Football Form Labs EPL Season 2016/17 – Week 18

English Premier League Season 2016/17 – Week 18

Watford v Crystal Palace

Monday December 26, 11:30pm AEDT

Watford’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland was their fifth loss in their last seven games as they’ve slipped down from seventh to twelve It’s been a similar story for Crystal Palace, who were up in eighth after seven games, but eight defeats in their last 10, the latest of which was a 1-0 home loss against Chelsea, means that the Eagles have dropped all the way down to 17th.

Watford have lost their last four on the road but their form at Vicarage Road has been much better as they’ve won four of their last six their after early defeats against Chelsea and Arsenal. Two of those wins have come over the struggling Leicester and Hull and the Hornets have an excellent record when hosting the lesser teams as they’ve won five of eight against bottom-six teams since the start of last season, losing just one of these.

Palace have travelled to four bottom-six teams in their last four away games and have picked up just one point, whilst conceding 14 goals. As a result, we’re certainly siding with Watford in a game that could see plenty of goals as the Hornets have managed just one clean sheet in their last 13 at home. Both teams to score looks an excellent price at 1.85, particularly as it’s happened in 10 of Watford’s last 12 at home and Palace’s last seven on the road.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Watford +0.25 Asian Handicap at 2.1

Back on Betfair BACK – Both Teams to Score Yes at 1.85

Arsenal v West Brom

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT

Arsenal have twice let leads slip in their last two games as they’ve lost 2-1 at both Goodison Park and the Etihad to drop down to fourth, now nine points behind Chelsea, with their title aspirations hanging by a thread. West Brom, meanwhile, are having an excellent season as they’re up in eighth, despite a 2-0 defeat at home to a resurgent Man Utd last time out.

The Gunners have struggled at the back in recent times as they’re without a clean sheet in eight and haven’t been helped by the injury to Mustafi. Since the opening day defeat against Liverpool, the Gunners have won five of seven unbeaten home games and they’ve also won their last five at home to the Baggies during which time they’ve conceded just one goal. What’s more, Arsenal have won six of their eight home games after back-to-back defeats since 2009/10, with the exceptions a goalless draw against City and a defeat against United, and they kept five clean sheets in these games.

While the Baggies have proven adept at beating the lesser teams with wins over the likes of Swansea, Burnley and Leicester in recent weeks, they continue to struggle against the top sides as they’ve picked up just one point from their five games against the current top-six, scoring just two goals in these games. Indeed, Pulis’ side have lost six of eight winless trips to top-six sides since the start of last season. They failed to score in four of these defeats, but only conceded more than twice in one of these games and with the atmosphere likely to be tense at the Emirates after a couple of disappointing results, we’re backing a narrow home win in what could be a cagey affair.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Arsenal to Win and Under 2.5 Goals at 4.0

Chelsea v Bournemouth

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT

Chelsea’s winning run was extended to 11 matches against Palace but while the first five of these victories were all by more than one goal, including 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 triumphs, they’ve had to work harder in recent times as five of their last wins were by just one goal, with three 1-0 wins on the bounce. Bournemouth, meanwhile, continue to be inconsistent as they followed up a win over Leicester with a 3-1 defeat against Southampton and they’ve in fact lost four of their six games after a win this term. Nonetheless, they remain in 10th, and if they can finish there at the end of the season, Eddie Howe will no doubt be delighted.

Chelsea have conceded just one goal in their last five at Stamford Bridge, winning each of these games. They’ll be without Diego Costa for this one, but the Spaniard accounted for just three of the 15 goals Chelsea scored in this period, as he’s in fact been more prolific on the road, with eight of his goals coming away from home.

Bournemouth have lost five of their eight road games, including 1-3 and 0-4 defeats at Arsenal and Man City respectively in their only trips to top-six teams so far. Indeed, they lost by more than one goal at City, Arsenal, Spurs and Utd last term whilst they trailed at the break in each of these defeats and though they won at Chelsea, this is of course a very different Blues side. With that in mind, we’re backing Chelsea to defy Diego Costa’s absence and win comfortably.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Chelsea -1.5 Asian Handicap at 2.17

Back on Betfair BACK – Chelsea/Chelsea HT/FT at 2.08

Burnley v Middlesbrough 

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT

Having looked relatively secure up in 11th a few weeks ago, Burnley have now lost five of their last six to drop down to 16th, and it’s no coincidence that four of those games were on the road. Middlesbrough, on the other hand, picked up an excellent 3-0 home win over Swansea to move up to 14th, but they’re just one point ahead of Burnley and four points clear of the relegation zone.

While Burnley have picked up just one point and scored two goals in their eight road games, they’re an entirely different proposition at Turf Moor, where they’ve won five of nine games and Arsenal and City are the only teams to have beaten them since the opening day of the season. With that in mind, we’re slightly surprised to see Sean Dyche’s side as outsiders for this one.

Though Boro have lost just two of their eight away games, they haven’t won on the road since beating Sunderland in their opening away game. They’ve managed just five goals in their last seven away but have kept just two away clean sheets, and as such they could come unstuck against a Burnley side that has put three past both Bournemouth and Palace within their last three home games. With that in mind, we’re certainly siding with the Clarets in this one, but since Boro have drawn five of their last seven away, we’re going to cover the stalemate.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Burnley 0 Asian Handicap at 2.09

Swansea v West Ham

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT

Swansea were thumped 3-0 at the Riverside in their last game, the sixth time they’ve conceded more than twice in their last eight and as a result they’ve dropped down to 19th, three points from safety. West Ham, meanwhile, have managed back-to-back 1-0 home wins over both Burnley and Hull and as a result they’re up to 13th to ease some of the pressure on Slaven Bilic.

Like their visitors, Swansea have in fact managed back-to-back home wins but their games have seen plenty more goals as they’ve beaten Palace 5-4 and Sunderland 3-0. Indeed, after a defeat in their opening home game against Hull, Swansea have since lost only to the Manchester clubs and Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium as they managed a point against both Chelsea and Watford to go with those home wins. Their record when hosting teams outside the top-six is in fact an impressive W9-D5-L3 since the start of last season and given they’ve won their last two at home, they look a big price at 2.7.

Whilst they’ve had a tough run of fixtures that has seen them travel to seven of the current top half already, West Ham in fact struggled at the lesser sides last term when they looked a much better team. They won just two of their trips to bottom-six teams and since they only snuck past notoriously poor travelers Burnley while their win against Hull came thanks to a dubious penalty, we’re siding with the hosts.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Swansea 0 Asian Handicap at 1.93

Manchester United v Sunderland

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT 

Jose Mourinho finally looks to have established his best team at United as they’ve won their last three and it’s no surprise to see that they’ve won four of six unbeaten games since Michael Carrick was brought into the side. The Red Devils have won six of eight unbeaten games he’s started going back to the end of last season, but have won just one of the last eight he hasn’t lined up. His presence has certainly freed up Paul Pogba and we’re starting to see why Utd paid top dollar for him in the summer.

David Moyes will have wished he had similar financial backing when he was at the club, but things are starting to look a little better for him. Though his Sunderland side are down in 18th, they have won four of their last seven to move off the foot of the table.

Though Utd have got back to winning ways, the goals haven’t exactly been flowing for the Red Devils as they’ve scored more than once in only one of their last 11 and none of their last five at Old Trafford. They’ve drawn four of their last five at home but they’re generally pretty reliable when hosting the lesser sides as they’ve won 11 of 14 at home to the bottom-six since 2014/15, leading at the break in 10 of these victories.

Sunderland have picked up just four points on the road so far and have failed to score in five of their last six away, but they’re yet to concede more than twice on the road, despite having already gone to Liverpool, Spurs and Man City. Indeed, four of their last five away defeats were either 0-1 or 0-2 scorelines. That together, with Utd’s lack of goals means that we’re backing the home win and Under 2.5 Goals, as has been the case in six of Utd’s last eight victories at Old Trafford.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Man Utd Win and Under 2.5 Goals at 3.1

Leicester v Everton

Tuesday December 27, 2:00am AEDT

Leicester showed great spirit in coming back from 2-0 down at Stoke to rescue a point after Jamie Vardy saw red after just 28 minutes. The victory of course came at a cost as it will have taken a lot out of the Foxes, whilst they’ll be without Vardy for this one. Everton, meanwhile, suffered an agonising defeat in the Merseyside derby after a late Mane winner as they failed to follow up their impressive 2-1 win over Arsenal. Nonetheless, the Toffees remain in ninth, six points clear of the champions in 15th.

For all their struggles, Leicester have managed to win half of their eight home games, though they have taken advantage of some lenient fixtures as three of those victories came against current bottom-five teams, while the other was against an incredibly lackluster Man City team. Indeed, prior to that win over City, Leicester had lost against West Brom and only managed a point against Boro at the King Power.

Everton’s away form is dire as they’ve lost five of their last six on the road, scoring just four goals in this time. As such, the Foxes may look a decent price at 2.52, but we’re a little weary that the win over City might have been something of a false dawn for Ranieri’s men. Without Vardy, they could well struggle to break down an Everton defence that has conceded more than once in just three games this season and that together with the Toffees’ own lack of goals on the road means that we’re backing Under 2.5 Goals.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.98

Hull v Manchester City

Tuesday December 27, 4:15am AEDT

Hull were the victims of a dubious refereeing decision at the London Stadium as West Ham were awarded a late penalty that they converted for a 1-0 victory. As a result, Mike Phelan’s side are back down to bottom having won just one of their last 15 after they began the season with two victories. City, meanwhile, have bounced back strongly after their disastrous 4-2 defeat at Leicester, beating Watford comfortably and coming from behind to win 2-1 against Arsenal and move above the Gunners into third.

While they’ve lost their last seven away, Hull are unbeaten in three at home, beating Southampton and drawing against both Palace and West Brom. They’ve lost three of their home games against top-six teams but proved they can be competitive as United scored a last minute winner, Chelsea failed to break the deadlock in the first hour, while Arsenal took advantage of a first-half red card for Jake Livermore as they ran out comfortable 4-1 winners .

City have in fact been better on the road than at home so far as they’ve won six of their eight away games. They’ve won but conceded at bottom-six sides  Burnley, Palace and Swansea but since Guardiola picked the same back four in successive games for the first time this season against Arsenal, we expect them to improve defensively and so are wary of backing Hull to get on the scoresheet. Instead, since the Citizens took until the second half to get past both Burnley and Swansea, whilst Hull kept Utd and Chelsea at bay in the first half, we’re backing Draw/City HT/FT.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Draw/Man City HT/FT at 4.7

Liverpool v Stoke

Wednesday December 28, 4:15am AEST

After disappointing results against both Bournemouth and West Ham, Liverpool thumped Middlesbrough 3-0 and netted a last gasp winner in the Merseyside derby to move back up to second, six points behind Chelsea. Stoke, meanwhile, defied an early red card to hold on to a draw at home to Southampton but they were on the other end of things when hosting Leicester last time out as they could only manage a draw despite having a two goal lead and Vardy being sent off early on.

Liverpool have won five of their seven home games so far, scoring 21 goals in the process, and are now unbeaten in 15 at Anfield. However, their only clean sheets have come against Sunderland and in a forgettable goalless draw with United as their home games have generally been full of goals, with four seeing more than three goals.

Stoke have been decent on the road as they’ve lost just three of their eight road games, but they’ve picked up just one point from three trips to top-half teams so far. Indeed, they’ve lost five of six winless trips to top-five opponents since the start of last season, failing to score in four of these games. They trailed at the break in five of these games and three of their defeats were by more than two goals and as a result we’re siding with the Reds on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Liverpool -1.5 Asian Handicap at 1.85

Southampton v Tottenham

Thursday December 29, 6:45am AEDT

Southampton picked up an impressive 3-1 win at Bournemouth to move up to seventh as they look set to battle it out for the European spots once again despite the departure of their manager and a number of key players over the summer. Spurs, meanwhile, made it four wins in their last six with their 2-1 home win over Burnley to move within a point of their North London rivals in fourth.

The Saints have won their last two at home and haven’t conceded in their last three at St. Mary’s. Indeed, they’ve proven a tough nut to crack for visiting teams as they’ve lost just two of their last 18 at home, with both of those defeats coming against Chelsea. They’ve lost just four of their 10 home games against top-four opposition since 2014/15, beating the likes of Man City and Arsenal in that time and as such they look a big price at 2.96, particularly with Jay Rodriguez proving they can find goals without Charlie Austin as he netted a brace at Bournemouth.

Whilst Spurs have won four of their last six, each of those victories have come in home games against teams currently in the bottom-eight. Indeed, Spurs are W1-D5-L2 against top-half teams so far and so we’re keen to take them on, particularly as they’ve lost their last two on the road and are winless in five away. Indeed, they’ve managed just three goals in their last five on the road and since Saints have scored more than once in just one of their home games, we don’t expect there to be too many goals in this one so we’re backing Under 2.5 Goals as well as siding with the hosts on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

Back on Betfair BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.81

Back on Betfair BACK – Southampton 0 Asian Handicap at 2.11

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