Sports

EPL Match Preview: 5-7 March

Soccer Preview

Clint Vojdinoski’s Tips

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal

Saturday March 5, 8.45pm, White Hart Lane

Tottenham blew a massive chance to go top of the Premier League when they were defeated 1-0 at West Ham. In one of their poorest performances of the season, Spurs managed only two shots on target and were pressed ruthlessly by a pacy West Ham outfit. The result snapped Tottenham’s six match winning run in the league.

Arsenal’s title hopes were given a huge blow when they went down 2-1 at home to Swansea. It all started well when Joel Campbell put the Gunners ahead after 15 minutes but from there the Gunners seemed to weaken as their visitors defended stoutly and attacked with greater confidence. At 1-1, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud both hit the bar and then Petr Cech’s error allowed Ashley Williams to win it for Swansea. Arsenal have lost back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time since November 2014.

Prediction

It is a hugely pivotal clash for both clubs as they chase the title, yet questions remain whether they have the toughness to succeed when the heat is on. Added to that, both clubs are in the midst of a heavy fixture list. Take a draw in a very tense affair.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Draw
Under 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Harry Kane


Manchester City v Aston Villa

Saturday March 5, 11pm, Etihad Stadium

Manchester City’s title hopes are dwindling after they were thrashed 3-0 away at Liverpool. The result was characterised by a lack of desire to match their energetic opponents. City had very little opportunity to create chances only managing four shots during the entire game. The loss means City have only won just two of their past 10 away games in the league.

Aston Villa fans protested as their side were soundly beaten 3-1 at home to Everton. At 3-0 down in the 74th minute fans streamed for the exits in protest at the direction of the club. Rudy Gestede finished a sweeping six-man move for Aston Villa’s consolation goal, however, it could not prevent Villa from a ninth defeat in 17 league games under manager Remi Garde.

Prediction

Villa are eight points from safety with 10 games left, and despite having a mathematical chance of survival, there is very little hope that they will avoid a first relegation since 1987. Despite City’s woeful league form they will easily win this encounter.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Manchester City
Over 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Sergio Aguero


Newcastle United v AFC Bournemouth

Saturday March 5, 11pm, St James’ Park

Newcastle are still in the relegation zone after a 1-0 loss away at Stoke. The Magpies looked to defend deeply and remained compact to stifle Stoke, but in a miserable attacking performance they failed to create anything of note outside of Seydou Dombia’s late header.

Bournemouth moved eight points clear of the Premier League relegation zone after they were good value in their 2-0 triumph over Southampton. The Cherries showed far more attacking invention in the first half and kept their visitors on the backfoot. Bournemouth took a first half lead through Steve Cook’s volley and Benik Afobe sealed the points when he headed in at the near post from Matt Ritchie’s free kick. Bournemouth have kept consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time this season.

Prediction

Despite being dreadful away, Newcastle play far more expansive and attacking football at home. While Bournemouth have leaked goals away from home, as a consequence of being committed to open, passing game plan. Newcastle to take the points to give their relegation battle a jolt.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Newcastle United
Under 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Aleksandar Mitrovic


Swansea City v Norwich City

Saturday March 5, 11pm, Liberty Stadium

Swansea opened up a six point gap on the relegation zone with a stunning come from behind win at Arsenal. Wayne Routledge equalised in the first half and Ashley Williams pounced on a Petr Cech error to win it with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. It was in a resolute defensive performance from the Swans, blocking six shots and Williams himself making nine clearances.

Norwich slipped into the relegation zone after a 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea. Two goals down at the break, the Canaries finally snapped back into life with Cameron Jerome hitting the bar before Nathan Redmond pulled a goal back on 68 minutes. Redmond and Gary O’Neil went close late on as the Canaries desperately searched for an equaliser.

Prediction

A massive battle in the basement which Swansea will come out victorious. Norwich’s plight is worsening, having taken just one point from a possible 24. They have scored in just four of their past eight league games and seem very light up front when it matters.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Swansea City
Under 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Gylfi Sigurdsson


Chelsea v Stoke City

Saturday March 5, 11pm, Stamford Bridge

Chelsea kept up their impressive form under manager Guus Hiddink with a 2-1 victory at Norwich. Kenedy put the Blues ahead after 39 seconds – the fastest goal of the Premier League season. Diego Costa doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime and the Blues held on despite a late rally from the Canaries. Chelsea’s third league win a row sees them knocking on the door to the top half of the league for the first time since the opening week of the season.

Stoke clinched a third straight league win after Xherdan Shaqiri’s late goal helped see off Newcastle. The Potters dominated possession and territory throughout, but were unable to break down a Newcastle side who defended deeply, until Mame Biram Diouf set up Shaqiri for a 20-yard strike. Keeper Jack Butland superbly saved substitute Seydou Doumbia’s injury-time header to preserve a clean sheet.

Prediction

Their remarkable slump under Jose Mourinho is long gone, with key players such as Costa and Cesc Fabregas returning to fine form to help the Blues to a run of 12 league games unbeaten. Chelsea look the goods for a home win.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Chelsea
Under 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Diego Costa


Southampton v Sunderland

Saturday March 5, 11pm, St Mary’s Stadium

Southampton put in a woeful away performance to go down at neighbours Bournemouth. The Saints have scored just six goals in their last 10 Premier League away matches and it showed as they failed to match the vibrancy of their hosts. Their attack which included Charlie Austin, Shane Long, Sadio Mane, and Graziano Pelle all failed to make any impact as the team mustered one shot on target.

Sunderland lifted themselves out of the relegation zone thanks to Fabio Borini’s spectacular late equaliser against Crystal Palace. Dame N’Doye’s deflected first half effort had the Black Cats in front but Palace hit back after half time thanks to a double from Connor Wickham. But substitute Borini’s injury-time effort from an almost impossible angle rescued a point for Sam Allardyce’s side.

Prediction

Despite showing a decent fight against relegation, Sunderland are still leaking goals and lack a disciplined defensive structure to keep out a strong Southampton front line. Take the Saints for a win.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Southampton
Over 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Charlie Austin


Everton v West Ham United

Saturday March 5, 11pm, Goodison Park

Everton cruised to a 3-1 victory away at bottom club Aston Villa. Ramiro Funes Mori gave the Toffees the lead by meeting Kevin Mirallas’ corner before Aaron Lennon’s close-range finish doubled their lead in the 30th minute. Romelu Lukaku made it 3-0 on the hour and from there they were never going to be caught by a deflated opponent.

West Ham have put themselves in the frame for a top four spot with a brilliant 1-0 triumph at home to Tottenham. Michail Antonio put the Hammers ahead in the seventh minute from Dimitri Payet’s corner. Despite the narrow scoreline, the Hammers were vastly superior as they played with pace and pressed and harassed Spurs to knock them off their rhythm.

Prediction

Everton use a high defensive line which plays into West Ham’s style of sitting deeper and then pressing their opposition. Everton have had four wins and six losses at home this season so take West Ham for the away win which is priced at $4.50.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – West Ham United
Over 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Dimitri Payet


Watford v Leicester City

Sunday March 6, 1.30am, Vicarage Road

A profligate Watford lost 1-0 at Manchester United with Odion Ighalo guilty of passing up two big chances to help the Hornets earn a deserved share of the points. Despite having 39 percent possession, Watford created the clearer chances but were finally undone by Juan Mata’s 83rd minute free kick.

Leicester missed a big chance to go five points clear at the top after drawing 2-2 at home to West Brom. After falling behind early, Danny Drinkwater equalised before a wonderful Riyad Mahrez backheel set up Andy King right on halftime. The Foxes conceded again five minutes after halftime but could not grab the winner despite laying siege to the West Brom goal. The Foxes peppered West Brom’s goal with 22 shots, with headers from Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki both hitting the woodwork.

Prediction

The Hornets have failed to score in six of their last eight Premier League matches with leading scorer Ighalo having his struggles so far in 2016. Watford are going to struggle to create enough to overcome Leicester who are squeaking out results despite their wobbly form.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Leicester City
Over 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Jamie Vardy


Crystal Palace v Liverpool

Sunday March 6, 9.30pm, Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace were left to rue a blown opportunity to win their first game since December 19 after conceding a goal at the death away to Sunderland. Connor Wickham scored twice in six second-half minutes against his former club to put Palace on course for a vital win but Fabio Borini’s wonder strike sealed a point for the Black Cats. Since their last victory, Palace have dropped from fifth to 14th place in the league.

Liverpool gained some revenge for their defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup final by thrashing them 3-0 at Anfield. The Reds played with a high-tempo pressing game that City could not match. In-form Adam Lallana gave Liverpool the lead before James Milner got the second against his former club. Roberto Firmino made it 3-0 in the second half to give the Reds their first league win at Anfield this year and move them up to eighth, six points behind fourth.

Prediction

Crystal Palace are still the only Premier League side yet to win in 2016, conceding in every one of their nine Premier League games in 2016. Liverpool to take the points over a club that has troubled them in recent times.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Liverpool
Over 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Roberto Firmino


West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United

Monday March 7, Midnight, The Hawthorns

West Brom are undefeated in three matches after coming from behind to claim a point at Leicester City. Salomon Rondon gave the Baggies an early lead. Into the second half, Craig Gardner found an equaliser with an exceptional free-kick but from there they had to hang on as Leicester dominated possession and chances. Rondon missed a late chance but overall the Baggie relied on a bit of good fortune to come away with a point.

A young Manchester United side overcame Watford 1-0 thanks to Juan Mata’s late free kick. United named their fourth-youngest starting lineup in Premier League history but they found life difficult against a Watford side who were compact in defence, shackling the likes of Anthony Martial and new star Marcus Rashford. The vital win has pushed United level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City.

Prediction

Buoyed by the recent form of their youngsters with Rashford leading the way, United have a distinct air of vibrancy but West Brom are difficult to breakdown and will cause United a lot of frustration.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Draw
Under 2.5 Goals
Anytime Goalscorer – Anthony Martial

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