By Antony Jordan
There was plenty of action and excitement in the five EPL games played last night, but we’re expecting even more this evening! The highlight is the repeat of the Capital One Cup Final that saw Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero the hero as City triumphed on penalties while the London derby of the high flyers of West Ham and Tottenham will command just as much attention.
We preview all five clashes in the middle of this week with online sportsbook Unibet.com and provide our best EPL picks here.
The defeat in the final of the League Cup still fresh in their minds Liverpool will be motivated for revenge on home soil against the team that edged them out at Wembley on Sunday. That clash ended 1-1 at the full time whistle as Liverpool took advantage of a profligate City side who had plenty of chances to win the match but could not get the ball into the net before the side in red were outsmarted by Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero who saved three of their four spot kicks. The stopper is likely to line up on the bench tonight with Joe Hart returning between the sticks while all action midfielder Yaya Toure is doubtful with a foot injury, but how will these changes affect the balance of this silverware winning side?
Liverpool are likely to see Mamadou Sakho and Lucas miss out after collecting head and muscle injuries at Wembley while striker Daniel Sturridge is a doubt after cramping up after two hours of football in Sunday. For the home side it is a match of contrasts as they have not been defeated at Anfield by City since 2003, yet they have won just four of their 12 home EPL games this season and apart from a surprise win over Leicester on Boxing Day they have not beaten anyone outside of the bottom four this season.
City will have to work hard to overcome their poor record on Merseyside and with just two wins in their last nine away EPL games, which came over relegation threatened Sunderland and Premier League new boys Watford (where they needed two goals in the last eight minutes to win), leaves them in poor form of late. We can see both teams giving it there all in this match and we see goals in this game, just like in seven of the last seven meetings between the teams at Anfield.
Our top Liverpool v Man City tip is back Over 2.5 goals at odds of 1.94 at Unibet.com.
Although they come into this match in front of their own fans having not lost an EPL match at the final season of football at Upton Park since August and having won six and drawn five of their last home 11 Premier League games it is the home side who are the outsiders to win this clash. There are two reasons for this; the first is that Tottenham came into this midweek round of games just two points off the top of the Premier League table after a dominant showing against Swansea and second is the fact that West Ham have a number of defensive players missing tonight. Defenders Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien are still injured while new signing Sam Byram is suspended and with Tottenham being the league’s joint top scorers can this depleted defence hold out?
Unibet certainly do not believe so and with the North Londoners having won four of the last six visits to this ground they certainly offer plenty of value at even money to take all three points. Mauricio Pocchetino’s men currently sit top of the form table having won all of their last six EPL games to see their confidence through the roof. Top this off the only injury doubt they have is over Dele Ali who has a foot niggle and they have plenty of capable replacements in the middle of the pitch to ease the blow if the England player cannot participate.
The meeting between the sides at White Hart Lane earlier this season saw five goals as Tottenham ran out 4-1 winners and we expect to see another thriller between these two sides this Wednesday evening too. We agree with Unibet in that the away side deserve to be the favourites to win this game as they have shown that even they are not on the top of their game they can grind out a victory while West Ham have struggled at times. Their injured defenders do not help either!
Our money is on Tottenham to win at West Ham @ 2.00 in the Unibet Sportsbook.
There is only one name that everyone is talking about right now in regards to Manchester United (and no it’s Louis van Gaal and his ‘dive’ on the sidelines at the weekend!) as the 18 year old local striker Marcus Rashford has come from nowhere to be a superstar for arguably the biggest side in English football. The youngster was forced into the first team by van Gaal due to injuries, but with him starting in the 5-1 thumping of FK Midtjylland before making his EPL debut against Arsenal at the weekend. He has scored four goals and assisted one in these two games to see him beat George Best’s record of United’s youngest scorer in Europe and he is the third youngest in the EPL for the club too. Can he work his magic in front of the Old Trafford faithful this Wednesday night too?
This season has been a fantastic one for the newly promoted Watford, who missed out on the Championship title on the last day of last season, as they are in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup (just 90 minutes away from Wembley!) and are in the top half of the league, while they have only been defeated by title challengers Tottenham in their last seven matches. Their strike duo of Igahlo and Deeney have impressed in their first season in the top flight and although United have won five of their last six at Old Trafford we can see The Hornets getting on the scoresheet as they did in the reverse of this fixture.
Our best Man United v Watford bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes at odds of 2.15 with Unibet.
It appears to be that time of year again that Arsenal fans have become far to accustomed to as it appears that The Gunners are once again imploding. Their last three matches have seen them draw 0-0 with Championship side Hull City before taking a massive step to exiting the Champions League with a 2-0 home loss to Barcelona before leaving themselves five points off the top of the EPL after losing to a ragtag Manchester United side at the weekend as Marcus Rashford stole the spotlight. They face a Swansea side sitting 16th in the table and just three points above the drop zone without a win in four matches. If they cannot live up to their overwhelming favourite odds to win this match then The Gunners are sure to end this season without silverware.
The Swans have not done well on the road this season with only two away victories coming in their 13 games played so far, and one of those came against Aston Villa who are so bad it almost doesn’t count. Their last eight away matches in the EPL have seen five defeats and two draws, defeating only Everton, but they did triumph 1-0 at The Emirates last season and although results are not going their way they will have confidence for this match thanks to some good performances.
We see Swansea defending deeply and with Arsenal lacking a goal threat right now with Oliver Giroud and Alexis Sanchez out of form we feel that there will be few chances and even fewer goals in North London tonight.
We are backing Under 2.5 goals @ 2.05 in this Arsenal v Swansea match.
The final match from this midweek round of EPL action comes from the Britannia Stadium as Stoke are aiming to record a third successive victory and put together a late season charge towards a place in Europe for next season. They have bounced back well from losing the Capital One Cup semi final and exiting the FA Cup as part of a six game winless and goalless run to beat Bournemouth 3-1 and Aston Villa 2-1 in their last two matches and now they welcome another side in relegation trouble this Wednesday night.
Newcastle did defeat West Brom 1-0 at St. James’ Park recently but were then thumped 5-1 away at Chelsea, but that was two and a half weeks ago as they are out of the FA Cup and had their game against Man City postponed as their opposition lifted the League Cup. Still, they have now lost six successive away games since a late comeback to upset Tottenham two weeks before Christmas and this coupled with a lack of playing time and Stoke rediscovering their form we cannot see anything but a home win in this match.
Our best bet in this Stoke v Newcastle match is the home win at odds of 1.95 in the Unibet Sportsbook!