It’s matchday 27 in the Premier League and BetVictor Brand Ambassador Michael Owen is here to provide his best bets ahead of the action.
Under 2.5 goals
Burnley v Arsenal 1-1
Arsenal have had a week’s rest after last Sunday’s impressive win at Leicester. It really was a throwback to the Arsenal of old as Mikel Arteta’s side came way deserved victors.
Burnley had to endure a long 90 minutes against Spurs last weekend. An early goal foiled their game plan of keeping it tight, however, they did get a positive result in their 1-1 draw with Leicester midweek.
Again, I think Burnley will be stubborn. These are the types of matches that Arsenal can find difficult, and I think they may be frustrated again. It’s 1-1 for me.
Southampton to win
Sheffield United v Southampton 0-2
Despite picking up a magnificent 1-0 win against Aston Villa, Sheffield United still find themselves 12 points away from safety. If it wasn’t for such a poor run up until the new year, who knows what might have been for the Blades.
They welcome a Southampton side that have themselves endured a poor run of form over recent weeks. I think that’s more down to tiredness than anything else, and with a few players set to return here, I reckon they’ll get back to winning ways.
Aston Villa to win
Aston Villa v Wolves 2-1
Aston Villa were out of sorts against Sheffield United midweek, but they do have the opportunity to rectify that in the Midlands Derby.
Despite going down 4-1 to Manchester City, that was Wolves’ only defeat in six matches. That’s decent form, however, on closer inspection they have simply drawn far too many this season.
Again, Jack Grealish misses out. However, if Villa can forget their midweek misery at Bramall Lane and reproduce a performance similar to that we saw against Leeds, I think they’ll win.
Brighton v Leicester City 1-1
Leicester have hit a rather poor run of form. It really reminds me of how last season finished for the Foxes. I think there could possibly be a bit of mental scar tissue to overcome there.
That said, I’d be surprised if they lost out on Champions League football next season.
They travel to the Amex to play a Brighton side that not for the first time this season, are quite hard to get a handle on.
Leicester have looked fragile at the back in recent weeks and I don’t believe that’s something you can fix overnight. With that in mind, I’m going for a draw.
Newcastle to win
West Brom v Newcastle United 0-1
What a huge game this is at the bottom. An old-fashioned ‘six pointer’ awaits us and I’m expecting a cagey affair. If the Magpies lose this, they are in deep trouble. West Brom can probably approach it more relaxed, as they’ve been effectively doomed for weeks now.
I think this could simply come down to who wants it more. For me, Newcastle have shown enough that if they play at their best, they should be winning this. So, I’ll be siding with my old club to grind out a vital win.
Mo Salah first goal scorer
Liverpool v Fulham 1-0
Thursday night ended up being another evening to forget for the Reds as they were defeated 1-0 by a very solid and well-disciplined Chelsea side.
It proved to be a frustrating match, and the Reds now leave themselves a lot of work to do if they are to achieve a Champions League spot.
I’ve been impressed with Fulham over recent weeks. They’ve shown great character, and I think they could take their fight against the drop straight to the wire.
That said, I think Liverpool will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Mo Salah was substituted against Chelsea, and I think he’ll be hungry to bounce back. For me, it could be tight, but I think Liverpool will just edge it.
Manchester City to win and both teams to score.
Manchester City v Manchester United 3-1
Ole Gunnar Solkjaer has come in for a bit of criticism in recent weeks due to his side’s under-par record against the top six. However, when you look at how United set up, it’s no real surprise. They simply don’t get to dictate the territory against these sides and ultimately that can lead to a stalemate.
However, one side that will happily dominate possession is City. They can’t play any other way, so I expect United to be pinned back from the outset.
Ole will hope his side can utilise their excellent counter-attack and I believe it’s likely they’ll score.
However, I just can’t see them keeping City out and think this will be the end of Manchester United’s magnificent away run.
Tottenham to win and both teams to score
Tottenham v Crystal Palace 2-1
Tottenham look to be turning the corner after a poor run. Their win against Wolfsberger in the Europa League was the perfect springboard, and last week’s win against Burley reminded me of the side that got such high praise early in the campaign.
They welcome a Crystal Palace side that got a credible draw at home to Manchester United midweek. The Eagles have shown improvements in their last few matches, so hats off to Roy Hodgson once again.
That said, Spurs look like they could be going though the gears right now, so I’m siding with them to just edge it.
Under 2.5 goals
Chelsea v Everton 1-0
Chelsea fans really couldn’t have asked for a better start to the Thomas Tuchel era. With UEFA Champions League qualification well within their grasp, along with a win at Anfield, the players confidence must be sky-high going into this.
However, Everton will pose just as difficult a challenge as anyone. The Toffees have been great this season, and if they were just slightly more consistent, who knows where they’d be.
This should be a great game. Tuchel v Ancelotti is a fascinating battle, and I think it’s bound to be tight. With that in mind, I think Chelsea will just edge it by the slenderest of margins.
West Ham to win and both teams to score
West Ham v Leeds United 2-1
Two sides I’ve loved watching this season, West Ham and Leeds go head-to-head in what should be an entertaining contest. Leeds have been box office at times this season, however, they come up against one of the most organised sides in the Premier League.
There’s not an awful lot between these two, especially going forward.
That said, Leeds worry me at the back, and I think this West Ham front line can take advantage. It’s 2-1 to the Hammers for me.