English Premier League Season 2016/17 – Week 19
Saturday December 31, 7:00am AEST
Hull were beaten 0-3 at home to Man City on Boxing Day meaning they’ve now lost and failed to score in their last three and are propping up the foot of the table, though they trail Swansea only on goal difference. The 0-3 scoreline flattered the Citizens somewhat as they didn’t break the deadlock until the 72nd minute but Everton were good value for their 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium and as a result they’ve moved up to 7th.
Hull haven’t kept a clean sheet since the second day of the season and it’s worth noting that four of Everton’s away matches when they’ve netted have had Over 2.5 Goals. Five of Hull’s nine home matches this term have had Over 2.5 Goals so it’s a little surprising to see overs at odds-against here.
It’s been a season full of goals throughout the league. 54% of the games played have had Over 2.5 Goals which is a couple of percent higher than the long term average.
BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 2.20 or better.
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEDT
Burnley continue to be an excellent side at home as their 1-0 win over Middlesbrough meant they moved up to 14th, six points clear of the relegation zone. They remain at Turf Moor for this one as they host Sunderland, who are down in 18th after they were beaten 3-1 on David Moyes’s return to Old Trafford. However, the Black Cats have won four of their last eight after picking up just two points from their first 10 as they’ve certainly improved after that dreadful start.
While Burnley have picked up only one point and scored two goals in their eight road games, they’re an entirely different proposition at Turf Moor, where they’ve won six of 10 and Arsenal and City are the only teams to have beaten them since the opening day of the season. Indeed, they’ve beaten bottom-half sides Boro, Bournemouth and Palace within their last four home matches and so they look a decent price at 2.44 for the three points here.
Sunderland have managed only four points on the road so far and failed to score in five of their last seven away. However, they’ve conceded more than twice in just two of their nine road games, despite having already gone to Liverpool, Spurs and Man City, as they’ve generally proven tough to break down. Indeed, four of their last six away defeats were either 0-1 or 0-2 scorelines and since half of Burnley’s home wins were also by those scores, we’re backing the home win and Under 2.5 Goals.
BACK – Burnley to Win and Under 2.5 Goals at $4.50 or better
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEST
The return to fitness of Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll has given West Ham’s attack a significant boost. The result has been three consecutive wins but in the opposite dugout the problems are only mounting for Ranieri as Leicester continue to slide towards the drop zone.
Only once in West Ham’s last 15 away matches have they failed to score and while their record on the road this season isn’t great seven of their nine trips have been against teams that are currently in the top half. Worrying for the Foxes, the Hammers won their other two away games. We certainly expect them to score again and you have to fancy goals in this one. 19 of West Ham’s 28 away matches since the start of last season have seen at least three goals and 13 of the last 25 have had four or more. Furthermore, their last seven trips to bottom-half teams have averaged more than four goals per game.
Leicester should have be able to field a far stronger team than against Everton on Boxing Day as Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez and Drinkwater are likely to return. At the King Power, with only Jamie Vardy missing, we’d expect Leicester to also get on the score-sheet and half their last 12 matches here have had at least four goals. In the match outcome Leicester look too short and we’d lean towards a lay of the home side but the best bet here is undoubtedly for goals, and lots of them.
BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at $1.95
BACK – Over 3.5 at $3.40
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEST
Jose Mourinho finally looks to have established his best team at Utd as they’ve won their last four and it’s no surprise to see that they’ve won five of seven unbeaten games since Carrick was brought into the centre of midfield, allowing Pogba more freedom to justify his hefty price tag. The Red Devils are now up to 6th, just four points off Arsenal in 4th. Boro, meanwhile, were beaten 1-0 at Burnley, their third defeat without scoring in their last four and consequently they’ve dropped down to 15th, just four points clear of the relegation zone.
Not only have Utd won their last four but they’ve also led at the break in each of those victories and have conceded just twice in these games. Indeed, they’ve led at the break in their last seven home wins and have had W/W doubles in their last five home games against bottom-six opposition. Four of these victories were also by more than one goal, as indeed were five of their last six home wins against all opposition as Old Trafford remains a tough place to go despite Mourinho’s slow start.
Having said that, Boro have lost only one of their nine away games by more than one goal while they’ve also managed draws at City and Arsenal. Indeed, since they’ve drawn the first half in six of their last eight on the road and have trailed at the break in only five of their 18 games all season, we think Karanka will once again set his side up to be tough to break down and at least make it to the break unscathed. Six of Utd’s last eight home wins were by either 1-0 or 2-0 scorelines and so we’re going to back that, as well as the half time draw.
BACK – Man Utd to Win and Under 2.5 Goals at $3.1 or better
BACK – Half Time Draw at $2.63 or better
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEST
Both these teams were beaten earlier in the week, but those came against two of the top five and they should shake those results off and see this match as a better chance of three points. The Saints have been inconsistent this season as they’ve struggled to find a reliable source of goals. Only once in their nine home games have they found the net more than once and with Nathan Redmond banned for this match, and Charlie Austin still injured, it’s hard to see where a significant improvement comes here. Seven of those nine matches had fewer than three goals and we could well see another low scoring clash.
The Baggies have scored only once in their last six matches against Southampton but they’ve also kept three clean sheets in that time as five of the meetings finished with fewer than two goals. They’ve shown a greater threat in front of goal at home this season but on the road they remain relatively cautious and 10 of their last 12 away matches have had fewer than three goals.
Southampton have won nine of their last 11 home games against middle-third teams but with their problems up front and the improvement West Brom have shown this season the draw looks greater value. However, we don’t see many goals in this one and we’ll take Under 1.5 Goals as our best bet.
BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at $3.10 or better
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEDT
Chelsea defied the absence of Costa and Kante as they were comfortable 3-0 winners at home to Bournemouth on Boxing Day. That stretched the Blues’ winning run to 12 games and ensured that their lead at the top remains a comfortable six points. Stoke took an early lead at Anfield against Chelsea’s nearest challengers, but they were unable to hold on to it as they went on to lose 4-1, stretching their winless run to four games as they’ve dropped down to 13th.
Chelsea broke a sequence of three 1-0 wins with the victory over Bournemouth as they’ve remarkably conceded just two goals during this current spell of dominance. They’ve had W/W doubles in four of their last six at home, with Spurs the only team to find the net at Stamford Bridge in that time.
Prior to visits to Arsenal and Liverpool, Stoke had been decent on the road as they’d lost only two of their opening seven away games, but they’ve struggled in recent times when travelling to the top teams. They’ve lost six of seven winless trips to top-five opponents since the start of last season, failing to score in four of these games. They were also behind at the break in six of these and as such we’re expecting Chelsea’s winning run to continue so we’re backing the Blues to be ahead at half time and full time and also to win without conceding.
BACK – Chelsea/Chelsea HT/FT at $1.87
BACK – Chelsea Win to Nil at $2.0
Sunday January 1, 2:00am AEST
Swansea’s 4-1 defeat at home to West Ham was their fourth in their last five games as they’ve conceded 15 goals in those four losses. They’re down to 19th and only lead Hull on goal difference, with Bob Bradley already under severe pressure. Bournemouth became the latest team to be undone by the Chelsea juggernaut as they were beaten 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day, though that was their third defeat in their last four and so they’ve slipped to 13th.
Swansea have now conceded more than twice in seven of their last nine and while they managed to put five past Palace and three past Sunderland, such defensive vulnerability makes it extremely difficulty to pick up points. With Bournemouth likely to get on the scoresheet, the question then is whether the Swans can outscore them, as they did in those home wins over Sunderland and Palace.
Bournemouth have themselves shipped nine in their last three on the road and while six of those came at Chelsea and Arsenal, the other three came at Burnley, who are the fourth lowest scorers in the division. However, Eddie Howe’s side managed two themselves in that game at Turf Moor and given these sides’ defensive issues, we expect there to be plenty of goals. Five of Swansea’s last eight at home have seen more than three goals, as have four of Bournemouth’s last seven on the road, making Over 2.5 Goals look an excellent price at 1.91.
BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at $1.91
Liverpool v Man City
Sunday January 1, 4:30am AEST
Both these teams have won three in a row after a pair of wins earlier in the week by three-goal margins. Neither of those victories were as comfortable as they sound but this is the match they’ll have been focussing on this week.
Coutinho remains out for the Reds but his absence hasn’t hurt their scoring as Lallana, Firmino and Mane continue to impress. They’re now unbeaten in 16 matches at home and have scored at least four times in half their eight games here this season. They’ve also won their last three games against City, though the strongest trend from matches between the pair is that the last nine clashes have all seen at least three goals, with eight featuring both teams scoring.
City’s recent win over Arsenal prevented any premature club-in-crisis shouts but they’ve been far from their best in the past couple of months. Sergio Aguero should return following the completion of his ban but problems at the back have seen them keep just two clean sheets in their last 12 away matches (against goal-shy Hull and a defensive West Brom side). It’s certainly hard to see them stopping Liverpool scoring given that form and the fact they failed to win at any of the top nine last season (W0-D3-L5). Over 3.5 Goals is a tempting bet but we think Liverpool have the edge right now and the best value is to back them to win and both teams to score.
BACK – Liverpool Win and Both Teams to Score at $4.10
Monday January 2, 12:30am AEST
Watford were somewhat fortunate to get a point on Boxing Day as Christian Benteke gave them the gift of a penalty miss. Harry Kane also missed from the spot on Wednesday but it made no difference as Spurs romped to a 4-1 win at Southampton. That’s their third win on the spin as they keep the pressure on the top four.
Watford’s recent form has been pretty ordinary as they’ve failed to score in half their last six matches. Given their only clean sheet in their last 14 home matches came against goal-shy Hull that is a real concern as they welcome one of the league’s top teams. Spurs are enjoying their best form in front of goal all season as they’ve scored 18 times in their last seven games on their way to five wins. The two failures in that run were against Chelsea and Man Utd but against weaker sides they are very hard to stop. Since the start of last season they’ve been unbeaten in 13 trips to middle-third teams but seven of those actually ended all-square.
That suggests the draw is the better value but with the form of both teams seemingly heading in opposite directions at the moment we have to back Spurs to make in four in a row. Eight of their last 11 away wins have actually been by more than one goal, so if they get ahead we don’t expect them to let Watford escape and they could win this by a few.
BACK – Spurs Win at $1.75 or better
Monday January 2, 3:00am AEDT
With a bit more luck Palace would have won their last four away games. They were also close to holding both Man Utd and Chelsea to draws at Selhurst Park this month, but the fact is they lost both games and have taken just two points from those last four road trips as their defence always looks capable of conceding out of nowhere.
Arsenal fans might think the same after throwing away recent leads against Everton and Man City but on home soil they’ll expect to take full advantage of their opponent’s problems. The Gunners were frustrated for long periods by West Brom on Boxing Day but they got the three points in the end and have won six of their last eight here.
For all Palace’s problems this season they do carry a goal threat as both teams have scored in each of their last eight on the road. Big Sam’s Sunderland side survived on the back of a decent scoring record so we don’t expect the goals to dry up for Palace and six of those eight away games saw at least three goals with five having four or more. Arsenal are also vulnerable at the back – their win over West Brom was their first clean sheet in nine games – but with Sanchez, Giroud, Ozil, and Walcott they should out-score Palace. They’ve won despite conceding in five of their last six matches against teams currently occupying the bottom half of the standings, while six of Palace’s last seven defeats have been despite them finding the net.
BACK – Arsenal Win and Both Teams to Score at $3.10