There are just the nine fixtures in the Premier League this coming weekend, because Liverpool are away in Qatar representing UEFA at the FIFA Club World Cup. That means their game away to West Ham has been postponed and will be replayed in the spring. This therefore gives the chasing pack an opportunity to close the gap on the Reds, albeit having played one game more than Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders.
The problem for the teams chasing Liverpool is that this weekend they are all scheduled to face each other. Manchester City host second placed Leicester City at the Etihad in what should be a cracker on Saturday evening and then on Sunday, fourth placed Chelsea host Tottenham who lie fifth in what is going to be a very emotional London derby game, especially with Spurs boss Jose Mourinho returning to the club where he first made such an impact in the English game.
Even though we don’t have the league leaders in action this weekend due to Liverpool playing the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, there are still nine key games this weekend in the Premier League including the teams from 2nd to 5th all facing each other. So if you want to sign up to enjoy a bet on what could be a pivotal weekend of action, check out the current bet365 Welcome Bonus for new players, which offers you a little extra once you start betting on site.
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Let us now preview the games that are taking place this weekend across the Premier League and of course, we will be bringing your our view on how we see each game going and what is the best bet to back for all fixtures.
Matchday 18 Fixtures – Premier League
- Everton v Arsenal (12.30pm)
Two teams that could have two new managers in post for this game and who are really struggling at the moment. Arsenal may be higher up the table but their form of late has been shocking and if Mikel Arteta gets the job, he has a huge task on his hands to sort the club out. Duncan Ferguson at least restored some fighting spirit to Everton to pick up four points from six, but with Carlo Ancelotti set to come in, the Italian could be a great appointment for the Toffees and I think that will show here. Tip – Everton to win and both teams to score – 3/1.
- Aston Villa v Southampton
This is a true relegation six-pointer for both these teams who both have 15 points, though Villa have a markedly better goal difference (-7 compared to Saints -18). Dean Smith will have earmarked this game as a must-win one for his side but after three defeats in a row, it is a big ask. The Saints though have also lost their last two and that is a worry. As such, I have a feeling that this game could well end up in a very nervy draw. Tip – Draw – 5/2.
- Bournemouth v Burnley
Both these teams come into this game on the back of a vital win that broke a run of losing games that had seen them drop down the table. Of the two wins last weekend, Bournemouth’s win at Chelsea was the most impressive, especially when you consider how injury hit Eddie Howe’s squad is. Burnley did well to beat Newcastle and I think they will push Bournemouth hard here but will just come up short. Tip – Bournemouth to win – 23/20.
- Brighton v Sheffield United
Two teams with good recent form clash on the south coast in what should be a decent game. Sheffield United have bounced back from their home loss to Newcastle to land two wins on the bounce to move to 7th, while Brighton’s win over Arsenal and two draws means they now lie 13th well clear of the drop zone. The decisive factor here for me is Sheffield Utd’s defence, which has conceded nine fewer than Brighton and which means I fancy the Blades to come away from this game with a point. Tip – Draw – 23/10.
- Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
These two teams have scored the fewest goals in the Premier League (other than Watford) this season with 17 for Newcastle and 15 for Crystal Palace indicative of two teams for whom finding the net is a real issue. Defensively, both look pretty solid, but I feel with this being at home, where Newcastle have a good record, it does just tip the balance slightly in their favour. Can they score against Palace’s excellent defence though? I’m not so sure they can. Tip – Draw – 2/1.
- Norwich City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
After earning a fine point away to Leicester, Norwich know they need to start picking up wins at home but they face a tough task against a Wolves side likely to be smarting from conceding a last minute goal in their home defeat to Tottenham. Wolves rarely lose and losing two in a row is even rarer. This is going to be a tough game for Norwich ahead of a crucial Christmas period and I can’t see the Canaries having too much joy here. Tip – Wolves to win – 19/20.
- Manchester City v Leicester City (5.30pm)
Can Manchester City close the gap on Leicester to just one point with a win here, or will Leicester make the gap between them and City 7 points with a win at the Etihad? The home side’s form is a little erratic of late but they were superb at Arsenal last weekend against a very poor Gunners team. Leicester were held disappointingly by Norwich last weekend and they will know they need a reaction here, especially with Boxing Day’s clash with Liverpool on the horizon. However, it is hard to back against Man City at home and I feel they will do just enough to claim the win. Tip – Manchester City to win and both teams to score – 8/5.
- Watford v Man Utd (Sun, 2pm)
Watford’s poor start to the season is likely to continue even against a Manchester United side that is still somewhat erratic in their performance. United have an incredible winning record against Watford, winning 17 of the last 18 games between the teams and in truth, it is hard to make a case for Watford to end that here. United’s away record has been poor this season in general but so has Watford’s home form and with United putting together a nice little unbeaten run, I exepct them to continue that here. Tip – Man United to win to nil – 21/10.
- Tottenham v Chelsea (Sun, 4.30pm)
How will Jose Mourinho handle taking on his former club with his new London side? Since taking over at Spurs, Mourinho has seen an improvement in form and his side now lie fifth in the table just three points behind Chelsea in fourth. Frank Lampard’s team have been struggling, losing four of their last five and this is a big test for them against a Tottenham team with a decent home record. I can see both teams finding the net here as I am not a big fan of either defensively, but I just feel Spurs have that extra cutting edge to land the win here. Tip – Tottenham to win and both teams to score – 11/4.
*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing (10.30am Tuesday 17th December). All Kick off times are 3pm on Saturday unless stated.