2017 is almost here and to celebrate, our tipping team have analysed some of the biggest football action taking place over the New Year’s weekend – including the Old Firm derby and a massive clash at Anfield!
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RANGERS v CELTIC
New Year’s Eve – 12:15
The third Old Firm derby of the season takes place on Saturday lunchtime.
Rangers host bitter rivals Celtic, and will be looking for revenge after losing both of the two meetings that have taken place this season.
Rangers were on the end of a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park in September before a late winner at Hampden a month later handed Celtic a second victory and a place in the Scottish League Cup final.
Moussa Dembele has enjoyed playing against Rangers this season – scoring four goals in his two meetings against the Gers.
Celtic have been formidable away from home during this campaign. The Hoops haven’t lost a league game on the road all season and have only dropped points on one occasion when playing away from home.
That won’t worry Rangers fans too much, as they are yet to see their side lose a home game this season.
However, one thing that will cause concern for the Gers faithful is their side’s recent record against Celtic.
Rangers haven’t won any of their last four games against Celtic within 90 minutes and have conceded on nine occasions during that period.
Everything points to an away win.
BEST BET: CELTIC TO WIN @ 3/4
LEICESTER v WEST HAM
New Year’s Eve – 15:00
These two sides have struggled to re-create their form from last season.
Champions Leicester find themselves down in 16th place after winning on just four occasions in the league this season, while West Ham have crawled up to mid-table after taking ten points from their last four games.
In all honesty, Leicester’s home form hasn’t been a problem. They have only lost twice at the King Power this season, with all four of their league victories coming in-front of home support, including their 4-2 win over Man City earlier this month.
West Ham have faced some tough away trips recently, with visits to Anfield, Old Trafford and White Hart Lane in their last three games away from the London Stadium.
Slaven Bilic’s men led in all three of those games but were unable to hold on, conceding two late goals to lose against Spurs, which was followed by draws with Man United and Liverpool.
Leicester hosted West Ham on two occasions last season. Their Premier League clash at the King Power ended in a 2-2 draw, while extra time was needed in their League Cup clash.
This one looks too close to call, but in our eyes, West Ham won’t come away empty handed.
BEST BET: DOUBLE CHANCE – WEST HAM OR DRAW @ 8/11
LIVERPOOL v MAN CITY
New Year’s Eve – 17:30
Second plays third at Anfield on Saturday evening, with Liverpool hosting Manchester City in one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season.
Over the last few seasons, this has been a fixture that has produced both goals and excitement by the bucket load.
The two sides have shared a jaw-dropping 37 goals in their last ten meetings – which equates to an average of 3.7 goals per game.
It is also worth noting that Liverpool’s 3-0 win back in March was the only one of those ten games that didn’t end with both sides scoring.
In terms of this campaign, Liverpool and Man City have been two of the most prolific clubs in the Premier League – netting on 84 occasions between them so far.
Sergio Aguero returns to the Manchester City squad this weekend after his four-game ban, however, Liverpool are one of the few clubs in the league he seems to struggle against.
Since arriving in England back in 2011, the prolific Argentine has only managed four goals against Liverpool.
That said, we still expect goals to be on the agenda come Saturday evening, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Aguero got himself on the scoresheet.
BEST BET: OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 4/6
WATFORD v TOTTENHAM
New Year’s Day – 13:30
After a decent start to the season, Watford have struggled of late – losing four of their last six league games.
That said, their solid recent home form has stopped them from slipping too far down the table. The Hornets have won four of their last seven home games.
Like Sunday’s opponents, Tottenham have also found it hard on the road lately, winning just one of their last six away games.
Three of Spurs’ last five games have been against teams in the bottom half of the table, and they have found the net with relative ease. Pochettino’s men have scored 10 goals in total, with six of those coming in the second half.
In three of the last four meetings between Watford and Tottenham, the sides have been level at half-time, with Spurs have going onto win on each occasion.
In fact these sides are often involved in games that are level at the break. Watford have been level at half-time in three of their last five home games, while Spurs have been drawing after 45 minutes in four of their last six away games.
Although we see Tottenham winning this, we don’t seen Watford making it easy for them.
BEST BET: DRAW/TOTTENHAM (HT/FT) @ 10/3
ARSENAL v CRYSTAL PALACE
New Year’s Day – 16:00
Old enemies Arsene Wenger and Sam Allardyce meet at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, with Arsenal and Crystal Palace both in desperate need of a positive result.
Arsenal’s title challenge suffered a huge dent in December, with back-to-back away losses against Everton and Manchester City leaving them a considerable distance behind leaders Chelsea.
Since losing Shkodran Mustafi to injury a few weeks ago, the Gunners look lost at the back and have conceded four goals in the three games since his absence.
In fact, Arsenal’s clean sheet against West Brom on Boxing Day was their first in 12 games.
This will be music to the ears of Sam Allardyce. His new side have scored 17 league goals away from home already this season – the fourth highest total of all 20 Premier League sides.
When it comes to meetings between these clubs, goals are a near certainty.
Both sides have managed to net in each of the last four meetings between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, with eleven goals being scored during that time.
Unfortunately for Palace, they have only beaten Arsenal on three occasions since 1934 and have gone 14 games without a victory against Sunday’s opponents.
We see Arsenal winning this one – but we don’t see them keeping a clean sheet at the Emirates.
BEST BET: BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 10/11
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