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Complete with the odds from your club’s betting service, we give you our five best bets of the Premier League weekend…
ARSENAL v WATFORD
There is absolutely no doubting that Arsenal (1.36) need a win at the Emirates on Saturday if they are going to stay in the title race. Despite having a game in hand, Arsene Wenger’s men come into this clash eleven points behind leaders Leicester. However, the Gunners will be buoyed after a dominant 2-0 win at Goodison Park last time out.
Watford (9.00) shocked everyone with a win at the Emirates in the FA Cup quarter final just three weeks ago. Goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura gave the Hornets a memorable 2-1 victory, allowing them to progress to Wembley for a semi-final clash with Crystal Palace.
Alex Iwobi has made the headlines in recent weeks. Iwobi (below) is the nephew of former Bolton Wanderers trickster Jay-Jay Okocha and after holding his own against Barcelona in the always daunting Camp Nou a fortnight ago, he then scored on his full Premier League debut against Everton just three days later.
With the form of Theo Walcott and the injury record of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both coming under serious scrutiny of late, it would surprise nobody if the Nigerian international went on to cement a place in the Gunners starting eleven in the near future.
Watford’s recent away Premier League record will be of great concern to Quique Sanchez Flores. The Hornets haven’t won a single league game on the road in 2016, losing four, and drawing one of their five away games since the turn of the year.
Goals are usually on the agenda in games at the Emirates. 11 goals have been scored in the last five games at the stadium, with three of the last five Premier League ties ending with more than two goals.
It is also worth noting that neither of this season’s meetings between Arsenal and Watford have ended with less than three goals being scored.
Everything points to high scoring encounter at the Emirates.
VERDICT: ARSENAL 3 WATFORD 1 @ 11.00
BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1.70
BOURNEMOUTH v MAN CITY
Eddie Howe will be delighted with his side’s recent form. Prior to their defeat at White Hart Lane last time out, Bournemouth (3.60) had recorded three straight wins to all but secure their Premier League status for next season.
Manchester City (2.05) are really struggling for league form. Despite winning the League Cup and advancing the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won just one of their last six Premier League games, losing four times during that period.
When Benik Afobe, Juan Iturbe and Lewis Grabban arrived at Bournemouth in the January transfer window, many expected Josh King to lose his place in the starting eleven. However, the new arrivals have had a wonderful effect on King, whose form has gone from strength to strength since January. The former Manchester United and Blackburn forward has found the net at crucial times this season, including recent strikes against relegation rivals Swansea and Newcastle.
Yaya Toure’s work rate and form has come under real question this season. While the big Ivorian has netted six league goals during the campaign, he has only managed to make five assists, which is far from impressive when you consider that he is in charge of all of City’s set pieces. Being caught too far up the field or out of position is also something that Toure (above) has been guilty of during this campaign. The former Barcelona man often leaves his midfield partner (whether it is Fernando or Fernandinho) exposed, allowing sides to catch City on the counter attack with great regularity and effect.
Despite recent form, we see this as an ideal chance for Man City to get back on track, particularly when you consider Bournemouth’s potential lack of focus after becoming almost certainties to avoid relegation.
We are going for an away win here.
VERDICT: BOURNEMOUTH 1 MAN CITY 2 @ 8.50
BEST BET: MAN CITY TO WIN @ 2.05
STOKE v SWANSEA
Stoke (2.15) are in a rich vein of form. The Potters have taken 13 points from their last six games, winning four times in the process. Mark Hughes will be hoping that his side can continue their run and secure a top 10 finish, with Stoke currently seven points clear of West Brom, who are occupying eleventh position.
In their last Premier League outing, Swansea (3.60) got a vital win 1-0 over Aston Villa to move ten points clear of the relegation zone. That victory was the Swans’ third from their last four league games, and while they are far from safe in their relegation battle, they are now in a far better position that they were when Garry Monk left the club.
Jack Butland has been Stoke’s best player this season, however his injury while on international duty with England has ruled him out for the rest of the season. That means Mark Hughes will have to call-on veteran keeper Shay Given for the remainder of the campaign. The Premier League stalwart joined Stoke in the summer as back-up to the talented Butland, and should make his first Premier League appearance for the Potters on Saturday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (above) is in fine goal scoring form of late. The attacking midfielder has taken his Premier League tally to nine for the season with recent goals against Norwich and Newcastle, making him the Swans top scorer, ahead of all three of the club’s strikers.
Stoke have a solid recent record against Saturday’s opponents, losing just one of the last five meetings between the clubs. The Potters have also beaten Swansea in three of their last four clashes at the Britannia Stadium.
We can’t see past a home win here.
VERDICT: STOKE 2 SWANSEA 0 @ 9.00
BEST BET: STOKE TO WIN @ 2.15
LIVERPOOL v TOTTENHAM
Jürgen Klopp will still be reeling after the last round of Premier League fixtures. Liverpool (2.50) surrendered a two goal lead away at Southampton, eventually losing 3-2 after a second half capitulation.
One positive point from the game, was the performance of Daniel Sturridge. The striker appeared to be back to full fitness at St Marys, looking a threat throughout – calmly curling home in the first half to put his side 2-0 up.
Tottenham (2.88) are five points behind Leicester, therefore they cannot afford to lose this one. Mauricio Pochettino’s men won comfortably at home to Bournemouth last time out, however, Tottenham have lost two of their last three away games in all competitions.
Harry Kane is the clear favourite to be this season’s top scorer in the Premier League, but as we have seen in recent weeks, there is far more to his game than simply poaching. Kane (below) is the complete forward, who has very few weaknesses. This was particularly evident during his performance for England in Berlin last weekend. Kane’s hold-up play and energy caused the German defence all sorts of problem, while the neat turn and finish for his goal left jaws dropping.
These two sides are separated by a staggering 17 Premier League points, with Tottenham currently seven places higher than Saturday’s opponents. However, it is Liverpool who have the far better record in this fixture over the years. The Mersysiders haven’t lost to Tottenham in any of their last six meetings, winning five, drawing one and remarkably, scoring 18 times against the North Londoners during that period.
While we aren’t totally convinced by Liverpool, we just feel that the away side are far too short for this one, particularly when you consider that Tottenham haven’t won at Anfield since 2011.
VERDICT: LIVERPOOL 2 TOTTENHAM 1 @ 9.50
BEST BET: LIVERPOOL – DRAW NO BET @ 1.75
MAN UNITED v EVERTON
In their last Premier League outing, Manchester United (2.00) got a vital 1-0 win at the Etihad against bitter local rivals, Manchester City. That Manchester derby victory pushed Louis Van Gaal’s men to within one point of the Champions League qualification places, which is vital for the Red Devils, as their exit from both European competitions now means league qualification is the only way of them reaching next year’s Champions League competition.
Despite reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, Everton (3.80) have had a poor season under Roberto Martinez. The Toffees are languishing in the bottom half of the table after winning only nine of their 29 league games so far.
Marcus Rashford has wasted no time in making himself a hero among the Man United faithful. The 18 year-old striker gave Martin Demichelis a torrid time against Manchester City last weekend, and his winner against United’s bitter rivals was more than deserved after his hard-working display. Since making his debut just a month ago, Rashford (below) has netted on five occasions, including last weekend’s derby strike and his impressive brace against Arsenal.
Despite their struggles, Manchester United have one of the most impressive away records in the Premier League this season – taking 28 points from 14 games at Old Trafford so far.
That said, Everton have done well on the road, with their defeat at the Emirates being the only blotch on their 2015/16 away Premier League record.
Goals are usually on the agenda when these sides meet, with Everton and Man United sharing an impressive 11 goals during their last 4 clashes.
It is also worth noting that the Toffees have scored on three of their last four visits to Old Trafford.
We fancy both sides to get on the scoresheet here, with the hosts nicking a victory.
VERDICT: MAN UNITED 2 EVERTON 1 @ 9.00
BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 1.83
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