English Premier League Preview - Fixture 17th
17th game week of Premier League is in front of us. The leaders Liverpool will open it with the home game against the last team in the standings Watford, while the 2nd placed Leicester will chase the ninth league win in a row. The main game of this game week is surely the clash between Arsenal and Manchester City, but Manchester United – Everton and Wolves – Tottenham are also going to be interesting. In this article, you can find the preview for all the games of the 17th game week, with betting predictions as an addition.
LIVERPOOL – WATFORD
Before EFL Cup quarter-final and the Club World Cup in Qatar, Liverpool must get over easy obstacle named Watford. Previously this week, the Reds were in a really dangerous situation in the Champions League, with the obligation to avoid a defeat in Salzburg. They managed to put that game under control and win the 1st place in their group. With that win, they just continued their unbelievable run of 18 games without a defeat, and there is also some great news at Anfield. The coach Jurgen Klopp extended his contract, while the acquisition of Salzburg's winger Takumi Minamino would help surely help them to get through the difficult schedule in spring. For this game, we can expect some rotations in the starting 11, but Watford have really minimum chances. In this season they had more coaches than wins, and only one win in last 10 games probably says more than enough about them. The new coach Nigel Pearson is optimistic, but his debut game is the worst thing he could wish. Even with some backup players, Liverpool should easily win this game. Everything except their win would be a huge upset, so it's actually only a matter of how high the Reds' win is going to be.
Prediction: Liverpool -2 AH goals @ 1.89
BURNLEY – NEWCASTLE
Burnley lost three games in a row, but the circumstances were quite difficult for them. They were without some key players, and the fixtures were also really tough. The home defeat against Crystal Palace was a little bit surprising, but the latter disastrous results against Manchester City and Tottenham shouldn't be something what Burnley manager Sean Dyche should be concerned about. In this match he might have Ashley Westwood at the disposal, and with him, Burnley looks like a totally different team. Newcastle somehow managed to avoid the defeat against the Citizens, the dose of luck they had was unbelievable. In the next two games, the same scenario had repeated, the difference was only in the opponents and the final result. Against Sheffield United and Southampton, Newcastle took maximum six points, but they probably didn't deserve to earn not even a single one. They were outplayed, especially in Sheffield, and this lucky period must end sooner or later. Burnley have always been reliable at home so they could easily end the Magpies' run. In the last season, Newcastle won both head to head games, but despite their winning streak, they enter this games as underdogs.
Prediction: Burnley to win @ 2.00
CHELSEA – BOURNEMOUTH
The Blues were successful in the Champions League and considering that competition, the goal they had is already reached. In a relatively easy group they finished 2nd, and they could maybe even end as the winners, but Ajax ruined their plans. Now, everything more would be a bonus, but Frank Lampard did a great job there. In Premier League, Chelsea is still holding the 4th place, but they lost three of last four league games. In the last game week, Everton was led by a new coach, the team responded as no one could expect and Chelsea was helpless there. The good news for Frank Lampard is that his defender Antonio Rudiger is back after a long injury break and he should help the team to bring them to the even higher level. On the other side, Bournemouth can't count on their best defender Nathan Ake. Also, the most dangerous player of the Cherries Callum Wilson is doubtful and that looks like a nice setup for the team from Stamford Bridge. The away team have lost five games in a row and on this trip, their chances are minimal.
Prediction: Chelsea -1.5 AH goals @ 1.74
LEICESTER – NORWICH
If someone had told you at the beginning of the season that Leicester will have six points more than Manchester City after 16 games, you would probably be concerned about him. But, the Foxes are destroying every team on their way and it doesn't seem they will stop. In their last game against Aston Villa in Birmingham it was quite easy. The final score was 4:1, while the league top scorer Jamie Vardy scored twice. With eight league win in a row, Brendan Rodgers set a club record, which they are looking to extend because their next opponent doesn't look like a serious threat for them at this moment. In the last game, the Canaries had the lead at the half time but lost once again in the end. That was their 11th defeat in this season and considering that they are the worst – even worse than the last Watford, who recorded „only“ nine defeats, just as Southampton and Aston Villa. Norwich also have the 2nd worst defence with 34 conceded goals, and they have scored only the half of that amount. Teemu Pukki was the biggest sensation in the early season, but not either he or anyone else can help this team winning points if the defence is this bad.
Prediction: Over 3 goals @ 1.70
SHEFFIELD UNITED – ASTON VILLA
Sheffield United have started the season in an unexpected manner. Not even the biggest fans couldn't think of their team being two points behind Manchester United, one point behind Tottenham and have exactly the same points as Arsenal at this stage of the season. In the last game, they were trailing at the half-time against Norwich away, but with two goals practically right after the kickoff in the second half, they earned all 3 points. In 52nd minute the score was 1:2 and the third-best defence of the league didn't have problems with protecting that lead. With the series of serious results, Sheffield have proven we can count on them to become the permanent occupant of the top half places in the standings. On the other side, Aston Villa suffered a heavy defeat against Leicester at home and they are above the relegation zone only thanks to goal difference. The last games for them have been really tough and against Leicester, Chelsea and Manchester United they have grabbed only one point. There is some easier fixtures in front of them in December, but visiting Sheffield is definitely not one of these.
Prediction: Sheffield United to win @ 1.92
SOUTHAMPTON – WEST HAM UNITED
Southampton recorded two important wins at home, but in the last game, they weren't able to hold at least a point in Newcastle. Despite the dominance throughout the whole game, Newcastle luckily had turned the game around, what kept the Saints in the relegation zone. In this game, we should see minimum changes in the squad and if they repeat the performance from the last games, then they can count on some points which would mean life in such a situation. West Ham had the opportunity to improve their place against Arsenal who were in a big crisis, but they suffered a defeat despite having the at the half time. In the middle of the second half, Arsenal have scored three quick goals in only six minutes and closed the game. The coach Manuel Pellegrini will still be without a few really important players what should make things much more difficult. The encouraging fact for the Hammers is they won last three head to head games, but in this game, the Saints are set as 50% favourites. The option you should look for here is everything related to a lot of goals because both defences are unstable.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.63
MANCHESTER UNITED – EVERTON
Manchester United responded in the best possible way on the stories about some deeper crisis. Firstly, they beat Tottenham 2:1 at Old Trafford, but the much bigger result is the win against Manchester City at Etihad with the same result. The bad thing for Man United fans was the help they gave their fierce rivals Liverpool, but considering everything in previous months in their club, this win was still a big relief and a proof that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can have some more time here. In the game against Everton, he can confirm that the last two wins weren't a coincidence. Everton gave chance to their previous player Duncan Ferguson as interim manager after sacking Marco Silva. In ecstatic atmosphere at Goodison Park, where every of Everton's three goals against Chelsea was celebrated like there is no tomorrow, he ended three-game losing streak in which Everton conceded nine goals. It is still unknown is he going to become the permanent manager, but considering the reaction of the players and the fans, he is the right person for this job. Ferguson is dealing with injury problems, now Theo Walcott and Morgan Schniederlin have been added to their long injury list and it will be interesting to see how is he going to set the starting line up.
Prediction: Manchester United to win @ 1.80
WOLVES – TOTTENHAM
In the last league game, Wolves extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games in a row with 2:2 draw at Brighton. In the midweek, they have just finished the job in their group by destroying Besiktas 4:0. Raul Jimenez didn't play in that game because he served his suspension, while Diogo Jota scored a hat-trick after coming off the bench. There were still some rotations in Nuno Espirito Santo's team because that game had no big importance, and that could be said for Tottenham's previous game as well. In the last league game, they destroyed Burnley, but their very last game was the one at Allianz Arena against Bayern. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Verthongen and Serge Aurier were all rested in that game, so losing 3:1 wasn't a surprise. After all, Bayern had already secured the 1st place even before the last game. Since Jose Mourinho took over Spurs there is a positive trend despite two defeats and his team will now face another big test. Wolves are the team which earned the most points against top 6 teams since the last season than any other side that finished outside of these places. Tottenham lost the last head to head game at home, but they were previously successful in the away game. This game can be considered as a game without a favourite, so backing Wolves should have some value.
Prediction: Wolves +0.25 @ 1.91
ARSENAL – MANCHESTER CITY
Arsenal finally managed to finish the unbelievable streak of nine games without a win. In the away game against West Ham, things at the half-time didn't look nice once again, but later the Gunners responded with three goals. With this win, they are now sharing the 8th place with Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle. The game in Europa League wasn't considered as important and Fredrik Ljungberg decided to rest his major forces for this clash. The biggest question for him in this game is Nicolas Pepe. Arsenal might lack some power in the attack, and defence is something they simply can't rely on against Manchester City. Pep Guardiola's team are wounded, they are huge 14 points behind Liverpool and they simply don't look like a team which can defend the title. At the top of all that, they lost the home game against Manchester United. The only thing they could do after that is to show they are not that down, and Dinamo Zagreb paid the price. The Croatian team needed a win against the Citizens who were surely 1st and without some key players, Dinamo even had the lead, but the guests had no mercy – they turned the game and actually destroyed their opponent 4:1. You can be almost sure they will show their best against Arsenal, and in recent games, they were more than dominant – wins in last five games, every time with at least two goals difference, with 14 goals scored. Everything goes in favour of Man City and they just have to show their quality on the field.
Prediction: Manchester City -1.25 AH goals @ 1.87
CRYSTAL PALACE – BRIGHTON
Crystal Palace didn't concede a single goal in the last three games. After two wins against Burnley and Bournemouth, they were held to a draw against Watford at Vicarage Road. It must be mentioned they didn't deserve they point, as they didn't have any shots on target in that game. Roy Hodgson will still have problems with injuries in the defence, Joel Ward, Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt are still out, what makes this non-conceding record even more respectable. Brighton didn't have problems with finding an opponents’ net lately – they scored in eight of their last nine games, and the only team which kept a clean sheet against them was Leicester. In the last away game, they recorded the first three-pointer after six games without a win, but that was against shaky Arsenal. In the last visit to Crystal Palace in March they came out as winners, but despite that, they enter this game as a slight underdog.
Prediction: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.76
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