IT’S hotting up at both ends of the table as the Premier League approaches the final few games of the season.
With another packed midweek schedule to get through, we’ve betting tips to bring you from three of the biggest matches in the top-flight over the next few days.
This race for Europe isn’t half bad, is it?
With the title race already sewn up and the three teams in the relegation zone failing to take advantage of each other losing, the top four tussle is where it’s at right now.
A fortnight ago Chelsea were in the driving seat, but that defeat to West Ham has opened the door for a resurgent Man Utd to come storming up the table.
Victory last time out over Watford was as comfortable as you’ll get in this league, with the Hornets passive in possession and with their mind seemingly on a more winnable clash against Norwich.
The Blues still have to face Sheffield United, Liverpool and Wolves this season so Frank Lampard will know the importance of this one.
Palace’s victory over Bournemouth gave them a third-straight Premier League win when the Eagles resumed their season, prompting outlandish predictions of a European push.
Sadly the wheels came off that one fairly quick – if they were even connected at all – with Palace now reeling from three successive defeats.
They’ve failed to score in any of those matches and with nothing left to play for but pride, we can see a similar result here.
Chelsea’s loss at the London Stadium gave them the kick up the backside they needed to focus on the task at hand – and we’re taking them to get three points on the road.
Palace have lost four of the last five meetings between the sides on this ground, failing to score in three of those occasions.
Roy Hodgson’s men could only muster one shot on target against Leicester and we foresee another long evening for them.
Back Chelsea to win to nil at a big 13/10, while there have been an average of just 2.1 goals per game in Palace home matches this season.
That’s the second lowest in the league, just ahead of Sheffield United.
All the value is with under 2.5 goals at 10/11, despite Chelsea’s leaky defence on the road this term.
Willian could still be set for a move away from the Bridge when the season ends, but he’s in a rich vein of form which includes six goals in his last seven.
Along with Christian Pulisic at 3/2, he’s the value pick at 2/1 to notch at anytime – especially as he’ll be on freekicks and penalties.
It’s anyone’s guess which Arsenal decide to turn up in this one.
Will it be the hardworking, cohesive unit we saw in the excellent win over Wolves or the calamitous, defensively shambolic rabble we saw against Man City and Brighton?
Gunners fans, of course, will hope for the former – and this is a game which could ultimately make or break Arsenal’s Premier League campaign.
Four wins on the spin in all competitions have kept the European dream alive and three points here would go a long way to ensuring that continues.
But Leicester, who ended their winless run after lockdown against Crystal Palace last time out, might have something to say about that.
The Foxes haven’t been up to their usual high standards following the restart, but in that 3-0 victory finally looked like the team who were comfortably clear in third before Covid-19 intervened.
One thing that is against Brendan Rodger’s side though is their horrendous record on this ground.
In their 14 visits to North London since 1995, Leicester have lost TWELVE of those and won none. Rough.
Even in their great title winning success of 2015/16, one of the Foxes three defeats all season was at the Emirates.
And without a win in five Premier League games on the road, the stats don’t lie as they say.
We tend to leave Arsenal alone in the results market in this column – so why break with tradition?
One thing this Leicester do is score goals and despite their recent issues on the road in 2019/20, they have netted 30 in 16 road games this season.
That’s the third best in the league, only behind Chelsea and Man City.
Get on both teams to score at 8/13 and consider that your midweek banker.
Combining the BTTS with over 2.5 goals will give you a healthy 21/20, but we prefer a play on the 1st half market.
Both sides will be out to make a fast start, with over 1.5 goals in the first half a whopping 7/4 – don’t miss out on a price like that.
Nicolas Pepe missed the win over Wolves after his wife went into labour just before the game.
He’ll be fresh as a daisy for this one and likely to start, with two goals in four games since football returned.
Grab the 14/5 on him to net anytime, which is £38 from a tenner. That’s massive.
It’s full steam ahead for United’s unlikely European charge, with the Red Devils now 4/11 to finish in the top four.
Just before Christmas, you could get 12/1.
The turnaround at Old Trafford has been stark, although there were chinks in the defensive armour in their 5-2 win over Bournemouth.
Just ask Harry Maguire.
But ultimately if you’re scoring five at one end, the defence has to have an absolute mare to prevent you picking up the three points.
Villa have yet to win since returning to action and held their own for 70 minutes against a Liverpool in second gear.
With Palace, Everton, Arsenal and West Ham to come, anything they pick up here is a bonus.
Do we think they’ll get anything? Sadly for those of you in the second city, we don’t.
In Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, United have a centre-midfield pairing at the peak of their powers.
Villa will have to contain the Portuguese playmaker if they’re to have any success on Thursday – but that just frees up the Frenchman to pull the strings.
Mason Greenwood has flourished since returning to action and looks like he’s spent three months of lockdown with a dumbbell attached to each arm.
That new-found strength, combined with his fast feet and eye for goal, make him a huge threat going forward.
Villa haven’t beaten Man Utd at home since 1999 and are 9/1 to do so here.
Leave that well alone and instead back the Red Devils to win this one comfortably on the handicap.
Man Utd -1, which means Villa have a goal head-start, is a 10/11 shot and our confident punt for this one.
That has won on all three of United’s last three Premier League victories, making them a completely different beast to the meek team the Villans took a point off back in December.
This new-look United team like to start on the front foot, making evens for them to be winning at both half time and full time a big price.
And if you want to play a bit safer, a goal in either half is very backable at 4/7.
Greenwood looks set to play a role once again and is a dizzy 15/8 to net at anytime.
As ever with goalscorer bets, check the team first, but if the 18-year-old plays that is a HUGE price for a player with three goals in his last two games.
While we’re on the subject of big prices, have a quick scan of the ante-post prices for next year.
United, unbeaten in 15 games, are 12/1 for the title. Remember they were 12/1 on a top four finish six months ago…?
Taking that price EACH-WAY now could be a masterstroke if they start the next campaign like a train – that means you’d get a payout on Ole’s side finishing either first or second next term.
Over the last 20 Premier League matches, they’re level on points with second-placed Man City. 12/1? Just saying.
*All odds from Ladbrokes and correct at time of publication.