We pick out the best bets from the non-TV Premier League matches on Saturday and Sunday.
Chelsea v West Ham
Both these sides featured in the FA Cup last weekend and while the Hammers earnt themselves a replay with United, Chelsea got knocked out of their second competition in the space of four days to confirm a trophy-less season. The Blues remain unbeaten under Hiddink in the league but have drawn five of the six home matches and West Ham have lost just two of their last 16 so at 1.74 for a home win we are happy to take on the Stamford Bridge club. The Hammers should be thanking Gareth Barry as he managed to rile Diego Costa up so much on the weekend that the hot-head forward got himself sent off and suspended for this game. He’s been a key man this season and in the six games he hasn’t started Chelsea have gone W0-D4-L2, failing to score in half of these. The only current top-six club the reigning league champions have beaten this season is Arsenal, while they lost to today’s opponents earlier in the season. Bilic’s side are on a three match winning streak and have picked up impressive wins on the road at City and Liverpool already this term so we expect them to get something out of the game.
Crystal Palace v Leicester
Leicester’s incredible title bid continued on Monday night with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle where they didn’t hit the heights of their performances so far this season but still picked up the all-important three points. Next up they visit a Palace side that have lost eight of a 12 match winless run in the league. The league leader’s defence has been impressive of late with eight clean sheets in their last 12 although only two of those came away from home where they’ve only kept four clean sheets in 15 this season. Despite their current barren run Palace are still scoring goals, netting in their last seven, and their last five defeats have come despite getting on the scoresheet. Under Pardew the Eagles have a W3-D1-L9 record against top-six opponents, while the Foxes have won five of their last seven against bottom-six sides so we don’t expect their bubble to burst here.
Watford v Stoke
Watford are enduring a terrific season after promotion as they look set for survival, sitting 14 points above the drop zone and with a place in the FA Cup semi-finals. Their home form this season has gone from one extreme to the other as their first four at Vicarage Road saw just two goals before a stretch of eight games where six had at least three strikes and now their last three have seen just one score. Stoke have been inconsistent and after a few good results they were really poor last weekend when losing at home to Southampton. Since Hughes took the helm in 2013 the Potters have gone W2-D5-L1 on the road to promoted sides with six of these games seeing fewer than three goals. Under 2.5 goals seems likely between these two but 1.62 doesn’t represent much value. Instead the half-time draw looks a better option as six of those eight away matches Stoke played against promoted-sides were level at the break, as have 19 of Watford’s 29 matches been so far this season including their last seven in a row and 11/15 at home.
WBA v Norwich
West Brom have enjoyed a recent hot streak picking up three wins in the last four including a 1-0 over Man Utd and a great point at leaders Leicester to effectively secure top flight football for another year. If Norwich are to stand any chance of staying up then the next four games are crucial as they come up against Newcastle, Palace and Sunderland after their trip to the Midlands. They picked up an unlikely point against City last weekend but are still 10 games without a victory while away from home they’ve been dire, losing 10 of their last 11 and failing to score in seven of the defeats. This season nine of the Baggies’ 10 matches against the current bottom-six have had fewer than three strikes and at home they’ve gone W3-D2-L0 against this opposition type. Norwich are struggling for any kind of form and West Brom have been impressive of late so look good value at 2.25 but we are willing to take a punt on the home win and under 2.5 goals
Southampton v Liverpool (Sunday)
These sides sit next to each other in the table on 44 points but Liverpool have two games in hand so if the Saints want to replicate last season by reaching Europe then this is a must win game. A last-minute Benteke penalty against Palace meant that Liverpool recorded three consecutive league victories under Klopp for the first time. The Reds have won on their last three visits to St Mary’s, including a 6-1 thrashing in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season, but Southampton have won their last three home matches against top-half opposition and are coming of the back of an impressive win at the Britannia so we are happy to avoid the result here. Six of the Saints nine home matches against top-half opposition this season have featured at least three goals as have five of Liverpool’s last six league games. Firmino’s form has been a major factor in Liverpool’s improvement and after struggling to get in the team to start with, only starting three of the first 10 games this season, the Brazilian has started 16 of the last 18 with the team finding the net on 31 occasions in those 16.
Spurs v Bournemouth (Sunday)
Bournemouth have recorded three victories on the bounce to almost guarantee safety next season which is an incredible feat for the small south-coast club. They will be tested today though as they visit a Spurs side fighting for the title that have a very impressive record against promoted sides under Pochettino – W10-D1-L0 including a 100% record at the Lane. This season Spurs have gone W9-D5-L1 against bottom-half clubs and seven of the nine wins have been by at least two clear goals, scoring 24 goals in these nine games. As you would expect, Bournemouth have struggled against the big clubs as their record reads W1-D3-L4 against top-six teams, with their only success coming at home to Man Utd who have hardly set the world alight under LVG. Each of the four losses were by two or more goals as has been the case with eight of their last 10 losses in the league. No team has scored more and no team has conceded fewer than Spurs this season and given their record against promoted sides we expect a comfortable win.