The Premier League Preview has EPL Tips for each match from Week 12 of the 2019-20 season, culminating in the biggest blockbuster of the year to date: Liverpool v Manchester City.
History: Played 98: Norwich 42 V Watford 27 (29 Draws)
Last meeting: May 11, 2016 (EPL): Norwich 4 d Watford 2 at Carrow Road
Final Thoughts: EPL Week 12 kicks off with the battle of the cellar dwellers, with second-last Norwich hosting bottom-placed Watford. While it’s not a game to get neutral fans fizzing, there’s a massively valuable three points up for grabs as both clubs strive to climb out of the relegation zone.
Since upsetting Man City in Week 5, Norwich have managed just a draw in six outings. They went down 2-0 at Brighton last weekend and have scored just two goals in their last six games.
Watford are the only team yet to win a game, though they have managed five draws in 11 outings. Their run of three straight stalemates against Sheffield, Tottenham and Bournemouth was broken by a 2-1 home loss to Chelsea last weekend.
Norwich have won four of their last five games against Watford, who are searching for their first win at Carrow Road since 2010.
Despite being on the road, Watford are narrow favourites – but they have at least been competitive of late against some decent teams. Norwich appear to be going backwards and look headed for a crucial loss here.
History: Played 54: Chelsea 27 V Crystal Palace 12 (15 Draws)
Last meeting: December 30, 2018 (EPL): Chelsea 1 d Crystal Palace 0 at Selhurst Park
Final Thoughts: Chelsea head into Week 12 in fourth place with a 7-2-2 record. They have capitalised on a soft section of the draw to piece together a five-match winning streak, most recently accounting for last-placed Watford 2-1 on the road.
Conversely, Crystal Palace are in the midst of a brutal part of their schedule, going down to Man City and Leicester by 2-0 scorelines at home either side of a 2-2 draw at Arsenal. After travelling to Chelsea, Palace host Liverpool. To be sitting ninth with four wins and three draws is a fair achievement for this side.
Crystal Palace managed three wins in their last eight clashes with Chelsea – two of them at Stamford Bridge – but the Blues won both encounters last season. Chelsea won 3-1 at home and 1-0 away.
Chelsea are in good touch and are hard to back against at home, but Palace have proven their mettle recently and are a far better chance than the $9 available on them head-to-head would indicate.
History: Played 88: West Ham 37 V Burnley 33 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: December 30, 2018 (EPL): Burnley 2 d West Ham 0 at Turf Moor
Final Thoughts: A gilt-edged opportunity to stay in touch with the top half goes on the line when 14th-placed Burnley host 13th-placed West Ham. Hammers are just one point in front of the Clarets, with both sides racking up three wins so far.
Burnley are in a hole, however, losing three straight to Leicester, Chelsea and Sheffield – the latter by an unacceptable 3-0 scoreline. West Ham aren’t faring much better, with a home draw against Sheffield responsible for their only point in their past four games. They were flattered by the scoreboard in a 3-2 home loss to Newcastle last weekend, trailing by three goals with less than 20 minutes left.
After winning just two of the previous 19 clashes between the sides, Burnley have picked up two wins and a draw in their last four encounters with West Ham. Last season West Ham won 4-2 at London Stadium but Burnley turned the tables 2-0 at Turf Moor.
It’s difficult to make a compelling case for either side here, which makes the draw the standout play.
History: Played 12: Bournemouth 5 V Newcastle 4 (3 Draws)
Last meeting: March 16, 2019 (EPL): 2-2 draw at Vitality Stadium
Final Thoughts: It’s been a tough campaign so far for Newcastle aside from 1-0 upsets of Tottenham and Man United. But the Magpies banked their third win in Week 11 via a 3-2 defeat of West Ham on the road, racing to a three-goal lead after 51 minutes. It was the first time this season they have managed more than one goal.
AFC Bournemouth are keeping Leicester and Sheffield honest in the race for the unofficial tag of EPL overachiever of the year. The Cherries sit seventh with four wins and four draws, losing just once (to Arsenal) in their past seven games. They put underwhelming scoreless draws against Norwich and Watford behind them by keeping a third straight clean sheet in a 1-0 upset of Man United last week.
Last season Newcastle prevailed 2-1 against Bournemouth at home and nabbed a 2-2 draw at Vitality Stadium.
Both sides have defended strongly of late while generally struggling to rack up goals. Bournemouth are tempting underdogs but going under the total seems the safer option with both teams coming off a good win.
History: Played 101: Everton 48 V Southampton 31 (22 Draws)
Last meeting: January 19, 2019 (EPL): Southampton 2 d Everton 1 at St Mary’s Stadium
Final Thoughts: Southampton are mired in the bottom-three with just two wins and two draws to their name, three adrift of the pack. A draw against Wolves is the best they have managed in their last games, but the Saints did respond to a horrific 9-0 loss to Leicester with a spirited 2-1 loss at Man City, run down late after scoring the only first-half goal.
Everton are just one spot ahead of Southampton on the ladder, winning only three games so far. A pressure-relieving 2-0 home win over West Ham in Week 9 gave way to a 3-2 loss at Brighton in their next outing. But they snared a point from a 1-1 draw last week against Tottenham via a Cenk Tosun goal in the 97th minute.
Both sides claimed a 2-1 home win over the other last season, while Southampton won a League Cup tie on penalties. Southampton are on a three-match winning streak against Everton at St Mary’s Stadium.
Everton have lost to some ordinary teams this year and have picked on measly point from five away games. This is a great opportunity for Southampton.
History: Played 90: Tottenham 36 V Sheffield 28 (26 Draws)
Last meeting: January 28, 2015 (EFL Cup): 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane
Final Thoughts: The only consolation for Tottenham – who are 11th with a 3-4-4 record – is they are not the only heavyweight club struggling big-time. But Spurs have been awful, kicking off a four-match winless run with a 3-0 loss at Brighton and blowing a lead by conceding in the 97th minute of a 1-1 draw at Everton last week.
Easily the pick of the promoted teams, Sheffield are riding high in sixth with four wins and four draws from 11 games. They have conceded just one goal in their current four-match unbeaten streak and pumped Burnley 3-0 last week.
Tottenham have won only three of their last 11 against Sheffield, though the Blades last away win in the rivalry was in 1991.
Remarkably, Sheffield are yet to lose on the road this season. Tottenham are bound to come good at some stage but on recent form how can you back against the Blades at least grabbing a share of the spoils?
History: Played 141: Arsenal 66 V Leicester 31 (44 Draws)
Last meeting: April 28, 2019 (EPL): Leicester 3 d Arsenal 0 at King Power Stadium
Final Thoughts: Few would have envisioned at the start of the season that Leicester could start as a $2 favourite against Arsenal in just Week 12. But that illustrates just how marvellous the Foxes have been – and how much the Gunners are struggling.
Third with a 7-2-2 record, Leicester have won three straight against Burnley (2-1), Southampton (9-0) and Crystal Palace (2-0), with Jamie Vardy picking up five goals. They already have a win over Spurs and a draw with Chelsea to their name – another ‘Big Six’ scalp would really cement their blistering start.
Arsenal are fifth but playing poorly. The heavyweights backed up a 1-0 loss at Sheffield with home stalemates with Palace and Wolves in their past three.
Leicester are unbeaten in their last three against Arsenal at home, chalking up convincing 3-1 and 3-0 wins over the Gunners in the past two seasons.
The Foxes have proven themselves and there’s no reason not to be confident they will get the job done here.
History: Played 21: Man United 13 V Brighton 3 (5 Draws)
Last meeting: January 19, 2019 (EPL): Man United 2 d Brighton 1 at Old Trafford
Final Thoughts: Just when they appeared set to get on a belated roll, Manchester United sink to another inexplicable loss. Tenth with a 3-4-4 record, United followed up their 3-1 win over Norwich – which ended a four-match losing streak – with a 1-0 loss at Bournemouth.
Brighton, meanwhile, are on a serious roll, climbing to eighth after beating Tottenham, Everton and Norwich in the past month. They have kept four clean sheets this year and amassed nine goals in their past four games.
Brighton have won two of their last three against Man United, though both were at home. The Seagulls competed strongly in a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford last season but they have never won at the venue.
Clutching at straws, Man United have only lost once at Old Trafford this season. Brighton have managed just one draw in their past four away games – scoring only one goal in the process. It’s an advantage United need, but should be able to capitalise on.
EPL History: Played 126: Aston Villa 55 V Wolverhampton 39 (32 Draws)
Last meeting: October 30, 2019 (EFL Cup): Aston Villa 2 d Wolverhampton 1 at Villa Park
Final Thoughts: Despite winning only two games, Wolverhampton are a respectable 12th – largely thanks to their staggering tally of seven draws. They are unbeaten in their last six games, following up a pair of 2-0 wins over Watford and Man City with three straight 1-1 draws against Southampton, Newcastle and Arsenal. Wolves have come from behind in five of their drawn matches, with Raul Jiminez’s 76th-minute strike earning them a point at Emirates Stadium last week.
Aston Villa are 16th on the ladder with three wins, three points ahead of the danger zone. After back-to-back wins over Norwich (5-1) and Brighton (2-1), they unsurprisingly lost two in a row to Man City (3-0) and Liverpool (2-1) – but were far from disgraced. Villa were unlucky not to snare a point from their Liverpool encounter, conceding in the 87th minute.
Wolves won their last two home games against Villa to nil. The last eight clashes overall have been split three apiece, with two drawn.
The draw has been a highly profitable play in Wolves games so far, while Villa have been playing well enough to head home from Molineux Stadium with a point.
EPL History: Played 213: Liverpool 104 V Man City 56 (53 Draws)
Last meeting: August 4, 2019 (FA Community Shield): 1-1 draw at Wembley
Final Thoughts: One plays in a showdown that could have a massive impact on the 2019-20 title race.
Liverpool have won seven and drawn two of their last 13 against Man City. But the heavyweights drew at Anfield last season, before City grabbed a 2-1 home victory that effectively decided the Premier League title. The teams met in the FA Community Shield in August, with the Citizens winning on penalties after the Wembley clash finished 1-all.
Liverpool hold a six-point lead at the top of the table and are yet to lose a game, winning 10 and drawing one. They have edged Tottenham and Aston Villa by 2-1 scorelines in the past fortnight, coming from behind in both.
Man City have eight wins and a draw in the bank, while they have won their last three against Palace (2-0), Villa (3-0) and Southampton (2-1) – though they were held scoreless until the 70th minute by the Saints.
City are the narrowest of favourites despite being on the road. They do have four wins and a +12 differential from five away games, but Anfield is a tough prospect – particularly with Liverpool winning all five games there so far and not conceding more than one goal there in any game this season.