Sadio Mane has been red hot for Liverpool in recent weeks. Image via Twitter.
Complaining about bad beats is not something we do around here. Over time, you will win (or push) from as many disadvantageous positions as you will lose from seemingly profitable ones. So this next observation is not a complaint, it’s just a statement presented without further comment: I don’t know how Wolverhampton Wanderers blew a two-goal lead in 11 minutes against Watford last weekend and cost me a 7/5 payout. I just don’t get it. But it happened, and the only sensible course of action is to forget about it and move forward.
This weekend’s Premier League slate is backloaded with quality. All of the relegation and mid-table scrappers were in action on Saturday. Sunday brings an early clash between second-place Manchester City and a side that beat them on City’s home ground earlier in the season, Crystal Palace. That match is followed by Liverpool/Chelsea, the clear match of the weekend. And Arsenal will try to reclaim the last Champions League place on offer (on goal difference) with a win over the aforementioned Watford on Monday. This week’s winners after the jump.
CRYSTAL PALACE v. MANCHESTER CITY
Crazy that both Liverpool and Manchester City play tomorrow. No other sides in Europe that are still in the Champions League would ever play on a Sunday before midweek CL fixtures. The Premier League needs to look after their own.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 13, 2019
Gary Lineker is absolutely right. Liverpool leads their Champions League quarterfinal tie with Porto 2-0 after the first leg. The Reds are probably going to handle Porto fairly easily, but they are still going to have to travel to Portugal for Wednesday’s second leg. Manchester City are trailing Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 after their quarterfinal’s first leg, and Spurs received the double gift of playing both a day earlier and against a Huddersfield Town side that, already headed for relegation, didn’t even try against Spurs on Saturday.
City’s quest for a repeat as Premier League champions, at least in the short term, is likely going to take a backseat to their urgent need to beat Spurs in the Champions League on Wednesday night. City’s loss to Spurs mid-week was their first loss in all competitions since dropping all three points to Newcastle United in the league on January 29. Unfortunately for City, they have proven to be a club that is prone to shaky patches in the schedule, especially when they are called upon to play a lot of matches in a short period of time. City lost to Palace and to Leicester City in the span of four days in December.
Crystal Palace has little else to play for this season. Their Premier League position for next season is almost clinched. The Eagles will therefore throw everything they have at City, hoping to claim a double over the reigning champions and putting a real hurt on City’s chances to repeat. Even a draw would achieve that. Take Crystal Palace to win OR draw at 12/5.
LIVERPOOL v. CHELSEA
— Sport360° (@Sport360) April 13, 2019
Liverpool has won four in a row in the league and has not been beaten in league play since City got them on January 3. That’s over four months without a loss in the league. What cost Liverpool their seven-point lead in the table was all of the draws (Leicester City, West Ham, Manchester United, Everton.) Still, unbeaten is unbeaten, and you can fairly well rely on Liverpool to secure a result in this match.
Chelsea has won three in a row in the league. Their only loss in league play in the last two months came away to Everton, which also beat Arsenal at Goodison Park last weekend. Chelsea is in a pitched battle to climb back into the Champions League places and cannot afford to simply give this match away to Liverpool.
All of this goes to say that I have no idea who will win this match or whether it will be a draw, and that’s fine. Because I know this much: Chelsea has scored in six of their last seven league matches, and Liverpool has scored in five of their last six. There will be goals in this match. Take both teams to score at 3/4.
WATFORD v. ARSENAL
Are you excited yet? 🏆
The #FACup final between Manchester City and Watford will kick off at 17:00 BST on 18 May.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 10, 2019
Last week I noted that whoever came out of the Wolves/Watford FA Cup semifinal would be prohibitive underdogs against City in the final. I knew that much, anyway: City are 1/4 to win that trophy. If you think Watford can defy the odds again, they’re 10/1 in the FA Cup final.
Watford has not played since last week’s FA Cup semifinal comeback and in reality the Hornets don’t have a great deal more to play for in the league. Neither West Ham nor Bournemouth is likely to catch Watford for 10th place in the table. Conversely, Arsenal needs every last win available in the league to avoid another grueling trip through the Europa League next season.
Watford is a slight favorite in this match, but I’ll take the Gunners here. Watford has lost three of their last five league matches, compared to Arsenal having won three of their last five. It probably won’t be all that convincing. It doesn’t have to be. Take Arsenal to win at 23/20.
Good luck this weekend.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS
Arsenal to win AND both teams to score at Everton at 29/10: LOSS
Wolverhampton Wanderers to win against Watford (FA Cup semifinal) at 7/5: LOSS
Chelsea to win at nil against West Ham at 6/5: WIN
LAST WEEK’S TOTAL: -$80
SEASON TO DATE: -$1,563