Just as Man City seem to find form they draw 0-0 with Villa and suffer worst home loss in 5 years!
Aston Villa v Watford
Remi Garde learnt the full extent of his challenge at Villa last weekend and it’s now two points from 12 matches as they face a crucial period of must win games. It’s also just two goals scored in their last six games and six of their last eight at home have had fewer than three goals, as have eight of Watford’s last 12 league matches. Furthermore, seven of those 12 Watford’s games have been goalless at the break while Villa have scored before half-time just twice in their last 14 matches so don’t expect a classic in this one.
Bournemouth v Everton
Everton spanked Villa last week and will expect a repeat against another leading relegation candidate. The Toffees have lost just one of their 13 matches against promoted teams since 2013/14, including a W3-D3-L0 away record, and are playing as well as at any point in that time. Their record this season against the teams currently below them is an impressive W5-D3-L0 and they’ve scored at least three goals in all five wins. Bournemouth, meanwhile, have picked up just two points from their last seven matches, including a 5-1 defeat the last time they hosted a top-half team.
Crystal Palace v Newcastle
Palace suffered a disappointing home loss to Sunderland on Monday and next face the other struggling side from the North East. We took Palace on in that game and they again look too short, with their best performances consistently coming on the road where they can utilise their dangerous counter attacks. Palace have won just three of 14 home games against bottom-half teams since the start of last season, with eight defeats. Newcastle’s away record is of course shocking but they snatched a win at Bournemouth in their last road trip and are unbeaten in four meetings with Palace in the past two seasons.
Man City v Southampton
Every time City look to be finding their best form they promptly seem to put a couple of bad performances together and after a 0-0 with Villa they suffered their worst home defeat in over five years. They’ve won the first half in just one of their last 11 matches while Southampton are unbeaten on the road this season with half-time draws in all six of their away games. The Saints defence is certainly doing a good job at the moment and they’ve conceded less than one goal per game on the road since the start of last season, including allowing just two in their last five combined. Graziano Pelle’s suspension means their attack is significantly weakened and the City clean sheet has some appeal at 11/8 while Under 2.5 Goals looks a good bet at 6/5.
Sunderland v Stoke
With five clean sheets and four 1-0 wins in their last six matches Stoke are climbing up towards the top half. Sunderland are also defending better as they’ve conceded fewer than two goals in four of their last five games. The Mackems have won just five of 25 home games since the start of last season but one of those was against Stoke. They’ll do well to repeat, however, with that being the Potters only defeat in their last 12 trips to bottom-six teams, though seven of the games finished all-square while both teams scored in eight. In a tricky game to call the draw looks the best value.
Liverpool v Swansea
Liverpool shocked Man City last weekend while Swansea could only manage a point against struggling Bournemouth and these sides are currently heading in different directions. However, the Reds’ win at Chelsea was followed by a home defeat to Crystal Palace and their home record this season hasn’t been great so lets not get carried away. They’ve won only four of their 11 home games against teams placed 10th-18th since the start of last season and only one of those was by more than one goal. Swansea’s bright start to the campaign has faded badly and they don’t have a good record against Liverpool. However, they’ve lost only half their last 10 trips to top-half teams and two of those were by just one goal, so while the absence of Jonjo Shelvey is a blow they nevertheless look decent value on the handicap.