The Editors' Premier League Betting Battle 2019-20: Round 18
Jake Osgathorpe had the only winner last week as he leapfrogs into second position. Can he maintain momentum? Check out our editors' bets for the weekend...
Stalemate at St James' Park
Dan Thomas Back Newcastle and Crystal Palace to draw @3.20 Saturday 15:00
Dan is away with the Christmas elves.
Dan Thomas 2019-20 P/L: +£76.20
Hostile Goodison no place for Arsenal
Jake Osgathorpe Back Everton to beat Arsenal @2.44 Saturday, 12.30
Everton showcased more fighting spirit last weekend against Manchester United, with Duncan Ferguson getting his troops pumped up despite numerous injuries, and although the shadow of Carlo Ancelotti looms, I think it's great news for Everton that Ferguson will be in charge for this game.
It is no secret that Everton play better in front of their own fans, in the raucous, hostile atmosphere of Goodison Park, and that was the case more than ever recently against Chelsea, where Duncan Ferguson was manager turned cheerleader, and I think that is a huge advantage here for the Toffees, especially against what I think is a mentally weak Arsenal team.
At home this season, Everton's underlying process is solid, generating an average of 1.73 xGF per game and allowing 1.35 xGA per game, and if they keep performing to that level they will be fancying their chances of getting another big home win against one of the established 'big six'.
Arsenal too are on the verge of appointing a new manager, the unproven and untested Mikel Arteta, though he won't be in charge soon enough for this game, which is a huge issue for the Gunners.
Interim manager of this Arsenal team was always going to be tough job, but Freddie Ljungberg has arguably done worse than would have been expected, and I don't think he has the power to get this team up for this game, which will be a real test, as Chelsea found out two weeks ago.
Arsenal sit 13th in Infogol's xG table after 17 games, so fully deserve to be way off the top four pace, and process wise, they are someway behind even Everton (1.56 xGF, 1.63 xGA per game), so for me, everything in this game points to a home win, so I'm happy to back Everton at 2.44 in the hope of making it four winners in a row.
Jake Osgathorpe 2019-20 P/L: +£26.40
Villa can pick up valuable points in basement battle
Joe Dyer Back Aston Villa to beat Southampton @2.50 Saturday, 15:00
It's a touch early for a relegation six-pointer but, let's be honest, a win for either Aston Villa or Southampton in Saturday's clash between 17th and 18th will taste particularly sweet.
The pair are locked on 15 points but with resurgent Everton occupying 16th place and a full win away from both in the table the need for a victory is palpable.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't go looking for battle winners at this end of the table, certainly not in the match odds, but I think there might be a smidgen of value on Villa here. That is underlined when I look at other teams available to back at the same 2.50 price - Newcastle at home to Crystal Palace, Everton for the visit of Arsenal, Bournemouth who welcome Burnley.
Dean Smith's side have shown plenty of spirit this season and must be delighted to bid farewell to a tough stretch of games with a run of winnable fixtures. A visit from a Southampton side without an away win since September certainly offers that.
Joe Dyer's 2019-20 P/L: +£19.90
Foxes a big price in top three battle
Mike Norman Back Leicester @8.60 to beat Manchester City Saturday, 17:30 Live on Sky Sports Football
I simply have to take a punt on Leicester at 7/1+ given they're currently second in the Premier League table having taken 25 of the last 27 points available to them, and are four points ahead of their opponents here.
Okay, the reason why in-form Leicester are the price they are is that they face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, but there's plenty of reasons to expect a bold show from the Foxes as both clubs try and chase down runaway leaders Liverpool.
One reason is that in recent seasons this has been a very well contested Premier League fixture, with Man City winning four of the last eight clashes, Leicester three, and a draw being the other outcome. These two sides also played out two 1-1 draws in the EFL Cup during that time so the fact is that the Citizens have won just four of their last 10 meetings against the Foxes.
And it's pretty much a given that Brendan Rodgers' men are a better side now than they were at the time of any of those previous 10 meetings, while it can be strongly argued that Pep Guardiola's men are worse.
And although it's never easy to stop Man City, it does become slightly easier when you know how they're generally going to play. The Citizens will move the ball around, try and play it in behind the Leicester defences - more often than not down the left - and cut it across goal.
If the Leicester defence is on their game - they have conceded the fewest goals in the division this season - then I see no reason why they can't soak up the pressure and hit City on the break. In summary, I think we'll get a great run for our money at the price.
Mike Norman 2019-20 P/L: -£14.00
Nothing between Seagulls and Blades on the south coast
Jasmine Baba Back the draw in Brighton v Sheffield United @3.35 Saturday 15:00
This is a bit of a odd one to pick a bet out of, especially how the majority of the Premier League is closely packed together in terms of points and places. Five points and six places separate these two with Sheffield United surprisingly in seventh place with the same number of points as Manchester United. No one would have guessed that at the start of the season.
Part of this has been because of the Blades' away form, currently the fifth best team in the league on their travels, Chris Wilder's side is unbeaten in these eight games. The only telling point of this is that six of those eight have been draws (W2).
This plays perfectly for our draw bet, as Brighton going into this have only been defeated twice at the Amex Stadium, which one of those was to high-flying Leicester and an early season defeat to Southampton which we can probably write off now. They've beaten Tottenham, Everton and drawn against Wolves, Burnley and West Ham, so they do have the calibre to grind out results. These two will more than likely cancel each other out and the stalemate at 3.35 looks the best option here.