The Premier League is back after the international friendly break and the stakes are as high as it gets at this point. One slip up and the season could be over for any given team. Can Leicester pull away at the top of the table or will Tottenham gain some ground? Will Manchester City, Manchester United or West Ham take a step past their rivals for fourth place? Will Newcastle or Norwich get a season defining result? All this and much more in this edition of the Premier league Recap.
Aston Villa (+525) vs Chelsea (-169)
It’s not too difficult to predict how this one will go as Chelsea have been pretty good since appointing Guus Hiddink and Aston Villa simply are a bad team. This will be as easy as it gets for Chelsea.
AFC Bournemouth (+275) vs Manchester City (+102)
This game isn’t as straight forward as it may seem. City are going to be missing quite a few players and anytime they lose captain Vincent Kompany, they struggle badly. They are also missing Nicolas Otamendi, Joe Hart, Raheem Sterling, and Eliaquim Mangala to name a few. Bournemouth may not be great but they do put up a fight and that could put Man City in trouble. I still think City will win but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they drop points.
Arsenal (-260) vs Watford (+797)
Arsenal are coming into this one knowing that their chances of winning the league are slim to none, and that’s exactly when they tend to shine. They have a history of going on runs of form once they are out of the title race and Watford, who are mid level at best, offer them the perfect stepping stone to continue that trend. I think they’ll do exactly that and they’ll do it in style as well.
Norwich City (+145) vs Newcastle United (+242)
This is a season defining game for both sides. If Newcastle lose, they will be all but relegated and Norwich will be in a great spot to stay up. If Newcastle win, however, they will be tied with Norwich on points with a game in hand and that would be a very positive boost for the Geordies. I think Newcastle have a couple of very talented players but they mostly have spineless footballers who seem out of their depth and whether they win or lose will depend on if Jonjo Shelvey and Georginio Wjnaldum can control the game for Newcastle. I don’t see either team controlling the game and I think it’ll end up in a draw.
Stoke City (+115) vs Swansea City (+279)
Stoke City have showed time and time again why they are known as the most unpredictable club in English soccer by losing against weaker opposition and beating some big clubs. Swansea are one of those teams that are better on paper than they have been in practise and I think that could show againt the Potters. Stoke do have the better players though and I see them getting the win at home, where they are usually very hard to beat.
Sunderland (+110) vs West Bromwich Albion (+290)
If you’re looking for an entertaining match this is not the one to watch. West Brom manager Tony Pulis is known as the “Anti-soccer” because of his complete disregard for the “beautiful” part of the nickname “The Beautiful Game”. He plays to not lose and that’s why he’ll never be anything more than a bottom-feeder manager. Luckily for WBA they may get a win here since they are coming up against one of the worst Premier Leaague sides I have ever seen. In fact, Sunderland never do anything worth mentioning and I can’t remember a game they’ve actually done well in all season long. I don’t see that changing anytime soon and given the sheer nature of the two teams I expect this to end in a boring goaless draw.
West Ham United (-105) vs Crystal Palace (+305)
This is a huge tie in the race for the top four as West Ham have a great chance to put Manchester City and Manchester United under big pressure. Crystal Palace aren’t a very good team and that’s precisely the type of side that have slowed the Hammers down the most this season. West Ham’s players seem to have a hard time getting motivated to take on lesser competition and that had led them to drop more points than they should. If they don’t get up for this one then they would see a huge chance go by but I don’t see that happening. I feel like the idea of playing in the Champions League next season will get them very motivated and I think they’ll get past Alan Pardew’s one dimensional Palace.
Liverpool (+148) vs Tottenham Hotspur (+194)
Now this is going to be a fun game! Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool perform better against teams that dominate possession and leave them with a chance to counter attack and that’s exactly what I expect Tottenham to do. Spurs are by far the better team and Mauricio Pochettino is an excellent tactician which is going to be vital here against Klopp, who is a genius in his own right. Tottenham know they need a win here to keep their title dream alive while Liverpool need three points to stay in the hunt for a Europa League spot. I think that Tottenham have shown that they are a very strategic team and I just see them breaking down Liverpool as time goes on and getting the win in a goal happy game.
Leicester City (+120) vs Southampton (+255)
The King Power stadium is going to host a big game for Leicester’s title race as they have a tough test gainst a solid team like the Saints. If they win they’ll be poised to go all the way. If they lose, they’ll leave tottenham, and to a lesser extent Arsenal, in with a chance to steal the title from under their noses. I think Leicester are just too strong right now and the fans will help them win this game and move even closer to winning the craziest Premier League of all time.
Manchester United (EV) vs Everton (+300)
Another big game at Old Trafford is on the horizon and Manchester United are on a high after beating rivals Manchester City at their own stadium. A win against Everton would be huge and it would leave them strongly in the running for fourth place. United are very inconsistent and Everton aren’t going to be easy to beat. They have a very good team and on their day they can beat just about anybody. I have a feeling that United are going to follow up on that big derby win and really push for that Champions League spot by squeaking out a result against the blue half of Liverpool.
(All odds taken from betdsi.eu)