We’re now entering the stage in the season where individual matches can be hugely significant and in the context of the race for a Champions League place, Southampton’s showdown with Liverpool at the St Mary’s Stadium is one such encounter.
Victory for Saints, priced at 13/8 by Paddy Power, would make it an uphill struggle for the Reds to ultimately finish in the top four but a triumph for Brendan Rodgers’s troops, available via BetVictor at 19/10 would tighten things up considerably and keep the visitors right in the hunt.
Rejuvenated Liverpool are unbeaten in nine Premier League outings, so they head to the south coast full of confidence and it would take a brave punter to oppose them. Saints meanwhile, have lost only once in their last nine and enjoy home advantage so there’s little to separate the pair; subsequently, Stan James’s 12/5 about a tight affair finishing all square has to get the nod.
Taking that a touch further, bet365 mark 7/2 against a score draw and betway quote the vital clash at 6/1 to end one-each in a match that looks decent value at 4/5 (Ladbrokes) to generate fewer than three goals.
Staying with the scoring theme and Liverpool’s fit-again front man Daniel Sturridge is rediscovering his sharpness and he’s worth an interest at 6/4 via William Hill to find the net, just as he did when the pair met at Anfield on the campaign’s opening day.
Another man capable of getting on the scoresheet is Tottenham’s unstoppable striker Harry Kane, who Winner.com chalk up at 11/10 to add to his tally against West Ham. Kane is bet365’s 7/2 favourite to break the deadlock but Spurs boss Maurico Pochettino won’t care who bags the goals, as long as his team strengthen their own top four hopes with a victory.
At Selhurst Park, Arsenal are also 4/5, this time with Stan James, to get the better of a resilient Crystal Palace outfit and like their North London neighbours, they should be considered to edge it by one, an outcome BetVictor offer at 29/10 in this contest.
The other side in the mix for a Champions League berth, Manchester United, are Stan James’s even money jollies as they travel to Swansea but Louis Van Gaal’s charges might have to settle for a point (13/5, bet365) at the Liberty Stadium, where it’s 13/2 at betway to finish 1-1.
At the top, Skybet price leaders Chelsea at a prohibitively skinny 1/5 to overcome Burnley so punters would be better off backing the hosts at 9/10 (BetVictor) to defeat the Clarets ‘to nil’. Manchester City are just 3/10 with Stan James to maintain their pursuit of Jose Mourinho’s men by beating Newcastle at Eastlands and a 3-1 win for the hosts is one for the speculative at 11/1 courtesy of bet365. Back amongst the goals at Stoke last time out, Sergio Aguero is 10/3 (Coral) to open the scoring.
Elsewhere, Everton – 4/5 at Stan James – should be too strong for rock-bottom Leicester, the same firm post 13/8 against Tim Sherwood inspiring Aston Villa to another victory, this time over Stoke and William Hill’s 21/10 for West Brom to prevail at Sunderland looks far too big. At the KC Stadium finally, the six-pointer between Hull and QPR is 9/4 (betway) to prove inconclusive.
Sergio Aguero to score first – 10/3 (Coral)
Southampton v Liverpool score draw – 7/2 (bet365)
Swansea v Man Utd draw – 13/5 (bet365)
West Brom to beat Sunderland – 21/10 (William Hill)
Arsenal and Tottenham double – 9/4 (Stan James)