By Antony Jordan
The Premier League returns to action this Saturday with eight matches from round 12 of the 2016/17 season following the two week international break. As the players and teams return to domestic duty it is Liverpool who lead the way with Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal within two points of the top of the table and the majority of these sides are in action this Saturday so will things stay the same or will there be a new table topper by 5pm?
We preview all eight games, including the massive Man United v Arsenal and Southampton v Liverpool clashes, with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best Saturday EPL picks.
Old Trafford hosts both the first and biggest match of the weekend as England’s top tier of football returns following the international break and both of these sides will be desperate to collect all three points on Saturday lunchtime. There is plenty of history between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger in the respective dugouts to ensure that this will be a much talked about clash and with The Gunners able to go top of the league with all three points there is sure to be plenty of fireworks on the pitch – and probably off it too between both managers!
Mourinho does have a good record against Wenger with five wins and six draws in 11 meetings and he’ll be aiming to remain unbeaten in this match too. He showed that he is not afraid to sit deep a frustrate free flowing and threatening sides as he set up his team to draw with Liverpool as the game ended 0-0. The Gunners, however, are unbeaten in 16 clashes since losing to Liverpool on the opening weekend and they will fancy their chances on the red half of Manchester despite just one win in the last decade at Old Trafford.
Both teams are hampered by missing players as the home team see Zlatan suspended and Wayne Rooney injured, while the biggest and latest loss for the away side is Hector Bellerin as the right back has been ruled out for four weeks. Having a tired Alexis Sanchez as one of the main attacking threats after his two weeks in South America will not help Wenger either. However, they have been a consistent side this season and they’re sure to be the team doing all the attacking in this game so we are backing them to take all three points, although we are backing the insurance play in case United can hold out to take a point too.
Top of the league Liverpool travel to the south coast and the St. Mary’s Stadium looking to claim a fourth win in five meetings against The Saints as the big favourites to secure all three points and continue their fantastic early season form unabated. They won one and lost one on this ground last season as Southampton’s comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 gained revenge for the comprehensive 6-1 thumping by the away side earlier in the campaign in the League Cup, and with the scorers of all of those three comeback goals now either playing in China or for Liverpool is it clear that Bet365 have the odds on this game correct?
Southampton are not in the best of form at the moment having won just one of their last five EPL clashes, including losing 2-0 at home to Chelsea and 2-1 away at Hull in their last two games, and they face a Liverpool side that won their final four games before the international break, scoring 14 goals. Former player at St. Mary’s Saido Mane has bagged three of the 12 goals scored in the last three Premier League games as Liverpool are on fire in front of goal. With their being 12 goals in two meetings between these teams last season, we feel that while Liverpool offer some value to win this match we see the best value being on goals to be scored in this vital game for the away team.
Conceding an injury time leveller at home to Middlesbrough in the final match before the international gap saw Manchester City cede top spot in the EPL to Liverpool and they now arrive into this match in south London against a Crystal Palace side that has lost four matches in a row third in the table. However, despite Palace’s poor run of recent form they will not be an easy target for City as last season saw City snatch victory with almost the last kick of the game to bounce back from defeat at Selhurst Park the previous season. Will Palace be able to return to winning ways against City this weekend?
Alan Pardew’s men have not had the best of home league form this season with three defeats in five matches and they have only defeated Stoke in front of The Eagles faithful so far, and that came when The Potters were at their lowest ebb. However, Pardew does have the majority of his squad back from injury for this match and he will be thankful for this, but will it be enough to see his side take all three points for the first time in almost two months?
City have a number of players injured, with Claudio Bravo in goal and Bakari Sagna at full back the main losses, and this will likely bring further woes to a defence that has kept just one clean sheet in 11 matches in all competitions. City should win this game with an array of attacking talent that overshadows every other side in the league, but defensively they are suspect and with many of their squad having played around the world over the last two weeks we can see the home side grabbing at least one goal this weekend.
We are backing Both Teams to Score – Yes and Over 2.5 goals to be scored @ 2.05 at Selhurst Park this Saturday afternoon.
The late kick off in the EPL this Saturday is a London derby that pits North versus East at White Hart Lane in a clash of two sides on the verges. Tottenham start the weekend in fifth place in the league and knowing that all three points will keep them within three points of a Champions League spot while The Hammers are just a single point above the drop zone at the foot of the league and are hoping for a return to winning ways after just a single point in their last two games. Who’ll emerge triumphant?
Bet365 favour the home win for Tottenham following a comfortable 4-1 victory on this ground against Slaven Bilic’s men last season, but they have not won in seven games in all competitions coming into this clash. They have drawn five of these seven games, but they have looked impressive on home soil this season with four wins and two draws, including beaten Man City 2-0 in their best performance all season. They are the deserved favourites to win this match as West Ham have lost five of seven matches on their travels this season, beating only an out of sorts Crystal Palace so far, and while they have plenty of talent within their squad they are not performing right now.
With West Ham having conceded nine goals in their last four away games we can see this one having goals in it and we fancy Tottenham to end their winless run too.
Our top tip for this Tottenham v West Ham game is back the home win and Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 2.20.
Both Ronald Koeman and Bob Bradley in the Everton and Swansea dugouts for this clash at Goodison Park will be feeling the pressure throughout the 90 minutes as they aim to secure all three points and restore some good form to their teams. Koeman has seen Everton lose the ability to win matches as they have lost four and drawn two of their last seven in all competitions (beating West Ham only in more than two months) while Bradley has taken just one point from four matches in charge at The Swans. Which manager will be able to overturn their poor results this weekend?
Three of the last four meetings between these sides has ended level, although Swansea did win 2-1 on this ground last season, but with the Welsh side having taken just five points all season and having conceded nine times in their last four away league games we are finding it difficult to see them getting anything from this match. Everton, on the other hand, have won three and drawn two on home soil during this season’s campaign and Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has found the net in each of the last three games to see him near the top of the goalscoring charts with seven this season. With Swansea so poor defensively we can see the Belgian getting chances to make it four in a row on home soil and we’re backing him to find the net this Saturday.
The defending champions return to Vicarage Road this weekend looking to go a fifth match unbeaten against The Hornets having won three of the last four meetings, including both home and away games last time around. However, the arrive into this clash six places and three points worse off than one of the brightest stars of the early part of this season and they are looking to bounce back after being sent packing on the international break with a 2-1 home loss to West Brom.
The Foxes had won two and drawn two of their previous four games before that loss, but their away record does not make for pretty reading for Claudio Ranieri and fans of the champs as they have conceded eight goals and scored just two in their last four away games as they lost twice and drew twice. They face a Watford side that will be hoping to forget the 6-1 battering at Anfield last time around and return to the home form that has seen wins against Man United and Hull as well as a point against Bournemouth in their last three on home soil. The home side have not failed to score at home this season and with Leicester missing their first choice goalkeeper through injury we feel that there will be goals in this match, just like four of the five EPL clashes at Vicarage Road this season.
Two of the three sides in the relegation zone do battle at the Stadium of Light on Saturday knowing that they must claim all three points in this relegation six pointer if they’re to stand a chance at moving themselves towards safety. Victory is especially important in this meeting as both teams went into the international break with a three point haul following wins at Bournemouth and home to Southampton respectively. Will either side be able to record back to back wins in the top flight for the first time this season and move towards the light of the top 17 places in the division?
Both sides come into this match with a number of big players missing through injury or suspension and it is the home side who sit bottom of the league having collected just five points this season who are the worst hit. They do, however, have the best talent of both sides available to them in Jermaine Defoe and despite The Black Cats having to win at home in the league this season he has netted three of the last four scored in the North East. With Hull having conceded 12 goals in their last three away games we can see the home side getting on the scoresheet and we fancy the former England man to be the one to find the net.
The final of the eight EPL matches playing this Saturday that we’re taking a look at comes from the Bet365 Stadium as Stoke look to continue their stunning recent form that has seen them win three, draw three and take 12 of their 13 points in their last six matches. They now start this weekend’s action 12th in the top flight and are just two points off the top eight despite having just a single point and being rock bottom of the league less than two months ago.
They face a Bournemouth side that has lost to Middlesbrough and Sunderland in their last two matches and have collected just one point since beating Hull 6-1 in the middle of October. Their away form has seen just two points in five matches this season and with Stoke firing in five goals to claim six points in their last two, and even with a number of injuries we feel that Stoke will just have too much for their guests and will take another three point haul this weekend.
We’ve reviewed our eight matches and eight picks from this Saturday’s EPL action and come up with a trio of bets that offer the best value and even if you don’t back any of the other picks these three are the ones that we’re suggesting that you back as a sure thing!
- Arsenal to beat Man United (Draw No Bet) @ 2.00 – The Gunners are in excellent for this season and can go top of the league with all three points (at least until Liverpool play at 3pm). This will be Arsene Wenger’s best chance to beat Jose Mourinho as United will set up defensively and we see an away win at Old Trafford in this one.
- Lukaku to score anytime v Swansea @ 1.83 – Lukaku has seven goals this season, including three in three at home, and with Swansea conceding almost two a match on average we cannot pass up the value on one of the top strikers in the division to find the net this weekend.
- Over 2.5 goals in Southampton v Liverpool @ 1.75 – There have been 12 goals in the two meetings between these sides on this ground over the last season and with Liverpool playing some free flowing and exciting football we can see goals in this one. Southampton, and Charlie Austin in particular, are no slouches either and three goals is on the cards at St. Mary’s.