There's some fantastic midweek football on the go. Check out our preview for Wednesday night's EPL games.
The Premier League organisers - in all their generosity of spirit - have recognised that the average observer doesn’t really care an iota about the international qualifiers. I’m not condoning that sentiment, it’s just the truth. So in an effort to make up for the international break, a full list of midweek fixtures should come as a tonic for those football starved punters. Crystal Palace have done everyone a favour with that result at the weekend, making this week’s set of fixtures extra significant. The City versus Chelsea match is clearly going to be a pivotal fixture and could go some way to determining how comfortable Chelsea’s ‘procession’ will be. Elsewhere, Hull host Boro in a veritable six-pointer while Spurs visit the Swans in their bid to close the gap further on Chelsea.
Wednesday 5th April
Paul Clement’s side will feel quite disenchanted that they couldn’t get the job done against Middlesbrough at home, and they will be sweating on the fitness of Spanish striker Fernando Llorente this week. Spurs went about their business in a fairly professional manner against Burnley, barely noticing the absence of one Harry Kane. For some reason, and I honestly don’t know what it is, I think that Swansea have a decent chance this week. Their recent home form has been solid and they have managed some credible results against the top sides this season.
Double Chance Swansea to Win or Draw at 21/20
Sometimes you have to go by whatever gut feeling is there. Sure, Spurs did narrow the gap on Chelsea and have the opportunity to close that further, but just look at the way they folded last season when opportunity beckoned.
Arsenal 4/10 | Draw 39/10 | West Ham 6/1
Apparently, the West Ham board has unanimously thrown their full support behind Slaven Bilic and say are saying that any talk of a termination is ridiculous. Which is probably to say he has two more games. In all seriousness though - the spectres of Payet’s departure and acclimatisation to a new stadium have haunted Bilic this year, as has a slew of injury concerns. Andy Carroll will look to expose the soft, vulnerable center of Arsenal this week. However, Arsenal traditionally are very strong against West Ham, particularly at the Emirates. Walcott has an excellent record against them while the likes of Sanchez should be able to take advantage of a vulnerable West Ham side.
Home to Score In Both Halves at 17/20
At 4/10 for an Arsenal win, there’s not really too much value in backing the Gunners for a simple victory. But I’m certain that they will expose a West Ham defensive line-up full of injury concerns inconsistency.
Hull City 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Middlesbrough 29/10
Just how costly will that final minute missed header by Rudi Gestede against Swansea turn out to be when the final tallies are counted this season? Negredo’s delicious banana-esque pass perfectly dissected the defence and landed on one of the most dangerous heads - that was a weird statement - in European football. Hull picked up a huge victory against West Ham and will know that backing it up here could be vital as the Swans host Spurs. It’s getting to the point where Agnew’s men pretty much need to get a result. I just think there’s a gulf in quality there that is going to be hard to overcome.
Both Teams to Score - No - at 7/10
I think that this is a classic relegation clash in the sense that neither one of these sides really possesses the firepower to win enough games to make safety assured. I sense a 1-0 victory either way.
Southampton 8/10 | Draw 49/20 | Crystal Palace 7/2
The king-slayers travel to the Saints with Southampton having virtually nothing to play for this season. Their position is going to be safely entrenched in the middle of the log with lamentations of a missed opportunity in the League Cup final their main memories of the year. Palace will be aiming to utilise their pace and upward momentum against a side that has greatly lost momentum as the season has rattled on.
Crystal Palace to Win at 7/2
Palace have all the momentum and have everything to play for. Provided that other results go their way, this week could go a long way in guaranteeing their survival.
Liverpool 7/20 | Draw 39/10 | Bournemouth 6/1
Bournemouth will be looking to pull off one of the most unlikely doubles in recent footballing memory this week. Their counterattacking style almost perfectly fronts up against Liverpool’s no-holds-barred approach. The likes of King and Fraser give them plenty of incision and speed on the break and I expect them to show quite a bit of fight this week. Liverpool may have won the Merseyside derby at a fair old canter, but wouldn’t it just be so Liverpool for them to slip up in this game, causing Klopp those awkward post-match questions about their ability to motivate themselves for the less glamorous ties.
Home to Score in Both Halves at 9/10
Liverpool may actually not win this match - but I fully expect them to score in both stanzas. This game just opens itself up for a scoring fest - with both Klopp and Howe embracing a free-flowing, open style that leaves their defences vulnerable.
Chelsea 13/10 | Draw 23/10 | Manchester City 2/1
This huge clash sees the Chelsea juggernaut smarting somewhat following what will have been a slightly chastening home defeat to Palace. In reality, they dominated that game. In many ways, the fact that City were not able to fully dispose of a beleaguered and almost defeated Arsenal side was more disturbing. Chelsea dominated that game and will look to be more compact against a City side built to counterattack. Look for Fernandinho and Kante to have a particularly explosive clash in the heart of the midfield.
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Chelsea to Win at 13/10
I expect Chelsea to bounce back and reinstate the confidence their fans had in them. I expect them to dominate dead-ball scenarios against a City side vulnerable defence.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets