We pick out our best bets from the Premier League 3pm matches on Saturday.
Arsenal v Sunderland
No wins in November and a host of injuries meant it was a very bad month for Arsenal, although they can still qualify in the Champions League and are sure to have one eye on next week heading into this game. The loss of Alexis Sanchez is the big one, with the Gunners having lost the last two matches he’s failed to start and the improving Black Cats will be hoping to cause a shock. They’ve actually managed three nil-nils here in the past five seasons while four of their six matches since Big Sam took over have been goalless at the break. Arsenal’s home form is decent but they’ve been goalless at half-time in five of their last 12 games here against bottom-six teams and without Sanchez it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them frustrated early on.
Man Utd v West Ham
We expected goals in Man Utd’s game last week, as Leicester’s defence is not the best but they are dangerous counter-attackers. Of course for the Foxes to do that they’d have needed United to attack in the first place. However, United are probably facing West Ham at the right time as the loss of Dimitri Payet has seen them start to struggle after a great start and Diafra Sakho has now joined him on the sidelines. The Hammers have scored just three goals in their last four games with three matches having fewer than three goals. United, meanwhile, have conceded just one goal at Old Trafford this season and six of their last eight home games have had fewer than three goals.
Southampton v Aston Villa
Villa are facing a crucial period of winnable, and also must-win games, as they look to get out of trouble. A home defeat against Watford wasn’t the answer they were looking for last week and anything from this trip would be a surprise. Two points from their last 13 games and 15 defeats in their last 18 on the road highlights just how much they are struggling. Furthermore, the Saints’ record here against the bottom seven last season and teams currently in the bottom seven this term is 100% (W10-D0-L0), with a goal difference of +31. That includes a 6-1 win over Villa at the end of last season where Sadio Mane scored the quickest hat-trick in Premier League history. They were 5-1 up at half-time that day and another Win/Win looks on the cards.
Swansea v Leicester
Swansea would have expected a lot more from recent games against Norwich and Bournemouth and their blip may soon become a crisis. They’ve not won in five at home and are struggling to find the net having failed to score in six of their last 10 matches. Leicester are unbeaten in 10 away games with six wins and they’ve scored at least twice in the last five of these. However, the weather forecast suggests high winds and the Foxes might find it difficult to create quite as many chances as usual. Swansea have a full strength squad to pick from and this looks a tight match but with the tricky expected conditions we could see a low scoring match that adds to the seven goalless opening halves in Swansea’s last 11 matches.
Watford v Norwich
It’s been a perfect start for Watford and their win at Aston Villa last weekend has given them a nine point buffer over the bottom three. Norwich only have a three point gap to the drop zone but they’d certainly take that at the end of the season. Both sides came up having scored lots of goals but Watford’s success this term has been built on a solid defence while the Canaries have conceded just five times in their last five games despite matches against each of last season’s top three. Watford conceded five goals in their home games against Man Utd and Arsenal but just one in their remaining five matches here, which saw just four goals in total from either side.
West Brom v Spurs
Both teams picked up relatively satisfactory draws last weekend but while the Baggies will surely take another point here Spurs will be looking for all three. Half the last 10 matches between these two sides have finished all-square so that definitely has a chance, particularly with Pulis’ negative tactics and the tricky weather forecast potentially providing a levelling factor. We certainly wouldn’t be backing the Baggies though, as Spurs are unbeaten in 13 games and have an excellent record away to bottom-half teams of eight wins and just one defeat from 12 matches since the start of last season. However, they have drawn half their matches this term and West Brom may just hold on for the point they will surely play for.