After this weekend’s enthralling World Cup Final saw Argentina clinch victory on penalties over France after an exciting 3-3 draw, the focus now shifts back to the domestic game in England and this week we have some exciting Carabao Cup action beginning on Tuesday, followed by a cracking set of games taking place in the Premier League at the weekend.
The highlight of the midweek action is Manchester City and Liverpool locking horns once again in the Carabao Cup, while in the Premier League fixtures, which start on Boxing Day, sees a number of key games including Brentford hosting Spurs, Arsenal taking on West Ham and Leicester City welcoming Newcastle United to the King Power.
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Let’s now take a look at the games coming up this week in the Carabao Cup, followed by a look through the best tips for each of the ten games on Matchday 17 of the Premier League.
Carabao Cup – Round of 16
All games kick off at 7.45pm each evening unless otherwise stated.
Tuesday 20th December
- Wolverhampton Wanderers v Gillingham
- Southampton v Lincoln City
- Newcastle United v Bournemouth
- MK Dons v Leicester City
It’s hard to look past the three Premier League teams winning their games against lower division opponents, so I’d expect Wolves, Southampton and Leicester to progress in their games. The Newcastle v Bournemouth match is the only all-EPL game tonight, but I’d still back Newcastle to land the win here.
The odds on an acca for this set of games isn’t great so I’d look at these following bets instead:
- Patson Daka to Score Anytime (MK Dons v Leicester) – 13/10
- Wolves to beat Gillingham 3-0 – 5/1
- Southampton to beat Lincoln City 3-1 – 10/1
- Newcastle to win and both teams to score – 21/10
Wednesday 21st December
- Charlton Athletic v Brighton
- Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest
- Manchester United v Burnley (8pm)
I like the look of a Wednesday night treble for this set of games by backing Brighton and Manchester United to win their games inside 90 minutes and then backing the Blackburn v Forest game to end as a draw after 90 minutes. That treble pays out at odds of 5.06/1 with bet365.
Thursday 22nd December
- Manchester City v Liverpool (8pm)
This is the big one this week and I can see both managers playing a mix of first teamers who didn’t play at the World Cup, plus fringe players for this game, so it could well be a cracker. However, with better form and home advantage, this looks like a City win to me. Take Man City to win and both teams to score at 9/4.
Premier League Fixtures & Best Bets – Matchday 17
All Boxing Day games kick off at 3pm unless stated otherwise. The other games kick off at 8pm on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th December unless indicated.
Monday 26th December
- Brentford v Tottenham Hotspur (12.30pm)
10th placed Brentford welcome fourth placed Spurs to the Community Stadium in the opening game of Matchday 17. The Bees have lost just one of their last five games in the Premier League, while Spurs have struggled, losing three of their last five to drop off the pace being set at the top by Arsenal. This is a tricky one to call but I think Harry Kane can put his World Cup penalty miss behind him by landing a goal here and he is 5/4 to score at any time.
- Crystal Palace v Fulham
Another London derby sees two teams that sit comfortably in that mid-table zone after their opening 14 or 15 games of the season. Palace’s form over the last five is slightly better than Fulham’s but the Craven Cottage side have been more consistent this season, albeit having played a game more. I think this will be a tight and nervy game between the two and most likely finish in a draw, which is an 11/4 shot.
- Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Two teams that will be desperate to put a very disappointing first part of the season behind them. Everton lie 17th just outside the relegation zone, while Wolves are bottom of the table. The pressure is on both managers to start picking up results but at the moment, neither seem particularly capable of doing so. Everton have slightly the better form of late, but I fancy Wolves may just do enough to claim a draw here and you can back that at 23/10.
- Leicester City v Newcastle United
This is a very intriguing game. Both teams were in good form heading into the break. Leicester had bounced back after a dismal start to lay in mid-table, while Newcastle had won five in a row and were third in the table after a fantastic start to the season. This is a tricky game for both teams here and I don’t think it will be easy for either side, so I am going to hedge my bets here and say that this one will also finish as a draw, which is a 23/10 chance.
- Southampton v Brighton
A south coast clash between two teams with very contrasting seasons so far. Southampton sit in the relegation zone just above bottom spot and have changed managers bringing in Nathan Jones from Luton to see if he can improve things. Brighton have also changed managers with Roberto de Zerbi coming in and while their form has tailed off a bit, I fancy them to land the win here. Take Brighton to win this one 2-1 at 9/1.
- Aston Villa v Liverpool (5.30pm)
Liverpool fans have not had too many happy memories of Villa Park in recent times and with Unai Emery coming in and having a positive impact at the club, the Reds will need to be in good shape here. Villa have beaten Man Utd and Chelsea at home recently and will fancy their chances of another big upset here, but I think Liverpool have enough players back and fit so that they can withstand that and land a key win here. Back Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 11/5.
- Arsenal v West Ham United (8pm)
The Gunners can go eight points clear of Manchester City with a win against a West Ham side that sit in 16th place in the table after a poor first few weeks of the season. It is hard to see David Moyes’ team having enough to get a result here, even if Arsenal are without Gabriel Jesus. This should be a very hard fought game but I am expecting Arsenal to land a comfortable win here. Take Arsenal to win to nil and both teams to score – no – at 6/4.
Tuesday 27th December
- Chelsea v Bournemouth (5.30pm)
Chelsea are without a win in their last five Premier League games and manager Graham Potter must already be feeling the pressure. Bournemouth only have one win in their last five EPL games and that came in their final game against Everton. Chelsea should win this as they have home advantage and the break I think will have done them some good. So back Chelsea to win this one 2-0 which is a 6/1 shot.
- Manchester United v Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest bought so many players in the transfer window that they struggled to gel as a team in the first part of the season but their form has improved and the break will have given Steve Cooper a chance to work with his team a great deal more. United though with the Ronaldo issue no longer hanging over their heads, should be more than strong enough to claim the win here. Back Manchester United to win and both teams to score – no at 11/1.
Wednesday 28th December
- Leeds United v Manchester City
Last season, Manchester City beat Leeds 7-0 at home and 4-0 on the road and they should be confident of getting a good result this season too after starting the season so well. Leeds have been inconsistent under Jesse Marsch but have raised their game for the bigger encounters. This should be a closer one than last season at least, but I still feel Manchester City will land the win. Back Manchester City to win 3-1 at 10/1 .
*All odds shown in this article were courtesy of bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing, but may have changed since.