Mikel Arteta will be looking to make an instant impact at the Emirates as Arsenal host near neighbours Chelsea in the pick of the action in Gameweek 20 of the Premier League.
It all kicks off with a battle of the South Coast strugglers on Saturday lunchtime as Brighton meet Bournemouth, while Liverpool’s title charge continues at home to Wolves on Sunday.
Here are our Premier League predictions plus our glance at the latest football betting as the 2019/20 season moves past the halfway stage…
Arsenal vs Chelsea, Liverpool vs Wolves & The Rest of Gameweek 20 Previewed
All games 15:00 kick-off unless stated
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION VS BOURNEMOUTH, 12:30
The lowdown: There’s a festive chill in the air at the Amex with this game having a distinct ‘must not lose’ feel for two sides slipping too close towards the relegation places for comfort. Both sides have won only one of their last eight games. That could make for a nervy encounter in Saturday’s early kick-off. The Cherries recorded an emphatic 5-0 win on their last trip along the coast.
Verdict: Seagulls to take the spoils. 2-1
Best Bet: Pascal Gross to score the first goal at 41/5.
NEWCASTLE UTD VS EVERTON
The lowdown: It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Carlo Ancelotti’s reign at Everton got off to the best possible start on Boxing Day. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s inch-perfect header made the difference against a stubborn Burnley, but it’s improving the Toffees’ dire away form that will really see the Italian earn his crust. Everton have won just once on the road all season. Ancelotti may struggle to improve on that record against a Magpies team that has been resilient under Steve Bruce at St James’ Park – losing only their opening game of the season against Arsenal.
Verdict: Away point for Ancelotti. 1-1
Best Bet: The score draw at 69/20.
SOUTHAMPTON VS CRYSTAL PALACE
The lowdown: Two teams who put in impressive displays on Boxing Day meet at St Mary’s looking to keep up the momentum heading into 2020. The Saints put in the perfect away performance to grab a vital 2-0 win at Chelsea, while some late individual brilliance from Jordan Ayew handed Crystal Palace all three points in their London derby with West Ham. With both teams playing a second game in the space of 48 hours, it could be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ in this one with both sides happy to settle for a point.
Verdict: Slow news day at St Mary’s. 0-0
Best Bet: Under 0.5 goals at 15/2.
WATFORD VS ASTON VILLA
The lowdown: The relegation battle heats up in Hertfordshire with Watford looking to bring themselves back into survival contention after an encouraging start to Nigel Pearson’s tenure. The Hornets are aiming to make it back-to-back home wins against a Villa side that too often downs tools on the road. Dean Smith’s team picked up a morale-boosting win over Norwich and could move out of the relegation places if they can pick up just a second away victory of the season.
Verdict: Hornets to close the gap. 2-1
Best Bet: A draw in the first half and Watford to win at full time at 89/20.
NORWICH CITY VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
The lowdown: It’s beginning to look like a bleak midwinter for the Canaries with Daniel Farke’s side now seven points from safety after a 13th Premier League defeat of the season away at Aston Villa. However, they could take advantage against a Spurs side that will need significant reshuffling with Harry Winks, Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko all missing through suspension. The home side has kept just two clean sheets all season.
Verdict: The Blue Christmas continues for the Canaries. 1-3
Best Bet: Erik Lamela to score the last goal at 13/5.
WEST HAM UTD VS LEICESTER CITY, 17:30
The lowdown: Leicester’s title credentials were torn to shreds on Boxing Day as Liverpool ran out rampant 4-0 winners at the King Power. Brendan Rodgers will be looking for a quick reaction against a West Ham side that looks ill-equipped for a relegation battle under Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean looks to be on borrowed time in East London but will take heart from the fact the Hammers are unbeaten in their last four meetings with the Foxes.
Verdict: Hammers to snatch a point against the shellshocked Foxes. 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score and a draw at 71/20.
BURNLEY VS MAN UTD, 19:45
The lowdown: Man Utd put a marker down for their European ambitions with an emphatic Boxing Day win at home to Newcastle. Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to prove he can solve Utd’s travel sickness. Away form has been the Red Devils’ downfall this season, with their 2-1 derby day win against Man City earlier this month quickly wiped out by a low-energy defeat away at Watford. The home side’s form has been uncharacteristically patchy at Turf Moor this season with the Clarets winning five and losing four.
Verdict: Narrow win for the away side. 0-1
Best Bet: Burnley to have the most corners at 89/50.
ARSENAL VS CHELSEA, 14:00
The lowdown: It’s the battle of the rookies at the Emirates as Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard meet for the first time as managers at the Emirates. The new Gunners boss started his reign with a low key 1-1 draw at Bournemouth but will be looking to pick up his first win against a Chelsea team currently looking short of confidence. Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 2-0 home win in this fixture last season.
Verdict: Arteta to get off to a dream start. 1-0
Best Bet: Arsenal to win by one goal at 79/20.
LIVERPOOL VS WOLVES, 16:30
The lowdown: Can anyone stop them? The Reds look relentless in their bid for a first Premier League title and brushed off any talk of a Club World Cup hangover with a thumping 4-0 away win at closest rivals Leicester. If any team can trip them up, it could be Wolves, with Nuno’s side already taking points off Arsenal, Man City and Leicester on the road. The stats don’t look favourable, with the Reds coming out on top in both games last season.
Verdict: No let-up from Liverpool. 2-0
Best Bet: Liverpool to win both halves at 163/100.
MAN CITY VS SHEFFIELD UTD, 18:00
The lowdown: The weekend’s football is rounded off at the Etihad as the reigning champions host Sheffield Utd in Sunday’s late game. The Blades remarkable away run continued with a 1-0 away win at Brighton last time out on the road – and that means they remain undefeated on their travels in the Premier League. This game finished in a 0-0 draw the last time the Blades were at this level back in 2006.
Verdict: Away day blues at last for the battling Blades. 3-1
Best Bet: Man City to win by two goals at 61/20.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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