The Final Round

Game week 19

The final round of the first half of the season has some cracking match-ups, with the New Year’s Eve clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield the standout fixture in Gameweek 19. It promises to be an exciting weekend of Premier League action with some very attractive odds on offer. Let’s get to it.

Friday 30 December

34/10 Hull City | Draw 49/20 | Everton 8/10 (22:00)
We kick things off with a clash between bottom side Hull City and seventh-placed Everton. The hosts come into this one off the back of a 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City, while the visitors make the trip to the KCOM Stadium off a 2-0 triumph away to Leicester City. Hull have picked up just one point from 15 in December and they’ve failed to score in their last three matches. Everton have been impressive in recent weeks. In their last three matches, they deservedly beat Arsenal and gave a good account of themselves in their cruel late defeat against Liverpool. And their 2-0 Boxing Day victory over the Foxes, their first away win since September, gives them a lift heading into the final match of the year against bottom-of-the-table Hull. Everton are tipped to record maximum points.

Saturday 31 December

27/20 Burnley | 43/20 | Sunderland 2/1 (17:00)
Burnley climbed further away from the bottom three thanks to a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at Turf Moor. Andre Gray provided the key contribution in a dull affair with a late strike that earned the Clarets a sixth home win of the season. Sean Dyche’s side will be looking to continue their impressive home form against Sunderland on New Year’s Eve. David Moyes made an unsuccessful return to Old Trafford as his Black Cats slid to a 3-1 defeat to leave them well ensconced in the bottom three – although they are still two points from safety. The Wearsiders have lost seven from their nine away games – including their last three – shipping 21 goals. I’m going for the home win at 27/20.

1/4 Chelsea | 9/2 | Stoke City 19/2 (17:00)
Chelsea underlined their tag as Premier League favourites with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Monday to record their 12th consecutive league victory, a club record. During that time they have scored 28 goals and conceded just twice, one of them an own goal. The Blues’ win against the Cherries came in the absence of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante, who were suspended – but will return for this fixture. However, Pedro, who scored a brace against Eddie Howe’s team, will miss the New Year’s Eve game against Stoke City after picking up his fifth yellow of the season. Antonio Conte’s side are one win short of levelling Arsenal’s record of 13 consecutive league victories, set in 2002. Stoke suffered a 4-1 defeat away to Liverpool on Tuesday which extended their winless run to four matches. The Potters’ games against the top five have so far ended in heavy defeats – 3-1 (Arsenal), 4-1 (Liverpool), 4-1 (Man City) and 4-0 (Tottenham). Chelsea are tipped to Win To Nil at 7/10.

21/20 Leicester City | 24/10 | West Ham 5/2 (17:00)
Deprived of the stars behind their improbable triumph last season, Leicester were beaten 2-0 at home by Everton on Monday in the latest disappointing result of their Premier League title defence. The Foxes, who have won just two of their last 13 games in all competitions, were without suspended players Jamie Vardy, Christian Fuchs and Robert Huth, while manager Claudio Ranieri started with Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater on the bench. Leicester will continue to be without Vardy against West Ham, but Fuchs and Huth will return to hand Ranieri a big boost. The Foxes are just three points above the relegation zone after 18 of 38 games. Slaven Bilic’s side climbed to 11th in the league table thanks to a commanding 4-1 win away to Swansea. That was West Ham’s third straight league win since their 2-2 draw at Liverpool. The Hammers look to have finally found their rhythm. I’m backing the visitors on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/10. 

1/4 Manchester United | 17/4 | Middlesbrough 11/1 (17:00)
Manchester United registered a fourth consecutive league victory as they defeated Sunderland by an overwhelming 3-1 margin at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brilliant again, Paul Pogba was imperious in midfield and Henrikh Mkhitaryan showed why Manchester United spent all that money on him with a goal of the season contender. United seem to be finding their form for the first time under Jose Mourinho and they’ll be confident of extending their winning streak against Middlesbrough. Aitor Karanka’s side succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Burnley, their third loss from their last four matches. Boro do raise their game for matches against the league’s biggest teams, but their away form doesn’t bode well for their chances. They’re winless in their last eight travels, suffering back-to-back defeats. The home win is the way to go, but for more value take the home Win & Under 2.5 Goals at 12/10 as Boro can be solid defensively.

13/20 Southampton | 51/20 | West Brom 9/2 (17:00)
Southampton are yet to play Tottenham at the time of writing. The Saints have not been firing on all cylinders this season, but they still find themselves sitting in eighth (having played a game less) and there have been signs in recent weeks that they are moving through the gears. The 3-1 win at Bournemouth last time out stretched their unbeaten run to three matches. West Brom were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Arsenal which saw them drop to ninth in the league. Tony Pulis’ side have faltered recently, suffering defeats at Chelsea and Manchester United, but they remain a difficult team to break down. A tight affair is expected, but Southampton are tipped to edge it.

7/4 Swansea City | 9/4 | Bournemouth 15/10 (17:00)
Swansea City slumped to a third consecutive loss as they were hammered 4-1 at home to West Ham on Monday. Swansea’s porous defence was again their Achilles heel as they conceded three or more goals for the fifth time in their last six league games to take their goals against total to 41. The club have decided to sack Bob Bradley after recording just two wins in his 11 games in charge. Bournemouth were outclassed 3-0 away to Chelsea and Eddie Howe will be hoping for an improved performance from his players. The Cherries have some good attacking players that can cause the Swans some problems. However, their form on the road leaves a lot to be desired, with just one win and six defeats from their nine games played. I expect Bournemouth to win this one, but Both Teams to Score is a safer bet at 13/20.

13/10 Liverpool | 49/20 | Manchester City 19/10 (19:30)
Please see featured game

Sunday 1 January

17/4 Watford | 26/10 | Tottenham 13/20 (15:30)
Troy Deeney’s 100th goal for Watford gave Walter Mazzarri’s side a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road on Monday. Deeney, who had been dropped from the starting XI after failing to score in the past 10 matches, converted from the penalty spot in the second half to force a share of the points. The Hornets are winless in three matches and have a poor record against Tottenham. Spurs are unbeaten in their last 10 meetings against Mazzarri’s men, winning seven times – including five on the spin. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are yet to play Southampton at the time of writing, regardless of what happens in that match – they should come away with maximum points.

3/10 Arsenal | 9/2 | Crystal Palace 15/2 (18:00)
Arsenal will look to extend their impressive Premier League record at the Emirates Stadium when they welcome Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day. Olivier Giroud dragged the Gunners back to winning ways as his 86th-minute header snatched a 1-0 win over West Brom at the Emirates on Monday. The win kept Arsenal nine points behind leaders Chelsea and they’ll look to put together a string of wins in their bid for a first Premier League title in 13 years. Arsene Wenger’s side boast a dominant record over the Eagles and have not lost at home to Palace since 1994. Since their return to the top flight in 2013, Palace have taken just one point from a possible 18 off the Gunners. The home win is a top bet.

Chadley Nagel

TREBLE @ 3/1
Everton Win 8/10

Chelsea Win To Nil 7/10
Arsenal Win 3/10

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