We round up the best bets from the weekend's 3pm KO Premier League matches.
Everton v Southampton
Everton continued their underwhelming domestic season with a 0-0 draw mid-week to Palace and it now seems they are completely relying on the FA Cup for any European aspirations. It’s their form at Goodison that has been really disappointing as a W4-D4-L8 record speaks for itself and only Villa have a worse home record. Their four wins have come against the current bottom-three and an out of sorts early season Chelsea side and as a result the they’ve drawn two and lost six of their other eight home matches against the current top-half.
Southampton will fancy their chances visiting Merseyside and arrive in decent form, only losing to Leicester in their last five including three wins. They’ll be boosted by James McCarthy’s absence after getting sent off mid-week. The Toffees have a W3-D8-L8 record in the 19 games the midfielder has failed to start since the start of last season. The Saints look a good price to price to pick up all three points at 3.5 but given their inconsistent W5-D5-L6 record on the road we’ll take some cover on the draw, although correct score punters should note that seven of Southampton’s 12 away wins under Ronald Koeman have been 1-0, which is worth a punt at 10.5.
Man Utd v Aston Villa
It’s been on the cards for months now but a defeat will officially relegate Villa to the Championship. Man Utd have the honour of sending the Midlands club down and despite conceding three goals in eight minutes last weekend at Spurs they should be feeling confident having booked themselves a place in the FA Cup semis after an impressive midweek win at Upton Park. Utd have won their last four league matches at Old Trafford and their home record against bottom-six sides under LVG reads W10-D2-L1, with nine of these 13 matches seeing at least three goals. Villa have conceded at least twice in 11 of their 16 away matches this season but have managed to find the net on nine occasions. They don’t seem to have any fight left in them losing eight consecutive matches so the floodgates could open as they plan for life in the Championship.
Newcastle v Swansea
One point from 21 perhaps best highlights best why Newcastle look the likeliest team to join Villa in the Championship. This is surely last chance saloon as they play Man City, Liverpool and Spurs in their last five games and it is a perfect opportunity to close the gap on Norwich and Sunderland as either one or both are guaranteed to drop points after taking each other on in the early kick-off. It’s a fixture that the Magpies have a poor record in, having lost six and won once in the nine head-to-heads since Swansea’s arrival in the Premier league. It’s also produced plenty of goals with five of the last seven seeing at least three strikes and goals have been coming more frequently for Swansea of late; after failing to score in nine of 21 matches under Gary Monk they’ve since scored in 11/12 matches. As a result five of their six away matches under new management have seen at least three goals with the last two having four or more. Newcastle have to win so Rafa will have no choice but to set up his team to attack so we’re happy to back ‘overs’ in this one.
West Brom v Watford
Both of these sides will be happy that they’re safe in the Premier league for another season. Watford had an impressive first half of the season going W8-D5-L5 from their first 18 matches but have gone W2-D3-L9 since as their main focus seems to be the FA Cup now. The goals have dried up recently as well as they’ve failed to score in eight of their last 12 matches which has resulted in eight of those matches having fewer than three strikes and half having no more than one. Since Pulis took charge at West Brom 14 of their 26 games against bottom-half opposition have had fewer than two goals. Furthermore, this is also the case in three of their four matches against promoted sides this term, with the exception being against Bournemouth who are by far the freest scoring out of the promoted sides. Excluding Villa no team have scored fewer goals this season than these two (both 31) so we don’t expect this to be a goal-fest.
Bournemouth v Liverpool (Sunday)
In Liverpool’s two trips to promoted teams this season they’ve won a crazy 5-4 game at Norwich and lost 3-0 at Watford. Basically, Liverpool being Liverpool and proving frustratingly inconsistent. However, going back to that Norwich game and seven of their nine matches have had at least three goals with five having four or more and none fewer than two. Bournemouth’s last five games have also all had at least three goals and half their last 12 home matches have had four or more strikes. It’s also worth noting that Max Gradel has started the last six Cherries games after recovering from serious injury and it’s no coincidence they’ve scored at least twice in four of those. With Callum Wilson also returning to fitness their attack looks in excellent shape and we could be in for a goal-fest.