Last week’s 5 points profit takes us nicely into the pre-Christmas Premier League weekend, and Chelsea face a potentially tricky trip to Stoke.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rogers will be hoping the Gunners aren’t firing on all cylinders as they visit Anfield, Newcastle will hoping to end a run of three successive losses to local rivals Sunderland, and Villa will be hoping to end a run of six successive defeats against Manchester United.
Stoke vs Chelsea
Stoke’s home form is confusing to say the least. Wins against top-half of the table teams Arsenal, Swansea and Newcastle suggest they should be sitting higher than 12th in the Premier League, yet defeats by Villa, Burnley and Leicester show just how inconsistent they are.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have won four of their eight away games this season but only one of their last four.
Previous head-to-heads don’t shed much light on the matter either with the last four renewals producing one win each and two draws.
With Stoke’s best performances coming against better teams, and Chelsea having drawn two of their last four away games, the draw looks the value at 3/1.
2 points Draw @ 3/1
Liverpool vs Arsenal
Arsenal came into last year’s renewal as Premier League leaders but ended the day in second as they went down 5-1 after conceding four goals in the first twenty minutes. However, they had won three and drawn two of the previous five renewals.
Meanwhile, the odds for Brendan Rogers to be the next Premier League manager have shortened dramatically in the last few weeks due to Liverpool’s poor form (currently eleventh spot in the table), and they’ve also failed to hit the target in their last two Premier League games.
Arsenal haven’t got a great away record this season either, though two decent performances against Newcastle and Galatasaray have coincided with the return to fitness of Olivier Giroud and he could be the difference between the two teams here. Take Arsenal to pile more pressure on Rodgers by winning to nil.
2 points Arsenal to win to nil @ 4/1
Newcastle vs Sunderland
A tricky game to weigh-up with Newcastle winning their last four home games, Sunderland drawing five of their last six games and also having won the last three games between the two teams.
My gut feeling is that Newcastle are a better team this year and, having won three of last four home games 1-0 and Sunderland having failed to score in three of their last five games, another 1-0 victory looks the value.
1 point Newcastle to win 1-0 @ 13/2
Villa vs Man Utd
Man Utd have won the last three renewals (last six home and away), though the three corresponding fixtures before that were all draws. They’ve also won their last six Premier League games, despatching top-half teams and bottom-half teams with equal aplomb.
Villa have also improved recently, though their five game unbeaten run was brought to a halt by West Brom last-time.
4/6 for a United win looks fair but, with Villa having failed to hit the target in half their games and United keeping a clean sheet in three of their last six, the 13/8 United to win to nil looks better value.
3 points United to win to nil @ 13/8