EPL Gameweek 24 Predictions
Aston Villa 1-0 Watford
Bournemouth 1-1 Brighton
Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton
Everton 2-0 Newcastle
Sheffield United 1-2 Manchester City
Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal
Leicester 2-1 West Ham
Tottenham 3-1 Norwich
Manchester United 1-0 Burnley
Wolves 1-2 Liverpool
Despite Chelsea vs Arsenal obviously getting the “game of the week” billing, it could be argued that Watford’s trip to Aston Villa is a more significant game, along with Bournemouth’s trip to Brighton- based on the massive relegation implications of both. Under normal circumstances, Bournemouth would be the bet here, given the talent of the squad and their highly rated Manager, however, they’ve looked devoid of any spirit or tactical awareness as of late and they simply can not find the net. Therefore, I can not recommend any kind of investment in the Cherries. Villa on the other hand, landed us one of our three locks on Saturday, and I like them to get something at home, against a Watford team who face four games is eight days.
Elsewhere, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester are all expected to pick up wins after poor weekend defeats, as they all look to get into the Champions League. The inconsistency of Chelsea, coupled with Leicester’s loss of form, should give United some hope, however, they have so many injuries- with both Pogba and Rashford out on the sidelines – you can’t see them mounting any kind of challenge, without making some signings in the next week. The same can be said for both Tottenham and Wolves. Wolves have already played over 40 games this season and could do with some new additions for the second part of the season, especially given their Europa League commitments.
Games of the Week: Chelsea vs Arsenal
Despite their late-loss to Newcastle, Chelsea remain fourth and have a healthy advantage over the chasing pack, none of which seem capable of mounting any kind of challenge. With 8 defeats already, Chelsea are lucky to be where they are, and they seem especially at inconsistent at Stamford Bridge, where they have lost three of their last five at home, losing to sides such as West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton.
Arsenal have had an awful season so far, as their usually decent home form hasn’t been able to mask over their terrible away days this time around. Arsenal have not only struggled to get a result on the road, winning one of their last eleven overall, and winning none of their five games against top-half team, but they have also found it hard to find goals, scoring a total of just three goals in their last five.
The combined XI was tough to put together, with Rudiger and Azpilicueta being the only top class defenders between the two teams. Meanwhile, it was also tough deciding between Mount and Ozil, and Lacazette and Abraham. I opted to give the edge to the more experienced names, but that’s likely to change over the next few seasons, as Ozil’s stock continues to dip.
As I said on the podcast, everyone will see these two teams playing and automatically jump onto the over or BTTS, but I like the Under here at 7/5.
Arsenal play a tighter style under Arteta, with the Under cashing in all but one of the matches under him so far. Also, less than three match goals have been scored in four of Arsenal’s five away matches against top half teams. Chelsea have also failed to score in three of their last five at home and three or more goals have been scored in just 36% of their home games.