By Antony Jordan
This Wednesday evening sees the completion of the 16th round of Premier League football for this season as the first round of midweek EPL action kicks off the festive football calendar. There are eight games playing as teams up and down the UK look to move up the table and all of the Wednesday night football promises action, excitement and plenty of goals too.
We preview all eight games with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our top EPL picks.
The first match that we’re looking at from Wednesday night’s card sees the sides bottom and top of the EPL table following the weekend’s matches clash at The Stadium of Light with the home side looking to follow on from their 3-2 win on home soil against Chelsea last season. However, with the guests to the North East of the country having won nine successive Premier League matches and having kept seven clean sheets in that time we can see why Bet365 have made Chelsea such heavy odds-on favourites to win this match.
Despite the bookies leaning towards the away win, Sunderland are unbeaten in three games on home soil against Chelsea and they come into this match having won both of their last two home games, beating Hull 3-0 and Leicester 2-1. Chelsea are unbeaten in four on the road though as they have seen off Hull, Southampton, Middlesbrough and Manchester City with just one goal conceded since losing 3-0 at Arsenal in September.
Chelsea certainly have seen off bigger and better side sin recent times than the Black Cats and are deservedly the favourites to win this match, but can they do it with another clean sheet? Sunderland have failed to find the net on just a single occasion in eight matches in front of their fans this season, but only a penalty against Arsenal saw them score against a side of Chelsea’s calibre and we do not see Chelsea giving them anything as easy this Wednesday night so we favour an easy away win in this one.
These two sides clash for the first time in a league encounter since 2009 when ‘Boro’s 2-0 home win could not save them from relegation that season, but they would love to repeat that scoreline to secure all three points this festive period as they look to move further away from the drop zone at the foot of the league. They have beaten Bournemouth and Hull in two of their last three home matches and no side has beaten them by a single goal at The Riverside all season long as Aitor Karanka’s men have kept things fairly tight in front of their fans, but them scoring more than a single goal on home soil just once this season do they have the ability to outgun Liverpool?
With 37 goals netted in 15 matches in the EPL so far this season Jurgen Klopp’s men are the highest scoring team in the top flight so far this season and they will be confident of outscoring their opposition this Wednesday night. However, their hosts have conceded just 16 goals this season – which is second only to Southampton outside of the top six – and it will not be easy with some of their biggest attacking names still sidelined with injuries. Still, they have scored 11 times in their last five games on the road in the league and we feel that the visitors will leave The Riverside with all three points. However, they just one clean sheet this season away from Anfield so we see goals from both these sides in a thrilling match.
We are backing Liverpool to beat Middlesbrough AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 2.37 at Bet365.
Both of these sides come into this match having had very different weekends as the home team were ripped apart from champions Leicester in a 4-2 victory for The Foxes, while Watford secured a 3-2 win at home to Everton to see them move to seventh place in the EPL table for this match at The Etihad. The fact that Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho are still both suspended for the hosts and captain Vincent Kompany remains out injured will only spur a Watford side looking to close the gap between themselves and the pre-season title favourites to just six points. Can they hand Pep Guardiola’s men a third successive EPL defeat?
City were beaten 3-1 in their last home match by league leaders Chelsea and between the Premier and Champions Leagues they have won just one of their last five games – and that was away to Burnley where an Aguero double was needed to win the day. They do not have Aguero for this one after his four match ban for a red card against Chelsea and with The Hornets having beaten Everton and Leicester in recent times they will be confident of getting something on the blue half of Manchester. However, losses at Burnley, Liverpool and West Brom in three of their last five road trips does not make for good reading for the away side either.
We feel that without Fernandinho, who has been in inspired for shielding the Man City defence this season, Watford will have chances in this match. They may even take all three points against a side that is lacking in confidence right now, but we feel that, like the games last season, there is goals in this one.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored in this Man City v Watford clash @ 2.05.
The last three EPL encounters between these two teams at White Hart Lane have ended 0-0, 1-0 and 2-0 and with the odds leaning so heavily towards a home win in this one we could very well be tempted by backing this pattern to continue as 3-0 to Tottenham is available at odds of 7.50 with Bet365. Spurs have been impressive on home soil in the league this season with five wins and two draws in seven, and they have kept four clean sheets in this time too. Do they offer value to win this match?
They have scored three or more goals in the league at home on just two occasions this season, although both have come in their last two matches, as they defeated West Ham 3-2 and Swansea 5-0 so there is certainly plenty of goals in them. With Hull having lost all of their last five away EPL clashes and conceding 16 goals in this time, with just two goals scored and none netted in their last three, we cannot see anything but a very comfortable home win in this one.
We have considered backing 3-0 to Tottenham in this game, but with Hull in such poor away form and Tottenham scoring so highly we do not wish to lock ourselves to a single scoreline and we’re backing Tottenham to win this match by at least three goals instead.
These two sides clash for the first time since their FA Cup Final thriller at the end of last season that saw Palace lead at Wembley only for Manchester United to come from behind and snatch an extra time victory to dash the hopes and dreams of The Eagles. The home side at Selhurst Park this Wednesday evening will be looking for revenge for that, but with five losses in their last eight matches are they in a place to triumph?
Palace have claimed four points from their last two matches following those five successive losses as they defeated Southampton 3-0 on this ground and drew 3-3 at Hull, with them snatching a late, late leveller. They have now found the net on ten occasions in their last three games and will fancy their chances at revenge. However, United come into this clash unbeaten in eight games in all competitions and are just three points off the top five places in the league after beating Tottenham 1-0 at the weekend. Despite this good run of form they have only beaten Swansea in their last five away matches in the league since August and this will give the home side a chance.
With Palace’s excellent scoring record and awful defensive record, which has seen them concede eight in their last three games despite recording one clean sheet, we feel that there will be goals at Selhurst Park this midweek.
Back Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals in this Crystal Palace v Man United match at odds of 2.30 with Bet365.
Despite having upset the odds to secure a 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday and move out of the relegation zone and facing a Burnley side that has scored one goal on their travels this season it is still a surprise to see West Ham as the odds on favourite to win any match. The Hammers come into this clash having failed to win any of their last six EPL games, losing three and drawing three, since recording back to back wins over Crystal Palace and Sunderland almost two months ago. They have lost three and drawn two of six matches on home soil since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in August and were beaten 5-1 by Arsenal in their last match on home soil, so can they really be deserving of being the 1.66 favourites to win?
Burnley’s away record this season has seen them lose 3-0 to Chelsea, 3-0 to Leicester, 3-1 to Southampton with the goal coming from the penalty spot, draw 0-0 at Manchester United before losing 4-0 and 2-0 at West Brom and Stoke. They have not travelled well this season, with only Leicester having collected the same single point but even The Foxes have netted six goals on their travels. Yet, despite this poor away form, we do see value in the home team at this price thanks to their own terrible form of late but due to Burnley’s lack of goals we do see something to bet on at The London Stadium – a lack of goals.
Ten places and eight points separate these two teams coming into their 16th matches of the season with the home side at The Hawthorns sitting in eighth place and Swansea stuck in the relegation zone despite having won two of their last three clashes. The home side come into this match having had a successful time of things recently with three wins and a draw in their last five clashes, with a 1-0 loss at Chelsea over the weekend their only zero point haul since October, and they’ll be looking to return to winning ways this weekend.
The Baggies were equals with the league leaders on Sunday and were undone by a second of hesitation at Stamford Bridge, but with wins over West Ham, Burnley and Watford on home soil in recent times they will fancy their chances on Wednesday. Swansea have beaten fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and Sunderland recently, but both of these wins came on home soil and their away record away from home under Bob Bradley sees losses to Arsenal, Stoke and Tottenham as well as a draw at Everton with 12 goals conceded and just four scored.
With the home side’s odds to take victory available at better than evens, this looks to be the pick of the night!
Following four successive draws in the first meetings of these sides in the Premier League the last four matches featuring Stoke and Southampton have seen two wins apiece with both sides winning at home two seasons ago and then both teams triumphed on the road last time around, so what will we be treated to this time around at the Bet365 Stadium?
After recovering from an awful start to the season Stoke have won three of their last four matches in front of their own fans with Sunderland, Swansea and Burnley, but they were also beaten by Bournemouth too. Southampton travel to the Midlands having won three of their last five games in all competitions, but their away form in the league sees them having failed to win in four, losing the last two games to Hull and Crystal Palace. They are still missing key striker Charlie Austin and we see them struggling without their top striker so believe that the home side will continue their good form on home soil.
Our top tip for this Stoke v Southampton match at the Bet365 Stadium is back Stoke to win on the Draw No Bet market at odds of 2.20.
Top EPL Picks:
We have narrowed down our eight bets to our top three picks which will are certain will be winners that we suggest that if you back just three then these are the picks.
- West Brom to beat Swansea @ 2.05 – The Baggies are in fine form of late, while Swansea are conceding a large number of goals on the road and are without a win away from home since August so we are all over the home win at this price.
- Chelsea to beat Sunderland to nil @ 2.20 – Chelsea have won all of their last nine EPL matches and have seven clean sheets in this run. Sunderland are bottom of the table and while they have at times shown some ability, we see a side like Chelsea being too good for them and it’ll be a comfortable victory for the visitors.
- West Ham v Burnley: Both Teams to Score – No @ 1.95 – Burnley have managed just a single goal in six away games this season and that came from the penalty spot. West Ham do not have a great record at keeping teams out this season, but they’ll be able to keep their third EPL clean sheet on home soil this Wednesday night.