Brighton v Southampton
A mid table fixture kicks off Sunday’s bets as Brighton host Southampton with the sides separated by just a point with a top half finish to play for. Brighton currently occupy 10th spot, but Saints are breathing down their neck, along with Newcastle and Brentford, and this promises to be a close contest.
Brighton had been spiralling down the table until back to back wins in North London, having picked up just 7 points since victory at Goodison Park when they sat 8th. Despite improved performances on the road building some momentum, they’re still struggling at home, without a goal in 5 games and just 1 win in 13 games. They have scored just 4 goals in their last 10 games, favouring defensive, patient football in Potter’s 3-5-2 system.
Similar to Brighton, it’s been an up and down few weeks for Saints, losing 6-0 to Chelsea and 2-0 to Burnley either side of a 1-0 win against Arsenal. That 1-0 win masks some shambolic performances for Saints, conceding an xG of 2.38, 1.37 and 3.89 over the last 3 games. It is expected Saints will line up similar to the Burnley game with the possible introduction of Livramento helping to neutralise Brighton’s threat down the left.
The reverse fixture at St. Marys finished a draw and I wouldn’t expect too different a result this time in a close game. I really can’t see either of these defences being breached in this game with the formations cancelling out either side’s wingback threat where a significant proportion of these sides’ goals come from.
Burnley v Wolves
Since the surprise sacking of Sean Dyche, Burnley have picked up a win and a draw with much improved performances, providing optimism that the club can stay up. They should be targeting 3 points today against a Wolves side who haven’t taken to the pitch in 16 days.
A point at Champions League chasing West Ham and then a comprehensive home victory against Southampton has breathed life into a Burnley side which seemed dead and buried just a week ago. Goals from Roberts and Collins gave Mike Jackson his first win and he will look to build momentum as they approach a fixture against 19th placed Watford next week.
Bruno Lage’s men haven’t played since defeat at St. James Park, basically ending Wolves’ top 4 push, sitting 8 points off 4th but also 8 points off Leicester one spot behind Wolves. 8th place appears to be the worst possible outcome which shows how superb a season Wolves are having. Despite this, they have a notoriously poor record against Burnley, not winning in 6 and losing 4-0 and 2-1 last season.
In a bit of a meaningless game for the Midlands side, Burnley could really take their opportunity to take a pivotal three points. I can’t call which way this game goes but under Jackson, Burnley have played with more attacking intent and therefore more corners. Sharing 20 corners with Southampton and 14 with West Ham, they are averaging 7 per game under Jackson compared to their season average of 4.81. Significantly they average 5.44 corners per game at home and with Cornet and McNeil crossing the ball to 6”6 Weghorst there should be plenty of opportunities for more today.
Chelsea v West Ham
The European champions haven’t been in any sort of champions form as of late and the Gunners struck them with another wakeup call in midweek when Bukayo Saka & co. shocked Stamford Bridge in the London derby. Thomas Tuchel isn’t satisfied with the squad’s performances and one of its strongest assets was the rock-solid defence, which now makes amateurish mistakes match in, match out. Now, another London-based club is coming to the Bridge with the Hammers aiming to sustain another blow. David Moyes’ side are getting used to playing midweek and with the Europa League semis already in the bag, they are looking to finish as high as possible in the league. West Ham escaped a loss last week to the relegation threatened Burnley, but have had more time to rest during the week and focus on the match against the Blues.
The German coach is already without his first-choice centre-back Antonio Rüdiger, but the hosts also lost Andreas Christensen to injury who had to come off in midweek and be replaced by Thiago Silva, while Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mateo Kovačić are ruled out. Just like Chelsea, the visitors are facing problems at the heart of defense too with Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop all injured.
Chelsea are safe for now in 3rd place, but that may easily change if they continue to drop points. Starting from Mendy to Rüdiger and Christensen, they have all made unusual mistakes leading to goals and with only Silva and Sarr available now, the confidence within Blues’ backline is low. The same goes for West Ham as they remain with only one fit centre-back. I expect both teams to score as they look vulnerable at the back and their issues at centre-back are crucial in installing confidence ahead of the goalkeeper.
Liverpool v Everton
Another electric performance from Liverpool saw them put 4 past United last week keeping pressure on leaders Manchester City. Today they entertain another fierce rival at Anfield as Everton make the trip across Stanley Park for a difficult away fixture.
A brace from Salah and goals from Diaz and Mane saw off a poor United team who put up just 1 shot on target and 27% possession, only emphasising the quality Liverpool have. United aren’t the only side to struggle at Anfield this season as Liverpool are the only unbeaten side with 42 points in 16 home games, scoring 43 goals in the process.
Everton fans won’t be full of confidence in this game, knowing their side have picked up just 6 points on the road this season, conceding well over 2 a game in the process. After opening up a 4 points gap over the bottom 3 by beating United, they now sit just a point above Burnley with a far more difficult set of fixtures to come and a realistic chance of relegation.
The best home side facing the worst away side in the league should only lead to one outcome with Liverpool taking the 3 points. Over 2.5 goals also landed in 66% of Liverpool games, including a 4-1 Liverpool win at Goodison, and 67% of Everton away games. Notoriously, Everton struggle on the road against a 4-3-3, conceding 3 goals at Newcastle, Palace and City. I wouldn’t bet against them doing the same here today.
Crystal Palace v Leeds United
The Eagles may have fallen short in their bid to secure a ticket for the FA Cup final, but still Patrick Vieira is on course for a solid debut season at the helm and the Frenchman enjoys a vast support from the fans. After back-to-back league defeats on the road, Palace is back at Selhurst Park to welcome the Whites who are unbeaten in the past four league matches and are in decent form. The appointment of Jesse March to replace Marcelo Bielsa is proving to be a correct decision so far as the highly-rated coach has improved Leeds’ chances of staying up. They have noted important wins against their direct rivals for safety and moved clear of Everton and the relegation zone for now, but there is still plenty to play and the visit in London is another opportunity to secure much-needed points.
The hosts’ coach is still unsure whether the talented winger Michael Olise will be fit as he came off early in midweek and the same goes for Luka Milivojević. The Whites hope to have Junior Firpo, Jamie Shackleton and Adam Forshaw back in the squad, but remain without their first-choice striker Patrick Bamford who has endured an injury-riddled season.
Crystal Palace are looking to move closer to the middle of the table rather than the bottom and end their three-match losing run. However, Vieira’s defence hasn’t looked good as of late despite Joachim Andersen and Marc Guéhi being impressive not so long ago. The Whites may have improved their efficiency in attack, but remain vulnerable at the back and concede too many goals boasting the worst record (68 conceded goals) in the Premier League. The confidence within Palace’s backline isn’t high, but the same goes for Luke Ayling & co. and I expect an open match with more than a couple of goals.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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