Premier League Weekend Betting Preview
Once in the New Year, the Premier League starts to take on a new importance. Teams are playing each other for the second – and final – time, making it their last chance to get one over a near rival. It’s also the perfect time for clubs to start building up runs and confidence. That takes us to the highlight of the weekend: Manchester City’s Sunday showdown Liverpool, with both sides boasting an impressive unbeaten record and desperate to get what would be an incredibly morale boosting win.
As any football fan already knows, Pep Guardiola’s side remain the only team unbeaten in the Premier League. They’ve had a few near misses, with Ederson’s late penalty save in their most recent league outing against Crystal Palace rescuing them a point. Although not in the league, they also came close to defeat in their midweek Carabao Cup clash with Championship side Bristol City. Again, they came from behind to win that match in injury time. Whilst recent matches have shown their desire and resolve to remain unbeaten, there are also signs that they aren’t as untouchable as their record makes out.
This weekend’s clash with Liverpool might actually be the remaining fixture of the season which most worries them. Not only do the Reds have an incredible record against City – they’re unbeaten in 14 home league head-to-heads – they’ve also won in the past four seasons at Anfield. They haven’t even conceded a goal at home against City in the past two years. If the Reds were to win, it would give the sides closest to City one final – albeit still slight – chance of catching them. Guardiola’s side will be desperate to shun all hopes. It’s likely they would even take a draw – and that’s a result worth backing with decent odds at 71/25 with Marathon Bet.
The last time these clubs met earlier in the season, the Reds were mauled 5-0 by City, although Sadio Mane was sent off at 1-0. It’s unlikely to be a similar story at Anfield, where Jurgen Klopp’s side have played with freedom and flair. The loss of Philippe Coutinho will be countered by the return to fitness of Mo Salah. Liverpool’s attacking prowess might actually see City play a bit more cautiously than normal, but we’re still expecting a frantic opening ten minutes before the game settles into rounds of attack versus defence. Both sides have the attacking ammo to score, and it’s worth backing to happen when a draw and both teams to score: yes is at 3/1 with William Hill.
Looking to take advantage of the Reds and City facing off are the other teams near the top. One of those is Arsenal, who travel to Bournemouth in a fascinating encounter at the Vitality Stadium on the same day. Arene Wenger’s side are in a spot of bother currently, drawing their last two league matches to Chelsea and West Brom, and losing to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. A midweek cup match against Chelsea for Arsenal will make the Cherries the fresher of the sides, who’ll have bitter memories of last season’s home clash with Arsenal. Eddie Howe’s men were three goals up with 30 to play, but the Gunners somehow recovered; Olivier Giroud notching a last minute equaliser.
You would expect this to be a simple victory this season for Arsenal; the Cherries are struggling in the league and haven’t adapted their attacking style against the league’s more direct units, leaving themselves exposed at the back. They lost 3-0 to Arsenal earlier in the season, 4-0 to City and 4-0 to Liverpool. Nevertheless, with an extra few days to prepare, Howe might have prepared his side to set out more defensively against the faltering Gunners; a tactic which the London club have struggled to overcome, as proven in their recent clash with the Baggies. Therefore, goals might not be as obvious as they would first appear in this one, so back under 2.5 goals at 9/2 with Paddy Power.
Another of City’s chasers Manchester United get to watch all of their rivals play first, with the Red Devils taking on the managerless Stoke City on Monday night. Jose Mourinho’s side look to be getting back on track after their dip in form over the festive period, with comfortable back to back 2-0 wins against Everton and Derby a sign of that. The Potters meanwhile are in free-fall; they’ve only won one of their last eight matches in all competitions, losing six of those including last weekend’s FA Cup clash with Coventry.
Quite intriguingly, the Potters have drawn their last three outings against United. Their 2-2 at the Bet365 stadium earlier this season followed two 1-1 draws last year. Bogey side or not, it would be quite something were Stoke to get something from the match at Old Trafford – and not worth risking for punters. You can back in-form Jese Lingaard getting another goal at 17/10 with bwin, although a better bet would be on Marcus Rashford. The England international striker hasn’t scored since December 10 – a stretch lasting eight matches – so he’s hungry to get back in on the goals. Back him as an anytime scorer at 13/12 with Unibet.
Another of the more intriguing clashes of the weekend is Palace’s home match against Burnley. The London club are ever improving under Hodgson, whilst Sean Dyche’s men have performed valiantly throughout the year. The home side will likely be the more attacking of the sides despite their lower position in the table, but Burnley are such a resolute opponent. That was clear last time these teams met, with Palace bossing more than 60% possession but still running out 1-0 losers. A draw could be on the cards, with the sides cancelling each other out and is very tempting at 47/20 with Marathon Bet.