English Premier League football is back with a bang, as the top flight prepares to kick off once again on Friday evening.
There are still eight fixtures to be played in the league this weekend, but we have already seen some big names fall by the wayside – Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all suffered defeats at the hands of struggling sides.
With the season now coming into its final stretch, the race is hotting up for both Champions League spots and those who fancy silverware themselves. Here’s our betting tips for each game this weekend…
Southampton vs Arsenal (Friday)
Southampton go into the weekend having won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions; they’ve lost three times since Christmas, including a 2-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the week.
With so much riding on the result, it should be no surprise that Arsene Wenger will field a strong team in the North London derby. He has been backed to win by 5/6 at Sky Bet, whilst the bookmakers have also given him odds of 3/1 to claim his first victory at St Mary’s Stadium as a manager.
Arsenal have only lost twice at home since October 2015, but the Gunners have failed to take advantage of this form since losing 1-0 against West Ham United in January. This was their fourth straight defeat at Emirates Stadium, leaving them in eighth place in the table, six points behind leaders Leicester City.
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Southampton were disappointing away from home this season, winning just twice while drawing five times. They were beaten 7-2 in the reverse fixture at The Emirates, but they did manage to salvage a point after trailing 0-1 at half time.
The Saints’ defence has been a major problem all season, conceding more goals than any other side in the Premier League, and they conceded twice against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last month. With Southampton desperate to claw up the table, they could do with a good performance against the Gunners.
We’re backing the hosts to win here, with Arsenal to score first at 10/11 at BetVictor.
Bournemouth vs Burnley (Saturday)
A trip to Turf Moor is always going to be a tough assignment for Bournemouth, and although they are unbeaten in five matches at home this season, they haven’t won there since November 2015.
Burnley are looking to bounce back from their 2-2 draw against Manchester United last weekend, which kept the Clarets in ninth position in the table. With plenty of pressure on Sean Dyche’s men to end what has been a poor campaign, he’ll likely field an experienced side in attack.
Jack Cork has scored four of Bournemouth’s nine goals this season, but he hasn’t netted since December. That run came to an end when he missed a penalty against Newcastle United in the FA Cup last Saturday.
The Cherries are now without Simon Francis, who has a hamstring injury, and David Brooks has been ruled out of contention for around two weeks due to a knee problem.
This is a tricky match for the bookies, with Bournemouth priced at 13/10 to open the scoring at Coral, while Burnley are offered 8/15 to make the same happen. We think the visitors will find it difficult to break down a stubborn opposition at Turf Moor, so we’re offering you the chance to lay 12/5 about the hosts scoring first in this clash at Unibet.
West Ham vs Everton (Saturday)
It’s been a frustrating few months for Sam Allardyce at Upton Park, with the former England manager failing to steer West Ham clear of trouble during a season where everything seems to have gone wrong for the club.
They currently sit 17th in the Premier League table, and the fact that they haven’t won in their past six matches tells us that they aren’t performing anywhere near to their potential.
Everton are in a similar situation. A promising start to the campaign has turned into a nightmare, with the Toffees lying in 19th place in the table, eight points adrift of safety.
Roberto Martinez has brought in new players over the summer, most notably striker Sandro Ramirez from Villarreal, but he’s yet to get the best out of them.
Sam Allardyce will hope to see better fortunes against the Blues, who have failed to beat the Hammers at Goodison Park since September 2012. Everton have won just once at Upton Park since then, however, and the hosts are priced at 11/8 favourite at BetVictor to earn a positive result.
Crystal Palace vs Watford (Saturday)
Roy Hodgson’s men had a disappointing spell in the second tier of English football, but the appointment of Frank de Boer has helped restore confidence at Selhurst Park.
Palace are joint-top of the table with Manchester United, albeit with a game in hand, and they have won five of their last seven matches in all competitions.
Watford are bottom of the table despite sitting just outside the relegation zone, and they’ve taken just two points from their opening four games. Injuries have hit the Hornets hard, with key men Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo, Christian Kabasele and Tom Cleverley all missing recently through illness or muscle problems.
Palace have lost just once in their last nine outings, and they are available at 6/4 to claim maximum points at Vicarage Road. Our money is on the Eagles to register another clean sheet against the Hornets, who are given 6/1 odds to score first at Betway.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Sunday)
After a long wait, Chelsea finally returned to the top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Monday night.
That success has helped boost morale within Stamford Bridge, but Antonio Conte’s side will know that they need to keep improving if they are to challenge for honours this term.
They host Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, with the Blues keen to secure a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
Palace are in a similar position, sitting just outside the relegation zone. If they want to avoid being sucked in alongside Aston Villa, Fulham and Sunderland, they must start taking points off their rivals.
Conte has used Eden Hazard sparingly over the course of the season, but he may well feature against the Eagles, who have been punished by injuries in recent weeks.
Hazard is available at 9/1 to net for Chelsea at Betfair, while Christian Benteke is backed at 11/5 to hit the target. It’s not too surprising that you would pay such prices for these two, considering how badly the Eagles have struggled with injury this season.