Let's face it... midweeks were MADE for Premier League games! Three games yesterday and a scintillating seven tonight, including Chelsea v Bournemouth, Man City hosting in-form West Brom, and the evening's glamour tie, Tottenham v Manchester United.
With so much to get our teeth into, there's no time to waste! The first match kicks off at 19:45pm, so make sure you get your scores in before then as we cover all SEVEN of Wednesday's matches for Week 25 of the FREE-TO-ENTER StanJames Predictor Competition.
So, what do I have to do to enter this FREE COMPETITION?
All you have to do is head over to our Predictor Competition, complete the quick registration form then simply enter your selections for the upcoming Premier League fixtures. Three points are awarded for a correct score and one for a correct result. The overall winner will bag a £25 Free Bet and anyone who finishes in the top 25 players will receive a £5 free bet.**
Don't forget, in order to collect your prize you must have placed at least one bet (any stake) in the 14 days prior to playing. Full T&Cs can be found here!
** Free bets will be credited within 48 hours.
CHELSEA 2 v 1 BOURNEMOUTH
Antonio Conte has identified a new striker as a must-have for Chelsea this transfer window, but assuming one isn’t bought and registered by the time we go to press, he’ll have to make do with what he has, which includes the inform Michy Batshuayi, who must be wondering why he wasted a few years of his career signing for the Blues. Conte’s champions are struggling in 2018, with just two wins in 90 minutes this calendar year. That said, they have shored things up at the back, with four consecutive home clean sheets in the Premier League, their longest such streak since a run of five in January 2015. If they can get their frontman, whomever that may be, firing then they can remain confident of picking up the points here.
Eddie Howe’s Cherries are no mugs, and the south coast club will have smelt blood given Chelsea’s recent woes. AFC Bournemouth are unbeaten in five PL matches and will hope to extend this to six on Wednesday. However, they haven’t won away from home since beating Newcastle on the 4th of November… tonight would be a great time to rectify that stat.
Willian is a major doubt for this one, and it’s thought he won’t be risked, joining David Luiz on the sidelines. After his cup cameo, Ross Barkley could make his Chelsea PL bow. Jermain Defoe & Tyrone Mings both remain injured, but Callum Wilson should be fit to lead the line.
What We Sayin'?
Eden Hazard has scored five goals in his last four PL appearances against Bournemouth and we fancy the midfield maestro to continue that streak tonight. Can The Cherries get anything from this? Our predictions are below:
- BTTS – YES | 9/10
- BTTS over 2.5 goals | 11/10
- Hazard 1st GS | 5/2
- Chelsea win 2-1 | 15/2
EVERTON 1 V 2 LEICESTER
That Everton have solidified under Sam Allardyce goes without saying. That they can welcome back Seamus Coleman for his first game in over ten months is an absolute boon. The popular defender suffered a horrific double leg break and is a welcome addition to the Toffees’ squad. Everton come into the game with just two draws in their last five, but have only lost once a home under Big Sam. They drew 1-1 with the ever-improving West Brom last week and Sam will be looking to collect a few more points in tonight’s game.
The Foxes are buzzing, if you’l forgive us. They haven’t lost a match this calendar year, beating Peterborogh handily in the FA Cup, despite fielding a second-string side. The likes of Vardy and Mahrez will be fit and ready to go and Everton will need to be wary of this. The reverse fixture saw Leicester run out 2-0 winners. Can they repeat that scoreline on Wednesday?
James McCarthy is out for the home side, having suffered a broken leg against West Brom. Expect Theo Walcott t slot into midfield, with Tosun up front. Simpson and Huth are fit again, but face a battle to return to the team.
What We Sayin'?
Everton have won two of their last three Premier League meetings with Leicester City, whilst the Foxes have kept clean sheets in all of their 2018 Premier League games. Something has to give but what?
- BTTS – Yes | 9/10
- Vardy 1st Goal | 7/2
- Walcott 1st Goal | 11/2
- Draw/Leicester | 2/5
- Leicester to win 1-2 | 17/2
NEWCASTLE 1 V 1 BURNLEY
Newcastle come into this game on the back of a defeat, albeit to champions-elect Manchester City. To be fair to the Toon, this season especially, is all about garnering enough points to stay in the Premier League. A lack of investment by the board, bordering on the criminal, has severely restricted Rafa Benetiz, who’s charges are battling manfully for their boss. Games against the likes of Burnley are where the Toon can pick up points, and they’ll be confident they can get something today.
The Clarets have lost four games on the trot and are without a win in their last eight matches and although Sean Dyche’s troops are safe for this season, he’ll be wanting to put that run straight. They know the Magpies have the second worst home record in the Premier League this season, with just three wins and 12 points gained at home. They’ll also know that Newcastle haven’t beaten them since 1982, and they’ll be buoyed by that fact.
Newcastle have no new injury worries, Jack Colback and Jesus Gamez their long-term absentees. Tom Heaton remains injured for Burnley, with Stephen Ward, Chris Wood and Robbie Brad joining him on the sidelines.
What We Sayin'?
Dwight Gayle has been involved in four goals in four league matches against Burnley (two goals, two assists) and the Magpie striker will surely be in the mix during this game.
- BTTS | 6/5
- BTTS - Under 2.5 goals | 4/5
- Gayle 1st GS | 7/2
- 1-1 draw | 5/1
SOUTHAMPTON 2 V 1 BRIGHTON
A south coast derby, of sorts, as Brighton travel the 65 miles to Southampton with just one point separating them in the Premier League. The Saints will be full of confidence after back-to-back draws with Watford and Spurs. They remain in the relegation zone, but such results show they should have enough to fight their way out of the lower reaches. They drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture but did beat Brighton 3-0 the last time the Seagulls visited and given the Seagulls poor away record Mauricio Pellegrino will be quietly confident of getting something from this one.
Leonardo Ulloa has returned to Brighton and the big striker could slot straight into a team needing goals. This is highlighted by the fact that they are yet to score in their three previous PL matches on a Tuesday or Wednesday, drawing 0-0 with Crystal Palace and losing 2-0 against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. One plus point for Hughton’s men has been the form of summer signing Pascal Gross, who has four goals and five assists this term. If he can strike up an immediate understanding with Ulloa then goals could be in the offing.
Ryan Bertrand (hamstring) is a major doubt after limping off against Watford and his absence would be a big blow for the Saints. Houghton shuffled his pack for the FA Cup game, but expect him to recall his big guns for this one.
What We Sayin'?
This could be a tight affair, with both sides canceling eachother out. It could be, but we don't see that... Both sides need goals, so we'll plump for...
- BTTS – Yes | 6/5
- BTTS +2.5 goals | 15/8
- Booking points over 25 | 14/5
- 2-1 | 15/2
MANCHESTER CITY 3 V 2 WEST BROM
Manchester City have got the defeat out of the way, haven’t they? A fixture that, until recently, would have been a home banker now looks even more slippery than when Bambi took to Dancing on Ice. The Baggies have won three of their last four games, including a rip-roaring 3-2 win against Man City’s conquerors Liverpool in the FA Cup, and they’ll relish this game. Man City, however, are unbeaten at home in 33 games and Pep will be in no mood to let that record slide. They are unbeaten in 165 games against WBA, with a solitary draw the only ‘blemish’ on that record. Averaging at least two goals a game a home, the Citizens will want to keep that record going.
West Brom, as mentioned, arrive in fine form. The FA Cup victory over Liverpool notwithstanding, their recent record shows a 1-1 draw at Everton, a 2-0 home win over Brighton, a 1-1 draw against Arsenal and a 0-0 draw with Everton. Manager Alan Pardew is quietly turning things around and the acquisition of Daniel Sturridge is a major feather in their cap. He’ll no doubt start on the bench, but if you need a livewire to score with twenty minutes left…
Gabriel Jesus remains sidelined for Guardiola's men. Leroy Sane, the victim of an atrocious foul in City’s FA Cup win, joins him watching from the stands. Kieran Gibbs and Hal Robson-Kanu both face late fitness tests for the Baggies.
What We Sayin'?
We can see this being a high-scoring affair. The manner in which West Brom fought back against Liverpool will have reminded their players that they have goals in then. City will want to get back firing on all cylinders, but despite spending a zillion quid on defenders, this team can leak goals. Our predictions:
- BTTS – YES | 13/10
- Rodriguez 1st GS | 12/1
- BTTS over 2.5 | 6/4
- Man City 3-2 | 33/1
STOKE CITY 2 V 1 WATFORD
Stoke have won their last four games against Watford, and with both teams tottering at the moment, the Potters will be hopeful of securing the points this time round. Despite their many travails this term, Stoke have won a PL-high 74% of their points this season at home matches (17 out of 23) and they’ll be aware of Watford’s issues on the road of late. Stoke beat Huddersfield 2-0 last time out and Paul Lambert will be hoping that his new charges can use that result as a springboard for the rest of the season.
Watford will be hoping for a new manager bounce of their own, dispensing with the services of the highly-rated Marco Silva and replacing him with Javi Garcia, once of Malaga and Rubin Kazan. Watford’s problem this term, aside from suspensions and injuries, has been scoring goals away from home, with just two scored in their last five away games. Garcia will be hoping for an instant return, we expect it may take a while before dividends are paid.
Jese Rodriguez has been in Spain for personal reasons and is unlikely to start tonight. Glen Johnson remains sidelined for the Potters. Watford have a host of injuries, though Troy Deeney and Heurelho Gomes could return. Likewise, The Hornets should be able to call on the services of former United-star Tom Cleverly.
What We Sayin'?
This has all the hallmarks of a 1-1 draw (19/4), which is why we’re going to eschew that scoreline and plump for a home win. Everything thrown into the mixer and we can see Stoke wanting this one just a little more than Watford, who remain in the top half of the table.
- 0-10mins 1st goal | 3/1
- BTTS – Yes | 4/6
- BTTs +2.5 goals | 11/10
- Crouch anytime scorer | 7/5
- Shaqiri 1st GS | 6/1
- 2-1 Stoke win | 8/1
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 V 2 MANCHESTER UNITED
Tottenham have lost just one of their last 31 ‘home’ games, but recent draws against Southampton and lowly Newport will have even the most ardent of fans worrying about this one. Games against Manchester United are always special, but with the race for a top-four sport getting tighter with every passing day, Spurs simply can’t afford to let many more points slide against the ‘big’ Six. They face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, and then Arsenal in the NLD on Feb 10th. Harry Kane dug them out of the hole against Newport and the Lilywhites will look to their talisman to lead the fight against United. Tottenham remain unbeaten in their last eight games – Man City being the last team to turn them over – but they really need to improve their record against those teams battling for the top spots in English football. That said, Spurs are unbeaten in their last five home games against United… food for thought.
Manchester United arrive having bolstered their ranks with Alexis Sanchez and the former Arsenal star loves playing at Wembley. Add to this fact that United have won all five of their games since the start of the year and it is easy to see why Jose’s men arrive in confident mood. They’ve scored five in that run, conceding none, and have overtaken Spurs as being the country’s most parsimonious side. Like their hosts, City are the only team to have beaten United in their last thirteen games their noisy neighbours being the only team to have picked up ore away points this season. The irrististable force meets the immoveable object as Kane goes head-to-head with de Gea. What gives?
Hugo Lloris, Toby Aldeweireld, Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen all returning to training but face late fitness tests after succumbing to the flu. Serge Aurier and Harr Winks are still out for Spurs. Michael Carrick remains United’s only long-term absentee, though Zlatan and Eric Bailly are out for Jose’s United.
What We Sayin'?
Neither team concede too many, so a high-scoring affair is surely on the cards?!! Alexis Sanchez loves playing at Wembley and he’d love nothing more than to score against Spurs. Harry Kane needs just one more goal to reach 100 Premier League strikes, whilst Heung-Min Son is on fire. Throw into the mix the likes of Rashford, Martial, Lingard, Dele, Lamela, Eriksen… and it’s easy to see why we think there will be goals.
- BTTS – Yes | 4/6
- BTTS, Over 2.5 goals | 6/5
- Over 3.5 goals | 11/5
- Kane 1st GS | 23/10
- Sanchez anytime GS | 9/5
- Son 1st GS | 19/4
- Lamela last GS | 6/1
- 2-2 | 11/1
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