Another winning treble for brand ambassador Michael Owen on Matchday 22 and the highlight of Matchday 23 this weekend is the visit of Manchester United to Anfield on Sunday. Michael again shares his thoughts on all the action exclusively for BetVictor.
Watford to win
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur
Watford have picked up thirteen points out of a possible 15 – including winning their last three – and they have been a revelation since Nigel Pearson took over at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets won the corresponding game 2-1 last season and got a point at Spurs in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. I see no reason why the hosts can’t continue their excellent recent run against a Spurs side who may have been flattered to run Liverpool so close at the weekend.
Arsenal to win
Arsenal v Sheffield United
Arsenal had to settle for a point at Selhurst Park on Saturday when they played the last quarter of the game with 10-men following the red card given to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners must do without their striker for the next three games, but I feel they will keep all three points against Sheffield United back at the Emirates.
The Gunners were very poor in the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane earlier in the season, but they are a different side under Mikel Arteta playing with more energy and passion. The Blades have only lost at Anfield and the Etihad in the league so far this season, but I expect Arsenal to keep the points.
Game to finish in a draw
Brighton v Aston Villa
Villa have already beaten Brighton twice so far this season – in the League Cup at the Amex and in the reverse league fixture at Villa Park back in October when Matt Targett scored a 90th minute winner for the hosts.
Both sides were beaten at the weekend with Villa outclassed by Manchester City, but Dean Smith’s side are, arguably, a better side on the road having won at Burnley before holding Leicester to a draw at the King Power in the 1st leg of their League Cup semi-final.
I can’t split the teams and think it will be a point apiece.
City to win and both teams to score
Manchester City v Crystal Palace
Two more assists for Kevin de Bruyne at Villa Park on Sunday taking his tally to 15 so far this season – five more than any other player in the division – and I expect the Belgium playmaker to inspire the hosts to three more points when Palace are the visitors to the Etihad.
Palace, famously, won the corresponding game 3-2 last season but that was a rare win against Pep Guardiola’s side, and I would be surprised if they got anything at the weekend given the level of performance from the champions in recent weeks. It looks as if they will fall short in their quest for a hat-trick of Premier League titles, but they remain a magnificent side who look sure to win more silverware this term.
Norwich to win
Norwich City v Bournemouth
Bottom-of-the-table Norwich begin the weekend nine points from safety, and I feel they must beat Bournemouth – who currently sit 19th – if they are to stand any realistic chance of maintaining their Premier League status at the end of the season.
The Cherries go into the game with just four points out of the last 33 available and a 3-0 defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Watford is, let’s face it, relegation form. Bournemouth only had one shot on target against the Hornets on Sunday – the third time in their last seven games they have failed to have more than one shot on goal during the 90 minutes.
It promises to be a tense, nervous game probably low on quality, but I think the hosts will edge it.
Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Fourteen Premier League goals for Danny Ings so far this season after his latest strike at the King Power Stadium in the Saints’ excellent win at the weekend. Wolves will do well to keep a close eye on the inform striker.
Wolves came from a goal down against Newcastle to pick up a point at Molineux at the weekend and they have conceded first in fifteen of their 22 league games this term – surprisingly two more than any other side.
It is possible that Wolves’ busy season is beginning to catch up with them, but I still think they will take a point back from St Mary’s.
Match to end in a draw
West Ham United v Everton
West Ham will feel aggrieved that they did not pick up a point at Bramall Lane on Friday but VAR decided that Declan Rice had handled the ball in the build up to Robert Snodgrass’s last minute “equaliser” and I am sure it was a long journey back to the east end of London for all involved at the club.
Everton bounced back from their disappointing Anfield FA Cup defeat with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Brighton at Goodison and the Blues have now kept 14 home clean sheets in the league since the start of last season – second only to neighbours Liverpool (15).
Everton historically have a good record against the Hammers and won the reverse fixture at Goodison back in October, but David Moyes will have his side fired up against his old club and I think they will get a draw at the London Stadium.
Chelsea to win and both teams to score
Newcastle United v Chelsea
A very good point for Newcastle at Molineux at the weekend but I’m not convinced they will be able to build on that result against a Chelsea side who were far too good for a disappointing Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Blues are unbeaten in four and have kept clean sheets in their last couple of games. They can just edge out United in what promises to be an entertaining clash at St James’ Park.
Leicester to win
Burnley v Leicester City
Burnley have picked up just one point from their 11 games this season with sides who started the day in the top half of the table, and these are worrying times at Turf Moor with the Clarets beginning the weekend just three points above the drop zone.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will be looking to bounce back from their home defeat to Southampton at the weekend and they are still well placed to end the season in the top four which will be a tremendous achievement. I take them to win a low-scoring affair at Turf Moor.
Liverpool -1 handicap
Liverpool v Manchester United
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game the last time Manchester United won at Anfield over four years ago, and it is hard to see past another win for Jurgen Klopp’s runaway league leaders on Sunday in the big game of the weekend.
It is well documented that Liverpool have only dropped two points so far this season and that was in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford back in October. That stat will not be lost on Jurgen Klopp or the Reds players and supporters who will want to beat all other 19 sides en route to their first Premier League title.
United have exciting forwards, but they lack the energy and quality of Liverpool in the middle of the field and that is where I expect the game to be won. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 51 home league games – I expect them to make it 52 and counting in one of the most iconic games of the season.