Matchday 26 in the EPL will be split up over two weeks to give players a well-deserved break. There are just four games over the first weekend of play with six games, including the headline game of the round between Chelsea and Manchester United, in the second weekend.
We will have a full preview and tips for the key games over both weekends in this article.
Saturday, 11.30pm AEDT
Everton will get the week underway on Saturday night when they face Crystal Palace from 11.30pm from Goodison Park. Everton sit in 9th place on the EPL table and are coming off a good win in Matchday 25, beating Watford on the road 3-2 after Theo Walcott scored a 90th minute winner. Everton are not completely out of the top four race, sitting just eight points behind Chelsea.
Crystal Palace are in a race of their own, a race to stay out of the relegation zone. They currently sit in 14th place on the table, just six points ahead of West Ham, who are currently entrenched in the relegation zone. Palace have won just one of their last 10 games and have lost their last two in a row to Southampton and Sheffield both at home.
Everton start as strong favourites here and rightly so. Palace are in a massive form slump at the moment and they will no doubt be looking forward to the week off to recoup before a super important back third of the season which will decide which league they will play in next year. The Toffees have lost just 3/12 games at home this season and should be too strong for an out of form Palace team here.
Sunday, 4.30am AEDT
Watford currently sit in 19th place on the EPL table, having lost their last two games. However, before those losses, they have a six game unbeaten stretch that included wins over the likes of Manchester United and Wolverhampton. They have taken at least one point in 7 of their last 10 games and aren’t playing like a bottom-two team.
Brighton sit just four places above Watford in 15th, but have won just one of their last 10 games. They are coming off a draw away from home versus West Ham, and will need to get back on the winners list if they want to maintain a narrow two point lead over the relegation teams.
Love the value of Watford here. They might be on the road but they are in much better form than Brighton and are at good odds to secure at least one point, something they have done in three of their last five games against Brighton.
Monday, 3.30am AEDT
Time is running out for Manchester City. As Liverpool continues to win games, the already slim chances of the Citizens lifting the trophy continue to plummet. They currently sit 22 points behind the Reds, despite having lost just six games all season. They will have a fairly easy matchup at home this week against West Ham.
The Hammers sit in the relegation zone having won just two of their last 10 games. Defence has been a big issue for West Ham this season, as they are just one of four teams to allow more than 40 goals through the opening 25 games. They secured a 3-3 draw with Brighton last week but were coming off two weeks of decimation at the hands of Leicester and Liveprool in the two previous games.
Manchester City shouldn’t have too many problems with the struggling West Ham here. Back them to record a comfortable win and head into the week off with their title hopes just barely alive.
Sunday, 4:30am AEDT
Norwich City have finally started to pick up some league points, winning and drawing their last two fixtures. It’s still a long road back to the safe zone for the Canaries, but you’ve got to start somewhere. They’ll take inspiration from a couple of clubs that have surged home in the second half of the season to escape relegation, although it is hard to see them replicating the feat considering the limitations of their squad.
On the other end of the spectrum are Liverpool, who are seemingly invincible in the Premier League this season. They’ve smashed league records out of the park already this season, dropping points in just one of their 25 fixtures to date. Even when they aren’t performing at their best, the Reds have still come away with all three points in matches, which is the true sign of a champion team.
Considering the contrast in form and ability of these two clubs, it’s impossible to see anything other than a comfortable Liverpool win transpiring on Sunday morning. For us, we see the best value of the game being in the half time/full time market for Liverpool, which seems like an absolute steal.
Monday, 3:30am AEDT
Arsenal have had their worst season in recent memory and even a change in manager hasn’t brought about improved results. They’ve managed to secure just six league wins from 25 tries this campaign, which is a very poor return considering how successful of a club they are. The good news is they’ve only lost six games, so it won’t take too much of an improvement in performance to see them start to get better results.
Newcastle United have been great since their shaky start to the season and look like they’ll be surviving in England’s top flight for another year. They’ve managed to claim eight wins to date, most of which have come on their home deck at St. James’ Park. The Magpies have managed to claim only 11 points on their travels this campaign and come into this in 12th spot on the league table.
Although Arsenal have been fairly poor in their recent fixtures, this match could be the turning point for them. They come up against a Newcastle outfit that is winless in their past four Premier League away fixtures, which we expect to be extended to five on Monday morning. That said, Newcastle are more than capable of finding the back of the net against a shaky Gunners defence, so the Both Teams to Score market looks like the value play here.
Tuesday, 7am AEDT
Chelsea were red hot in the first half of the season, but have found plenty of trouble since the turn of the new year. Despite a lack of wins in recent weeks, the Blues remain in fourth place in the league, which is a good return considering how young their starting XI is. The future is certainly bright at Stamford Bridge, even if it looks a little dim at the current time.
Manchester United are another of the struggling Big Six this season and come into this weekend sitting in nine spot on the table. Like most struggling clubs, they’ve been particularly vulnerable when they’re away from their home deck, which is highlighted in their record where you’ll see they’ve won just three games on the road this season.
This is a big chance for both out of form clubs to put one foot in the right direction and we believe it will be Chelsea who will be the beneficiaries. They’ve got plenty of fire power up front and if they can find something close to their best form, then that should be enough to get the win in this intriguing fixture.
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