By Antony Jordan
The final three matches from the 29th round of the Premier League season play this Sunday and there are some big names in action, with the final match of an action packed weekend being the biggest game over the two days. This match sees Manchester City welcome Liverpool to The Etihad Stadium and with both of these sides starting the weekend in the top four they will both be desperate to collect all three points as Arsenal are expected to close the gap with a victory of their own. The big question is, can City pick themselves up after losing in France and exiting the Champions League during the week?
We preview this match, along with the Middlesbrough v Man United and Tottenham v Southampton clashes, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks from this Sunday’s action!
Despite travelling to France with a 5-3 lead over Monaco during the week, Manchester City exited the Champions League at the first knockout round (leaving Leicester as the only EPL side left in the competition!) as they were beaten 3-1 despite getting back into the lead of the tie with 19 minutes left to play. That will have been a hard loss to take, but will Pep Guardiola be able to get his players motivated for this weekend’s match against a Liverpool side with three wins in their last four matches?
City will feel lucky that they are on home soil for this match as they have lost only to EPL leaders Chelsea on this ground this season and they come into this game having won six and drawn three of their nine games since that defeat at the start of December. Add to this, they have Leroy Sané in excellent form right now with goals in four of City’s last six clashes to put him level with the number of goals scored as Sergio Aguero during this time. He will be desperate to add to his tally after netting in France during the week and with Liverpool having won just one of their six away games in 2017 the young German might have a chance to find the net again.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool certainly have not excelled on their travels on the last two and a half months as they have beaten on Plymouth Argyle – who play in the fourth tier – in the FA Cup away from Anfield. They have netted just three goals since a 2-2 draw at Sunderland on January 2nd and their last two away games have seen two goal losses to Hull and Leicester. Usually we would back the home win in this one, but we are not confident in City after their long trip and loss in midweek so our pick for this clash comes on the goalscorer markets as we are favouring Leroy Sané to continue finding the net this weekend!
We are backing Leroy Sané to score anytime versus Liverpool at odds of 2.87 with Bet365 this Sunday.
Both of these two sides will see this as a must win match as Middlesbrough, who fired manager Aitor Karanka on Thursday, start the weekend second bottom of the league and three points away from safety while further up the league Jose Mourinho’s away side at The Riverside are just six points away from a top four position with two games in hand on Liverpool, knowing that one of both of Liverpool and Man City in fourth and third places will drop points. Both will be desperate for the victory, but will the sacking of their manager give the home team a boost and will United’s Europa League clash on Thursday night assist ‘Boro in salvaging their season?
The reason that Karanka was fired is that Middlesbrough come into this match having failed to win in ten EPL games and during that time they have netted just three goals. These poor results and negative tactics have helped the side that was promoted this season slide into the bottom three as Leicester, Swansea and Crystal Palace have begun picking up points and, as a result, Steve Gibson pulled the trigger. Will it be enough to turn things around?
With only three wins on home soil this season – and all of them coming against sides in the bottom six of the league – it will not be an immediate turnaround for Middlesbrough, especially as United come into this match with five wins and two draws in seven away league games since losing at Chelsea in October. Add to this the fact that they moved into the Quarter Finals of the Europa League on Thursday and that they have a number of players all over the pitch scoring goals, which is lucky as Zlatan is suspended for this clash, and we cannot see anything but an away win in this game.
The final match that we’re previewing from round 29 of the 2016/17 EPL campaign sees Tottenham heavily favoured to take all three points against Southampton, but with them missing in-form striker Harry Kane who has netted 19 times for The Lilywhites this season can they live up to their pre-match favourites billing?
Tottenham did triumph 4-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium earlier this season and have suffered just one loss to The Saints since 2005, but that loss came on home soil at the end of last season as Steven Davis netted twice to see Southampton win 2-1. They will be hoping for a repeat of that triumph again as they have beaten Watford and Sunderland in their last two away league matches, but with just four away wins all season and none of these coming against sides in the top half of the top flight table are they consistent or confident enough to defeat the side sitting second?
The loss of England striker Kane will certainly help the away side, but with Tottenham not having lost at White Hart Lane this season and having won all of their last nine home EPL clashes with six clean sheets to their name we cannot see them losing this match, especially considering the fact that they have netted 27 goals in these nine home league games.