Premier League Preview Week 17
The exciting Christmas period of English football kicks off this weekend with lots to play for throughout the Premier League.
Manchester City and Leicester meet in the late kick off on Saturday, both teams will be looking to gain points on an absent Liverpool, who’s match against West Ham has been postponed due to their involvement in the Club World Cup. Elsewhere, Spurs face Chelsea on Sunday in a big London derby as Jose Mourinho faces his former club and former player turned manager, Frank Lampard. At the bottom of the table, Southampton have the chance to climb out of the relegation zone as they take on Aston Villa, who are just one place ahead of the Saints in 17th.
All odds are from bet365 and subject to change.
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Everton v Arsenal
Everton have looked a different side under interim coach Duncan Fergusson in the past two matches. They have picked up four points, drawing away to Manchester United last weekend and beating Chelsea 3-1 two weeks ago. Everton had lost their previous three before Fergusson took over temporarily from Marco Silva, but have still conceded 13 in their last seven fixtures.
Manager less Arsenal were beaten comfortably 3-0 by Manchester City last weekend and have now won only once in their last nine Premier League fixtures. The loss to City was the first time Arsenal had failed to score in four matches, but they have also not kept a clean sheet for nine consecutive games, conceding 16.
Fabian Delph should return for Everton after a month out with a thigh strain, but Theo Walcott (calf), Morgan Schneiderlin (calf), Andre Gomes (broken leg) and Jean Gbamin (hip) all remain out until the new year. For Arsenal, Granit Xhaka, Hector Belerin and Dani Ceballos could all return this weekend but Rob Holding (knee) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) will both be unavailable.
Despite Everton’s mini-revival under Fergusson, Arsenal are badly due a positive result and they be looking to bounce back as quickly as possible following their disappointing result last weekend. They will just about edge this one.
Everton – 13/10
Draw – 13/5
Arsenal – 15/8
Aston Villa v Southampton
Aston Villa’s 2-0 loss to Sheffield United on Saturday was their third Premier League defeat in a row and they have only secured one point from a possible 12 in their last four fixtures. Dean Smith’s side have one of the worst defences in the league, conceding 30 in 17 games so far, but their 23 goals scored is the best return in the bottom half of the table.
Southampton lost a crucial fixture 1-0 to West Ham last weekend, knowing a win would have taken them out of the relegation zone. It was their second loss in two matches and the first time they had failed to score in eight Premier League matches. The Saints have the worst goals conceded this season with 36 and haven’t kept a clean sheet in 14 games.
Tyrone Mings and Keinan Davis should be back in contention for Villa, but Jed Steer remains out with a calf injury. Southampton’s Yann Valery picked up a knock recently but could be back this weekend, leaving Ralph Hasenhüttl with a fully fit squad.
Both sides know the potential importance of this game which could create a cagey fixture. But Aston Villa like to attack and their home advantage may just give them edge to get all three points on Saturday.
Aston Villa – 11/8
Draw – 5/2
Southampton – 9/5
Manchester City v Leicester
Manchester City were back to winning ways against Arsenal last weekend, but they have only won three of their last six in the Premier League. They have managed 14 goals in this run though and kept their first clean sheet in six on Sunday. City have only lost twice at home this season in the league and have scored 22 goals in eight home fixtures.
Leicester dropped point for the first time in eight games last weekend as Norwich held on for a 1-1 draw with Brendan Rodgers side. Leicester still remain in second and have the best defence in the league, having conceded just 11 goals this season. They have conceded once in their last four away fixtures and scored 17.
Sergio Aguero and John Stones may return for this fixture, but it comes too soon for Aymeric Laporte (knee) and Leroy Sane (ACL). Matty James is still out long term for Leicester with a calf injury, otherwise there are no other Leicester players unavailable for Brendan Rodgers.
Manchester City are struggling, despite winning last weekend. They will find it difficult to break down Leicester so the Foxes may nick this game by one goal.
Manchester City – 4/11
Draw – 17/4
Leicester – 6/1
Tottenham v Chelsea
Jose Mourinho’s solid start to his Spurs career continued last weekend as his side beat Wolves 2-1 to climb to 5th. They have only lost once in the Premier League since Mourinho took over in November and they are now unbeaten at home in six consecutive league matches, winning four and drawing two.
Chelsea have fallen out of form recently, winning just once in their last five league matches. Frank Lampard’s side have scored just four goals in this run and conceded eight, leaving them in fourth and 20 points behind Liverpool. They have lost their last two away matches.
Tanguy NDombèlé may miss out with a groin injury for Spurs, while Ben Davies, Erik Lamela, Michelle Vorm and Hugo Lloris all remain out until the new year. Fikayo Tomori could return for Chelsea after sustaining a groin injury recently, but they could be without Oliver Giroud (ankle).
Frank Lampard was furious after his side’s loss to Bournemouth last weekend so there could be a reaction from his team this weekend. Mourinho’s side will be hard to beat, but there will be goals in a score draw.
Tottenham – 11/8
Draw – 13/5
Chelsea – 7/4
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