English Premier League Season 2016/17 – Week 21
Saturday January 14, 11:30pm AEDT
Spurs put an abrupt halt to Chelsea’s winning run as they beat the Blues 2-0 at White Hart Lane to stretch their own winning streak to five games. Pocchetino’s men moved up to third with that victory, now just seven points behind Chelsea. West Brom made it back-to-back wins as they came from behind to beat Hull, their sixth win in 10 as the Baggies are now up to ninth.
Key to Spurs’ success in recent weeks has been the return to form of Alli of Kane, with the former netting seven in his last four. Spurs have been excellent at White Hart Lane all season, winning eight of 10 unbeaten games there and keeping six clean sheets. They’ve hosted seven of the current bottom-nine, but wins over City and Chelsea prove what a tough proposition they are at the Lane.
While the Baggies are W8-D4-L0 against sides outside the top-nine, they’re just W0-D1-L7 against the current top-nine, with that sole point in fact coming at home to Spurs. They’ve failed to score in the last four of these defeats against top-six sides and three of their four defeats at top-half teams this term. The Baggies have in fact drawn five of their last seven meetings with Spurs and haven’t lost at White Hart Lane since January 2012, but such is Spurs’ form at the moment that we expect that run to come to an end. We’re backing the hosts to win without conceding, as they have done in three of their last four home games and eight of their last 10 home wins.
BACK – Spurs Win to Nil at 2.15
Sunday January 15, 2:00am AEDT
Swansea ended a run of four straight defeats with a 2-1 victory at Palace, with new manager Paul Clement watching on from the stands. As a result, the Swans have moved off the foot of the table and to within a point of Palace in 17th. Arsenal, meanwhile, have dropped out of the top-four for the first time since September after they had to come from behind to rescue a miraculous point at Bournemouth. They trail Chelsea by eight points and can’t afford any more slipups before they travel to Stamford Bridge on February 4.
Swansea have lost their last two at home whilst conceding seven goals, against Bournemouth and West Ham, while they’ve lost but scored at home to the Manchester clubs and Liverpool already this term. Indeed, despite their struggles, they tend to at least find the net in front of their own fans as they’ve scored in all but three of their last 15 at the Liberty Stadium.
Bournemouth highlighted the Gunners’ defensive frailties in the 3-3 thriller at the Vitality Stadium as Wenger’s men have now managed just two clean sheets in their last 11, and both of those were at home. They’re without a clean sheet in six on the road and whilst they’ve won at West Ham, Sunderland, Hull and Watford this term, each of those managed to find the net. With that in mind, we’re backing Arsenal to Win and Both Teams to Score.
BACK – Arsenal to Win and Both Teams to Score at 3.0
Sunday January 15, 2:00am AEDT
After three straight wins, West Ham have lost their last two, at Leicester and at home to Utd and as a result they’ve slipped back down to 13th. Crystal Palace have also lost their last two, the latest of which was at home to fellow strugglers Swansea, a result that means Sam Allardyce’s side are now just a point clear of the relegation zone.
Having struggled to adapt to the London Stadium initially, West Ham have lost just two of their last seven there, and those were against Man Utd and Arsenal. They’ve beaten Hull, Burnley and Sunderland in that time but they continue to struggle for goals as they haven’t scored more than once in their last eight at home, with each of those three victories by one goal to nil.
Whilst Palace have leaked goals on the road this term, we expect them to improve defensively the longer that Big Sam has to drill the back four. Their only defeat in their last three away came at the Emirates, the only instance of them failing to score in their last nine away games. Palace have lost Wilfried Zaha to the African Cup of Nations, but the Hammers are without Andrew Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate. Senegalese international Kouyate has missed just six games for the Hammers since the start of last season and they’ve conceded 14 goals without him, but they concede an average of only 1.4 goals in the 52 matches he’s started over that period. As such, this looks a good opportunity to take the Hammers on, so we’re backing Palace to pick up at least a point.
LAY – West Ham at 2.26
Sunday January 15, 2:00am AEDT
Watford’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke was their seventh in their last 10 as they’ve slipped down from seventh to fourteenth, with goals severely lacking for Walter Mazzarri’s side as they’ve managed just two in their last five. Middlesbrough have struggled for goals all season as their tally of 17 is the lowest in the division along with Hull. They picked up a point at home to Leicester last time out and so are four points clear of the relegation zone and just three points behind Watford.
While they’ve lost their last five on the road, the Hornets have lost just two of their last eight at Vicarage Road, during which time they’ve won four times. Indeed, their record when hosting bottom-six teams is an impressive W5-D3-L1 since the start of last term, though their performance in their last two at home has to be a concern. They had to come from behind to rescue a point against Palace, whilst they lost 4-1 against Spurs and it could in fact have been even more comfortable for Pochettino’s side.
Boro have lost their last three on the road, but those have been narrow one goal defeats against Man Utd, Burnley and Southampton, all of whom have decent home records this term. Prior to that Karanka’s men had lost just one of their first seven away as they managed draws at the Etihad and Emirates. Watford look too short at 2.52 for a side in such poor form and so we’re going to side with Boro on the Asian Handicap.
BACK – Middlesbrough +0.25 Asian Handicap at 1.83
Sunday January 15, 1:00am AEDT
Sunderland picked up an excellent point at home to Liverpool last time out to move within one of Palace in 17th, which looked unlikely when they were rooted to the foot of the table after 10 games with just two points. Stoke, meanwhile, got back to winning ways after tough trips to Liverpool and Chelsea as they beat Watford 2-0 at home to move back up to 11th.
Sunderland are in fact in excellent form at home as they’ve won three of their last five there, with their only defeats in their last seven at the Stadium of Light coming against Chelsea and Arsenal. Indeed, when hosting teams outside the top-six they’re W6-D7-L7 since the start of last season, scoring in all but four of these 20 games.
While Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures, travelling to Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in their last three road games, they’ve been well-beaten by each, conceding 11 goals across these three games. For a side that has won only two of their last 13 away, they look too short at 2.5. What’s more, Sunderland have won six of seven unbeaten home games against Stoke since 2010/11 and haven’t lost at home to the Potters in the league since 1994, some 14 games ago. With that in mind, we’re backing the Black Cats to defy the absence of the likes of N’Dong and Kone to the African Cup of Nations and pick up at least a point.
BACK – Sunderland +0.25 Asian Handicap at 1.85
Sunday January 15, 2:00am AEDT
Burnley were beaten 2-1 at the Etihad in their last game, despite their hosts being reduced to 10 men just after the half hour mark. Nonetheless, Sean Dyche’s side are 12th and having an excellent season as they’re now just a point behind Southampton in 10th. Saints have lost their last three and were thumped 3-0 at Goodison Park last time out as they’ve now managed just three wins in their last 12.
Burnley have been excellent at Turf Moor , winning five of their last six there and only suffering narrow defeats against Arsenal and City since losing against Swansea on the opening day of the season. They’ve beaten the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Bournemouth already, leading at the break in each of these victories, while they’ve conceded just one first-half goal at home all season.
Saints have failed to score in three of their last four on the road and have won just two of their 10 away matches all season. With that in mind, they look far too short at 2.22 and we’re certainly taking them on at that price. They’ve won only four of their 15 trips to bottom-half sides since the start of last season and given their poor form at the moment, we’re siding with the hosts, who are a big enough price that we can take cover on the draw.
BACK – Burnley +0.25 Asian Handicap at 2.09
Sunday January 15, 2:00am AEDT
Hull took the lead at West Brom in their last game but were unable to hold on as they went on to lose 3-1, enough to cost Mike Phelan his job as it was their fourth defeat in five winless games. New manager Marco Silva faces a tough task as the Tigers are rooted to the foot of the table, 12 points behind Bournemouth, who are up in 9th after they managed a point at home to Arsenal in a 3-3 thriller. While Eddie Howe would certainly have taken a draw before the match, he’ll have been somewhat disappointed that his side let a 3-0 lead slip.
Hull have in fact been in decent form at home as their only defeat in their last five at the KCOM Stadium came against Man City. They’ve managed draws against Everton and West Brom in that time, whilst they’ve beaten Southampton. Indeed, since four of their five home defeats have come against Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd, we fancy Hull to avoid defeat against Bournemouth, who haven’t been the strongest of travelers.
The Cherries have lost six of their 10 road games this term, winning only two of their last 12 on the road and conceding at least twice in eight of these. Indeed, they’ve shipped more than two in three of their last four away and since Hull put two past Everton and three past Palace within their last three home games, we fancy the hosts to certainly get on the scoresheet. Bournemouth haven’t won any of the last 10 away games they’ve conceded in, losing eight of these, and as a result we’re siding with Hull on the Asian Handicap.
BACK – Hull +0.25 Asian Handicap at 1.86
Sunday January 15, 4:30am AEDT
Leicester picked up only their third point on the road this season as they drew 0-0 at Boro and Claudio Ranieri will no doubt be pleased that his side have kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in their title defence. Chelsea, on the other hand, are without a clean sheet in two having kept four in a row prior to that, as they saw their winning run brought to an abrupt halt with defeat at White Hart Lane.
While they’ve struggled on the road, the Foxes have lost just twice at the King Power this term, and those are the only defeats in their last 25 at home. They’ve hosted two top-six sides so far, playing out a fairly low-key goalless draw with Arsenal in their opening home game and beating a below-par Man City 4-2 a few weeks ago. Last term Arsenal were the only top-five team to beat them as they drew against Spurs and both Manchester clubs.
Chelsea had won their last six on the road whilst conceding only one goal heading into the Spurs game but they’d had a relatively easy run of fixtures as four of these were against bottom-six sides and they took advantage of Man City’s profligacy in front of goal in their 1-3 victory at the Etihad. Leicester are of course a bottom-six side themselves, but they remain a tough team to beat at home.
The Foxes are without Riyadh Mahrez, who’s at the African Cup of Nations, but the Algerian hasn’t hit the heights of last term and so perhaps his absence won’t be felt too strongly. Since three of Chelsea’s last four away wins have been by just a single goal, at struggling Palace, Sunderland and Boro, while Leicester have lost only one of their last 25 at home by more than one goal, we’re backing the champions +1 on the Asian Handicap.
BACK – Leicester +1 Asian Handicap at 1.85
Monday January 16, 12:30am AEDT
Ronald Koeman got one over on his former club as his Everton side beat Southampton 3-0 at home to remain in 7th, though they’re now nine points behind Man Utd as the top six have separated themselves from the rest of the division. Man City’s 2-1 home win over Burnley, which came despite Fernandinho being shown a red card after 32 minutes, means that the Citizens are up to fourth, but they’re seven points behind Chelsea.
Everton have lost only one of their 10 home games this term and that came after a 94th minute Saido Mane winner in the Merseyside derby. Indeed, they’ve drawn at home to both Spurs and Man Utd, while they’ve beaten Arsenal at Goodison. However, they’ve lost summer signing Idrissa Gueye to the African Cup of Nations and they’ll be without him for only the second time this term. The other he missed through suspension and the Toffees were hammered 5-0 at Stamford Bridge without him. With McCarthy and Besic both out injured at the moment, Everton are lacking options in the middle of the park and could be overrun by the Citizens.
Guardiola’s men have won seven of their 10 away games, including all four of their visits to teams between 6th and 12th as they’ve won at Stoke, Utd, West Brom and Burnley. With the energetic Gueye absent, the likes of Silva and de Bruyne could have plenty of space and time to pull the strings and with that in mind the Citizens look a fair price at 1.88.
BACK – Man City at 1.88
Monday January 16, 3:00am AEDT
Man Utd’s 2-0 win at the London Stadium was their sixth on the bounce and they’re now just three points behind their Manchester rivals in fourth. Their only defeat in their last 15 came against league leaders Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho now looks to have established his best starting lineup having tinkered around at the start of the season. Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Sunderland ended a run of four straight wins during which time they conceded just one goal, but Chelsea’s defeat at Spurs means that Jurgen Klopp’s side are just five points behind the Blues heading into this gameweek, while Conte’s men visit Anfield at the end of this month.
Utd look to be over their ‘draw-itis’ as they’ve won their last three at Old Trafford, though the last two of those have been against strugglers Sunderland and Boro. The Red Devils remain vulnerable defensively as they’re kept just two clean sheets in their last nine at home. They’ve also struggled against the sides above them so far, picking up only five points from their five games against the top-five.
Liverpool have performed by far the best against fellow top-six teams to date, picking up 11 points from five such games. Indeed, they’ve accrued seven points from trips to Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea already, while they’ve also won at Everton. The excellent Coutinho is nearing a return to fitness and could well feature here and with that in mind, Utd look too short at 2.2 given their performance against the ‘top’ teams so far and so we’ll be laying them.
LAY – Man Utd at 2.22