By Antony Jordan
Round 11 of the Premier League season is split 50/50 with five matches playing this Saturday and the majority of the sides in European action completing the card on Sunday. This means that there are few big names in action on the first day of the weekend but, despite this, we still foresee plenty of action and excitement in the opening half of the weekend’s matches.
The late kick off of Chelsea v Everton is the highlight this Saturday but we preview all five clashes with online sportsbook Bet365.com and provide our top EPL picks from each match.
Two of the top six at the start of the weekend clash at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s late kick off with both teams looking to secure all three points before the sides around them in Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham play on Sunday. These two sides clashed on three occasions last season and it was the away side in West London who did best as they triumphed on home soil on two occasions in the EPL and FA Cup while also taking a point on this ground as they shared the spoils in a six goal thriller that saw both teams net in injury time at the end of the match.
However, despite securing this draw last time around Everton have not won a match at Stamford Bridge since 1994 and with losses to Bournemouth and Burnley in two of their last three away matches things do not look promising for Ronald Koeman’s men. Add to this, the fact that Chelsea finally discovered some defensive solidarity with four clean sheets in their last four EPL games that have seen them take maximum points to move within touching distance of the top of the table and this’ll make life even tougher for the visitors to the capital on Saturday evening.
Despite the odds being against them, Everton did score eight times against Chelsea last season we can see them putting up a good fight in this clash and, as a result, we are tipping goals in this match.
Although West Ham have collected seven points in their last four matches and come into this match as the favourites to take all three points, but this match could be a difficult one as they welcome a Stoke side that is in excellent form having collected 11 of their 12 points this season in their last five games, winning all of their last three. One of the biggest problems for The Hammers this season, apart from their improving injury crisis, has been their inability to settle in their new home of The London Stadium and this has seen them win just two of five home EPL games so far. Both of these wins were 1-0 victories and both goals came in the last five minutes of the clashes against Bournemouth and Sunderland, but can they do it against an in-form Potters?
While Stoke have won their last three matches, all of these three point hauls have come against sides sitting in the relegation zone at the foot of the EPL table so will they be able to defeat a side that should be doing better than where they currently sit? West Ham are 17th in the league right now and if Stoke can win this will see them beat all of the bottom four sides in succession and they certainly have both the history and momentum to do so. Mark Hughes’ men have won three and drawn three of the last six meetings with the East Londoners, and they have the confidence to win this match as well.
With Joe Allen and Xherdan Shaqiri pulling the strings in midfield Stoke will create chances and we feel that they deserve to be closer to their hosts in the outright market to win this match. However, with West Ham returning to full strength too we can see them making chances as well in this game and we feel that goals offers the best value at The London Stadium this Saturday.
These two teams clash for the first time in almost two years when Middlesbrough travelled to The Etihad Stadium in the fourth round of the FA Cup and claimed a 2-0 win and they would dearly love a repeat of that result. This match will be the first league meeting between the teams since 2009 when City bounced back from back to back losses at The Riverside where they were beaten 8-1 and 2-0 with a 1-0 home victory and after seeing off West Brom and Barcelona with seven goals netted in their two games played over the last week they will fancy their chances at collecting another three points.
Despite the match odds suggesting an overwhelming victory for the home side in this match on the blue half of Manchester things may not be as easy for Pep Guardiola’s side to secure all three points as ‘Boro find themselves in their best form of the season right now. They have collected half of their ten points in their last four matches with draws at West Ham and Arsenal as well as a home victory against Bournemouth last time around. The 0-0 draw at Arsenal was the pick of the performances and had they been more clinical in front of goal that could have been an easy win for Aitor Karanka’s men, but can they produce the same this weekend?
If Middlesbrough can do that then they stand a good chance of at least getting a goal at The Etihad, but we believe the Bet365 match odds on this game are correct and that City will have too much quality for their guests this weekend and will secure a third successive victory.
We are backing Man City to win both halves of football against Middlesbrough at odds of 2.25 this Saturday.
After winning 2-0 at home to Sunderland last season as well as drawing 1-1 at the Stadium of Light plus having lost just one of their last five EPL games the home side in this Bournemouth v Sunderland clash at The Vitality Stadium will be confident about securing all three points this weekend. The Bet365 odds back them up too and it is hardly a surprise as their home form this season has seen wins over West Brom, Everton and Hull as well as a draw with Tottenham in their last four league encounters, and they have conceded just one goal in this run. Can they continue this form against the side rock bottom of the league?
Sunderland’s collection of just two points this season has seen them record the worst ever start to an EPL season and with no goals scored in their last three away games as they were beaten at Tottenham, Stoke and West Ham confidence will be low in the North East that they can win on the south coast this weekend. We happy to agree with this and are backing an easy win for the hosts.
The final match from Saturday sees a Crystal Palace side that is going through a rough patch look to repeat their 3-2 victory here from two seasons ago when they came from two goals down to take all three points. Alan Pardew’s side come into this clash having lost three games in a row and they are without a win in four but, despite this poor form, they are one of the top entertainment sides in the league this season as they have scored and conceded a total of 30 goals in their ten games so far. Burnley are known for being tight and defensive, but can “Pardew’s Entertainers” put on a show at Turf Moor?
The Clarets have beaten Everton and drawn at Old Trafford against Manchester United in their last two matches, and their home form this season has seen them beaten only by late, late goals from Swansea and Arsenal. They have taken ten of their 11 points on home soil and have conceded just four times in six matches, finding the net seven times themselves. They do not excite as Palace do, but they are an effective side on home soil.
We can see them struggling against a Palace side who will enjoy having the majority of the ball and will create plenty of chances, even against such a tightly packed defence, and we feel that either side could win this clash. We feel that value is on goals in this one as there will be chances at both ends and both sides are capable of scoring and conceding goals.