What do we have here? Midweek December footy? The festive fixtures are here which means we get nonstop soccer for the next 4-5 weeks.
Tuesday had two matches that I decided to pass on with Man City winning 4-1 at Burnley where they looked like the City we’re used to and Palace beat Bournemouth 1-0 even after going man down. Before we get into my previews for this week’s matches, let’s see how I fared this past weekend.
This Season: 94-84-35 (+10.8 Units)
Matchweek 12: 3-3-1 (-0.3 Units)
Pretty even across the board which I can’t complain about. Let’s dive into this week…
Wednesday, December 4th
2:30 pm EST
Aston Villa @ Chelsea – This is a match I want to stay far from. Both teams are coming off of outlier results (Villa draw at United and Chelsea home loss to West Ham) and it’s hard to pin point if either team’s form will continue. The spread of 1.5 feels like a trap so I’ll hold off on betting this one. PASS.
Watford @ Leicester City – Leicester are flying high and will look to jump back into second place again with a point here. Meanwhile, Watford has had more managers than league wins this year, with a new one taking control for this match. But this is another one I want to stay away from with that trap 1.5 point spread. It feels like too much for Leicester but I also feel that Watford could bounce out of their form a bit with a new manager. Too much left to the unknown. PASS.
Tottenham @ Manchester United (TV: NBCSN) – Surprisingly, this is not the most important match of the week (we’ll get there in a bit). But it is the most intriguing and probably the one with the best prospects of a good game. Jose Mourinho returns to Manchester United as the manager of Spurs with his team on a three match win streak. Manchester United aren’t sharing the same run of form though, as they’re winless in their last three in all competitions and only have one win in their last four league matches. The line sits at a pickem but I don’t feel comfortable taking it. What I do feel comfortable taking is the over. Manchester United’s last five matches have averaged 4 total goals per game while Spurs’ last five matches have averaged 4.4 total goals per game. Adding to that, three of the last four matches between these two have covered the over 2.5 goal total. That’s enough for me to follow the numbers. Over 2.5 Goals (-130).
Norwich @ Southampton – Norwich earned a hard-fought draw at home against Arsenal over the weekend while Southampton came back against Watford to win 2-1. Since Southampton’s 9-0 loss to Leicester, they’ve actually played a lot better and before their win against Watford, they even went to Arsenal and got a draw (funny enough Norwich just drew Arsenal at home). But this match could decide these two teams’ seasons and I feel more comfortable taking Southampton. This will be their second straight home match, they’re in good form and they’ve been much better against the spread this season (two more wins and four less losses). I’ll take the home team here. Southampton -0.5 (-125).
West Ham @ Wolves – Who is this West Ham team? They were just on an eight-match winless streak and then they go to Chelsea and win 1-0. They played really well and forced Chelsea to play through passages they weren’t comfortable playing in. For now, Manuel Pellgrini’s job is safe. But now they travel to Wolves who have been really good at not losing this season. In fact, they are tied for the second least amount of losses in the league, tied with Leicester and only behind Liverpool. Those two losses also came in early September, making it a run of 9 straight league matches without a loss. I think West Ham’s win at Chelsea was a good performance but it’s not sustainable, especially if they have to go away from home again on such short notice. Wolves meanwhile are on their second straight home match. Wolves -0.5 (-125).
3:15 pm EST
Everton @ Liverpool – The longest running derby in English top flight history will have its 234th meeting on Wednesday. Liverpool are obviously having one of the best starts to a season in their history while Everton are having one of the worst in their history. The Reds have an eight point gap at the top of the table going into this week while Everton are only two points safe from relegation down in 17th. Everton have not won in this fixture since October of 2010 and they haven’t won at Anfield since September of 1999. All signs point to an Everton loss but I think otherwise. They’re not just playing for pride, they’re playing for their survival and the survival of their manager’s. Since April of 2012 (16 matches), Liverpool have only won by more than one goal three times in this fixture. These matches are always close and very intense and regardless of form or place in the table, I’m always going to take the underdog if someone is laying 1.5 on the spread. Everton +1.5 (-115).
Thursday, December 5th
2:30 pm EST
Newcastle United @ Sheffield United – Similar to Wolves, Sheffield have been on quite the run themselves. In their last three matches they’ve drawn Wolves, United and Spurs and they’ve now gone seven matches unbeaten. At home in their last three matches, they’ve earned a very impressive seven points. Newcastle are in some good form too, with only one loss from their last five with draws against Wolves and City during that run. But away from home in their last five, they are 1-4 with their only win coming against a West Ham team who were in very poor form. There’s no way I can fade Sheffield here. They’re an unbelievable 12-2 against the spread this season and until their form starts to dip, I’m not picking against them (especially against a possible relegation candidate). Sheffield United -0.5 (-115).
3:15 pm EST
Brighton @ Arsenal (TV: NBCSN) – Arsenal have not won a league match since October 6th and Brighton have lost their last three. They have only earned 4 points through their first seven matches away from home and Arsenal are yet to cover the spread at home this season. This is another match I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. PASS.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.