By Antony Jordan
The final four matches from round 13 of the EPL season play this Sunday around the UK as three of the eight teams are given an extra day’s rest after their European adventures during the week. The biggest game of the day sees Man United take on West Ham at Old Trafford, but Arsenal v Bournemouth and the meeting of Ronald Koeman’s old and current clubs in Southampton versus Everton will attract plenty of interest too.
We preview these three games, as well as the day’s opening clash of Watford v Stoke at Vicarage Road, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our top EPL picks.
Man United v West Ham: 1.45 – 4.75 – 8.00
Although Jose Mourinho’s side have had the least amount of rest of these two teams coming into this match they will be confident about securing all three points after their most positive performance of the season on Thursday night. They defeated Dutch side Feyenoord 4-0 at Old Trafford to see them three matches unbeaten after defeating Swansea 3-1 and seeing Arsenal scored in the last minute to salvage a draw, now they’ll feel that things are turning their way after an inconsistent start to the season under their new manager. Can they go four unbeaten as the heavy favourites to win this match?
Things have been very tight between these two sides in recent times as the last five meetings have seen three draws and one win apiece while just two of the last 12 clashes have seen the sides separated by more than a single goal. There does tend to be goals between the teams though as seven of the last nine clashes have seen both sides find the net and with The Hammers having just four clean sheets in 16 matches this season, goals could be on the cards again.
West Ham are slumping again as their inconsistent form is catching up with them again as following three wins and a draw in four games they have lost to Everton and Tottenham – conceding two in the last two minutes against the latter of the two sides – and drawing with Stoke. We feel that they are still not good enough to end a 9.5 year wait for a victory at Old Trafford but that they will push their hosts all the way in an entertaining home win.
We are backing Man United to beat West Ham AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored @ 2.10 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
Southampton v Everton: 2.20 – 3.40 – 3.60
The biggest talking point of this Saints versus Toffees clash is that former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman brings his new side to the St. Mary’s Stadium for the first time with Everton beginning the weekend five points and four places better off than the side he left during the summer. However, neither of these sides are in great form right now so will the fact that Southampton were beaten 1-0 in the Czech Republic on Thursday and be the more tired of these two sides with the travelling come into play on the south coast this Sunday?
The Saints are without a win in four EPL matches having lost two and drawn two since defeating Burnley six weeks ago, and they have failed to score in their last two home matches as they were beaten by Chelsea and drew with Liverpool. They face an Everton side who have taken just one point from four away matches as they were beaten by Bournemouth, Burnley and Chelsea as well as drawing with Manchester City. The Toffees have a total of two goals in these four matches, but are they good enough to win this weekend?
Everton did secure a comfortable 3-0 win on this ground last season and they are now three matches unbeaten against their hosts in a run that stretches back almost two years. We feel that this will be a close and cagey match that will see both teams look better defensively than in attack, but we still see goals. Five of the last six meetings between the teams have seen either two or three goals and we’re backing this pattern to continue on Sunday.
Our best Southampton v Everton bet is back 2/3 goals in the game at odds of 1.95 with Bet365.com.
Arsenal v Bournemouth: 1.40 – 5.00 – 9.00
Both matches between these two sides in the EPL have seen the Londoners claim 2-0 wins and once again they come into this clash as the big favourites to secure themselves all three points and continue their challenge for their first league title since 2004. Arsene Wenger’s men may come into this match having drawn their last three games against Tottenham and Man United in the league and PSG in the Champions League but they are unbeaten in 18 matches this season and have begun the weekend just three points off the top of the table. They can go top if results elsewhere go their way, but can they secure all three points themselves?
The Cherries start this weekend sitting in tenth place in the league having secured 15 points from their opening 12 matches, but their form can be hit and miss as they have won three, lost three and drawn two in their last eight games. They have secured just a single win on their travels this season as they defeated Stoke 1-0 in their last away trip, but they have lost to West Ham, Man City and Middlesbrough without scoring too. They also led at both Crystal Palace and Watford before drawing as well, but with The Gunners winning three and drawing two in the EPL at The Emirates since losing to Liverpool on the opening weekend they are the deserved favourites to win this match.
Both of these teams are capable of finding the net, even though Bournemouth failed to do so last season, and as well as the home win we can see goals in this one as there have been 20 goals in six games at home for Arsenal and 14 in six on the road for Bournemouth, so we’re combining these two patterns for our pick of the match.
Our money is on Arsenal to beat Bournemouth AND Both Teams to Score – Yes at odds of 2.75.
Watford v Stoke: 2.40 – 3.30 – 3.30
The final game we’re looking at from this Sunday’s card is the first game of the day to kick off as Watford and Stoke do battle at Vicarage Road at lunchtime in just their third ever EPL clash. Last season’s games saw both teams claim victory in front of the other’s fans as Watford triumphed 2-0 at the Bet365 Stadium and Stoke returned the favour in March with a 2-1 win in London, but will Stoke strike again on this ground or can Watford their first home win against The Potters in a decade?
Wins over Manchester United, Hull and Leicester as well as a draw with Bournemouth in the last four matches at Vicarage Road for Watford will leave the home side in this match full of confidence to reverse the defeat suffered here last season against a side that currently sits five places and five points below them in the league. Stoke, however, have discovered their form after a slow start to the season as 12 of their 13 points earned during this campaign have come in their last seven matches. They have drawn with Man United and West Ham as well as beaten Hull in their last three away games to give themselves plenty of confidence for this match too.
We can see another close game between the sides and while this match could easily see both sides win, we believe that they’ll cancel each other out and that this match will end level.
Back Watford v Stoke to end as a draw @ 3.30 at Bet365.com.