It promises to be another fascinating midweek of EPL matches as most teams begin the second half of their campaigns. The lead at the top of the standings could change three times this week with three teams separated by two points in what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting title races the league has ever seen. Manchester United leads the way going into the slate of fixtures, but Manchester City and Leicester can both reach the summit in the coming days. Here are some soccer bets that stand out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook for the upcoming English Premier League (EPL) games.
Southampton v Arsenal
This will be the third meeting in 35 days and Arsenal will hope they can register their first win. The points were shared in the first league meeting which saw Theo Walcott give the Saints the lead against his former club before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rescued a point at the Emirates for the Gunners early in the second half. On Saturday, the two sides met in the FA Cup at St Mary’s which went the Saints’ way thanks to Gabriel’s own goal midway through the first half to eliminate the holders at the second hurdle. It was a weak cup defense by Mikel Arteta’s side, which can now concentrate on pushing for a top-four finish for the first time in five seasons. The Saints have their own dreams of qualifying for European football next season and will start this contest as favorites to open up a five-point gap on their opponents, who will climb above Southampton with a win. In the league, Arsenal has gone four straight games without giving up a goal. Southampton has registered shutouts in five of their past six league and cup games.
West Brom v Manchester City
Of the three teams leading the way at the top of the table, Manchester City is the first to play when they travel to struggling West Brom. The home side will see this as a free hit in a game they are not expected to win. The same could have been said about their matchup with Liverpool a few weeks ago, and they came away from Anfield with a creditable 1-1 draw. The Baggies would take a similar score this time. City would see a tie as a disappointment, especially as they have worked their way into the race to become champions. Pep Guardiola’s side has won their last 10 league and cup games, although they were given a scare in their FA Cup tie at Cheltenham who led 1-0 with nine minutes to play on Saturday. Three late goals spared City’s blushes and they will not be underestimating their hosts this time. City, who will be without playmaker Kevin de Bruyne for the next month, is improving in all areas of their game. They are scoring goals and importantly, they are not conceding many goals. They have conceded just two goals in their last 900 minutes of EPL action. West Brom has scored just two goals in their past seven home games.
Everton v Leicester
Should Manchester City slip up at West Brom, Leicester could go top of the standings, if they win and Manchester United fails to pick up three points at Sheffield United in their match kicking off at the same time. A trip to Goodison Park is a tricky proposition this season as Carlo Ancelotti has turned the Toffees into a well-organized and hard-to-beat team. Everton has played two games fewer than most of the teams above them. If they can win those contests and this game too, then they could play themselves into what is already a congested title race. Two of the best young home-grown talents will be on display with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin and James Maddison of Leicester expected to play big roles in this fixture. Five of Everton’s past six wins have been by a single goal while four of Leicester’s last five league wins have been by two or more goals. Neither side is used to being behind at the interval. Leicester has trailed once in their last nine while Everton has not trailed in their last nine EPL matches.
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United have put the disappointment of being knocked out of the Champions League well and truly behind them as they enter this midweek slate of games two points clear at the top of the standings. Sheffield United on the other hand is at rock bottom, 12 points from safety and the drop door to the Championship will begin to open if they are defeated at Old Trafford. The last time Sheffield United won at Old Trafford was on Dec. 26, 1973, so it will be a shock if the Blades rewrote history. When the two sides met earlier this season at Bramall Lane, it was the home side who scored the first goal. It’s one of nine EPL games in which Manchester United has given up the opening goal, but they have turned things around to win seven of them, including the reverse fixture with the Blades. Sheffield United has scored just two goals in their last five games which is why they find themselves in such a poor position. If Manchester United can score the first game, they will be confident of completing the win as their opponents have lost their past nine EPL games when giving up the opening goal.
Tottenham v Liverpool
When Liverpool hit the top of the table in the middle of December, the champions were expected to stay there for the remainder of the season. But seven weeks later they find themselves fourth in the standings ahead of this slate of midweek games. And because they are playing after everybody else, Jurgen Klopp’s side could take to the field at Tottenham seventh and possibly see a nine-point gap between them and the leaders. Spurs can be the latest side to hit the stumbling champions in their current poor spell which has seen the Reds pick up just three points from their last five games. Tottenham has lost ground on the leaders after a string of indifferent results. The Spurs have not won successive league games since beating Manchester City 2-0 on November 21. This would be a good time to change that particular narrative and a win would rekindle their title hopes. Liverpool has to rediscover the form from last season that led them to win their first domestic title since 1990. The first goal market is an interesting one. Tottenham has scored first in their last four EPL while Liverpool has failed to score the opening goal in their last four league games.
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