Premier League Preview - Game Week 27

Thursday, February 8 2018

 

The weekend has rolled around again. Never fails, does it.

With it comes ten Premier League puzzles. All tricky. Some with a couple of pieces missing. But let’s have a go, shall we…

The Tap Ins are included regardless of price, so I’d reserve them for topping up Accas at best. Or even bypass them totally. 

The Smart Money bets are the best way of dredging a bit of value out of the bookies. And any Long Shots are decent priced punts that have some statistical merit. 

All Scorecasts are priced up too.  

Saturday:
Tottenham v Arsenal

Have you torn up your form book? And thrown it out of the window? It’s okay, I don’t mind sharing…
Tottenham have revved up for the derby swatting aside Everton and Man United at home and wrestling an equally impressive point out of Liverpool. My biggest worry is the early kick off as Spurs tend to start slowly.
Arsenal have been shocking on the road all season. Like, just a point better than Newcastle bad. But a goal (Aubameyang) and three assists (Mkhitaryan) from the new boys in their first outing will have them pumped. The Gunners’ last eight matches have seen goals at both ends. So that’s the place to start…  
Scorecast: 2-1 - 15/2.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 4/9.
Smart Money: Tottenham Win & BTTS at 11/5.

Everton v Crystal Palace
Not so much of the ‘Saviour Sam’ being banded about Allardyce these days. He’s back to just being Big.
That’s what one win in nine matches does for you, I s’pose. But they punch their weight at home, winning seven of their eight v teams outside the Top Seven. 
Palace fall into that category, of course. But have some pretty consistent away stats themselves v the Premier Leagues also rans: just one defeat from seven. Only one win too, but after going eight away games without a goal, they’ve hit eight in five and look good for at least another at Goodison. 
Scorecast: 1-1 - 5/1. 
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at Evens. 
Smart Money: Draw & BTTS at 7/2.

Stoke City v Brighton
It's early yet, but it looks like back to the bad old days for Stoke. They have been outplayed in Paul Lambert’s first four games in charge, yielding just seven corners, three goals and 4pts. 
The upside is, things have gone well against Bottom Third teams – four wins from five at home. A fifth from six puts them level with Saturday’s visitors.
Brighton are another team relying on their form against Bottom Third – actually, they’ve taken points off all but one of the Bottom Half so far.  All 9pts on the road have come from teams above Stoke, so they won’t want to walk away from this six-pointer with nothing.  
Scorecast: 1-1 - 5/1.
Tap in: Under 2.5 Goals at 4/7.
Long Shot: Draw/ Stoke HT/FT is value at 19/5.

Swansea City v Burnley
Swansea have taken flight in recent weeks and are currently eight unbeaten, winning the last four at home. Even taking lower division clubs out of the picture, wins over Liverpool and Arsenal are not to be quacked at. (Swans quack, right?) But those two wins make up 6pts of the 8pts in total taken from ten matches v the Top Eight. So let’s not count our… erm… signets before they hatch.
Burnley haven’t won since early December. But have only lost once on the road and their level of performance hasn’t dropped far below their early season form. Only the Top Five have been better on the road too, so I can’t see them leaving empty handed.  There might even be a bit of value in the Away Win…
Scorecast: 1-1 – 5/1.
Tap in: Burnley Draw No Bet at 6/5. 
Long Shot: Burnley Win & BTTS at 7/1.

West Ham v Watford
These two are among, ooh…perhaps 11 teams that are a couple of wins away from the warm blanket of mid-table. But likewise just two defeats from shitty, wet quicksand of the relegation zone. 
West Ham are one of the few you’d think have too much to go down. But having too much ‘at stake’ isn’t quite the same. Defeat in the six-pointer at Brighton last week was their first in seven but they’ve only beaten one team outside the Bottom Four. 
Watford probably cashed in the jackpot of a Chelsea side in disarray on Monday, but it could be a turning point in getting their wheels back in the slots after a chaotic couple of months. They need something here too, because their next five away trips take in four of the Top Six. And then they add up the points.  
Scorecast: 2-2 – 12/1.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 8/11.
Smart Money: Draw & BTTS at 13/4. 

Man City v Leicester City
Wonder if Riyad Mahrez will turn up for this one? Shame really, ‘cos Leicester could do with him. That is, the one that scored six in his last 13 matches. Not the one that sulked through the previous 15 (three goals) because he didn’t get a transfer in the summer. He would only be keeping things warm for a fully fit Sane, Sterling, Jesus et al anyway. 
Only Everton have denied City maximum points so far and the upcoming Champions League appointment (in Basel) shouldn’t be weighing too heavily on anyone’s mind. So there’s no real case to be made for anything but a Home Win. 
It’s a free hit for Leicester, with three winnable PL matches to follow. So the only question is can they score? 
Scorecast: Yes. 3-1 – 9/1. 
Tap in: Man City (-1) Match Handicap at 4/7.
Smart Money: Man City Win & BTTS at 8/5.

Sunday:
Huddersfield Town v Bournemouth

Watching Huddersfield roll over to first Liverpool and then Man United could be written off as savvy management of expectation. If it wasn’t for the three batterings to much more modest opposition immediately previous, that is. And the three before that yielded just 3pts. So - I’m afraid – from here it looks like they should get comfortable in the Bottom Three. 
Bournemouth have rarely been in fine fettle in their Premier League tenure. Unbeaten in seven, winning home and away and the late turnaround against a stubborn Stoke last week stunk of a team full of beans.  If there’s an Away Win this weekend, it’ll be here.
Scorecast: 1-3 – 22/1.
Tap In: Bournemouth Draw No Bet at 4/6.
Smart Money: Bournemouth Win & BTTS at 17/4.

Newcastle United v Man United
Ah, what was I saying about Away Wins…?
Say what you like about Mourinho and his bus parking skills, but his beep beep beep beep is music to punter’s ears. The defeat at Tottenham interrupted a run on seven clean sheets and six Wins To Nil. You know what you’re getting with Jose. Outside the Top Five, United have taken 54pts from a possible 63pts and are starting to look as comfortable in ‘Park’ as they are in City’s slipstream. 
And Rafa is almost as reliable, fact. Just 2pts from 12 matches v Top Half teams might seem a bit shit, but as long as it is matched with enough from the Bottom Half it simply means they punch their weight. And so far, 23pts from 14 matches is just about on track. 15 more required. But none here.
Scorecast: 0-2 – 13/2.
Tap in: Man United to Win at 4/6.
Smart Money: Man United Win To Nil at 8/5.
Long Shot: Man United Win, BTTS: NO, Over 10.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Booking Points at 8/1 (Coral #YourCall)

Southampton v Liverpool
These are undoubtedly two of the Premier League’s scattiest teams. It’s perhaps not surprising with the amount of shared DNA over recent seasons. But that doesn’t make it any easier to predict.
Southampton have plenty of ability in their ranks, but ‘shop window players do have a habit of picking their matches. But this is likely to be on the list. One clean sheet in 18 suggests the Saints will have to outscore Liverpool though.
Which will suit Klopp’s lot down to the ground. Their only clean sheets in the last ten have come against (then) Bottom Two teams. And in a goal-fest you can’t go against the visitors.
Scorecast: 1-2 – 8/1.
Tap In: Both Teams to Score at 4/6.
Smart Money: Liverpool & BTTS at 23/10.

Monday:
Chelsea v West Brom

Hmm, if you fancy an Away Win place it in a double with Conte to be sacked the following morning. 
The double bubble of defeats to Bournemouth and Watford made this as tough a week as poor Antonio has faced at Chelsea. And he has the potential banana skin of Hull at home to negotiate next week. Oh and then Barcelona, Man United and Man City. So, er, let’s file this one under: Must Win.
West Brom might argue that slipping to bottom of the table made their week worse, but it’s all relative. Pardew will be aware of a run of six winnable matches after this one, but with 20-odd points required from 12 games he can’t afford to be fussy. So they will have a go here. But even at 7/1, I can’t make a case.
Scorecast: 2-1 – 15/2.
Smart Money: Chelsea Win & BTTS at 11/5. 
Long Short: Daniel Sturridge to Score at Anytime at 7/2.

Play nice.

Matt Nesbitt

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