A crazy matchweek 24 leads us into another crucial weekend for most teams in the league. I wrote a quick recap of Matchweek 24 that you can find here Matchweek 24 Recap.
A tough matchweek for me as City’s massive upset and Watford’s blown 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 had me losing/pushing both of my 2 unit picks and Brighton’s blown 2-0 halftime lead also crushed me. The record wasn’t bad but I was again struck by the bad luck bug. But that doesn’t matter to me, as I’ll keep picking and previewing every blog no matter my record.
This Season’s Record: 125-116-30 (-6.4 Units)
Matchweek 23 Record: 4-5-1 (-2.0 Units)
Saturday, February 2nd
English Premier League
7:30 am EST
Newcastle @ Tottenham (NBCSN) – Well isn’t this an intriguing matchup. We have Newcastle coming off of one of their biggest upset wins in recent history and Spurs who were on the brink of utter collapse before they came back to beat Watford. I still can’t put my faith into Spurs since they are still missing key players, have depth issues and have recently been keeping their results pretty close. I like Newcastle to keep it within a goal. Newcastle (+1.5, -130).
10:00 am EST
Watford @ Brighton – Two teams who have been successful at limiting opposition this season, more specifically quality opposition, will be facing off at the Amex Saturday morning after each suffered brutal losses this week. My questions is whether or not Brighton can respond to their blown 2-0 lead where they allowed Fulham to score four unanswered in the second half, and return to form. And for Watford, it’s whether they can respond after blowing their late lead to Spurs and go back on the road to get a result. Brighton have three times this season lost at least two matches in a row in the league and had a home match follow. In those three matches they beat West Ham, drew Leicester and drew Arsenal showing that they can respond well to a poor run of form. I’m going to take Brighton on the home pickem, putting my faith in them to right the ship on their recent form. Brighton Pick (-115).
Southampton @ Burnley – This is a huge match for both teams as they are one of the three teams tied on 23 points just outside the relegation zone. Both of clubs teams took a point out of their MW24 matches, but Burnley came away the happier ones with their result as they drew United at Old Trafford. But Burnley’s home form has been worrying this season and Southampton’s form has been pretty damn good in 2019. They’re undefeated in their six matches in all competitions this year with four draws. Southampton know what they need to do in order to stay up; stay solid defensively and nip goals from the opposition when they can. Burnley’s issues are a little more glaring; holes at the defense and lack of goals from open play have been plaguing them all year. I’m going to do something unconventional for this blog with a draw and Southampton pickem, putting my eggs in the Saints’ basket but also trying to pin the draw in a relegation battle (a common trend). Draw (+220), Southampton Pick (-105).
Huddersfield @ Chelsea (NBCSN) – This is a massive (and easy) chance for Chelsea to get back on track after their drubbing at the hands of Bournemouth. They can’t afford to drop points with Arsenal, who are now in fourth only ahead by goal differential, playing Man City. Vegas is certainly overcompensating for Chelsea’s recent form and dressing room struggles with a line of only 1.5 against a team who is surely guaranteed relegation. I can’t fade Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with this low of a line. Chelsea (-1.5, -120).
Fulham @ Crystal Palace – Another big match in regards to relegation as Palace know one of either Southampton or Burnley will drop points in some fashion, giving them the opportunity to pull away if they can get the points they need here. In Fulham’s case, they need three points if they want to keep pace with Cardiff’s race for survival as they’re currently sitting in the ‘first two out’ position (Fulham 19th on 17 pts and Cardiff 18th on 19 pts). But away from home this season Fulham have yet to win, have scored 8 goals and conceded 30 and have only gotten one away result (draw against Newcastle) in almost five months. I love Palace as well-priced favorites at home here. Crystal Palace (-0.5, +110).
Wolves @ Everton – Along with Brighton/Watford, this is my low key favorite match of the Premier League Saturday. Both teams are just outside looking in on the top 6 but Wolves are 10 points back and Everton are 12. Everton are back to being their inconsistent self as recent form has showed (LLWWLLW) and did not put the most enlightening display against Huddersfield. They’ll be without Lucas Digne and they only have one Premier League win in their last six at home. Wolves meanwhile have had three losses since the start of December, two of which were against City and Liverpool. To add to that, away from home during that span, they have only lost one. They absolutely dismantled West Ham on Tuesday and I love them on the pickem line here. Wolves Pick (+105).
12:30 pm EST
Bournemouth @ Cardiff (NBC) – Cardiff have yet to win in 2019 with four losses and a draw and are sitting in the first seat out of the Premier League. Bournemouth meanwhile are coming off of a 4-0 win at home to Chelsea, by far their best result of the season and have now won two straight in the league for the first time since October. I love Bournemouth to win outright here and am going to take them on the moneyline at a good price. Bournemouth (+125).
Sunday, February 3rd
9:05 am EST
Manchester United @ Leicester (NBCSN) – Both of these teams drew their opponents this week, but in two very different fashions. Leicester became only the second team this season to take points from Liverpool at Anfield while United dropped points for the first time in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era in a home draw to Burnley. Both results turned the form for both teams but I think it meant more for Leicester as it was a sign that they might be getting out of their poor form. Now they’re being put as home underdogs against United who now need to rebound after a bad performance under a new manager. Leicester (+0.5, -125).
11:30 am EST
Arsenal @ Manchester City (NBCSN) – How will Man City respond after they lost to 16/1 underdogs Newcastle? Well they have to turn around and host an Arsenal team who have played pretty well against top 6 sides this season lately, going 2-2-1 in their last 5 meetings. But the biggest issue for Arsenal right now is their defense. Not only is there a lack of depth in the first place but now they are dealing with a few key injuries to their back line. As I said in my Matchweek 24 recap they may have beaten Cardiff 2-1 with 70% possession but they were outshot 19 to 15, proving that the holes at defense will be exploited more by a team who can finish; like City. On City’s side, Pep held the team after their shock loss to Newcastle for almost an hour in the locker room after the match. He’s known for rebounding after tough results and getting his teams back on track. The spread is a bit high but I can’t seem to allow myself to fade this City team at home. Nine of their twelve home matches have been won by more than two goals. Manchester City (-1.5, -125).
Monday. February 4th
3:00 pm EST
Liverpool @ West Ham – Both teams are coming off of results they’ll want to forget as Liverpool passed up a chance to almost seal the league and West Ham got whooped by Wolves to the tune of 3-0. West Ham are now 0-3 in their last three in all competitions and they’ve conceded 9 goals and only scored 2. Their depth is becoming a real concern as there are 8-9 starters or rotation players who are currently injured. Liverpool shouldn’t lose this match, but their recent away form and their loss to Leicester are a bit worrying. They’ve lost two of their last three away matches in all competitions and the third was a close 1-0 win at Brighton, not covering in all three. Yes, West Ham has depth and form concerns but I think they turn it around and keep this match just close enough to cause Liverpool concerns during a possible unstable time in their season. Take the contrarian play in the Hammers. West Ham (+1.5, -115).
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.