Find the back of the net with tips for Week 23 of the EPL season, including a huge London showdown between Chelsea and Tottenham.
History: Played 103: Norwich 42 V Watford 32 (29 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): Watford 3 d Norwich 1 at Carrow Road
Final Thoughts: Watford’s Week 17 catch-up clash with Burnley scheduled for January 18 was again postponed – bu they face an equally important assignment in the Week 23 opener as the relegation battle heats up.
Watford are 17th but are only one point ahead of Norwich City, though the Canaries have played two more games.
Watford snapped a six-match losing streak courtesy of a 1-all draw at Newcastle last weekend. Joao Pedro’s 88th-minute equaliser secured the valuable point.
Norwich also halted a six-game slide in Week 22, carving out a 2-1 victory at home over hapless Everton. The Canaries scored twice in the first 18 minutes – after being held to nil in six straight games. It was just the third time this season they have bagged multiple goals.
Watford have won their last five against fellow promoted outfit Norwich, including a pair of 1-0 victories in last season’s Championship and a 3-1 result earlier this season after Ismalila Sarr bagged a second-half brace.
Despite both sides’ minor upswing last weekend, neither are good enough to get behind against any opposition – even each other. Back the stalemate.
Best Bet: Result – Draw @ $3.40
History: Played 225: Aston Villa 83 V Everton 82 (60 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): Aston Villa 3 d Everton 0 at Villa Park
Final Thoughts: After winning four of their first six games, Everton are on course for their worst season in 18 years. Relegation can’t be ruled out at this stage with the Toffees sitting 16th and just one win and two draws to show for their last 12 outings. They plumbed new depths last weekend with a 2-1 loss to a Norwich side that had not scored in six games – ultimately resulting in Rafa Benitez’s inevitable sacking.
Aston Villa, 13th on the ladder, bounced back from a New Year’s loss at Brentford with a 2-all draw at home to Man United last weekend. Villa trailed the heavyweights 2-0 before Jacob Ramsey (77’) and Philippe Coutinho (82’) scored.
Villa are unbeaten in their last five against Everton, winning three. They powered to a 3-0 victory at home in Week 5 after a scoreless first half.
There’s every chance the managerial change galvanises Everton initially, but Villa – held scoreless only three times this season – should still have too much enterprise for their embattled hosts.
Best Bet: Result – Aston Villa @ $2.63
Same Game Multi: Result – Aston Villa; Aston Villa to Score in Both Halves; Both Teams to Score @ $6.86
History: Played 28: Wolverhampton 13 V Brentford 12 (3 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): Brentford 2 d Wolverhampton 0 at Molineux Stadium
Final Thoughts: Brentford line up for their fourth game in 11 days – after losing the previous three convincingly. The Bees have played midweek catch-up matches for the past two weeks, bookending last weekend’s Week 22 defeat to Liverpool (3-0) with losses to Southampton (4-1) and Manchester United (3-1). It’s been a disappointing decline for 14th-placed Brentford, who conceded three goals just three times in their first 19 games.
Wolverhampton remain nicely placed in eighth after recording win over Brighton, Manchester United and Southampton, as well as a scoreless draw against Chelsea, in the past month. After scoring just three goals in their previous nine games, Wolves broke the shackles with a 3-1 thrashing of the Saints last weekend.
Brentford broke a four-match winless run against Wolves with a 2-0 upset at Molineux Stadium in Week 5, with Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo bagging first-half goals.
But the teams are trending in opposite directions at present and Wolves look sharp value as only a slight favourite; they boast a 5W-2D-3L record on the road.
Best Bet: Result – Wolverhampton @ $2.50
Same Game Multi: Result – Wolverhampton; Total – Under 3.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Raul Jiminez @ $5.78
History: Played 97: Leeds 39 V Newcastle 39 (19 Draws)
Last meeting: September 17, 2021 (EPL): 1-1 draw at St James’ Park
Final Thoughts: Leeds United have moved away from relegation danger and into 15th courtesy of a bright start to the New Year. After three consecutive losses and two postponed fixtures to close out 2021, Leeds have notched impressive back-to-back victories over Burnley (3-1) and West Ham (3-2) – the first times this season the Whites have scored more than two goals.
Jack Harrison opened the scoring against Burnley and grabbed a hat-trick at West Ham.
Second-last Newcastle United recorded 1-all draws in their last two games – against Man United in late-December and Watford last weekend. The Magpies unveiled key transfer acquisition Chris Wood against the Hornets.
Leeds are unbeaten in their last four against Newcastle, winning both clashes last season (including a 5-2 thrashing at Elland Road) before the rivals drew 1-all in Week 5 this season.
Newcastle have just three draws and a -14 differential to show for their nine away games. A rejuvenated Leeds shouldn’t have too much trouble putting away the battling Magpies.
History: Played 148: Man United 70 V West Ham 46 (32 Draws)
Last meeting: September 22, 2021 (EFL Cup): West Ham 1 d Man United 0 at Old Trafford
Final Thoughts: Manchester United are seventh on the EPL ladder and will overtake this weekend’s opponents, fourth-placed West Ham, with a win here.
Man United emerged from a poor run of form – including draws at Newcastle and Aston Villa, and a home loss to Wolves in a four-match period – to beat Brentford 3-1 midweek. Another subpar result loomed at Brentford, until Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all scored in a 22-minute burst midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, West Ham’s three-match winning streak ended ingloriously in Week 22, crashing 3-2 at home to Leeds. Hammers have scored two-plus goals in their last five games but keeping them out has been an issue.
Man United have won their last three Premier League games against rising West Ham, including a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at London Stadium in Week 5 this season. The Irons hit back with a 1-0 EFL Cup win at Old Trafford three days later.
This is shaping as a high-scorer with plenty of firepower on display in both line-ups and a lack of defensive resolve characterises both teams’ recent efforts. West Ham are decent value with a start here, too.
Best Bet: Total – Over 3.5 @ $2.74
Same Game Multi: Handicap – West Ham +1; Total – Over 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Michail Antonio; Anytime Goalscorer – Bruno Fernandes @ $17.69
History: Played 96: Man City 38 V Southampton 32 (26 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium
Final Thoughts: Manchester City already have a few fingertips on a second straight Premier League trophy, building an 11-point lead after winning their last 12 games. A Kevin de Bruyne goal in the 70th minute secured a 1-0 win over fellow heavyweights Chelsea in Week 22.
Twelfth-placed Southampton are coming off a 3-1 loss at Wolverhampton last weekend after losing only one of their previous seven.
After losing nine of their previous 10 to Man City – including five defeats by margins of two-plus goals – Southampton held the champs to a scoreless draw at Etihad Stadium in Week 5.
The Saints have been tough to beat at St Mary’s Stadium this season – their only home loss was to Wolves in Week 6, while they’ve managed draws with Man United and Spurs – but City are destined to take care of business here.
Best Bet: Man City Win Both Halves @ $2.75
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Man City -1; Total – Over 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Raheem Sterling; Half-time Result – Man City @ $4.71
History: Played 59: Liverpool 34 V Crystal Palace 14 (11 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): Liverpool 3 d Crystal Palace 0 at Anfield
Final Thoughts: Second-placed Liverpool are looking more and more like the only team capable of catching Manchester City – but they need to keep winning. After bookended a loss to Leicester with draws against Spurs and Chelsea, Liverpool banked a much-needed three points with a 3-0 rout of Brentford last week.
But it’s a hectic time for Liverpool, who have had to play EFL Cup semi-final legs either side of the clash with the Bees and have several stars on the sidelines.
Eleventh-placed Crystal Palace drew 1-all at Brighton last weekend, with Conor Gallagher’s opener cancelled out by a late own goal.
Liverpool are on a 10-match winning streak against Crystal Palace, winning the last four clashes by a combined 16-0. Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita scored in a 3-0 victory at Anfield in Week 5.
Palace have been decent at Selhurst Park this season, winning five and drawing four of 11 games and enjoying a +5 goal differential. Under-strength and leg-weary, Liverpool will still be formidable but Palace a good chance for points.
Best Bet: Handicap – Crystal Palace +1 @ $2.40
Same Game Multi: Result – Liverpool; Handicap – Crystal Palace +2; Anytime Goalscorer – Diogo Jota @ $6.71
History: Played 112: Arsenal 55 V Burnley 34 (23 Draws)
Last meeting: September 18, 2021 (EPL): Arsenal 1 d Burnley 0 at Turf Moor
Final Thoughts: Arsenal can end up in the top four by the end of the round. Their only EPL fixture since Boxing Day was a 2-1 loss to Man City on New Year’s Day, but they have been active in knockout competitions – losing to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and playing out a scoreless draw in the first leg of the EFL Cup semis. The Gunners will be on a short turnaround from the second leg on Friday morning (AEDT).
Burnley have slipped into last place after yet another one of their games was postponed due to COVID and injuries midweek. The Clarets have not played a league game since a 3-1 loss at Leeds on January 2 (they did have an FA Cup tie six days later, losing to Huddersfield) and have played just 17 EPL fixtures in total – two less than any other team. Star Kiwi striker Chris Wood has also departed for Newcastle in the meantime.
After losing the previous 11 encounters between the clubs, Burnley have managed a win (1-0 at Emirates Stadium last season) and two draws from their last four against Arsenal. But the Gunners got away with a 1-0 win at Turf Moor earlier this season, courtesy of Martin Odegaard’s 30th-minute strike.
This is shaping as fairly easy pickings for Arsenal at home, though.
Best Bet: Handicap – Arsenal -1 @ $2.10
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Arsenal -1; Total – Over 2.5; Arsenal Score in Both Halves; Anytime Goalscorer @ $6.69
History: Played 40: Leicester 19 V Brighton 14 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: October 27, 2021 (EFL Cup): Leicester 2 d Brighton 2 (penalties) at King Power Stadium
Final Thoughts: Leicester City ended a 22-day Premier League hiatus midweek – and suffered an agonising 3-2 loss at home to Tottenham, conceding two goals deep in stoppage-time. It’s just another chapter in a rollercoaster campaign for the 10th-placed Foxes, who have only won consecutive games once and lost consecutive games once.
Brighton are fourth points ahead (though they have played two more games) in ninth spot. The surprise packets’ bubble refuses to burst, losing only four games all season and recording their second 1-all draw with Chelsea in the space of three weeks on Wednesday (AEDT).
Brighton have won just one of their last 11 against Leicester – a 2-1 upset at home in Week 5 this season. The Foxes bumped the Seagulls out of the League Cup a month later, winning a shootout after the teams were locked 2-all.
Brighton have not won at Leicester since 2014 but I can’t resist this plucky outfit as underdogs against their flighty, undermanned hosts.
Best Bet: Result – Brighton @ $2.80
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Brighton +1; Total – Over 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Danny Welbeck; Brighton to Score in Both Halves @ $11.23
History: Played 172: Chelsea 76 V Tottenham 55 (41 Draws)
Last meeting: January 12, 2022 (EFL Cup): Chelsea 1 d Tottenham 0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Final Thoughts: Third-placed Chelsea are eight points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham – but they’ve also played four more games.
Meanwhile, the Blues head into this encounter in a bit of a funk Premier League-wise, winning just one of their last seven games. After a 1-0 loss at Man City last weekend, they were held to a 1-all draw by Brighton despite scoring the only first-half goal.
Spurs have extended their unbeaten run in the league to nine games, last losing in October. Following the claimed an extraordinary 3-2 win at Leicester midweek, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with a pair of Steven Bergwijn goals deep into stoppage time. Harry Kane earlier opened Tottenham’s account – the England captain’s fourth goal from Spurs’ last five EPL games.
Chelsea have won eight and drawn one of their last 10 against their London rivals. The Blues have also held Spurs to nil in the teams’ last five encounters – a 3-0 rout at Tottenham in Week 5, plus recent home (2-0) and away (1-0) wins in the League Cup semi-finals.
The recent rivalry and home advantage appears to be all that’s in Chelsea’s favour. Tottenham are way over the odds here and well worth getting on.