Week 21 Premier League Picks
Liverpool Set to End the Year in The Top Four
Liverpool know that a victory in their home tie against Leicester City will guarantee they end 2017 in the top four of the Premier League and be on course for a coveted Champions League place.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are a delight to watch when they are attacking and have managed to score 12 goals in their previous three Premier League fixtures. The Reds were scintillating in their 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth on the road and they were involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw away to Arsenal, before they took apart Swansea City at home by five goals to nil.
Although Bovada make Liverpool clear favorites with odds of winning at -350 compared to the +900 available on a Leicester win, they do have their injury problems. Daniel Sturridge is once again in the treatment room and a major doubt to make the match day squad, while Jordan Henderson, Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne will also be missing from the action.
Leicester have no fresh injury worries going into their trip to Liverpool, with only Robert Huth and Danny Simpson missing from the squad of 18. The Foxes have been much better this season than they were last year and they currently occupy eighth place in the table.
Four consecutive wins, including an impressive 2-1 win at home to Tottenham have been followed by a draw and two defeats, including a 3-0 home loss to Crystal Palace.
The Foxes have scored in nine of their previous 11 away matches as their counter-attacking style works best on the road so expect them to get on the scoresheet against a Liverpool defence that does leak goals. Personally, I like the look of a 3-1 Liverpool win at +1000 and the both teams to score and Liverpool to win at +175.
Another Winless Week for Newcastle
Newcastle United have lost nine of their previous 11 matches and find themselves only a single point above the drop zone. The Magpies are short of confidence and that is showing on the pitch, particularly in front of goal where they have only scored 19 goals during the current campaign.
Newcastle’s plight is not being helped by injuries with striker Alexsander Mitrovic looking set to miss this game with a back injury. Manager Rafa Benitez showed in the 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City that he can set his teams up to defend well, but on home soil against Brighton & Hove Albion he will be expected to come out attacking.
Brighton have lost all four of their previous four away game and failed to score in each of those. To be fair, Brighton travelled to Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Huddersfield and Chelsea in those games, but their toothless attack must be a worry for manager Chris Houghton.
With both teams out of sorts, the draw looks the best bet at +215. Another good looking bet is the under 2.5 goals at -180. If you do want to back Newcastle, avoid the +110 and plum for the draw no bet at -205.
Rampant City to Win Yet Again
Crystal Palace have shown signs of improvement under the guidance of Roy Hodgson but they will have their work cut out for them on Sunday when they invit City to their Selhurst Park home.
Palace showed plenty of fight in their 2-3 home loss to Arsenal midweek but City are a much more dominant side and are going to cause the Eagles a whole new set of problems. The home side will be without key defender Mamadou Sakho, and long-term absentee Connor Wickham while Joel Ward is a major doubt. Damien Delaney will not feature after undergoing minor surgery.
City are looking to make it 19 wins on the spin and are -425 to do so. It is difficult to see anyone stopping City in their current form which has seen them score 61 goals and concede only 12 in their 20 Premier League games to date. The away side will give late fitness tests to Fabian Delph and John Stones, but Vincent Kompany looks likely to miss out with a calf strain and Benjamin Mendy is unlikely to feature during the current campaign.
While I believe City will run out comfortable winners in this game, Palace could make life difficult for the visitors which makes the +335 available on it being a draw-Manchester City in the Half Time / Full Time market look very attractive indeed.
It may also be worth looking at Manchester City to keep a clean sheet at +105 because Palace are going to be on the back foot for the entire 90 minutes of this fixture.
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