Our soccer analyst previews the English Premier League week 17 action which kicks off on Saturday 15 December 2018.
Gameweek 17 kicks off with a new leader at the top of the pile, with Manchester City crumbling for the first time this season when they suffered a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. That opened a door of optimism for Liverpool, who bulldozed their way past Bournemouth, winning 4-0. The Reds are now the only unbeaten team in the division, with their mighty run in the league set to be tested against Manchester United this Sunday.
It’s getting heated at the foot of the table as well, with Huddersfield, Southampton and Fulham suffering defeats last weekend to make up the bottom three heading into the new week.
Saturday 15 December
Manchester City 2/9
Manchester City dropped down to second spot in the league after suffering their first defeat of the campaign, losing 2-0 at Chelsea – failing to score for just the second time this term. They return to the Etihad Stadium, where they have a 100% record, winning all eight of their matches played.
Everton had to fight back to snatch a point at home to Watford, earning a 2-2 draw against the Hornets. Richarlison netted his eighth goal of the season, level with City’s Sergio Aguero. Pep Guardiola’s men need to make a statement of intent after their first loss, which means this could result in a riot. Back City on the (-1) Handicap at 11/20.
What a week it was for Wolves, who seemed to have turned the corner after their recent slump, beating Chelsea and Newcastle, both by 2-1 scorelines, and will be looking for their third victory on the bounce against Bournemouth.
The Cherries were without their star-striker, Callum Wilson, who missed out on their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool through injury. Luckily for Eddie Howe, the injury wasn’t severe which means Wilson could make his comeback this weekend. Goals are expected, with both attackers finding their best form, while both sets of defenders have been rather shaky. Back Both Teams to Score here at 7/10.
Huddersfield will be hoping to join Newcastle on 13 points when the two sides meet this Saturday. The Terriers are off the back of three consecutive defeats, including a 1-0 loss at Arsenal last weekend. Rafael Benitez’s men seek a return to winning ways, and will have to do so without DeAndre Yedlin, who was sent off against Wolves.
Away from home, games involving Newcastle have seen the least amount of goals, while Huddersfield have only managed to find the back of the net on three occasions at home. Back Under 2.5 Goals here at 11/20.
High-flying Tottenham will be looking to do what is expected of them and beat Burnley when the two sides meet at Wembley this Saturday. Spurs grinded out a 2-0 win away to Leicester City, and surprisingly, did so without Harry Kane, who only featured in the final 15 minutes of the match.
Burnley grinded out a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brighton last weekend to take themselves out of the bottom three and move one place above the relegation places. In Spurs’ last two home matches, they beat Southampton and Chelsea by 3-1 scorelines, so backing them on the (-1) Handicap seems logical here at 9/20.
Crystal Palace 14/10
Leicester City 43/20
Crystal Palace return to Selhurst Park where they will be hoping to get back to winning ways after two successive defeats. In their last home game, though, they managed to beat Burnley 2-0, and despite their 1-0 defeat before that against Spurs, they held Arsenal to a 2-2 draw.
Leicester City have shown plenty of fight in recent weeks, and before their loss to Tottenham last weekend, the Foxes had gone six matches without defeat in the league. To avoid defeat, backing Leicester City on the Double Chance looks well worth a punt at 11/20.
Watford will be looking to get back into the top half of the table after such a brilliant start to their campaign. The Hornets are winless in their last six encounters, but will take plenty of positives from their 2-2 draw with Everton on Monday night.
Cardiff are a team who have blown hot and cold this term, being an unstoppable beast at home, whilst failing miserably away from their own turf. The Welsh side are one of two teams yet to win an away game this season, which points to one of this weekend’s best bets. Back Watford here at 13/20!
West Ham 15/10
Claudio Ranieri returns to Craven Cottage where he is unbeaten as Fulham boss so far, beating Southampton and drawing against Leicester City in his only two games managed as head coach. West Ham have been in formidable form of late, winning three successive matches in the league.
Felipe Anderson has taken the onus to be the star in the team after Marko Arnautovic’s injury, with the Brazilian scoring in five of his last six outings. West Ham’s last four encounters have seen a total of at least three goals scored in each game. Take Over 2.5 Goals here at 13/20.
Sunday 16 December
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first home game as Southampton boss will prove to be a tricky one when his Saints team host Arsenal at the St. Mary’s Stadium this Sunday. The Austrian mentor is known for his high-pressing, attacking philosophy, which he has to be wary about against a Gunners side who have not lost in their last 21 games across all competitions at the time of writing.
Southampton are the only team not to win a home match this season, while Arsenal had scored the most away goals (18) before the start of last weekend. Get on the visitors here at 9/10.
Brighton’s impressive run of three games without defeat came to an abrupt end when they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Burnley last weekend. They now face an uphill battle of overcoming Chelsea, who are in high spirits after their superb 2-0 victory over Manchester City. It was the perfect response after losing 2-1 to Wolves last week.
Eden Hazard is now the top assist provider in the Premier League and had Chelsea had a lethal striker up front, the Belgian maestro could have much more to his name. Back Maurizio Sarri’s men and include in all multiples.
Man Utd 5/1
I expect Mourinho’s men to try and frustrate Klopp’s side and make it uncomfortable for them, but I think the Reds will have enough firepower to claim all three points. Liverpool are in a rich vein of form in the Premier League with five consecutive wins and with Salah hitting top form, I suggest backing the Egyptian to score anytime in the match and Liverpool to win.
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TREBLE @ 3/1
Tottenham (-1) Handicap 9/20
Arsenal Win 9/10
Chelsea Win 9/20