alderweireld is still side-lined and given Stoke have drawn a blank just twice in their last 14 and netted in seven of their last 10 visits to the ‘Big Six’, we’re siding with a Spurs win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Spurs Win & BTTS at 2.9

Newcastle v Leicester

Sunday December 10, 4:30am AEDST

After a tough opening fixture list where they faced four of the ‘Big Six’ in their first six, which ultimately did for Craig Shakespeare, Leicester have since lost just one of their last nine – against Man City – and if we exclude those matches versus the top-six then they’ve won five of 10 unbeaten matches this term. With this in mind, Newcastle look too short, especially after a run of five defeats from six winless matches where they’ve conceded 12 in the last four.

The Magpies’ captain Jamaal Lascelles could return this weekend but is still a slight doubt at this stage and he’s been sorely missed. Even with the centre-back in the line-up Newcastle have struggled against the division’s stronger opposition, picking up just two points from their seven encounters with top-11 sides. Claude Puel has crucially got Riyad Mahrez somewhere back to his best and there is only one side we can see winning here, but given The Foxes have drawn four of their last five on the road, all against bottom-half clubs, we’ll keep the stalemate on-side.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Leicester 0 Asian Handicap at 2.1

Southampton v Arsenal

Sunday December 10, 11:00am AEDST

Southampton have shown improvement in their last few matches, drawing at Bournemouth, hammering Everton and pushing Man City all the way. The re-introduction of Charlie Austin has made them much more of a threat going forward as the striker has three in his last two starts and will certainly fancy his chances against an Arsenal defence that gave away so many gifts against United. Whether the Saints have enough quality to beat a side of the Gunners’ calibre remains to be seen, but a record of five defeats from seven winless matches hosting the ‘Big Six’ opponents since the start of last season suggests they will struggle.

As mentioned, defensive errors and a heroic effort from David de Gea saw Arsenal’s winning streak end at three. They’ve won eight of their last 12 with all exceptions coming against top-eight sides and having won two of their last three on the road, they look a decent price for all three points at St Mary’s.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal Win at 1.93

Liverpool v Everton

Monday December 11, 1:15am AEDST

The first of the two derbies on Sunday comes from Merseyside and these encounters haven’t been short of entertainment in the past as three of the last four at Anfield have seen at least four goals, with Liverpool prevailing on each occasion. Given Liverpool’s current form going forward and the Toffees’ suspect defence, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar outcome.

Indeed, Jurgen Klopp has got all his front men back and firing on all cylinders and they’ve netted 18 times across five victories in their last six, with the exception a 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Each of these victories were by at least a three-goal margin and they look to have too much firepower for their neighbours.

Since Allardyce was announced as the new man in charge, Everton have recorded back-to-back victories to nil. However, they were against strugglers West Ham and Huddersfield and both took place at Goodison, whereas they’re winless on the road in 15, conceding an average of 2.3 goals a game this campaign. Furthermore, in their last eight trips to the ‘Big Six’, The Toffees have lost six times with five of these by at least a two-goal margin. Although we expect some sort of defensive improvement under Big Sam, their lack of pace at the back could be exposed by Liverpool’s electric forward play.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Liverpool -1.75 Asian Handicap at 2.1

Manchester United v Manchester City

Monday December 11, 3:30am AEDST

Man Utd capitalised on some sloppy Arsenal defending to claim all three points at the Emirates but the victory was somewhat dampened after Pogba saw red. Not only does it leave the hosts short of the quality required to take on Man City but it leaves Mourinho short of options in midfield as Matic, Fellaini and Carrick are all doubts for the derby. The Red Devils have lost more times in the 16 games Pogba has not started than in the 37 he has, with three of the four defeats in his absence coming against Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.

Man City struck late on again at home to West Ham as their winning run stretches to 13 games where they’ve netted at least twice in all bar one of these. David Silva is a major doubt and since the start of last season they’ve scored 30% fewer goals a game without the Spanish maestro starting. Uncharacteristically, Mourinho set his side up for an open game at the Emirates but allowing this City side as much time and space would be suicidal and he can’t rely on De Gea bailing them out every time. We expect the Special One to revert to type here but even in the absence of Silva, City look as if they have too much quality all over the pitch for their injury-stricken neighbours.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Man City Win 2.22


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