Premier League Match Previews and Betting Tips: Matchday 16

Premier League Match Previews and Betting Tips: Matchday 16

Fixtures are coming thick and fast with a round of games squeezed into midweek before the New Year. Join us as we preview all the games and share our thoughts and tips for the fixtures. 

Match of the Day

Tuesday night sees an intriguing clash between Manchester United and Wolves. Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leicester on Boxing Day and sit in 4th place. Wolves are in mid-table but a win here could see them edge towards European places. 

Manchester United v Wolves
Manchester United Form Guide DWDWD
Wolves Form Guide DLWLW
  • Venue: Old Trafford
  • Tuesday 29 December 20:00
  • Referee: Jonathan Moss
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 8/3 D:33/10 A: 11/2

About the Game:

Manchester United are reaping the reward for patience with their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjear. A man who seemingly has nine lives, always finding a way of redeeming himself every time his career faces a serious threat. The Red Devils were recently knocked out of the UEFA Champions’ League group stage but bounced back in the league, winning back to back matches and getting a very credible 2-2 draw against Leicester City who was in second place before the pair kicked off on Boxing Day. United took the lead twice in that game courtesy of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes but had to settle for a draw, denying them a record-equalling 11th consecutive away win in the Premier League.

The Red Devils have the depth in their squad to be title contenders. As we have seen in recent weeks, especially away from home, they can string together a sequence of results which is key to challenging the expected likely challengers’ Manchester City & Liverpool. Edison Cavani is proving himself as an elite striker and is a great back-up option if regular strikers Marcus Rashford & Anthony Martial are having an off day. The 33-year-old adds a different dimension to the attack and has scored three goals and two assists this season in one start and seven appearances from the bench. Another player that gives Ole Gunnar Solskjær options is Donny van de Beek; the 23-year-old has been used sparingly making just two starts, but the youngster should learn a lot from Paul Pogba

Bet on Manchester United v Wolves at 888sport

This season Wolves have drifted far from the standards that they set last year. Last campaign they finished 7th, only missing out on 6th place to Tottenham on goal difference. It may have been that success that has caused them to struggle this season, with teams now aware of the team’s threat and the club not having the strength in depth that you see in other teams such as their opponents in this clash. You can see this in their home clash with Manchester City. Last season they beat Manchester City 3-2, Wolves having 21 shots, compared to City’s 7. In the same fixture this year they lost 3-1, having just 34.8% of the possession. That said, Wolves picked up a great point in Sunday night’s clash with Tottenham. Ndombele scored from 20 yards after 57 seconds to give Tottenham the lead, but Romain Saiss levelled the game in the 86th minute. Wolves nearly grabbed all three points at the end, Fabio Silva missing a chance on 95 minutes.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo seems to have lost the inspiration he did have, but in fairness, he is missing one of his most influential players, Raul Jimenez. The 29-year old suffered a horrific head injury in Wolves’ Premier League clash with Arsenal. The Mexican forward suffered a fractured skull and required surgery, and it is not known when he will return. The form of Adama Traore does not help the club’s cause, the 24-year-old has started seven games and has come off the bench seven times, but has failed to score or create a single goal in that time. There are positives for Wolves, 20-year-old Pedro Neto has impressed, the youngster has scored four goals and made two assists in all competitions, picking up the man-of-the-match award in three games.

Prediction: Manchester United win, over 2.5.

Rest of the Premier League Games

Coming up are our previews and Premier League betting tips for all the rest of the weekend’s action.

Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Crystal Palace Form Guide LLDWL
Leicester Form Guide WWLDD
  • Venue: Selhurst Park
  • Monday 28 December 15:00
  • Referee: Graham Scott
  • Quick Glance OddsH:14/5 D: 13/5 A: 22/19

About the Game:

It’s hard to believe Crystal Palace were the lowest-scoring team last season. Wilfred Zaha has already scored seven this campaign, surpassing his goal tally of four goals in the entirety of last season which feels like a very low tally for their best player. Christian Benteke has found his Aston Villa form that earned him a £32.5m move to Liverpool in 2015, at the time it was the second-highest fee that Liverpool had paid. The 30-year-old has scored three, but his hold-up play is so vital for the Eagles. Palace was well beaten on Boxing Day by Aston Villa, despite Villa being reduced to ten men for the entirety of the second half, the midlands team won 3-0. They currently sit in 13th, seven points above the drop zone and seven away from the European spots.

Leicester City has a long-term issue to solve with Jamie Vardy’s age, but right now, they are certainly benefiting from their star man’s goals, speed, and performance. In thirteen starts, Vardy has 11 goals and made four assists, and the Englishman is likely to be a contender for the Golden Boot. A criticism aimed at Leicester is that they are a one-man team, you stop Vardy, and you stop Leicester. In Leicester’s last game, a 2-2 draw with third-placed Manchester United, Vardy did fail to score. Still, it was his close-range effort that United defender Axel Tuanzebe diverted into his own net in the 85th minute to level the scores. Stand out results for the Foxes this year include a great 5-2 win at the Etihad against Manchester City and a fine 2-0 win at Tottenham, giving Brendan Rodgers his first win against Jose Mourinho.

Prediction: Leicester win, over 2.5.

Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea Form Guide LLWDL
Aston Villa Form Guide DLLDW
  • Venue: Stamford Bridge
  • Monday 28 December 17:30
  • Referee: Stuart Attwell
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 5/8 D: 18/5 A: 23/5

About the Game:

Chelsea had the busiest transfer window, bringing in Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax), Malang Sarr (Nice), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Thiago Silva (PSG) and Edouard Mendy (Rennes). Manager Frank Lampard doing what most of us do on Football Manager with the sugar daddy option enabled. Although the manager has undoubtedly added quality, not all the players have hit the ground running, Timo Werner in particular is not producing the goal output that we expected. The German has four goals in fifteen games, a far cry from his tally at RB Leipzig. Before his transfer, the 24-year-old scored 28 goals in 33 games. Chelsea missed out on a chance to go second on Boxing Day, losing 3-1 to arch-rivals Arsenal who had been struggling with form. It is Chelsea’s third loss in four after defeats by Everton and Wolves sandwiched in between a 3-0 win against West Ham.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith states his team’s rise from relegation favourites to the top-six is down to maturity, and they showed plenty of that in the team’s 3-0 win at home to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day. Tyrone Mings was sent off on the stroke of halftime, receiving a yellow card for a for a foul on Wilfried Zaha, just six minutes after he received his first. Switching to playing on the counter, defender Kortney Hause nodded his team’s second, doubling their lead after Burkina Faso winger Bertrand Traore had opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi made sure of the points in the 76th. Chelsea should be worried; Villa have already had some great results including an astonishing 7-2 win against Liverpool and beating Arsenal 3-0. Away from home, they are excellent, winning five of the six they have played.

Prediction: ChelseaWin, Over 2.5 goals.

Everton v Manchester City
Everton Form Guide LDWWD
Manchester City Form Guide LLLDD
  • Venue: Goodison Park
  • Monday 28 December 20:00
  • Referee: Martin Atkinson
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 27/5 D: 15/4 A: 7/12

About the Game:

Carlo Ancelotti celebrated a year in charge at the Merseyside club this week and what a year it had been. When Ancelotti took over, Everton was in 15th place in the league and talk about relegation were not totally unjustified. Farhad Moshiri’s decision to appoint the three-time Champions League winner has paid dividends with the club sitting second in the league after the Boxing Day fixtures. They did leave it late against bottom club Sheffield United over the festive period, Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring in the 80th minute to give his side a 1-0 win and extend their league winning run to four games. Everton did struggle at times though, missing James Rodriguez’s creativity, who is still nursing a calf injury and lacking the added goal threat of Richarlison who had suffered a concussion in their previous EFL Cup game against Manchester United.

After being immortalised as one of the Premier League’s top scorers over the last three seasons, this campaign has seen the Citizens lacking the goal threat that has been their trademark. Injuries to Sergio Aguero and lack of fitness of Gabriel Jesus has left Kevin De Bruyne’s crossing lacking recipients. The Belgian should improve on getting the end product by being more selfish and scoring more goals. Against Newcastle on Boxing Day, this was evident. City won game 2-0 thanks to Gündogan and Torres’s goals, but the scoreline should have been much more comfortable with Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow making some excellent saves. John Stones and Raheem Sterling missed good chances, and Bernardo Silva hit the post. Sergio Aguero came on as a substitute and forced Darlow into a save from a long range shot.

Prediction: A score draw.

Brighton v Arsenal
Brighton Form Guide DWDDL
Arsenal Form Guide LDLDW
  • Venue: Amex Stadium
  • Tuesday 29 December 18:00
  • Referee: Craig Pawson
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 11/5 D: 5/2 A: 13/9

About the Game:

Brighton needs to take advantage of the quality football they have been playing by scoring goals. Danny Welbeck has been scrapping in goals with Neal Maupay off-field issues taking a toll on his pitch performances. Maupay did score Brighton’s first in Sunday’s clash with West Ham, his goal opening the scoring after the Seagulls dominated the first half against West Ham. The Hammers did improve in the second half; Ben Johnson scored his first goal for the club to equalise. Brighton looked on course for the victory when Lewis Dunk scored in the 70th minute, but Tomas Soucek scored a late equaliser to deny the valuable three points. The Seagulls have been creating an insane amount of chances up front, and their distribution of the ball and dominant play is excellent, with this great work it seems only a matter of time before it transfers to points

Arsenal produced the surprise of the Boxing Day fixtures by beating arch-rivals Chelsea 3-1. Alexandre Lacazette scored from the spot in the 35th minute, and Granit Xhaka hit a superb free-kick 10 minutes later. The points looked safe in the 56th minute when Bukayo Saka scored, the 19-year-old’s attempted cross found the net, although he later stated it was an intentional shot. Tammy Abraham scored from close range in the 85th minute to make it 3-1 and when Chelsea was awarded a penalty late on it looked like a nervy finish for Arsenal, but Jorginho’s penalty was poor and easily saved by Bernd Leno. It was a vital win for Arsenal, their first top-flight win since 1 November. It took the Londoners to 14th in the table on Boxing Day. Could this be the start of a new dawn for this team?

Prediction: Arsenal win, over 2.5

Burnley v Sheffield United
Burnley Form Guide WLWWD
Sheffield United Form Guide WDWLD
  • Venue: Turf Moor Stadium
  • Tuesday 29 December 18:00
  • Referee: Chris Kavanagh
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 13/9 D: 23/10 A: 9/4

About the Game:

Burnley is currently struggling near the bottom of the table have been unable to replicate the form that saw them play in a Europa League qualifier just two short years ago. They have a great manager in Sean Dyche, but the team needs investment; however, a mooted £200m Burnley takeover by a consortium led by Mohamed El Kashashy and Chris Farnell looks on the verge of collapse. Anyone who watched Sunday’s clash with Leeds United will wonder why Burnley is struggling. Despite going behind in the 5th minute due to a 5th minute Patrick Bamford, Burnley was often the better team, and they were very unlucky not to have pulled level after 28 minutes. Referee Rob Jones awarded leed’s keeper a free-kick for a challenge by Ben Mee after Ashley Barnes had the ball in the net with a thunderous strike. Replays showed that if anything, it was Illan Meslier who fouled Mee. The second half it was all Burnley, giving hope they can turn the season around

Last season, Sheffield United were excellent. The Blades gave the big boys a run for their money and finished the season in 9th place, just five points away from qualifying for the Europa League. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why expectations were high at the start of this campaign. The reality though is that this campaign has been a disaster and it will take a miracle for the Yorkshire club to avoid relegation this year with the club sitting bottom after fifteen games and without a win to their name. In Boxing Day’s 1-0 defeat to Everton, United played well and could have easily had a draw. Oliver Burke went close, and Oli McBurnie’s chance went agonisingly wide in stoppage time. They are not playing badly; they just need to turn performances into points, and quickly.

Prediction: Burnley win.

Southampton v West Ham
Southampton Form Guide LLLLL
West Ham United Form Guide DWDWW
  • Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium
  • Tuesday 29 December 18:00
  • Referee: Andy Madley
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 22/19 D: 27/10 A: 13/5

About the Game:

Southampton has to once again endure without last season’s runners up for the Golden Boot and their most valuable player, Danny Ings. Saints’ top scorer was withdrawn in the 41st minute of the 1-0 defeat against Manchester City with a hamstring problem and is ruled out of the clash with the Hammers. The 28-year-old has struggled with injuries this term but has still scored six and made three assists in the ten games he has played. The lack of Ings was evident in the Saints 0-0 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage. Despite Fulham being in the drop zone, they created the better chances and were unlucky not to win. Saints did have chances, James Ward-Prowse hit the crossbar with a first-half free-kick, and the Saints had two goals correctly ruled out by VAR. The draw put Southampton into eighth on Boxing Day.

West Ham has been performing above expectations this season and sits in mid-table safety, an improvement on last year in which they avoided the drop by five points, winning two of their last three games to avoid relegation. This season they have done well, especially after losing star man Michail Antonio through injury. David Moyes made some big transfers, bringing in Thomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen with Soucek, particularly playing well. The 25-year-old has scored four in fifteen games since joining the club and scored in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Brighton, securing a point as the Hammers came from behind to share the spoils. Declan Rice is another player who is having a good season, the 21-year-old is playing with the maturity of a veteran and has been linked with a move to a bigger club. Chelsea has been strongly linked with the England international.

Prediction: Southampton win, btts.

West Bromwich v Leeds
West Bromwich Form Guide WDLDD
Leeds United Form Guide WWWLW
  • Venue: The Hawthorns
  • Tuesday 29 December 18:00
  • Referee: Lee Mason
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 31/10 D: 14/5 A: 39/40

About the Game:

West Brom has been one of the best sides playing very good football since they were promoted. The sad fact is that when 38 games are done, three teams have to be relegated. Every point at this stage matters. Therefore Sunday’s 1-1 draw with champions Liverpool will feel like a cup final win for Sam Allardyce, his first point since taking over at the club. As expected in the game, Liverpool dominated for long periods and had looked to be heading for three points after Sadio Mane chested down Joel Matip’s long ball and shot past Sam Johnstone in the 12th minute and asserted control in the game. Big Sam’s team-talk seemed to do the trick, with the Baggies performing much better after the interval. This performance was rewarded in the 82nd minute, Ajayi scoring his first of the season to grab a vital point.

Leeds United has been the surprise package in the Premier League, playing good football but not always getting results. In Sunday’s clash with Burnley, Leeds will count themselves rather fortunate to come away from the game the win; the 19th placed team causing the visitors plenty of problems, especially in the second half. The visitors had 14 shots in the game, nine being on target compared to Leed’s 11 with eight on target. What is commendable about Leeds is their spirit. After losing their last game against A62 rivals Manchester United 6-2, it would have been understandable if morale was low, but there was no sign of that at the weekend. Leeds face West Bromwich next before a trip to face Tottenham on the 2nd, with the attacking nature of both teams, that should be a good spectacle.

Prediction: Leeds win.

Tottenham v Fulham
Tottenham Form Guide LDDDW
Fulham Form Guide WWLWD
  • Venue: Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium
  • Wednesday 30 December 18:00
  • Referee: Peter Bankes
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 8/15 D: 18/5 A: 6/1

About the Game:

At one point this season, Tottenham was the hottest property in the league, topping the table and having the best duo in the Premier League in Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane in terms of goals and assists. Recent defeats against Liverpool (2-1) and Leicester (0-2) have taken the gloss off of what was a great unbeaten run, but it’s easy to forget that it has already been a very long season for Tottenham. In total, the club has played 26 games in all competitions (including friendlies) and in that time they have scored a remarkable 53 goals. In Sunday’s game against Wolves, they continued this fine goalscoring run, Tanguy Ndombele scoring in the first minute from 25-yards yet couldn’t hold on, Wolves scoring late in a surprise 1-1 draw.

Fulham is entangled deep in the relegation battle, and you would feel there are candidates for the drop. An under firing striker Alexander Mitrovic has meant the goals are scares with only 13 goals scored in the fifteen games that have been played so far. This weekend’s game against Southampton emphasised this point, a 0-0 stalemate against Southampton in their Boxing Day clash. It was a point that wasn’t enough to take them out of the bottom three; they are still two points behind Burnley who have a game in hand. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa has been the team’s best performer. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has two assists this season and has picked up the man-of-the-match award on two occasions.

Prediction: Tottenham win, over 2.5.

Newcastle v Liverpool
Newcastle United Form Guide DDWLL
Liverpool Form Guide LWDLL
  • Venue: St. James Park
  • Wednesday 30 December 20:00
  • Referee: Paul Tierney
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 19/2 D: 24/5 A: 10/29

About the Game:

Newcastle United made an incredible transfer, bringing in Callum Wilson who has been their best player by far and has scored eight goals and assisted three in twelve games for the Magpies. The worrying form of Miguel Almiron and Joelinton, as well as on and off performance by Allan Saint-Maximin is a concern for the side though. On Boxing Day, Newcastle lost 2-0 to Manchester City which was no surprise; the loss was Newcastle’s 12th in a row against the Citizens. The fact the scoreline wasn’t bigger was due to the performance of keeper Karl Darlow who made a series of great saves. Newcastle had 24% possession against City, and with Callum Wilson selected, they looked toothless going forward. Newcastle sits in 12th place, seven clear of the drop zone.

The Champions have every excuse to underperform this season with injuries to Virgil Van Djik and at some point, had only Andrew Robertson as the only fit defender in their back four. The summer signing Thiago Alcantara is yet to feature consistently, only making one start and one sub appearance since joining. Yet despite this, Liverpool are top of the table, three points above bitter rivals Everton. The gap would have been five points had Liverpool won their Sunday clash with West Bromwich that ended in a 1-1 draw. Liverpool had been in control, taking the lead through Sadio Mane in the 12th minute but paid the price for not taking chances in the game when Semi Ajayi scored a dramatic late equaliser in the 82nd minute. Mohamed Salah is the top scorer in the team, the Egyptian is in great form, scoring thirteen goals in thirteen appearances.

Prediction: Liverpool win.

Combi bet of the day: Our Pick*

Game Event Odds Cumulative Odds
Crystal Palace v Leicester City Leicester win 1/1 2.0
Chelsea v Aston Villa Chelsea win 8/13 3.23
Brighton v Arsenal Arsenal win 6/5 7.10
Southampton v West Ham Southampton win 11/10 14.92
West Bromwich v Leeds Leeds win 1/1 29.85

Place a  bet on this 5-fold accumulator at 888sport

Bookie of the week: Our Pick

888sport are our bookie of the week. To find out everything you could want about 888sport, you can read our 888sport review.

* All our selections are provided for entertainment only and should only be used for informational purposes. Whilst we use our experience and knowledge to help inform you to make a considered bet, we are not responsible for any losses that may arise from actual results being different than predicted.

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