The Premier League Preview has EPL Tips for each midweek match from Week 24, including a showdown between struggling heavyweights Chelsea and Arsenal.
History: Played 111: Bournemouth 43 V Brighton 39 (29 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): Brighton 2 d Bournemouth 0 at Amex Stadium
Final Thoughts: Second-last AFC Bournemouth are desperate to end their losing streak. Brighton sit 15th – but they are just five points ahead of the Cherries.
Brighton carved out a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at home in Week 20. But the Cherries are unbeaten in their last five league games against the Seagulls at home, winning four.
Bournemouth have won just one of their last 12 and have lost four in a row without scoring a goal. They were edged 1-0 by lowly Norwich on the weekend. Since their win over Bournemouth, Brighton have picked up valuable points with draws against Chelsea and Villa either side of a 1-0 loss at Everton.
The market looks about right here – side with the team in much better form.
History: Played 20: Watford 8 V Aston Villa 7 (5 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): Watford 3 d Aston Villa 0 at Vicarage Road
Final Thoughts: Another huge clash in the context of the relegation race, with 18th-placed Aston Villa hosting 17th-placed Watford, who are just one point in front.
Watford have won their last three against Villa, scoring three goals on each occasion. Troy Deeney notched a brace in a 3-0 home victory last month.
Despite that loss, Villa have found a bit of form over the past month. Their only other loss in their last five games was to Man City, while they have picked up wins over Norwich and Burnley, and a draw at Brighton on the weekend.
Watford, meanwhile, are on a remarkable tear after seeming destined for the drop. The Hornets are unbeaten in their last six – also defeating Man United and Wolves – and drew with Tottenham on the weekend. This shapes as another game where the in-form visitor holds good value as the narrow favourite.
History: Played 109: Southampton 46 V Crystal Palace 39 (24 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): 1-1 draw at St Mary’s Stadium
Final Thoughts: Crystal Palace have clawed into the top half via a string of draws, while Southampton’s undefeated run to haul themselves out of relegation danger ended last week.
The teams’ last two clashes – both at Southampton, including their Week 20 showdown – finished 1-all. But the Saints have won their last two at Selhurst Park to nil.
Last month’s result was the first of four straight draws for Palace, including a shock 2-all result at Man City on the weekend. They have lost just one of their last 10 games.
Southampton have won four of their last six games – including big away upsets of Chelsea and Tottenham – but they coughed up a two-goal lead in a 3-2 home loss to Wolves in Week 23.
Both teams have punched well above their weight over the past couple of months. Palace look good value as the slight outsider after going unbeaten in their last four at home, but the Saints have won three straight on the road. Split the difference by backing the draw.
History: Played 175: Everton 74 V Newcastle 66 (35 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): Everton 2 d Newcastle 1 at St James’ Park
Final Thoughts: Locked on 29 points and only outside the top half on goal difference, Everton and Newcastle both bring some handy recent results into this showdown at Goodison Park.
Everton’s only loss in their last seven games was a 2-1 loss at Man City. Since then they have accounted for Brighton (1-0) at home and drawn with West Ham (1-1) away. Everton are a solid 6W-2D-3L at home this season and unbeaten at Goodison Park since Week 13.
Newcastle have emerged from a three-game slide to snare a 1-all draw at Wolverhampton and a 1-0 home win over Chelsea in the past fortnight. Only two teams have scored less goals than Newcastle, basing their game on gritty defence.
Everton boast 10 wins and two draws from their last 14 games against Newcastle. The Toffees snared a 2-1 away win last month, while the Magpies have not won at Goodison Park since 2010.
Everton have conceded only six goals in their last eight games, which points to a low-scorer in this one.
History: Played 122: Man City 50 V Sheffield 38 (34 Draws)
Last meeting: December 29, 2019 (EPL): Man City 2 d Sheffield 0 at Etihad Stadium
Final Thoughts: Seventh-placed Sheffield United’s remarkable promotion season garnered another unlikely result on the weekend, snaring a 1-1 draw at Arsenal. John Fleck netted the 83rd-minute equaliser. It was the Blades’ ninth draw this season, with the newcomers suffering only six losses.
Man City sit second but their season of frustration continued in Week 23 via a 2-all draw at home to Crystal Palace. A late Sergio Aguero brace appeared to snatch the win for the Citizens, but a 90th-minute own goal diminished their return from the match to a solitary point. They are now 16 points adrift of Liverpool.
Man City won 2-0 at Etihad Stadium last month – the teams’ first Premier League clash in 13 years. A similar result looms here, despite the Blades losing just once at home this season.
History: Played 199: Arsenal 77 V Chelsea 65 (57 Draws)
Last meeting: December 29, 2019 (EPL): Chelsea 2 d Arsenal 1 at Emirates Stadium
Final Thoughts: Chelsea and Arsenal are in all sorts. Both would relish a big-name scalp to use as a springboard to finishing the season strongly.
Chelsea are fourth but have suffered six losses in their last 11 games – including a 1-0 defat at Newcastle on the weekend. With games against Leicester, Man United and Spurs to come in the following three rounds, their position on the ladder is under serious threat.
Arsenal’s season has been diabolical. With just two wins in their last 15 EPL games, a win over Man United and back-to-back 1-all draws against Palace and Sheffield in their last three could actually be viewed as a significant upswing.
Chelsea emerged from a six-match winless streak against Arsenal to win three of the teams’ last four clashes. They powered to a 4-1 Europa League victory at home last May and edged the Gunners 2-1 at Emirates Stadium in EPL action last month.
Chelsea start as under-the-odds $1.73 favourites, but resist the temptation to back an Arsenal upset.
History: Played 133: West Ham 52 V Leicester 48 (33 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): Leicester 2 d West Ham 1 at London Stadium
Final Thoughts: Leicester City’s stellar campaign is threatening to unravel. After going on an eight-match winning streak, the third-placed Foxes have lost four of their last six – including back-to-back 2-1 defeats to bottom-half duo Southampton and Burnley in the past fortnight. They are now winless in their last three at home after chalking up seven straight victories at King Power.
Sixteenth-placed West Ham are keeping their head above water in their battle to avoid the drop…just. They are just a point ahead of the bottom-three. Hammers have a game in hand – but it’s a postponed clash with Liverpool. However, a 4-0 win over Bournemouth and a 1-1 draw with in-form Everton either side of a 1-0 loss to Sheffield in their last three has boosted confidence.
West Ham have won just one of their last 11 against Leicester. Both encounters last season finished in a stalemate, but the Foxes nabbed a 2-1 away win in Week 20 this season.
Such a profitable betting proposition earlier in the campaign, the wind has really gone out of Leicester’s sails. They should get the job done here but the head-to-head value is questionable.
History: Played 72: Tottenham 31 V Norwich 23 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): 2-2 draw at Carrow Road
Final Thoughts: Tottenham remain up to their eyeballs in the battle with Arsenal for the mantle of biggest heavyweight duds of the 2019-20 season. Spurs are winless in their last four games – despite playing three of the bottom eight clubs – and have not scored a goal in their last three outings. They played out a scoreless draw at Watford on the weekend.
Eighth-placed Spurs’ dismal run includes a 2-all draw with Norwich City at Tottenham four weeks ago. Harry Kane saved Spurs’ blushes with an 83rd-minute penalty.
Norwich are outright last and six points from safety. But they kept their hopes of staying up alive by snapping a nine-match winless run in Week 23, grabbing a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at home.
But the Canaries have just one win and two draws to show for 11 away games this season and have been outscored 20-5 on the road. Kane-less Tottenham are a shambles on attack, however, and Norwich are capable of snatching another valuable point.
History: Played 129: Man United 62 V Burnley 44 (23 Draws)
Last meeting: December 28, 2019 (EPL): Man United 2 d Burnley 0 at Turf Moor
Final Thoughts: What was that about underperforming high-profile teams? Man United remain fifth but have a big chasing pack behind them, courtesy of three 2-0 losses – to Watford, Arsenal and Liverpool – in their last six games. The good news is they are unbeaten in their last eight at Old Trafford, scoring four goals in each of their last two home wins over Newcastle and Norwich.
Burnley struck a crucial blow in the battle to avoid relegation, consolidating 14th with a 2-1 upset of Leicester on the weekend. The result ended a four-match losing streak and gave Chris Wood his third goal in seven games – during which time Burnley have only scored five.
Burnley have won just one of their last 28 matches against United, who took a 2-0 victory away from Turf Moor in Week 20. But the Clarets managed a draw in each of their last three Premier League visits to Old Trafford.
Count on Man U’s home record delivering the goods again this week.
History: Played 103: Liverpool 52 V Wolverhampton 36 (17 Draws)
Last meeting: December 29, 2019 (EPL): Liverpool 1 d Wolverhampton 0 at Anfield
Final Thoughts: Wolverhampton rectified their bid for a top-four finish on the weekend, hauling in a two-goal halftime deficit to beat Southampton 3-2 on the road. The result ended halted a three-game winless run for sixth-placed Wolves.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s relentless march to an emphatic title victory continues. A Week 9 draw at Old Trafford is the only result preventing Jurgen Klopp’s side from boasting a perfect record, while they have won their last seven games to nil. Virgil Van Dijk and Mo Salah found the back of the net in a 2-0 home win over United on the weekend.
Liverpool are on a six-game Premier League winning streak against Wolverhampton, with five of those victories to nil. But Wolves have managed a couple of FA Cup upsets of the Reds during that time. A hard-fought clash at Anfield last month finished 1-0 in Liverpool’s favour, courtesy of Sadio Mane’s goal late in the first half.
Liverpool’s defence has been impregnable for almost two months – their value to kept their eighth clean sheet in a row is hard to resist.