As Manchester City moves towards their fifth English Premier League (EPL) title, the drama is on the battle for second place. City goes into this week’s slate of fixtures with a commanding 10-point lead over Manchester United and Leicester. A win for Chelsea at home to United will improve the Blues’ hopes of claiming the second spot. West Ham can do everyone a favor by beating the runaway leaders at the Etihad on Saturday and boost their hopes of securing a top four finish in the EPL for the first time.
Here are some soccer bets that stand out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook for the upcoming English Premier League (EPL) games.
Manchester City vs. West Ham
Barring a collapse, which would be regarded as the biggest in the history of the Premier League, Manchester City will be crowned this season’s champions. Pep Guardiola’s side is going about their business in a very professional manner and their run to the title has been built on defense rather than offense, which has been their mantra in recent seasons. Few expect them to slip up this weekend at home to West Ham, who have been the surprise package this campaign, and the Hammers start the weekend fourth in the standings. Since losing 2-0 at Tottenham on November 21, City has gone 26 games without losing and they have won their last 13 EPL games and not trailed in any of them. However, in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium on October 24, West Ham took a first half lead before a Phil Foden equalizer earned City a point in a 1-1 draw. City leads the league with 15 shutouts and they are looking to beat Chelsea’s record of 25 in a single season.
Leeds United vs. Aston Villa
While West Brom and Fulham have struggled in the top flight following their promotion, Leeds United has made it look easy at times. In their first season back in the EPL following a 16-year absence, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are on course to finish in the top half of the table. Aston Villa look set to be without their talisman Jack Grealish for the second successive weekend and that makes Leeds big favorites to pick up all three points. Dean Smith was angry that Grealish’s absence from his team’s 2-1 loss to Leicester last weekend was picked up by Foxes’ players, who noticed Villa players had removed Grealish from their fantasy lineups. Leeds won the first meeting 3-0 thanks to a Patrick Bamford hat-trick. Bamford has silenced his critics who doubted his ability to score regularly in the Premier League. Only Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah have scored more goals than Bamford, who has scored in each of his last two games at Elland Road.
Leicester City vs. Arsenal
Leicester’s seesaw battle with Manchester United for second spot looks set to go to the wire and their second meeting on May 11 at Old Trafford could have a big say on who finishes higher in the final standings. It’s been a tremendous season for the Foxes who are no longer relying on goals from 12-goal Jamie Vardy. Midfielders James Maddison (eight) and Harvey Barnes (nine) have chipped in with their fair share of crucial goals. Arsenal wishes they had similar firepower at their disposal. The Gunners have been misfiring in front of goal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette combining for 16 league goals. Vardy loves playing against Arsenal and with 11 goals in his last 11 appearances against the Gunners, the smart money would be on the veteran to find the net on Sunday. Consistency has been an issue for Arsenal and this could be another game that gets away from Mikel Arteta’s side.
Chelsea vs. Manchester United
Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge has transformed the club that was heading for mid-table mediocrity under Frank Lampard. Tuchel has yet to experience a loss in the eight games in charge of the Blues, who are in the mix to finish second - assuming Manchester City wraps up the title. Manchester United will hope they can chase down their neighbors, but it could all be in vain. Regardless, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made United relevant, although a lot of that is down to the individual brilliance of Bruno Fernandes, who improved his statistics to 21 goals and 12 assists in the 36 games he has played since joining the Red Devils. The previous meeting between these two former winners of the EPL ended goalless and the last time they played out two 0-0 draws in the league was almost 100 years ago (1921/22). Under 2.5 goals might be worth considering this time around.
Sheffield United vs. Liverpool
The way Liverpool’s title defense has gone this season, a Sheffield United win this weekend might not be out of the question. Liverpool is a team that is there for the taking. If United can get the first goal, the basement side will have something to defend for the remainder of the contest. Liverpool has lost their last five EPL games in which they have given up the opening goal. The problem for Chris Wilder’s struggling side is that Sheffield United has conceded the first goal in each of their last five league games. No team in the Premier League has lost as many close games as United. Their 1-0 loss at Fulham last weekend was the 14th time they have been beaten by a single goal margin and that includes Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Anfield earlier in the season which United led thanks to a 13th minute penalty. If Liverpool is to win this game, it might be by another small margin.
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