There’s some excellent television fayre in the English Premier League this weekend, with each of the top three in action. Title winners in waiting Chelsea face a tough trip across London on Monday night to play at West Ham – a team that always raises its game against the Blues. The Hammers have beaten Chelsea on their last two visits, once at the Boleyn Ground last season, and once at the London Stadium this season.
Second-placed Spurs welcome Everton to White Hart Lane on Sunday, where two of the hottest strikers in the division square up. Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane are joint-top of the Premier League scoring charts along with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, and goals could well be on the menu in a great match between two of England’s traditional ‘big five’.
The headline bet of the week has to be in the match at the Stadium of Light, when Sunderland welcome Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. recent matches against Monaco in the Champions League and Huddersfield in the FA Cup have highlighted the Citizen’s propensity for goals. They consistently struggle to keep clean sheets, but rarely fail to end up on the winning side.
Sunderland v Manchester City
Odds of +175 with Betfair about City winning and both teams rustling the net are more than fair. The bet would have been a winner in five of the last six games between these two sides, and the circumstances that both clubs find themselves in point to an open game.
Even if Manchester City have given up on hopes of catching Chelsea and snatching the Premier League title, they are still in a five-way battle for the other three top four spots. Anything less than victory over a Sunderland side that look destined for the Championship will be seen as a disappointment for Pep Guardiola. His team has certainly found its shooting boots of late – notching five times in each of those last two games against Monaco and Huddersfield. They’ve also won each of the last three Premier League matches against West Ham, Swansea and Bournemouth, so arrive in good form.
The same cannot be said for Sunderland, who have occupied last position in the league for large chunks of the season. With just 19 points on the board, David Moyes men need to almost double their tally to have a chance of staying up – but they have just 12 games in which to do it. The recent mini-revival which saw them draw 0-0 with Spurs and thump Crystal Palace 4-0, was brought to an abrupt end with 4-0 and 2-0 defeats to Southampton and Everton respectively.
Tottenham v Everton
Both teams to score looks a solid bet at -118 with 188Bet when Everton travel to Spurs in Sunday’s early kick off.
Despite putting in mediocre European performances in both Champions League and Europa League, Spurs have been largely consistent in the Premier League. They went unbeaten domestically until a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in late November, and the only other games lost to date have been away at top four rivals Liverpool and Manchester United. Home form is also exceptional, with eleven wins in the last twelve games across all competitions.
Everton have also shown excellent form in recent months, and the Toffees are unbeaten in the league since the unfortunate 1-0 reverse to deadly rivals Liverpool back in December. Crucially, Lukaku has started to find the net on a regular basis again, and his goals have helped the Merseyside club strengthen their grip on 7th place.
Spurs have conceded in four of their last five matches, but have scored nine goals in the same period. Everton have scored in four of their last five, and although they’ve kept three clean sheets in those games, it’s hard to see them keeping out the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli for ninety minutes.
West Ham v Chelsea
It’s true that the Pensioners have a strong overall record against the Hammers, but they have lost on their last two visits to East London. West Ham were 2-1 victors in the last fixture between the sides at the Boleyn Ground back in October 2015, and won their first encounter at the London Stadium 2-1 earlier this season. That EFL Cup match is still described by fans as the best atmosphere that the new ground has experienced, and another night game under the lights should create more of the same.
West Ham have recovered well froom losing talisman Dimitri Payet, although performances have probably been a little better than the bare results suggest. They were pegged back by a late West Brom goal for a 2-2 draw in a game the Hammers dominated, and it was a similar story away at Watford last week. After conceding a 3rd minute penalty, West Ham went on to control the game but only came away with a point from a 1-1 draw for their troubles. Neither of those teams are in the same ‘league’ as Chelsea, and backers of the Pensioners will point to convincing Manchester City and Manchester United wins here as evidence of the Blues’ chances.
However, Antonio Conte’s men have only won once in their last four on the road in the Premier League, which makes it hard to recommend a bet at odds-on. Liverpool and Burnley have held Hazard and co. to draws in recent weeks, and Spurs inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the Champions elect at the start of January. This may not be the walk in the park that the bookies expect judging by their odds, and there is a touch of value about a stalemate.
Man City to win & both teams to score
Sunday 5th March, 16:00 GMT
Tottenham v Everton – Both teams to score
Sunday 5th March, 13:30 GMT
West Ham & Chelsea to Draw
Monday 6th March, 20:00 GMT
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