Tottenham, Man City bank on tricky ties to cement top four places
The games are coming in thick and fast in the EPL after the two week International break. We’ve witnessed twenty games in five days and this weekend we will get to enjoy another ten when game-week thirty-two kicks off at White Hart Lane today. After all the dust from the weekend and midweek matches had settled, Manchester united returned to their beloved sixth position, Chelsea maintained a seven-point gap over their nearest rivals and the battle for survival became more intense with some stunning results. As usual, I will be previewing this game-week with betting tips that will guide you in placing your bets on the platform of www.nairabet.com
TOTTENHAM vs. WATFORD
Spurs showed Championship mentality during the midweek as they battled from a goal down late in the game to grab a 3-1 victory over Swansea in South Wales. The victory was made even more impressive by the fact that they played without their main striker Harry Kane, who has been out for a while now. It underlined their determination to push Chelsea all the way to the finish line; however, the jury is still out on them following last season’s collapse at the final stage.
They host Watford in today’s early kickoff with the knowledge that a sixth consecutive league victory will see them cut the gap between them and Chelsea gap to four points, at least until Chelsea take on Bournemouth later in the day. Watford have won two games on the bounce after suffering consecutive defeats and they will go into today’s game without the worry of being drawn into the relegation battle just yet as they sit comfortably in tenth position on the log.
They have kept consecutive clean sheets, but their defense will surely be severely tested by a Spurs side still in the title race. Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama missed Wednesday night’s win over Swansea through illness and injury, respectively, but are set to come back into the side, while Miguel Britos is suspended for Watford for this game and with Sebastian Prodl a doubt and Younes Kaboul out, Adrian Mariappa should start alongside Craig Cathcart in defense for the Hornets. Tottenham are on an impressive run of ten straight home wins in the league and I don’t think that run will end today against a Watford side have failed to find the back of the net in each of their last two away games. My betting tips for this game are a win for Tottenham and over 1.5 goals.
WEST BROM vs. SOUTHAMPTON
The Baggies suffered a disappointing defeat to Watford during the week and will be pleased to return to home comforts against the Saints today, having won eight from of their last ten league matches at the Hawthorns. They sit comfortably in eighth position on the log with the knowledge that they are safe from the relegation battle this season. Their priority now should be to try and finish as high up the table as they can, a situation that might put them in good stead to play for a European spot next season.
Southampton are seven points behind the West Brom, but with two games in hand over the Baggies and a victory today would probably open up the way for them to finish in the top-half of the table this season. They were impressive during the week as they defeated an in-form Crystal Palace and will be looking for back to back victories in the league today. West Brom have a clean bill of health ahead of the visit of Southampton, with Matt Phillips returning to action from the bench against Watford in the week, while Southampton will be without Oriol Romeu, who received a tenth yellow card of the season during the week and will miss the next two matches. I will advise on a double chance bet on West Brom and over 1.5 goals for this fixture.
STOKE CITY vs. LIVERPOOL
Liverpool continued their struggles against smaller sides during the week as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Bournemouth at Anfield and they will quickly want to correct that when they face Stoke City at the BET365 Stadium today. The Potters are on a three game losing streak and are gradually slipping down into the relegation zone.
They will not be relishing today’s visit of Liverpool, however, they will take some comfort in the knowledge that the Reds will be missing certain key players for today’s fixture. Stoke have won just one of their last six league matches, but at home, they have lost just one of their last nine. Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane are all sidelined for the Reds, while Philippe Coutinho is a doubt through illness.
For Stoke City, Glen Johnson should return to the starting XI, while Mark Hughes will be sweating on the fitness of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ramadan Sobhi and Jonathan Walters. My betting tips for this game will be a double chance bet on Liverpool and both teams to score.
MIDDLESBROUGH vs. BURNLEY
Steve Agnew is still looking for the first victory since taking over Aitor Karanka as the head coach of Middlesbrough. The anticipated ‘shot in the arm’ reaction of getting a new manager hasn’t happened for Boro as they suffered a 4-2 away loss against fellow strugglers Hull City to stay seven points from safety with eight games to play. They are on a thirteen game winless run in the league and their chances of remaining in the league keeps fading by the week.
They host Burnley today and if they cannot get a victory over this Clarets, that have picked up only three points away from home all season, then they can kiss their elite status goodbye. Burnley had been winless in seven league matches until their midweek triumph over Stoke, a victory that helped them increase the distance between themselves and the bottom three. Steve Agnew is struggling at left-back with Fabio and George Friend sidelined, Stewart Downing could drop into defense here, while for Burnley, Sean Dyche will be sweating on the fitness of Steven Defour. I will advise on a double chance bet on Middlesbrough and under 2.5 for this game.
MANCHESTER CITY vs. HULL CITY
The Tigers visit the Etihad to take on the Citizens today with the intention of making it a miserable afternoon for Pep Guardiola and his men. Hull City are on a run of two straight wins and a third one on the bounce will greatly improve their chances of survival in this league. They were able to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since October with their 4-2 win over Middlesbrough during the week. However, they have a very poor away record in the league this season with just one win from fifteen away matches this season.
Pep Guardiola’s team is on a four game winless run in the league and currently occupies the fourth position, four points ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United. They don’t have the best of home records with only seven wins from fourteen league matches at home. Their defense is visibly struggling recently as they have been unable to keep a clean sheet in their last four matches in all competitions. However, they have a solid home record against Hull and are unbeaten in their last five at home against the Tigers, with three wins. My betting tips for this game will be a double chance bet on Manchester City and over 1.5 goals on www.nairabet.com
WEST HAM vs. SWANSEA
The Swans found themselves back in the bottom three after a last minute ambush by Spurs in midweek and they will definitely want to get out of there as quickly as possible with a string of good results from their next set of fixtures starting with today’s game against West Ham at the Olympic Stadium. Swansea are on a four-game winless streak, earning just a solitary point from their last four Premier League games. They also haven’t been impressive away from home this season with three wins from fifteen.
The last time Swansea won on a visit was back in January when they stunned Liverpool at Anfield. West Ham are on a downward spiral after a run of five straight defeats in the league. They are only five points above the bottom three ahead of this massive six-pointer, and a loss today will see them fully involved in the fight for EPL survival.
Michail Antonio is a doubt for this game after he was forced off at half-time during their midweek defeat away to Arsenal, but Slaven Bilic revealed it was because of illness and not another injury, while Diafra Sakho made his first appearance in almost five months in the same game and could be an option from the start today against the Swans. Fernando Llorente has missed Swansea’s last two matches with an ankle injury and remains a doubt for today, while Angel Rangel, Nathan Dyer and Leon Britton are all sidelined for the Swans. My betting tips for this game is a double chance bet on Swansea and over 1.5 goals.
BOURNEMOUTH vs. CHELSEA
Chelsea’s win over rivals Manchester City on Wednesday, kept them as heavy favourites to win the league this season, but they will need to overcome a potential banana-skin today, when they travel to the South coast to face Bournemouth. A victory for Chelsea will put them in good stead ahead of next week’s clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford and show that their loss to Crystal Palace last weekend was just a blip. Bournemouth recorded an impressive 2-2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield in mid-week and Joshua King maintained his spell of excellent form with a late equalizer for the Cherries in that game.
Eddie Howe’s men will come in this game in fine form after staying undefeated in their last five Premier League matches. Tyrone Mings remains suspended for the Cherries, while Andrew Surman’s injury may mean another start for Jack Wilshere today. Victor Moses remains Chelsea’s only injury concern for Antonio Conte and Nemanja Matic, who has lost his place in the team to Cesc Fabregas of late, will be pushing for a recall here. My betting tips for this game will be a double chance bet on Chelsea and over 1.5 goals.
SUNDERLAND vs. MANCHESTER UNITED
The Black Cats are sinking deeper and deeper into the relegation abyss with their miserable run of five losses in six games and remain rock bottom on the table. They now only have a theoretical chance to save their elite class status and will need a huge series of results in the last eight matches, but starting one tomorrow against Manchester United will be a big ask.
They have failed to score in their last six league games and coming up against second best defense in the league, their chances of scoring doesn’t look to bright. Manchester United’s top four hopes took another bashing after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Everton during the week.
However, results elsewhere mean they still have a fighting chance of making the top 4 but they cannot afford dropping points to the worst team in the division tomorrow. Jose Mourinho’s side are on a twenty-game unbeaten in the Premier League but have only won ten of those, in what is possibly the most underwhelming unbeaten run in Premier League history. Paul Pogba returned to first-team action against Everton and should start against Sunderland, while Ashley Young limped off in that game and is a doubt for this one.
Antonio Valencia was rested in midweek and will return to the team here, but it remains to be seen whether Luke Shaw will be trusted with a start tomorrow. Adnan Januzaj will be unable to play against Manchester United due to the terms in his loan agreement, while John O’Shea, who missed the defeat to Leicester because of personal reasons, might return to face his former club and Victor Anichebe is also back for David Moyes’ side and should start tomorrow. I will advise on a double chance bet on Manchester United and over 1.5 goals for this match.
EVERTON vs. LEICESTER CITY
Leicester City will go into tomorrow’s game against Everton at Goodison Park with the knowledge that a win will all but guarantee their survival in the league for another season. The fact that they have already beaten the Toffees once at this same venue already this season will give them added impetus going into this game. They have won five in a row in the league under Craig Shakespeare, though four of those games have come at home, a sixth victory on the bounce is not beyond the Foxes with the way they’ve been playing under the Englishman.
The Toffees have an excellent home record this season, losing only to rivals Liverpool at Goodison, while Leicester have won just once away all season, so Ronald Koeman and his men might fancy their chances of a victory tomorrow. They will still be reeling from not being able to hold on and secure all three points against United during the week and will want to make up forthat with a positive result against Leicester.
Ronald Koeman’s defensive issues went from bad to worse in the week, with Ashley Williams suspended for this game following his late dismissal against Manchester United and the Dutchman will have to return Matthew Pennington to the starting lineup alongside Phil Jagielka, Mason Holgate and Leighton Baines in a back four.
Morgan Schneiderlin should also make a return for this game. Craig Shakespeare will hope to have captain Wes Morgan back in contention following a back injury, while Marc Albrighton will likely start here. My betting tips for this game are for both teams to score and over 2.5 goals on the www.nairabet.com platform.
CRYSTAL PALACE vs. ARSENAL
The final game of this match-week will be a London derby at Selhurst Park on Monday night between Crystal Palace and Arsenal, two teams in different fights for results that will shape their seasons. The Eagles’ four game winning streak was brutally halted by Southampton during the week and they will need to quickly get back to winning ways if they hope to keep their EPL status alive. They looked dead and buried in mid February but they are now three points clear of the relegation zone and looking up rather than down. Arsenal, on the other hand, has lost touch with the top four since the start of 2017 and having qualified for the UCL in each of the last 20 seasons, their impressive record is now under threat.
They got back to winning ways during the week with a commendable 3-0 win over West Ham and with Arsene Wenger’s impressive record over Sam Allardyce, they should be expecting a positive result from this game. Arsenal should be wary of this Crystal Palace team though, as the Eagles were able to upset Chelsea at the Bridge last weekend and with their front trio of Wilfred Zaha, Christain Benteke and Andros Townsend combining well recently, the Arsenal defense will have their work cut out here.
Martin Kelly may keep his place in the Crystal Palace team for this game after being selected ahead of Damien Delaney at centre-back against Southampton in midweek, with James Tomkins and Scott Dann ruled out, while Jeffrey Schlupp should also keep his spot at left-back with Patrick van Aanholt unlikely to recover in time for this game. For Arsenal, Emiliano Martinez may be required to man the goal once more with Petr Cech ruled out and David Ospina still a doubt after missing the win over West Ham with injury, while Gabriel may also keep his spot in defence with Laurent Koscielny still a doubt and Mohamed Elneny should retain his place in midfield after impressing against West Ham. My betting tips for this game are a double chance bet on crystal Palace and over 1.5 goals.