Arsenal v Liverpool

Saturday December 23, 6:45am AEDST

A Friday night cracker to look forward to at the Emirates in a fixture that has a steep tradition of producing entertaining affairs. Indeed, Liverpool’s fab four have put 14 past Arsenal in the last four meetings – including in a 4-0 victory at Anfield in August – but the Gunners haven’t done so bad themselves, netting seven times in the other three matches. In fact, eight of the last 10 meetings between the two have had at least four goals.

At this moment in time, Liverpool seem to be a far more dangerous proposition on the road as their counter-attacking style really comes into fruition. They’ve netted 16 times in four consecutive victories, but all were against bottom-eight clubs and earlier in the campaign they lost 4-1 at Spurs and 5-0 at Man City. As a result, the Reds nine road trips this season have averaged a whopping 4.55 goals per game.

Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 at home in the league, keeping a clean sheet in 10 of these, but they’ve been relatively easy fixtures as nine were against bottom-half sides while they were beaten 3-1 when Man Utd came to town a few weeks back. It means they’re an even W2-D2-L2 hosting last season’s top six and the current top six, with all of these fixtures seeing at least two strikes and over 3.5 goals landing in half. Given the array of attacking talent on display and two defences with plenty of mistakes in them, we’re backing another goal-fest.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 3.5 Goals at 2.34

Everton v Chelsea

Saturday December 23, 11:30am AEDST

Life is suddenly looking rosy again for Everton fans as they’ve won four of five unbeaten matches under Big Sam, netting 11 times in the process. However, all four of these did come against bottom-half teams who were horribly out of form at the time, while they barely got out of their own half in the 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool squandered ample opportunities. As has been the case for the past few seasons, there’s a gulf in class between them and the ‘Big Six’ but they remain a cut above the rest.

Indeed, they’ve lost four of six winless matches versus the Big Six this term, conceding 16 across these, while going back further they’re W3-D11-L16 since 2015/16. Excluding their main rivals, Chelsea are an impressive W17-D2-L2 on the road under Antonio Conte, but those two defeats did come this term at West Ham and Palace. As a result, we’re reluctant to back them at the prices and instead like both teams to score. The Blues have just five clean sheets in their last 17 away matches and while the Toffees attack has improved, their defence looks susceptible to this Chelsea frontline.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – BTTS – Yes at 1.86

Brighton v Watford

Saturday December 24, 2:00am AEDST

Brighton are starting to struggle with no win in seven and just one goal in their last six. Their last success at the Amex was against Newcastle all the way back in September, though they have drawn five of the six games since with the sole exception against a rampant Liverpool. The last two of these stalemates ended 0-0 and again we could be in for a cagey affair versus a Watford side whose form has dipped drastically.

The Hornets have lost seven of their last 10 matches while conceding 20 times and much of this is to do with injuries and ill-discipline. Troy Deeney was the latest to see red – Watford’s fourth of the season – as they were embarrassed 4-1 at home to Huddersfield and to make matters worse, top-scorer Abdoulaye Doucoure is also unavailable after picking up a fifth yellow card. Whether a goal-shy Brighton can take advantage remains to be seen, but with chances likely to be at a premium the draw seems the most likely outcome, as was the case when these two met back in August.

Betting Strategy

BACK Draw at 3.25

Manchester City v Bournemouth

Saturday December 24, 2:00am AEDST

Man City a re-writing the record books as they stretched their winning streak to 16 with a dominating performance against Spurs. After a run of narrow 2-1 victories they’re back to crushing opponents and would have had a pair of 4-0 victories had it not been for a last-minute Christian Eriksen goal. Their defence is unlikely to be tested much again here as Bournemouth have lost their last five without scoring against the Big Six.

It looks a case of damage limitation here for the Cherries as their confidence took a hit with rudderless performance against Liverpool. They’ve netted just four times in their last six and their home games against West Ham and Everton next week are arguably far more important regarding their survival this season, so we expect City to coast to victory. Since reaching the top-flight nine of Bournemouth’s 13 defeats at the Big Six have come to nil, and so it’s our favourite method of victory.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Man City Win to Nil at 1.96

Southampton v Huddersfield

Saturday December 23, 6:45am AEDST

Two comfy wins from three quick-fire games has massively eased Huddersfield’s relegation woes. The victories have lifted the Terriers to 11th and given them a six-point buffer on the dropzone. Their 4-1 thrashing of Watford was all the more surprising because they had failed to score in their seven road matches leading up to that fixture. Now they travel to a Saints side in desperate need of a win.

Southampton are winless in five but closer inspection of those games shows that four of the matches were against Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea and runaway leaders Man City. In the other game they got an away draw at local rivals Bournemouth so taking just two points from the five isn’t as disastrous as it sounds.

Southampton are unbeaten this season hosting teams currently in the bottom-half of the table (W3-D1-L0) and they’ve won two-thirds of their home matches against similar sides since 2014/15. The 1.64 on a home win shows that the market is shrewd enough not to overreact to current form but given the visitors struggles away from home so far this term there is still a lot of value to be had in Southampton to keep a clean sheet and win.

Betting Strategy

BACK Southampton Win to Nil 2.40

Stoke v West Brom

Saturday December 24, 2:00am AEDST

A Friday night cracker to look forward to at the Emirates in a fixture that has a steep tradition of producing entertaining affairs. Indeed, Liverpool’s fab four have put 14 past Arsenal in the last four meetings – including in a 4-0 victory at Anfield in August – but the Gunners haven’t done so bad themselves, netting seven times in the other three matches. In fact, eight of the last 10 meetings between the two have had at least four goals.

At this moment in time, Liverpool seem to be a far more dangerous proposition on the road as their counter-attacking style really comes into fruition. They’ve netted 16 times in four consecutive victories, but all were against bottom-eight clubs and earlier in the campaign they lost 4-1 at Spurs and 5-0 at Man City. As a result, the Reds nine road trips this season have averaged a whopping 4.55 goals per game.

Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 at home in the league, keeping a clean sheet in 10 of these, but they’ve been relatively easy fixtures as nine were against bottom-half sides while they were beaten 3-1 when Man Utd came to town a few weeks back. It means they’re an even W2-D2-L2 hosting last season’s top six and the current top six, with all of these fixtures seeing at least two strikes and over 3.5 goals landing in half. Given the array of attacking talent on display and two defences with plenty of mistakes in them, we’re backing another goal-fest.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Draw

Swansea v Crystal Palace

Saturday December 24, 2:00am AEDST

Crystal Palace look like a new team under Roy Hodgson but in reality the only difference is that the ex-England boss has had the pleasure of Zaha and Benteke starting together whre his predecessor didn’t. Palace lost their opening nine Premier League matches and the only game that both started was the curtain-raising defeat against Huddersfield. With both set to start again it’s no surprise to see the Eagles favourites particularly given their opponents current form.

The only reason that Paul Clement isn’t favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked is that, arguably, Stoke’s form is even worse than Swansea’s! The Welsh side have lost 12 games already this season including eight of their last 10. Seven of those defeats came against sides currently higher in the table than Palace though.

Swansea have avoided defeat in 74% of their home matches against middle-third teams since 2015/16. While Palace have certainly improved it’s worth noting they’ve won just three of their last 10 trips to teams in the bottom-three so it looks as if we have a typical overreaction to current form. Palace are the better team but middle-third sides have won just 36% of trips to teams in the bottom-three over the past five seasons so 2.50 is a little on the short side for away victory.

Betting Strategy

 LAY – Crystal Palace at 2.50

West Ham v Newcastle

Sunday December 24, 2:00am AEDST

Having climbed out of the relegation zone with a resounding victory at the Britannia, West Ham now have an opportunity to increase their buffer on the bottom-three as they host the side that replaced them. Newcastle’s horror run continues as they’ve lost eight of nine winless matches, while away from home they’re a dire W1-D2-L6 this term. Furthermore, key playmaker Jonjo Shelvey remains suspended and he’ll be sorely missed – if we include Championship matches, the Magpies have lost eight of 17 matches he’s failed to start since the start of last season whereas their loss rate with him is just 28%.

Since taking a hammering at Everton early on under David Moyes, the Hammers have shown a remarkable improvement to only loose narrowly at Man City before picking up seven points and conceding no goals against Arsenal, Chelsea and then Stoke. That victory over the Potters was Moyes’ first fixture against a side outside the top nine and we expect the hosts to take advantage of another struggling opponent.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – West Ham at 2.12

Burnley v Tottenham

Sunday December 24, 4:30am AEDST

Not many would have had Burnley ahead of Spurs at this stage of the season but alas the Lancashire club are punching way above their weight. They’re currently keeping Spurs outside of the top-six yet are as big as 6/1 here playing at home. They’ve been continually underestimated in the market and we think it’s happened again. Sean Dyche’s chargers are W5-D2-L1 over their last eight at Turf Moore where they’ve conceded just two goals. The only defeat came against Arsenal, but it was curtesy of dubious last-minute penalty decision, while on the road they’ve got results at Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs themselves.

Pochettino’s side were put in their place at the Etihad meaning they’ve picked up just one point in their last five road games, only netting three times across these. These were all against top-half teams and if we combine this term’s trips to top-10 sides with results against last season’s top-half then Spurs have an abysmal W2-D6-L7 record. With this in mind, we’ll back Burnley to secure at least a point.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Burnley +0.5 Asian Handicap at 2.63

Leicester v Man United

Saturday December 24, 6:45am AEDST

Leicester’s fantastic start under Claude Puel ended abruptly with a shock home defeat against Palace in what was their first defeat to a side outside the ‘Big Six’ this season. At the King Power they’ve beaten Spurs but lost to Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool though they only failed to score against the champions elect. Indeed, the Foxes rarely fail to net in front of their own fans, only doing so twice in their last 16 there, while eight of their last nine home matches against the ‘Big Six’ have had at least three goals as they’ve scored in six.

Man United are churning out the results with defeat against Man City their only blemish in their last seven. Having triumphed in just two of their first six on the road they’ve since won their last three despite conceding in each, resulting in all three featuring three or more strikes. They also have Paul Pogba back and they’ve won 11 of his last 12 starts while scoring 2.75 goals per game – that compares to the 17 matches he’s failed to start in their last 29 where they’ve netted just 18 times. While we wouldn’t put anyone off the straight United victory, but our preference is for Over 2.5 Goals which looks a cracking price.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.93


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