By Jonathan Lewis | 23 FEB 2021
What an interesting season this is turning out to be. It has been highly unpredictable, which has provided great viewing for the public in these trying times. Football fans and neutrals alike have been treated to some enjoyment and shock results to boot. From a betting perspective, things have been difficult as anyone appears to be able to beat anyone on their day. It’s hard to imagine anyone thought current champions Liverpool would be finding it so difficult this year. Looking at the way they cantered to the title last year, most assumed it was but a formality again this year. However, injuries to most of their defenders, short-term and long-term, seem to have ended their hopes for a repeat success.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected games and betting too with the rescheduling of games resulting in players being tired or getting injured from playing too often. Because of the break in the middle of last year, the season was extended longer than normal. This led to a very limited pre-season taking place, thus hindering squads going on their normal training camp trips. This is possibly a factor with all the high-profile injuries this year and the fitness of some players has certainly been called into question.
Due to restrictions on travel and crowds, games are being played in empty stadiums. This is leaving bettors scratching their heads as away sides become braver and home form becomes harder to predict. Reliable winners, coming with short odds, known as bankers, such as Liverpool and Man Utd have been hit with some surprise defeats at home this season. Let’s take a look at some upcoming fixtures and odds that may be worth checking out if you like to have a bet. The odds will become more easily available closer to the date of the match.
This is the home leg of this fixture for Liverpool and a chance to get some revenge as the away fixture very nearly ended in embarrassment for them. The defending champions were denied taking the top spot by a team who were languishing in the lower reaches of the table. Liverpool’s home form had been extremely good until recently but successive losses may see their aura of invincibility shattered. Fulham’s away form is slightly better than their home form points wise and also their goal difference is better on their travels. Could this lead to another shock result? Liverpool will still be seen as big favorites coming into this game, as they probably have a better all-round team than Fulham.
What a game to look forward to. A big city derby between two powerhouses of English football, winning/sharing a massive chunk of Premier Leagues between them since the turn of the century. Of all time, Man Utd have 20 titles, Man City has 6. After both teams struggled at the start of the season, recently they seem to have hit their stride and both sides have been storming up the table making this a highly anticipated game. Possibly Man City will be seen as favorites here as their defense has been very solid, conceding a miserly 14 goals in 23 matches. While Man Utd’s strikeforce is just better than City’s, they have conceded more than double the number of goals. Hopefully, a goal-fest is in order then, as opposed to the drab nil-all draw played out between these teams the last time they met.
Man Utd’s away form is better than their home form so let’s see if they can get a result here and dent their rivals’ chances of winning another title. Due to Man City’s record over the last few years and their strength in defense, they may just edge it as favorites here.
While probably not a game that will be deciding the destination of any trophies, there is a big sense of local pride involved in this game. Their stadiums are only 4 miles apart. Two big clubs in the capital, vying to be the best club in North London. Arsenal last won the title in 2004, with a squad that went the entire 38 game Premier League season unbeaten. This squad is known as The Invincibles and it is the only time this has occurred. Arsenal had a golden spell winning the title 3 times between 1998 and 2004, playing some fantastic football along the way under the guidance of Arsene Wenger. Tottenham can only dream of these successes, having never won the Premier League. However, Tottenham has some superstars at the moment, boasting an attacking lineup of super striker England Captain Harry Kane, Gareth Bale, and Son Heung-min. If the title is not possible, then they will be looking to win this derby for bragging rights. Although they are away from home, they should be favorites for this game as their squad is better all round and Arsenal have been having a poor season themselves.
Always a difficult game between two big rivals of the North/South divide. Older readers may remember the despair of Man Utd players as they searched for a winner in the final game of the 94/95 season. Their failure in doing so cost them their chance to retain the title for a 3rd consecutive season. Since then, there always seems to be a sense of nervousness about playing West Ham, highlighted by losses and usually high-scoring games. This has also been magnified by the fact that David Moyes, previous manager at Man Utd is now at the helm at West Ham and always keen to get one over on his old employers.
West Ham has been having a good season and it will certainly not be an easy game for Man Utd. As discussed earlier, they have slipped up a few times at home. They will be favorites for this game, but don’t discount a shock result here!
Another chance for redemption as supposed big club Man Utd were stunned by Palace at Old Trafford at the start of the season. Can they return the favor here? While Utd had a great run of results, they seem to be running out of steam now. However, Crystal Palace has not been having a great season themselves and surely Man Utd will be favorites here and deservedly so. Their rampant away form should see them through this one quite easily. Goals galore in this one.
It’s debatable which team will be in a better position when they do meet as Chelsea seem to be in the ascendency whereas Liverpool seems to be in freefall. This fixture has a history, with one of the more recent famous moments coming in the 2014 title race as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard slipped and failed to control a pass, leading to a Chelsea goal and the end of Liverpool’s title aspirations. Although Chelsea seems unlikely to win the title, they will be looking to take advantage of Liverpool’s downturn in form lately. It’s hard to say who will be favorites in this game as Chelsea’s recent change of manager seems to have given them a new lease of life. However, it is still hard to write off Liverpool, with a front line consisting of Firmino, Mane, and Salah.
Jonathan Lewis is an MFF Staff Writer