Betting Week in Review: The Premier League Returns
The Premier League returned with a bang this weekend, and it didn’t take long for shock results. Chelsea suffered a heavy defeat against relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion, and Tottenham once again dropped points in the closing stages of a game.
Tuchel Tastes Chelsea Defeat For The First Time
Top-flight domestic football returned this weekend after a break due to World Cup qualifiers, much to the relief of many punters, and of course, bookmakers. Premier League betting revenues dwarves the amount bet during international fixtures, and with the unpredictability of the Premier League, profit is almost guaranteed.
A regular ritual for many punters is placing accumulator bets, combining predictions to form a larger bet. As the winnings from one prediction are placed on to the next one, a successful four-fold or five-fold can be lucrative, with the odds often reaching high two or three-digit numbers. The downside to these bets is that one surprise result can wipe out the whole bet, and that’s exactly what happened in the first game featuring Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion.
Since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Chelsea, the London club had been in great form, enjoying an unbeaten run that spanned 14-matches and included victories over Tottenham, Liverpool, and Atletico Madrid over two legs in the Champions League. The visitors, Sam Allardyce’s West Bromwich Albion, was sitting in 19th place, just four points from the foot of the table and looking almost certainties for the drop. They had previously only won two games in the previous twenty-nine, a 1-0 win against bottom club Sheffield United in November and a 2-3 win against Wolves in January.
Before the game, Chelsea was priced @ 1/3, the draw @ 5/1 and West Bromwich @ 12/1. Not surprisingly, for many punters, this was a banker bet that couldn’t fail.
When Christian Pulisic opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 27th minute by reacting fastest to Marcos Alonso’s free-kick that hit the post, it seemed likely that the floodgates would open. However, a second yellow card two minutes later for Thiago Silva changed the game, and a stunning double (priced @ 100/1 at bet365) by Costa Pereira in the closing minutes of the first half gave the Baggies a surprise 2-1 lead at the break.
Even at 2-1 down and a man short, you would have still fancied Chelsea at this point. West Brom has the second-worst tally for conceding goals; only Sheffield United (33) have conceded more than West Brom’s thirty-two this season. Scoring goals is also a problem; only twenty scored in twenty-nine games, compared to Chelsea’s forty-four.
However, rather than defending for their lives, West Brom attacked Chelsea and was rewarded with an excellent goal scored by Callum Robinson in the 63rd minute. Mbaye Diagne scored again for the Baggies five minutes later to make it 4-1, and although Mason Mount reduced the deficit with a goal in the 71st minute, Robinson scored his second in injury time to make it 5-2 and seal a historic win.
For bookmakers, it was an almost perfect result, wiping out a large proportion of accas. The only saving grace for some punters was the game’s high-scoring nature, as matches featuring Chelsea or West Bromwich Albion tend to be well backed in the over 2.5 goals market.
Tottenham Drop Points Despite Kane Double
While West Brom fans and neutrals will have enjoyed the shock win over Chelsea, Newcastle fans will not have been cheering on the Baggies. If ‘Big Sam’ can achieve the impossible, Newcastle are likely to be the team that gives way, and before the game against Tottenham, they were just two points ahead of Fulham in 18th, and if results went against them, they would fall into the relegation zone.
The chances of Newcastle getting anything from the game against Tottenham looked slim. Jose Mourinho’s side had only tasted defeat in one game (2-1 Arsenal) in the last five and had won games against West Ham, Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace in that time. A win against the Magpies would have seen Tottenham go into the top-four and a Champions League qualification spot.
Whereas Newcastle was on a terrible win of form, a 3-2 win against Southampton at the beginning of February, their only win, seven games previously, losing three and drawing three since then. A Newcastle win was priced at 5/1, a Tottenham win 7/10 and the draw, 4/1.
Typically of Newcastle this season, they are their own worse enemies on occasions and gifted Tottenham a way back into the game after taking the lead midway through the first half. Joelinton finished well after a great threaded pass from Sean Longstaff. It was a lead that lasted just 90 seconds, Harry Kane taking full advantage of poor defending by Emil Krafth, who failed to clear the ball, which allowed the England captain to score his 18th league goal.
Four minutes later, it went from bad to worse for Newcastle when Tanguy Ndombele played a great pass into Kane, who made no mistake and scored his 84th Premier League away goal for Tottenham, the most any player has scored for a single club. It was Kane’s 45th goal involvement this season (29 goals, 16 assists) that matched his previous best, set in the 2017-2018 season.
After that goal by Kane in the 34th minute, you feared the worse for Newcastle. This season they leak goals in the 2nd half with a telling stat that they have conceded at least one goal in 58% of games after the break, much higher than the 42% of games the opposition scores in the first half.
Newcastle is no strangers to late goals themselves, and the last time the two teams met, the Magpies stole a late equaliser in the 97th minute. This time the leveller came earlier, thanks to a goal scored in the 85th minute by Joe Willock, who is on loan at Newcastle from Arsenal.
Despite this deserved draw, Newcastle still looks in trouble. They are the only team in the whole division that doesn’t have a win in their last five games. One defeat in five is credible, but they face a nervous eight games as those around them are picking up wins.
Other Matches Follow Form
While West Brom’s win and Newcastle’s draw were undoubtedly the talking points of this weekend’s Premier League action, there were not many surprises in the other games.
On Saturday, Mid-table Leeds United beat their local rivals Sheffield United 2-1, and Manchester City swept aside Leicester City by a 0-2 scoreline. In the late game, champions Liverpool had an easy time against Arsenal, winning 0-3 to enhance their chances of a top-four finish this year.
On Sunday, all the games bar the Tottenham v Newcastle game went as predicted.
Southampton beat struggling Burnley 3-2, Aston Villa beat 18th placed Fulham 3-1. In the late game, Manchester United once again won the hard way, going behind in their match against Brighton before fighting back to win 2-1. United old boy Danny Welbeck opened the scoring in the 13th minute and had a good shout for a penalty later on. United performed better in the second half and won due to Marcus Rashford (62’) and Mason Greenwood (’83) goals.