- It’s Matchday 21 in the EPL, with a full New Year’s Day schedule
- Arteta still looking for first win in the Arsenal hot-seat, as Man Utd head to the Emirates
- Ancelotti’s flying Everton take on stuttering City at the Etihad
A full New Year’s Day schedule in the EPL concludes the hectic festive program, from which Liverpool have emerged well on course to win their first title since 1990. With a huge 13-point lead and a game in hand on all of their rivals, the Merseysiders look certs to be lifting the trophy in May.
Everything else is up for grabs, including a battle royal for the Champions League places and a relegation battle which could arguably involve at least half the division. Only beleaguered Norwich look to have already lost their fight for survival.
As ever, there’s still plenty of betting value to be had in the EPL, so we’ll have a look and see if we can find some.
Premier League Matchday 21 Odds
|Burnley||-0.5 (-118)||-118||O 2.5 (-115)|
|Aston Villa||+0.5 (+102)||+290||U 2.5 (-105)|
|Brighton||+0.5 (-105)||+275||O 3 (+122)|
|Chelsea||-0.5 (-115)||-115||U 3 (-142)|
|Newcastle||+0.5, +1 (+110)||+420||O 2.5 (-112)|
|Leicester||-0.5, -1 (-130)||-167||U 2.5 (-108)|
|Southampton||+0.5 (-128)||+215||O 3 (+109)|
|Tottenham||-0.5 (+108)||+108||U 3 (-129)|
|Watford||pk, +0.5 (-110)||+200||O 2.5 (+108)|
|Wolves||pk, -0.5 (-110)||+129||U 2.5 (-128)|
|West Ham||pk, -0.5 (-137)||-104||O 2.5, 3 (-112)|
|Bournemouth||pk, +0.5 (+117)||+265||U 2.5, 3 (-108)|
|Norwich City||pk, (-128)||+147||O 2.5 (-110)|
|Crystal Palace||pk, (+108)||+176||U 2.5 (-110)|
|Manchester City||-2, (+126)||-357||O 3.5 (-111)|
|Everton||+2, (-146)||+775||U 3.5 (-109)|
|Arsenal||pk, (-102)||+169||O 3 (+101)|
|Manchester United||pk, (-118)||+150||U 3 (-121)|
|Liverpool||-1, -1.5 (-152)||-345||O 3, 3.5 (+124)|
|Sheffield United||+1, +1.5 (+132)||+875||U 3, 3.5 (-144)|
All odds taken Dec. 31.
EPL Pick 1: Arsenal vs Manchester United
Arsenal produced a stirring, passionate performance in Mikel Arteta’s first home game, vs Chelsea, but the Gunners came up just short. Despite taking the lead, two late Chelsea goals were enough for the Blues to win a feisty London derby.
The defeat left Arsenal down in 12th, 11 points adrift of the Champions League places, and left Arteta in no doubt over the size of the task that awaits. A top-four finish looks out of reach for them, although much will depend on their activity in the January transfer window. United will offer a test every bit as great as Chelsea.
The Red Devils are second in the form table over the last six games, behind only Liverpool, and have won four in their last six. Consistency has been their big problem but the return to fitness of a motivated Paul Pogba has given them a significant boost. They are only four points shy of the Champions League places and they have that vital ingredient – momentum. They also have Anthony Martial playing some of the best soccer of his United career.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 30, 2019
But Arsenal played well for long periods against Chelsea and with Arteta still in his honeymoon period, I can see them nicking at least a draw here in front of a boisterous Emirates crowd.
Pick: Arsenal and Man Utd to draw (+235)
EPL Pick 2: Manchester City vs Everton
City didn’t expect to be third in the EPL at this stage, neither did they expect to have suffered five losses and to have drawn twice. For City manager Pep Guardiola, it’s been a season of underachievement in the league while watching his team save their best form for the Champions League. Even with half of the season still to go, the 14-point gap between them and Liverpool looks insurmountable.
So, on that basis, the visit from Everton is an intriguing one that may not be the one-sided affair most would have predicted a few weeks ago. The Toffees have replaced Marco Silva – whose Everton team were languishing in the bottom half of the league – with the vastly experienced Carlo Ancelotti, and the effect on the team’s confidence has been almost instant. A home draw – and more importantly a clean sheet – against Arsenal in Ancelotti’s first game was followed up with a fine away win at in-form Newcastle.
So, while City are odds-on, the value here is with another Everton away win and it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Let’s not underestimate the Ancelotti-effect and back the Toffees to pull off a shock.
Pick: Everton to win (+775)
EPL Pick 3: Southampton vs Tottenham
For most of the season, Saints have been marooned in the EPL’s bottom three and had looked almost certs for relegation, but a remarkable turnaround has seen them win three of their last six. As a result, they have leaped up to a healthy-looking 15th-place, with striker Danny Ings hitting a rich vein of form.
Tottenham, meanwhile, has flattered to deceive far too often and even the installation of Jose Mourinho as manager has had limited impact on their league form. Last time out, they only managed a draw at bottom-of-the-table Norwich and have generally struggled to put a string of wins together that would solidify their place in the top four.
The value here looks to be with Southampton who, as a result of seeing how fragile Spurs looked at Norwich, will fancy this one.
Pick: Southampton to win (+215)