Southampton are one of the best bets in our Saturday Premier League round-up.
Chelsea v Stoke
A second half goal from the ‘Alpine Messi’ was enough for Stoke to see off Newcastle midweek to make it three wins on the bounce and climb up to seventh in the table just five points off fourth. Their other wins came against a woeful Villa side and Bournemouth so a trip to Stanford Bridge will really test their European credentials. Chelsea too have tasted victory in their last three league outings and still remain unbeaten domestically under Hiddink. The Etihad and Goodison are the only two grounds to have seen more goals than the Bridge so far this season and as a result both teams have scored in 10 of their 14 home matches, including all five under current management, whilst keeping just three clean sheets. Even more remarkably The Blues have now hosted every club in the bottom half of the table so with stronger opposition still to come expect more goals. The Potters have now scored in eight of their last 11 and with the likes of Arnautovic and Shaquiri in their line-up they should have opportunities to score against a less than sturdy Chelsea defence.
Everton v West Ham
As inconsistent as Everton have been they had no problem cruising to victory over Championship bound Villa on Tuesday night. Surprisingly it is their away form that makes for better reading this season having gone W5-D7-L1 compared to W4-D4-L6 at home, so at 1.78 they look very short to beat a strong West Ham outfit. The Hammers proved mid-week what a good side they’ve become under Bilic by defeating a high-flying Spurs side and looking to stronger of the two throughout the 90 minutes. They’ve only lost two of their nine matches against middle-third sides this term and their away form has been decent enough (W5-D5-L4). Everton’s only win from their 11 matches against top-half opposition this season came away at Stoke as they’ve been poor at Goodison – W0-D3-L3. Given the two sides performances so far this season West Ham look decent value at 4.8 and we expect them to take major confidence from the Spurs result so are willing to back them while covering the draw as no two teams have drawn more matches than these two this season.
Man City v Aston Villa
Three losses on the bounce has looked to have effectively end Man City’s title challenge as the fans will now have to wait for Guardiola’s arrival before they can start dreaming about the trophy again. Last time out at the Etihad they suffered the second of their back-to back home defeats (the first time since 2008/09), however they needn’t worry about losing three in a row as they host doomed Aston Villa who have lost 10 of their last 13 away matches. It’s no surprise that that City have an impressive W14-D3-L1 record when hosting bottom-six clubs since 2013/14. 14 of these saw at least three goals while 10 of the last 14 saw both teams net. This term 12 out of 14 home matches have seen O2.5 goals with seven of the last 11 seeing at least four goals and both teams scoring in nine of these. We wouldn’t put anyone off O3.5 Goals at 2.38 but we’re happy to go with a home win and both teams to score as this has happened in each of The Citizens five wins at the Etihad against the bottom-six sides this season while Villa have managed to net at Spurs & Leicester
Newcastle v Bournemouth
Newcastle’s dreadful away form continued as they lost at Stoke mid-week and at 19th in the table they enter a season defining run of games as they play four of the current bottom-six in their next six encounters. First up is Bournemouth who secured a crucial win over their south-coast rivals on Tuesday to give them an eight point buffer from the drop zone. Given it’s their top flight season the Cherries have an acceptable W4-D4-L6 away record with five of those defeats coming in their first six road trips. Against fellow bottom-six sides they have drawn two and lost won. 17 of the Magpies 24 points this season have come at home including two wins in a row. Their record when hosting promoted sides since 2013/14 is W5-D1-L2 so we are willing to side with them in front of the faithful Toon army.
Southampton v Sunderland
Southampton fans have endured a roller-coaster season with their team either on a hot streak or a cold streak. Sunderland will be disappointed not to have taken all three points after being 1-0 up at the interval against a struggling Palace side and now they visit St Mary’s, a ground they won’t have fond memories of after their humiliating 8-0 thumping last season. The Saints were poor against Bournemouth but were a bit unlucky to lose to Chelsea in their previous home match and we expect them to get back to winning ways on Saturday given their record against bottom- six teams. Under Koeman they’ve won six of their seven home matches against this type of opposition with five to nil and five by more than one goal. The Black Cats have lost 10 of their 14 away matches this term with eight of them by at least two goals and four of their five defeats against top-half opposition have been by at least two goals.
Swansea v Norwich
Swansea’s confidence should be at a season high after coming away from the Emirates with all three points. Although they remain in a relegation battle they have an opportunity to put a nine point gap between themselves and a Norwich side that have picked up just one point from their last eight games and have lost nine of their last 10 away matches. Five of Swansea’s last six home matches have had fewer than three goals and the Canaries have only scored one goal in their last five on the road so don’t expect a goalfest. But at 1.83 for Under 2.5 goals we think there is more value in backing Swansea. Since their introduction to the Premier League the Welsh club have gone W6-D6-L1 at home to promoted sides including five wins in their last seven and seven of the last nine finishing with fewer than three goals. If you’re feeling bullish then a home win and U2.5 goals is available at 4.0 but we’re happy to just stick with the result especially as Norwich can’t seem to buy a win at the moment.