Our football scribe previews matchday 21 of the 2016/17 English Premier League campaign.
The Premier League returns with some cracking matchups in store, including a Super Sunday clash between Man United and Liverpool at Old Trafford. There are good odds on offer and I’m confident we can make some money together.
Saturday 14 January
Tottenham 3/10 | Draw 4/1 | West Brom 9/1
We kick things off with a clash between third-placed Tottenham and seventh-placed West Brom. Spurs recorded a fifth straight league win by beating leaders Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane and ending their 13-game winning streak. By keeping a clean sheet against Antonio Conte’s side, Tottenham overtook the Blues as the stingiest defence with only 14 goals allowed in 20 rounds of play. Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be looking to continue their impressive form against West Brom.
The Baggies are riding a two-match winning streak, but they’ve picked up just one point from six matches against the top six. That point came against Spurs in October when Dele Alli’s 89th minute equaliser cancelled out Nacer Chadli’s 82nd minute strike. Tony Pulis’ men are pretty solid defensively but with the creative talents of Alli and Christian Eriksen providing chances for Harry Kane, Spurs should secure all three points.
Burnley 24/10 | Draw 43/20 | Southampton 23/20
Our next game sees 12th-placed Burnley host 10th-placed Southampton. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 2-1 defeat away to Manchester City, while the visitors make the trip to Turf Moor off a 3-0 loss away to Everton, their third consecutive league defeat. Sean Dyche’s side have been excellent at home, beating Liverpool and Everton and holding their own against Arsenal.
Seven victories so far is an excellent haul that has ensured Turf Moor remains fortress-like following last year's promotion. The Saints have been struggling in recent weeks and have won just two of their 10 away matches. Burnley are tipped to pick up maximum points by claiming their fourth straight home win.
Hull City 22/10 | Draw 23/10 | Bournemouth 12/10
Bottom side Hull City will host ninth-placed Bournemouth with Marco Silva in the hotseat for the Tigers. The Portuguese boss, who has replaced Mike Phelan, will be hoping he can lead the club to safety this season, but he faces a daunting task as Hull are winless in their last nine league matches with six defeats. The Tigers have been slightly better at home, losing just once in their last five matches at the KCOM Stadium.
Bournemouth were 3-0 up against Arsenal with 20 minutes remaining at the Vitality Stadium but a lack of concentration, as well as a sending off to Steve Francis, helped Arsenal produce a stunning comeback. Prior to that result, Eddie Howe’s side recorded a 3-0 win at Swansea and will look to return to winning ways. The Cherries thrashed Hull 6-1 at home back in October and they’re a top bet at 12/10.
Sunderland 39/20 | Draw 22/10 | Stoke City 14/10
Sunderland are stuck in the bottom three, one point from the safety zone, and are braced for what is becoming an annual battle at the Stadium of Light to beat the drop. The Black Cats bounced back from their crushing 4-1 defeat at Burnley by earning a spirited 2-2 draw against Liverpool. David Moyes will be encouraged by the fighting spirit of his charges as he looks to extend the club’s 10-year Premier League stay. If Sunderland want to stay in the Premier League, they have to keep hold of Jermain Defoe – the club’s leading scorer this season with 11, who is the subject of interest from West Ham.
Stoke ended a five-match winless run by beating Watford 2-0 thanks to goals from Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch. Mark Hughes’ men will be hoping to build on that result and end their three-match losing streak away from home. The Potters ran out 2-0 winners earlier in the season but with the Black Cats fighting for their top flight lives, I’m backing them on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.
Swansea City 52/10 | Draw 34/10 | Arsenal 9/20
Paul Clement’s first real test as Swansea boss is a daunting one at home to Arsenal. The Swans welcomed their new boss with a crucial 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, ending a four-match losing streak. That victory has revived hope that Swansea can still escape the drop and Clement, who has worked for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, will be hoping his side can cause an upset.
Arsenal came back from 3-0 down to draw against Bournemouth, but the rescued point shouldn’t distract from the bigger issue at hand: Arsenal were awful and they were lucky not to go home empty-handed. If they’re going to mount any sort of title challenge, they can’t afford the kind of display they put on for 70 minutes against the Cherries. Arsene Wenger will welcome the return of Mesut Ozil, who has missed the last two league games through illness. The German maestro will help take the burden off Alexis Sanchez and create goalscoring opportunities. The Gunners have enough firepower to see off Swansea, but they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six away matches. The Away Win and Both Teams to Score is the way to go at 5/4.
Watford 24/20 | Draw 2/1 | Middlesbrough 2/1
Watford will be desperate to end their poor run this weekend when they host Middlesbrough. Walter Mazzarri's side have won just once in eight games, a sequence that has seen them plummet down the table. The Hornets are winless in their last five league matches, suffering four defeats and if their poor run of form were to extend any further then they could easily be dragged into a relegation fight. Middlesbrough sit 16th in the Premier League – just four points above the relegation zone.
Following back-to-back losses against Burnley and Man United, Boro played to a goalless draw at home to Leicester. Aitor Karanka has brought in striker Rudy Gestede from second-tier side Aston Villa to add some much-needed firepower to attack as Middlesbrough are the joint-lowest scorers in the league with 17 goals in 20 games. Watford recorded a 1-0 win over Boro at the Riverside Stadium in October and I’m backing them to hand Karanka’s side their fourth consecutive defeat on the road.
West Ham 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Crystal Palace 47/20
London rivals West Ham and Crystal Palace will square off at the London Stadium. After picking up three wins on the spin, the Hammers have struggled to maintain that form and come into this tie off back-to-back losses against Leicester and Man United. Slaven Bilic’s side will be hoping to do the double over Palace after beating them 1-0 at Selhurst Park in October.
The Eagles are just one point above the relegation zone and new boss Sam Allardyce has taken just one point from his first three Premier League matches since taking the reins. Palace are winless in their last six league matches with four defeats and they are yet to keep a clean sheet under Allardyce. To make matters worse, Wilfried Zaha has joined up with Ivory Coast for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations. Back the home win at 11/10.
Leicester City 17/4 | Draw 28/10 | Chelsea 6/10
Saturday’s final fixture sees champions Leicester take on leaders Chelsea, the side they dethroned at the top of last season. After drawing 0-0 with Middlesbrough, the Foxes yet again failed to pick up three points, and have now amassed the lowest ever points return after 20 games for a defending Premier League champion, collecting just 21 points.
Chelsea’s incredible run of consecutive league wins ended at 13 as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of London rivals Spurs. Still, Antonio Conte’s side retain a healthy lead at the top of the Premier League table as they sit five points ahead of nearest challengers Liverpool. The Blues have beaten Leicester twice this season, winning 4-2 at the King Power Stadium in the EFL Cup before a 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge. Claudio Ranieri will be without Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey due to Africa Cup of Nations commitments when he returns to his old employers. New signing Wilfred Ndidi, who joined from Belgian side Genk, could be in line to make his league debut. With the lethal threat of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, along with the tireless presence of N'Golo Kante, Chelsea should bounce back and come away with maximum points. Click here to view our full betting preview <<
Sunday 15 January
Everton 32/10 | Draw 26/10 | Manchester City 8/10
Manchester City will travel to Merseyside on Sunday to take on Everton at Goodison Park. These sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium in October, Romelu Lukaku’s 64th-minute strike was cancelled out by Nolito’s header in the 72nd minute. Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero both missed penalties for Pep Guardiola's side in that match.
Everton will raise their game just as they always do against the big teams, but they’ll find it tough without Gueye and McCarthy in midfield. Man City looked back to their best against West Ham last Friday and I fancy them to come away with all three points.
Click here to view our full betting preview <<
Manchester United 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Liverpool 49/20
Manchester United and Liverpool lock horns this weekend as the oldest rivalry in British football continues. Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp will be meeting for the seventh time in their managerial career, with the German holding a superior record to the Red Devils boss.
Klopp has won three, while Mourinho has won just once, with the managers sharing the spoils on two occasions, including earlier this season in a goalless draw. With both teams still in the title race, maximum points will be the aim for both clubs. Just five points separate these two sides in the standings, with Mourinho’s men trailing Liverpool by five points.
With Man United riding a six-match winning streak, I can’t see Liverpool picking up any points at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic has been in scintillating form, banging in goals left, right and centre. United have won four of the last five games against Liverpool, and are tipped to make it five from six. At 11/10, it’s certainly worth a punt!Click here to view our full betting preview <<
Arsenal Win & BTTS 5/4
West Ham Win 11/10
Chelsea Win 6/10
Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets