The Premier League Preview has EPL Tips for the first half of the split Week 26, with Everton and Crystal Palace kicking off the four-match docket.
History: Played 50: Everton 20 V Crystal Palace 13 (17 Draws)
Last meeting: August 10, 2019 (EPL): 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park
Final Thoughts: Everton are looking to solidify their standing in the top half, while Crystal Palace are keen to snap a lengthy winless streak and edge away from the relegation zone.
Ninth-placed Everton have lost only one of their last 10 – to Man City – and overcame a two-goal deficit to snatch a 3-2 win at Watford last weekend. Yerry Mina scored two goals in first-half stoppage time, before Theo Walcott netted the 90th-minute winner.
Palace, meanwhile, sit 14th thanks to a six-match run without a victory. Their attack has fallen away in the past fortnight with losses to Southampton (2-0) and Sheffield (1-0) at home.
Everton are unbeaten in their last 10 matches against Palace, though six finished in a draw. The clubs’ last two clashes finished in scoreless stalemates, including their Week 1 meeting at Selhurst Park earlier this season.
Form-wise, these teams are trending in opposite directions. Count on the Toffees getting the home W.
History: Played 115: Brighton 45 V Watford 36 (34 Draws)
Last meeting: August 10, 2019 (EPL): Brighton 3 d Watford 0 at Vicarage Road
Final Thoughts: A desperate clash in the context of the relegation picture. Brighton sit 15th – just three points ahead of second-last Watford.
Brighton came from two goals down to jag a 3-3 draw at West Ham last weekend. But the Seagulls are now winless in their last five games.
Watford’s stunning resurgence – going unbeaten for six games to revive hopes of avoiding the drop – has hit a roadblock via consecutive losses to Aston Villa (2-1) and Everton (3-2). Agonisingly, the Hornets led Everton 2-0 before imploding in the dying stages of both halves.
Brighton boast two wins and two draws from their last five encounters with Watford, including a 3-0 drubbing on the road in the opening week of this season.
This one is too close to call – lean towards a draw in the head-to-head stakes. Meanwhile, both sides have found goalscoring form of late and the over looks decent value.
History: Played 16: Sheffield 10 V Bournemouth 1 (5 Draws)
Last meeting: August 10, 2019 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Vitality Stadium
Final Thoughts: Sheffield United remain in the top-four race in a remarkable promotion season, while AFC Bournemouth are looking for a boost to their chances of remaining in the Premier League.
The gritty Blades beat Crystal Palace 1-0 last week after losing to Man City by the same scoreline the previous week. Though only four teams have scored less than Sheffield’s 26, they have conceded the second-least in the league with 23.
After picking up just one win and one draw from 12 games – culminating in four straight games without scoring a goal – Bournemouth have bounced back with consecutive victories over Brighton (3-1) and Aston Villa (2-1).
Bournemouth have beaten Sheffield just once in 16 meetings – back in 1987. But the Cherries did end an eight-match losing streak against the Blades with a 1-all draw at home at the start of the season.
Expect Sheffield to snuff out Bournemouth’s mini-revival and keep their 10th clean sheet of the season.
History: Played 111: Man City 57 V West Ham 37 (17 Draws)
Last meeting: August 10, 2019 (EPL): Man City 5 d West Ham 0 at London Stadium
Final Thoughts: Manchester City remain in second spot but their hopes of a third straight Premier League title is long gone. After a five-match unbeaten streak, the Citizens crashed 2-0 at Tottenham in one of their worst displays of the season.
West Ham are 18th and winless in their last five games. They bungled a gilt-edged chance for three points last week at home to Brighton, building a 3-1 lead midway through the second half via a Robert Snodgrass brace before collapsing to draw 3-all.
City are on a nine-match winning streak against Hammers, including six victories by margins of three-plus goals. The heavyweights won a PL Asia Trophy clash in July 4-1, before romping to a 5-0 opening-round result three weeks later. Raheem Sterling scored five goals across those two games.
West Ham – $21 outsiders at the Etihad – have a couple of big-name scalps to their credit this season. Although another upset appears unlikely, there’s plenty of value in Hammers with a massive head-start.