By Antony Jordan
The 25th round of EPL football kicks off with seven matches this Saturday and as league leaders Chelsea are not playing until Sunday there is a chance for some of the other teams in the top five to close the gap on the pace setters. Arsenal start the weekend at home to the vast improving Hull while the evening match is the biggest game of the weekend as Liverpool look to secure their first EPL win of 2017 against second placed Tottenham.
We preview both of these clashes along with the other five games playing in the top flight this Saturday with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our top EPL picks from the start of round 25 of the season.
2017 has not been good for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side as they have failed to win a single match in the league and are down to fifth in the table four points behind their guests this Saturday evening. They know that they must turn things around as the pressure is growing on the German manager, but despite being the favourites to win this match they will find things tough going against a side that has won seven and drawn two of their last nine matches in the EPL and can move to within six points of Chelsea by going ten matches unbeaten. However, Liverpool have history on their side with six wins and three draws in their last nine meetings with the North Londoners so will it be form or history that wins the day this weekend?
Taking all competitions into account, Liverpool have failed to win on home soil in five matches since New Year’s Eve drawing two and losing three of these matches. The draws came against fourth tier Plymouth and EPL leaders Chelsea while they have also lost to Swansea, Southampton and Championship side Wolves at Anfield. Their biggest issue right now is a lack of goals as they have netted just four times in these five games but with them managing a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in their last match will they be able to turn a corner and win this game?
Tottenham are unbeaten in four away from White Hart Lane after failing to triumph in eight matches on their travels and they have scored ten times in these clashes. They put four past Southampton and Watford as they took all three points before drawing 2-2 at Man City and 0-0 at Sunderland in a surprise result. Despite their poor record against Liverpool, Tottenham are certainly the side more in form coming into this match and we feel that they are overpriced to win this match and we’re backing them to end their torrid run against the side in red – although we are covering ourselves in case this match ends level.
Although the match odds suggest that this match will be a walk in the park for the home side in North London in the first match of the weekend there are a number of indicators that suggest that this may not be true. Taking a look at the home side they have lost both of their last two EPL games at home to Watford and away at Chelsea while Wednesday sees them return to Champions League action when they fly to Germany to take on Bayern Munich, meaning that they lack form and are likely to rest players for a perceived much tougher game. Will this give the Tigers an opportunity to secure victory against The Gunners after a 13 match winless run?
A month ago Hull were in real trouble as they were knocking on the door of the Championship but after the club replaced Mike Phelan with Marco Silva and backed him throughout January the side has seen a turnaround in fortunes as they have taken seven of their 20 points in their last four games under their new manager, losing only at Chelsea. They have beaten Bournemouth and Liverpool as well as drawn with Man United, who they just fell short of defeating in the EFL Cup semi-finals too, to move within a point of safety. Silva has them playing some good football right now and with all that is going on with Arsenal, who are missing some key defensive and midfield players for this match, they do offer some value in this clash. Ultimately we cannot see them winning this match but we do not see them being beaten off the park by The Gunners and we’re backing them to win, draw or lose by a single goal at The Emirates this Saturday.
The Hornets ended a 30 year wait to defeat Manchester United earlier this season as they triumphed 3-1 on home soil at Vicarage Road to see off a side struggling to find its feet under Jose Mourinho, but now they travel to Old Trafford with a much longer wait hanging over their heads to face against a Manchester United team that has found its form and is striding towards the top four places in the league of late. United are unbeaten on home soil in 18 matches since losing the Manchester Derby in September and they have conceded just nine times since then in front of the Red Devils faithful with no more than one goal being scored against them here since that loss versus Man City. Can Watford be the team to break this streak?
Watford come into this match on a four match unbeaten run in the EPL, although they were knocked out of the FA Cup by third tier side Millwall following back to back league draws against Middlesbrough and Bournemouth. However, this defeat has seen them rediscover their form as they have won their last two matches, beating Arsenal and Burnley 2-1, but with them having just one clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League encounters and United barely conceding goals on home soil we are in favour of a home win in this one as United continue their long unbeaten record at home to The Hornets going.
Back to back clean sheets coming into this clash at the Stadium of Light will see Sunderland approach this clash with a Southampton side that has lost three games in a row with some optimism as they know that despite being bottom of the league victory could see them out of the bottom three this weekend. There is just two points separating them from 15th place in the league in one of the tightest relegation battles that the league has seen in many years and with them holding high flying Tottenham to a 0-0 draw on this ground two matches ago before thumping Crystal Palace 4-0 last weekend will this Saturday see The Black Cats escape the drop zone?
Southampton’s run of three successive defeats has seen them concede ten goals in this time and they are a club in crisis having lost two key defenders, one through injury and another to West Ham in the transfer window, and they are leaking goals. New signing Manolo Gabbiadini opened the scoring against The Hammers last weekend, but with them conceding three goals before the full time whistle and having taken just a single victory on the road in nine Premier League games are they able to win this match? We think not and believe that Sunderland’s upturn in fortunes will continue this Saturday with at least a point against The Saints.
While West Brom come into this match one place and five points better off than their hosts this weekend, the majority of their points have come from home matches and they have taken just three wins away from The Hawthorns all season. They have won just two of their last 11 road trips and have lost three of their last five away games – although those three defeats came against sides in the top four places in the league. Despite their lack of wins away from home so far this season Tony Pulis’ side will be confident coming into this match after they cruised to all three points on home soil earlier this campaign in a 4-2 win. The question is, can they repeat that kind of performance in the capital?
The Hammers have moved up the table rapidly in recent weeks as they have taken maximum points in three of their last four EPL games, suffering only a heavy 4-0 home loss at the hands of Man City in this time. Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton have been defeated with nine goals scored – and it is front man Andy Carroll who has hit form with four of these goals. Can he fire them to victory again?
Both of these teams are too inconsistent for us to back them to take all three points at The London Stadium, but they both have the ability to score and concede goals in them so we are backing goals in the capital city this Saturday afternoon.
Our top tip on this West Ham v West Brom match is back Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 1.75 with Bet365.com.
Everton arrive at The Riverside Stadium having rediscovered their form having won five and drawn two of their last seven matches in the league since Christmas to see them move into the top seven of the league, just seven points off the top four spots. They come into this match after putting six goals past Bournemouth last weekend on home soil and while they have not being as impressive on the road they have taken eight points in their last four away matches and will fancy their chances in this clash thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s four goals last weekend taking him to the top of the goal scoring charts.
The Toffees will also be boosted by the fact that their hosts not taken victory in seven league matches, while they have lost two and drawn two of their last five on home soil. They have netted just two goals at The Riverside in 2017 as they have taken two points with draws against Leicester and West Brom as well as suffering a 3-1 loss to West Ham. Their lack of goals is costing them this season and despite bringing in new attacking players in the January transfer window they were unable to find the net at Tottenham last weekend, but with them just a single point above the relegation zone they need to start winning matches if they’re to remain in the league. Will the fear of relegation help them triumph in this match?
With Middlesbrough not having beaten Everton in over a decade and the away side coming into this match full of form we cannot see anything but an away win in this one.
Although they have won five successive meetings between these two teams and have not lost to Stoke since 2013 last weekend’s 4-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Sunderland where they conceded three goals in the two minutes before half time will have been devastating for Crystal Palace. They now travel to the Bet365 Stadium having taken just five points in eight matches and leaking goals and having kept clean sheets on the road only against Bournemouth since the start of the 2015/2016 season!
While the home team in this final match from Saturday we’re looking at have lost just one of their last ten home EPL matches they have drawn four of their last five too. They do not concede many goals with just seven conceded in the last ten games and with Palace having become more conservative going forwards under new manager Sam Allardyce as they aim to tighten up defensively – although that did not happen last weekend – but with so many draws of late we cannot back a home win in this game at such short odds.
However, six of the last seven home games for Stoke have seen two or fewer goals and with them defending so well we see them controlling this match and preventing their guests getting a foothold in the clash. As a result of this we can see there being few goals in this one as both sides are missing a few key attacking players on top of the home defence being on top this Saturday.
Last weekend saw a clean sweep as all three of our guaranteed picks came flying in and now we pick another three bets we believe are most certain to come in this Saturday from these seven matches.
- Tottenham to beat Liverpool Draw No Bet @ 2.37 – Although Liverpool have the history of this tie, Tottenham have the form as their hosts are in crisis without a league win in 2017. We expect the visitors to take advantage of this and gain revenge for the League Cup exit earlier this season.
- Sunderland/Draw Double Chance v Southampton @ 1.73 – Sunderland have picked up in recent matches with back to back clean sheets and four points to their name. Getting out of the relegation zone is now within their grasp and they could not ask for a nicer fixture against a Saints side leaking goals and losing matches. We see the home team grabbing at least a point in this match to continue their annual fight to stay in the top flight!
- Both Teams to Score – Yes in West Ham v West Brom @ 1.75 – The first meeting of these sides this season produced six goals and both teams have been finding the net as well as conceding regularly in recent times so we believe that we’ll be treated to another explosive meeting at The London Stadium.