By Antony Jordan
The Premier League returns from its international break this Saturday with eight matches and the weekend could not start in a better fashion for fans as the first game sees the Merseyside Derby as Liverpool and Everton do battle at Anfield. Liverpool handed their local rivals their only home loss this season in the week before Christmas when they last met, but will Ronald Koeman’s side, with the league’s top goal scorer in Romelu Lukaku aiming to add to his 21 goals this season, be able to claim their revenge?
We preview this massive, and often fiery, match along with the other seven games playing this Saturday with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks.
Just six points and less than one mile separates these two EPL heavyweights who begin the weekend sitting in fourth and seventh places in the league with both teams desperate to take all three points. The home side need the points to give themselves more space ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal in the race for a Champions League place who are four and six points behind them with two games in hand while Everton aim to claw themselves into contention for a place in Europe with victory. The odds are with the side from the red half of Merseyside as they have not lost a local derby with The Toffees since 2010 and Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999. Can they end that run this weekend and upset the odds?
The visitors to this famous stadium will find it difficult to triumph as they have not travelled well this season and have won just twice away from Goodison Park since September while their hosts have rediscovered some form in recent EPL matches after failing to win any of their first five league games in 2017. They have beaten Tottenham, Arsenal and Burnley, scoring seven goals and conceding two, in their last three home matches while Everton have drawn at Hull, Stoke and Middlesbrough in three of their last five away games, losing at Tottenham and winning only at Crystal Palace so far this year. However, despite this recent disparity between the teams in form, we feel that this match will be a close game and with both sides certainly capable of finding the net – despite Liverpool only winning the first meeting of the teams earlier this season in injury time after 90 minutes – we feel that goals is the way to find value in the opening game of the weekend.
Our best Merseyside Derby bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 2.10 with Bet365.
While the odds on the home win at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea are very low if this match had been played a month ago they would be much lower still as The Eagles arrive in West London having won all of their last three matches without conceding a goal as they have defeated Middlesbrough, West Brom and Watford on their way out of the bottom three places in the league. The side from the south of the capital also triumphed 2-1 here on their last visit and even though both sides had different managers then will we see a repeat of that result this weekend?
Tottenham and the other sides at the top of the league will hope so as they aim to close the ten point gap to Chelsea at the top of the EPL but with the home side in this clash having won ten and drawn two of their last 12 matches in all competitions it will be tough for Sam Allardyce’s men. Chelsea have won ten home EPL clashes in a row on home soil and have kept six clean sheets so they are the deserved favourites and we feel that the international break will have affected their guests more than them so we are backing a comfortable victory for the home side in this one.
Our top tip for this Chelsea v Crystal Palace match is back Chelsea to win by at least two goals (Chelsea -1) @ 1.80 in the Bet365 Sportsbook!
Despite the fact that the last eight meetings between these teams have seen three wins each as well as two draws Bet365 see this match going the way of the home side as they make Jose Mourinho’s Man United the overwhelming favourites to take all three points. Will this be the case though with such a closely contested win record between the teams in recent times?
The Baggies have not excelled away from home this season and have taken just three wins on the road all season long – and none of these have come against sides sitting above tenth in the league. They did defeat Arsenal in their last match, but that came on home soil and while it will boost confidence they have still failed to win on the road in four games since winning 2-1 at Southampton on the final day of 2016. With the home side at Old Trafford having not lost in front of their own fans since September – a run of 23 matches in all competitions – we cannot see the visitors getting anything from this trip north. We see this one going the same way as for the league leaders against their fellow Londoners.
We are backing Manchester United to beat West Brom by at least two goals (Man United -1) at odds of 2.00 at Bet365.com.
Although they start this match as the favourites, the away side at Turf Moor this Saturday afternoon will not find this easy going as they are still without 19 goal striker Harry Kane for this game and with Burnley having dropped points on home soil just five times in 14 matches this season. The Clarets have won five of their last six games on home soil, drawing only to table topping Chelsea since suffering defeat to Man City in November, and they will fear no side that arrives at their ground this season. Can they take a tenth home victory this weekend?
Tottenham arrive to face Sean Dyche’s men with five wins and a draw in all competitions at home and on the road, including securing passage to the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, and they have suffered just two losses in their last 19 clashes. Without Harry Kane they are a longer shot to win this match than they otherwise would have been as they do not have a second striker who is close to the England man, but there are goals throughout this team.
Having said that, both of these sides are capable of triumphing at Turf Moor this weekend and we believe that the match odds offer little value, so we are backing goals from both of these sides as this is a fine hunting ground for the home side and the away team can score anywhere!
With Swansea not playing until Sunday, this match is vital for the home side at the KCOM Stadium as they can move level on points with The Swans if they can take all three points. This will see them get as close to exiting the relegation zone as they have done in months and with them having lost just one of their last 12 matches in all competitions at home they will certainly have the confidence to win this game thanks to the believe given by the new manager, Marco Silva.
West Ham come into this match without a win in five and they have suffered three losses in a row at home to Chelsea and Leicester as well as away at Bournemouth. Despite this they have scored plenty of goals during this winless run with eight goals scored – although they have also conceded 11 times – and will certainly be a threat to Hull, who have just two clean sheets in 17 matches on home soil this season, but with a defeat and a draw in their only to visits to Hull since their last win here in 2011 we feel that the momentum lies with the home side and we believe that they are the more likely of the two sides to win this game. However, it could go either way and with West Ham scoring and conceding so many we believe that goals are the way to go in Hull this Saturday.
Our best bet on this Hull v West Ham game is Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 1.85 with Bet365.
Time is running out for Sunderland as they are bottom of the Premier League table having played 28 games and they are still ten points from safety with just nine games to play after this weekend’s trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford. They need to start winning matches and this must happen quickly if they are to stay in the top flight this season, but with no goals scored in seven of their last eight matches and nine losses in their last 11 away league games are they able to turn things around?
If they are then this weekend may be the time to do it as Watford do not bring the best form of their own to this match as they have won just two of their last 13 EPL clashes and have beaten only Burnley, who have just three points on the road this season, in their last six on home soil. However, they are scoring goals with six netted in their last three home league encounters and while there is very little to choose between the sides the fact that they are scoring and their guests are not leads us to believe that there is value in the home win.
A month ago things were looking bleak for the defending EPL champions as they could not buy a win and were slipping further and further towards the relegation zone, but after the board decided to remove Claudio Ranieri from his role The Foxes have won three in a row in the league and a 2-0 victory over Sevilla in the second leg of their Champions League clash has seen them into the last eight of the Champions League! They are now just six points behind this weekend’s visitors to The King Power Stadium and with Stoke sitting in the top half of the table they know that victory this weekend will see themselves close on redemption after spending much of the season looking as if they were exiting the top flight after claiming the title last time around.
Stoke have won just one of their last seven away games from the Bet365 Stadium and that came against bottom of the league Sunderland and with just a draw away at Man City in addition to this victory during this run they have taken just four points since November on their travels in the league. Yes, they have faced six of the top eight in the league during this run of tough away fixtures, losing to five of them, but this run of losses will see them have exactly the opposition confidence levels than the home team, who couldn’t be more confident for this match, and we see this one going the way of the home side, just as last season’s clash on this ground did.
The eighth and final match being played in the EPL this Saturday is the late kick off on the south coast as these two sides clash in a derby game between the two most southerly teams in the top flight. It is the home side who are looking to complete the double over their neighbours after winning 3-1 at The Vitality Stadium earlier in this campaign and with The Cherries having won just one of their last eight away games, as well as having suffered a 2-0 loss on this ground last season, things look good for the home side who have not played at home in two months!
The Saints last played a game on home soil on February 4th when they were beaten 3-1 by West Ham following their only other home game in the league at the end of January when they defeated Leicester 3-0. Their home record in recent times has not gone well in the EPL as they have lost three of their last four clashes at St. Mary’s since mid-December and even though Bournemouth have not been winning games on the road they are unbeaten in three and have six goals in this trio of matches.
As a result of this, we feel that this game will certainly be closer than the Bet365 match odds suggest, but both of these teams have goals in them and with there being better value on goals being scored than the outright market we are backing this outcome in the final game of the day.
We’re narrowing down our eight picks from these Saturday clashes in the Premier League by selecting our top three bets that we’re confident of seeing becoming winning bets. Here are our top three EPL picks from this Saturday’s action.
- Leicester to beat Stoke @ 2.05 – The Foxes are in excellent form right now as they have found a new lease of life following the exit of Claudio Ranieri and with Stoke not performing so well on the road being able to back them to win at better than evens odds is the pick of the day!
- Over 2.5 goals in Southampton v Bournemouth @ 1.72 – Both of these sides are scoring and conceding goals and with this being somewhat of a derby match, especially for the away side, we expect plenty of action and goalmouth scrambles from both teams, so we see plenty of value on goals in this one.
- Both Teams to Score: Yes in Burnley v Tottenham @ 1.95 – Burnley are an impressive side on home soil with nine wins and two draws in 14 matches. They have failed to find the net on just two occasions at home this season and with both times coming no later than the start of October they offer excellent value to find the net this Saturday, even against the meanest defence. Tottenham are always good value to score, even without the injured Harry Kane, and 1.95 for both of these sides to find the net at Turf Moor is almost as good, value wise, as the Leicester to win pick!