Week 22 of English Premier League action comprises of some intriguing match ups including Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool on Sunday.
The full program in midweek was full of goals and Leicester were the only winners amongst the current top four. Arsenal remain top of the log but Leicester are second on goal difference with Manchester City three points adrift and Spurs are seven points off the summit. As far as the title race betting is concerned, City are 13/10 favourites with Arsenal 14/10 and Leicester are next best at 13/1.
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Let’s take a look at selected matches from this weekend’s coupon.
Saturday, Spurs v Sunderland
Spurs suffered a second home defeat of the season at home to Leicester on Wednesday but they remain in fourth spot. Their home form had been pretty strong until recently but they did slip up against another relegation contender Newcastle in December.
Sunderland remain in the drop zone but a 4-2 win in a crazy game at Swansea on Wednesday means they are just one point shy of safety. Anything they can get from this game will be a huge bonus given they have lost eight times on their travels this season.
When the teams met at the Stadium of Light earlier this season Spurs edged it 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Ryan Mason. Of the last six league meetings at White Hart Lane, Spurs have won five and one has been drawn.
Sunderland are capable of scoring although whether they can take anything from the game is another matter.
Pick: Both teams to score? (yes) at even money
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Saturday, Chelsea v Everton
Chelsea remain unbeaten since Guus Hiddink returned but they dropped more points in midweek in a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom. They also drew 2-2 at home to Watford in Hiddink’s first game in charge last month and they remain in fourteenth position with any chance of finishing in the top four looking remote.
Everton drew 0-0 at Manchester City in midweek and they are the draw specialists in the Premier League this season. The Toffees have finished all square tem times in total including six of their ten road trips.
A Naismith hat-trick saw helped Everton to a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park earlier this season but the Toffees haven’t won a league game at Stamford Bridge since 1994.
Those Everton draw stats are hard to get away from and this could be another one that finishes honours even.
Pick: Match result draw at 29/10
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Saturday, Aston Villa v Leicester
Villa’s first home win in the Premier League this season came at the tenth attempt, a hard earned 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in midweek. They remain rooted to the bottom of the log and firm favourites to take the drop but having finally broken their duck in front of their own supporters, this could be trickier for Leicester than it might have been a week or so ago.
Leicester refuse to go away and despite a dip in form over Christmas, they were back in the groove to take maximum points from Spurs on Wednesday. With Arsenal not in action until Sunday, a positive result here will see them go back to the top of the table.
In the first meeting this season Leicester scored three goals in the last 18 minutes to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win. Villa did beat Leicester twice at this stadium last season, 2-1 in the league and by the same scoreline in the FA Cup.
Villa have to attack and that will suit Leicester who are very dangerous on the counter. This one should be entertaining.
Pick: Over 2.5 goals 11/10
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Sunday, Liverpool v Manchester United
Liverpool played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Anfield on Wednesday and they remain six points off a place in the top four. They beat high flying Leicester here over Chritsmas and although recent form is patchy, their better display’s have come against the top sides.
Manchester United’s 3-3 draw at Newcastle in midweek saw them slip down to sixth position in the standings. Despite leading 2-0 and 3-2 at St. James Park, United had to settle for a point and they have won just one of their last eight league outings.
United won the first meeting this season 3-1 at Old Trafford, all the goals came in the second half and the Manchester side have now won each of the last four head to heads.
Neither side have been consistent enough to earn our vote and we will sit on the fence and call a draw.
Pick: Match result draw at 9/4
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Sunday, Stoke City v Arsenal
Stoke have won four of their last five at home including wins over Chelsea and both Manchester clubs. They are on the heels of the top six and after being involved in many low scoring games, their last five league matches have seen a total of 19 goals scored.
Arsenal were collared late on to draw 3-3 at Anfield and they now face another tough test. The draw at Liverpool was their first road trip since they crashed 4-0 at Southampton on Boxing Day and seven goals conceded in the two most recent away fixtures will be a concern.
Walcott in the first half and Giroud in the second secured a 2-0 win for the Gunners in the first meeting this season at the Emirates but Stoke have won three and drawn two of the last five when they have boasted home advantage.
Both sides are taken to contribute to the scoring here.
Pick: Both teams to score? (yes) at 8/10
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