EPL Tips & Preview – Week 26

Find the back of the net with tips for Week 26 of the EPL season, including a marquee match-up between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. 

23:30 (AEDT), Sat 19th Feb @ London Stadium, London

History: Played 139: Newcastle 58 V West Ham 43 (38 Draws)

Last meeting: August 15, 2021 (EPL): West Ham 4 d Newcastle 2 at St James’ Park

Final Thoughts: Fifth-placed West Ham are looking to get a roll on after a win over a Watford (1-0) and a draw at Leicester (2-2) in their last two games. Craig Dawson’s stoppage-time goal snatched the point for Hammers at King Power Stadium.

After spending all but three of the first 23 weeks of the season in the bottom-three, Newcastle are absolutely flying on the back of three straight wins. The battling Magpies have climbed four points clear of the drop zone with victories over Leeds (1-0), Everton (3-1) and Aston Villa (1-0). Kieran Trippier scored in their last two wins, but it’s their defence – which kept just one clean sheet in their first 20 games – that has come along in leaps and bounds.

Newcastle had four wins and a draw from their previous five matches against West Ham coming into this season, but the Irons twice came from behind to carve out a 4-2 win at St James’ Park in the opening week of the 2021-22 campaign.

West Ham are strong $1.67 favourites at home but I’d be having something on in-form Newcastle forcing a draw as a backstop.

Best Bet: Double Chance and Both Teams To Score – West Ham or Draw and Yes @ $2.00

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ Emirates Stadium, London

History: Played 14: Brentford 6 V Arsenal 4 (4 Draws)

Last meeting: August 13, 2021 (EPL): Brentford 2 d Arsenal 0 at Brentford Community Stadium

Final Thoughts: Arsenal are sixth on the ladder but have a few games in hand after some recent postponements. The Gunners are striving to get back into their groove, playing out a scoreless draw with Burnley and winning 1-0 at Wolverhampton in their only league outings since New Year’s Day.

Brentford halted a five-game losing streak with a scoreless draw at home to Crystal Palace last weekend. The Bees’ early-season form gave them a handy buffer to avoid relegation, but they have slipped to 14th and have scored just five goals in their last nine games.

Brentford enjoyed a euphoric Premier League debut via a 2-0 shutout of Arsenal in Week 1. Both sides have trended in opposite directions since, however, and a similar result in favour of the North London outfit seems likely here.

Best Bet: Arsenal To Win To Nil @ $2.11

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ Amex Stadium, Brighton

History: Played 38: Brighton 12 V Burnley 11 (15 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Brighton 2 d Burnley at Turf Moor

Final Thoughts: Brighton’s seven-match unbeaten streak – including a 2-0 victory at Watford last weekend – came to an end in a midweek catch-up against Manchester United, going down 2-0 at Old Trafford. The ninth-placed Seagulls will be on a four-day turnaround.

Burnley sit last on the EPL table but have played a competition-low 21 games – winning just once, back in October. The Clarets have shown real heart in recent weeks, though, drawing three straight games against Arsenal, Watford and Man United, before going down 1-0 at home to Liverpool in Week 25.

Brighton are unbeaten in their last five against Burnley, including a 2-1 victory at Turf Moor in Week 1. The last two clashes at Amex Stadium finished in low-scoring draws, however.

Brighton look a little short here as $1.67 favourites given the backbone struggling Burnley have shown recently. But the Seagulls have done a good job of picking up the three points against the bottom-feeders this season and should squeak home.

Best Bet: Result and First Team To Score – Brighton and Brighton @ $1.80

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ Anfield, Liverpool

History: Played 68: Liverpool 39 V Norwich 14 (15 Draws)

Last meeting: September 21, 2021 (EPL): Liverpool 3 d Norwich City 0 at Carrow Road

Final Thoughts: Liverpool have just 72 hours to recover from their 2-0 Champions League Round of 16 win at Inter Milan before hosting Norwich, their fifth game in 14 days. Jurgen Klopp’s charges are in a nice groove, winning their last four EPL games – including shutouts of Leicester (2-0) and Burnley (1-0) in the past nine days. Liverpool have conceded just one goal in their last eight games across all competitions.

Norwich City struck a few recent blows in the battle to avoid relegation, beating Everton and Watford before drawing with Crystal Palace. But the gulf between the league’s haves and have-nots was quite apparent as the 18th-placed Canaries were swamped 4-0 by Man City last weekend.

Liverpool boast a pair of 3-0 wins at Carrow Road this season, beating Norwich in Week 1 of the EPL campaign and in the EFL Cup a month later.

Expect a similarly emphatic result at Anfield, despite the Reds’ hectic schedule.

Best Bet: Handicap – Liverpool -2 @ $1.91

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

History: Played 106: Everton 51 V Southampton 32 (23 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Everton 3 d Southampton 1 at Goodison Park

Final Thoughts: Southampton are aiming to consolidate their place in the top half, climbing to 10th after losing just one of their last eight games. The Saints have negotiated a gruelling part of their schedule spectacularly, bookending a 3-2 win at Tottenham with 1-all draws against Man City and Man United. Che Adams scored the winner against Spurs and the equaliser against United.

Everton eased some pressure with a 3-0 thrashing of Leeds – after picking up just one point from their previous six games. It also represented their first clean sheet since November 7. The Toffees are still only 16th, however, it what has been a diabolical campaign that including the mid-January axing of gaffer Rafa Benitez.

Everton boast three wins and a draw from their last five against Southampton, starting their early-season purple patch with a 3-1 home victory over the Saints in Week 1.

Despite Everton’s long-awaited turnaround last weekend, you have to be confident in a team that has lost just once at home this season against a side that has picked up just two points from their last nine games on the road.

Best Bet: Result – Southampton @ $2.00

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th Feb @ Villa Park, Birmingham

History: Played 22: Watford 9 V Aston Villa 8 (5 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Watford 3 d Aston Villa 2 at Vicarage Road

Final Thoughts: Aston Villa are well clear of relegation danger, sitting 12th with eight wins and three draws. But they will be eager to push for a top-half finish – and bounce back from last week’s 1-0 loss at Newcastle, which ended a three-game unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to see second-last Watford avoiding the drop. They have accrued just two points from their last 11 games and have scored only one goal in their last six outings. Brighton came away from Vicarage Road with a 2-0 victory last weekend.

Watford have won four of their last five against Aston Villa, including a 3-2 victory at home in Week 1. The Hornets led 3-0 before Villa pegged back a couple of late goals.

Villa should get up, but they’re very short at $1.60 for the win. I like the under here value-wise.

Best Bet: Total – Under 2.5 @ $1.87

02:00 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ Selhurst Park, London

History: Played 59: Chelsea 32 V Crystal Palace 12 (15 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Chelsea 3 d Crystal Palace 0 at Stamford Bridge

Final Thoughts: Norwich (1-1) and Brentford (0-0). The 13th-placed Eagles struggled to create chances against the Bees, while attacking spearhead Wilfried Zaha has been the subject of transfer speculation.

Chelsea may have one eye in their UCL Round of 16 first leg against Lille just three days after this fixture. The third-placed Blues have not played an EPL game since January 23 due to Club World Cup commitments – winning that competition via a 2-1 win over Palmeiras in last weekend’s final.

Chelsea have won their last eight against Crystal Palace, scoring 14 goals in the clubs’ past four encounters. The Blues powered to a 3-0 win at home in Week 1. The result may not be as emphatic this time around, but count on the visitors picking the three points and consolidating their top-four standing.

Best Bet: Handicap – Chelsea -1 @ $2.25

04:30 (AEDT), Sun 20th feb @ Etihad Stadium, Manchester

History: Played 165: Man City 65 V Tottneham 64 (36 Draws)

Last meeting: August 15, 2021 (EPL): Tottenham 1 d Man City 0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Final Thoughts: Manchester City line up for their fifth game in 15 days – but they are sensational form. They followed up a 4-1 FA Cup drubbing of Fulham with EPL shut-outs of Brentford (2-0) and Norwich (4-0) – building a nine-point ladder lead in the process – and destroyed Sporting CP 5-0 in Thursday’s (AEDT) UCL Round of 16 tie in Portugal. Raheem Sterling bagged a hat-trick against Norwich, while Bernardo Silva notched a first-half brace against Sporting CP.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have nosedived to eighth in the Premier League with three straight losses to Chelsea (2-0), Southampton (3-2) and Wolverhampton (2-0). Spurs would have expected to account for Saints and Wolves at home, and it’s back to the drawing board for Antonio Conte, who had not lost prior to this current slide since taking over in early-November.

Tottenham have won three of the teams’ last four Premier League encounters, including a 1-0 upset of the defending champs in Week 1 with Son Heung-min scoring the decisive goal.

It’s hard envisaging out-of-sorts Spurs going to Man City’s house and coming away with any points, however, despite the dormant firepower in their ranks.

Best Bet: Half-time/Full-time – Man City/Man City @ $1.80

01:00 (AEDT), Mon 21st Feb @ Elland Road, Leeds

History: Played 110: Man United 48 V Leeds 26 (36 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Man United 5 d Leeds 1 at Old Trafford

Final Thoughts: Manchester United emerged from frustrating back-to-back draws against Burnley and Southampton to beat Brighton 2-0 midweek. The result wasn’t sealed until Bruno Fernandes’ 97th-minute strike, but it was an important three points – lifting United back into the top four. It also saw Cristiano Ronaldo score his first Premier League goal of 2022.

Leeds are 15th, following up their first back-to-back victories of the season (against Burnley and West Ham in January) with losses to Newcastle (1-0) and Everton (3-0) either side of a 3-all draw at Villa Park. Playing the embattled Toffees back into form was a particularly disappointing result for Marcelo Bisela, who has come under increasing pressure.

Man United romped to a 5-1 home win in Week 1, with Bruno Fernandes bagging a hat-trick. Fernandes also notched a brace a 6-2 drubbing at Old Trafford last season. But Leeds held Man U to a scoreless draw in their 2019-20 clash at Elland Road.

United have a UCL fixture at Atletico Madrid just 48 hours after visiting Elland Road, but I’ll back them at a handy price here.

Best Bet: Result – Manchester United @ $1.91

03:30 (AEDT), Mon 21st Feb @ Molineux Stadium, Wovlerhampton

History: Played 118: Wovlerhampton 43 V Leicester 40 (35 Draws)

Last meeting: August 14, 2021 (EPL): Leicester 1 d Wolverhampton 0 at King Power Stadium

Final Thoughts: Wolverhampton are seventh and remain an outside chance of a Champions League spot. Recent UCL heartbreak kids Leicester City – despite having a few games in hand – look flat out just finishing in the top half this season.

Gritty Wolves are seventh, winning four of their last five and bouncing back from a 1-0 loss to Arsenal with a 2-0 victory at Tottenham last weekend.

Leicester City are 11th and winless in their only four league fixtures of 2022 so far. They suffered losses to Spurs and Liverpool, while they conceded late in draws with Brighton and West Ham – the latter at home last weekend. There was also a 4-1 FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest thrown in earlier this month.

Wolves have won just one of their last nine against the Foxes and are scoreless in the last five. Leicester chalked up a 1-0 home victory in Week 1. But form points to a drought-breaking result for the hosts.

Best Bet: Result – Wolverhampton @ $2.25