Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool flying again. Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon, USA TODAY.
How do you feel about NFL bye weeks? If you like them, you’ll love what’s going on with the Premier League schedule this weekend. Most weekends feature ten matches (20 teams in the league, you figure it out.). But every spring, as reliably as birds chirping and the grass greening up, the Premier League schedule gets thrown into disarray by the numerous teams still competing in the FA Cup. This helpful tweet sums it up for this weekend:
Here's the schedule for next weekend.
Five Premier League fixtures (GW31).
Four FA Cup Quarter-Finals, three of which will have a big impact on the FPL schedule in Gameweeks 32, 33 and 35. pic.twitter.com/hMJtpLhXaM
— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) March 11, 2019
The league leaders, Manchester City, are stuck going to Wales to play Swansea City in an FA Cup quarterfinal match. Swansea is currently 15th in the Championship table. Further diminishing this weekend’s slate is that two of the Premier League teams who are not in action anywhere are Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, who are third and fourth in the current league table. So it’s a lot of scraps we are left with, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made. Here are this week’s winners.
WEST HAM UNITED v. HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
— Super 6 (@Super6) March 14, 2019
With a slate this light, you have to dance with some unattractive partners. West Ham United is ninth in the league table, but their record of 11-6-13 puts them two games under .500. This is not a club we should ordinarily be betting on, but as always we are willing to accept easy money when it’s offered. And this is easy money, because the opponent is Huddersfield Town.
The Terriers are 20th in the league table and, while not mathematically relegated yet, are awfully close to that and have close to a zero percent chance of surviving the drop. They have won three and lost 22 in 30 league matches. Their goal difference is -38, i.e., they are more than a goal worse than their opponent on average in every match they play.
It gets worse. The Terriers have lost four straight league matches as the road team, including a 5-0 loss to Chelsea on February 2. Their last win on the road in the league this season was at Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 25. That was also their only win on the road in the league this season.
Huddersfield did hold West Ham to a draw on November 10. But that was when they could still dream of staying in the Premier League. That dream is all but dead now. Take West Ham to win at 4/7.
FULHAM v. LIVERPOOL
Klopp on Fulham: "I know what people expect. It's a very important game for us. Take our game v Fulham at home, we needed genius moments from Ali, Trent and Mo to win that one."
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) March 15, 2019
Let’s start with the obvious: Liverpool is winning this match. The Reds just vanquished Bayern Munich in Germany, knocking the five-time Champions League winners out of this season’s tournament with no doubt left as to which side was better. Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool humming again. Additionally, Liverpool has the chance here to re-take the league lead ahead of City, who aren’t idle but who don’t have a league match to play this weekend. Anything short of three points here for Liverpool would be nigh on disastrous.
And like Huddersfield, Fulham is doomed to relegation. The Cottagers are 19th in the league table and an astonishing 13 points shy of safety (Southampton and Burnley have 30 points apiece.) Fulham’s goal difference is the worst in the league (-40).
So picking Liverpool to win is the easy part. But that bet is 1/4. We can do better than that. In Fulham’s last ten league games, though they have lost seven of those matches and four in a row, they have also scored at least once in seven of those ten league matches. The bonus here for Fulham getting just one goal in a loss is too good to pass up. Take Liverpool to win AND both teams to score at 15/8.
EVERTON v. CHELSEA
Everton manager Marco Silva was quoted this week as saying that he had confidence in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Ask any Flyers goalkeeper what a vote of confidence from the coach means. Generally, it means that the goalkeeper stinks right now and is on a short leash. That’s kind of what happens when you do something like this:
— H.J. Cochrane 🇪🇺 (@MrHarryCochrane) March 9, 2019
It wasn’t that long ago that Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri was “clinging to his job” after a comprehensive loss to Manchester City in league play and an exit to Manchester United in the FA Cup. But that loss to United seemed to finally snap the Blues out of whatever funk they were in. Their only loss in all competitions over their last seven games was the Carabao Cup loss to City, which came via penalties after Chelsea largely outplayed City over 120 minutes. Yeah, there was that stupid Kepa business, but even that seems to have been forgotten now.
Chelsea have not lost since that Carabao Cup fiasco and just put Dynamo Kiev out of the Europa League 8-0 on aggregate. Everton are slumping, Chelsea are rolling. Chelsea can overtake United in the table and tie Arsenal on points for fourth (albeit with probably a worse goal difference) with a win. Everton are on a slow boat to nowhere, 11th in the league table and with no real path forward or backward in the table from there. Take Chelsea to win at 10/11.
Good luck this weekend.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Watford to win (50 units) at 16/1 and Watford to draw (50 units) at 7/1 at Manchester City: LOSS, LOSS
Burnley to win (50 units) at 20/1 and Burnley to draw (50 units) at 13/2 at Liverpool: LOSS, LOSS
Manchester United to win at Arsenal at 19/10: LOSS
WEEK 30 TOTAL: -$300
SEASON TO DATE: -$1613