Match Week 21
Clash of two clubs with a rich football tradition highlight this weekend’s slate. James Kempton shares his thoughts on everything EPL for another busy weekend of football.
Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion
Tottenham -1.25 and 2.75 goals
The last three meetings of the sides, including this season’s game at the Hawthornes, have ended one apiece. That match continued a run of results that has seen the home team in the fixture win only one of the the last thirteen meetings between the sides since September 2010 with under 2.5 goals going 15-7 in all competitions since August 2004. West Brom have conceded more than once in a game just once in their last ten games with two 1-0 defeats away at Arsenal and Chelsea in that spell. Spurs rested many of their best players last weekend for FA Cup action but I still lean to the Baggies and under as they should be able to stay within striking distance of their hosts.
Burnley v Southampton
Southampton -0.25 and 2.25 goals
Southampton won 3-1 when the sides met back in October but when they last met at Turf Moor in EPL action it was Burnley who won 1-0 back in December 2014. Burnley have won five of their last six home games with the only defeat a 2-1 loss against Man City where they even managed to take the lead. Southampton are 2-3-5 on the road this season so I cannot understand the pricing of this game. It has at least adjusted from when the market opener when the Saints were -0.5 goal but money has trickled in on the home dog. Despite that move I still steel value in Burnley as I’m not convinced Southampton are any good.
Hull City v Bournemouth
Bournemouth -0.25 and 2.25 goals
Bournemouth hammered Hull 6-1 earlier this season and that was when Hull had a manager in charge of them that we knew by name! I cannot express how bad an appointment I feel this Marco Silva is for a Hull side who are 1-4-13 in their last thirteen matches. Bournemouth are scoring goals as the only game in the last ten matches that they’ve not found the net was away at Chelsea and I let them off for that! On this line I lean tentatively to the home team.
Swansea City v Arsenal
Arsenal -1.25 and 3 goals
Over 2.5 goals is on a 6-1 run but only four of thirteen meetings have seen four or more goals. I can’t lay over a full goal on this untrustworthy Arsenal side on the road playing a team eager to impress their new manager. Alexis Sanchez dragged Arsenal up by their bootlaces in that game at Bournemouth and surely at some point soon the burden will weigh the Chilean down, someone else needs to step up! Back Swansea on the handicap.
Sunderland v Stoke City
Scratch and 2.25 goals
Stoke won 2-0 when the sides in October and the away team in this fixture has won just two of the eighteen meetings of the sides since October 2008. Under 2.5 goals is 14-4 in that run of matches but Stoke did win here in September 2014 in the Carling Cup. Stoke have lost just one ‘shouldn’t lose game’ now since mid September. I call them that as they are the games on paper that they should not lose! Away team and under are the sides I’d want to be on if betting this match.
Watford v Middlesbrough
Watford -0.25 and 2.25 goals
Watford won 1-0 in the north east a couple of months ago but they are on a poor run of results in recent weeks. The Hornets have just one win in their last eight EPL outings whilst Middlesbrough have just one win away this season, their first game on their travels this season at Sunderland. This is a game of very minimal appeal between two out of form teams and you will bang your head against the wall if you trust either of them in this spot and they lose, avoid at all costs!
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
West Ham -0.25 and 2.5 goals
West Ham won 1-0 at Selhurst Park back in October in a game that was played in the pouring rain which seemed to affect the offensive prowess of both teams. Prior to that over 3.5, let alone over 2.5 goals, was 4-0 over the past two seasons. The away team in the fixture has won five of the seven EPL meetings of the teams since December 2013. Big Sam will have his team thoroughly pumped for this game and those recent trends for the away team in this fixture are striking. The value is with the outright away win and I will take a piece of the Eagles on the handicap.
Leicester City v Chelsea
Chelsea -1 and 2.75 goals
Chelsea have already beaten the Foxes by two clear goals twice this season, 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the EPL and 4-2 here at the King Power in the EFL Cup. Under 2.5 goals is 6-1 in Chelsea’s last seven away EPL trips with five of those being victories to nil for the Blues. Even in defeat last time out at Spurs I did not think Chelsea played badly but we saw a few weeks ago how Leicester raised their game for the visit of Man City. A pass for me this one especially with the Foxes down key cogs for AFCON.
Everton v Manchester City
Man City -0.75 and 2.75 goals
It was a 1-1 draw when the sides played at the Etihad in mid October and City have avoided defeat in each of their last three EPL trips to Goodison Park. That win last time out at home against Southampton does not constitute a turn around in my opinion for the Toffees. I sense the pace and movement of the away team will cause Everton all kinds of problems but I can’t give up more than half a goal with them. They should win the game but trusting them to fully cover is a different question!
Manchester United v Liverpool
Man Utd -0.25 and 2.75 goals
It finished goalless at Anfield earlier this season but I sense this will be a more open and exciting encounter. Liverpool will be forced to make do without the services of Sadio Mane now due to the African Cup of Nations and that is a massive blow for the Reds. Liverpool have won just one of their last ten trips to Old Trafford in all competitions and I don’t think they will win this game either. Only time will tell if I am right but the loss of Mane, even for a few weeks, could be a crippling a blow to Liverpool’s title bid. Mourinho will outfox Klopp here, is Jurgen just the new Kevin Keegan? Home win.