It’s time for another exciting weekend in the English Premier League. In this article we take a look at the Premier League matches coming up on January 21 and 22, with a number of key matches that are must-wins at both ends of the table. We offer our best bets for each match and determine which players make for the best fantasy football value plays on DraftKings*.
*DraftKings picks will be posted once player salaries are released
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21
Liverpool vs. Swansea City
Liverpool might still be a title contender, but the truth is the team hasn’t excelled of late. A better-organised Swansea under Paul Clement probably won’t have the attacking prowess to win the game, but could make life difficult for a Reds side that failed to beat Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup and then lost to Southampton in the EFL Cup.
Liverpool ought to take this one, but don’t be surprised if it’s not by a major margin.
Middlesbrough vs. West Ham United
West Ham has been rocked by the news that key player Dimitri Payet has handed in a transfer request, the Hammers not really having anyone who can make the same impact as the Frenchman could around the box. In this turmoil, which has seen Payet excluded from the team, Middlesbrough will fancy its chances of taking a result away from the often-toxic atmosphere of the London Stadum.
Bournemouth vs. Watford
Although Watford’s results of late have slumped, as you’d expect for a smaller club during a period of fixture congestion, the Hornets and Bournemouth are two decent, evenly-matched teams who will both view this game as valuable points that can be taken.
Though Bournemouth, who has surprisingly spent time in the top half of the table this season, will be viewed as the favourite, this will be a close match.
Top Bet: 11/4 with SportingBet for a draw
Stoke City vs. Manchester United
Although the form table – and the league table – point to a convincing Manchester United win, as a bettor you’ve got to be a little more creative than that. With Stoke, bobbing around in lower-mid-table, not seen by some pundits as being capable of causing an upset, you have to instead look at the time of year and the quality of the squad.
With players like Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri viewing themselves as world-class players, this is exactly the kind of big game where they ought to come to the fore, putting themselves in the shop window for bigger clubs. Although a Stoke win is not the most likely result, you can protect yourself against all but a United win by placing a Draw No Bet on a Stoke victory. It’s not so long ago that a very similar Stoke team beat Louis van Gaal’s United 3-0, so a surprise result is possible.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Sunderland
West Brom has taken victories this season against far better sides than Sunderland, and should have the firepower, along with an excellent defence, to claim a win at the Hawthorns. Should, that is – but Sunderland, assuming Jermain Defoe remains at the club, still has a few high-quality players who can turn a game like this, and so things can be more evenly-matched than many would believe.
With such great odds for a draw, and with the Black Cats showing signs of another life, this could be a stalemate.
Top Bet: 11/4 with Betfair for a draw
Crystal Palace vs. Everton
Everton made a great signing in the purchase of Morgan Schneiderlin, the French midfielder having been a colossus for Everton manager Ronald Koeman when they were together at Southampton two seasons ago.
However, Palace, while the wins may not have been coming, have at least been looking like a more solid outfit of late under Sam Allardyce, who is likely to have the tactical knowhow to be a step ahead of Koeman, though the result of this match depends on how many players have come into and left Palace on transfers by then.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs were the first team to beat Manchester City after Pep Guardiola joined the club, when Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min and co showed how a smooth-passing team like City could be undone.
Though this is a tougher, perhaps more traditional City side with the reintroduction of Yaya Toure, for example, in midfield, there is reason to believe Spurs are coming into form at the right time to once again get a big marquee result, but this time away from home.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22
Southampton vs. Leicester City
Southampton, having a mixed season with cause for optimism, has more players on form than Leicester does, and also the Foxes’ position close to the relegation zone tells a story of what has been a tough title defence.
That said, there have been recent glimpses of the Leicester of old, mixed in with new players who have brought something different to the team; with the possibility of Saints being distracted by the potential upcoming EFL Cup final, and the absence of want-away defensive rock Jose Fonte, there are enough weaknesses for Claudio Ranieri to exploit.
Top Bet: 13/5 with Betfair for a draw
Arsenal vs. Burnley
At Turf Moor, Arsenal came away with the narrowest of wins after Burnley had played to its considerable strengths and bossed some of the Gunners’ more delicate players. However it’s usually a different story at the Emirates Stadium and it will be, most likely, an Arsenal win with the home side hogging possession. The fun bets are in when Arsenal will go ahead – after half-time seems a good bet.
Chelsea vs. Hull City
The club that used to be managed by Jose Mourinho, and is now overseen by the frantic Antonio Conte, comes up against Marco Silva, Hull’s manager and a man that some are trying to promote as a kind of mini-Mourinho. Given the porousness of Hull’s defence, the worst in the league, and the lack of major investment in new players, regardless of management this seems more like a training-ground exercise for Chelsea. Bet on a considerable margin of victory.
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