Find the back of the net with tips for the weekend’s round of EPL fixtures, which has been reduced to five matches as COVID grips the league.

EPL Tips – Manchester United V Brighton and Hove Albion

23:30 (AEDT), Sat 18th Dec @ Old Trafford, Manchester

History: Played 26: Man United 18 V Brighton 3 (5 Draws)

Last meeting: April 4, 2021 (EPL): Man United 2 d Brighton 1 at Old Trafford

Final Thoughts: After their midweek clash with Brentford was also postponed, Manchester United’s encounter with Brighton has been deferred due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.

 

EPL Tips – Southampton V Brentford

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

History: Played 67: Southampton 33 V Brentford 21 (13 Draws)

Last meeting: September 16, 2020 (EFL Cup): Brentford 2 d Southampton 0 at St Mary’s Stadium

Final Thoughts: The Premier League announced the postponement of Southampton v Brentford due to COVID-related issues on Friday (AEDT).

 

EPL Tips – Watford V Crystal Palace

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ Vicarage Road, Watford

History: Played 123: Crystal Palace 50 V Watford 45 (28 Draws)

Last meeting: August 24, 2021 (EFL Cup): Watford 1 d Crystal Palace 0 at Vicarage Road

Final Thoughts: The Premier League announced the postponement of Watford v Crystal Palace due to COVID-related issues on Friday (AEDT).

 

EPL Tips – West Ham United V Norwich City

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ London Stadium

History: Played 74: West Ham 30 V Norwich 22 (22 Draws)

Last meeting: July 11, 2020 (EPL): West Ham 4 d Norwich 0 at Carrow Road

Final Thoughts: The Premier League announced the postponement of West Ham United v Norwich City due to COVID-related issues on Friday (AEDT).

 

EPL Tips – Aston Villa V Burnley

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ Villa Park, Birmingham

History: Played 120: Aston Villa 51 V Burnley 41 (28 Draws)

Last meeting: January 27, 2021 (EPL): Burnley 3 d Aston Villa 2 at Turf Moor

Final Thoughts: Aston Villa are battling to contain a COVID outbreak ahead of their clash with Burnley, whose midweek fixtures was postponed due to Watford’s COVID-related issues.

Tenth-placed Villa came away from their midweek visit to Norwich City with a 2-0 win – their fourth in six games. Jacob Ramsey opened the scoring in the first half and Ollie Watkins sealed the result late.

Burnley remain in the bottom-three – albeit with two games in hand – despite losing just one of their last seven matches. They have not scored in their last three, however, bookending a 1-0 loss to Newcastle with scoreless stalemates against Wolves and West Ham.

Burnley had the better of this rivalry last season, sharing in a scoreless draw at Villa Park and grabbing a 3-2 victory at home. The Clarets are unbeaten in their last three visits to Villa Park.

Villa are $1.73 favourites at home but the under options shape as better value with Burnley struggling to find the back of the net of late.

Best Bet: Total – Under 2.5 @ $1.89

Same Game Multi: Aston Villa To Win To Nil @ $2.77; Total – Under 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Danny Ings @ $7.37

EPL Tips – Leeds United V Arsenal

04:30 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ Elland Road, Leeds

History: Played 123: Arsenal 49 V Leeds 41 (33 Draws)

Last meeting: October 26, 2021 (EFL Cup): Arsenal 2 d Leeds 0 at Emirates Stadium

Final Thoughts: After a spirited resurgence that saw them lose just one of seven games, 16th-placed Leeds are on the ropes. The Whites reportedly have less than 11 available first-team players as COVID grips the club, while they are coming off a horrific 7-0 loss to Man City midweek.

Arsenal have climbed into the top four for the first time this season after impressive back-to-back wins over Southampton (3-0) and West Ham (2-0). Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe scored second-half goals to rebuff the midweek challenge of the Irons.

The best Leeds have managed in their last 10 matches against Arsenal is two draws (including a scoreless result at Elland Road last season). The Gunners ran out 4-2 winners at Emirates Stadium during last season’s EPL and took out a League Cup tie 2-0 less than two months ago.

It’s hard to see embattled, depleted Leeds competing with in-form Gunners here.

Best Bet: Result – Arsenal @ $1.91

Same Game Multi: Handicap – Arsenal -1; Total – Over 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Alexandre Lacazette @ $7.96

EPL Tips – Everton V Leicester City

23:00 (AEDT), Sun 19th Dec @ Goodison Park, Liverpool

History: Played 115: Everton 44 V Leicester 38 (33 Draws)

Last meeting: January 27, 2021 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Goodison Park

Final Thoughts: The Premier League announced the postponement of Everton v Leicester City due to COVID-related issues on Friday (AEDT).

 

EPL Tips – Wolverhampton Wanderers V Chelsea

01:00 (AEDT), Mon 20th Dec @ Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton

History: Played 111: Chelsea 43 V Wolverhampton 40 (28 Draws)

Last meeting: January 27, 2021 (EPL): 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge

Final Thoughts: Eighth-placed Wolverhampton snapped a four-game winless, goal-less run with a 1-0 victory at Brighton midweek. Romain Saiss struck late in the first half to end Wolves’ scoring woes. They lost their previous two to heavyweights Liverpool and Man City by 1-0 scorelines.

Chelsea, meanwhile, lost a bit more ground on Man City and Liverpool courtesy of their 1-all draw at home to Everton on Friday (AEDT). Mason Mount broke the scoreless deadlock midway through the second half but Chelsea’s lead last just four minutes. After keeping eight clean sheets in their first 12 games, the former league leaders have conceded in each of their last five outings.

Heavyweights Chelsea were stymied by Wolves last season, going down 2-1 at Molineux Stadium and being held to a scoreless draw at home.

While Wolverhampton have struggled to find goals, they’ve been stout at the defensive end, leaking just two goals in their last six games. Chelsea are unsurprisingly warm $1.53 favourites but have not been at their best; they’ll have to work hard to get the three points here.

Best Bet: Total – Under 2.5 @ $1.74

Same Game Multi: Handicap – Wolverhampton +2; Total – Under 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Mason Mount @ $6.61

EPL Tips – Newcastle United V Manchester City

01:15 (AEDT), Mon 20th Dec @ St James’ Park, Newcastle

History: Played 184: Man City 72 V Newcastle 72 (40 Draws)

Last meeting: May 14, 2021 (EPL): Man City 4 d Newcastle 3 at St James’ Park

Final Thoughts: Amid this weekend’s postponements, you could forgive Newcastle United for being rueful their clash with Manchester is going ahead.

Since chalking up their sole win of the season – 1-0 over Burnley in Week 15 – second-last Newcastle have gone down 4-0 at Leicester and 3-1 at Liverpool. They opened the scoring against Liverpool early on before being overrun.

Meanwhile, league leaders Man City are on a seven-game winning streak and demolished Leeds 7-0 midweek. Kevin de Bruyne bagged a goal in each half of the massacre.

Man City have won their last four straight against Newcastle by a combined 13-3. Last season Man City won 2-0 at home before Ferran Torres’ hat-trick nabbed a thrilling 4-3 late-season result at ST James’ Park.

The Citizens also have two extra days to regroup from the midweek round – another handicap the Magpies can ill-afford.

Best Bet: Handicap – Man City -2 @ $2.38

Same Game Multi: Handicap – Man City -2; Total – Over 3.5; Newcastle Total – Under 1.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Riyad Mahrez; Man City Win Both Halves @ $7.44

EPL Tips – Tottenham Hotspur V Liverpool

03:30 (AEDT), Mon 20th Dec @ Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

History: Played 177: Liverpool 87 V Tottenham 48 (42 Draws)

Last meeting: January 28, 2021 (EPL): Liverpool 3 d Tottenham 1 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Final Thoughts: In a decimated schedule, we at least get one marquee showdown to finish. Seventh-placed Tottenham are chasing four straight wins, while second-place Liverpool head to London on a six-match winning streak.

Spurs have had three of their last five matches postponed by weather and COVID – they were unable to training for an extended period due to an outbreak at the club – meaning they won’t have played for more than two weeks when they take the field. They are unbeaten since Antonio Conte took the coaching reins in early-November and shut out Brentford (2-0) and Norwich (3-0) in their last two games.

Since suffering their only loss of the season to West Ham in Week 11, Liverpool have outscored their opposition 17-2 in chalking up six consecutive victories. The Reds came from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 midweek, with Mo Salah – who leads the EPL in goals (15) and assists (9) – among the scorers. Jurgen Klopp’s chargers on a mere three-day turnaround.

Liverpool are on a seven-match winning streak against Tottenham. Last season the defending champs prevailed 2-1 at Anfield and powered to a 3-1 victory in London.

Tottenham’s COVID struggles should nullify any rest advantage they may have had over a Liverpool side lining up for its third game in nine days.

Best Bet: Half-time/Full-time – Liverpool/Liverpool @ $2.38

Same Game Multi: Handicap – Liverpool -1; Total – Over 3.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Mo Salah; Half-time Result – Liverpool @ $7.37