While the biggest games of the 26th round of Premier League happen on Sunday this week, with Arsenal v Leicester and Man City v Tottenham two of the three games concluding the round of action, there are seven massive matches happening today. All of the 14 sides will feel that they must win these matches as there plenty at stake with just 11 games left in the season after this weekend, but who’ll take the points and who’ll slump to defeat this Saturday?
We preview all seven games with online sportsbook Unibet.com to provide you with our top EPL picks.
This match at The Stadium of Light sees a clash of the teams sitting 19th and fifth in the EPL table and both Sunderland and Manchester United know that they must start stringing victories together if they are to secure their goals of survival and a place in next season’s Champions League. As well as this, following his outburst against a reporter during the week with reports flying around that Jose Mourinho will take his job at the end of the season – if not before -, Louis van Gaal will be fighting for his job this weekend.
United have impressed in their last two matches as they cruised past Stoke at Old Trafford 3-0, scoring their first goals in the opening 45 minutes in 12 clashes at Old Trafford, and dominating for much of their game against Chelsea before conceding late on to draw 1-1. They are certainly improving as they are now unbeaten in three matches in all competitions and have lost just one of their last nine games following four losses in succession before that.
Sunderland are four points from safety and are without a win in four since triumphing 4-3 away at Swansea a month ago, but apart from the 4-1 loss at Tottenham they too have shown some improvement in recent times. They did well to comeback against Bournemouth following the conceding of an early goal before being unlucky to lose 1-0 to Man City as they put in a spirited performance. Liverpool scored twice to lead 2-0 at Anfield with 20 minutes to play, but two goals in the last eight minutes saw another point for Sam Allardyce’s side and now they’ll fancy their chances at victory this weekend.
The home side are the big outsiders to win this match despite having won two and drawn one of their last six meetings with the team from the red half of Manchester this game could be more competitive that the odds suggest. We feel that with both sides showing signs of improvement lately we’ll see plenty of attacking football and goals.
Our best Sunderland v Man United bet is back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.18 with Unibet.com.
These two teams come into this second EPL meeting between them in very different places as Bournemouth have suffered just a single defeat in their last five matches and, following the purchase of some attacking players in January, are scoring goals while Stoke have played six matches over the last month and have scored just a single goal (in the semi final of the Capital One Cup that saw them eliminated on penalties) and they are without a league win in this time.
The fact that The Cherries are scoring goals and The Potters are not is the main reason that the home side are favoured for victory this weekend and £9.3m signing Benik Afobe has already netted three goals in five appearances, so he’ll be looking to bounce back after a lacklustre performance against Arsenal last time around. Stoke forward Bojan signed a new contract during the week and this is sure to motivate the former Barcelona player for this weekend’s match, but with the away side for this clash in such poor goal scoring form recently we cannot see them defeating the home team at The Vitality Stadium and we’re backing a Bournemouth win this weekend.
Our top Bournemouth v Stoke tip is back the home win at odds of 2.07 at Unibet.
The first meeting of these two sides in the Premier League saw the two teams separated by the finest of margins as only a Yohan Cabaye penalty kick saw The Eagles win at the home of The Hornets. That goal was the first one conceded at Vicarage Road in their opening four home matches of the season and with both of these sides currently struggling for goals we can see this being a close match at Selhurst Park this weekend too.
Palace have scored only three goals in their last eight EPL games and all three have come from defenders as Scott Dann has two in two and the other came from an own goal by Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen, but at least after five games without a goal the home side in this match are making progress. Watford have failed to score in any of their last three away games in the top flight as they have lost to Southampton, Swansea and Tottenham and are without a point on the road since drawing 2-2 away at Chelsea on Boxing Day. None of these defeats were by large margins and with both of these sides better at defending than attacking we feel that we’re not going to see many goals in the South of London this Saturday.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – No in this Crystal Palace v Watford game @ 1.79 in the Unibet Sportsbook!
These two sides played out a five goal thriller earlier this season at The Hawthorns as West Brom stormed into a two goal lead before Everton reduced the deficit a minute after going two down before bagging two goals in the last 15 minutes to triumph 3-2. The Toffees have gotten over a four game winless streak over the last two weeks with three 3-0 victories over Carlisle in the FA Cup as well as Newcastle and Stoke in the EPL so they will be confident for this match, but can they win a fourth successive match?
As well as their excellent recent form before this weekend Everton have the advantage of being more rested than their guests as West Brom needed 120 minutes and penalties to see off League One Peterborough in the FA Cup during the week and, on top of this, the Midlanders have lost four and drawn three of their last seven away EPL matches. We expect Everton and their overly attacking style to be the comfortable winners against a poor side on the road.
We are backing Everton to beat West Brom by at least two goals (Everton -1) at odds of 2.33.
After losing 2-0 away at bottom of the Premier League Aston Villa last weekend, to see a sixth successive defeat in all competitions, saw Norwich sink into the bottom three of the league a point behind Newcastle. They face a West Ham side who moved into the fifth round of the FA Cup during the week after scoring a 120th minute winner against Liverpool so The Canaries will be hoping that they extra rest will stand them well for this match.
The home side have a good record against The Hammers at Carrow Road with the only two matches played between the sides here over the last decade seeing a 0-0 draw in 2012 and a 3-1 win a year later, but with the Londoners boosted by the signing of a new contract of key midfielder Dmitri Payet they will be confident of winning this match. However, the Hammers are not in good form on the road with just a single away win in the EPL across their last eight games and they have lost both of their last two so the home side will be confident for this match too.
We expect both sides to go for all three points in this one and we’re backing goals at Carrow Road.
Our best Norwich v West Ham bet is back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.06 with Unibet.com.
Both of these sides come into this vital clash in good form as Swansea have moved out of the relegation zone thanks to eight points from their last four matches while Southampton have rediscovered their defensive form as they have gone from just one win in ten games to five successive clean sheets to be just four points off fifth place in the table. Both sides will be desperate to win this match as Swansea aim to put further space between themselves and the bottom three while The Saints will look to continue their late charge to snatch fifth place from Manchester United.
The Saints triumphed 3-1 against The Swans earlier this season on the South coast and have not conceded a goal at The Liberty Stadium since 2008 with them winning their last two visits 1-0 following on from a 0-0 draw 2013. Swansea have lost just one of their last five home games, but with them averaging just a goal a game on home soil this season we feel that Southampton and their excellent current defensive form will have the edge in this clash and will take all three points.
Our top Swansea v Southampton tip is back the away win at odds of 2.45 at Unibet.
A late, late comeback at St. James’ Park in September saw Newcastle hearts broken in the reverse of this fixture as the defending EPL champions managed a 2-2 draw with goals from Ramires and Willian. However, the former of these two Brazilian stars has moved onto pastures new in China and although interim manager Guus Hiddink has stopped the rot that permeated the West London club under Jose Mourinho’s tenure he has won just two of his eight EPL games in charge, drawing all of the other six, so Newcastle will feel that they can get something from this match and edge further away from the relegation troubles.
However, the biggest issue for The Magpies is the fact that they have scored just one goal in their last four away EPL matches as they have failed to pick up a point in any of these games. In fact their 12 away games this season have seen just seven points collected as they have been beaten in nine of these fixtures so far while they have averaged one goal every two away games this season. Chelsea have drawn all four games at Stamford Bridge under Hiddink with Watford and West Brom leaving after 2-2 games, while Everton and Manchester United drew 3-3 and 1-1 respectively.
With Chelsea having been hit hard defensively with the loss of Kurt Zouma for the rest of the season with a horrific knee injury last weekend we can see them conceding again as Newcastle know that they have something to hang onto now they are out of the relegation zone and we’re backing goals from both of these sides this weekend.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – Yes in this Chelsea v Newcastle match @ 1.75 in the Unibet Sportsbook!
We claimed just one of three definite picks from last weekend as Norwich let us down against Aston Villa and Watford proved a tough nut to crack for Tottenham and Harry Kane could not find the net. However, onwards and upwards and here are top EPL picks for these seven games.
- Both Teams to Score – No in Crystal Palace v Watford @ 1.79. Neither of these sides are in fantastic scoring form at the moment, especially Watford on their travels, and both teams know how to defend well so we’re confident that we will not be seeing both of these London teams on the scoresheet at Selhurst Park.
- Everton -1 v West Brom @ 2.33. The Toffees have been playing some excellent attacking football this season and in recent weeks they’ve added some defensive solidarity to their play too, so with West Brom being poor on the road we see a comfortable home win in this one.
- Over 2.5 goals in Sunderland v Manchester United @ 2.18. Both of these sides have improved their form in recent times and are sure to go for all three points in this match with so much at stake for both of them. The problem that both teams have is that they are not the strongest defensively and we see goals in this one.