There is a break in regular Premier League scheduling as a result of this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures, and Round 25 will instead take place across Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
League leaders Manchester City will host the lowly West Bromwich Albion on Thursday, while Alexis Sanchez will step out in a Manchester United jersey for the first time in the EPL against Spurs.
Two similarly-formed sides will square off in London on Wednesday morning when West Ham host Crystal Palace in the first match of Round 25.
West Ham are undefeated through their last seven fixtures in all competitions and have been particularly strong in the Premier League of late; drawing with Spurs and Bournemouth and comfortably beating Huddersfield on the road.
Palace’s slow start to the season is well and truly behind them and ignoring a lacklustre defeat at the hands of Arsenal last weekend, they have been good. Wins over Burnley and Southampton, and an impressive draw with league-leaders Manchester City has seen them climb into thirteenth position overall, with plenty of scope to move into the top ten.
This should be a terrific fixture from a spectator’s perspective and there is plenty of value to be taken across the board.
Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United is a done deal and Arsenal will begin Premier League life without the prolific goal scorer on the road to Swansea.
Arsenal have not been nearly as potent in the Premier League this season and remain sixth overall on 42 competition points, though they still hold a healthy buffer over the seventh-placed Leicester. The Gunners slumped to a disappointing defeat to Burnley a fortnight ago, but responded with a demolition job of Palace last week, to the tune of 4-1.
Swansea have lost only one of their last four Premier League fixtures, but they remain anchored to the bottom of the table having won only five games all season. They do look like a team that is starting to build to the task and an impressive 1-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday last week should fill their sails.
Arsenal are probably under the odds at their current quote, but it’s tough to see them leaving the Liberty Stadium within anything less than three competition points.
Betting suggests that Huddersfield are no chance in Week 25, but Liverpool will need to improve drastically on last week’s loss to bottom-placed Swansea if they are to win.
The Terriers have been pretty disappointing in England’s top flight of late and they have not found winning form since a comprehensive victory, albeit over a 10-man Watford in mid-December. They are still fourteenth on the ladder, but with other results going against them, they are only one loss away from the relegation zone.
Prior to Tuesday’s forgettable performance, Liverpool had found a decent run of form that was highlighted by a win over Manchester City; subsequently becoming the first team to do so this season. They are still clearly trying to account for life without Coutinho, but they should have the firepower to leave Huddersfield with the win.
Everton and Leicester City have both found their way into the top ten and will go toe-to-toe on Thursday morning.
The Toffees were caught in the relegation zone for several weeks at the beginning of the season, but their sharp run of form through November and early December saw an increase belief and positioning. They’ve fallen off the pace again recently and following four-consecutive losses in all competitions, could only manage a draw with West Brom last week.
Leicester looked like they’d be battling for survival this season, but they’ve been terrific recently and are in the hunt for a European berth. The Foxes easily accounted for Huddersfield three weeks ago, before holding on to draw with Chelsea after suffering a red card in the 68th minute. Having returned to winning form against Watford last Sunday, they are capable of taking something from this match.
Typically, Leicester has been a lot more lethal at home than they have been on the road this season and Everton can sneak a low-scoring win here.
Thursday morning’s match between Chelsea and Bournemouth could be one of the bigger blowouts in Week 25 of the Premier League.
Chelsea have not been the side that easily won the Premier League in 2016/17, but they have done enough to find themselves in third position overall and comfortably on track for a Champions League berth once more. They have produced a number of big wins overly lowly opposition of late, including a 5-0 thrashing of Stoke and a 4-0 win over Brighton most recently.
The Cherries are undefeated in their five most-recent Premier League fixtures; a run of form which has included wins over Arsenal and Everton. They are a team playing with plenty of fight and they have successfully pulled themselves out of the relegation scrap, for the time being at least.
Bournemouth held their own in a 2-1 defeat last time they played Chelsea (League Cup quarterfinal), but they probably face too great a task at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle and Burnley will square off in one of the more intriguing fixtures in Week 25.
The Magpies have not been overly convincing of late, but they are also amidst a tough run of matches against some of the league’s best teams. They can be forgiven for leaking three goals against City last Sunday, but they weren’t great against Swansea or Brighton in the weeks prior.
Burnley have lost their three most-recent Premier League fixtures, but they were all against formed teams and they were outstanding prior to the forgettable run of results.
This looms as a great opportunity for the Clarets to get their campaign back on track and I am happy to give them another chance at healthy odds.
Thursday morning’s match between Southampton and Brighton at St Marys looms as a potentially vital one for both clubs.
Its not been particularly happy hunting for either club of late. Southampton currently sit eighteenth and are therefore in the relegation zone, while things aren’t much better for Brighton, who are one point clear in sixteenth.
The Saints are interestingly undefeated in three of their last four Premier League appearances, but they have also failed to convert a win since November. They will have taken plenty of confidence from a 1-1 draw with Spurs last week and this is an ideal opportunity to finally record that vital and elusive win.
Brighton have leaked six goals in their last two Premier League games without scoring one of their own, and that is a genuine concern against a Southampton side that will look to press forward.
The relegation-threatened Stoke City will host Watford on Thursday morning, in what looms as a must win for both clubs for different reasons.
For Stoke it is getting to the point of do or die, as they simply have not been able get a foothold on the competition in 2017/18. Last Sunday’s win over Huddersfield was their first win in 2018 and it is also important to note that they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Coventry City within that period.
Watford also have not won in the Premier League since December, but they have gone toe-to-toe with some of the league’s best for 90 minutes this season and are in a position to climb back up the ladder.
This is a tough game to pick, but on recent performances there isn’t a lot between these two clubs and the draw looms as a potentially lucrative betting play.
The champions-in-waiting will host West Brom at Eastlands on Thursday morning, in what looms as a potential flogging.
It has been a truly glittering season for City and while they suffered their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Liverpool a fortnight ago, they responded with a comfortable win over Newcastle and will realistically go on with the job here.
West Brom managed to hold Everton to a draw on Matchday 24 and that followed a smart 2-0 win over Brighton. The Baggies have been extremely inconsistent all season however, and they are firmly entrenched in the bottom three.
The real blockbuster in Week 25 will take place on Thursday morning when Spurs host Manchester United in London. This was already a match to settle in for, but the addition of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United’s line-up means that it is now simply unmissable.
Spurs were held to one-all draw by Southampton last week, but they were in devastating touch in the weeks leading up to that; netting 15 goals in their five matches prior.
Manchester United’s record speaks for itself. If not for their crosstown rivals, the Red Devils would be in with a real chance of winning the league this season and look likely to finish second overall.
At home Spurs probably deserve favouritism, but United are over the odds and I’m happy to take the gamble this week.