Find the back of the net with tips for this midweek round of EPL fixtures, including a key clash between Arsenal and West Ham.
06:30 (AEDT), Wed 15th Dec @ Brentford Community Stadium, Brentford
History: Played 13: Man United 6 V Brentford 5 (2 Draws)
Last meeting: September 10, 1975 (EFL Cup): Man United 2 d Brentford 1 at Old Trafford
Final Thoughts: A minor COVID-19 outbreak in the Manchester United ranks has put the Week 17 opener against Brentford in doubt.
Manchester United are chasing four straight wins for the first time this season, though their form remains anything but convincing. They are unbeaten since Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s sacking but have made hard work of 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich City in the past two weeks.
Brentford have lost just one of their last five, moving back into the top half with a 2-1 home win over Watford. The Bees didn’t get on the board until the 84th minute and snatched the three points via a Mbeumo penalty deep into stoppage time.
If this fixture goes ahead, there’s enough value in United’s head-to-head price for punters to get behind the heavyweights.
Best Bet: Result – Man United @ $1.91
Same Game Multi: Result – Man United; Total – Under 3.5; 1st Half Result – Draw; Anytime Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo @ $8.48
06:45 (AEDT), Wed 15th Dec @ Carrow Road, Norwich
History: Played 72: Aston Villa 34 V Norwich 22 (16 Draws)
Last meeting: December 26, 2019 (EPL): Aston Villa 1 d Norwich 0 at Villa Park
Final Thoughts: Aston Villa are 13th on the EPL ladder but only three points off eighth. They’ll be eager to take their opportunity against last-placed Norwich City, but Villa will be without two as-yet unnamed COVID-positive players and Marvelous Nakamba, who has joined Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore on the injured list.
Villa have won three of their last five, following up their 2-1 victory over Leicester in Week 15 with a 1-0 loss at Liverpool. A 67th-minute penalty stymied Villa manager and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard’s return to Anfield, but it was nevertheless a gritty effort from his charges.
After going through November unbeaten – including registering their first two wins of the season – Norwich have lost back-to-back games to Tottenham (3-0) and Man United (1-0).
Aston Villa are $2.30 favourites but have lost four of their last five on the road. Norwich have conceded just four goals in their last five home games. A lone goal could be enough to win this one.
Best Bet: Total – Under 1.5 @ $3.19
Same Game Multi: Half-time Result – Draw; Result – Draw; Total – Under 2.5 @ $5.22
07:00 (AEDT), Wed 15th Dec @ Etihad Stadium, Manchester
History: Played 106: Man City 45 V Leeds 43 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: April 10, 2021 (EPL): Leeds 2 d Man City 1 at Etihad Stadium
Final Thoughts: Manchester City remain atop the EPL standings after chalking up their sixth straight win, a dour 1-0 result at home to a 10-man Wolverhampton. The defending champs needed a 66th-minute penalty from Raheem Sterling – his 100th in the Premier League and fourth for the season – to secure the three points.
Leeds United have been pushing in the right direction but sit 15th following an agonising 3-2 loss at Chelsea on the weekend. The Whites levelled late through Joe Gelhardt before conceding a penalty in stoppage time for just their second loss in eight games.
Leeds boast four wins and two draws from their last eight clashes with Man City at Premier League level. After returning to the EPL last season, Leeds stymied the eventual champs with a 1-1 draw at Elland Road and a 2-1 upset win at Etihad Stadium.
Ferran Torres is Man City’s only unavailable player. The hosts are skinny $1.13 favourites, but with six clean sheets in eight games at Etihad Stadium they can be backed with confidence.
Best Bet: Man City To Win To Nil @ $1.78
Same Game Multi: Total – Under 3.5; Man City Clean Sheet; Win Both Halves @ $4.95
06:30 (AEDT), Thu 16th Dec @ Amex Stadium, Brighton
History: Played 36: Brighton 15 V Wolverhampton 7 (14 Draws)
Last meeting: May 9, 2021 (EPL): Wolverhampton 2 d Brighton 1 at Molineux Stadium
Final Thoughts: Brighton and Hove Albion, who are on a 10-match winless run, had their home clash with Tottenham postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Spurs camp. The Seagulls have drawn their last three against Leeds (0-0), West Ham (1-1) and Southampton (1-1).
Wolverhampton are clinging to their spot in the top half, emerging from a tough schedule over the past fortnight with back-to-back 1-0 losses at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester City. Wolves have now scored just one goal from their last six games, but conceding only a stoppage-time goal and a penalty against the EPL’s two most potent attacking units is a bit tick for the defence.
Wovles’ 2-1 late-season win at home in May snapped a seven-match winless streak against Brighton and four-match run of draws between the clubs.
Eleventh-placed Brighton are the $2.30 favourites, having lost only three games this season. But they have also scored only three goals in their last five games. A low-scoring stalemate shapes as a likely outcome in this one with both sides ranked bottom-three for goals scored and top-four for goals conceded.
Best Bet: Result – Draw @ $3.00
06:30 (AEDT), Thu 16th Dec @ Selhurst Park, London
History: Played 112: Southampton 48 V Crystal Palace 40 (24 Draws)
Last meeting: May 11, 2021: Southampton 3 d Crystal Palace 1 at St Mary’s Stadium
Final Thoughts: Sixteenth-placed Southampton will be aiming to join 12th-placed Crystal Palace on 19 points with an upset win when they head to Selhurst Park. But the Saints are on a five-match winless run, following up home draws against Leicester and Brighton with a 3-0 loss at Arsenal on the Weekend.
Strong at home, Southampton boast just one win and a -11 differential from eight games on the road.
Crystal Palace arrested a three-game losing streak with a handy 3-1 victory at home to Everton on the weekend. Conor Gallagher scored the only goal of the first half before netting the stoppage-time sealer. Palace have won three and drawn four of their eight home games, outscoring their visitors 13-7.
Southampton boast five wins and two draws from their last nine encounters with Crystal Palace, but the rivals split last season’s two clashes. Palace won 1-0 at Selhurst Park, while the Saints powered to a 3-1 victory at St Mary’s Stadium.
Given the Eagles’ solid home record and the Saints’ away struggles, I’m confident backing Palace straight up here.
Best Bet: Result – Crystal Palace @ $2.10
Same Game Multi: Result – Crystal Palace; Total – Over 2.5; Both Teams To Score; Crystal Palace To Score in Both Halves @ $6.15
06:30 (AEDT), Thu 16th Dec @ Turf Moor, Burnley
History: Played 44: Burnley 21 V Watford 13 (10 Draws)
Last meeting: June 25, 2020 (EPL): Burnley 1 d Watford 0 at Turf Moor
Final Thoughts: A key battle in the context of the relegation picture will unfold at Turf Moor, with 18th-placed Burnley hosting 17th-placed Watford.
Since stunning Man United 4-1 in Week 12, Watford have lost four straight – including a 2-1 defeat at Brentford on the weekend after leading for an hour and conceding the winner in the 96th minute.
Burnley, two points in arrears but with a game in hand, have not scored in their past three games, bookending a 1-0 loss at Newcastle in Week 15 with scoreless draws against Wolves and West Ham.
Burnley have held Watford scoreless in five of the teams’ last eight encounters.
Despite their lowly standing, Burnley have lost just two of their seven home games and are unbeaten at Turf Moor since Week 4. Watford have lost three straight on the road.
07:15 (AEDT), Thu 16th Dec @ Emirates Stadium, London
History: Played 144: Arsenal 69 V West Ham 35 (40 Draws)
Last meeting: March 21, 2021 (EPL): 3-3 draw at London Stadium
Final Thoughts: Arguably the pick of the Week 17 fixtures, West Ham are striving to retain their top-four standing after some patchy recent results. Meanwhile, sixth-placed Arsenal can leapfrog the Gunners with a victory here.
West Ham have won just one of their last five – a stirring 3-2 upset of then-league leaders Chelsea in Week 15. But they followed that up with a scoreless draw at Burnley.
Arsenal responded to disappointing back-to-back losses to Man United (3-2) and Everton (2-1) with a 3-0 demolition of Southampton on the weekend. Lacazette and Gabriel broke lengthy goal droughts, while Odegaard scored for the third game in a row.
West Ham have won just two of their last 28 matches against Arsenal. Last season the Gunners prevailed 2-1 at Emirates Stadium, before the teams drew 3-all at London Stadium.
West Ham look decent value given their ladder position but there’s been a lot to like about Arsenal’s resurgence – and the Emirates Stadium bogey could also play its part in frustrating the Irons.
Same Game Multi: Result – Aresnal; Anytime Goalscorer – Martin Odegaard; Total – Over 2.5; Arsenal Score in Both Halves @ $9.41
06:30 (AEDT), Fri 17th Dec @ King Power Stadium, Leicester
History: Played 116: Tottenham 58 V Leicester 37 (21 Draws)
Last meeting: May 23, 2021 (EPL): Tottenham 4 d Leicester 2 at King Power Stadium
Final Thoughts: Leicester City are staying in touch with the top four despite a lack of consistency that has plagued the side all season. The eighth-placed Foxes bounced back from a 2-1 loss at Villa Park with a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle last weekend, including a brace from Youle Tielemans.
Tottenham are seventh but have two games in hand after recent games against Burnley (weather) and Brighton (COVID) were postponed. They have won their last three against Leeds (2-1), Brentford (2-0) and Norwich (3-0), but the team only returned to training on Monday (AEDT) after their coronavirus outbreak and have been rocked by more cases.
Last season’s two clashes between the clubs were won by the away team. Leicester prevailed 2-0 in London, while Tottenham stormed to a 4-2 victory at King Power Stadium. Jamie Vardy scored three goals (all penalties) across the two games, while a late Gareth Bale brace secured the result for Tottenham in the latter.
Leicester bring valuable momentum into this game, which should be enough to get over a heavily disrupted Tottenham.
Best Bet: Result – Leicester @ $2.00
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Leicester +1; Total – Over 2.5; Both Teams To Score; Anytime Goalscorer – Harry Kane; Anytime Goalscorer – Jamie Vardy @ $7.32
06:45 (AEDT), Fri 17th Dec @ Stamford Bridge, London
History: Played 186: Chelsea 74 V Everton 58 (54 Draws)
Last meeting: March 8, 2021 (EPL): Chelsea 2 d Everton 0 at Stamford Bridge
Final Thoughts: After surrendering the Premier League lead with a 3-2 loss at West Ham, Chelsea were fortunate to beat Leeds by the same scoreline at home last weekend. Jorginho’s second penalty of the second half in the 94th minute snatched the three points for the Blues, who have conceded five goals in two games after leaking just six in their first 14 outings.
Everton, languishing in 14th place, were unable to back up their drought-breaking, last-gasp win over Arsenal. The Toffees crashed 3-1 at Crystal Palace in Week 16 – their fourth straight loss on the road. They have not won away since August.
Chelsea are undefeated in their last 27 Premier League home fixtures against Everton, who last won at Stamford Bridge in 1994. Last season the Toffees got up 1-0 at Goodison Park, before Chelsea prevailed 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Value is hard to come by with Chelsea the $1.22 favourite, but they should get the job done against travel-shy Everton.
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Chelsea -1; Total – Over 2.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Mason Mount; Half-time Result – Chelsea @ $5.35
07:15 (AEDT), Fri 17th Dec @ Anfield, Liverpool
History: Played 181: Liverpool 87 V Newcastle 50 (44 Draws)
Last meeting: April 24, 2021 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Anfield
Final Thoughts: Week 17 closes with the biggest mismatch of the round, with second-placed Liverpool just $1.11 to account for relegation contenders Newcastle.
Liverpool have won five straight, though the goals have dried up since putting four past each of Arsenal, Southampton and Everton – they have grinded out 1-0 wins over Wovles and Villa in the past fortnight.
Second-last Newcastle came back to earth after their maiden win of the campaign – 1-0 against Burnley in Week 15 – sent packing 4-0 at Leicester.
After losing five straight to Liverpool by a combined 15-4, Newcastle held the defending champs to back-to-back draws at home (0-0) and away (1-1) last season. But this encounter should allow Jurgen Klopp’s charges to flex their attacking muscle once again.