Its match week 32 for the Premier League, and the seasons end is quickly approaching! Here are my picks for the top three games of the weekend, and my bet for winners!
Everton Host Manchester City
This match sticks out for reasons related to Everton, rather than Manchester City. Quality fullbacks return to the lineup for Everton with Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman once again fit. This should give some defensive stability to the Everton backline, who despite performing well in 2018, will welcome some injury return support.
The January transfer addition, Cenk Tosun has struck form brilliantly in his last few weeks. With a brace against Stoke last match, and one versus Brighton the week before the Turkish striker seems a good fit for Everton and the Premier League.
Despite the positives for Everton they are playing arguably the best team in European football. They are human, however, if anything this match will be tough for the Toffees. Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, the now fit Gabriel Jesus and company make a potent offence that continued their form for their respective nations over the break.
Prediction: Everton 1 – 2 Manchester City. Everton will put up a good fight, but City will break the deadlock late to seal the victory.
West Ham Host Southampton
The basement bowl! Both teams are staring relegation in the face and desperately need wins. Despite West Ham being two points up on the Saints, all the pressure falls on the home team after the debacle against Burnely. A resounding 0-3 loss at home populated by pitch invasions and fan protests, West Ham cannot get behind in this match or the scenes could seal relegation for the Hammers.
Southampton, despite being in the relegation zone are welcoming in two faces to the team, one new and one old. Mark Hughes has been appointed new manager. He has been drilling for intensity and fitness since taking over the club earlier in the International break and Southampton could see the likely ‘new manager bump’ as they all try to impress their boss.
Southampton also welcome back striker Charlie Austin to the line up. Having scored a penalty in the early season clash with West Ham, Austin is likely to slip right back in the lineup either as a starter or sub for Manolo Gabbiadini.
Prediction: West Ham 3 – 1 Southampton. Despite their new manager, West Ham should react with their backs up against the wall. Arnautovic has been in form and destroyed Hughes’ Stoke team earlier this season.
Chelsea Host Tottenham
Ah, some elite competition. Both teams currently sitting in the top six, with Tottenham five points up on the reigning Premier League champions. Chelsea will look to pressure Tottenham and nab all three to stake their claim in the Champions League next season.
For both teams the International break saw players donning their national gear to represent their countries. Chelsea’s new striker Oliver Giroud scored for France against Columbia, while Hazard, Alonso, Willian, and Kante (France, as well) all played for their respective countries in International friendlies.
Tottenham had a similarly large list of international players, like defender Davidson Sanchez who factored into Columbia’s unlikely 3-2 win over France. As well, Danny Rose returned to action for England after a long injury lay off. The left back will likely step in over Ben Davies who has played well for Spurs in Rose’s absence.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 3 Tottenham. The attacking options of Tottenham will eventually overwhelm Chelsea who can only rely on Willian and Hazard for so long. Look to Son and Eriksen to drive the offence for Spurs.
Match Day Bets
In a five team win-pick parlay I have:
– Liverpool (1.50) over Palace
– Leicester (2.90) over Brighton
– Manchester United (1.22) over Swansea
– Burnley (2.70) at West Brom
– Manchester City (1.30) over Everton
With only one home team selected (Manchester United), the away team odds boosted the parlay to a five bet fold returning $373.23 on a $20 bet. Not bad!