By Antony Jordan
This Saturday sees the first set of matches from a trio of game weeks that are to be played over the next week and there are some big names in action despite their exploits in Europe in mid-week. There are six matches playing on the first day of the weekend, with Arsenal looking to go top of the league at home to Stoke and Man City looking to close to within a point of the summit at defending champions Leicester being the top draws as the weekend kicks off in style.
We preview all six matches with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks from Saturday’s action.
Although both of these sides were involved in the Champions League in mid-week, seeing out their group stage fulfilments as they had already progressed to the last 16 stage in first and second places in their groups, neither side will fancy this match this Saturday. Leicester took a heavy 5-0 thumping in Porto on Wednesday evening as they rested players for this clash as their title defence has floundered badly with them beginning the weekend 16th in the EPL and just two points above the drop zone, while after their implosion against Chelsea last weekend that sees three players suspended for this match, including talismanic striker Sergio Aguero, things are far from harmonious at The Etihad Stadium.
City drew 1-1 with Scottish side Celtic in mid-week and after collecting just one point against The Foxes last season they will be wary without some of their biggest guns this weekend, despite Leicester’s poor domestic form this season. The majority of Leicester’s starting XI for this match did not even travel to Portugal for their Wednesday night match so will be fully fit and raring to go for this clash, and with them having lost just one of their 11 matches at The King Power Stadium this season we feel that they offer plenty of value at odds of 4.50 to win this match. City have kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 away games in all competitions this season and they will liable to be opened up at the back in this game too against a rested Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez with Fernandinho and Nicholas Otamendi suspended, while Vincent Kompany is injured.
We see value on the home side in this one (Leicester/Draw Double Chance is available @ 2.15), but with both teams capable of scoring and having trouble keeping the goals out at the other end we are backing goals in Saturday’s late kick off.
Back Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored in this Leicester v Man City match @ 2.05 with Bet365.com.
If The Gunners can win this match by at least two goals they will go top of the Premier League, at least until Chelsea play on Sunday, and while they have failed to win any of the last six meetings between these two teams at the Bet365 Stadium they have not been beaten at home by Stoke since 1981. They have won four of the last five matches on home soil against The Potters by the two goals needed to top the EPL this Saturday and despite the fact that they are missing a number of key players in defence they will be confident and up beat coming into this clash following their 4-1 win in Switzerland against Basel to top their Champions League group.
However, Stoke will be looking to take advantage of Arsenal’s extra game this week as they bring some excellent form to the capital as they have lost just one of their last nine games and have won five of their last seven. They have beaten Hull and Watford as well as drawn at Old Trafford and the London Stadium in their last four away games and will fancy their chances at The Emirates.
The Gunners have won four and drawn two of six on home soil since losing 4-3 to Liverpool on the opening weekend, and they have been in fine scoring form with 15 goals in seven EPL clashes in North London this season. Stoke do not score many on their travels, but we can see them making this match a tough one for the home side as they have failed to score in just one of eight away games in all competitions this season. As a result of this we are backing goals at The Emirates this Saturday.
Even though we’re still well inside the first half of the season, this match between Swansea and Sunderland is still a relegation six pointer as both teams begin this weekend sitting in the bottom three having collected nine and 11 points respectively from their 14 matches. Both sides need to win this match, especially coming into such a congested time of the season – with five matches to be played between this weekend and New Year’s Day – and victory could see the momentum swing around to move through the festive period with victories to move towards safety.
Only one of these two teams currently has any forward momentum and that is the visitors to The Liberty Stadium as Sunderland have collected nine of their 11 points in their last four games with wins at Bournemouth and home to Hull and Leicester, scoring seven goals in this time. Swansea have secured just one win since the first day of the season as they played out a nine goal thriller to beat Crystal Palace 5-4 in their last home match, but with them then losing 5-0 at Tottenham last weekend things remain unstable and inconsistent for the Welsh side.
Swansea have conceded 19 goals in the seven matches that new manager Bob Bradley has been in charge of the club and with their being a history of goals in clashes between these sides, with four of the last five meetings seeing both sides find the net, we feel that the value at The Liberty Stadium is on goals this weekend.
Both of these sides will see this match as a clash that they must win as they are both out of form at the moment with Watford having suffered three defeats in their last four games and Everton having won just one of nine in the league. Last season’s results do not look good for either side as they followed up a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park with a 1-1 stalemate at Vicarage Road and while both would be happy to avoid defeat it would not be the boost that both teams need to reignite their fortunes.
The odds suggest an away win, but with just one point in five away games and losses to Bournemouth, Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton with just a single goal scored Everton will need to bring something very different to this game if they are to live up to their favourites billing. Watford see striker Roberto Pereyra suspended after his red card for fighting last weekend, but with three wins and a draw in their last five home games – losing only to Stoke in their last clash on home soil – they are the form side.
We feel that the home team are the more likely to these two sides to triumph in this EPL clash and we’re backing them to take the points, with a little piece of insurance in case Everton can snatch a draw.
Our money is on Watford to beat Everton on the Draw No Bet market at odds of 2.10 at Vicarage Road this Saturday.
It has been two seasons since these two teams met as, despite Hull winning home and away that season, they were relegated before bouncing back to the top flight under Steve Bruce and Bet365 believe that there will be no third successive victory for The Tigers. Bruce is long gone from The KC Stadium and the side are in trouble having taken just four points from their last ten matches to leave them second bottom thanks to the seven points collected in the first four games of the season. They have beaten Southampton and drawn with West Brom in their last two home matches to claim these four points, but can they upset the odds against the highest scoring side outside of the top five teams?
Palace will bring some confidence to Hull this weekend as their impressive 3-0 home win over Southampton last weekend ended a six match losing streak and a seven game winless run. They are three games without victory on the road coming into this game having lost 3-1 at Leicester, 3-2 at Burnley and 5-4 at Swansea and with Hull finding goals on home soil in their last two matches we feel that this will be an entertaining game. Either side is capable taking the points, so we’re going with goals at The KC.
The final match from Saturday we’re looking at sees a Burnley side looking to end a three match losing streak and put more than three points between them and the relegation zone at the foot of the EPL, while Bournemouth travel to Turf Moor looking to record a third win in four matches after beating Stoke and upsetting the odds against Liverpool in a 4-3 spectacular last weekend. The sides haven’t met since the 2013/14 Championship season when both sides shared the spoils with 1-1 draws home and away, but will one of these two sides be able to get the better of the other this weekend?
Burnley have impressed at home this season with wins over Liverpool, Watford, Everton and Crystal Palace while only Arsenal and Man City have won at Turf Moor since the opening game of the season. All three losses have come be a single goal so they will be sure to hang onto everything they have for the full 90 minutes against The Cherries this weekend, and with just five of their 18 points having come on the road this season Bournemouth will be concerned about taking nothing back to the South coast with them.
The away team have just five goals in seven away games this season, but with Burnley having failed to keep a clean sheet in four on home soil and conceded in both of their last two meetings against Bournemouth we feel that the value in this clash is on goals from both teams as we feel that either side could snatch all three points.
Our best bet on this Burnley v Bournemouth clash is back Both Teams to Score – Yes at odds of 1.80 with Bet365.com.