Your Expert EPL Tips 2019/20

The team at Form Labs are giving their EPL Tips for the 2019/20 Premier League season.

With a focus on the Top Six, we’ll have previews for all the big games, every match week on the Betfair Hub.

To avoid confusion, that is, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

When these teams clash with each other we will replace it with EPL tips from the remaining pool of games.

Lastly, be sure to check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for up to the minute Premier League and football odds.


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Man Utd v Watford

United had seemingly recovered from 2-0 defeats to Liverpool and Burnley, swatting Tranmere Rovers aside in the FA Cup, winning the second leg of their League Cup semi-final with Man City, picking up a decent point against Wolves and beating Chelsea 2-0 at the Bridge.

They’ve often delivered their best performances when facing stronger outfits where they’re not forced to take the initiative so much, and a disappointing 1-1 draw with Club Brugge midweek was a stark reminder of that.

In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have won just five of 19 league games this season beyond the top five in the table, while they’re a very poor W3-D1-L4 against the bottom seven in the table. They haven’t beaten Watford by more than a single strike in their last four head-to-heads either, so we’re surprised by their short price and Watford appear worth siding with in some capacity.

The Hornets’ prospects of survival looked extremely bleak when Nigel Pearson entered the dugout back in December. They initially confounded expectations with a series of positive results, and while they’ve stuttered a bit in recent weeks they remain just one point adrift from safety now.

Watford’s past nine games have seen them lose just twice (W4-D3-L2) as both defeats came by single-goal margins. This spell included a 2-0 win over United in the reverse fixture, as well as another victory over Wolves and stalemates with both Sheffield Utd and Spurs – with those the four highest-placed sides they encountered during this time.

United are also reduced without Marcus Rashford, with the Red Devils managing 31% more goals per game since the start of last season when he starts, and it remains to be seen how former Watford striker and January loan signing Odion Ighalo fits into Solskjaer’s plans.

Meanwhile, Pearson has Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr back from injury, with Watford’s points per game rising from 0.6 to 1.36 when he’s started this season.

BACK – Watford +0.75 Asian Handicap at $2.15


Arsenal v Everton

Both these clubs’ fortunes are looking up with Everton climbing from a potential relegation scrap to ninth since the exit of Marco Silva.

Meanwhile, Arsenal, remain unbeaten from nine outings across all competitions in 2020, which includes impressive victories over Man Utd (2-0), Newcastle (4-0) and last time out at Olympiacos, as well as a stalemate at Stamford Bridge with 10 men for the vast majority of it.

Only Liverpool can better the Toffees’ form over the last 11 outings since the departure of Silva, going W6-D4-L1 over that period, as their sole defeat came by a single strike at the Etihad. However, it should be noted that over half of those came against teams currently sitting in 13th or lower in the league, and their form over that period on the road alone reads a less impressive W2-D2-L1.

Those two victories on the road came against bottom-half outfits Newcastle and Watford, whilst they also had to settle for a stalemate when visiting the misfiring Hammers at the end of last month.

Furthermore, dating back to September 2016, the Toffees are a miserly W13-D20-L35 on the road. All but three of those victories came against teams in the bottom six at the time of playing, so they look like they have a serious job on their hands.

Mikel Arteta’s men have won three of their four fixtures at the Emirates this calendar year across all tournaments. They conceded just once across these through John Fleck’s 83rd-minute equaliser for Sheffield Utd, whilst they were unfortunate not to come away 1-0 victors against the Blues in their final fixture of 2019 following a Bernd Leno mistake.

A rather staggering statistic is Everton’s record when travelling to Arsenal. They’re a woeful 21 defeats from their 25 winless trips to the Gunners since the 1996/97 season across all competitions, including defeats in all six since the start of 2014 by an aggregate scoreline of 18-4.

In fact, the Toffees have lost 23 of their 34 winless trips to the ‘Big Six’ and this seasons’ Leicester and it’ll be a huge result for them should they turn that record around under Carlo Ancelotti.

One factor that is clear to see is Everton’s ability to get on the scoreboard as they’ve done so for nine straight road trips now, averaging 1.67 goals per game, though their short coming has been the fact they’ve also conceded in each of those too at a rate of exactly two goals per game.

Although Arsenal has discovered some newfound defensive spirit under Arteta, they’ve still seen both sides get on the scoreboard in five of their eight games under him and so the home win and both teams to score looks the way to go.

BACK – Arsenal & BTTS at $3.75


Liverpool v West Ham

Liverpool has only tasted defeat in the Champions League and League Cup this season as their league form has been nothing short of spectacular. Even so, their loss to Atletico midweek has left them with a bitter taste in their mouths as they prepare to take on a down in the dumps Hammers side.

David Moyes’ men are now winless in seven across all competitions following their 2-0 defeat away at Man City midweek, a run which has included defeat to Championship side West Brom in the FA Cup.

In fairness to the London side it hasn’t exactly been the easiest run of games, having faced all of the top three in that time as well as top-half outfits Sheffield United and Everton, so we can forgive them for a few of these dropped points, though you’d be a brave man to put you money on that run ending here.

Liverpool have more or less wrapped up the league, barring a disastrous fall from grace. They’ve not conceded a goal at Anfield in 675 minutes of football, with the most recent coming against an Everton side who were still under the management of Marco Silva at the time.

That being said, the price on a clean sheet is incredibly short for this one, while it’s not the most ridiculous thing in the world to suggest West Ham could grab one here, especially with Jarrod Bowen likely to be brought into the fray.

The former Hull winger had scored 17 goals for Hull already this year and can provide a new dimension to West Ham’s attack that has been sorely missing in recent times. Michail Antonio is never long off the injury table, though he does provide a serious threat up top and his physicality and work rate could also provide the hosts some trouble here.

While we can’t see West Ham taking the spoils here, we can see them making this a slight challenge. They’ve seen a maximum of two goals in six of their last eight games across all competitions, while

The Reds haven’t been seeing teams off with any such ease of late, seeing the same outcome in six of their last seven here. The Hammers have only lost two of their last 25 in the league by more than a two-goal margin, and the handicap looks the way to go here.

BACK – West Ham +2 Asian Handicap at $1.91


Chelsea v Spurs

Having both tasted defeat this week, times have been better for Chelsea and Spurs, though they do still sit in fourth and fifth respectively and a win here for either will stand them in great stead going forward.

The Lilywhites haven’t won four consecutive Premier League games since February last year, though are looking to do just that this weekend against a Blues side who are looking for their first win in five.

Frank Lampard got the better of his former boss in the reverse fixture, winning 2-0 in North London thanks to a Willian double, though the club’s fortunes have headed in vastly different directions since then. Just four games ago Chelsea were in the clear, with a five-point gap over fifth and a nine-point difference to London rivals Spurs, though fast forward to now and the North London outfit sit a mere point outside of the top four.

In what is usually a game of quality, injury has struck both sides in recent times, especially in the offensive department. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic remain injured on the flanks for this clash, while if Tammy Abraham were to miss out again, we’d have to see another makeshift front three for the hosts. They’ve failed to score in either of the games their No.9 has missed this season, with Michy Batshuayi guilty of squandering good chances against Man Utd on Monday.

The visitors aren’t exactly flush with attacking options either, however, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min missing. They desperately missed both of them in their Champions League tie at home to Leipzig, drawing a blank as they really struggled for any attacking potency.

Indeed, Spurs’ goals per game increases by 30% with both their star attackers on the pitch from the off since the start of last season, and we’re struggling to see where the goals will come from for either side.

Recent head-to-heads have gone in the Blues’ favour, winning each of the last three across all competitions, though they’ve failed to win four on the bounce against Spurs since January 2002.

Although Spurs have notoriously struggled here over the years (winning just once since 1990), this isn’t looking like the fortress it once was, so we can’t find a good enough reason to get behind either side, with the ‘Unders’ looking the most valuable market.

BACK – Under 2.5 Goals $2.08


Sheffield Utd v Brighton

The Seagulls are still picking up a steady stream of stalemates at the Amex, but away from home they’ve now lost seven of their past 10 and it’s easy to see why high-flying Sheffield Utd start as favourites.

The Blades are back in the picture for a top-four spot with Chelsea and Man Utd dropping points in recent weeks, while the clash between Chelsea and Spurs on Saturday hands them the opportunity to make further inroads.

The Blades have now won three of five matches, but more impressively, it’s six from eight unbeaten encounters since early December when excluding Liverpool and Man City. All six victories came over teams 14th or lower in the table, but then again Graham Potter’s men are down in 15th and just three points clear of 19th-placed Watford.

Chris Wilder’s men won the reverse fixture, and up against those teams 14th or lower, they’ve won seven of 11 unbeaten matches this season overall, including six of the most recent seven. Meanwhile, at Bramall Lane alone it’s four wins from five this term.

Brighton have won just one of 11 outings since early December and even that came over a desperate Bournemouth side, while in addition the Seagulls were dumped out of the FA Cup by Sheffield Wednesday during this time. Although occupying a similar league position to those achieved by former boss Chris Hughton, they are better going forwards on their travels where they’ve drawn a blank just once in their past nine, even scoring goals against Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs.

Although the home win and both teams to score holds some appeal, the correct score offers a greater alternative given the Blades rarely win by big margins. They haven’t scored more than twice in 15 matches and seeing as five of their last six wins came by one-goal-margins, the 2-1 scoreline seems most likely.

BACK – Sheffield United to Win at $2.02

BACK – 2-1 correct score at $10


Leicester v Man City

The Foxes may not have been at their absolute best in 2020 but they appear a big price nonetheless at home to Man City. The visitors have a trip to the Bernabeu against Real Madrid coming up on Wednesday, and given the league is unattainable this year while the Champions League may be off limits for the next two campaigns, we’d expect Pep Guardiola to have all his eggs in one basket.

Leicester may have lost emphatically to both Liverpool and Man City just prior to the turn of the year, but the clash with their opponents in this one came at the Etihad and back at the King Power, the Foxes are W2-D3-L1 in the head-to-heads since 2015/16. Jamie Vardy also has four goals and an assist from five appearances in this exact fixture, so Brendan Rodgers will hope his main man can end his current goal drought.

City got back to winning ways midweek over a hapless West Ham, but we wouldn’t read too much into that success given the Hammers’ current predicament. Of greater concern are the 1-0 and 2-0 defeats to Man Utd and Spurs just prior to that, and with five of seven head-to-heads at this venue since Leicester’s promotion featuring fewer than three goals, we could see this game ultimately failing to ignite.

Rodgers does have to juggle things around in midfield with Hamza Choudhury suspended, Nampalys Mendy injured, while Daniel Amartey and Wilfried Ndidi are doubts. However, he can still call upon a trio of Youri Tielemans and Dennis Praet, so this need not be a decisive factor. Guardiola has his own concern with Raheem Sterling absent as even if the 25-year-old hasn’t been so productive of late, he remains an integral part of this side.

Leicester have earnt respectable stalemates with Chelsea and Wolves in their last two outings. Man City might be a tougher proposition, but with the Citizens hardly in stellar form themselves, home advantage leaves the Foxes very appetizing on the handicap.

BACK  – Leicester +0.75 Asian Handicap at $1.96

Man City v West Ham

Back-to-back defeats against Man Utd and Spurs hasn’t exactly derailed City’s season. They still progressed to the Carabao Cup final against the former, while the latter result came in the Premier League where the game is already up, but it was nonetheless the first time under Guardiola where they’ve gone consecutive matches without finding the net.

We don’t expect their profligacy to continue here however. The Hammers are without a clean sheet in six across all competitions and have conceded as many as 10 in the past four of these, and in the league only Southampton, Villa and Norwich have conceded more goals. Guardiola will have to make do without Raheem Sterling after he picked up a hamstring complaint, but he probably would have rotated anyway with away trips to Leicester and Real Madrid their next two fixtures, while it’s at the back and not up front where his squad is found wanting.

City possesses just four clean sheets from their last 24 across all tournaments, while even at the Etihad where they’re stronger it’s still just two in 12, with the two exceptions Championship side Fulham and the low-scoring Sheffield Utd. Aymeric Laporte’s return should see an improvement at the back in the coming months, but he’s unlikely to feature here and he’ll need time to get up to speed again following nearly four months out.

The Hammers have lost five of six clashes with the top five in the table this term, shipping 16 goals, including a 5-0 humiliation against City themselves on the opening day of the season. However, they found the net in four of the last five of these games, with the exception versus a Liverpool side featuring Virgil van Dijk and Alisson within their ranks.

City’s defence has conceded almost twice as many goals as the Reds’ this campaign, and while they’ve won 19 of 21 unbeaten matches hosting bottom-six sides under Guardiola, they can often concede the odd goal and we fancy the Hammers to net in defeat.

 BACK – Man City & BTTS @ 2.56


Aston Villa v Spurs

Villa have some major tests coming up with their next five fixtures across all competitions seeing them take on Spurs, Southampton, Man City, Leicester and Chelsea. A loss away at Bournemouth a fortnight ago in their last match didn’t help either, though they have beaten Watford and Leicester 2-1 in their past two on home turf and they remain above the relegation zone.

It will be a tall order to make that three in a row at Villa Park, especially with their visitors unbeaten in six now. In fact, those victories over the Hornets and the Foxes was just the second time this season where Dean Smith’s side have recorded back-to-back victories at home.

However, Villa are still W7-L4 there since October and with the defeats coming against Liverpool, Leicester, Southampton and Man City, this won’t be a walk in the park for Jose Mourinho’s men. Villa did ship 15 goals across those defeats, but they found the net in each of them and they’re the top scorers amongst the bottom half of the table.

It’s not exactly like Spurs are registering regular clean sheets either. They’ve managed just two in 14 games since early November in all competitions, as even low-scoring Championship side Middlesbrough managed it in both their FA Cup clashes. Both teams have scored in seven of their nine meetings with bottom-six teams this term, including the reverse of this fixture, so that appears a highly likely outcome once again with Jack Grealish in such superb form for the hosts.

Villa have lost eight of their last nine winless matches against top-half outfits in the league, so we wouldn’t be confident of backing them to get any points out of this game. However, Spurs don’t fully convince yet and at odds-against we’d eschew the match outcome.

BACK – BTTS (Yes) @ 1.66


Arsenal v Newcastle

Even though many had predicted further struggles for the Gunners this term, it’s still a surprise to see them down at 10th after 25 games and level on points with Newcastle. There remains a lot of goodwill behind Mikel Arteta from the stands, but he’s yet to get Arsenal fully firing and they’ve won just four of 23 league matches now, with as many managers as victories since late September.

That includes a run of just one win from eight at the Emirates and so we’re surprised to see them at a very short price for maximum points, especially with the Magpies now unbeaten in eight across all competitions and four in the league alone.

The FA Cup may have produced four games with Rochdale and Oxford United, but ultimately Steve Bruce’s men are still in the competition and their league assignments weren’t so easy. They faced the likes of Everton, Wolves and Chelsea during this period, drawing with two of those sides and beating Frank Lampard’s men via a 94th-minute winner.

Arsenal have actually drawn each of their past four league matches, including last time out at Burnley, who are sandwiched in the table by the Gunners and Newcastle. Arsenal have drawn more games than anyone this season and have actually had more stalemates than victories and defeats put together (W6-D13-L6), so there’s great value to be had here.

Left-back will be a source of concern for Arteta with Kieran Tierney still missing and Sead Kolasinac not yet fully match fit. Even winger Bukayo Saka is a doubt to fill the role having hobbled off against Burnley, but those first two are more important at this stage. Arsenal have drawn six of their last seven without Kolasinac, while Tierney would have offered them greater assistance going forwards down that flank.

BACK  – Draw @ 4.90


Southampton v Burnley

Ralph Hasenhuttl has brought this season back round after a turbulent start. Having won just twice from their opening 13 matches of the campaign, they’ve now won seven of the subsequent 12. That recent run has included victories over top-six sides Chelsea, Leicester and Spurs, and despite a 4-0 defeat at Anfield before the winter break, they held their own in the first half before capitulating in the second so won’t be too disheartened.

The visitors are beginning to come into some form of their own too. Having suffered four consecutive defeats to Everton, Man United, Aston Villa and Chelsea, Sean Dyche’s men have now won two of their last three unbeaten games, coming through victorious over Leicester and Man United before playing out a stalemate at Turf Moor against the Gunners.

With both sides capable of grabbing a result, we’re happy to avoid the outright and instead pluck for an under 2.5 goals outcome. Indeed, the priority is quite simple for these two teams in that they have next to no chance of qualifying for European competition next season, and should, therefore, be more concerned with avoiding being dragged down into a relegation battle.

Southampton have the worst home record in the league having picked up just 11 points from their 12 games at St Mary’s this term, while Burnley won’t want to risk leaving with nothing by going all-out attack here. On that basis, we envisage a much more reserved game of football and the ‘unders’ market undoubtedly appeals.

In fact, there’s been a maximum of two strikes in six of Burnley’s last nine games, as none of them saw four or more. Meanwhile, all but one of the Saints’ last four at home has seen fewer than three, while Hasenhuttl’s side will be devoid of the creativity of likely absentee James Ward-Prowse, which should result in a more defensive midfield axis of Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg being deployed.

BACK – Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.93


Norwich v Liverpool

Liverpool may have racked up a fair few clean sheets recently but Norwich could well get on the board at Carrow Road. Daniel Farke’s men managed to register on the opening day at Anfield, even if Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had left the field with injury by that point, but they’ve found the net in all but one of their 12 home games this term. Across all competitions and at all venues, they’ve scored in 12 of 15 outings dating back into November.

The Canaries haven’t just benefited in that regard from a kind fixture list. Up against top-half outfits, they’ve found the net in 11 of 12 matches as the exception came at Old Trafford. At home, both teams have scored in all seven encounters, but though they shipped at least two goals in each of those, they still had a go and put three past Man City, as well as two against each of Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs.

Those seven matches all saw a minimum of three goals as five went higher than that, so there’s definitely a chance for Norwich to cause a problem or too. They may also benefit from any rotation, as realistically the title race is over and Jurgen Klopp will have one eye firmly planted on a midweek trip to Atletico Madrid.

The Reds have been relentless and having taken 100 of a possible 102 points dating back to March, there’s no reason to think that the league’s bottom side can deliver a telling blow. However, Norwich do have the tools to grab a consolation, while Liverpool have conceded in over half their encounters with bottom-half sides this season as four finished 2-1.

Given Klopp’s side have only put more than two past anyone in just two of their last 16 in all competitions, the correct score appeals at a healthy price.

BACK  – Liverpool & BTTS @ 2.75

BACK  – Liverpool 2-1 Correct Score @ 9.80


Wolves v Leicester

These two sides have largely been the best beyond the ‘Big Six’ over the past year and a half, with Leicester, in particular, enjoying a fine campaign. Brendan Rodgers’ men have however experienced a slight dip of late, going just W3-D2-L4 over their past nine in the league, even if two of the defeats came against Liverpool and Man City. Still, talismanic striker Jamie Vardy is struggling a bit for goals and is currently on his longest barren spell under the Northern Irish coach, now going five outings without one.

The Foxes have taken just 1.25 points per game over their last eight matches, compared to a season wide 1.96, though their opponents haven’t been at their absolute best recently either. Wolves have won just once in eight outings across all competitions now, even if three of three of them came against Man Utd and a further two versus Liverpool. However, even in their victory over Southampton they fell two goals down after 35 minutes, and it would be a long way back against their visitors if they did the same here.

Five of Wolves’ eight victories this term have come when facing the bottom five in the table, so we’re not encouraged by their prospects of winning and are surprised to see them start as favourites, even if they hold home advantage. Their double over Man City has been their crowning achievement this season domestically, but up against the top 12 sides they’re only W2-D8-L5.

These two played out a draw on the opening day of the season and with Wolves consistently picking up stalemates, as only Arsenal have seen more, another appears likely here. Neither side is sky-high on confidence at the moment, and a point wouldn’t be too disastrous for both teams.

BACK – Draw @ $3.50


Sheffield Utd v Bournemouth

Back-to-back wins over relegation rivals Brighton and Villa at the Vitality Stadium has lifted Bournemouth outside the relegation zone. However, Norwich are the only side to have picked up fewer points per game on the road this term than those two sides, while the Cherries had lost 10 of 12 matches prior to that result.

Eddie Howe’s men are no great travellers themselves having lost six of their last seven away from home, despite five of these games coming against bottom-half teams where they stood a better chance of picking up some points. Home or away Bournemouth are still without a clean sheet in eight matches now, so Sheffield Utd rightfully start as strong favourites.

The Blades are W5-D2-L2 at Bramall Lane this term when removing the top three from the equation, and we’d expect them to take a positive result from this game. However, they’re not the division’s entertainers with 18 of their past 21 matches featuring fewer than three goals, including each of the last nine, while four of Bournemouth’s last five versus teams above them in the table have gone that same way.

Sheffield Utd are second only to Liverpool for goals conceded, and given Bournemouth had failed to score in seven of nine matches prior to their recent victories, the home clean sheet looks likely. In fact, seven of their nine wins this term have finished either 1-0 or 2-0, with the former happening on five occasions including each of their last three victories.

 BACK – Sheffield Utd/Under 2.5 Goals @ 3.5


Everton v Crystal Palace

This fixture hasn’t typically produced fireworks in recent times with eight of 10 head-to-heads since January 2015 featuring no more than two goals, while half saw just one or none at all. The past three meetings have produced a 2-0 win for Everton here at Goodison Park and two goalless stalemates at Selhurst Park, so we’re not expecting this to be a classic for the ages.

The Eagles’ output has been a major concern and consequently, 11 of their 13 matches across all competitions since late November have witnessed fewer than three goals. Defensive solidarity hasn’t been enough however and they’re just W1-D6-L4 over this period. There may only be three teams with better defensive records than Palace this term (Liverpool, Sheffield Utd and Leicester), but by the same token the 22 goals they’ve managed is the worst in the division.

Everton have actually had a couple of thrillers with Newcastle and Watford in their past two outings, but five of their previous seven across all tournaments saw fewer than three goals. When excluding results against the top four in the table, seven of their past eight at this venue have seen a maximum of two strikes, while they kept clean sheets in five of these.

We’d have to back the Toffees with home advantage behind them given the respective form of these two sides. Whereas Palace can’t seem to buy a win at the moment, Everton have won four of six fixtures since the switch in the dugout when excluding Man City and Liverpool from the equation.

A low-scoring home win appears even more likely when considering that ignoring cup encounters with lower-league teams, 11 of Everton’s last 13 victories at Goodison since late November 2018 have been coupled with clean sheets. Palace have actually failed to register in nine of their 10 defeats this season (eight of them finished either 1-0 or 2-0), as has been the case in their past two outings against Southampton and Sheffield Utd.

 BACK  – Everton/Under 2.5 Goals @ 3.5


Brighton v Watford

This result of this clash could have an impact on a number of teams down at the bottom with just three points separating 15th-placed Brighton and Watford in 19th. The bottom-six can be a scrappy place to be, but Watford appear in better shape than the Seagulls at present and should be higher up the table given some of the talents in their squad.

The Hornets’ remarkable surge back from the brink under Nigel Pearson has however been checked in their last few games. They’ve suffered defeats to Villa and Everton in the league, as well as being dumped out of the FA Cup by League One strugglers Tranmere, though they threw away leads against both top-flight outfits and prior to that they had won four of six unbeaten league games.

Watford have actually taken the lead in seven of their past eight league games with the exception a goalless stalemate with Spurs. Given Brighton have conceded first in five of six matches across all competitions in 2020 to date, and that the last three games have seen them trail at fellow bottom-six sides Villa, Bournemouth and West Ham, we’d expect Watford to draw first blood.

Brighton hasn’t usually done that well when shipping the first of the game in the first half, losing 73% of such matches since their promotion. Taking that into consideration, and given the Seagulls are a disappointing W2-D5-L8 since early November in all competitions (W1-D3-L3 at the Amex), we’d have to side with the visitors with Graham Potter’s men so close to evens.

The Hornets may have lost to Villa recently, but they’d won their previous three encounters with fellow bottom-six travellers. Those results include a pair of 3-0 wins over Bournemouth and Villa in the reverse fixture – both since Nigel Pearson arrived at the helm – and so we’ll happily have them on the handicap with some cover in case of the draw.

 BACK – Watford +0.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.1


Chelsea v Man Utd

The tastiest clash of the weekend is saved until last and this could have major ramifications in the race for fourth. Defeat for United would leave them nine points adrift, leaving success in the Europa League as their only hope of returning to the top table next season, and recent results haven’t been the most encouraging.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have failed to score in four of their past five matches now, with Marcus Rashford bagging a brace before departing the field injured. The England international has become key for United and fellow attacker Anthony Martial doesn’t seem to be able to deliver his best in his absence.

New signing Odion Ighalo should be in the squad for this one, but having trained apart from the squad after arriving from China, he won’t start here and will need more time to gel properly with his new teammates.

The Red Devils have also been particularly poor away from home. They’re just W3-D1-L6 since September as they even failed to score in every defeat, with the likes of West Ham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Watford all getting the better of them.

Solskjaer can at least claim comfort from his two victories over Lampard this term. However, a 4-0 win at Old Trafford on the opening day was a long time ago now, while Rashford scored four of their six goals across that and their 2-1 success in October’s League Cup meeting.

Chelsea are unbeaten in four matches against the ‘Big Six’ or Leicester now, so are rightfully favourites in this clash.

United haven’t reacted well to conceding the first of the game and in seven away days where their opponents have struck first, they’ve only managed to score themselves in one of those matches against Sheffield Utd. Should Chelsea bag the opener, as they have in six of seven matches in all competitions during 2020 so far, it’s difficult to see a way back for the visitors.

BACK – Chelsea Win @ 1.89

Spurs v Man City

City suffered a rare defeat midweek hosting Man Utd, though they still advanced through to the Carabao Cup final. Pep Guardiola criticised the lack of clinical finishing from his side, but the Spaniard holds high standards going forwards and it was just the second time this season where his team has failed to score across all competitions and the first in 26 games. Even away from the Etihad, it’s now 23 consecutive outings in all tournaments where his team has found the net stretching back into April.

Although the visitors are more than capable at the sharp end, when looking at their clashes with the top seven in the table this term, they’ve only triumphed by a two-goal margin once in seven such matches, whilst conceding in all of them. Guardiola will be thankful that Aymeric Laporte is back in action, but after such a long lay-off the Frenchman needs a little more than 78 minutes against Sheffield Utd to return to his best.

Spurs are also experiencing difficulties at the back, despite the influence of Jose Mourinho taking shape. His tenure began with explosive thrillers against West Ham, Olympiakos and Bournemouth, but while nine of his first 10 at the helm featured at least three goals at an average of four per game, the seven since then have come right down to an average of just 1.7. However, that still leaves Spurs with just two clean sheets in the club’s past 18 matches across all competitions and one in 12, so expect the league’s top scorers to have their chances.

Although City haven’t done quite so well in the big games this term, neither have the Lilywhites. The London side have lost all seven matches against the current top six domestically or Bayern in Europe since late September, with both sides registering on the scoreboard on five occasions. That, of course, includes the infamous 7-2 thrashing at home to the Bavarians, but over half of those defeats have come since Mourinho was appointed in any case.

The absence of Harry Kane hurts Spurs’ chances of finding the net, but the likes of Heung-min Son and Lucas Moura should have enough about them to punish City’s backline. Across all tournaments, the Citizens have conceded in five of their past seven victories on the road, but given how hosts are evolving under Mourinho with tight encounters on the menu, the 2-1 correct score is worth a punt.

 BACK  – Man City @ BTTS @ 2.88

 BACK  – 0.5 Pts: Man City 2-1 Correct Score @ 9.40


Leicester v Chelsea

Chelsea’ stalemate with Arsenal in their last league outing leaves them just W2-D2-L4 in all tournaments against the rest of the ‘Big Six’ plus Leicester this term. They even trailed at the break in five of these games, though given the Foxes have lost three of four winless clashes with fellow top-four sides this term, trailing at half-time in each of them, we’d avoid the outright in this one.

Leicester’s defence had been keeping up with Liverpool’s earlier in the campaign, but with their only clean sheets in 14 appearances across all competitions coming against Newcastle and lower-league opponents Wigan and Brentford in the FA Cup, they’re not looking quite so sturdy at the back. In the league alone they’ve shipped 13 in seven matches now, though they also bagged 12 down the other end as each of these games saw at least three goals.

Late concessions have proven an issue for Brendan Rodgers’ men with Southampton and Burnley both netting winners against them in recent weeks, while on Tuesday Aston Villa also snatched a last gasp 2-1 victory in the League Cup semis.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have suffered a similar problem as their past three outings saw them downed by a 94th-minute strike at Newcastle, concede an 87th-minute equalizer against Arsenal, while Hull put them under pressure last weekend in the FA Cup with a goal 12 minutes from time.

That means there’s now been at least one goal from the 76th minute onwards in 12 of Chelsea’s past 14 road trips in all tournaments, as seven of the last 10 such outings saw more than two goals over the course of the 90 minutes.

Moreover, 11 of Leicester’s last 13 at the King Power have seen a strike plundered after the 72nd minute, while four of their last five across all venues have seen three or more goals. That certainly suggests another high scoring affair in this one, while we wouldn’t get too jittery if there have only been a couple of goals heading into the final stretch of the game.

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.72


Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd

This encounter doesn’t have the air of a classic about it as these two sides have seen the fewest goals in their games than anyone else in the division this term, with the reverse fixture featuring just the single successful effort. In fact, 10 of Palace’s last 12 across all competitions have witnessed a maximum of two strikes, as have each of the Blades’ past nine when excluding a 2-1 home win over fifth-tier strugglers Fylde in the FA Cup.

As a consequence, the price surrounding ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ is unsurprisingly short, though we wouldn’t feel comfortable going any lower in the total goals markets and it’s the draw that captures our attention. Despite just the single win in nine league games (W1-D6-L2), the Eagles are still a respectable 11th in the table and are level on points with Arsenal, though those stalemates have allowed a pack of teams below them to move within striking distance.

Sheffield Utd may have suffered a few blows in recent clashes with Man City (twice) and Liverpool, but those two sides are clearly the best in English football right now. However, while Chris Wilder’s men are tough to overcome, only Arsenal (12) and Wolves (10) have drawn more games the nine both Palace and the Blades have this season.

This has particularly been a feature of Sheffield Utd’s away days, with seven of their nine single-pointers coming on the road. In fact, excluding encounters with the top four, the visitors have drawn six of nine unbeaten trips, with two of the wins coming over teams down in the bottom six of the table.

The draw beckons then, but with each of Palace’s last five stalemates seeing both teams find the net (four ending 1-1), while the Blades’ past six draws all saw the same (five finishing 1-1), it’s not worth backing ‘Under 1.5 Goals’ in this clash – even if this game shouldn’t produce too many fireworks.

 BACK – Draw at 3.15

 BACK – 0.5pts: 1-1 Draw at 6.8


Liverpool v Southampton

Liverpool have reached 70 points from a possible 72 already this season having defeated West Ham at the London Stadium on Wednesday evening, while a victory here followed by a win away at bottom side Norwich would see them surpass Man United’s title-winning points tally in 1996/97, despite only being 26 games in.

It’s inevitable that the Reds will pick up their first-ever Premier League trophy at the end of this season, while the more pressing question is whether they can go invincible or not, and a team like Southampton could be a serious banana skin.

Indeed, the Saints have lost just once in their last nine matches across all competitions (W6-D2-L1), picking up wins over Leicester, Chelsea and Spurs in that time, while one poor second half was enough to allow Wolves to overturn their two-goal advantage going into the break a fortnight ago.

In fact, over the last six matches, only Liverpool themselves have picked up more points than Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.

Jurgen Klopp’s charges have been unstoppable at home so far, winning all 14 matches, while achieving W/W double results in a whopping 13 of these, though despite their improved backline, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they’ll be keeping a clean sheet.

They’ve conceded just once since their 5-2 victory over Everton (back when Marco Silva was still in charge), which has certainly been a product of the return of Joe Gomez to the starting lineup.

However, only the Citizens and Leicester have scored more than Southampton in the league over the past six matches, while the visitors have now scored in all 11 trips since the opening day of the season.

Despite Liverpool’s defensive resolve, the men from the south coast will undoubtedly be knocking on the door at times and so both teams to score market looks to appeal at just a shade shorter than evens.

 BACK – Both Teams to Score at 2.00


Man Utd v Wolves

This will be the sixth meeting between these two sides in the last 10 months, and already the third meeting this year after their FA Cup tie went to a replay. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men fell just short midweek having beaten the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ in their own back yard for a second time this season, though the 3-1 deficit from the first leg means Pep Guardiola’s men will be heading to Wembley to take on Villa at the start of March. Wolves have struggled for consistency of late going W4-D2-L4 over their last 10 in the league and it’s difficult to say which way this is going to swing.

Wolves have maintained their status as a ‘giant killer’ from last season and, despite Man Utd’s recent 1-0 victory hosting Wolves in the cup, they’re certainly in that group of sides that struggle against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men. Indeed, since the midlands club was promoted back to the top flight of English football, that 1-0 remains their sole defeat against the Red Devils from six previous meetings. It should be mentioned, however, that the four clashes prior to that replay came at the Molineux and the visitors haven’t won here at Old Trafford since 1980.

On that basis we can’t bring ourselves to get behind the visitors, especially considering the hosts have only lost twice from 12 games at Old Trafford this season, though we’re also not convinced by how United are priced up for this either. The lack of consistency shown by Solskjaer’s men this season leaves everyone in disarray at their performances. They’ve now suffered three defeats in four matches, with each coming by a 2-0 scoreline and the most damaging of the lot being last time out when hosting a less resilient Burnley side then we’ve become accustomed to over the years.

This fixture last season finished 1-1, as did the reverse fixture this season, while the other league meeting looked to be heading to the exact same scoreline before Chris Smalling inadvertently directed the ball into his own net, and the correct score holds considerable appeal as well as the outright draw.

 BACK – Draw at 3.35

 BACK – 0.5Pts: Correct Score 1-1 at 7.00


Burnley v Arsenal

Burnley’s FA Cup defeat hosting Norwich at the weekend has raised fresh doubts, but league wins over Leicester and Man Utd just prior to that have lifted the Clarets seven points clear of the relegation zone. They’ve joined a cluster of teams on 30 points, with this group featuring Arsenal themselves, but they’re now 19 games in all competitions without a stalemate (W8-L11) and even on home turf it appears a tall order for them to topple the Gunners.

The visitors are unbeaten in six matches across all tournaments in 2020 to date, though their habit of drawing games remains intact, with nine of their past 15 league outings ending in stalemates. Late concessions have been a particular issue as victories have turned into single-pointers in two of their past three, while they also shipped another late goal against Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Monday – even if it didn’t cost them the win on that occasion.

Arsenal may have a reputation for struggling against teams that put themselves about physically, but they’ve actually won all 10 encounters with Burnley since 2014/15. However, the Gunners haven’t won too many games on their travels in recent times and we wouldn’t want to get involved in the outright market. Instead, we’d back Burnley to join their visitors on the scoresheet, just as they have in all three head-to-heads since the start of last season as Arsenal won 3-1 (twice) and 2-1.

Across all competitions, Sean Dyche’s charges have produced hit and miss results at Turf Moor since the start of September (W6-L6). They have however consistently found the net, with only Man Utd and Palace registering clean sheets. Given top-four outfits Chelsea, Man City and Leicester have all failed to shut them out, we doubt Arsenal are going to succeed in doing so.

In fact, the Gunners possess just three shutouts from 23 matches across all tournaments since the October international break, with both teams scoring in 17 of these. That includes seven of their past eight on the road, while that bet has landed in each of Burnley’s last four at Turf Moor.

 BACK – BTTS (Yes) @ 1.80

Wolves v Liverpool

Surprisingly, these are the only two sides in the top half of the table to be coming into their next game off the back of a victory, and while Liverpool have been unstoppable of late, this will be a serious test for them. Wolves came back from two down to win at St Mary’s at the weekend after an underwhelming first-half display, while the Reds were dominant as per usual in their 2-0 home victory over Man Utd.

While Jurgen Klopp’s men have been nothing short of incredible dating back into last season, picking up 91 points from their last 93 available, the reverse fixture only a few weeks ago would have us second-guessing the outright with how many opportunities Wolves squandered that day. Nuno Espirito Santos’ men have been labelled something of a ‘giant killer’ since their return to the top flight last season, going W6-D7-L7 against the ‘Big Six’ and this season’s third-placed Leicester side. However, with a fairly inconsistent recent run of W4-D3-L3 over their last 10 against anyone, we’re happy to avoid the outright completely.

The Reds were lucky to come away with all three points when they last hosted the midlands side at Anfield on Boxing Day, with Wolves dominating large parts of the game, while VAR controversially intervened much in the Reds’ favour. They’ve only lost twice at Molineux this season and have managed to find the net in all 11 appearances thus far, so they’ll certainly give Liverpool something to think about.

Klopp’s outfit may not have conceded a goal since the beginning of December, covering a seven-game period, which is their best run of clean sheets since 2006. However, they have been fortunate at times, with Anthony Martial the latest to let them off the hook. Meanwhile, on the front foot, Liverpool have managed to register in each of their last 31 games since their trip to Goodison Park in March last year. All things considered, both teams to score market looks a healthy price and as only the slightly shorter option, we’re happy to bank on that outcome.

 BACK – BTTS @ 1.87


Sheffield Utd v Man City

It was another positive result for Palace as they followed up their 3-2 victory last season at the Etihad with a 2-2 stalemate at the weekend. Man City fans had to endure the frustration of conceding a 90th-minute own goal, leaving Liverpool 16 points clear at the top with a game in hand, and it seems that any small chance that they had of clawing them back has ended.

Although Sheffield Utd produced a stalemate too, it was a much more positive result for them as they earnt a point at the Emirates, meaning they’ve now earnt four of a possible six points against the Gunners this season. That result also keeps them in the hunt for European places, as sixth-placed Wolves sit just one point ahead of them, though hosting the Citizens is always a tough ask.

Pep Guardiola’s men downed them 2-0 just before the turn of the year and they’ll be confident of another similar scoreline. Of course, that disappointing Palace result will be lingering over them, but such is the quality of this squad they tend to bounce back from defeat very well. They’ve responded with a victory on all seven occasions where they’ve dropped points this term, with these coming over Bournemouth, Watford, Palace, Chelsea, Burnley, Arsenal and Sheffield Utd themselves. Moreover, they won these games by a combined score of 24-3, as well as leading at the halfway mark in six, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them come flying out the blocks.

The Blades have lost all four matches with the current top three in the league, as the best teams have simply had too much quality for them to handle, and were smothered during their recent trip to Anfield. Another L/L double makes sense given that Sheffield Utd have only once been leading at the break across their past nine matches since early December, while the visitors have been ahead at the break in each of their last four on the road, even going 4-0 up after the opening 45 minutes in their last trip to Villa Park.

 BACK – HT/FT – Man City/Man City at 2.12


Chelsea v Arsenal

Mikel Arteta gets to have another crack at taking on Chelsea after his team went down 2-1 in the reverse fixture less than a month ago. Arsenal put in a much-improved display that day, though two late goals spoiled the party and throwing away leads is developing into something of a problem. The Gunners have scored first in each of their past four games now, but have come away with just the single victory and a pair of stalemates to show for their efforts.

This could be a good time to face Chelsea however, as the Blues are only W4-D1-L6 since the November international break, with their latest outing seeing them lose on the road to Newcastle. This spell has also included defeats at Stamford Bridge to West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton, as they’re clinging on to fourth place owing to the ineffectiveness of Man Utd and Spurs more than anything else.

Frank Lampard’s charges have actually picked up more points away from home this term and have won just five of 11 at the Bridge, though with the Gunners winning just two of their past 15 matches, we wouldn’t feel comfortable getting behind them either. Across all competitions, Arsenal has now drawn seven of their last nine on their travels, while in the league alone it’s four of five under either Freddie Ljungberg or Mikel Arteta.

The suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a big loss for the visitors, though with the Gabon international registering just the solitary strike across four 90-minute appearances against the Blues, while Gabriel Martinelli has impressed this season, that shouldn’t be overly decisive. Given Chelsea are a rather even W8-D6-L10 when facing fellow ‘Big Six’ sides or this season’s Leicester across all tournaments since the start of last term, going W4-D3-L3 at the Bridge, the stalemate appeals at the prices.

 BACK – Draw @ 4.0


Spurs v Norwich

Norwich have handed themselves a slither of hope with a crucial 1-0 win at home over Bournemouth, though they certainly benefited from a 31st-minute red card for Steve Cook, even if one of their own centre-backs also saw red later on in the game. However, with that just their second victory in 18 outings, as they lost 11 of these and Jose Mourinho will have this game earmarked as one where his team can get back on track.

After five wins from his first seven league games at the helm, the Portuguese coach has failed to inspire a victory in Spurs’ last four matches, including a 2-2 draw in the reverse of this fixture. They may have kept a clean sheet in a goalless stalemate to a rejuvenated Watford last time out, but that was just their second shutout in 11 matches under new management, while they’ve trailed at the break in five of the last six.

Even more worryingly, they’ve now failed to score in three outings, with Harry Kane missing the last two of these, though we’d be surprised if they couldn’t amend that here. The Canaries’ clean sheet versus Bournemouth was just their third of the campaign, as they’ve conceded at least twice in 16 of their 23 matches to date. However, having found the net themselves in nine of their last 11, both teams to score has a certain inevitability to it.

In fact, that bet has landed in all but one of Norwich’s nine encounters with the top eight in the table. They lost despite scoring in over half of these, though given Spurs’ current struggles as well as the draw these two played out just prior to the turn of the year, we’d rather not couple both teams to score with the match outcome.

 BACK – BTTS (Yes) @ 1.77


Leicester v West Ham

Back-to-back defeats for Leicester against both Southampton and Burnley has started to put some pressure on their credentials. However, it could be argued they were a little unfortunate not to come away with the full three points at Turf Moor after Jamie Vardy missed his spot-kick to go 2-1 up and back at the King Power, they should get back to winning ways.

West Ham have gone W1-D1-L1 from David Moyes’ three matches in charge thus far, throwing away a one-goal lead against Everton last time out. Therefore, other than David Moyes’ opening result hosting a woeful Bournemouth outfit that have gone W1-D1-L10 dating back to November, they’ve very much been up against it. In fact, the Hammers have gone W3-D2-L10 from their 15 outings since October, as six of those defeats came by one-goal margins, including the reverse fixture in their final game of 2019.

The Foxes have won seven of their past 10 outings at King Power, as the most common scoreline was 2-1, with it occurring three times. Only Jurgen Klopp’s unstoppable Liverpool outfit and a Saints side in the midst of a run of four victories from five unbeaten outings have been able to beat them here over this period, so they’ll be confident of getting their season back on track.

Both teams have scored in six of Leicester’s last eight outings stretching back into December, while that’s been the case in three of the West Ham’s last five outings. The only times the Hammers didn’t see this came in the clash with Bournemouth as they ran out 4-0 winners, as well as when facing a resolute Sheffield Utd side.

Moreover, both teams have scored in nine of 11 head-to-heads across all competitions since 2015, with the Foxes going W6-D4-L1 across them. In fact, all of those victories for the hosts came by the single strike, with four finishing 2-1, and that could well be on the cards again here.

 BACK –Leicester & BTTS at 3.1

 BACK –Leicester 2-1 at 9.0


Man Utd v Burnley

Liverpool have just given Man Utd yet more evidence (as if they needed it) to demonstrate how far from the top of the table the Red Devils now are. However, 4-0 and 1-0 victories hosting Norwich and Wolves respectively just prior to that, coupled with 4-1 and 2-0 successes over Newcastle (H) and Burnley (A) at the end of December show that this Man Utd side are still capable of overcoming some of the weaker outfits. The absence of Marcus Rashford is a concern, but United have still won 46% of their games he’s started since the start of last season, the same percentage as when he hasn’t.

The Clarets surprised virtually everyone with their comeback win at home to Leicester, but with 10 defeats from their last 15, there remains plenty of convincing to do. Indeed, each of the other four exceptions saw them produce wins over bottom-half sides, while away from Turf Moor, they’re just W2-D3-L6 this season, with five defeats from their last seven. Excluding results against the six teams below them in the table, Burnley have lost six of seven winless road trips this term and failed to even score in the past four of these.

The visitors’ prospects look bleaker still when considering their results against the ‘Big Six’ or this season’s Leicester outfit. They’re just W2-D2-L17 since the start of the last term, including eight of nine encounters in the current campaign alone, while they’ve trailed at both half-time and full-time in five of the last six. Given Burnley haven’t scored a first-half goal for 495 minutes of football now dating back to early November (11 matches), resulting in them being behind at the break in seven of their last 10 league fixtures against anyone, including each of the past four, so the home W/W double appeals.

United usually require a fast start to get them going and they’ve led at the break in all but one of their nine victories this term, as the exception came against Spurs. However, they netted at least twice in eight of these wins and three times or more on five occasions, as their good days can often be very good. In fact, 19 of their past 22 victories dating back to December 2018 have seen them ahead at the half-time whistle, with all but one of those matches coming under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 BACK –Man Utd/Man Utd HT/FT @ 2.1

Burnley v Leicester

Although the Foxes were left stunned by the in-form Saints this past weekend, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have picked up more points than anyone bar Liverpool over their last five fixtures, while Burnley can’t boast the same credentials.

Sean Dyche’s charges have now lost 10 of 14 outings including each of the past four, and seeing as all seven of their victories this term have come over bottom-half opponents, Leicester should prove too strong and get back to winning ways here.

Limiting Burnley’s results to those against top-half sides, they’ve lost a pitiful 10 of 11 winless matches this season. The last seven of these have seen them trail at both half-time and full-time, while they’ve also lost each of those most recent seven by a minimum two-goal margin.

The Clarets’ problems against the better teams are even more pronounced when restricted further to results versus the ‘Big Six’ and this seasons’ Leicester. They’re a dismal W1-D2-L17 in such fixtures since the start of the last term, with all but four of the defeats coming by more than a single goal.

Leicester remains a magnificent W14-D3-L5 this season as the only teams to beat them other than the Saints were Liverpool (twice), Man City and Man Utd. When facing teams eighth or below in the table, the Foxes have shown great consistency by winning 13 of 15 matches, while the margin of victory has typically been more comfortable versus teams on a similar standing to Burnley.

Against sides that are within five points of Sean Dyche’s men, they’ve won nine of 13 matches by at least two clear goals, so the high-flying visitors look well worth backing to claim the spoils in this one.

The handicap is also an interesting option, but seeing as the last two head-to-heads have both finished 2-1 to the Foxes, we’ll play it safe and just stick to the straight forward three points.

 BACK – Leicester to Win at $1.91


Liverpool v Man United

United continue to fluctuate between good and bad performances, but though they’ve won 4-0 and 1-0 in their past two fixtures hosting Norwich and Wolves respectively, a trip to Anfield is another matter entirely.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have seemingly raised their game when facing the better teams however, as across all competitions, they’re W6-D4-L1 domestically versus the top eight in the table this term.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have of course been far more consistent and have now won a fantastic 20 of 21 unbeaten games on their march to the title, though the exception did come against Man Utd themselves as they played out a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Low-scoring encounters have largely been the norm between these two in recent times, with eight of 10 across all competitions since January 2016 featuring fewer than three goals. That includes four of five at Anfield, where three of them saw just one strike or none at all.

Liverpool have won each of their past four matches in all tournaments by either 1-0 or 2-0 scorelines, facing top-half outfits Wolves, Sheffield Utd and Spurs in the league, as well as a reinvigorated Everton side in the FA Cup.

That certainly encourages us to back ‘unders’, though given United’s ability to get results against the top sides on occasion, we wouldn’t touch the match outcome.

The team news lends itself further to this view, with Liverpool benefiting from the returns of centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, while they also have defensive midfielder Fabinho back in contention.

Meanwhile, United have Harry Maguire back in the fold after he missed a recent FA Cup clash with Man City, which indecently was the only one of those aforementioned 11 encounters with the top eight in the table (W6-D4-L1) that the Red Devils lost.

Further, the visitors will have to make do without in-form striker Marcus Rashford. The England international has scored nine times from 13 appearances since the start of December.

That could also diminish the effectiveness of teammate Anthony Martial, with United’s top two scorers building a fine understanding of each other’s games over the past few seasons.

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at $2.24


Watford v Spurs

After an initial manager bounce for Jose Mourinho’s side, the novelty has faded away and they’ve now just obtained four points from their last five outings, while the Hornets are heading in the opposite direction and show no signs of slowing down under Nigel Pearson.

Indeed, the Hornets’ 3-0 thrashing of Bournemouth has lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. They’ve now picked up 13 points from six games Pearson, which is even more impressive considering they’ve faced four of the top seven in this run, while only Champions elect Liverpool have picked up more points over the last five.

In what was previously an issue for Watford, output has been their major asset recently with each of Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr netting at least twice since the change in management.

The hosts have now scored 11 in their last five, having managed just nine across the previous 17, so they’ve well and truly turned over a new leaf. In fact, with Spurs keeping just one clean sheet in 10 games under the ‘Special One’, while they’ve conceded at least twice in eight of their 11 road trips under both him and Mauricio Pochettino, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a goal or two for the high-flying hosts.

Injury has struck for the Lilywhites in the worst possible way as talisman Harry Kane faces months on the sidelines with a major hamstring problem, significantly decreasing their output given they’ve failed to even score once in four of the last seven he’s missed, winning just once in that time.

Furthermore, Spurs have conceded the first goal of the game in each of their last five outings now, whilst the men from Vicarage Road have inflicted the first blow in the same number of recent games, so we’re happy to get the hosts onside here at an extremely healthy price.

 BACK – Watford to Win at $3.25


Man City v Crystal Palace

A rampant Man City side ran out 6-1 victors against Aston Villa at the weekend and Pep Guardiola will now have a selection headache for this next game hosting Palace.

Indeed, all of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker had to watch from the sidelines for that trip to Villa Park, as the likes of Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez all started. It would seem the Spanish coach has multiple players sticking their hand up to be part of the all-important team to face Real Madrid next month.

Meanwhile, Palace held 10-man Arsenal to a stalemate at Selhurst Park to maintain their spot at ninth in the table, with a heavily deflected Jordan Ayew goal settling the scores in the 54th minute.

The Eagles fans will remember this fixture all too well, with them running out 3-2 winners last season at the Etihad after Jeffery Schlupp, Andros Townsend and Luka Milivojevic put the game to bed. That was not just Guardiola’s only defeat at the Etihad that season, but the only time they failed to take the full three points, such was the brilliance of the visitors that day.

However, the South London outfit have lost five of their last seven winless outings against the ‘Big Six’ and this seasons’ Leicester outfit, four of which were defeats to nil, as they managed just the solitary first half strike across all of them.

Moreover, excluding last season’s trip to Etihad they’ve lost each of their other six visits here over the past decade by an aggregate scoreline of 23-1, and we somewhat doubt they’ll be able to follow up on last year’s outstanding performance.

The Citizens have won 26 of their 30 fixtures here since the start of last season, 17 of which saw them leading at both half time and full time, whilst they’ve won to nil in nine of their last 14 home victories now.

Furthermore, only West Ham, Watford and Norwich have netted fewer goals on the road than Roy Hodgson’s men this term, as the Eagles have plundered just two goals from their four trips since December.

The teams they visited in that time were Watford, Newcastle, Southampton and Norwich, all of which are miles apart from the Citizens and so the win to nil certainly holds some value in this encounter.

 BACK – Man City Win to Nil at $1.75


Arsenal v Sheffield United

Not many would have predicted newly-promoted Sheffield United to be above Arsenal at this point in the season, though here we are after 22 games as the Blades sit four places and four points above the Gunners in sixth. Mikel Arteta has a job on his hands if he wants European Football for his side next season, and this will by no means be a walkover.

The visitors went unbeaten over their opening nine away games of the season, a run that was only matched by the brilliant Liverpool, and although they’ve now lost their last two by 2-0 scorelines, they have come against the league’s top two in Man City and the Reds themselves, so they have proved they’re more than capable of holding their own against a side of Arsenal’s calibre.

What will also give Chris Wilder’s side an injection of confidence is the absence of the Gunners’ talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Only Jamie Vardy has struck more than the Gabonese forward this year, while without his goals Arsenal would have a mere 15 points this season, 13 fewer than their current total.

What’s more, Aubameyang has only missed two league games since he joined the club, in which they were downed 3-1 by Wolves and managed to scrape past a Huddersfield side by a single strike. The Terriers were in the midst of a run of D1-L13 at the time, so output will likely be limited.

While the visitors haven’t been reserved and ‘parked the bus’ this season, they have remained resolute defensively as only Liverpool have conceded fewer goals and so this Gunners side have their work cut out in their captain’s absence.

However, output hasn’t exactly been United’s strong point either as only Palace have scored fewer from the top 12 in the table, resulting in a maximum of two goals in a whopping 17 of their 22 fixtures so far, and nine of their 11 on the road.

In fact, considering Arsenal have improved their defensive resolve in recent times, seeing fewer than three strikes in all but one of their six outings across all competitions since the announcement of Arteta, the under certainly appeals at the prices.

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at $1.95


Newcastle v Chelsea

Chelsea got back to winning ways at the weekend against a Burnley outfit that has now lost four on the trot and is very much in the relegation dogfight as a consequence.

Newcastle also won their last outing by a three-goal margin as they hosted League One outfit Rochdale in their FA Cup third round replay at St James’ Park.

The treatment room in recent times has been the biggest hurdle for the Magpies to overcome. Indeed, Jonjo Shelvey, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Deandre Yedlin all missed their last league outing at Molineux to name a few of the key figures.

However, they still earnt a point in that fixture, while we could see all of Shelvey, Saint-Maximin and Lascelles make an appearance against Chelsea this Saturday.

The hosts are a poor W1-D2-L7 in their 10 outings where French winger Saint-Maximin hasn’t featured this term, netting just seven times, whilst this is a much improved W6-D3-L3 in the 12 with him as they’ve netted double the amount of goals.

That injury list has led Newcastle to earn just one point from four outings since Boxing Day, but having squared off with Man Utd, Everton, Leicester and Wolves in that time without the majority of those aforementioned players, they can be forgiven.

Frank Lampard’s men have exceeded expectations so far this season, but they’re still yet to win back-to-back league fixtures since beating Watford and Palace in early November, as they’re a mere W4-D1-L5 since then.

Furthermore, for all the plaudits they’ve received for their form on the road, they’ve won only two of their last six trips across all competitions, losing to both Everton and Man City, while stalemates at Valencia and Brighton are hardly inspiring.

St James’ Park has been a tough place for the Blues to travel to in recent times. They’re a woeful W1-D1-L4 here since 2012/13 and we’re therefore very surprised to see them at such a short price against Steve Bruce’s side, who will undoubtedly be boosted by getting key players back out on the field.

In fact, the hosts have gone W5-D5-L3 across all competitions here this term, beating the likes of Man Utd and Palace, whilst they earnt stalemates with all of Leicester, Man City and Wolves, so backing them on the double chance at odds-against looks the way to go.

 BACK – Newcastle Double Chance at $2.74

Bournemouth v Watford

When the fixture list was announced, many would have presumed this would be a clash between two mid-table sides playing for very little except to finish as high as possible.

However, as we edge into the second half of the season both teams sit in the relegation zone, with just one point separating them, though they are on completely different trajectories.

The Cherries have lost eight of their last 10 matches, seeing them tumble down the ladder from 7th to 18th. Moreover, there’s little sign of improvement from their last two outings, which were 2-0 and 4-0 defeats away to Brighton and West Ham respectively.

Nigel Pearson, on the other hand, has seemingly put the sting back into this Hornets side. They’ve now won three of their last four unbeaten matches, having previously managed just the solitary win across their first 17, highlighting the turnaround made under new management.

Despite all three wins coming at home, the aura around the club gives them an edge here over a dispirited Bournemouth outfit.

The head-to-head record can’t split these sides as both have gone W1-D7-L1 in the Premier League. However, it’s noticeable too that no home side has come out victorious in any of their nine meetings, and it would be surprising to see the Cherries take all three points with the form they’re currently in.

Indeed, most of these previous meetings have come when the sides were on a level playing field, and although the table would suggest they currently are, the recent form would suggest otherwise and it’s worth laying the hosts as favourites for this clash.

LAY – Bournemouth at $2.70


Aston Villa v Man City

A Jack Grealish inspired Villa secured a stalemate in their first leg encounter with Leicester in the Carabao Cup midweek, while they’ve won two of their last three league outings as they’ve experienced a slight upturn in form.

However, all six of their top-flight victories this term have come against teams currently down in the bottom half of the table. When facing top-half sides, Villa has lost nine of 10 games and conceded at least twice in all but one of these, which includes a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at the Etihad.

City appears to have overcome an unsteady period with eight wins from nine outings in all competitions, with seven of those triumphs coming by a two-goal margin or greater, including clashes with Arsenal, Leicester and Man Utd.

Given Pep Guardiola’s side have netted at least twice in all but one of their 10 league trips this term, with the exception at Anfield, they should have this one in the bag.

The away win would of course come as no surprise and we’d prefer to couple it with a consolation effort for their hosts. City have struggled badly without Aymeric Laporte at the back, conceding an average of 0.62 goals per game league action when he’s started since the beginning of last season and 1.04 in his absence.

Both teams have now scored in 16 of their last 18 across all competitions, including eight of their last nine on their travels, including 3-1 or 4-1 victories in four of their last six trips.

To further boost Villa’s prospects of registering on the board, they can boast the best attacking record amongst the bottom half of the table, and they’ve regularly found the net against the better teams.

Following the midweek cup draw with Leicester, but excluding their free pass against Liverpool’s U23’s in the previous round of the League Cup, eight of Villa’s nine encounters with the current top seven across all tournaments have seen both sides score, losing despite scoring in five of seven such league outings.

 BACK – Man City & BTTS


Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Leeds gave Arsenal a good run for their money in the FA Cup on Monday night, ultimately falling just shy as Reiss Nelson gave the hosts the win. However, the performance will not have pleased Mikel Arteta and he’ll demand a vast improvement when his side make the short trip to Selhurst Park this weekend.

His charges are looking to win back-to-back matches for the first time since gameweek two after downing Man United at the Emirates last time out, though away from home they’ve struggled.

Indeed, they’re just W2-D5-L3 from their 10 road trips so far, which has contributed to the fact that they and Wolves have drawn more than any other side (9). That will give the Eagles some hope of earning at least a point, though their record versus the bigger sides leaves cause for concern.

Against the ‘Big Six’ and this season’s Leicester, Roy Hodgson’s charges are just W4-D4-L23 since the beginning of 2017/18. However, not many would have predicted Palace to be the team higher up the table at the beginning of the season, as this Gunners side are closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top four and aren’t nearly playing to a level to warrant ‘Big Six’ status.

The stalemate in the reverse fixture earlier this season means the North London outfit haven’t won any of the last three head-to-heads, with two finishing all square.

In fact, the Eagles have drawn four of their last six matches, with the two exceptions seeing only one goal separate the teams, while the points have also been split in three of Arsenal’s last four trips. What’s more, only three teams have produced more stalemates than Palace this season, and that’s Sheffield Utd, Wolves and Arsenal themselves, so the draw looks well priced.

 BACK – Draw at $3.95


Man Utd v Norwich

Marcus Rashford’s consolation effort has given Man United a glimmer of hope for their League Cup second-leg against the ‘noisy neighbours’, though ultimately their performance was nothing short of abysmal, especially in the first half where they were lucky to only go in 3-0 down at the break.

Despite their recent cup result, the Red Devils have only lost the solitary league match at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ this term, coming back in August thanks to a 93rd-minute Patrick van Aanholt winner for Palace.

They’re an admirable W5-D4-L1 this season at home, which looks even better when you consider the fact they hosted all of Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, Spurs and Arsenal in that time and they’ll no doubt be a hard side to break down.

Norwich have been dire so far, going W1-D2-L7 on the road this season as they now sit five points adrift at the bottom of the table and have a serious challenge on their hands just to stay up. While on paper this looks like a great opportunity for the red side of Manchester to have an immediate bounce back, their inconsistency gives cause for concern, especially at the prices.

Daniel Farke’s men started the season poorly, losing nine of their first 12 fixtures across all venues, including five of six winless outings on the road, as each of those defeats came by at least two clear strikes.

However, it seems they’ve started to come to terms with the demands of top-flight football as they haven’t been defeated by more than a single goal in any of their nine games since the November international break.

That includes fixtures with Everton, Arsenal, Sheffield Utd, Leicester, Wolves, Spurs and Palace, whilst they’ve now avoided defeat in half their last six away ties too, drawing at the King Power and Vitality Stadiums, whilst they also earnt three points at Goodison Park.

With a recent upturn in performances and United likely to tweak their side due to the demand of their current fixture list, the +1.5 Asian Handicap appeals at just a shade shorter than evens.

 BACK – Norwich +1.5 Asian Handicap at $1.9


Chelsea v Burnley

It was a mixed bag of results for Chelsea over the festive period as although they beat the likes of Spurs and Arsenal, both those victories came after home defeats to Bournemouth and Southampton respectively and it’s the lack of consistency that will concern Frank Lampard.

Burnley have been in a terrible vein of form as they’ve lost consecutive matches to Everton, Man Utd and Aston Villa, netting just the solitary strike across all those outings.

More worryingly, results on the road read just W2-D3-L5 this term, with those two victories coming over Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford and a Bournemouth side in the midst of their current run of eight defeats from their last 10 outings.

However, Burnley have at least kept the scores fairly close as only Sheffield Utd and Spurs managed to down them by more than a single strike across those road trips, while top scorer Chris Wood was missing for the former fixture.

The striker was replaced as a precautionary measure against Peterborough last time out in cup action, though he looks set to maintain his starting berth and add to his current tally of eight goals for the season.

The Blues haven’t exactly been ruthless at Stamford Bridge this season though, as from 16 matches across all competitions, they’ve only won by more than a single strike on four occasions, with these coming over Grimsby Town, Brighton, Palace and Nottingham Forest.

In fact, their form has been fairly poor against the weaker teams in the league generally, as home or away, they’ve lost three of their last four winless matches against bottom-half sides. From 12 such outings this season in total, Chelsea have won by more than a single strike just three times and in none of the last seven.

Furthermore, the Clarets have taken four points from their two trips to Stamford Bridge since the start of 2017/18 and they’ll fancy their chances of at least keeping the scores close.

 BACK – Burnley +1.5 Asian Handicap at $2


Tottenham v Liverpool

It was a disastrous night for Everton at the weekend as they lost the Merseyside derby clash to Liverpool’s ‘kids’ at Anfield and it seems that the Reds are unbeatable at the minute.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will have an eye on Arsenal’s current league record of 49 unbeaten outings, as they’re currently undefeated across their last 37 since losing at Etihad back in January, whilst they’ve also taken 58 of a possible 60 points this term.

Spurs on the other hand, were pretty poor in their trip to Middlesbrough as a near full strength side failed to overcome what is a bottom half Championship outfit. However, that did come on the road where they hold a woeful W5-D8-L14 record from 27 road trips dating back to late January in all competitions.

That includes going W2-D4-L11 in the Premier League alone and they’ll certainly be more confident back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Spurs have only lost three times at home this term from 13 outings in all tournaments, whilst they’ll also want to maintain their fairly good record here against the top English teams. Indeed, they’re a very respectable W8-D2-L6 from 16 league matches hosting ‘Big Six’ sides since 2016/17, whilst their form against Liverpool over that period here reads W1-D1-L1.

Further, Jose Mourinho appears to have sussed out how to frustrate his counterpart in the opposite dugout more recently. In five encounters with Liverpool as Man Utd boss, the ‘Special One’ has only lost once and that came at Anfield, so he’ll fancy his chances. In fact, 60% of those meetings between the mangers have ended in stalemates and that looks the way to go again.

The absence of Harry Kane shouldn’t worry the home fans too much as their record is actually better without their top scorer in the starting line-up over this season and last. Indeed, their win percentage increases by 7% to 58% without him, whilst they’ve also drawn their last two he’s missed.

 BACK – Draw at $4.40

Liverpool v Sheffield Utd

Liverpool rode their luck against Wolves at the weekend, with controversy surrounding the entire game while the visitors wasted numerous opportunities late on to clinch an equaliser. Sheffield United will feel equally as hard done by as Wolves, putting in a stellar performance away at Man City, with VAR ruling out their opener and the referee obstructing play to gift the Citizens their’s, much to Chris Wilder’s fury.

That said, the Blades have only lost one of their 10 road trips this season and will take confidence in their weekend performance to Anfield in the new year. Prior to that defeat at City, the newly promoted side had drawn two thirds of their nine unbeaten trips as teams have struggled to cope with Wilder’s tactics.

The Reds have been relentless at home this season, winning all 10 games so far, though they’ve notably ridden their luck at times across all venues, including at home to Leicester and Villa, while the reverse fixture was only decided by a howler from Dean Henderson, as the hosts looked lively throughout.

Jurgen Klopp will likely rotate his side as the fixtures begin to take their toll, and that will inevitably come with some dropped points, while this is the exact type of banana skin fixture that could occur in. If the reverse game is anything to go by, this will be a tight encounter and at the prices, it looks well worth laying the league leaders who are playing their ninth fixture across all competitions in under a month.

LAY – Liverpool @ 1.3


Brighton v Chelsea

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea outfit were fortunate to overcome Arsenal last time out as Bernd Leno made a shocking mistake to gift the visitors the equaliser before they went on to score the winner just four minutes later. It also meant another goal for their top scorer Tammy Abraham, who takes his tally to 12 for the season as only Jamie Vardy and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have scored more.

It was a memorable weekend for Brighton as they beat Bournemouth 2-0. In fact, it wasn’t just a normal victory as Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored his first club goal since netting a hat-trick to clinch the Dutch Eredivisie golden boot back in June 2018, whilst Aaron Mooy netted his first for his new club in a man of the match performance. However, that victory is just their second dating back to early November as they lost five of their nine matches in that time, and we’re not convinced that’s going to get any better against a team they’ve struggled to overcome down the years.

Their head-to-head record is a shameful nine straight defeats in their history when meeting in the league against the Blues, although the first of those did come as far back as 1983/84 in the old English second division. That does include each of the five ties since Brighton were promoted for the 2017/18 Premier League campaign though, as the aggregate scoreline across those reads 13-1 and we somewhat doubt they can turn that around.

Lampard’s men have won nine of their 12 trips to opposition across all competitions since late August, only losing at Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton and Man City as both sides netted in 10 of those too. That gives us confidence the visitors can add to that tremendous record on the road, but considering Graham Potter’s men have netted at least twice in five of their last seven at the Amex, the Chelsea win and both teams to score market appeals at the prices.

 BACK – Chelsea & BTTS at 3.6


Newcastle v Leicester

Steve Bruce will be delighted to see his Newcastle side that many had tipped for relegation sitting pretty in mid table, though they head into this fixture off the back of consecutive defeats away at Man Utd and at home to a reinvigorated Everton. That latest result must however be regarded as a disappointment given the Magpies have largely been excellent at St. James Park this season, where they’re W4-D4-L2 now in the league. They even beat Man Utd and held Man City to a draw, while in addition they also took Leicester to penalties in the League Cup back in August here.

Leicester have however been thoroughly consistent this term and demonstrated the depth to their squad by making nine changes from the Boxing Day defeat hosting Liverpool when they travelled to West Ham at the weekend. They still beat the hapless Hammers, and though Brendan Rodgers’ men have occasionally dropped points against the better teams, they’ve been totally efficient against the rest.

The Foxes have now won 12 of 13 unbeaten matches when facing teams eighth or lower in the table, scoring at least twice in each of those victories. Given only league leaders Liverpool have kept a better defensive record this term, the Magpies are probably going to have to score more than once to get anything from this game.

The visitors should benefit from having a fresh first team after the rotation in which Brendan Rodgers has indulged, whereas Steve Bruce is faced with a selection dilemma or two as various players are ruled out or doubts. Most notably, Allan Saint-Maximin remains sidelined and Newcastle are a paltry W1-D2-L7 when the Frenchman has failed to start this season.

He may be a little wayward in his finishing but creates danger in a team lacking a it of potency in the final third, so although we wouldn’t be surprised if Newcastle registered a consolation effort, we’d still expect the Foxes to walk away with the points and are a big enough price to back outright.

 BACK – Leicester Win @ 1.63


Southampton v Tottenham

The table looks a lot more friendly through Southampton’s eyes after a three-game unbeaten run as they’ve downed Villa and Chelsea both by two-goal margins and forced a draw with ninth-placed Palace. That’s seen them not only rise out of the relegation spots but create a four-point buffer to the dreaded drop zone, though there’s plenty more work to be done. They were perhaps a tad fortunate in their last outing as Palace gifted them their equalizer, having previously looked in control, with Danny Ings once again coming to their rescue to bag his eighth goal in nine matches.

Firepower hasn’t really been the issue for the Saints as only Arsenal and Villa have scored more amongst the bottom 13 in the table. However, only rock-bottom Norwich have shipped more goals down the other end and consequently, both sides have found the net in 13 of their last 16 matches either in the league or in cup action against top-flight opponents. They haven’t just plundered the teams around them though as they’ve scored in all but one of their 10 meetings with the top eight in the table or Arsenal across all competitions, though given they went just W1-D3-L6, Spurs will feel confident of picking up maximum points.

Jose Mourinho’s side may have had to settle for a disappointing draw with Norwich last time out, leaving them five points adrift of Chelsea now, though they’ve been adept at beating weaker outfits under new management.

Excluding top sides Man Utd, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, they’ve won six of seven unbeaten games in all tournaments, but with both teams registering on the board in six of these, the away win and both teams to score appears a smart play.

 BACK – Tottenham & BTTS @ 3.65


Man City v Everton

City enjoyed a bit of luck as Sheffield Utd were incensed by referee Chris Kavanagh getting in the way of play and then not bringing things back for a drop ball during the build up to City’s opener. The Blades were also on the wrong end of VAR as Lys Mousset was adjudged to have strayed marginally offside, so although City claimed only their second clean sheet in 15 matches across all competitions, we remain unconvinced by that backline.

Everton are a team on the up after first being galvanized by caretaker Duncan Ferguson, while Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival has turned heads and they’re now unbeaten in five outings since Marco Silva was sacked. Impressively, they’ve taken points from Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal, in addition to away at a Newcastle side that has performed well at St. James’ Park this term. Ancelotti is known for his man management skills, and it appears he already has the squad onside and buying into his methods.

Looking at current Premier League sides but excluding the ‘Big Six’, only Norwich and Wolves have taken more points off Pep Guardiola than Everton. Further of the 138 managers the Spaniard has faced more than once, Ancelotti is the only one with a 100% record against them and although most sides the Italian has taken charge of have been amongst Europe’s elite, that is still impressive nonetheless. Everton have some momentum behind them at this stage while the league is a lost cause for City at this stage, so at the odds we like to look of the Toffees to claim another scalp.

 BACK – Everton or Draw Double Chance @ 4.3


Arsenal v Man Utd

Mikel Arteta nearly oversaw a rare win for the Gunners against a ‘Big Six’ rival when hosting Chelsea last time out, only to see his goalkeeper make a horrendous blunder to allow their lead to slip away. Although they still ended up losing 2-1, it was an improvement on recent displays, though in reality Arteta needs new recruits in addition to time on the training ground to turn around their fortunes.

Things are looking a little better for Man Utd and they’re now W6-D1-L1 in all competitions since early December, recovering from their set back at Watford to win their last two by a combined score of 6-1. Although the Red Devils never seem far away from a disappointing result, these have typically come against weaker teams as they’ve been more than competitive against the big guns. When facing either the ‘Big Six’ or Leicester this term, they’ve won an impressive five of seven unbeaten matches in all competitions and never conceded more than once.

Given how porous the Gunners’ backline has been in recent times, not at all aided by some defensive absentees, United should be looking to punish their hosts. They hold the upper hand in recent seasons having gone W3-D2-L1 since 2017/18, and although their form is hardly spectacular, a combination of good results against the top sides and Arsenal’s inability to win matches leaves them a healthy price draw no bet.

Indeed, the Gunners are now a dismal W1-D9-L5 across all competitions since late October, only managing to take down a West Ham outfit in dire straits. Looking at results against the best teams they’ve faced during this period (Liverpool, Wolves, Leicester, Eintracht Frankfurt, Man City and Chelsea), they’ve lost four of six matches and so we wouldn’t touch them in this fixture with a bargepole.

 BACK – Man Utd Draw No Bet @ 1.93

Arsenal v Chelsea

Mikel Arteta has the opportunity to shift the mood at the Emirates as a win over the Blues would give his squad some much needed confidence. However Frank Lampard’s men have typically performed better away from the Bridge this term and would be third in a table based upon away results alone. Despite this, they have only won once in four trips across all competitions as they went down to Man City and Everton, while drawing with Valencia.

The Gunners haven’t usually showed their best when taking on the top sides, but they have still won three of four unbeaten head-to-heads at this venue since 2016/17. Seven of the 10 clashes since the start of 2017 across all venues have seen both sides register, with two of the three meetings last term being five-goal thrillers.

Both teams have also scored in nine of Chelsea’s last 11 away matches in all tournaments, including five of the last six, but with the price on the short side, there may better value backing goals. In fact, nine of those 11 trips in total featured at least three, while six witnessed a minimum of four.

Prior to Boxing Day, both sides had also scored in 11 of Arsenal’s last 14 matches across all tournaments. Half these games saw at least four goals, while at the Emirates alone seven of 12 since September have done so as well. The Gunners did however ship at least two goals in six of there last seven here, and Arteta will no doubt need time to sort out that backline. He has injuries at full-back to contend with, while the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi all have a mistake or two in them.

 BACK – Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.4


Liverpool v Wolves

Liverpool are looking to go an incredible 50 home games unbeaten when they host Wolves this weekend, though it’s not going to be easy. Jurgen Klopp’s men have recently returned from the Club World Cup in Qatar where they were pushed all the way in both games they played, so it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if he were to rotate his squad a bit over the next few gameweeks – especially considering the calibre of opposition they’re facing.

Wolves have become renowned for putting in big performances and taking points off the bigger sides since their return to the top flight last season, and they’ll be relishing the chance to have a go at the league leaders for the first time this year.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men share an impressive home and away record this year as it seems he’s got his men playing no matter where they are in the country, or even in Europe for that matter.

The Midlands club are unbeaten in their three away games against top opposition this year in Leicester, Man City and Arsenal, while including playoffs they won five of six unbeaten road trips in the Europa League, so they look well priced to get something here. However, with the Reds looking for their 17th home win on the bounce it’s hard to go against them, and another market appeals.

Both teams have found the net in each of Wolves’ last eight trips across all competitions. The same has occurred in all but one of Liverpool’s 13 games at Anfield, with their 2-0 win over the Premier League’s lowest scorers Watford the exception, so it’s incredibly surprising to see both teams to score at the longer price.

 BACK – Both Teams to Score @ 1.96


Man City v Sheffield Utd

Man City have come back into their own in recent times, with big victories over Arsenal and Leicester, to name a couple, showing that they can be as devastating as they have shown over previous seasons. Although they’ve now lost as many games at Etihad this season as they did over the previous two campaigns combined. However, their quality through the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez has shone through in recent weeks, while the return of Sergio Aguero is a massive boost. While many would have predicted this to be rather straightforward for Pep Guardiola’s men at the beginning of the season, Sheffield Utd have proved they can take it to any team.

Chris Wilder’s tactics have seen his side in a much higher position in the table than they would have imagined coming into the campaign, while they remarkably remain unbeaten on the road this term. It should be noted that their only such victories, however, have come against Everton, Norwich and Brighton, none of whom hold a candle to the Citizens. Though they have pushed Leicester and Liverpool all the way at Bramall Lane, while they drew with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge showing they can compete and the handicap really appeals, but there’s better value to be found elsewhere.

While the Blades have been impeccable defensively this year, their attacking prowess has gone rather under the radar as they’ve taken the game to every team so far, with the overlapping centre-backs wreaking havoc at times, and there’s no reason to think this will be any different. Only once this season have they drawn a blank on the road this term and City’s defence has looked somewhat incomplete without Aymeric Laporte available.

The hosts have now conceded in their last six games at home across all competitions, while only Liverpool have outscored them on home turf and both teams to score looks an exceptional price.

 BACK – Both Teams to Score @ 1.98


Brighton v Bournemouth

Brighton have had a mixed bag of results in the Premier League, as they’ve won only three of their nine outings at the Amex Stadium this term. Given only one of those fixtures came against a ‘Big Six’ side, you feel they should’ve picked up a few more points. In fact, their three victories here came against struggling outfits Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino, Everton under Marco Silva and the relegation-bound Canaries and so we’re not convinced of their prospects.

Bournemouth aren’t exactly motoring along either, but they’ll still be feeding off that victory over Chelsea earlier this month. Defeats on the road at Leicester, Arsenal, Newcastle, Spurs and Palace this season hasn’t exactly served them well, whilst they also crashed out to third-tier outfit Burton Albion in the League Cup by a 2-0 scoreline.

However, the Cherries hold the bragging rights in the head-to-heads, as they’ve won three of four unbeaten outings since the Seagulls were promoted to the Premier League for the 2017/18 campaign, with the last of them seeing Eddie Howe’s men finish 5-0 victors at Amex.

Considering Bournemouth have now won half their six unbeaten outings against teams currently ranked below 12th in the table prior to the Boxing Day fixtures, including two of three on the road, they look the value option. By contrast, Brighton have won just two of their past five against similar sides, losing to both Southampton and Villa, so at the prices they look worth taking on.

 BACK – Bournemouth or Draw – Double Chance at 2.06


Norwich v Spurs

Norwich come into this fixture off the back of a crucial lower table clash with Villa on Boxing Day. This should prove a more difficult challenge though and unlike their opponents, who are built for European football and going far in the domestic cups, they don’t have the same squad depth with which to rotate and freshen things up.

Worryingly for the Canaries, they’ve actually lost five of their last six winless outings at Carrow Road since October, though in fairness results were certainly worse at the beginning of this run. A 5-1 defeat to Villa was disastrous for them, while defeats by two-goal margins to both Man Utd and Watford left a lot to be desired, though their last three have seen them hold Arsenal to a 2-2 draw, as well as losing narrowly by 2-1 scorelines to top-half outfits Sheffield Utd and Wolves.

In addition, they managed to take a point off Leicester on the road just a fortnight ago, while their shock 3-2 win over Man City at Carrow Road earlier in the season demonstrated that they can trouble the better teams on occasion.

Spurs have only taken maximum points twice in their past 15 on their travels going all the way back to February, while even this term alone they’re just W2-D3-L4, though the two victories did both come under Jose Mourinho. The ‘Special One’ may have struggled to get anything from the bigger teams he’s encountered since returning to the dugout, but he’s had wins elsewhere and should feel confident against a sided that look destined for relegation.

Both teams have scored in eight of Spurs’ nine road games this season, however, while prior to their Boxing Day trip to Villa, Norwich has seen the same occur in each of their last five outings, losing 2-1 on three occasions. In fact, all but one of their nine home games this term have seen both teams score, but seeing as they lost six of these, the smart money appears to be the two coupled together.

 BACK – Spurs & BTTS @ 3.05

 BACK – Spurs 2-1 Correct Score @ 9.8


Burnley v Man Utd

This could well be the turnaround that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd side needed, with Burnley still struggling to deliver against the best sides in the league. Indeed, against the ‘Big Six’ and this season’s Leicester, they’ve lost 15 of 18 outings at all venues since the start of last term, as their sole victory came against Spurs by a single goal way back in February. In fact, that record includes five straight defeats this campaign by an aggregate scoreline of 20-5.

Sean Dyche’s men have actually been beaten by two or more goals against all the better sides they’ve faced at Turf Moor this term, as all of Liverpool (3-0), Chelsea (4-2) and Man City (4-1) all claimed comfortable victories, as did mid-table Palace (2-0), and we’re struggling to see how they’re going to take the game to United.

Of course, Man Utd have been notably stronger this season against the ‘Big Six’ and the Foxes, with five victories from their seven unbeaten outings across all competitions, accounting for a substantial amount of their total points tally. However, we feel that with the return of Paul Pogba they should be able find the extra gear that they know they have in order to pick up points more consistently.

Moreover, the Red Devils have actual won at this stadium in each of the last three seasons, two of which finished exactly 2-0. With that in mind, they look the value in the outright market.

 BACK – Man Utd Win at 1.98

Wolves v Man City

Kevin De Bruyne once again ran the show as Man City took down Leicester 3-1. However, although their last two league games have seen them get back to something approaching their scintillating best – also powering past Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates – Pep Guardiola will no doubt be wary of a Wolves side that put a dent in their title aspirations earlier in the campaign.

Wolves won that clash at the Etihad 2-0, continuing on from some excellent results they’ve had against the top sides over the past year or two. They’ve gone W1-D2-L1 with City themselves in all competitions since 2017/18, drawing this fixture 1-1 last term, though overall they’ve enjoyed less success this season in such games. They’re W1-D8-L2 against the top 13 in the league, so the draw certainly appeals at the prices.

Following a second-half comeback at the weekend, Wolves have now lost just once in their last 18 outings in the top flight and Europa League combined. The only defeat came via a stoppage-time winner against Spurs, but a win over the Citizens would be quite the achievement given Antonio Conte is the only manager to ever do the league double over Pep Guardiola.

In addition to the draw, the 1-1 correct score is also of interest. Only Leicester on the opening day have prevented Wolves from finding the net, while City have never been goal shy under Guardiola. Of those 11 matches Wolves have played versus the top 13 in the league, nine saw both teams find the net, with six of the eight stalemates ending 1-1, while their recent defeat to Spurs was minutes away from going the same way.

 BACK – Draw at 5.1

 BACK – 1-1 Correct Score at 10


Spurs v Brighton

The last time these two sides met it was elation for Brighton, who came out victorious by three goals to nil. However, it’s a very different story now for the return fixture, with the hosts having parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino and climbing the ranks well under new boss Jose Mourinho.

The Seagulls were downed by Sheffield Utd in their last outing, meaning they’ve now succumbed to defeat in four of their last seven outings, with their sole victory coming against Freddie Ljungberg’s poor Arsenal side. They don’t look like a team capable of taking on a Spurs outfit that are on an impressive run of five wins from eight matches under Mourinho. In fact, considering Spurs’ only three defeats have come against Man Utd, Bayern and Chelsea, the London side ought to take maximum points in this Boxing Day clash.

Moreover, other than that defeat to the Blues, the Lilywhites have won their other three outings at their new stadium under new management by a combined 12-4 scoreline, as they put three or more goals past each of Olympiacos, Bournemouth and Burnley, so we’d expect them to make fairly light work of their visitors here.

Brighton have endured a terrible record against ‘Big Six’ sides since they were promoted to the Premier League ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. They’ve lost 15 of their 17 trips to such sides, as all four of the possible 51 points came against arguably the weakest member of that bracket – the Gunners. Of course, a red card for Son Heung-min last time out will slightly reduce Spurs’ firepower, but we don’t see that being enough to not get stuck into them for this one.

 BACK – Spurs Win at 1.59


Bournemouth v Arsenal

Mikel Arteta will not have been overly impressed by what he saw when watching Arsenal labour to a goalless stalemate with Everton at the weekend. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came the closest to breaking the deadlock, but elsewhere there were familiar concerns with David Luiz, in particular, having a few erratic moments as per usual. This was the Gunners’ first clean sheet in 15 matches across all competitions, though in truth Everton were somewhat conservative in their approach and wasted the opportunity to have a go at this below average and panicky defence.

We’re not so sure Arsenal will produce another shutout here. Calum Chambers picked up another booking and will be suspended here, and he’s been present for both their away clean sheets in the league this term. In fact, both teams have scored in 11 of Arsenal’s past 14 matches across all tournaments, as the other exceptions came when they drew blanks against superior outfits Leicester and Man City.

Arsenal’s form is pretty dire having gone just W1-D8-L4 over their past 13 matches in all competitions, but there is at least some optimism around the club following the appointment of Arteta. Aside from any potential new manager bounce, the Gunners will take comfort from Bournemouth’s recent record, as well as their past performances against ‘Big Six’ outfits.

The Cherries may have beaten Chelsea earlier this month, but Frank Lampard’s men were mired in a run of four defeats from five games, while Bournemouth have since lost at home to Burnley to make it six defeats from seven outings themselves. Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s charges have lost 15 of 19 encounters with the ‘Big Six’ or this season’s Leicester side since the start of last term. However, they did find the net in 12 of these games in total, including two of three meetings with Arsenal themselves.

 BACK – Arsenal & BTTS at 3.4


Chelsea v Southampton

Frank Lampard got the better of his old boss Jose Mourinho at the weekend, putting an end to a run of four defeats from five outings and also demonstrating that his Chelsea side could compete against the best teams domestically. Southampton secured their own big result as they downed Aston Villa 3-1 away from home, which also saw them leapfrog Dean Smith’s side to stand above the relegation zone.

That was the Saints’ third victory in five outings, though the three teams they beat are in fact the three that now sit below them in the table. Wins over those sorts of outfits don’t persuade us they’ll deliver a similar result here, especially considering they’ve lost five of their last six winless matches against top-half sides. That includes a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in the reverse fixture, while they were also battered 9-0 by Leicester at St. Mary’s.

Chelsea have beaten each of the current bottom four this season, though they did also concede in all four matches and they’ve actually only kept clean sheets in a third of their home games so far. Their last three at Stamford Bridge have seen them ship goals to bottom-half outfits Bournemouth, Villa and West Ham, so although they ought to tighten their grip on fourth place, Southampton should be able to register a consolation effort.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will benefit in that regard by the form of frontman Danny Ings, with the former Liverpool striker bagging 12 goals from his past 13 matches across all competitions. The Saints have now netted in seven of their past eight league games, as well as eight of their last nine against top-half sides, so they’re certainly capable of breaching Chelsea’s backline

 BACK –Chelsea & BTTS at 2.76


Man Utd v Newcastle

David De Gea’s calamitous error and a clumsy Aaron Wan-Bissaka tackle gifted Watford two goals in a matter of minutes and raised further doubts over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ability to get United back to former glories. They’ve now gone just W2-D4-L4 against bottom-half teams this season, with the only positive for them this weekend Paul Pogba’s return to fitness.

Steve Bruce will be delighted to sit in the top half of the table at Christmas following a hard-earned victory over Crystal Palace, while his side only trail United on goal difference now. They’ve conceded just twice in their past four games as they’ve shown they can cope without captain Jamaal Lascelles, and look well-placed to get something from this game.

Indeed, Man Utd have drawn four of their last six outings at Old Trafford, and are just W1-D3-L1 at home to teams below them in the table. Solskjaer might hope the return of Pogba can help with their creativity problem, but Newcastle are unlikely to play with a high backline at Old Trafford and subsequently, the Frenchman is going to have less space to ping long raking balls forward into in order to create opportunities.

The Magpies are effective at keeping things tight with four of their last five away matches seeing a maximum of two goals, and at the prices, the visitors appear a solid prospect on the double chance. Given that Newcastle are one of only two clubs not to conceded a penalty this season, while Solskjaer only has a 7% win rate without spot-kicks since taking up the job, we can see Utd struggling to get inside Newcastle’s box, even if they end up with a lot of possession around the half-way line.

 BACK – Newcastle Double Chance at 3.25


Leicester v Liverpool

Leicester’s faint title hopes took a hit with a 3-1 defeat to City at the weekend, leaving them three games without a win across all competitions as they drew at home to Norwich and were taken to penalties by Everton in the League Cup. That’s hardly a disaster given they won that shootout, but they’re now 10 points adrift of the league leaders, who also hold a game after their Club World Cup participation.

Brendan Rodgers will no doubt like to put some pressure on his old club and they certainly stand a better chance at the King Power than at Anfield. Liverpool have still however won 16 of 20 road trips dating back into March across all competitions, suffering defeats against Barcelona and Napoli in Europe in addition to their second-string side in the League Cup versus Aston Villa, while Man Utd held them to a draw at Old Trafford.

This run includes 11 victories from 12 unbeaten league games, though with seven coming by one-goal margins, this should prove a competitive tussle. In fact, Liverpool have triumphed by that same margin in four of five head-to-head league meetings with the Foxes since 2017/18, as three of them ended 2-1. Six of seven clashes since 2016/17 have featured at least three goals, as have nine of those 12 unbeaten league trips for the Reds.

There’s no reason to think that the absence of defensive enforcer Fabinho and centre-back Joel Matip will reduce the likelihood of goals. If past encounters are anything to go by, both ‘overs’ and the correct score hold some considerable appeal.

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.74

 BACK – Liverpool 2-1 Correct Score at 9.6

Everton v Arsenal

It’s an exciting time for both clubs with them bringing in high profile managers in Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti respectively. Indeed, for Everton the latter is nothing short of a mere miracle for the Toffees as the three-time Champions League winners should work wonders for them, while the new Arsenal boss looks to be astute addition to the side.

Duncan Ferguson takes charge for this game, however, and he’ll be confident seeing as his side have beaten Chelsea and drawn with both Man Utd and Leicester across all competitions under his tutelage. In fact, the Toffees have only been behind at the break in four of their last 29 outings dating back to February, winning after 45 minutes in seven of the last 11 of these at Goodison Park, whilst they went on to win the at the final whistle in each of those half time leads too.

The Gunners are enduring a tricky spell of just one win in 12 matches across all competitions since late October. In fact, considering they’ve been behind at the break in all four matches under Freddie Ljungberg against Norwich, Brighton, West Ham and the Citizens, while on the road alone they’ve trailed at the break in four of their past five road trips, then we’d expect them to draw first blood yet again.

Moreover, the last time these two sides met at this stadium Everton went on to win that 1-0 after Phil Jagielka netted in the 10th minute to secure the W/W in the HT/FT market. We fancy having a punt on a repeat of that, seeing as the L/L double has occurred in five of Arsenal’s last seven defeats.

 BACK – Everton/Everton HT/FT at $4.20


Aston Villa v Southampton

Villa have sunk down the table from 12th to 17th following a run of six defeats from eight matches where they won on just the solitary occasion. However, these weren’t easy fixtures as all but one of them came against top-half sides, with the exception a victory over 11th-placed Newcastle.

In fact, this eight-game period saw the Villans take on each of the current top four, as well as Man Utd and Wolves, so they’ll expect to stand a better chance in this matchup.

Although Villa desperately need to stop the rot, it’s worth noting that they remain above their opponents on goal difference, with the Saints occupying the final relegation spot. In fact, the visitors hold the worst defensive record in the division, owing in large part to the 9-0 thrashing they received by Leicester, while Villa have scored more than any other side in the bottom half of the table.

Ralph Hasenhuttl had reason for optimism after a three-game unbeaten run where they drew at the Emirates and won home encounters over bottom-two sides Watford and Norwich. However, subsequent defeats to Newcastle and West Ham have quashed talk of a revival, leaving them with eight defeats from their past 12 matches, as those clashes with the Hornets and the Canaries their only victories during this time.

Villa have been effective when taking on fellow bottom-half sides this season, going W4-D2-L1 as the sole defeat came in the first of those matches, while they’ve emerged victorious in each of the past three.

They’ve also been far better at Villa Park where they’re W3-D2-L2 over their past seven outings, with those defeats coming against Liverpool and Leicester. By contrast, they’ve lost seven of nine road trips this term and we’d expect home comforts to help them out again.

 BACK – Aston Villa at $2.52


Norwich v Wolves

Wolves were unlucky not to come away with anything last weekend after Jan Vertonghen netted in stoppage time to win the game for Spurs 2-1. However, they’ll take confidence in the performance as it could be argued they were the better team overall.

Meanwhile, Norwich managed to hold Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side to a 1-1 draw at the King Power, which given their woeful form on the road was nothing short of a miracle, as the Foxes went into that game as very short favourites to win the match.

The Canaries are currently four games without a win and look to be struggling in 19th place. Moreover, they’ve lost four of their last five winless matches at Carrow Road, losing to all of Villa, Man Utd, Watford and Sheffield Utd, as the three former defeats were all by at least two clear strikes.

In fact, the only victory they’ve enjoyed in 12 matches now dating back to late September across all venues came against Marco Silva’s misfiring Everton side, as they lost eight of them, so this looks a good opportunity for Wolves to maintain the pressure on the sides above them in the league.

Across Europe and the Premier League combined, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have only lost one of their 14 road games. Although they did only go on to win half of those, draws at Leicester, Palace, Newcastle, Arsenal, Braga and Brighton hardly constitutes poor form. Further, seven of Wolves’ nine league stalemates this term have come after playing a midweek fixture either in Europe or in domestic cup action, whereas they’ve had a rare week off this time around.

With that in mind, we’re inclined to get behind the visitors in this one, especially as they’re at a larger price than Man Utd were when visiting back in October, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went into that off the back of five defeats from their previous eight winless trips.

 BACK – Wolves at $2.02


Man City v Leicester

Both teams navigated their way into the League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night, though while Man City had the easier assignment against League One side Oxford Utd, Leicester were taken to penalties by a rejuvenated Everton team.

The Foxes have now lost just two games in 21 matches this season across all competitions. Considering these came on the road at Man Utd and Liverpool, both by one-goal margins, while they’ve won nine of their last 11 unbeaten games, they’ve shown great consistency.

Following a tough spell in November, the Citizens have looked more like their usual selves this month as they’ve won four of five games. However, despite being amongst the goals, clean sheets remain elusive and the only one they’ve kept in 12 outings across all tournaments came last weekend against an Arsenal outfit on the slide.

Guardiola’s side are still only W5-D3-L2 over this recent period altogether, with Chelsea the only quality outfit they beat. However, only three of these matches came at the Etihad, where they’ve won 24 of 28 matches in 2019 so far.

It’s noticeable that each of the four exceptions came this season though, and having drawn with Shakhtar Donetsk and lost the Manchester derby in their past two home games, we’d certainly want to get behind Leicester at the prices.

All five defeats Leicester have suffered since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers have come by one-goal margins and that allows for some cover on the handicap. Last season, their encounters with Man City were tight as they won one, drew one and lost one, as none of the games were settled by more than a single strike.

 BACK – Leicester +1.5 Asian Handicap at $1.86


Watford v Man Utd

A comfortable 3-0 victory for Man Utd midweek against Colchester has seen them set up a League Cup semi-final against their Manchester neighbours. That win means they’ve won four of their last five matches across all competitions and they’re certainly in a good vein of form.

Meanwhile, Watford were downed 2-0 in their first match under new manager Nigel Pearson, but that’s hardly disastrous against the league leaders, with that second goal not coming till the dying embers of the match.

Interestingly, 14 of the Red Devils’ total 25 points have come against the ‘Big Six’ and this season’s Leicester side, whilst they also beat the Blues in the League Cup at Stamford Bridge. By contrast, they’re a mediocre W2-D5-L4 from their 11 such outings this term, as they’ve drawn each of the last three and that certainly puts us off backing them for the outright win. Moreover, they’re a woeful W4-D5-L9 from their 18 trips in all tournaments dating back to March.

Indeed, those victories came against Partizan, Norwich, Chelsea and Man City, which is a very random array of teams to be beating and we’re therefore inclined to take them on with the players clearly having an issue with getting up for their away matches.

However, considering the fact they’ve only lost two of their last seven of these road games, one of which was when they sent their youngsters out to Astana, the draw looks the most appealing.

The Hornets on the other hand, are a respectable W1-D4-L5 from their 10 outings since October, but they managed to earn stalemates against top-half sides Sheffield Utd, Spurs and Palace, while they’ve drawn four of their last six at Vicarage Road in that time and so we’re keen on the stalemate to repeat itself.

 BACK – Draw at $4.10


Spurs v Chelsea

When Jose Mourinho was announced as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor at Spurs a month ago his side were a whopping 12 points behind his previous club Chelsea. Fast forward a few weeks and a win on home soil this weekend against the Blues would see them leapfrog them into fourth place.

This has been down to a lot of good work on Mourinho’s part, though Chelsea haven’t exactly done themselves any favours as only lowly Watford have picked up fewer points than Frank Lampard’s side over the past five games, with four defeats from that run nowhere near good enough if they want to hold down their Champions League place.

The Lilywhites have looked a different animal since Poch’s departure, though there are still a few questions to be answered, especially against the bigger teams. Mourinho’s four wins so far have come against West Ham, Bournemouth, Burnley and Wolves.

Although the latter is some achievement, they required a 91st-minute goal from centre-back Jan Vertonghen, while they were outplayed by their hosts on the day, conceding a whopping 19 shots to their nine. They conceded even more (24) in their 3-1 defeat to Bayern in Europe last week, while they were lucky it was only 2-1 at Old Trafford the week before.

Lampard’s youthful charges have been more impressive on the road this term than they have been back at Stamford Bridge. The 20 goals they’ve scored on their travels are only bettered by Leicester (who put nine past Southampton) and free-scoring Man City.

Meanwhile, the North London side have managed eight in their two home games under new management, whilst they also put four past Olympiacos in the Champions League here.

Interestingly, this season, all 10 respective home and away matches played under these managers have produced a minimum of three goals, with eight producing at least four, so we’ll push the boat out a bit with the ‘Overs’ bet.

 BACK – Over 3.5 Goals at $2.40

Man Utd v Everton

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has bought himself more time as United boss after two monumental victories over Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola to catapult his side into 5th place in the table and ease some of the pressure that was beginning to mount on him, while a 4-0 victory over Eredivisie’s second placed side with a much-weakened team has only helped that cause.

Everton, however, are coming off a fantastic victory of their own. The Toffees ran out 3-1 victors hosting Chelsea having parted ways with boss Marco Silva, replacing him, temporarily at least, with club legend Duncan Ferguson. The Scotsman had an immediate impact at Goodison Park as his players showed new levels of intensity that were lacking under their previous manager, and if they can play to that same level we’ll have a tight game at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United have a little way to go before they can be considered to have turned a corner, as their recent victories still mean they’ve now only won six of their past 21 meetings in the league, and we’re reluctant to get behind them to win three in a row for the first time since January.

What’s more, they’ve also now only kept three clean sheets in their last 21 at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, and with the manager bounce still alive and kicking for the visitors, they should at least get on the scoresheet considering they’ve scored seven goals in their last four road trips, though the both teams to score market looks all too short to get behind.

However, what does catch our eye is United’s record against the weaker sides this season. Despite beating the likes of Leicester, Chelsea, City and Spurs, against sides placed 10th or lower they’re just W2-D2-L4 this season and we like the look of this rejuvenated Toffees to get something here and laying the hosts looks the way to go.

 LAY – Man Utd at $1.82


Wolves v Spurs

Wolves bagged four second-half goals on Thursday to slay Besiktas in Europe, even if it was only good enough for the runners-up spot in the group. However, it was another good result and Nuno’s men have coped with an assault on two fronts admirably, leaving them with just the solitary defeat from their past 18 fixtures in all competitions (W9-D8-L1). At Molineux alone, they’ve won five of eight matches as they haven’t conceded more than once in any of these outings.

The odds are certainly in their favour then, as Spurs are yet to beat a high-quality side under Jose Mourinho. In addition to defeats away at Man Utd and Bayern, he’s led them to victories over Olympiakos and three bottom-half teams domestically.

However, two of them came over a West Ham side that have lost five of their last six and a Bournemouth team currently enduring a five-game losing streak – toppling Wolves should prove a tougher proposition.

The hosts have enjoyed themselves taking on the top teams, with their counter-attacking style proving successful against sides that expect to see more of the ball. Since their title-winning campaign in the Championship, they’ve registered an impressive W7-D8-L5 record against the ‘Big Six’ or this seasons’ Leicester across all competitions, drawing three of five such games this term.

In addition, they held a strong Man City line-up to a stalemate in pre-season, as well as doing the same to Ajax the previous summer as the Dutch outfit fielded the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and David Neres.

The stalemate would appear good value here then. That’s especially the case as Wolves have drawn six of nine weekend games after playing in the Europa League on a Thursday, losing just once. All but one of those draws finished 1-1 and in fact, across all competitions 20 of their 23 games that have finished level since the start of last season have seen both teams find the net, as 70% of them ended 1-1.

Similarly, 21 of Spurs’ 22 stalemates since October 2017 have seen both teams score, as over half of them finished with that exact same scoreline.

 BACK – Draw at $3.55

 BACK – 1-1 Correct Score at $7.20


Arsenal v Man City

Arsenal were lucky to top their Europa league group midweek as they scored twice late on to salvage a draw, while rivals Frankfurt lost to Vitoria Guimaraes. Freddie Ljungberg may have rested some players with this game in mind, but it doesn’t disguise the fact they’ve been poor and are just W1-D7-L3 since late October across all competitions.

That sole victory came against the Hammers last weekend, but Manuel Pellegrini is the clear favourite to be the next Premier League boss sacked as his side have won just once since September and lost five of their last six. Up against quality opponents, the Gunners have struggled for many a year and they’ve lost five of six league clashes with Man City themselves since Pep Guardiola pitched up in Manchester.

In fact, including their meeting in the League Cup final in 2018, the Citizens have completed W/W half-time/full-time doubles in each of their past five meetings.

It’s hard to look past the visitors considering City are W17-D2-L5 since 2017/18 against ‘Big Six’ outfits, with two of those defeats against Liverpool and another two in derbies versus United. However, at a short price outright, our preferred method of getting them onside is to couple the win with both teams to score.

Indeed, the visitors are still badly missing key centre-back Aymeric Laporte and they’re now 10 games without a clean sheet across all tournaments. Guardiola appears unable to trust a pairing of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi – both specialists in the position – and instead has consistently opted for midfield enforcer Fernandinho to fill in at the back.

Arsenal aren’t going to do away with their suicidal tendencies in defence any time soon, but with Gabriel Martinelli breaking through, Nicolas Pepe starting to find some form and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remaining consistent, they should at least net a consolation effort in defeat.

 BACK – Man City & BTTS at $2.44


Liverpool v Watford

Watford are a terrible W1-D6-L10 when taking on Premier League teams either in the cup action or the league this season. Their sole victory came over 19th-placed Norwich, and as the bottom side in the table it’s hard to see them troubling league leaders Liverpool.

They’ll be hoping new manager Nigel Pearson can turn the tide, but though the Hornets managed a clean sheet against Palace last weekend, it’s worth noting that the Eagles are the second-lowest scorers in the division behind themselves and with just one goal from Watford’s last four outings, it isn’t surprising to see why.

Pearson has an almighty task on his hands to turn around the visitors’ away form. Across all competitions, they’ve gone W1-D2-L6 this season as they failed to score in all but one of those defeats, most notably the 8-0 demolition job Man City did on them at the Etihad.

Their last road trip saw them draw a blank at Leicester as they went down 2-0, and we would expect Liverpool to match the clean sheets produced by their title rivals.

Although the Reds haven’t been quite as good at the back this term compared to last season, the only time they’ve conceded more than once in a league game came in the Merseyside derby. They’ve also kept clean sheets in trips to Bournemouth and Salzburg in their last two matches, and so this represents an excellent opportunity for Jurgen Klopp’s side to shut their opponents out at Anfield for the first time this season.

Recent head-to-head meetings would suggest the visitors aren’t going to enjoy much success either. Liverpool have won the past three encounters by an aggregate score of 13-0, winning both fixtures at Anfield 5-0. Moreover, going back to 2015/16 they’ve won the four fixtures at Anfield by a combined 18-1, while home or away they’ve won to nil in four of the last five.

 BACK – Liverpool Win to Nil at $2.04


Chelsea v Bournemouth

Two goals within the opening 35 minutes saw Chelsea through to the knockout phase of the Champions League midweek. That victory was made all the more important as they’d gone just W1-D1-L3 in the build up to that, although they’d still fancy their chances against Bournemouth even if they hadn’t won on Tuesday, such is the desperation of their visitors.

The Cherries were thumped yet again by a top side when they hosted league leaders Liverpool at the weekend, going down 3-0 as their losing streak now stretches to five games, while they only have one victory from 10 outings since late September now.

To add insult to injury, they’ll likely have to fair without any of Nathan Ake, Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook and Callum Wilson, while Joshua King remains a doubt.

They’ve lost all four matches the latter has missed since getting injured during the last international break, while Dutch international Ake hasn’t missed a single game for nearly two years, so the Cherries look a depleted outfit.

Furthermore, in the 76 games Wilson has been absent from the starting team since signing for the club in the summer of 2014, they’ve scored 36% fewer goals compared to when he has been involved from the first whistle, while interestingly they’ve lost to nil in eight of the last 12 without him.

Antonio Rudiger has missed the vast bulk of the season with injury but Chelsea finally have him back fit, and seeing as they concede 33% more strikes when he’s been absent from the starting line-up since signing for the club, they’ll welcome his return with great anticipation.

In fact, considering only the Foxes have bettered the Blues’ defensive record on home turf this season, coupled with the German internationals return, they look a solid prospect to keep a clean sheet against a depleted visiting attack.

The hosts have been good at dispatching the weaker bottom-half outfits under both Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard, winning 24 of their 29 such outings since the start of last season, while by contrast Bournemouth have lost all 10 trips to the ‘Big Six’ and Leicester in that time and so this has got a win to nil written all over it.

 BACK – Chelsea Win to Nil at $2.30


Leicester v Norwich

Eight wins on the bounce for Leicester has seriously put them amongst the ranks of the ‘Big Six’, as they are now six points clear of third-placed Man City and maintaining some sort of pressure on league leaders Liverpool, even if there’s an eight-point gap.

They’ll be happy with their fixture for this weekend as they host Norwich, who are struggling with the demands of top-flight football.

The Canaries sit second from bottom on 11 points, which is disappointing in itself, while on the road they’ve picked up just four from a possible 24 points and that record is unlikely to get any better this week against the form Premier League side.

In fact, considering three of those points away from Carrow Road came against an Everton side still led by Marco Silva at the time, whilst the other came at Bournemouth, this begins to look a more one-sided affair. Indeed, the Cherries are in the midst of a current run of one win from their last 11 outings across all competitions, losing seven of them.

Brendan Rodgers has won all nine of his matches against bottom-seven sides since rocking up in the midlands, winning all but two of those by at least two clear goals, including six of the last seven. In fact, those seven fixtures have yielded an aggregate scoreline of 26-4, while if you couple that with the fact they’ve also won all three matches against promoted outfits with him at the helm too, with the only time they failed to win by more than a single strike coming against eighth-placed Sheffield Utd, the handicap appeals.

To further the misery for the Norfolk based outfit, they’ve lost by two or more goals in each of their four visits to the top 13 sides in the league, scoring just once across them and we’re happy to take them on at the prices.

 BACK – Leicester -1.5 Asian Handicap at $1.69

West Ham v Arsenal

Freddie Ljungberg is still waiting for his first win as manager of his former club having drawn away at relegation candidates Norwich before being outplayed by Graham Potter’s Brighton side at the Emirates, eventually going down 2-1 to a Neal Maupay winner.

West Ham themselves went down 2-0 when traveling to Molineux in midweek, though they remained competitive throughout the match and were just lacking firepower in the final third.

Head-to-head history doesn’t exactly flatter Arsenal either. Although they edge this exact fixture W2-D2-L1 going back to 2014/15, since the move to the London Stadium the spoils are shared equally from their three visits, while West Ham came out on top last season thanks to Declan Rice’s first goal for the club.

It seems to be going from bad to worse for the Gunners as they’re now winless in nine matches across all competitions, their worst run since 1977, while it’ll have been 64 days since they last won a Premier League match come Monday as they seem to be a side in disarray.

They’ve won just four of their last 20 away games, while they’ve only kept two clean sheets on the road since the beginning of last season.

Michail Antonio is set to return to the fold having sat out in midweek, as he’s been the driving force behind the Hammers’ performances of late. He came off the bench to score against Spurs and lead an ultimately futile fightback, while he was arguably the best player on the pitch and was unlucky not to get a goal when they overturned Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Pellegrini’s side is a different animal with the Englishman on the field, and we’re happy to back his impact here and go against the North London side for this derby.

 LAY – Arsenal at $2.06


Everton v Chelsea

A 5-2 thumping in the Merseyside derby means that Marco Silva is a very strong favourite to be the next Premier League manager to go. Everton never really looked like coming away with anything from that game, even if Michael Keane did bring the score back to 2-1 in the 21st minute, although that was short-lived as Divock Origi netted his second of the game just 10 minutes later.

The Toffees have now lost three games on the bounce as even Norwich got in on the act just a fortnight ago, and so it’s hard to see them getting a result against an accomplished Chelsea outfit.

Indeed, the Blues cruised past Aston Villa midweek, meaning they’ve now won seven of their last nine league fixtures since late September. That’s handed them a comfortable six-point cushion over fifth-placed Wolves, while they maintain the pressure on Man City, who sit just three points ahead.

In fact, they’ve gone W7-D1-L2 on the road this season across all competitions and they should extend that to eight victories this weekend.

Everton currently sit in the relegation zone and having lost eight of 11 outings dating back to mid-September, as their only two victories came over misfiring opponents West Ham and Southampton.

However, they have scored in six of their last seven fixtures and netted 10 times, although they did also concede in all but one of those too as they leaked 14 goals, so we’re hardly expecting them to keep Frank Lampard’s charges out, especially with Tammy Abraham back in the starting team.

In fact, considering both teams have scored in each of Chelsea’s last six league trips this term, winning five of them, the away win and both teams to score looks the way to in this one.

 BACK – Chelsea & BTTS at $3.75


Bournemouth v Liverpool

Wednesday night kept Liverpool eight points clear at the top of the league after a 5-2 win in the Merseyside derby, the highest-scoring such derby since 1933, while Bournemouth played out a dire 1-0 loss against a Palace team that were down to 10 men for the majority of the game. That loss means the hosts have now lost each of their last four and will be hard pushed not to let that become five this weekend.

Indeed, the south coast side have lost each of their past four head-to-heads with the Reds by an aggregate score of 14-0, all finishing either 3-0 or 4-0 and producing Loss/Loss Half Time/Full Time results in each, though they have been known to throw up the odd surprise when taking on the ‘Big Six’.

They’ve managed five wins against such teams since the beginning of 2018, with the most recent coming at the beginning of November against Man United, though this period has also included 17 defeats from 22 matches when including this season’s Leicester side. Given the respective form of both these teams, we’re not going to go against the champions elect here.

While the win to nil might be suggested by the recent head-to-heads, results this season may suggest otherwise. Only Spurs have managed to keep fewer clean sheets than Jurgen Klopp’s side this year, while at the Vitality Stadium, the hosts have only failed to score in one of seven fixtures this season.

Although the Cherries will be without Josh King again for this one, with Harry Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson they still retain the potential to trouble their opponents’ defence, even if the latter has been struggling for some form in recent weeks.

Fabinho and Joel Matip are still missing for the visitors, and in their absence Liverpool will be tested, while the win and both teams to score has come off in each of the last 10 fixtures in which they’ve not started together, so we’re happy to couple the two markets at a healthy price here.

 BACK – Liverpool and BTTS at $2.66


Spurs v Burnley

Jose Mourinho would have hoped for a better return to his old stomping ground, though for the neutral the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford was an entertaining affair. Goals have been a common theme for the new-look Spurs, with their four games under new management yielding 11 for and eight against.

Given Burnley have outscored Arsenal this season, they should possess the tools to register when facing a sieve-like defence that could easily have conceded more on Wednesday evening.

Although we expect the visitors to work their way onto the scoreboard at some stage, they’ve hardly been all that secure defensively themselves. Only the bottom four and West Ham have conceded more goals this season, as Burnley have lost five of their last seven matches while shipping three goals away to Sheffield Utd and four at home to both Chelsea and Man City.

Burnley’s biggest problems have been when facing top-half teams, losing seven of eight winless matches this term as they conceded at least twice in each defeat. The exception came against Wolves, who hold a strong trend for drawing games at the weekend following a Europa League engagement on a Thursday.

The Clarets are capable of netting a consolation effort as they demonstrated versus Man City this week. In fact, looking at their record against the ‘Big Six’ and Leicester this season, they’ve scored despite losing in four of five matches as only Liverpool could shut them out.

Mourinho has so far won his games against the weaker teams and given Burnley’s record against top-half sides, the home win is impossible to ignore. However, with seven of Spurs’ last eight fixtures across all competitions seeing both teams find the net, including each of the past five, we’d couple the home win with both teams to score.

 BACK – Spurs & BTTS at $2.90


Man City v Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has bought himself some more time at Old Trafford after he downed Jose Mourinho’s Spurs outfit in midweek, ending a run of back-to-back stalemates. In fact, that result puts them just two points behind fifth-placed Wolves and back in the mix for European football for the 2020/21 season.

Man City put Burnley to the sword in their last outing 4-1 at Turf Moor, but they have been faltering a little this season compared to previous campaigns under Pep Guardiola, having already lost half the amount of games that they’ve done so over the previous two seasons combined.

Moreover, the Citizens are at the shortest price they’ve been for a Manchester derby since 2000 (when our odds records began) and we’re certainly not getting behind them in the outright at the prices.

Man Utd have never been as big a price before for this derby fixture as they are for this weekend and so we want to get behind them in one form or another.

Indeed, against the better sides they’ve faced this term – Chelsea (twice), Wolves, Leicester, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs – they’ve won four of seven unbeaten outings across all competitions. They went in at the break 1-0 up in six of those and 1-1 in the only other and so we fancy their chances in the opening 45 minutes.

By contrast, City have only been leading at the break in three of their last nine league outings, as they failed to do so against weaker outfits Everton, Villa, Southampton and Newcastle, while Liverpool were two goals to the good at that point.

Moreover, that record includes just one lead after the opening period across their four fixtures at Etihad. Considering the Red Devils have gone W55-D11-L4 when taking the lead from 70 such league trips since 2012/13, we like them on the double chance.

 BACK – Man Utd or Draw at $3.60


Aston Villa v Leicester

Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes side have now picked up a maximum 21 points from their last seven games as they look to keep pace with leaders Liverpool. Meanwhile, Dean Smith’s side only have one victory from their last six outings, though the fixture list hasn’t been kind and they’ll no doubt be up for it when hosting one of the best the league has to offer.

Aside from against Man City, the Villans have only lost by more than the solitary strike on one occasion and that came courtesy of a late Harry Kane brace in their opening game of the season. Villa’s position in the league is largely down to their away form, going W1-D1-L6 so far this season, while they’d be a top-half side based solely on home results.

Indeed, their 1.57 points per game at home is only slightly fewer than Leicester’s 1.86 away, and considering the visitors have picked up 22 of their 35 points so far at the King Power, it’s likely that when their winning run inevitably does come to an end, it will be away from their home turf.

It’s difficult to make a case for Dean Smith’s side in the outright due to their recent lack of results, though they’ve pushed Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Wolves all the way to the final whistle this season, just falling short on each occasion. They also made the world take note when they drew at Old Trafford last weekend, so we’re happy to take the Foxes on.

Rodgers’ men have grinded out victories over underperforming outfits Everton and Watford across their last two, while with Ben Chilwell a doubt, their firepower could be somewhat reduced too. In the five games he hasn’t started since the beginning of last season, they’ve lost 7% more of their games, whilst also netting 28% fewer goals as well.

 LAY – Leicester at $1.82

Arsenal v Brighton

Life without Unai Emery kicked off with a dispiriting stalemate away to Norwich, but Arsenal will be looking for their first league win since early October when Brighton come to town.

The Seagulls have lost three on the bounce themselves and though these weren’t easy fixtures as they travelled to Man Utd and Liverpool, as well as hosting Leicester, it continues a dismal record when facing the top sides and especially on the road.

Since being promoted to the Premier League ahead of the 2017/18 season, Brighton has picked up a mere 28 points on their travels, compared with 63 at the Amex. In fact, they’ve lost over twice as many games on the road, and excluding an opening day victory over a shambolic Watford side, they’ve lost five of six winless trips this season alone and conceded an average of over two goals per game.

Away to ‘Big Six’ sides, the Seagulls have lost a massive 15 of 16 winless matches since arriving in the top flight, already shipping 11 goals from four such games this term and netting just two in reply.

They failed to even score in 11 of these matches in total, as well as trailing at both half-time and full-time in 11 too, while 10 saw them downed by a minimum two-goal margin.

Although Brighton will fancy their chances of registering on the board given Arsenal’s leaky defence, they’ve scored more than once on just the single occasion across 11 away games since the start of April.

That should ensure that any goal they can get their hands should prove to be a consolation effort, as the Gunners are still able to call upon some real quality in attack. In particular, star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still delivering the goods and is the joint-second top scorer in the division, so Arsenal should still fancy their chances of outgunning their visitors at the Emirates.

 BACK – Arsenal to Win at $1.63


Chelsea v Aston Villa

It hasn’t been the best of times for Chelsea over the last month and a bit having gone W2-D2-L3 from their last seven matches across all competitions. However, those fixtures came against the likes of top sides Man Utd, Ajax, Man City and Valencia, although West Ham did get the better of them at Stamford Bridge last time out for the first time in 17 years.

Villa meanwhile, managed to hold to earn a point at Old Trafford, meaning they’ve now earnt four points from their two outings since the November international break.

A slight concern for Frank Lampard will be his charges’ form at the Bridge, with them just W4-D3-L4 in all competitions from 11 fixtures this term. Moreover, those victories were achieved against League Two outfit Grimsby in cup action, as well as Brighton, Newcastle and Palace in the top flight.

In fact, only twice from their seven such outings in the league alone have they won by more than a single strike and so they look a little short in the outright market. Not to mention, Tammy Abraham could well miss this fixture as well and based on the performance at the weekend without him, they look worth taking on in one way or another.

Across all competitions, Dean Smith’s men have only lost by more than a solitary goal once in 16 matches since going down 3-1 to Spurs on the opening day of the season to a late Harry Kane brace.

That came away at the Etihad against Man City, and given the likes of Arsenal, Wolves (twice), Man Utd and Liverpool have all failed to inflict heavier defeats on them, the visitors appear an astute pick to keep to within at least one goal of their hosts.

 BACK – Aston Villa +1.5 Asian Handicap at $2.09


Leicester v Watford

Kelechi Iheanacho’s 94th minute winner stretched Leicester’s winning run to six games at the expense of Marco Silva’s Everton side, who put in a gutsy display but ultimately fell short.

Watford’s weekend started promisingly as they took the lead early away at relegation rivals Southampton, though two late Saints goals crashed the party and ultimately led to the Hornets’ second managerial casualty of the season.

The visitors will be hoping for a manager bounce for this fixture, though with the club having lost more managers than they’ve gained victories this season, we can’t see the Foxes falling in this one. Unsurprisingly then, there’s little to be gained in backing the hosts outright, so we’re happy to delve a little deeper.

Brendan Rodgers’ half time team talks have evidently had a positive effect on the team this season. Their first half displays have been surprisingly poor as they’ve gone into the break with the lead on only four occasions over their last 19 fixtures.

Amazingly, however, the last visiting player to score a second-half goal here in the league was Floyd Ayite for Fulham back in March some 12 games ago. That was in Rodgers’ first home fixture as the manager, as the hosts have run out second-half winners in nine of these 12, including each of their last six.

While that remarkable defensive record will ultimately come to an end at some point, we can still envisage Rodgers’ men winning the second half here and we’re happy to get behind it. What’s more, on their current six-match winning run, they’ve only gone into the break with the lead once, coming from behind against Everton on Sunday, while they’ve had Draw/Win results in four of these.

 BACK – Draw/Leicester – HT/FT at $3.90


Man United v Spurs

Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford seemingly as a man reborn, with none of the gloomy countenances that marked his time in Manchester. He’s even uncharacteristically made Spurs the division’s entertainers, winning 3-2 against both West Ham and Bournemouth, as well as producing a 4-2 victory over Olympiakos in Europe.

Man Utd ought to provide a sterner test than any of those sides and so it’s difficult to envisage Spurs registering a first clean sheet in the league since downing Palace 4-0 back in September. Nine fixtures have elapsed since then, while they’ve shipped a worrying average of two goals per game on their travels this season, as all but one of their seven road trips have witnessed at least three goals.

Anthony Martial’s return from injury has helped bolster the hosts’ attack in recent weeks, with the Frenchman enjoying a fine on-filed relationship with Marcus Rashford. As a consequence, seven of United’s past eight fixtures across all competitions have seen at least three goals, as four of five in the league alone over this period featured a minimum of four.

Mourinho will have been delighted to see the likes of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli all make it onto the scoresheet across his first three games at the helm.

Having scored 10 times across these fixtures in total, but shipping six down the other, the Portuguese coach will no doubt seek to stop his new side being so porous at the back. However, there’s precious little evidence to suggest that his tutelage has produced the desired effect as of yet.

Although Spurs are a club back on the up under new management, we’d be cautious regarding their prospects in this game. Mourinho is likely to improve upon a poor record they possessed away to the top teams when Mauricio Pochettino was at the helm, but the new man is only W5-D11-L9 himself away to ‘Big Six’ sides over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has only led his charges to four victories from 14 matches so far, so we’d avoid the match outcome in this one.

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at $1.80


Liverpool v Everton

Marco Silva must be on his final life at Everton, after they were very unfortunately downed at the King Power in the 94th minute.

That result means they’ve now lost back-to-back matches having gone down to Norwich before that, although they did win two of three unbeaten fixtures across all tournaments prior to those winless outings. Those games included a 1-1 draw hosting Spurs as they’ve proven they aren’t just a pushover and they’ll certainly be up for this Merseyside derby.

Liverpool have now won 13 of 14 unbeaten fixtures this term, but only once across their last nine have they secured a victory by more than a single strike, whilst they also drew at Man Utd not too long ago in that run.

In fact, they had to come from behind to get a point last week when hosting Napoli, and so you feel the pressure is starting to mount on this Reds outfit and their luck may just run out. Even more so, given they’re without Joel Matip, Fabinho or Alisson for this one, which could present an opportunity to take them on.

The Toffees’ record in this fixture is less than exemplary having last triumphed over their city rivals at Goodison Park back in October 2010, as they’ve since lost seven of 17 winless league matches in their subsequent head-to-head meetings.

However, it’s not as though they’ve just picked up the points in home fixtures though, with four of those stalemates coming at Anfield, while going back to 2001/02 they’ve drawn half their 18 matches here. This has also been a historically low-scoring fixture with 11 of those 18 matches seeing fewer than three goals, including eight of the nine draws.

Eight of their 10 meetings at either Goodison or Anfield since 2014/15 have gone under that threshold, so it’s likely to be a game with very few chances and so the stalemate looks the way to go.

 BACK – Draw at $5.50


Burnley v Man City

Both Burnley and Man City were on the end of disappointing results at the weekend, losing at home to Palace and drawing at St James’ Park respectively. Sean Dyche and Pep Guardiola will be looking for a reaction from their sides, though it’s the Spaniard which has received just that more often than not.

Indeed, the Citizens have managed to bounce back from dropped points in 16 of their last 17 such games, winning a whopping 13 of these by at least two clear goals. They’ve also managed to win seven of eight unbeaten head-to-heads with Burnley under current management across all tournaments, so it’s unsurprising to see them at such a short price, both on the outright and handicap markets.

The Clarets are not short of goal power themselves as they’ve managed to find a way through in 11 of their 14 games this season, while only Aston Villa have plundered more than their 20 when excluding the ‘Big Six’ and Leicester, so we’ll look elsewhere for our selection.

Despite those 16 wins from 17 following dropped points, it’s been more a case of being clinical in front of goal rather than resolute defending.

They still conceded in a whopping 13 of those games, while half of the victories finished by an exact scoreline of 3-1, which offers up value if you’re after a correct score in a more ambitious punt, though at odds against we really like the both teams to score market.

Dyche’s men have managed 14 goals in their last 11 games against ‘Big Six’ opposition and this season’s Leicester side, netting a brace in the last of them when hosting Chelsea, and they look like value to join their visitors on the scoreboard.

 BACK – BTTS at $2.08

Norwich v Arsenal

Unai Emery has been handed his marching orders at the Emirates and though a fresh face in the dugout could help Arsenal out of their slumber, though temporary appointment Freddie Ljungberg has an almighty job on his hands.

For the Gunners to claim the spoils here they’ll have to turn over some pretty tumultuous away form, having won just four of their last 19 on their travels, as results on the road have proven a consistent thorn in their side.

Things are looking slightly better for Norwich after they secured their first win in eight games last weekend when visiting Goodison Park, with goals from Todd Cantwell and Dennis Srbeny enough to seal the three points. The East Anglia side will fancy their chances here, especially with the memory of how they spectacularly took down Man City in their previous victory.

However, considering how poor both sides have been of late, it’s hard to make a case for either side at the prices. Ljungberg will have had hardly any time to implement new ideas and with the Gunners at a comfortable odds-on, we’re happy to avoid the outright markets.

While they’ve come up short in front of goal on the road, Norwich boasts a healthy home goalscoring record with 10 in six games, scoring in five of those outings, and with a defence as error-prone as Arsenal’s we’d fully expect them to get at least one past Bernd Leno in front of their home support.

Meanwhile, Arsenal has managed to find the net in 13 of their last 15 fixtures, with the only exceptions coming away at Leicester and Sheffield United, who boast the best and third-best defensive records in the league this term respectively.

It’s therefore no surprise that there’s little value to be had backing both teams to score, though with 26 goals coming in six games at Carrow Road this season, with five games seeing a minimum of four and three seeing at least five, we’re happy to back the Over 3.5 Goals Market here at a healthy price.

 BACK – Over 3.5 Goals at $2.10


Man Utd v Aston Villa

It’s been nine months now since Man Utd won consecutive league matches and although they came close last weekend away to Sheffield Utd, they blew it and ended up drawing 3-3. The Red Devils haven’t been quite as sieve-like at the back compared to last term but by the same token, they’ve kept just two clean sheets from 13 league matches and none in their past eight.

Villa will certainly feel that their hosts’ defence can be gotten at. The visitors have outscored all the other teams in the bottom half of the table, while across all competitions they’ve found the net in nine of their last 10 matches now, with each of these fixtures against Premier League opposition.

Dean Smith’s men have had seven encounters with top-half sides this season: Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Burnley and Wolves, playing Nuno’s men twice as they also met in the League Cup.

All but one of those games saw both teams find the net, but Villa haven’t enjoyed too much success against these teams, losing five of those games, with the exceptions a draw with Burnley and a win over Wolves in cup action.

Although Man Utd have endured their fair share of problems, they’ll be expecting nothing but a win at Old Trafford. They should certainly be fresh as Solskjaer only took four first-team players to Kazakhstan this week to face Astana, meaning all their stars will have had time to recharge the batteries ahead of a busy month.

United may have problems shutting teams out, but an increased output in recent weeks should carry them to victory. They’ve scored three times in three of their past four matches, coinciding with the return to fitness of Anthony Martial.

He and Marcus Rashford have an excellent on-field relationship and going back to November 2017, United have won nine of 12 matches at Old Trafford where they’ve both played more than 45 minutes, with both teams scoring in 10 of these games.

 BACK – Man Utd & BTTS at $3.10


Newcastle v Man City

The Citizens are certainly more vulnerable this season than they were in the last campaign, which was demonstrated midweek as they were held to a stalemate hosting Shakhtar in Europe, despite fielding virtually their strongest available team as the likes of Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were all included.

Newcastle will also be disappointed by their last outing too, with Villa coming out on top Monday night in Birmingham.

Although the Magpies wasted the chance to take themselves into an unlikely top half position, their home form still commands respect. They’re unbeaten in six over 90 minutes at St. James’ Park across all competitions since an opening day defeat to the Gunners, beating both Man Utd and Bournemouth, as well as holding the likes of Leicester and Wolves to stalemates.

However, that doesn’t mean we’d give them much of a chance of holding out here. Newcastle may have recorded a shock win in this exact fixture last season, but they’re just W1-D1-L6 in head-to-head meetings since 2014/15.

Meanwhile, Steve Bruce himself holds a W4-D5-L14 record versus the Citizens in his career, with the majority of those encounters coming before Man City saw significant investment.

Although it’s hard to envisage any other outcome than the away win, the visitors are way too short at the prices to back and the value lies with the hosts on the handicap. Whereas Newcastle have lost five of seven on their travels this term, with all but one of those defeats by at least two clear goals, they’re yet to lose by a similar margin on Tyneside.

In fact, only Leicester can boast conceding fewer goals per game in home matches this season, while the Magpies have only lost by more than a single strike in one of their last 13 league matches hosting the ‘Big Six’ going back to October 2017.

 BACK – Newcastle +2 Asian Handicap at $2.00


Chelsea v West Ham

Chelsea saw their six-game winning run come to an end last weekend away at Man City, but back at home against a West Ham side in dire straits, they ought to get back on track. Frank Lampard’s largely youthful team still have some convincing to do when taking on elite opponents, but they’ve encountered no such difficulty against bottom-half outfits.

The Hammers’ problems began when key goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski tore a muscle in his hip. His replacement, Roberto, has been utterly abysmal between the sticks and particularly suspect at set-pieces, so Manuel Pellegrini has a selection dilemma on his hands.

His only options are to persevere with the Spaniard, turn to the youth team, or give third choice David Martin a run out, despite the 33-year-old having never played at this level after spending most of his career in League One.

Pellegrini has an additional problem in defence as centre-back Issa Diop is suspended for this clash. In the five fixtures he’s missed since signing for the club, West Ham have lost four and drawn the other, while they conceded at least twice in each of them as all but one featured a minimum of three goals in total.

Across all competitions, the Hammers have now lost six of eight winless matches as performances have gotten steadily worse, with Roberto playing all but 34 minutes across these games. They shipped two or more goals in all but one of them, while their last three outings have seen Newcastle, Burnley and Spurs score three times each. West Ham are potentially capable of registering a consolation effort though, netting four times themselves in those last three matches.

Only Man City have seen more goals across their games than Chelsea this term and the Blues have seen at least three goals in six of their last seven across all competitions. Even though Tammy Abraham is a doubt after a nasty tumble away at Valencia midweek, Lampard can still call upon the likes of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi to lead the line.

BETTING STRATEGY

 BACK – Chelsea & Over 2.5 Goals at $1.67


Liverpool v Brighton

Napoli proved to be Liverpool’s bogey team once more in Europe midweek as the Reds had to settle for a 1-1 draw, with the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane subdued, and the sheer number of games those two have played over the past couple of years has to be a concern given the crowded nature of Liverpool’s upcoming schedule.

Brighton will pose a rather different sort of challenge to the midweek excursion, and Jurgen Klopp will expect his team to regroup and continue their steady march towards the title.

Liverpool are now unbeaten in 46 home league matches, winning 36 of them, and Brighton’s prospects of spoiling the party are very slim indeed. The Seagulls have already lost by at least two clear goals against Man Utd, Chelsea, Leicester and Man City this term, though they did manage a 3-0 upset versus an out of sorts Spurs side.

If there’s some hope to be found for the visitors, the injury sustained by midfielder enforcer Fabinho midweek gives cause for optimism. Whereas Pep Guardiola can call upon the likes of Rodri, Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan to break up their opponents’ attacks in midfield, Klopp hasn’t got another specialist in the position and will have to turn to one of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gigi Wijnaldum to plug the gap.

Any of those players would work hard for the team and, of course, Henderson has played in that role plenty of times before with both England and Liverpool, but none of the potential options available to Klopp have the same level of defensive nous and awareness as the missing Brazilian.

Liverpool may only have conceded 22 goals overall last season and just 10 at Anfield, but they’ve kept just two clean sheets from 13 matches in the current campaign and none from their six on home turf. Given Joel Matip remains on the sidelines and Brighton have scored 10 times in their last six outings, the visitors can grab a consolation effort here.

 BACK – BTTS at $2.10


Tottenham v Bournemouth

Jose Mourinho has enjoyed an explosive start to life at Spurs with as many as 11 goals across his first two games in charge. However, while the likes of Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Heung-min Son will look to fill their boots, it’s going to take more than a quick fix to resolve their defensive issues.

Spurs have registered just four clean sheets in 19 matches across all competitions this season. Even those weren’t the most impressive of feats considering two of them came in easy wins over Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade, while the other two came against a low-scoring Palace side and League Two Colchester in cup action.

Eddie Howe certainly likes his team to be on the gung-ho side and although they haven’t been involved in quite so many thrillers as usual this term, he’s not going to set his team up to simply frustrate and soak up the pressure.

The Cherries have found the net in 10 of 16 league matches since the start of last season when facing the ‘Big Six’ or Leicester in the current campaign, including three of four this term as they’ve found the target against Man City, Leicester and Man Utd.

With neither side lacking attacking ambition we’d expect both teams to score in this one and in fact, that’s occurred in 10 of Spurs’ 13 league matches so far, including each of the past five. Although the Lilywhites have endured a torrid time on the road this calendar year, even on home turf the clean sheets have been hard to come by.

Since the start of last season, they’ve shut out their opponents in just eight of 25 league matches, while, of course, it was at this stadium where Bayern put seven past them at the start of October.

 BACK – BTTS at $1.77

Sheffield Utd v Man Utd

One point separates Sheffield Utd from Man Utd in fifth and seventh respectively, while with just three points separating the Blades and 15th place prior to matchday 13, the table could look very different at the end of the weekend.

Only Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool outfit have been good enough to defeat Chris Wilder’s side in their last seven outings. That includes victories hosting Arsenal and Burnley at Bramall Lane in their past two here, whilst earing credible stalemates on the road at Watford, West Ham and Spurs.

Interestingly, only Son Heung-min, Robert Snodgrass and Gini Wijnaldum have been able to get past their defence over that period, while only Leicester have conceded fewer goals this term.

However, impressive centre-back John Egan is a doubt for this game, while the biggest blow for the Blades will be the absence of Dean Henderson as he can’t face his parent club, making a normally tried and tested defence look a little vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have gone W2-D2-L3 from their last seven matches dating back to September, conceding in all of them as they lost on the road at West Ham, Newcastle and Bournemouth. Their only other trip in that time saw them beat Norwich, but the Canaries are in awful form and rooted to the foot of the table.

Moreover, across all competitions, they’ve won just three of 15 matches on the road since that famous comeback in Paris in March, with their only clean sheets coming over substandard Europa League sides AZ Alkmaar and Partizan Belgrade.

Interestingly, when Man Utd have been priced up at greater than evens visiting teams outside the ‘Big Six’ in the league, they’ve lost five of their last six winless outings. Moreover, the two times this decade they’ve been priced up at greater than $2.2 at promoted outfits have both seen them lose by one goal margins– Bournemouth (2015/16) and Wolves (2018/19), both by 2-1 scorelines.

 BACK – BTTS at $1.96


West Ham v Spurs

West Ham’s three defeats from four winless matches since the October break has been thoroughly disappointing, especially since those losses came in highly winnable games against Everton, Newcastle and Burnley, while they only managed a stalemate with seventh-placed Sheffield Utd.

Manuel Pellegrini will hope that the fortnight off will have done his squad some good and they’ve got form for raising their game in the bigger matches as they’ve lost just three of eight hosting ‘Big Six’ sides since the start of last season, while conceding more than once only twice.

Jose Mourinho’s appointment dominated the midweek headlines following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, after Spurs had picked up just three points from five winless outings since October to tumble from sixth to 14th.

Spurs’ away form has let them down most of all, losing nine of 12 winless trips since February, and a change in manager is unlikely to solve that issue immediately. However, it should be noted that they did face Chelsea, Liverpool (twice), Man City (twice), Arsenal, Leicester and Everton across those fixtures.

Meanwhile, Lukasz Fabianski’s injury is a worry for the hosts as they’ve lost four of five winless matches without him since he signed last season (their past five games), as their winning percentage in that time drops 40% in his absence.

The visitors have injury troubles of their own with Jan Vertonghen out. They can’t seem to get the centre-back balance right as they’ve won just one of their last 10 in his absence, failing to keep a clean sheet in any as four ended in stalemates.

Though don’t expect Mourinho to go gung-ho in his return to the dugout and make up for defensive weakness with expansive attacking play. Instead, bank on a tight and gritty affair, with neither side appearing likely to dominate and the draw looking the value option. In fact, no more than a single strike has separated the sides in any of their seven league meetings since 2016.

BETTING STRATEGY

 BACK – Draw at $4.14


Arsenal v Southampton

Unai Emery will be thankful to still have a job at Arsenal having won just two of his last 10 games since late August, leaving them eight points adrift of the final Champions League spot. That isn’t the sort of record a top club should have, especially with those two victories coming at home over a weak Aston Villa side and Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.

Fortunately for the Spanish boss, Southampton sit 19th in the league, just one point ahead of rock-bottom Norwich and with no side conceding more than them this term, so he might be able to find some relief here.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will still be hurting from their 9-0 humiliation against Leicester last month, and they’ve now lost a dismal six of seven winless matches across all competitions since late September.

There hasn’t been a lot to cheer about down on the south coast, even if the majority of those games came against high calibre opposition. However, up against the ‘Big Six’ as well as this season’s Foxes outfit, they’ve gone W2-D6-L24 since 2017/18 across all competitions, including 14 defeats from 16 winless matches on their travels with 11 of those being Loss/Loss doubles.

The Gunners have won 17 of their 25 games under Emery against bottom-half sides, including six of seven unbeaten outings when hosting the bottom six. In fact, Arsenal have taken a lead into half-time in each of their past three league fixtures at the Emirates, as well as 11 of 16 since late-December, while the Saints have lost seven of eight matches against Premier League opposition across all tournaments when trailing at the break this season.

With that in mind, we like the look of the Half-Time/Full-Time market, with the North London club having led at both the break and at full-time in this exact fixture for the last two seasons now.

 BACK – Arsenal/Arsenal HT/FT at $2.23


Brighton v Leicester

Leicester will be hoping to keep in touch with leaders Liverpool by claiming maximum points on their trip to the Amex this weekend, and have good reason to be hopeful. Brendan Rodgers’ side are sitting pretty in 2nd having won eight of their past 10 games and saw off ‘Big Six’ side Arsenal with relative ease in their most recent outing, making the rest of the league sit up and take note.

However, the Seagulls look in good shape too, so this won’t be an easy visit. After a few teething problems early on, Graham Potter’s style of football is starting to reap rewards on the south coast as they’ve now won three home games on the bounce for the first time since March last year, so they’ll be licking their lips at the prospect of this challenge.

Despite their good form, the Foxes are just W5-D2-L4 away from home under Rodgers, though they’ve faced the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd in that time, while only three of those 11 results were decided by more than the solitary goal. We envisage Brighton giving the visitors plenty of trouble, so we’re happy to avoid the outright market at the current prices.

Two-thirds of the host’s 15 goals this season have come at this venue, and they’ve struck eight times in their last three here against Spurs, Everton and Norwich. Meanwhile, the only clean sheets Leicester have managed to keep on their travels have come against lowly Southampton, as well as a rigid Palace outfit who aren’t exactly known for their free-scoring exploits.

Jamie Vardy is the division’s leading marksmen and James Maddison is the top scorer beyond strikers and wingers alongside Mason Mount, while Neal Maupay has the most shots per game from anyone outside the ‘Big Six’, so the Both Teams to Score market appeals.

 BACK – BTTS at $1.73


Crystal Palace v Liverpool

It has never been an easy task for Liverpool when playing Palace, which was especially the case back in May 2014 at Selhurst Park when Brendan Rogers’ men drew 3-3 here and saw their title ambitions drift away in the process. Even the last meeting between the two finished 4-3 at Anfield after late goals from both sides, so this will by no means be a routine outing for the leaders.

The Eagles hold a bit of a reputation for causing the bigger teams trouble, going W3-D3-L11 when facing the ‘Big Six’ since the start of last season. However, 11 of the 12 points they picked up over this period came on the road and to make matters worse, Roy Hodgson’s charges have lost three of four winless matches heading into this fixture, conceding exactly twice in each. Although these may have been tough encounters with Man City, Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea, Liverpool will hardly represent a drop in standards.

Jurgen Klopp’s team are on a different level these days and have won 20 of 21 unbeaten outings dating back to March, though they did concede in seven of their 10 away trips in that time. Four of those finished exactly 2-1, which appeals along with the prospects of both teams to score.

Mo Salah may have been struggling a little with an ankle complaint, but Divock Origi has often delivered the goods when called upon to step in. Andrew Robertson has also had a slight issue with his ankle but is only a doubt, though Liverpool can as always rely upon James Milner to plug the gap.

The men from Merseyside have won six of seven meetings between the two sides at all venues since 2016. However, they only kept two clean sheets across these and seeing as two of these also finished 2-1, as have a third of Liverpool’s 18 victories on the road since the start of last season, we like the prospect of this following that trend.

 BACK – Liverpool & BTTS at $3.06

 BACK – Liverpool 2-1 at $9.04


Man City v Chelsea

Man City have it all to do in the title race after their defeat at Anfield, but if Pep Guardiola and his men were hoping for an easy assignment to get back on track, they can think again. Chelsea have leapfrogged them into third place after putting together a run of six unbeaten league outings, with momentum and confidence building as they’ve plundered 15 goals across this spell.

On the road, Chelsea have bettered that output with 18 goals from their past five matches, as only leaders Liverpool can boast a better away record this term. In fact, across all competitions, they’ve won their past seven on their travels now, though the most difficult obstacles they’ve had to encounter were Lille and Ajax in the Champions League.

Having suffered three defeats this season, compared to four throughout the entire of the last league campaign, City are certainly looking more susceptible this term.

The departure of Vincent Kompany over the summer and the long-term injury afflicting their key centre-back, Aymeric Laporte, has exposed a major flaw in their squad. Guardiola has at least been handed a boost with Ederson returning to training, though the Brazilian shot-stopper can expect to be kept busy with no reliable defensive partnership in front to protect him.

Although City are of course capable of winning any game they play, their only success across their three fixtures in November so far has come in a narrow 2-1 win over Southampton, courtesy of Kyle Walker’s late goal five minutes from time.

They haven’t beaten any top side domestically this season, drawing with Liverpool in the Community Shield before losing to them last weekend, while they were held to a stalemate at the Etihad by Spurs back in August.

Given that since an opening day humiliation at Old Trafford, Chelsea haven’t lost by more than a solitary goal in any of their subsequent 18 matches across all competitions, an in-form Blues look an attractive prospect on the Asian handicap.

 BACK – Chelsea +1.25 Asian Handicap at $1.96


Current Results

Total Units Staked: 88.50

Total Units Returned: 81.50

ROI: -7.90%

(Note: Each bet is for one unit). 


Extra Betting Resources

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