Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
There’s a full programme of midweek Premier League fixtures and once again Brand Ambassador Michael Owen shared his thoughts on all the action exclusively with BetVictor.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 11 home Premier League games and have won their last five at the Emirates including an excellent win against Chelsea last time when their high press and controlled aggression was too much for the visitors.
It has been a difficult week for Cardiff with new signing Emiliano Sala reported to be on board a plane that went missing over the English Channel on Monday. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
The Bluebirds lost 3-0 at St James’s Park in their last league game and it is hard to make a case for them given they have only scored once in their last five PL games.
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock has managed three previous sides in top-flight football at Arsenal beginning back in 1991 with Notts County. Those clubs – also Sheffield United in 2006 & QPR in 2011 – have yet to score a goal yet alone pick up a point. I fear it will be another fruitless trip on Tuesday.
Arsenal to win to nil at 5/4
Bournemouth have lost their last five home games against Chelsea in all competitions and have already been beaten by the Blues twice this season including a 1-0 defeat in the League Cup at the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth have had the week off to prepare for the visit of the Blues while Chelsea reached the Final of the League Cup on Thursday and are in FA Cup action on Sunday. Maurizio Sarri’s side are struggling for goals and have not scored more than twice in their last dozen PL games which is a surprise for a side of their quality.
I’m looking forward to seeing loan signing Gonzalo Higuain reunited with Sarri, after their successful spell together in Naples, and it will be fascinating to see what impact the 31-year-old Argentinian striker can make in the Premier League.
The Cherries returned to winning ways against West Ham last weekend, but I just think the visitors will take the points back to the capital.
Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 85/40
Fulham have lost their last three league games – having led in their last two – and I feel they must pick up maximum points from the visit of Brighton if they are to have any chance of maintaining their PL status given they are currently seven points from safety.
The Seagulls have only kept one clean sheet in their last 13 league games and I thought I saw enough from the Cottagers against Spurs last weekend to suggest they could pick up a valuable three points.
Fulham to win at 11/8
Only two sides – Fulham (6) and Huddersfield (1) – have taken fewer points than Everton (8) in the last ten PL games and this is a game that Everton need a positive result from every bit as much as the Terriers.
Town have only scored six times in their last 17 home PL games and never looked like scoring against Manchester City last weekend, but they will fancy their chances against the Blues. I just feel Marco Silva’s side will edge a close, tight affair.
Everton to win and under 2.5 goals at 11/4
West Ham have lost their last two on the road in the PL and I feel Wolves will do the double over the Hammers for the first time in their history, having grabbed a 90th minute winner in the capital earlier in the season.
Wolves were involved in a seven-goal thriller against Leicester in their last PL game and I feel there will again be chances at both ends at Molineux, but it is the hosts to keep the points for me.
Wolves to win at 21/20
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will become the first ever manager in the history of the Premier League to win his first seven league games if the Red Devils beat Burnley at Old Trafford – an extraordinary achievement irrespective of what games the fixture list has thrown up.
United are unbeaten in their last 19 home games against the Clarets in all competitions and the players will be aware of what record the Norwegian will break if they keep the points.
Irrespective of the result at the Emirates in the FA Cup on Friday night, I expect history to be made at Old Trafford.
United -1 on the handicap at 7/10
A cracking win for United at home to Cardiff last weekend but they are likely to find champions City a much different proposition back at St James’s Park. The Magpies are without a win in their last 22 PL games against City and it is hard to see them bucking that trend with the champions in such good form at present.
One for the statisticians – this will be Pep Guardiola’s 100th PL game in charge of City – they have won 73 of the previous 99 games. The record for PL wins in their opening 100 games currently stands at 73 with Jose Mourinho equal with City’s Spanish manager.
I feel it will be a record-breaking PL midweek for the managers of both Manchester giants.
City halftime/fulltime at 4/6
Southampton have improved under Ralph Hassenhuttl and picked up another valuable three points at home to Everton last time. That said Palace played their part in an Anfield classic last weekend when, on another day, they would have got something out of the game.
Since the start of last season, no side has drawn more PL games than the Saints and I feel the points will be shared at St Mary’s from an open, entertaining game.
Game to finish in a scoring draw at 18/5
Liverpool have won their last seven home PL games and I feel they will continue that sequence against a Leicester side who – like their hosts – were involved in a seven-goal thriller in their last league game.
Neither side was involved in the FA Cup 4th Round, so they should be fit and ready to go with Jurgen Klopp taking his Reds’ squad out to Dubai for some warm weather training. The Foxes are likely to play their part in what promises to be a cracking game, but it is Liverpool to keep the points for me.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 9/5
Spurs must pick themselves up from the disappointment of losing out to Chelsea on penalties on Thursday night in the League Cup and it is well documented that they will be without Harry Kane, Heung Min-Son and Dele Alli for the visit of Watford. Their absence would hit any club side in the world.
Watford are looking to do the double over Spurs for the first time in their history and I feel they will give the hosts plenty to think about at Wembley.
Spurs have not drawn any of their last 27 PL games – although they were thankful for Harry Winks’ late winner at Craven Cottage for maintaining that sequence – but I feel the Hornets will get a point from an entertaining Wembley clash.
Game to finish in a draw at 3/1
Michael’s Midweek Premier League Treble: Arsenal, Wolves and Fulham at 11/2