Brand Ambassador Michael Owen once again shares his thoughts exclusively with BetVictor on how he thinks the table will look at the conclusion of Matchday 36.
Chelsea to win -2 goals on the handicap
Chelsea v Norwich
Chelsea were well beaten by Sheffield United at the weekend and have now lost eleven matches in the Premier League this season. However, they will be confident of beating an already relegated Norwich side who were comprehensively thrashed by West Ham on Saturday.
Chelsea are looking to secure a fifth straight win at Stamford Bridge which hasn’t been done since Antonio Conte’s side managed seven in a row back in 2017.
Norwich have taken just 6 points out of a possible 51 away from home this season and I can’t see them adding to that paltry number at Stamford bridge.
I fancy Chelsea to put the pressure on Leicester and Manchester United by securing the first three points of the week with a 4-1 win for the Blues.
Under 2.5 goals
Burnley v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Burnley earned a hard-fought draw with Liverpool on Saturday and have now lost just once in their last 14 games in the Premier League, going all the way back to January 19th when Leicester beat them 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Wolves found their form again with a very comfortable 3-0 win at home to Everton on Sunday. Unfortunately, their recent losses to Arsenal and Sheffield United mean they are now probably only likely to achieve a place in the Europa League next season.
I can’t help but think that both these teams will probably be happy to settle for a point apiece in this one and I’m going for a low-scoring 1-1 draw.
Manchester City to win both halves
Manchester City v Bournemouth
When Manchester City play well, they play very, very well but their problems this season have all been around a surprising lack of consistency.
Bournemouth gave themselves a glimmer of hope of survival with their incredible comeback dismantling of Leicester City on Sunday evening after going a goal behind. That brought an end to the Cherries’ run of nine games without a win but as much confidence as they would have gained from that performance, there can be no denying the gulf in class between these two teams.
Manchester City have a 100% win record against Bournemouth in the Premier League and after nine games, City have scored 28 and only conceded 4.
I take Manchester City to win this 4-0.
Newcastle to win, draw no bet
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Steve Bruce would have been disappointed that his side couldn’t hold on to a one-nil lead against Watford last time out although he clearly wasn’t happy at what he described as “two soft penalties”.
United are now two points better off than at this stage last season and credit should be given to the manager on the job he is doing under difficult circumstances.
Spurs have certainly got their quest for a Europa League berth right back on track with home wins against Everton and Arsenal in recent matches but their away form is much less impressive.
The last four matches between the sides have been decided by just one goal and I can see the Magpies bagging all three points with a repeat score-line of the reverse fixture, 1-0.
Liverpool to win, both teams to score
Arsenal v Liverpool
Arsenal seemed to be heading nicely to a Europa League spot but a draw at home to Leicester followed by a defeat in the North London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has really put that in doubt.
Liverpool were held at home to Burnley on Saturday to put an end to their hopes of becoming the first team in Premier League history to win all of their home games in a season. Nonetheless, Liverpool will be looking to add one or two other records to their list of achievements this season and I think they may just edge this tight encounter, 2-1.
Everton to win
Everton v Aston Villa
Everton have all but given up any hopes of a place in next season’s Europa League after their 3-0 hiding at the hands of a rejuvenated Wolves on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti will know the size of the task on his hands going into next season but for now the pressure is off for the players as they are only realistically looking at a mid-table finish.
Aston Villa had a great 2-0 win at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday which was their first win in eleven games, but I fear it may be a case of too little too late for them this season.
With the first meeting between these sides way back in 1888, this fixture, between two of the founding members of the Football League, is the most played in top-flight football.
Sadly, I think it might be the last for at least another season as I just can’t see the Villans scrambling enough points to save them from an early return to the Championship.
I’m going for a 2-0 home win to the Toffees.
Vardy to score anytime
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Leicester now have only one win in their last five in the Premier League and they need to turn their fortunes around very quickly if they are to finish in the top four.
Jamie Vardy continues to score, even in a shocking 4-1 loss to Bournemouth on Sunday and he now looks nailed on to win the Golden Boot at the end of the season. That would be scant consolation to Brendan Rodgers as for so long this season the Foxes have looked near certainties for a Champions League berth next season.
Sheffield United took their time to get back to full throttle after the restart but are now unbeaten in four, with three wins and a draw moving them back up the table and are once again looking good for a deserved place in the Europa League next term.
However, Leicester are unbeaten in eight meetings between the two sides, in all competitions and I take the Foxes to get back to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-1 win.
Manchester United half-time/full-time
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Crystal Palace have now suffered five straight defeats in the Premier League. Their misery of a 2-0 away loss to Aston Villa on Sunday was compounded by the late sending off of Christian Benteke for kicking out petulantly after the final whistle and Roy Hodgson will now be without his striker for the remainder of the season.
Manchester United, on the other hand, are in great form at the moment albeit they will have been very disappointed to have conceded a goal in added time against Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday evening, they’ve given themselves a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season. They are currently unbeaten in 18 games with 11 of those in the Premier League and it’s difficult to see Crystal Palace causing United any kind of problems in what I see as a Thursday night stroll for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Southampton v Brighton
Southampton will be pretty satisfied with their season, especially considering how they must have felt after the 9-0 hammering by Leicester City back in October which left them 18th in the table.
They earned a well-deserved point against Manchester United on Monday night and now comfortably positioned in the middle of the table with every reason to feel confident about their prospects for next season.
Brighton’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday means that Albion have won just two of the 15 Premier League games they’ve played in 2020. Fortunately, two wins and a draw since the restart have given them just enough breathing space between from the relegation battle below and, barring some exceptional results, should mean they are playing Premier League football once again next season.
I actually think they may pick up a point from a 1-1 draw on the south coast and that will surely be sufficient to see them safe…
West Ham United v Watford
West Ham took full advantage of a poor display from Norwich City at the weekend and four goals from Michail Antonio gave them a deserved and much needed 4-0 win. 7 points out of the last 12 available has seen the Hammers move into slightly less choppy waters and with this game at home to Watford and another home game at home to Aston Villa in the last game of the season, their fate is very much in their own hands.
Watford beat Newcastle United 2-1 in their last game with two Troy Deeney penalties overturning a 1-0 United lead. That win meant that they have now won two consecutive games in the Premier League for the first time since January. However, you have to go back to the Hornets 3-0 win over Liverpool back in February to find the last time they kept a clean sheet and whilst they will be feeling confident of avoiding the drop, there will be plenty of nerves for all associated with the club between now and the end of the season.
West Ham have won three out of the last four meetings between the sides, including a 3-1 win in the reverse fixture but I think that with so much riding on the game, both teams will ultimately have to settle for a 1-1 draw.