Has there been a tighter battle for the top spot in the English Premier League in recent years? We think not! In just the space of a couple of hours on Wednesday, we saw the team in prime position change three times with Leicester City, Manchester City, and finally, Manchester United all going with wins one after the other.
Things are really heating up as we barrel into the second half of the season and it’s looking closer than ever at the top. Of course, it’s still too early to predict exactly who will lift the trophy at the end of the season, but there are sure signs that four or five teams are in the running. The next couple of weeks are going to be crucial if any of these sides want to break away from the tightly-congested pack.
Let’s take a look at the biggest games coming up in matchday 20 and the EPL betting odds for what is set to be another exciting midweek soccer extravaganza.
Tuesday 26 January
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Betting odds: Southampton: +210 Tie: +230 Arsenal: +135
It’s astounding that just a few weeks ago it felt like Mikel Arteta’s job was hanging in the balance, with the Gunners positioned just above the relegation zone. His team seem to have found their rhythm, however, and they haven’t lost in their last five games. The up-turn in form comes at the same time as youngsters Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka were introduced into the first XI. Their youth, energy and exuberance has transformed a struggling Arsenal team, who now find themselves in 10th spot, two points behind Wednesday’s rivals.
Things have gone quite the opposite for Ralph Hasenhüttl. His team welcomes Arsenal to St. Mary’s Stadium having won only one of their last five games. The Saints have looked completely off their pace after a really great start to their season and have slipped significantly into ninth spot, albeit with a game in hand.
We’re predicting that this is going to be an incredibly tight game and it’s not going to be an easy win for either side, but if Aubameyang continues in his fine goal-scoring form then it’s likely that the Gunners will come out on top.
West Brom vs. Manchester City
Betting odds: West Brom: +1350 Tie: +600 Man City: -550
For a while it seemed like Pep Guardiola’s team had lost its edge. City just weren’t the team that we were expecting to see this season and after a string of poor results, critics were starting to ask questions. That all seems to have blown over now though and after a hard fought win over a resilient Aston Villa they briefly went top of the league. They currently sit 2nd behind Manchester United, but if they win their game in hand, they will leapfrog The Red Devils into 1st by a point.
This game shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge for City, given that West Brom are sitting second last in the league. Sam Allardyce has come under huge amounts of pressure for the poor performance of this team this season and he’ll be hoping that The Baggies can pull something magical out of the bag for this game.
All in all though, Manchester City are expected to comfortably walk away with the three points.
Wednesday 27 January
Manchester United vs. Sheffield
Betting odds: Man United: -350 Tie: +475 Sheffield: +950
Even die-hard United fans probably would have had a chuckle if you told them that they would be topping the league in the New Year. The Red Devils had one of their most lacklustre starts to a season in decades and many had written them off after just a few weeks. Things are starting to come together for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and his team. Paul Pogba is in the form of his career once again—his unbelievable left-footed goal earned all three points at Fulham to take United back to the top of the table. United’s home form is not as impressive as their away form, but this United side certainly look like they are hungry for their first EPL trophy since the departure of Fergie.
Sheffield United, on the other hand, are a team firmly stationed at the bottom of the league. With just 5 points on the board after 19 games, things don’t look promising for The Blades and they are going to have to give this game everything that they’ve got if they want to halt United in their tracks. Chris Wilder can’t be relishing the task of taking on a free-flowing, confident Manchester United side that look hundreds of miles ahead of where they were just a couple of seasons ago.
United don’t make their games comfortable and have a propensity to go behind first, but they aren’t known as the come-back kings for nothing. The Red Devils should take all three points at Old Trafford.
Everton vs. Leicester
Betting odds: Everton: +185 Tie: +230 Leicester: +155
Everton have been a team unchained this season, with Carlo Ancelotti transforming the mid-table team into unlikely top four contenders. At the beginning of the season, Everton was relying on the goal-scoring prowess of Calvert-Lewin and many believed they would struggle once their forward talisman, as well as Richarlson were ruled out with injuries. However, The Toffees have actually benefited from their extended break due to games being postponed as a result of COVID outbreaks. Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi provided the goals last time out to take all three points from Wolves. It remains to be seen whether the injured pair will play against Leicester, but if Everton win their game in hand, they will go into the top four in the league.
Leicester City hit a bit of a rough patch in December with a loss and two draws, but they have come right since and beat Chelsea 2-0 in their last game. Young midfielder James Maddison is running the show and has scored in their last three Premier League matches. Of course, Jaimie Vardy has been in and out of the team with a hip impingement and it’s hoped the lethal forward will be fit to face Everton at Goodison Park.
Brendan Rogers should have confidence in this high-flying Leicester team, but The Foxes will be wary of the threat that Everton will bring to the game. This is going to be a close game in all areas of the pitch, but the odds put Leicester as the team most likely to take all three points.
Thursday 28 January
Tottenham vs. Liverpool
Betting odds: Tottenham: +210 Tie: +270 Liverpool: +120
Tottenham started the season in incredible fashion and even found themselves in 1st place for a time. A 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United skyrocketed their confidence, but Mourinho’s team has taken its foot off the peddle a little since then. Draws against Fulham, Wolves, and Crystal Palace, and the loss to Liverpool resulted in The Spurs dropping down to 5th in the table, but they do still have a game in hand, that could take them back into the top four. Mourinho will hope that Son and Harry Kane can combine to exact revenge on the Reds for the defeat earlier in the season.
Liverpool lost at Anfield for the first time in nearly four years on Thursday night. Ashley Barnes took all three points for Burnley through a penalty in the 83rd minute. This result means that The Reds haven’t won a game in their last five and their form should be of massive concern to Klopp. Liverpool have been without van Dijk, Gomes, and Jota through injury, but even so, you would imagine that they should have enough depth to overcome a team struggling in the bottom half of the table.
There is no better time for Tottenham to welcome Liverpool and try to take points off of the mis-firing Reds. This is going to be a close one and certainly one worth keeping an eye on.
What’s happening in the rest of the league?
Of course, these aren’t the only games that are happening in the EPL this weekend and online sports betting fans can also look at the following soccer betting odds for matchday 20:
- Aston Villa vs. Newcastle: Aston Villa: -200 Tie: +375 Newcastle: +500
- Crystal Palace vs. West Ham: Crystal Palace: +210 Tie: +230 West Ham:+135
- Newcastle vs. Leeds: Newcastle: +280 Tie: +280 Leeds: -110
- Chelsea vs. Wolves: Chelsea: -165 Tie: +300 Wolves: +475
- Brighton vs. Fulham: Brighton: +100 Tie: +250 Fulham: +280
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