English Premier League: Week 20 Preview

English Premier League: Week 20 Preview

We head into the final set of Premier League fixtures before 2019 with Liverpool top of the pile, six points ahead of Tottenham and seven ahead of third-placed Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds welcome Arsenal to Anfield in Saturday’s late kick-off in what is the match of the round. Elsewhere, Tottenham are at home against Wolves while Southampton welcome a wobbling Manchester City to St. Mary’s.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Saturday 29 December

Watford 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Newcastle 7/2
Watford would have been disappointed not come away from their encounter against Chelsea with at least a point. They went into the break at 1-1 before Ben Foster’s silly foul on Eden Hazard gifted Chelsea a penalty that the Belgian tucked away. Javi Garcia’s men matched – and dominated for long periods – against Chelsea. They will be confident of doing a number on a Newcastle side who were put to the sword by a Liverpool side who barely got out of first gear.

Rafa Benitez set his Newcastle side out to steal a 0-0 draw at Anfield last time out. When they went behind early, there didn’t seem to be any way back for the Spaniard’s side. This is an absolute must-win game for the Tyneside club who face Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham in the coming weeks. Watford are playing some really good football at the minute and shouldn’t have much trouble turning over a Newcastle side who looked truly toothless against Liverpool.

Brighton 49/20 | Draw 47/20 | Everton 23/20 
Brighton were full value for their 1-1 home draw against a faltering Arsenal outfit. Chris Hughton has worked miracles down on the south coast this season and will look to take points off of another big team when Everton come calling this weekend. Shane Duffy returns to the side to partner Lewis Dunk following a suspension. You feel they could have their hands full when the free-scoring Toffees arrive.

Everton barely had to get out of third gear to knock five past a floundering Burnley side earlier this week. The problem that Everton face, however, is their inconsistency. Marco Silva’s men simply haven’t been able to put together a decent run yet this season. Despite picking up a very good point against Arsenal on Boxing Day, I just don’t see Brighton repeating the trick. Back Everton to grab three more points here. 

Tottenham 7/20 | Draw 17/4 | Wolves 8/1
Tottenham’s emphatic 5-0 win over Bournemouth on Boxing Day, coupled with Manchester City’s defeat at the hands of Leicester, saw the North London outfit move up into second. They now sit six points behind Liverpool and can be considered real title contenders. Mauricio Pochettino’s charges are in excellent form at the minute, winning five Premier League matches on the spin, scoring 17 goals in the process.

Wolves’ form of late has been pretty good, winning three of their last five matches, including a 2-1 triumph over Chelsea. They’ll need to be at their very best if they are stand any chance against a Spurs outfit who are absolutely flying at the minute. They were pretty average last time out, however, and needed a late Romain Saiss strike to rescue a point away at struggling Fulham. Spurs should certainly have the measure of Wolves, especially at Wembley. Back them on the (-1) handicap at 19/20. 

Fulham 1/1 | Draw 9/4 | Huddersfield 3/1
The Cottagers have now gone two games unbeaten in the league and find themselves second from bottom, and four points off of safety. They have a golden opportunity now to claim only their third win of the season when bottom club Huddersfield head to West London. It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out, especially considering that Fulham have the worst defensive record in the division while Huddersfield have scored the fewest goals.

The Terriers need an absolute miracle if they are to survive this season. They’ve lost each of their last six league matches and risk being cut adrift if they suffer defeat at the hands of Fulham this weekend. David Wagner’s men look dead and buried. Get on Fulham to claim all three points here at even money.

Leicester 11/20 | Draw 31/10 | Cardiff 5/1
Leicester City – despite excellent triumphs over Manchester City and Chelsea – will need to refocus now if they don’t to slip up against Cardiff. Claude Puel’s side face a very different challenge against the Welsh outfit who will no doubt sit deep and try to hit the Foxes on the counter. Expect the likes of James Maddison to play a key role here in unlocking a stubborn defence.

Cardiff have been woeful on the road this season and have only managed to pick up two points from a possible 27. They did manage a draw against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, although it’s worth noting that Palace had plenty of chances to win that particular encounter.  Leicester should cruise to victory here. 11/20 looks a great price, definitely one to add the weekend multiples.  

Liverpool 5/10 | Draw 37/10 | Arsenal 5/1
Liverpool will look to sign off on 2019 a 17th win of what has been an already incredible season. Jurgen Klopp’s side welcome Arsenal to Anfield in Saturday’s late kick-off and will be confident of getting a result against the North London outfit who haven’t been at their best in recent weeks. The Reds have won eight on the spin in the league and will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the Gunners who have only won once in their last five away trips.

Arsenal will take heart from the fact that they were the last side to take points off of Liverpool in the league when they earned a 1-1 draw at the Emirates back in November. Since then, however, their form has abandoned them a bit. On the road, they’ve recently dropped points against both Crystal Palace and Southampton. Not exactly ideal when you’re about the face a side who have only conceded two goals at home all season. Liverpool to win here. 

Sunday 30 December

Crystal Palace 38/10 | Draw 28/10 | Chelsea 7/10
Crystal Palace will look to add yet another big scalp to their collection when Chelsea come calling on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles have picked up seven points from their last three matches which include wins over Leicester and Manchester City.

Chelsea – after starting the season so well – have just gone off the boil ever so slightly. Their inconsistency has been their biggest downfall of late, with and excellent win against Manchester City bookended by losses against Wolves and Leicester. You feel that Palace could be able to cause an upset here, but you simply can’t look past 7/10 for Chelsea. Excellent price, get on! 

Southampton 15/2 | Draw 17/4 | Manchester City 7/20
Southampton will just sniff a little opportunity when Manchester City arrive at St. Mary’s on Sunday afternoon. Of course, memories of their 6-1 drubbing at the Etihad will still be relatively fresh, but the south coast outfit have certainly turned a corner under the tutelage of Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Austrian has guided them out of the relegation zone for now with wins against Huddersfield and Arsenal. They were unfortunate to lose against West Ham on Thursday evening following Felipe Anderson’s wonderful brace, but will be quietly confident of stealing a point against the wobbling champions.

Pep Guardiola’s struggles at Manchester City could become much, much worse if they fail to pick up maximum points against Southampton. They’ve now lost three out of their last four league matches and are in very real danger of being left behind in the title race altogether. Despite their recent struggles, you’d expect City to claim the points here. Don’t expect the sort of one-sided affair that we saw at the Etihad a few months ago, though. 

Burnley 43/20 | Draw 24/10 | West Ham 5/4
We’re off to Turf Moor next where struggling Burnley will play host to West Ham. The hosts have been in freefall this season and find themselves in the relegation zone as a result. They’ve lost three on the spin in the league with the most recent defeat a 5-1 thumping at home against Everton. Something needs to change in Lancashire or the Clarets will almost certainly be spending next season in the Championship.

West Ham are certainly a team on the up. They’ve now won four of their last five league matches, and were full value for their come from behind win over Southampton on Thursday evening. Under Manuel Pellegrini, they look like a side who can finish as best of the rest this season. Expect them to cause a few major upsets before the end of the campaign. There is massive value on West Ham here at 5/4, add to all weekend multiples. 

Manchester United 7/20 | Draw 17/4 | Bournemouth 7/1
It’s been interesting to see Manchester United’s revival following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. They’ve not really been tested in terms of opposition, with simple enough wins against Cardiff and Huddersfield Town. You feel they won’t be pushed too hard by Bournemouth either this weekend.

Eddie Howe’s outstanding start to the season is now just a distant memory as the Cherries continue to plummet down the division. They were absolutely battered by Tottenham on Boxing Day, going down 5-0 at Wembley. The smart money’s on United here.

Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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