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EPL Round 17 betting preview, latest odds and expert tips

Posted on 16/12 by Joe Gann

EPL Round 17 betting preview, latest odds and expert tips
Vardy scored again against Chelsea, and top of the table Leicester look great value to beat Everton

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With surprise wins for Newcastle and Bournemouth last week, this Premier League season continues to frustrate and entertain in equal measures. Turning the form book on its head and throwing logic out of the window, it has been a rollercoaster ride so far.

So, what can we expect from this weekend’s upcoming fixtures? The eye catching match-up is at the Emirates where Arsenal take on Manchester City in a game which has the potential to be extremely significant in the race for the title. Or how about at the bottom where a revitalised Newcastle take on an Aston Villa side who are entering ‘must win’ territory? Who will be the best and worst performers coming into the vital festive period? Judging by recent results, it’s anyone’s guess…

Manchester United ($1.36) v Norwich City ($8.50)
The dissenting voices grow louder at Old Trafford as the fallout from the Champions league defeat at Wolfsburg continued with defeat at the Vitality Stadium last week. United are without 9 first teamers but after making a conscious decision to operate with a smaller squad than most, Louis Van Gaal must harbour most of the blame.

Anyone who has witnessed the reds’ recent performance will have seen a team seemingly bereft of confidence and belief. The much changed defence looked shaky last week without Chris Smalling- who has been one of the few successes this season – with set pieces in particular causing all sorts of problems at Bournemouth.

Combined with the ongoing chronic lack of goals at the other end, I wouldn’t imagine there would be too many out there enthusiastic about United at $1.36; even with Norwich’s awful recent form – they have suffered 6 defeats in their last 9 and slipped into the bottom 3 last week. The Canaries are $8.50 for an unlikely victory, surely not…?

Southampton ($2.50) v Tottenham Hotspur ($2.80)
Both teams are in need of a pick me up at St Mary’s. Southampton are completely out of sorts, with no wins in 4 in the league combined with elimination from the League Cup at the hands of Liverpool, where they were on the receiving end of a 1-6 hammering. Tottenham will be looking to respond to last week’s shock home defeat to Newcastle as they continue the pursuit of a Champions League place and look good at $2.80.

Everton ($2.50) v Leicester City ($3.30)
Everton are unbeaten in 6 now and are boosted by the return from injury of Leighton Baines. Only Jamie Vardy has more league goals than Romelu Lukaku – with 7 in a row in the league now, he is the first Everton player to do so for 40 years. The Toffees should have won comfortably at Norwich last week, missing a succession of first half chances, but had to settle for a point in the end as the Canaries grabbed an equaliser just after half time.

This is a generous price for Leicester who continue to prove that this season’s success is not fleeting; although they now enter a demanding period with a tough run of fixtures in which their title credentials will be severely tested. A tough FA cup draw against Spurs has not aided their situation either.

A double header of awards made their way to the King Power Stadium last week as Claudio Ranieri was named Manager of the Month and Jamie Vardy again accepting the Player of the Month accolade. In doing so, Vardy became only the 5th player in Premiership history to win back to back player of month awards, following in the footsteps of Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robbie Fowler and Denis Bergkamp.

Newcastle United ($2.00) v Aston Villa ($3.60)
Up until a couple of weeks ago, this would have been a clash between the division’s bottom two sides. Since then, Newcastle have suddenly hit an unexpected purple patch, enjoying galvanising wins against Liverpool and Tottenham. $2.00 is still a short price for a Newcastle team who are equally likely to self-destruct as they are to excel.

The only thing consistent in the last couple of months has been Aston Villa’s failure to win a football match, having already broken the club record for the longest stretch without a victory. It looks bleak for Villa but the a light on the horizon is that this is the year when anything can happen. Villa’s lamentable run must surely come to an end soon, could it happen this week at St James’s Park?

Chelsea ($1.30) v Sunderland ($11.00)
Just when you think Chelsea have turned a corner, along come Bournemouth and Leicester to hand out a sobering reality check. The fact that the result on Monday was no surprise says everything about how both teams have fared this season. Chelsea lie above the relegation zone by a solitary point. Who would have envisioned that the Champions would be in this predicament a week before Christmas?

Sam Allardyce’s mini revival at Sunderland seems to have stalled of late. Having briefly fought their way out of the bottom three, the Black Cats have slipped back into the danger zone following two losses. Will Stamford Bridge be the scene of yet another unlikely away win? At $11.00, it’s definitely worth a shout.

West Bromwich Albion ($2.30) v Bournemouth ($3.10)
Having had the look of a side on a downward trajectory - with fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United next up - things were starting to look bleak for Eddie Howe’s men. However, after two startling victories, Bournemouth look like a team that are beginning to come to terms with life in the top flight; those two wins perfectly encapsulating the eccentricities of this Barclays Premier League 2015/16 season.

Confidence will be sky high but a trip to Tony Pulis’s West Brom could be just the fixture to bring the Cherries crashing back down to earth.

Stoke City ($2.30) v Crystal Palace ($3.10)
A tough encounter here between two teams who should harbour serious European qualification hopes. Mark Hughes has instilled a degree of flair and imagination into his side seldom seen at the Brittania in recent years.

With only 1 defeat in 6, Stoke now appear to have established consistency in their results; a hard fought point at West Ham last week followed on from the excellent win over Manchester City.

For Crystal Palace, last Saturday’s triumph was their first ever Premier league win over Southampton; they now sit 3 points off the Champions League places. They are enjoying a fine season, building on the foundations of a strong finish to the 2014/15 season, in what has been a progressive 2015 for the Eagles.

Watford ($4.33) v Liverpool ($1.80)
This is an excellent price for one of the division’s in form teams. Watford set a new club record in last week’s success on Wearside, where they achieved the feat of 3 wins in a row for the first time in Premiership history. Watford’s main man Odion Ighalo is on fire, he now has 5 goals and 2 assists to his name in his last 7 premier league games.

Jubilant scenes at Anfield on Sunday as players, staff and fans joined as one to salute an injury time equaliser against West Bromwich Albion. They’re at $1.80 here to get the win which could prompt a lap of honour. That precious point came at a price as both Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge picked up injuries which will see them miss out here.

Arsenal ($2.30) v Manchester City ($3.30)
This is the week’s heavyweight clash. Victory for Arsenal will give them real belief that they can go on to claim the Premiership crown this season, after a wait of 12 years. You get the feeling that Arsenal won’t get a better chance to claim the Championship than this season after flattering to deceive over recent times.

The win over Olympiacos, and subsequent progress to the knockout stages in February could be season-defining. It is an over simplification to state that elimination from Europe helps a team focus on the league. The loss of confidence and momentum can be debilitating in the ensuing period and lead to a state of inertia in the title race. On the flip side, the priceless lift that such a stirring win provides can carry a team through a busy holiday period and beyond.

However, the euphoria of that famous win in Athens was almost immediately tempered by the draw for the next stage; which has pitted them against the all-conquering Barcelona. Arsenal have several players in magnificent at the moment though, it is now 11 goals in 14 games for Olivier Giroud and Petr Cech kept another clean sheet this week, drawing level with David James on 169 and equalling the Premier League record.

City in contrast, have been handed a kinder draw on paper, being paired with Dynamo Kiev in the last 16. It should provide a good chance for the blues to progress to the Quarter Final stage, unchartered territory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men. City will have to be on their guard on Monday to keep danger man Mesut Ozil quiet; he contributed his 13th assist of the season at Villa Park on Sunday; more than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues and is seemingly well set to break Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single season.

Swansea ($2.15) v West Ham United ($3.40)
By the time this game takes place, there may well be a new figure in the home dug-out at the Liberty Stadium, with former Argentina and Chile boss Marcelo Bielsa red hot favourite to succeed Gary Monk. Alan Curtis took temporary charge for last Saturday’s game at the Etihad, where the Swans were denied a point at the death by Kelechi Iheanacho’s deflected effort.

It had looked as though the Welshmen had done enough to gain a valuable point moments earlier when Bafetimbi Gomis equalised, but City responded with a last minute strike to condemn Swansea to a third straight defeat. They will be hoping to benefit from the wave of optimism a new appointment will bring against a West Ham side coming into this on the back of 3 consecutive draws.

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