Our football scribe previews round 29 of the 2016/17 English Premier League campaign.
Gameweek 29 of the Premier League has a full set of fixtures this weekend, with the tie of the round undoubtedly the clash between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. I’ll be focussing on the rest of the matches, with the bookies more than generous with their odds.
Saturday 18 March
West Brom 36/10 | Draw 28/10 | Arsenal 7/10
West Brom were thumped 3-0 away to Everton last Saturday and now trail the Toffees by seven points. That was the Baggies’ second loss in a row following their 2-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace. Tony Pulis’ men know that a positive showing against Arsenal will help them turn around their recent poor form.
Arsenal ended their two-match losing streak with a comprehensive 5-0 win over non-league Lincoln City in the FA Cup. The Gunners boast an impressive record against West Brom, having won nine of their last 13 meetings, drawing three and losing once. With a lot of negativity in the Arsenal camp, I wouldn’t put money on them; however, I still expect them to come away with three points.
Crystal Palace 9/10 | Draw 24/10 | Watford 31/10
Crystal Palace will be looking to make it three wins in a row against Watford, who are winless in three matches. Back-to-back wins over Middlesbrough and West Brom had hauled the Eagles away from trouble slightly, but they are now just one point above the drop zone following Hull’s 2-1 win over Swansea.
Watford had a break from action last weekend due to Chelsea’s progression to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. The Hornets’ last Premier League encounter ended in a thrilling 4-3 defeat at home to Southampton, before a 1-1 draw against West Ham and 2-0 loss at Manchester United. I’m going for the home win at 9/10.
Everton 5/10 | Draw 31/10 | Hull City 52/10
Everton bounced back from their 3-2 defeat against Spurs with a comfortable 3-0 win over West Brom thanks to goals from Kevin Mirallas, Morgan Schneiderlin and the in-form Romelu Lukaku. That was the Toffees’ fifth straight win at Goodison Park, having scored 18 goals while conceding three – keeping four clean sheets.
Hull City snapped a three-game winless streak by overcoming Swansea 2-1 thanks to a brace from Oumar Niasse. Marco Silva’s side completed the double over the Swans, having won the reverse tie 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium in August. However, that was their only away win in the Premier League this season. The Tigers are winless in 13 travels, losing 11 times – they’ve scored just five goals in the process. The home win is a banker at 5/10.
Stoke 47/10 | Draw 29/10 | Chelsea 11/20
Stoke did extremely well to shut out Manchester City last week and Mark Hughes will be hoping his men can do the same against runaway leaders Chelsea. The Potters will be looking to make home advantage count and extend their unbeaten run at the bet365 Stadium to nine matches – they’ve won four times in the process.
Antonio Conte’s side recorded a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Monday night in the FA Cup quarter-finals, thanks to a strike from N'Golo Kante. The result extended the Blues’ unbeaten run to 11 matches, winning nine times in the process. Chelsea won the reverse fixture 4-2 in December and I’m backing them to come away with maximum points.
Sunderland 29/20 | Draw 43/20 | Burnley 19/10
Sunderland, who are six points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, will be hoping to avoid defeat for the fourth time in a row when they host Burnley. These teams will be meeting for the fourth time this season, with Sean Dyche’s side going unbeaten in those games.
A hat-trick from Andre Gray helped Burnley to a 4-1 win in the Premier League in December. They met a month later in the FA Cup and played to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light, before Gray and Sam Vokes gave Burnley a 2-0 victory at Turf Moor. I’m backing the Clarets on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.
West Ham 12/10 | Draw 23/10 | Leicester City 43/20
West Ham’s winless streak extended to four matches as they went down 3-2 away to Bournemouth, courtesy of a hat-trick from Josh King. That was their second defeat in a row following their 2-1 home loss against Chelsea, before back-to-back draws with West Brom and Watford. Leicester City have been impressive since the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, beating Liverpool and Hull City, both by 3-1 scorelines.
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The Foxes will be aiming to complete the double over Slaven Bilic’s side, having won the reverse tie 1-0 in December thanks to a header from Islam Slimani. Craig Shakespeare, who has been appointed manager until the end of the season, will be hoping his side can continue their revival and come away with maximum points. West Ham have struggled at the London Stadium, therefore I’m going for Leicester to come away with maximum points.
Bournemouth 12/10 | Draw 47/20 | Swansea 43/20
Josh King netted a hat-trick for Bournemouth in a 3-2 home win over West Ham, ending an eight-match winless run in the Premier League. The result eased their relegation fears and Eddie Howe will be confident his players can build on that performance. The Cherries cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win in the reverse fixture thanks to goals from Benik Afobe, Ryan Fraser and King.
First-half injuries to Fernando Llorente and Angel Rangel conspired to upset Swansea's survival bid as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss away to Hull last Saturday. The first-half injuries upset the chemistry of the team, and Swansea looked soft and uninterested for the majority of the second half. Paul Clement will be sweating on the fitness of top scorer Llorente as well as Rangel and Martin Olsson. Back the Cherries to oust their opponents at 12/10.
Sunday 19 March
Middlesbrough 52/10 | Draw 11/4 | Man United 11/20
Middlesbrough will be hoping to end their three-match losing streak and will be relieved with the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will serve the second game of his three-match ban. Boro’s record against the top six is a huge concern for Aitor Karanka. They’ve lost to United, Liverpool, Chelsea and twice to Spurs, but managed to hold Arsenal and City to draws.
The Red Devils suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Monday, ending their 10-match unbeaten streak. Jose Mourinho has a number of injury doubts for this match, along with the absence of Ibrahimovic, but United have plenty of quality in their side. Back the away win at 11/20.
Tottenham 7/10 | Draw 11/4 | Southampton 36/10
Tottenham’s impressive form continued as they thumped League One side Millwall 6-0 in the FA Cup to book their place in the semi-finals. The victory – their third in a row, which extended their unbeaten run to five matches – was bittersweet, due to an early injury to Harry Kane, with reports suggesting he could be out for the remainder of the season. That would be a huge blow to Mauricio Pochettino’s side as it could derail their chances of finishing in the top four.
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Southampton will be looking to avenge their humiliating 4-1 home defeat against Spurs. The Saints are riding a two-match winning streak in the Premier League, having scored four in each tie against Sunderland and Watford. New signing Manolo Gabbiadini has been prolific in front of goal, scoring six goals in just four games. A tight affair is expected, but Spurs are tipped to edge their opponents.
Man City 19/20 | Draw 26/10 | Liverpool 26/10
Liverpool’s impressive record against the big guns will be put to the test once more when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. The Citizens are unbeaten in the league since they lost 4-0 to Merseyside giants, Everton, at Goodison Park in January – before that, it was Liverpool’s 1-0 win over them on New Year's Eve.
The Reds will be looking for their first win away from home since the start of the year, with their 1-0 win at Plymouth in the FA Cup being their only victory across all competitions away from Anfield in 2017. Liverpool have been the rest of the big teams’ nightmare this season. However, with the Reds going through a rough patch of form away from Anfield, now is the perfect time for Man City to claim bragging rights.
Klopp’s side have conceded too many goals for a team competing for top four. Personally, I don’t see the Reds making it come the end of the season and I’m backing them to fall short here. The pace of Sterling could be a worry for Liverpool, with the Englishman tipped to get on the scoresheet. Back Manchester City to Win & Sterling to Score Anytime at a great price of 3/1.
Arsenal Win 7/10
Everton Win 5/10
Chelsea Win 11/20
Man United Win 11/20
Tottenham Win 7/10
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets