Premier League week 31 preview

It’s crunch time in the Premier League and boy are there some huge games this weekend! There’s the Manchester Derby, the Northeastern Derby and big games between Everton and Arsenal as well as Southampton vs Liverpool. Combine those Leicester and Tottenham’s respective matches and you have a tremendous matchday with huge implications for both the top and the bottom of the league.

Chelsea (-141) vs West Ham (+419)
Ok so this is a great game to put some money on since West Ham are a great team, especially against the more prestigious teams. While they may not have the better players individually there is no doubt that they are a better team and the fact that they are very close to earning a spot in next year’s Champions League shows just how good they are. I definitely think they’ll get the win at Stamford Bridge against a Chelsea team that still haven’t really found any quality form.

Crystal Palace (+190) vs Leicester City (+156)
Is it just me or does it seem like the odds are completely off this week? I mean, how are Leicester only slight favorites over such an uninspired Palace? I do think that it won’t be that simple to break down Palace’s defense since they basically just defend tightly and hope to counter with the long ball but that’s really all they do. The Foxes should have more than enough quality to get the win here and take themselves one step closer to the title.

Everton (+167) vs Arsenal (+163)
Alright this one makes more sense. Both teams are pretty evenly matched at the moment and honestly it could go either way. One thing that has to be taken into consideration is that Everton are at home and Goodison Park is a fortress of sorts so they will be very tough to beat. Another thing to keep in mind is that Arsenal tend to go on great runs of wins once all hope of the title is gone and that could start once again here. I feel like this will likely be a tough game for the Gunners and I have the Toffees getting a solid win at home.

Swansea City (-147) vs Aston Villa (+450)
This right here shows just how bad Aston Villa are this season. They’re massive underdogs against a team that aren’t particularly good in their own right and rightfully so. They have shown nothing worth noting throughout the campaign and they are surely going to be relegated. This is a great chance for Swansea to get a win and push themselves farther from the relegation zone and finish a poor season somewhat comfortably. I believe they’ll do just that and it should be a goal-filled day in Wales.

Watford (+142) vs Stoke City (+215)
I’m sure you guys are tired of reading my usual “oh no it’s the unpredictable Stoke City” bit but believe me I’m sick of them making me say that too! It’s simply the truth and as always I have an idea of how this one should play out but who knows what Stoke witth show up. Watford are a very solid unit and they are tough to breakdown so they are rather similar to Stoke albeit the latter have more creative attacking players. I think home advantage will help Watford here but I think it’ll finish in a draw (+222) since they are so evenly matched.

West Bromwich Albion (+125) vs Norwich City (+252)
Here we have a very strong contrast of styles. WBA are a very rigid, defensive minded team that play tough as nails and look for the long ball. Norwich on the other hand are a freeflowing offensive team who, for all their flaws, at least put on a show. That show usually ends with lots of goals against them but hey at least there’s never a lack of action! It’ll be interesting to see which team comes out of this one with three points and I suspect that it’ll be WBA who are simply a more solid team. I forsee Norwich pouring men forward, desperately trying to get a win that would be massive for their hopes of staying in the Prem, only to get caught out on the break and lose 1-0. Say what you want about Tony Pulis, but the man knows how to claw out a result.

Manchester City (-120) vs Manchester United (+350)
My my how the mighty have fallen! Which Manchester club am I talking about? Well, both actually. United are a great club with glorious history that is going through a rebuilding phase (or a crisis depending on who you talk to) while City have consistently shown why great players bunched together doesn’t necessarily make a great team. This is a huge game for both clubs as it has major Champions League qualifications implications. They are in a four horse race with West Ham and Arsenal to see which two teams will make it to the biggest club competition in the world next year and with the aformentioned other competitors in tough matchups this weekend, a win here would be huge for City and United. Form-wise they are both on a bad run. Obviously City have the better players but they lost Kompany and Otamendi to injury the other night and that’s really bad for the Citizens, who have an awful record without captain Kompany. For that very reason I think United have a chance to go to the Etihad and steal three points from their “Noisy Neighbours” and really give themselves a hope of clawing their way to the top four. I think United will pull it out but it could just as easily go City’s way. Hell, it could even end up in a draw (+265) since neither side can seem to find the net these days!

Newcastle United (+115) vs Sunderland (+261)
What’s better than a heated derby? A derby between two teams fighting for their lives in the relegation scrap! That’s exactly what we have here and while these two teams are thoroughly unimpressive, this should be a heated and entertining affair. Personally I think Newcastle have a far more talented roster and with the arrival of Benitez at their helm I absolutely think they’ll come out with a win on Sunday and kickstart their gallop to salvation.

Southampton (+160) vs Liverpool (+190)
This is a massive game for Liverpool who are silently keeping themselves in the running for the top four. They have played a game less than the teams above them and if they were to win this game and the makeup game they would be even on points with Manchester United. That said, I don’t really see them getting past Southampton at the St. Mary’s. The Saints, who are tied in points with the Reds, are a solid team in their own right and they are never easy to beat, especially at home. I see them beating Liverpool, who still have heavy deficiencies, and stating their claim to Europa League qualification.

Tottenham Hotspur (-186) vs Bournemouth (+565)
This is the only game of the weekend that I think will be completely one sided. Tottenham are a very good team who are pushing for a title run and Bournemouth are a rather beatable side that leaves tons of holes at the back. I fully expect Spurs’ attackers, Harry Kane, and Christian Eriksen in particular, to punish them for the mistake they will make and get the win, grabbing a few goals in the process.

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