By Antony Jordan
This weekend sees round 25 of the EPL season as many of the teams in action this Saturday and Sunday play their third game in a week following the FA Cup Fourth Round last weekend and then league action during the week.
There will be plenty of tired legs out there, but with the top two in the league clashing in the first game on Saturday and many sides desperate to collect points we foresee eight thrilling matches today. We preview all eight games with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best EPL picks.
The 25th round of EPL matches for this season kicks off with a top of the table clash at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester as second placed Man City are the big favourites to defeat the league leaders in Leicester City. This match is a reverse of the game that was played on December 29th and despite the two pace setting teams in the EPL being the top scoring sides both of them drew blank at The King Power Stadium. We are expecting more goals this time around as both Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy are in form, but will the net be bulging this Saturday lunchtime?
City come into this match unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and, despite a horrific injury list that has seen manager Manuel Pellegrini state that he has just 14 senior players available for this match, they have kept five clean sheets in this run. They have won seven and drawn one of their last eight on home soil, but with them facing a Leicester team with just a single defeat in 15 away games in all competitions this season they will be pushed all the way in front of their own fans.
We see this match being just like the first meeting of the sides this season in that both teams will be looking to pick up something from the game and avoid defeat but with the form of Aguero and Vardy we feel that there will be far more goals than the 0-0 draw six weeks ago and we are backing goals at The Etihad.
Our best Man City v Leicester bet is back Over 2.5 goals in the game @ 1.70 at Bet365.com.
Both of these sides will be desperate for victory in this match at The Liberty Stadium as The Swans look to keep adding space between them and the relegation zone at the bottom of the league while Crystal Palace will just want to end their appalling run of form that has seen five EPL defeats in a row. The home side for this Premier League clash are in good form recently with seven points from their last three matches and with new striker Alberto Paloschi poised to make his debut in this game they will be aiming to continue picking up points.
Crystal Palace have had a massive problem scoring goals with just two netted in their last seven EPL games and they both came from defenders as Jan Vertonghen scored an own goal versus Tottenham and Scott Dann netted against Bournemouth. They do welcome back striker Dwight Gayle and creative midfielder Yohan Cabaye for this game and Alan Pardew will hope for more chances created and a first away goal for The Eagles since the middle of December. With Emmanuel Adebayor in the side until the end of the season we feel that there will certainly be more of a goal threat for the away side and, just like the first game of the day, we see goals.
Our money is on Both Teams to Score – Yes in this Swansea v Crystal Palace match at odds of 2.00 in the Bet365 Sportsbook.
This clash between the sides sitting tenth and 11th in the league table sees a meeting of two sides that are having major injury issues at this stage of the season. Stoke may have Marc Muniesa as their only fit central defender with Philipp Wollscheid doubtful while Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and Marc Wilson are all injured. Everton are missing key players Tim Howard, John Stones and Muhamed Besic in goal, defence and midfield while a late call with be made on striker Romelu Lukaku who has netted 15 goals this season.
The first meeting of these sides was the match of the round at the time as Everton let a 3-2 lead slip to a 4-3 defeat in the final ten minutes at Goodison Park and while they will be out for revenge Stoke have four clean sheets in their last six EPL games on home soil, while Everton have beaten only relegation threatened Newcastle on their league travels since September. With Everton lacking a killer instinct against the majority of the league at this time we feel that this game will go the way of the home team.
Our top Stoke v Everton tip is back the home win @ 2.70 with Bet365.
Aston Villa v Norwich: 2.45 – 3.25 – 3.20
Although they have won just two matches all season in the EPL and ridiculously short on attacking players as Libor Kozak and Rudy Gestede are out injured while Jordan Ayew begins a three-match ban following his straight red card against West Ham during the week Aston Villa are favoured to win this match. They have failed to score in their last three games in all competitions and with only Gabby Agbonlahor (who has scored just ten goals in his last 77 games) up front for this game they may struggle to find goals and to live up to their billing as favourites.
Norwich do not have the best of records recently either as they have lost all of their last five games and their last away win came in the middle of December as they won at Old Trafford. That victory is their only away win since August however and they have failed to score in four of their last six road trips. They have added well to their side in the January transfer window and scored four goals against Liverpool recently and we can see them having the edge at Villa Park in this relegation six pointer.
We are backing Norwich to beat Aston Villa at odds of 3.20.
Liverpool have won five and drawn two of their last seven meetings with Sunderland, including winning both of the last two clashes and keeping clean sheets in their last three encounters, and come into this match as the big favourites to triumph at Anfield. They will be boosted by the return of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho to training this week, although none of the trio are fit enough to play this weekend, but with no goals in their last three matches the excellent start to life under manager Jurgen Klopp is a distant memory for fans of the club.
Sunderland have been boosted too, although their upsurge has come from signings in the January transfer window, and they have looked impressive for the most part in recent games. They have collected four points from their last four matches with a win at Swansea and a draw at home to Bournemouth but it could have been so much more as they were the better side at the Stadium of Light against Man City during the week but could not find a way through as they lost 1-0. Their away form does not look good though with nine defeats in 12 matches and 22 goals conceded in their last seven road trips, but with them scoring in each of these seven away matches we can see them finding the net at Anfield too.
Our best Liverpool v Sunderland bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 1.95 at Bet365.com.
Having collected 13 points from their last six EPL matches Tottenham come into this game second only to Manchester City in the form table and having taken a look at their record in all competitions they have been defeated by only top of the table Leicester in their last 11 games. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has the team playing as a single, cohesive unit right now and it shows with them sitting above their local rivals Arsenal in the EPL table and just two points behind Man City and a further three off the top of the league. They have some of the finest young talents in the division with Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Christian Erikson all creating and scoring goals while they have the right combination of youth and experience in defensive to see them as the league’s best with just 19 goals conceded.
Watford are struggling for goals right now too with none scored in their last two away games and just three in their last five matches as EPL defences are figuring out Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney. However, they have bought well January and have strengthened every aspect of their side and they will certainly pose a challenge for Tottenham at White Hart Lane this Saturday afternoon. However, we feel that the odds are correct and the home side will secure victory with 15 goal striker Harry Kane scoring in his fourth EPL match in a row.
Our money is on Harry Kane to score anytime v Watford at odds of 1.90 in the Bet365 Sportsbook.
Although Newcastle come into this clash with the Midlanders sitting 18th in the league table and two points away from safety they will be confident as they have lost only two matches at St. James’ Park since September, with table toppers Leicester and Everton the only sides to win here in more than four months. They have beaten Liverpool and West Ham as well as drawn with Aston Villa and Manchester United in their last five games in front of The Toon faithful and as they do not play on home soil again for another month they will want to continue to impress this weekend.
The Baggies arrive in the North East without a win in four EPL games and with them taking some criticism after lacklustre draws at home to Aston Villa and Swansea in their last two games. They have lost three and drawn three of their last six away games since beating Norwich at Carrow Road in October and with them having scored just one goal in their last three games they could be in trouble in this game.
We do not feel that Newcastle offer much value to win this match, but with both sides have been beset with injury problems in their defences we can see goals being scored at St. James’ Park and we are backing this outcome.
Our top Newcastle v West Brom tip is back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.25 at Bet365.
The final game on Saturday comes from the South coast as the teams sitting sixth and seventh – with West Ham the higher of the two teams – clash and it is the home side in this match who are looking for revenge as they let a one goal lead slip when the two teams met at Upton Park at the end of December. The Saints are certainly looking like winning this match as they have collected ten points from their last four EPL games and they have four successive clean sheets in the process as they have gone from also rans to within six points of a top five position in the league.
West Ham struggled at the end of 2015 as they drew five games in a row as they could not finish sides off, but their late comeback at home to Southampton has kick started their resurgence as they have won four and drawn with Man City in their last six matches in the Premier League. They were beaten 2-1 in a shock at Newcastle, but they have bounced back well and with them conceding few goals and scoring well of late they too will fancy their chances and bringing something back to East London.
We are unsure of this, but with both teams having full strength attacks available for this match we can see this game breaking a six game habit of there being few goals scored.
We are backing Both Teams to Score – Yes at odds of 1.95 in this Southampton v West Ham game.
The midweek EPL games saw a perfect three from three in our EPL Picks section and we have another three picks that we’re giving the EveryEdge seal of approval this weekend.
– Norwich to beat Aston Villa @ 3.20: There is excellent value on the away win at Villa Park as Norwich do not win away from Carrow Road all that often, but with Villa down on their luck and morale with players injured, suspended and failing to arrive at the club during January we see the visitors winning this match.
– Harry Kane to score anytime v Watford @ 1.90: The young England striker is in blistering form right now with four goals in three matches and with him once again playing on home soil we feel that he’ll be the difference between Tottenham and Watford. He’ll find the net at least once too.
– Both Teams to Score – Yes in Liverpool v Sunderland @ 1.95: Both of these teams will feel that they can defeat the other at Anfield as both have the ability to score plenty of goals as well as concede them too. This is what we see and we’re certain that both of these sides will find goals on Merseyside this Saturday.