The season is gradually winding down as we have reached the business end of it. At the top, Chelsea can begin to dream a little bit about regaining the title they gave up so easily last season without a fight, as they have a healthy ten point lead over their nearest rivals with just eleven round of matches remaining. The race for the Champions League places is shaping up to be a real cliffhanger as six teams are still in the race four the three remaining slots.
Another exciting battle on the horizon is the one taking place at the bottom of the table where as many as seven teams are involved in a fierce battle to avoid the drop. This weekend will will make the situation just a little bit clearer as all twenty teams will be in action and continue their different battles. This is my preview of game-week Twenty-eight along with betting tips to use in placing your bets on www.nairabet.com
WEST BROM vs. ARSENAL
It’s not been the best of times for Arsenal and their manager, Arsene Wenger recently, although they got a bit of a reprieve with last weekend’s 5-0 hammering of Lincoln City to move into the semi-finals of the FA Cup. However, that is not the title that Arsenal fans have been clamouring for. The club hasn’t won the EPL since 2004 and have also not gotten past the first knockout stage of the UCL since the 2009/2010 season, a situation its fans see as embarrassing and would love to see change as quickly as possible. There have been protests at the Emirates calling for Arsene Wenger to quit and it seems there will be another one today at the Hawthorns when Arsenal visit West Brom. The Baggies were threshed at Goodison Park last weekend as Everton put three goals past them without reply and they have now lost two EPL matches on the bounce, something they hadn’t experienced this year.
Tony Pulis has a strange record in the league, in his nine seasons as a top flight manager, his teams have always shown a sharp decline after hitting the ‘magical’ forty point mark, winning only five of the thirty-six games they have played after attaining that mark. They have a decent record at home this season, with eight wins, two draws and four defeats from the fourteen matches they’ve played there this season. Arsenal are also not having the best of runs with three defeats from their last four league games and five of their last eight in all competitions. Arsene Wenger should have Danny Welbeck available after he missed their FA Cup win through illness last weekend; while Matt Phillips is still Tony Pulis’ only real injury concern ahead today’s game. This should be a very cagey affair and i will be going for a double chance for Arsenal and over 1.5 goals in this one.
WEST HAM vs. LEICESTER
The Champions have been going through a resurgence of some sorts since they parted ways with their title winning manager, they’ve won all their matches in all competitions since then, giving them some reprieve in the battle against relegation and also advancing to the quarter finals of the UCL. They will be high on confidence as they travel to the Capital today to take on the Hammers. Meanwhile, West Ham are without a win in their last four league games and are coming into this game after suffering back-to-back defeats. They also have only one win to show from their last six matches and have conceded a whooping thirteen goals during the process. Leicester are unbeaten against West Ham United in their last five outings, winning four of them and are the form team going into this fixture.
Interim manager, Craig Shakespeare isn’t expected to make any changes from the side that beat Sevilla Tuesday night and will probably look to keep momentum going with the same set of players for today’s game. West Ham have just one win from their last six home games and a resurgent Leicester isn’t the team they would want to play against right now. I will advise on a double chance bet on Leicester and over 1.5 goals.
STOKE vs. CHELSEA
Runaway league leaders, Chelsea will be the guests of Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium today with the intention of leaving with all three points. They are fresh off a quarter final victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup and will be expecting to get another victory in the league today. They are currently firing all cylinders, leading the table with sixty-six points, ten ahead of the teams directly behind them with just 11 games to the end of the season. The title is theirs to lose at the rate at which they are going right now. They just need to hold on a little more and the title is theirs. The Potters, on the other hand have been having a good month, beating Middlesbrough and holding Manchester City to a goalless draw. They are on an eight-match unbeaten run in the league at the Bet365 Stadium and have a good recent home record against Chelsea, with the Blues have won just one of their last four visits to the Potters.
It was a festival of goals the last time these teams met with Chelsea 4-2 winners, but that scenario seems unlikely today. Xherdan Shaqiri has recovered from a calf strain and is set to return to the first team fold for the hosts, while Victor Moses is a doubt for the Premier League leaders and may not be risked. My betting tips for this game will be a double chance bet on Chelsea and over 1.5 goals on www.nairabet.com
SUNDERLAND vs. BURNLEY
The Black Cats, who are still languishing at the bottom of the table, will welcome Burnley to the Stadium of Light today and will need to get all three points if they hope to keep battling for survival. This match will present a very good opportunity for Sunderland to boost their survival hosts as they will be taking on a team with the worst away record in the league. The Clarets, on the other hand would have been in the thick of the relegation battle if not for their excellent home form. They have been struggling in recent weeks and are yet to win a game in their last six outings in all competitions. They are yet to win a game away from home in all competitions this season, losing thirteen and drawing three. This fixture presents them with their best chance of getting that first away win this season. Sunderland haven’t played in two weeks and should be very fresh for this fixture, so for that reason alone I will advise on a double chance bet on Sunderland and under 2.5 goals.
CRYSTAL PALACE vs. WATFORD
The Eagles will welcome Watford to Selhurst Park today, hoping for a win to avoid slipping into the relegation zone. They are just a place and a point above the bottom three and need to win this game stay further away from the relegation zone. Three wins from their last five matches have helped them climb out of the bottom three.
The introduction of Mamadou Sakho has been crucial to their resurgence, which is shown by the fact they have kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time all season. Meanwhile, Watford have been winless in their last three games and have also been poor away from home, having failed to score in three of their last five away games. Patrick van Aanholt, who was stretchered off with an ankle injury when they beat West Brom 2-0 a fortnight ago, remains a big doubt here, while Mathieu Flamini and Loic Remy are also still trying to recover from knocks. For Watford, the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Nordin Amrabat, Costel Pantilimon and Christian Kabasele could return to the first-team. My betting tips for this game will be a win for Crystal Palace and over 1.5 goals.
EVERTON vs. HULL CITY
The toffees could temporarily leapfrog Manchester United into sixth place if they win today’s game against Hull City and that will be a big incentive for them going into their game against the Tigers at Goodison Park today. They have been fantastic at home, winning their last five home games in the league, scoring eighteen goals and conceding only three in that process. Romelu Lukaku is their main man up front, the Belgian has scored nineteen goals so far in the season and is the joint top scorer, he would want be by himself at the top of the goal scoring charts and would be hoping to score a few today. Hull City earned a morale boosting 2-1 win over Swansea in a relegation six pointer last weekend, but the hero of that victory, Omar Niasse, who grabbed both goals, will not be in action today as his present club will be taking on his parent club making him ineligible to play in terms of their loan agreement. Leighton Baines sustained a back issue in the win over West Brom but is expected to recover in time for today’s clash while James McCarthy is a doubt to feature today. My betting tips for this game will be an Everton win and over 2.5 goals on www.nairabet.com
BOURNEMOUTH vs. SWANSEA CITY
The Cherries are in a position i fondly call the relegation wifi zone, it simply means that they could be dragged into the relegation dogfight at any possible time due to their proximity to the basement sides. They are currently in fourteenth position, six points above Hull City in the final relegation position, but a run of bad results and they will join in the survival battle. They were heading towards that direction recently with an eight match winless run, but sort of halted the downward spiral with a victory over West Ham last week. They need to get more victories like that quickly to guarantee their stay in the top flight. Swansea City are three points behind the Cherries and they know that a defeat would push them into the relegation zone once again.
They were unlucky to end up on the losing side last weekend and will need better luck in this evening’s fixture as another loss will be very detrimental to their status as a Premier League side. The duo of Harry Arter and Junior Stanislas will require late fitness tests for the Cherries and Tyrone Mings remains suspended, while for the Swans, Fernando Lliorente is a doubtn Angel Rangel is done for the season and Martin Olsson will sit out this one. Bournemouth are unbeaten in the three Premier League meetings between these two and I will advise on a double chance bet on Bournemouth and over 2.5goals.
MIDDLESBROUGH vs. MANCHESTER UNITED
Middlesbrough sacked Aitor Karanka during the week and will now be hoping this can kick start their season and get them clear of the bottom three. They are currently three points adrift of safety and their biggest problem this season is their goal scoring, they have the same number of goals in the league as Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane. Their defence has been pretty solid, letting in only thirty goals all season but that awful attacking record has been their bane this season and ultimately cost Karanka his job. They are winless in their last ten Premier League matches and interim boss Steve Agnew will be looking to get his tenure off to a positive start with a win against Man United tomorrow.
The Red Devils are currently six points off the top four entering this weekend’s fixtures, although they have two games in hand over fourth-place Liverpool, they will want to start getting as many points as they can as it is turning out to be a fierce battle for the top four position. The Red Devils are one win away from six hundred EPL wins and they will be looking to become the first side to reach that landmark this weekend. They are unbeaten against Boro in their last twelve meetings in all competitions, recording seven wins in the process and have also won on four of their last six Premier League trips to the Riverside. Paul Pogba picked up a hamstring injury in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over FC Rostov on Thursday night and will miss this game.
With Ander Herrera also suspended following his red card at Chelsea on Monday, Jose Mourinho is short in central midfield and may have to turn to Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in their absences. Marcus Rashford will start up front in Ibrahimovic’s absence, while Anthony Martial could also return to the team after being left out on Thursday and Luke Shaw could come in for Daley Blind, who suffered a head injury on Thursday. I will advise on a double chance bet on Manchester United and over 1.5 goals.
TOTTENHAM vs. SOUTHAMPTON
Tottenham have won their last nine Premier League games at White Hart Lane and have failed to win just two fixtures on home turf in the EPL this season. They have also won four of their last five home league meetings with Saints, although they lost this fixture last season and that remains their last defeat in the league at home currently. They will be without Harry Kane, who is out for the foreseeable future with an ankle injury sustained in the 6-0 win over Millwall.
Son Heung-min scored a hattrick in last weekend’s 6-0 win over Millwall and is expected to lead the attack against Southampton tomorrow, though Vincent Janssen is an option after he netted his first goal from open play of his Spurs career in the same game. Southampton have not been in action since a dramatic 4-3 away win at Watford a fortnight ago, it was the second game in a row that they scored four times, and will be keen to add a little bit of misery to their former manager’s title bid. They will also want to avenge the 4-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of Spurs earlier in the campaign at St. Mary’s. My betting tip for this game will be a Spurs win, both teams to score and over 2.5 goals
MANCHESTER CITY vs. LIVERPOOL
The marquee fixture of the weekend will be the final game which will take place between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad. Pep Guardiola will go into this fixture knowing that a loss will come with the real possibility of not winning any trophy this season and also not qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League via league position. That would not have been a situation envisaged by the owners of the club when they appointed the Catalan, they were thinking of winning the UCL and creating a winning dynasy like their more prosperous neighbours.
Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus remain the only absentees for Man City and Guardiola may want to change up his backline after their shambolic showing in midweek. Liverpool are made for the big games as they have shown this season. Their ability to raise their game on the big occasion is well documented and they’ll certainly need to do that following an ‘ugly’ win over Burnley, which ensured the Reds are still well in the race for a top-4 finish.
Klopp will definitely not care if he can win ‘ugly’ tomorrow as any type of victory will see them usurp their opponents position. The Citizens are in desperate need of a lift after exiting the UCL in midweek, but they shouldn’t be expecting any love from their Merseyside guests. My betting tips for this games are a double chance bet on Liverpool, both teams to score and over 2.5 goals.