English Premier League football returns on Saturday and we focus on five of the matches including West Ham v Arsenal, Brighton v Liverpool and Chelsea v Newcastle
Saturday’s Match Result Coupon.
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change.
West Ham v Arsenal
Mid table West Ham reeled off 4 straight wins in the first half of December but they were hit and miss over Christmas with 4 points taken from their last 4 games. At home to top sides they have drawn 0-0 with Chelsea, they beat Manchester United 3-1, lost 1-0 to Spurs and crashed 4-0 to Manchester City. Of 11 home games, 7 have gone over 2.5 goals and 6 over 2.5
Arsenal are fifth, 3 points behind fourth placed Chelsea. They have won 3 of their last 6, losing 2 and drawing 1 but recent road trips have not gone well, a 3-2 loss at Southampton, 1-1 draw at Brighton and a 5-1 hiding at Liverpool. Of 10 away fixtures, 9 have gone over 2.5 goals and 7 over 3.5.
Arsenal were 3-1 winners when the teams met at the Emirates earlier in the season.
Bet: Over 3.5 goals at 12/10
You have to think goals when Arsenal travel and usually for both sides. If both teams do contribute, I can see the total tally reaching 4 or more.
Cardiff v Huddersfield
Cardiff’s last 4 fixtures delivered a surprise win at Leicester and a useful 0-0 draw at Palace but they lost 2 home games with some daylight, to Manchester United (5-1) and Spurs (3-0). Those defeats saw the trend of Cardiff’s struggles at home to top sides continue but they have won 4 games this season and they came against teams no higher than half way. Those home wins are keeping Cardiff out of the drop zone although they are just 2 points clear of third bottom Southampton. Of 11 home games 8 have gone over 2.5 goals.
Huddersfield have slumped to the foot of the standings and they are 4 points adrift of second bottom Fulham and 8 behind their opponents here having lost each of their last 8 matches. They ahve found the net just 13 times in 21 games and their last win came 2-0 at Wolves back on 25th November. Aside from that victory 2 other road trips were drawn and 7 ended in defeat. Of their 10 away fixtures 5 have gone over 2.5 goals.
When the teams met in Huddersfield early in the season the match ended without a goal.
Bet: Home win at 12/10
Huddersfield will look relegation certainties if they lose this and hence they will fight for everything but I fancy Cardiff have done enough at home against other relegation candidates to earn the vote.
Leicester v Southampton
Leicester have been in and out performers over recent weeks and their defeat at League 2 Newport in the FA Cup last week saw them come in for heavy criticism once again. The coach was also reportedly under pressure before Christmas and they responded by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and then Manchester City in a home game. A surprise home defeat to Cardiff followed but once again they bounced back with victory at Everton to finish the previous round of league matches in a very healthy eighth spot. Only 4 of Leicester’s 10 home games have gone over 2.5 goals.
Southampton are third from bottom but they picked up what seemed an unlikely point and a rare clean sheet at Chelsea in their latest league outing. Earlier league games since the change in coach were full of goals and both teams to score? (yes) has been the way to go in 9 of the last 11. Of 11 Southampton road trips 6 have gone over 2.5 goals.
When the teams met at St Mary’s early in the season Leicester were 2-1 winners whilst a more recent EFL Cup tie on this ground finished 0-0 with Leicester winning the penalty shoot out.
Bet: Both teams to score? (yes) at 17/20
It’s hard to work Leicester out and I was amazed the Saints kept a clean sheet at Chelsea recently but I’ll go with the BTTS yes trend in Southampton matches to crop up again.
Brighton v Liverpool
Brighton are comfortable with 26 points against their name, 18 of which were earned in home games. Over Christmas they beat Everton 1-0 here and also drew 1-1 with Arsenal and when hosting other top sides they lost 2-1 to both Chelsea and Spurs but they did beat Man United 3-2 early in the campaign. Half of Brighton’s 10 home games have gone over 2.5 goals.
A much changed Liverpool side made an early exit from the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat at Wolves last weekend. Prior to that Liverpool tasted defeat in the Premier League for the first time this season with another 2-1 defeat in the top of the table clash at Manchester City. They still have a 4 point lead at the top of the log and they have taken maximum points from 8 of 11 away fixtures with the other dropped points coming in 1-1 draws at Arsenal and Chelsea. Of 11 Liverpool road trips 6 have gone over 2.5 goals.
Liverpool were 1-0 winners when the teams met at Anfield early in the season.
Bet: Multiscore, Liverpool win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 at 13/10
I’m struggling to settle on anything here but rather tentatively I’ll side with a Liverpool win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0.
Chelsea v Newcastle
Fourth placed Chelsea dropped points at home to Southampton with a 0-0 draw in a home fixture in their most recent league outing. Since then they progressed in the FA Cup and then lost the first leg of their EFL Cup semi final with Spurs 1-0 at Wembley. Chelsea’s only league defeat at Stamford Bridge came against Leicester who were 1-0 winners over Christmas but they have kept 4 clean sheets in the last 5 home games. Only 4 of 11 Chelsea home games have gone over 2.5 goals.
Newcastle’s Christmas fixtures delivered draws at home to Fulham and away at Watford either side of defeats at Liverpool (4-0) and at home to Manchester United (2-0). They are still 2 points clear of the drop zone but have yet to turn over any of the top sides this season. Of 10 Newcastle road trips 4 have gone over 2.5 goals.
When the teams met at St. James Park early in the season Chelsea dominated almost the entire game but still needed a late goal to secure a 2-1 win.
Bet: Total goals 2-3 at 21/20
Newcastle don’t look in a particularly good space right now but the goals don’t always flow for Chelsea in these type of matches and I will side with 2-3 in total
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum