By Antony Jordan
Game week 27 of the Premier League sees a broken up round of matches as two of the games are postponed due to the Capital One Cup Final playing at Wembley on Sunday, but there are still some big fixtures this weekend.
Saturday sees six matches with Leicester aiming to move points clear with a home win over Norwich, while Southampton v Chelsea and West Ham v Sunderland offer plenty of potential too. We preview all of the day’s six games with online sportsbook Bet365 to provide our top EPL picks of the day.
The first match from Saturday’s EPL card comes from The King Power Stadium as top of the table Leicester welcome 17th placed Norwich with the away side out of the bottom three on goal difference alone. Both sides are out of the FA Cup so they have had two weeks to dwell on their last results as both sides took the lead but failed to take all three points. Leicester battled well against Arsenal, but two goals in the last 20 minutes at The Emirates when they were down to ten men saw them edged out while Norwich conceded two late goals too as they let a 2-0 lead slip at home to draw with West Ham. The pressure is on both of these sides for this match, but who’ll take the points?
After that failure last weekend Norwich are now without a win in seven games in all competitions and have lost all of their last four away games with just one goal scored. Leicester will know that they must get their heads back in the game if they are shock the football world by taking the Premier League title this season. They have won five and drawn three of their last eight at home, conceding just three goals in this time, and with them having played some of the best teams in England off the park in recent weeks we cannot see them losing this match. We are backing the home side to ease to a comfortable win this weekend to move five points clear in the title race.
Our best Leicester v Norwich bet is back Leicester to win by at least two goals (Leicester -1) @ 2.25 at Bet365.
St. Mary’s Stadium sees the biggest named clash of this Saturday’s top flight football in England as sixth placed Southampton, who come into this game top of the form table, take on an improving Chelsea side who are up to 12th in the league and are just seven points The Saints. It is the home team who have the recent historical advantage as, after drawing two meetings 1-1, they triumphed 3-1 at Stamford Bridge earlier this season and with them having dropped just points in their last six EPL games in which they conceded no goals they will believe that they can do the double over the defending champions.
Southampton will be the more rested of these sides as they have not played since beating Swansea two weeks ago and Chelsea have since lost 2-1 in Paris to PSF in the Champions League and then seen off a second string Man City 5-1 in the FA Cup last weekend and with the away side missing John Terry and Kurt Zouma in defence for this match we feel that they may be in trouble. They have kept four clean sheets in four away league games since Guus Hiddink took over at Stamford Bridge but, apart from the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, they have barely scored too and with Southampton defending so well we can the home team continuing their rise up the league.
We are backing Southampton on the Draw No Bet market versus Chelsea at odds of 1.83 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
Thanks a 2-2 away draw at Liverpool before beating Manchester United at the Stadium of Light in their two games Sunderland have moved to within a point of safety and following a warm weather training camp in Dubai over the last two weeks The Black Cats will be in good form for this match and after leaving Upton Park last summer Sam Allardyce will want to win this game more than anything. These two teams drew 2-2 in the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season as West Ham came from two goals down to snatch a point.
The levelling goal in that match came from the boot of Dmitri Payet and with the midfielder having scored seven and created five EPL goals this season despite a large spell on the sidelines he’ll be the man to watch this weekend in East London. He has scored three and assisted two goals in his last two games and is likely to run the show once again as West Ham aim to go a 13th match unbeaten in front of their fans. However, Sunderland have scored in each of their last nine away games and with the pressure on to survive in the Premier League this season more than any other season thanks to the new TV deal bringing millions of pounds next season we can see them giving it there all. We see them going down swinging in this match though.
Our top West Ham v Sunderland tip is back West Ham to win and Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 3.75 with Bet365.com.
Last time around saw two very different results for these two teams as Stoke ended a four game winless and goalless streak with a 3-1 win over Bournemouth to steady the ship and secure their place in the top ten of the Premier League while Villa, confident from a two wins and two draws in five games, were given a stark reminder as to why they are bottom of the league. They were thumped 6-0 at home by Liverpool and that result could have been much, much worse.
They are without an away win in the league since the opening day of the season and have lost nine of the 12 away games since then, but with strikers Gabby Agbonlahor and Rudy Gestede both available for this match while Stoke have an injury crisis in defence could this be the match in which the Midlanders win away from home again? Manager Remi Garde does not believe so as he has come out with some disparaging remarks this week and even with Stoke missing defenders they’ll win this match without issue.
Our money is on Stoke/Stoke HT/FT at odds of 2.60.
Both of these sides were in FA Cup action last weekend as Watford progressed to the Quarter Finals at the expense of Championship side Leeds and Bournemouth exited the competition at the hands of Everton. That was the third successive defeat in all competitions for the away side at Vicarage Road this weekend and with them just four points above the relegation zone they need to rediscover the form that saw them lose just one of seven matches between the start of January and the start of this month.
The Cherries are unbeaten in four matches against The Hornets, although three of those games have ended 1-1, but they last defeated Watford away in 1997. They face a tough task this weekend as Watford have conceded just one goal in four home games and only sides in the top five of the Premier League have scored more than a single goal on this ground. With top striker duo of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney leading the line the home side are certainly more than capable of scoring enough goals to win too.
However, with Bournemouth having lost just one of their last nine away games since the start of November they will fancy their chances in this match. We see another close and combative match between these sides and we are backing goals from both sides.
Our best Watford v Bournemouth bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 1.90 at Bet365.
The late kick off on Saturday sees The Hawthorns host a Midlands versus London clash with the two sides separated by just three goals in their goal difference. After Aston Villa these two sides are two of the lowest scoring teams in the Premier League and we do not hold out much hope for a thrilling game in the evening match this Saturday.
West Brom were beaten 3-1 away by Championship side Reading last weekend in the FA Cup and their last five EPL games have seen just a single win and only two goals scored. They are unbeaten in four on home soil though with two draws following two wins, but with The Eagles coming into this match boosted by a victory over Tottenham in the FA Cup at the weekend to see an end to a three game winless streak. They have now scored in each of their last six matches and former Tottenham man Emmanuel Adebayor has give the side a real boost up front.
We feel that if either of these sides is to win this game it’ll be the away side, but with both teams lacking firepower we feel that a lack of goals offers better value.
We are backing Both Teams to Score – No at odds of 1.70 in this West Brom v Crystal Palace match.