Premier League Matchday 34: Extra Rest Will Help Liverpool9 min read
The race for the Premier League continues this weekend with both Manchester City and Liverpool facing a severe test of their title credentials at Selhurst park and at home to Chelsea respectively.
Brand Ambassador Michael Owen again shared his thoughts exclusively with BetVictor on all the weekend action.
Leicester City v Newcastle United
Leicester have won their last four Premier League games and the appointment of Brendan Rodgers has seen an upturn in the goalscoring fortunes of Jamie Vardy. The striker has found the back of the net six times in the five games since the former Liverpool and Celtic boss took over the reins at the King Power and is at the top of his game at present.
United have lost their last two league games and failed to score in both matches. I think the Magpies will find the back of the Foxes’ net at the King Power but feel the Foxes will gain what would be their first ever Premier League win on a Friday with their current record standing at P6 W0 D2 L4.
Tip: Leicester to win
Tottenham v Huddersfield
Spurs will take a narrow one-goal lead back to the Etihad in the second leg of the Champions League next week and who knows just how important Sergio Aguero’s early penalty miss will be, once the dust has settled.
Two games, two wins and two clean sheets for Spurs since they moved into the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and I would be very surprised if relegated Huddersfield dented that proud record at the weekend.
Tip: Spurs to win to nil
Brighton v Bournemouth
Only relegated Huddersfield and Fulham have a worse league record than Bournemouth since the end of October with the Cherries winning just five of their last 23 PL games. Indeed, only Fulham (44) have conceded more goals on the road this season than Eddie Howe’s side who took an early lead but were easily brushed aside by Burnley at the Vitality Stadium last weekend.
Beaten FA Cup semi-finalists Brighton are without a win in their last nine league games against the Cherries (L5 D4) but I feel they can win a low-scoring encounter at the Amex.
Tip: Brighton to win
Burnley v Cardiff City
Cardiff have lost five of their last six league games and I think Burnley will continue to climb the table and gain a third successive league win.
Ashley Barnes scored the opening goal at Bournemouth last weekend – albeit at the wrong end – but quickly bounced back with his 10th league goal of the season and Barnes’ form mirrors that of the Clarets side. After a slow start he has really hit his straps in recent weeks and he could easily break Danny Ings’ PL club record of 11 goals in a season.
Tip: Ashley Barnes to score at anytime
Fulham v Everton
Relegated Fulham have conceded at least twice in their last 13 league games and the only criticism you could throw at Everton in recent weeks – certainly their wins against West Ham and Arsenal – is that they have not been as clinical in front of goal as their general play has warranted.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to go from strength to strength for the Blues who I feel will have too much for the Cottagers and gain a fourth successive league win – all against sides from the capital.
Tip: Everton to win and both teams to score
Southampton v Wolves
Wolves need to bounce back after their Wembley disappointment on Sunday when they let slip a two-goal lead in the FA Cup semi-final with Watford.
Saints have dropped 23 points from winning positions so far this season after they lost the lead and all three points to title-challengers Liverpool at St Mary’s last Friday. I am finding it hard to split the teams and a draw is the recommendation.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw
Manchester United v West Ham
West Ham improved in the second half at Stamford Bridge on Monday, but they were well beaten by Chelsea and I expect United to keep all three points as they look to continue their push for a Champions League berth.
The Irons have lost six of their last seven away league games and have lost all four away games played so far this season against “big six” sides by an aggregate of 1-10.
Tip: United -1
Crystal Palace v Manchester City
City were not at their best against Spurs midweek, but they cannot afford to look ahead to the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final given they have a tough game at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Indeed, Palace are looking to do the double over City for the first time since the 1972-73 season and this will be a severe test of City’s title credentials. Win and the pressure is back on Liverpool – who entertain Chelsea later in the afternoon.
If they drop points, then it will be advantage Liverpool – I expect Pep Guardiola’s side to show their class and mettle in what promises to be a terrific game.
Tip: City to win and both teams to score
Liverpool v Chelsea
Liverpool take a two-goal lead to Porto on Wednesday and I feel they can maintain their title challenge against Chelsea even though the Blues have such an excellent recent record at Anfield – unbeaten in their last six in the Premier League and 2-1 winners in the League Cup earlier in the season.
Chelsea are in Europa League action in Prague on Thursday having comfortably disposed of West Ham on Monday night courtesy of another Eden Hazard masterclass.
Liverpool will have an extra 48-hours to prepare for the game and I expect to see the Reds – unbeaten in their last 37 PL games at Anfield – keep the points.
Tip: Liverpool halftime/fulltime
Watford v Arsenal
FA Cup finalists Watford won the corresponding fixture against Arsenal last season 2-1 and I think they will give Unai Emery’s side plenty to think about in a game sandwiched in-between the Gunners’ Europa League quarter-final ties with Napoli.
Vicarage Road is sure to be bouncing after the Hornets’ tremendous Wembley comeback and the Gunners’ have yet to keep a clean sheet on the road so far this league season.
If there is to be a winner on Monday night I feel it will be the hosts.
Tip: Watford Draw No Bet at 11/8
Michael’s weekend wager: Leicester City, Burnley and Liverpool