Crunch time in the English Premier League is officially here! With just 12 matches left in the season, now is when we get to see the genuine top-four title contenders emerge. Some teams are going to stumble, while others are likely to pull away from the pack.
This season sees the timetable for the EPL being moved around to accommodate for the shortened season and European cup competition. As such, only a handful of midweek games will be played on matchday 29. Let’s take a look at the games that will have an impact on the top of the table, as well as the EPL betting odds for the rest of the league.
Tuesday, March 2
Manchester City vs. Wolves
Betting odds: Man City: -500 Tie: +550 Wolves: +1400
There is no team in the entire league that would relish facing Manchester City at the moment. Their hard-fought win over West Ham on the weekend took their winning run to an unbelievable 20 games. At this stage, they undoubtedly have the title in the bag. While City is usually lauded for their attacking prowess, their forwards have had somewhat of an off season in comparison to their usual numbers. However, this has been compensated for by the numbers coming from the rest of the pitch, as well as the form of their two central defenders John Stones and Rúben Dias. Not only are the pair impervious at the back—but they also provided the two goals for Guardiola’s team on the weekend.
Wolves have not been the same team after losing Diogo Jota to Liverpool in the transfer window, and this was further exacerbated by the loss of Raúl Jiménez for most of the season through a head injury. Nuno Espirito Santo will be a bit happier with his team’s recent form as they haven’t lost in the last 5 League games.
However, it’s unlikely that it is going to be this Wolves side that puts a halt to City’s march towards the trophy. All three points are bound to be taken by the unstoppable Manchester team on their own home ground.
Wednesday, March 3
Burnley vs. Leicester City
Betting odds: Burnley: +310 Tie: +225 Leicester City: +100
At the moment, Burnley is teetering just a few places above the relegation zone in 15th place. They won just one game in their last 5 League games and goal-scoring is undoubtedly the Clarets’ biggest issue. They have scored the second-lowest number of goals in the entire league this season. The 4-0 drubbing to Tottenham, over the weekend, certainly won’t help their confidence either.
Leicester City missed the opportunity to go ahead of Manchester United in the second spot when they capitulated against Arsenal in their last match. Youri Tielemans opened the scoring in the sixth minute to give the Foxes a great start, but three goals from Arsenal dented Brendan Rogers’ hopes of catching up to Manchester City. The loss to the Gunners will undoubtedly have knocked the team’s confidence, but they should still win against a struggling Burnley side.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United
Betting odds: Crystal Palace: +600 Tie: +350 Man United: -225
Crystal Palace are currently sitting 13th in the League with most of their points being lost when their talismanic forward Wilfred Zaha has been out through injury. The Eagles have struggled to score without Zaha and while their defense has been reasonable, they have drawn in too many games which they should have won. Roy Hodgson will hope that Zaha will be fit to face his old club this week.
Manchester United have now drawn three of their last five League games and have only managed to stay in second place due to Leicester dropping points too. The inconsistency in Solskjær’s team is a massive concern, especially when it comes to taking control of games in which they have maintained most of the possession. It seems that they have run out of creative ideas since Paul Pogba’s injury has put him out for the last month or so.
On paper, this should be a straightforward match for United, but the Red Devils seem to have a knack for making things more difficult for themselves. Technically, United should take all three points, but at this stage nothing is certain.
Thursday, March 4
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Betting odds: Liverpool: +120 Tie: +260 Chelsea: +210
Liverpool finally got back to winning ways after four shocking losses in a row that put to bed any hopes of retaining their title. Over the last couple of weeks, the Reds have been lackluster, but their 2-0 win over Sheffield will have given this team more confidence. The manner of their win would also have pleased Jürgen Klopp, as the team played with more confidence and creativity compared to the last few months.
Chelsea are yet to lose a game under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, and they looked like the team that was most likely to break the deadlock against Manchester United on Sunday. They dropped a valuable 2 points in the 0-0 draw, which keeps them in fifth place—one point behind West Ham.
The level of intensity that Tuchel is getting out of his team is seriously impressive and Liverpool need to be at their very best to get through the Blues defense. This should be a great soccer match between two teams that desperately need the win to keep their top-four hopes alive.
What’s happening in the rest of the League?
- Sheffield United vs. Aston Villa: Sheffield: +280 Tie: +250 Aston Villa: +100
- West Brom vs. Everton: West Brom: +350 Tie: +270 Everton: -125
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