The New Year’s Day action from the Premier League is an all London affair with the final two matches from the first half of the Premier League season kick off 2017. Both matches promise to be interesting matches around the English capital as Watford welcome fifth placed Tottenham and fourth positioned Arsenal face Crystal Palace at The Emirates Stadium in North London.
Who’ll win these matches? We preview both games with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks from the first day of the new year.
As the match odds from Bet365 suggest for this clash at Vicarage Road it is the away side who travel the 20 miles around the capital to play this first match of 2017 in the English top flight and after winning both meetings between the sides last season The Lilywhites will fancy their chances at keeping the pressure on the top four sides in the EPL with all three points.
They come into this match having won five of their last six games in all competitions and were comfortable victors at St. Mary’s Stadium in their final 2016 clash on Wednesday night as they saw off Southampton 4-1. However, this away win is out of the ordinary for Tottenham as it is their first since the end of September and they had failed to win eight away games before their south coast victory in their first post-Christmas match. The big question is was that a one off or has their away form turned a corner?
The Hornets are also not in the best of forms lately with just a single win in their last six games and four of those other five clashes have ended in defeat. However, their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Boxing Day saw them return to the top half of the EPL and despite their poor recent form they have not let their standards slip in front of their own fans as they have won four and drawn two of their last seven at Vicarage Road and have only been defeated by Arsenal since September. They have failed to find the net in front of their own fans one just one occasion in ten home matches this season and even though Tottenham were struggling to win matches away from home they failed to score on the road in just one of their last six away games and we can see goals in this match – which considering both side’s respective home and away form could go either way!
Coming into the 19th round of Premier League football for this 2016/17 season these two teams sit fourth and fourth bottom of the league table and the odds reflect this as Bet365 see a comfortable start to the new year for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners team. However, after just a few days in the job at Selhurst Park new boss Sam Allardyce helped The Eagles claim a point at Watford and now he’ll be out to at least match that in another part of the English capital, but with Palace having lost eight of the last 11 meetings with Arsenal can he upset the odds on New Year’s Day?
Arsenal have had a tough time of things lately with away losses at Everton and Manchester City prior to Christmas Day before they needed 86 minutes to find the net against West Brom on Boxing Day to secure all three points in a 1-0 victory. However, both defeats came on the road for The Gunners and their home record has seen them win six and draw two of eight EPL games since losing to Liverpool on the opening day of the season, and maximum points have been secured in their last three at The Emirates with seven goals scored.
Palace are without a win in four matches and the fact that they have won just once since the end of September saw the end of Alan Pardew’s time in South London. Their away form this season has been one of their biggest issues with no win in six matches and 16 goals conceded in these games, but with 12 goals scored themselves in this run they are no slouches in front of goal and will certainly cause Arsenal problems on January 1st. There has not been fewer than two goals scored in a meeting between these sides since 1998 and the last four clashes have seen goals from both teams, with the clash at The Emirates last season seeing the sides share the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
We feel that Bet365 have the odds correct in that Arsenal will win this match, but with the direct style of play that Sam Allardyce is likely to employ Palace will cause their hosts problems and we can see goals coming from both of these sides on New Year’s Day.