By Antony Jordan
Due the Semi Finals of the FA Cup playing at Wembley Stadium this weekend, we’re treated to a shorter number of Premier League matches than usual as there are just six games being played throughout the weekend, with four on Saturday followed by two on Sunday. The first group of matches centres around the relegation zone battles, while Sunday’s pair of games sees sides at the other end of the table aiming for a place in Europe look for all three points.
We preview all six clashes with online sportsbook Bet365.com to bring you our best EPL picks of the weekend.
Manchester United may have secured their passage to the Semi Finals of the Europa League on Thursday night, but with them needing to go to extra time against Anderlecht to do so, they’ll certainly find themselves the more tired of the two sides clashing at Turf Moor this weekend. However, with the proposition of moving to within a single point of the top four places in the league available you can be sure that Jose Mourinho will have his team ready to take all three points as they aim to go one better than the 0-0 draw between these sides at Old Trafford earlier this season.
They will not find it easy though as Burnley have taken 32 of their 36 points in the league on home soil this season and have lost only to Tottenham on this ground since the end of November. In the meantime they have won six and drawn with Chelsea in the seven other matches. However, in United they may have found a match as United have won seven and drawn two of their last nine away clashes in the league. Jose Mourinho’s side do not offer much value to win this match so we are avoiding them despite the fact that we see an away win, but with six of the last seven at home for Burnley having two or fewer goals and seven of the last nine away for United having two or three goals in them we see some goals at Turf Moor and we are covering both the under and over 2.5 selection with our pick.
The final game of the weekend sees Liverpool aiming to keep ahead of the chasing pack in the battle for a place in the top four of the Premier League as they welcome a Crystal Palace side that is showing some stunning form of late and has won both of its last two visits to Anfield. The home side start the weekend just two points clear of Man City and six points ahead of Man United having played one and two games more than this pairing respectively so they know that they must continue to take all three points to keep ahead of them and avoid dropping to fifth and missing out on the Champions League for next season.
They will find it difficult to defeat a Crystal Palace side that has lost just one of their last seven matches, winning five and drawing one, and their recent away record has seen win at Bournemouth, West Brom and league leaders Chelsea. They have suffered defeats at Stoke and Southampton too in their last five road trips, but they are scoring goals away from south London and causing teams problems. Liverpool have managed just one clean sheet at Anfield in nine games and we can see this match being another that will see them troubled at the back so we are backing goals on the red half of Merseyside this weekend.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 2.20 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
This match from Saturday is vital for the home side as they begin the weekend just two points clear of the relegation zone and come into this match having lost two games in a row. These defeats came away at Man City and Stoke, but luckily for Hull the have impressed at home in recent times under new manager Marco Silva as they have won seven of their last eight and are unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions at The KCOM Stadium. Both Man United and Liverpool have been defeated here, while only Man City have triumphed on this ground since October.
With Watford’s away form the exact opposite of their host’s form on home soil with just a single win in their last 12 matches away from Vicarage Road, we are not surprised to see Hull the odds-on favourites to win this match despite being much worse off in the league table. In fact, the home form for The Tigers is so much better than the away form for The Hornets we feel that these odds are too good to pass up, especially with Hull having so much to play for in the relegation battle, that we are backing this outcome on Saturday.
Middlesbrough start this weekend six points from safety and looking as if they’re on the way back to the Championship at the end of this season as they have failed to win any of their 13 EPL clashes in 2017 and are without a win in 15 league games in succession. They have failed to win away from home since August and in the following 15 matches they have drawn seven and lost eight, although seven of those eight defeats have come in their last nine away days.
With the away side having failed to score a goal in the last four meetings of these two teams, coupled with Bournemouth having defeated West Ham and Swansea in two of their last three home matches, losing only to Chelsea, things are looking bad for the away team this weekend. Bournemouth won the last meeting of these two sides at Dean Court 3-0 two years ago in the Championship and they certainly appear to be the side most likely to take all three points in this match too.
Neither of these two sides find themselves in excellent form coming into this match and this has hurt the home side more as they are in the final relegation zone place and are without a win in six matches. The Swans have lost five of these six clashes and are now two points behind Hull and if they fail to beat Stoke in this match and Hull live up to our predictions of victory then the Welsh team will find themselves five points adrift of safety. However, they have suffered the majority of their misfortune away from home as they have won three and drawn one of their last five games at The Liberty Stadium, losing only to Tottenham since the middle of January, so they’ll hope to draw on this fine form at home and the support from the fans to take all three points this weekend.
Adding to this form is the fact that the home side have won three and drawn one of the five clashes with Stoke on this ground in the top flight and The Potters have failed to score a single goal in their last five away games. They have lost four and drawn one of these five clashes and have beaten only bottom of the table Sunderland in their last nine away games in a run that goes back as far as November. With Stoke safe in the league and Swansea having a much better home record to the away performances of their guests, this another match in which we can see the relegation threatened side taking the points.
Just as the odds for this match suggest, this will be a tough one for the home team who despite five defeats in their last seven games have pulled themselves clear of the relegation zone and could move into the top half of the table with all three points this weekend. However, their biggest problem is that they are battling one of the top sides in England right now who have suffered just two losses in 2017 so far. Adding to these issues for the home side is that they have not defeated their guests this Saturday on home soil since 200, but is now the time for them to break that run?
Everton have won four and drawn one of their last six matches in the EPL and have drawn level with Arsenal on points, although they have played two extra matches than The Gunners, to leave them on the verge of Europe and with an outside shot at the Champions League. They have, however, not done well on the road with three draws and two defeats in their last five road trips but they have found the net at least once in eight of the last nine away games and with striker Romelu Lukaku having netted 24 times in the league this season we can see them finding the net again this weekend too. With West Ham having failed to find the net at home just twice since September we feel that the best value in East London is on the goals market.