In the final round of fixtures before Christmas, Liverpool sit top of the pile following their win over Manchester United last time out and they will be looking to extend their lead at the top. That defeat cost Jose Mourinho his job at Manchester United and former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been brought in to steady the ship at Old Trafford. The relegation battle also hots up this week with Newcastle facing Fulham and Huddersfield hosting Southampton in proverbial six-pointers.
Here are our picks for the eighteenth round of fixtures in the Premier League:
1:00am Arsenal vs Burnley – Emirates Stadium
It has been a difficult week for Arsenal who suffered defeat at the hands of Southampton before being bundled out of the Carabao Cup by local rivals Tottenham. They will be looking to bounce back here against a Burnley side that have improved in recent weeks but still find themselves in the relegation scrap. The Gunners sit 5th in the Premier League table and will need to keep picking up points in their pursuit of the top 4. Burnley were seconds away from a well-earned point at Tottenham last week and Sean Dyche will be hoping that performance can inspire his troops over the coming months – with the hectic festive period upon us. The Clarets find themselves in the drop zone on goal difference and will see this as a free hit at the Emirates. Arsenal need to bounce back quickly here and need to keep winning to stay in touch with the leaders at the top of the league and should get a comfortable home win under their belts here.
Betting tip: Arsenal to win the match to nil ($2.1) – BET NOW
Arsenal to win 2-0
1:00am Bournemouth vs Brighton – Vitality Stadium
Two South Coast rivals face off on Saturday afternoon with both sides in need of a win, in light of recent performances. With only one win in their last 6 Premier League games, Bournemouth look to have stalled a little bit in recent weeks – despite a relatively unkind fixture list and they will want to make use of home advantage here. Eddie Howe’s men sit 11th in the table, with 23 points to their name and whilst their brand of attacking, potent football continues to impress – they need points to climb back into the top half here. Brighton too have lost their last 2 matches and they have yet to really impose themselves on the road this season. The Seagulls will be hoping to improve on their league position of 13th and with 21 points to their name already, Chris Hughton will be hoping his side have enough about them to steer away from the drop zone this term. With Bournemouth arriving in the midst of a barren run, Brighton will feel they can take the game to Eddie Howe’s side but the Cherries are hard to beat at home and should just about edge this one.
Betting tip: Bournemouth to win the match and both teams to score ($4) – BET NOW
Bournemouth to win 2-1
1:00am Chelsea vs Leicester City – Stamford Bridge
Leicester City ($5)
Chelsea host Leicester in West London in what should be an entertaining game between two forward thinking sides. Maurizio Sarri’s men have picked up back to back wins over Manchester City and Brighton in the league as well as progressing to the Carabao Cup semi-finals in midweek. They sit 8 points behind the leaders at the top of the Premier League table but are still in touching distance for the time being. Leicester have suffered back to back defeats against Tottenham and Crystal Palace in recent weeks and they will be looking to bounce back here. They have picked up some of their better results on the road this season and tend to play well on the counter attack – with their speedy outlets upfront. This should be a very good game between two strong sides but Chelsea should have too much about them in key areas for the Foxes to cope with.
Betting tip: Chelsea to win the match and both teams to score ($3.1) – BET NOW
Chelsea to win 3-1
1:00am Huddersfield Town vs Southampton – John Smith’s Stadium
Huddersfield Town ($3)
Premier League survival is top of the agenda in West Yorkshire as Southampton travel to Huddersfield with both sides battling to preserve their top-flight status. With the hectic festive period very much next on the agenda, six pointers present huge opportunities for both sides to pull away from trouble and leave their opponent with more work to do to pull away from the relegation mire. Four consecutive defeats have curtailed the Terriers progress in recent weeks and David Wagner will be targeting games such as these to navigate his sides’ route to Premier League safety once again this term. Ralph Hasenhuttl enjoyed the dream start in charge of struggling Southampton with a famous 3-2 win over Arsenal in his first game in charge. He will be hoping to start picking up points in their survival bid and he too will be aware of the magnitude of this fixture in the context of his sides’ season. There’s not much to split these two sides and with not losing being a priority, this could be an attritional draw in West Yorkshire.
Betting tip: The match to finish as a draw and both teams to score ($4.5) – BET NOW
1:00am Manchester City vs Crystal Palace – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City ($1.15)
Crystal Palace ($23)
Manchester City will be looking to maintain their Premier League title charge as they welcome Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side to the Etihad on Saturday afternoon. City currently sit a point behind Liverpool at the top of the table and despite suffering their first defeat of the Premier League season against Chelsea earlier this month, they have bounced back well with wins over Everton, Hoffenheim and Leicester and are still fighting on four fronts. Crystal Palace showed real resolve last time out to pick up a crucial home win over Leicester at Selhurst Park. The Eagles sit 15th in the table with 15 points to their name and look to be immersed in a relegation scrap – for the time being at least – something Roy Hodgson will be hoping to rectify quickly. Crystal Palace certainly have the tools to hurt City and will fancy their chances of troubling them but the Pep Guardiola needs to see his men bounce back with a win here and City should pick up all three points.
Betting tip: Manchester City to win the match to nil ($1.68) – BET NOW
Manchester City to win 3-0
1:00am Newcastle United vs Fulham – St James’s Park
Newcastle United ($2)
Two old stagers in the Premier League management sphere face off in the North East as Claudio Ranieri takes his Fulham side up north to take on Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle side. The Toon picked up a crucial 1-0 win at Huddersfield last time out, to end a run of 3 matches without a win and Rafa Benitez will be keen to see a consistent improvement from his team. The Magpies are currently 14th in the table but only 4 points off the relegation zone. Fulham’s survival bid will need to start taking hold quickly if they are pull away from relegation trouble with the Cottagers are 3 points adrift at the bottom of the table. They will be looking to pick up their first away win of the season here at St James’s Park and generate some confidence over the hectic festive period. This promises to be a real hum-dinger of a clash between two sides fighting for their lives but its Newcastle that perhaps possess a little more quality and the Toon should pick up all three points here.
Betting tip: Newcastle to win the match and both teams to score ($4) – BET NOW
Newcastle to win 2-1
1:00am West Ham United vs Watford – London Olympic Stadium
West Ham United ($2.4)
London rivalry is on the agenda at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday afternoon as two sides locked in mid-table face off as Watford travel to West Ham. Four wins on the spin have given the Hammers a huge boost in recent weeks and things are looking up at the London Olympic Stadium. Manuel Pellegrini’s men now sit 9th in the Premier League table, with 24 points to their name and they will be targeting a continuation of their good form towards the top 6. Watford got back to winning ways last time out with a topsy-turvy 3-2 win over Cardiff to end a run of 6 games without a win. They will be looking to build upon that showing here and improve upon their league position of 10th (level on points with West Ham). With two forward thinking managers facing off in what promises to be a fascinating tactical battle, goals look on the menu between two sides that prioritise attacking over defending.
Betting tip: The match to finish as a draw and both teams to score ($4.5) – BET NOW
3:30am Cardiff City vs Manchester United – Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City ($6.5)
Manchester United ($1.6)
The footballing Gods have shone down on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who finds himself in charge of Manchester United until the ends of the season and his first game is against former employers – Cardiff City. The Bluebirds have their home form to thank for their current league position of 16th and they should be full of confidence in front of their home fans – despite a 3-2 defeat to Watford last time out. Jose Mourinho was relieved of his duties following last Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool and Manchester United need to get back to winning ways in the Premier League quickly. 26 points from 17 games played isn’t the type of return many United fans would have expected and they need to improve on that under Solskjaer. The Cardiff City Stadium will be rocking this could be a real battle but United should get the new manager ‘bounce’ and pick up all three points on the road here.
Betting tip: Manchester United to win the match and both teams to score ($3.5) – BET NOW
Manchester United to win 2-1
2:00am Everton vs Tottenham – Goodison Park
The Super Sunday clash sees Tottenham travel to Everton with Spurs full of confidence following their 2-0 Carabao Cup win over local rivals Arsenal. Everton succumbed to Manchester City last time out but showed real character at times and will be looking to demonstrate that again here. The Toffees currently sit 8th in the Premier League table with 24 points and they will be hoping to keep things tight here whilst taking the game to Tottenham at times too. Tottenham have won their last 3 Premier League games – beating Burnley, Southampton and Leicester and find themselves 3rd in the table – 6 points off table topping Liverpool. Their win at Arsenal in midweek perhaps shows just how far Mauricio Pochettino’s side have developed this season. This should be a very good game between two of the most exciting managers in the Premier League and despite Everton’s obvious threats; Tottenham should just about get the job done here.
Betting tip: Tottenham to win the match and both teams to score ($24.2) – BET NOW
Tottenham to win 2-1
EPL Week 18 multi bet:
We’re backing four results this week as an accumulator with a betting stake of $50:
Wolves vs Liverpool – Liverpool to win
Everton vs Tottenham – Tottenham to win
Arsenal vs Burnley – Arsenal to win
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace – Manchester City to win
A $50 wager would pay out $264.05 if successful at the current odds – BET NOW