I don't often cover football on the blog but when you get an offer from esteemed tipster William Kedjanyi, @keejayOV2, desperate for an outlet because WordPress was playing up... well, you'd be mad not to use it. Welcome back to the blog William!
PREMIER LEAGUE preview 26-28/12/16
Watford (5/4) v Crystal Palace (11/5)
This game doesn’t appeal a whole lot. Watford looked to be the better side in their defeat at Sunderland but they were toothless with the final ball for all of the chances they made that weren’t beaten away by Jordan Pickford; Crystal Place couldn’t lay a glove on league leaders Chelsea last week, although no side has been able to for 11 straight weeks. The hosts, at home should be favourites; Crystal Palace have won just twice in 19 league away games. This might be one where both get on the scoresheet – Palace have only been held at Tottenham and Sunderland but have conceded huge amounts including to three of the bottom five.
Advice: No bet.
Burnley (21/10) v Middlesbrough (17/10)
If Burnley are to stay up then they will do it via victories at Turf Moor and they will give Middlesbrough plenty of problems. They have claimed all but one of their 17-point tally and 14 of their 16 goals at Turf Moor and they were unlucky not to take something in one goal defeats at West Ham and Tottenham, especially the latter. Middlesbrough have won just once on the road, early in the season at Sunderland when they were finding their feet against David Moyes.
Advice: 1 pt Burnley (21/10 Bet Victor)
Chelsea (2/5) v Bournemouth (19/2)
How long can this winning run last for Chelsea? Their remarkable run extended to 11 when they beat Crystal Place with a minimum of fuss and a side that spent most of last season closer to the relegation zone than the top is suddenly nearly odds-on for the title. And they will take a huge amount of beating in the race for the title, with no other commitments bar the FA Cup. However only two sides have won more than 11 games in a row and the run can’t last forever; What’s more, four of their last six wins have been 1-0 wins and five of them have come by a single goal. Bournemouth ordinarily wouldn’t be considered by most, and they can be hit and miss, but when they’re good they can be very good as their win over Liverpool showed and they were better than the scoreline suggested when losing 3-1 at the Emirates. The loss of Diego Costa to suspension is also a blow to Conte’s prospects of extending the record (not forgetting that N’Golo Kante is also suspended) and this could be closer than the markets have it. A two goal head start would have been successful for all but Manchester City for Chelsea’s opponents and it is a fair price here.
Advice: 3 pts Bournemouth +2 (5/6 Paddy Power)
Leicester (7/4) v Everton (6/4)
It’s been a dreadful past few months for both these sides. Leicester looked to have recovered last season’s title winning form with their thumping of Manchester City but they lost to Bournemouth three days later. Everton have recently began to pick up points from some tough games and had the Merseyside Derby stolen from them at the death although outside of that there have been very average performance. Defensive mistakes have compounded some of Leicester’s failures with Kasper Schmeichel absent but they can still score and both teams have scored in five of Leicester’s last six home games and four of Leicester’s last six so that appears to be a sound route.
Advice: 1 pt Both Teams To Score (7/10 Bet365)
Manchester United (1/4) v Sunderland (16)
Jose Mourinho appears to have finally got things going at Manchester United. Gone are the tantrums of only a month ago as the boss has now found something like his best 11 at Old Trafford with Henrikh Mkhitaryan now in the thick of things and Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera giving them something like control of games. Zlatan Ibrahimović is evergreen and leading he line with aplomb – he now has 11 – and all things considered they should have too much for Sunderland. With credit to David Moyes, Sunderland have won four of their last seven but lost to Liverpool, Chelsea and Swansea.
Advice: 1 pt Manchester United -2 (9/5 Paddy Power)
Swansea (8/5) v West Ham (8/5)
Swansea are heading for the drop but in South Wales they’ve actually-only lost one of four since Bob Bradley came in and that includes wins against Sunderland and Crystal Palace. Two wins in a week will have provided a vital fillip to West Ham given the struggles they’ve had this season, but they were at home against Hull and Burnley and with no shortage of fortune, so this game appears best left.
Advice: No bet.
Hull (9) v Manchester City (1/3)
It has been a tough few weeks for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City but they have approached Christmas in the perfect fashion with wins over Watford and more importantly Arsenal in the last week to leave them on the trails of Chelsea and Liverpool. Much was made about the failures of Arsenal (and rightly so) but the way that Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and David Silva stepped upto the plate must give huge encouragement for the rest of the title challenge into 2017. They should be too god for Hull, who have collected just six points from their last 15 games with their one win – against Southampton – a smash and grab effort when Southampton dominated but Hulll scored with their only two shots on target. City's last clean sheet on their travels came in the 4-0 triumph at West Brom in October so the BTTS and City win option looks value along with the handicap.
Advice: 1 pt Manchester City to win and Both teams to score (19/10 Betfair), 1 pt Manchester City -1 (5/6 general)
Liverpool (1/4) v Stoke (10)
It took Liverpool nearly 95 minutes to break down Everton but get there they did and they will be aiming to keep the pressure on Chelsea over Christmas. Their only recent dropped points have come as a result of defensive issues, so back to back clean sheets against Middlesbrough and Everton will have come as a relief and if they are able to nil Stoke, then they should be able to take all three points due to their attacking firepower. Stoke’s dropping of two points to Leicester will rankle with Mark Hughes but they have proven stubborn opposition in the past, enough to shy away from backing Liverpool here.
Advice: No bet.
Southampton (9/5) v Tottenham (13/8)
Tottenham have gotten things back on track in the league recently but they face a potentially serious stumbling block at Southampton. The Saints have adapted well to their new manager Claude Puel, quietly making his way near the European places, and have a phenomenal home record – only Chelsea have won at St Mary’s. Tottenham are recovering some form, but they haven’t hit the heights of last season, and have drawn at Arsenal, West Brom, Everton and Bournemouth.
Advice: 1 pt Draw (12/5 general)