By Antony Jordan
The 31st round of the 2016/17 EPL season is a midweek round of matches as the 20 sides in the English top flight do battle this Tuesday and Wednesday evening. There are four clashes on the opening evening of action and we are previewing the chances of all eight sides with online sportsbook Bet365.com to bring you our best EPL picks for these games.
The biggest game of the first night of the midweek action comes from Old Trafford as the teams sitting fifth and seventh in the Premier League clash looking to claim all three points. The home side are favoured to take all three points and with them unbeaten in 19 EPL clashes you can see why they are the odds on favourites. However, Jose Mourinho’s men have drawn four of their last five games on the red half of Manchester and while they are unbeaten in 12 on home soil in the league they have drawn eight of these matches. Their last six matches have seen them defeat nobody higher than 12th placed Tottenham and with them being held by West Brom at Old Trafford at the weekend can they take all three points this Tuesday evening?
The Toffees have not exactly excelled on the road recently as they have failed to win any of their last four trips away from Goodison Park and have won just two of their last 13 away matches in the league. Those two victories for Everton came at Leicester and Crystal Palace, both of whom were struggling at the time, and while they are scoring goals – with 11 in their last eight away clashes – they are lacking confidence away from Merseyside right now. They have been defeated by Tottenham and Liverpool in their last two away matches, but three of the other four matches in their last six away trips have ended level.
The last two meetings between these sides have also ended level and with both sides drawing many games home and away respectively we would not be surprised to see this match end as a draw also. However, many things can happen in 90 minutes to cause this not to come true so we are backing goals from both sides in this match as, even if the game does end level, we believe that the ability of both teams to find the net offers us the best value.
Despite the fact that the current EPL champions defeated The Black Cats home and away last season on their way to the title this season has been far more difficult for The Foxes and one of the low points of the season was losing 2-1 at The Stadium of Light in the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season. However, since they removed Claudio Ranieri from his position as manager they have gone from strength to strength as they secured a place in the last eight of the Champions League and have won four EPL clashes in a row to move to 13th in the table and six points clear of the drop zone.
Sunderland have not had such luck as they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the league and are eight points from safety so they need to start winning matches as they have just nine remaining matches to play this season. They come into this match with four defeats and one draw in five clashes with no goals scored during any of these matches. They have lost seven of their last eight away EPL games and with Leicester finding form this game is only going one way.
Back Leicester to beat Sunderland by at least two goals (Leicester -1) at odds of 2.30 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
The home side come into this match at Turf Moor as the slight favourites to triumph against Mark Hughes’ Stoke side despite the fact that they have failed to triumph on home soil against The Potters since 2005. However, with The Clarets having claimed 29 of their 32 points this season in front of their own fans with nine wins and two draws in 15 games they will certainly believe that they can win this match. Of course, they will have to bounce back from the 2-0 loss at home to high flying Tottenham at the weekend which saw them lose at home in the league for the first time since November.
Luckily for the home side they face a Stoke team that has won just one EPL away match since November and has lost six of the eight matches they have played in that time. Their only win came at Sunderland in the middle of January when they triumphed 3-1, but since that match they have failed to find the net on the road since whilst conceding seven goals. They are safe in the table at this stage of the season as they begin this round of matches in ninth place and are nine points clear of the drop zone so we expect them to be easier going than the more under threat home side with the excellent home record so we see this match ending as a home win.
The final match from the first night of this midweek Premier League action sees the sides sitting 12th and 8th in the top flight clash at Vicarage Road with both teams looking to avoid returning to losing ways. Watford ended a four game winless run at the weekend as they defeated Sunderland 1-0 on this ground while West Brom have taken four points in their last two matches as they defeated Arsenal 3-1 at home before the international break before drawing 0-0 at Old Trafford at the weekend. Both sides will believe that they can take all three points in this clash, but who will it be?
The last two meetings between these sides have both come at The Hawthorns and West Brom triumphed this season after suffering a 1-0 loss last season, but the two meetings before this came at Vicarage Road and both ended level. As a result of this and the fact that Watford have not beaten anyone above 16th in the table at home since December and West Brom have not won on the road since 2016 we believe that this match will be a closely contested game.
Watford have swung between scoring plenty of goals and no goals in recent times on home soil while West Brom have not scored away from home in almost two months so as well as this match being a tightly fought battle we see few goals being netted in this one too, but with both sides capable of finding the net and conceding we feel that the value is on some goals to be scored in this final Tuesday night clash.