The Premier League is set to resume on Thursday morning with 12 fixtures to be played across the next five days!
The league returns with a bang as City prepare to host Arsenal at an all too familiar empty Etihad Stadium, while Man United look to continue their run towards UCL qualification with a victory in the Mourinho Derby and Liverpool have a chance to wrap up their first title since the conception of the World Wide Web!
I’ve previewed all ten fixtures in Game Week 30 plus the two catch up matches and provided my best betting plays along the way.
The 2019/20 Premier League season resumes on Thursday morning when Aston Villa play host to Sheffield United at an empty Villa Park.
Both Villa and the Blades were promoted from the Championship last season, the former spent upwards of AUD$200m on new arrivals while latter stuck fat with the players who got them there.
Villa may have well thrown their cash into the wind, with the once revered club now dwelling in the doldrums of the relegation zone, losing four games straight before the Covid break.
Alternatively, the Blades have been this seasons overachievers, Chris Wilder’s boys are currently sitting 7th on the table just 2 points behind United in 5th.
These two clubs met at Bramall lane back in December 2019, the Blades claimed a 2-nil victory on that occasion.
Sheffield United boasts the second stingiest defence in the league behind Liverpool and with their full compliment of defenders on hand I’m expecting the Villans scoring woes to continue.
The master vs the apprentice.
Spaniard vs Spaniard.
Oil Money vs “Remember that one year”
Aguero vs Aubameyang.
Laporte vs Mustafi….
Arsenal attempt to remain the only undefeated side in the PL since the turn of the year when they face the only side who have given them more grief than their own defenders.
Despite the Gunners charging into this contest in far better nick than their opponents (who lost 2-nil to United last time out) they remain $8.50 outsiders and here’s why – City haven’t dropped a point to Arsenal since April 2017 and were last defeated by the North Londoners way back in 2015!
The Sky Blues are yet to lose back to back Premier League fixtures this season, scoring 19 goals while conceding just once across six fixtures which followed a defeat.
The Citizens have claimed all three points across the pairs last five meetings, scoring 3+ goals during four of those fixtures and conceding just twice.
Sergio Agüero has been a key factor in City’s success in this fixture, scoring 11 goals in his 16 appearances against the Gunners, including a hat trick in his last outing.
With City paying a mere $1.33 in the H2H market, I’ve opted for a Same Game Multi to extract maximum value here.
The Game Week 30 fixtures get underway as Norwich welcome Southampton to Carrow Road in what promises to be an absolute fizzer!
Following a midseason upturn in form the Saints are back to their underwhelming selves, dropping 12 points in the last four matches.
Norwich have been flatlining on the bottom of the league for some time now, with pulling the plug the only compassionate move for onlookers to make.
The Saints have claimed six of their ten wins on the road and should be able to secure their PL survival with the three points this weekend.
No one has benefited more from this break in play than Jose and the Spurs.
Tottenham’s last competitive match was a woeful showing in the Champions League, where a less than enthusiastic Spurs side were easily seen off by RB Leipzig 3-0, all but ending their hopes of securing their first trophy since the inception of football.
The North Londoner’s league form wasn’t much better, winless in three and starring down the barrel of a Europeanless 2020/21 campaign.
Now, they welcome back Harry Kane and Son Heung-min from injury, a much needed boost for a side who were looking down and out.
Alternatively, Ole and Man United were on a roll before the season was postponed, the Red Devils were on a five game unbeaten run in the league and progressing in both the FA Cup and Europa League.
United’s defence had risen to a whole new level before the break, keeping eight clean sheets from their last ten appearances in all competitions.
Despite Tottenham’s squad looking fitter than ever, I’m still backing United to exploit their lumbering defenders on the break with the mercurial speed of Rashford, Martial and James.
Leicester travel to Vicarage Road where they look to cast the Hornets back into the relegation zone.
The Foxes returned to winning form just before the Covid delay with a 4-0 dismantling of Aston Villa, Jamie Vardy came off the bench to score his first PL goal since December 21st then proceeded to double his match tally with a neat finish at the near post.
After knocking Liverpool off their perch in GW28 the Hornets came crashing back down to earth, failing to break down Crystal Palace’s deep lying defence in a 1-nil defeat away from home.
Nigel Pearson’s side are clearly lacking penetration with star forward Gerard Deulofeu who remains sidelined though injury, leaving too much attacking onus on the young Ismaila Sarr.
Leicester look a class above their opponents in this contest and represent ridiculous value at $2.15.
Arsenal are undefeated in the league this year (at publish), have won their last three matches and are back playing extremely attractive football under Mikel Arteta.
Alternatively, Brighton have not won a single game this year, despite an extremely winnable run of fixtures, and currently look like they belong in the Sunday league.
Yet for some reason the Gunners have been priced at $2.10 in the head to head market, thank you very much.
West Ham are limping towards relegation and the Wolves are circling.
The Hammers showed plenty of fight against the Gunners last time out before the break, but spurred chance after chance against their more fancied London rivals.
The Wolves are five games unbeaten, taking points away from United, Leicester and the Spurs.
Nuno’s men have secured four clean sheets across that trip and have looked formidable away from home.
Although there has been signs of improvement in the West Ham camp, the Wolves have had their shit together for some time now and should be able to extend their unbeaten run here.
The only good thing about this match is that I won’t be tempted to set my alarm at sparrow’s fart on Sunday morning to get up and watch it.
The Cherries were on a horrid run of form before the break, winless in four and sitting inside the dreaded drop zone.
Eddie Howe hasn’t been able to get his defensive structures right, with his side failing to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 matches.
Palace have made a habit of winning ugly games grinding out 1-nil victories across their last three PL fixtures, all of which were against sides placed inside the bottom half of the table.
Palace triumphed over the Cherries 1-0 earlier in the season and I can see Roy Hodgson’s men smothering the Cherries attacking assets once again here.
Newcastle welcome the Blades to St. James Park in what will most likely be a case of first goal wins.
Sheffield have made the most of a favourable run of fixtures, picking up 13 competition points from their last four matches (at publish).
Newcastle snuck past a ten man Southampton outfit in their last match, with Allan Saint-Maximin securing the three points with a memorising solo effort.
The Blades hold an amazing record away from home this season (with fans in the stands), with only Liverpool suffering less defeats on the road, as such I’ve backed them in for the win.
Aston Villa are officially cast.
Currently four loses on the trot (at publish, likely 5 L’s at kickoff) and boasting the worst defence in the league, that’s what you get for signing John Terry as assistant manager.
On the other hand, Chelsea have seen off a tough run of fixtures and are sitting three points clear of United in fourth spot.
Lampard’s side ran riot against the Toffees in GW29, with young midfield trio Mason Mount (21yo), Ross Barkley (26yo) and Billy Gilmour (18yo) all earning their stripes in a commanding performance.
Five of the Blues last six games have gone over the 2.5 goal mark and with Villa defence seemingly painted on we should be treated to another high scoring affair.
Before the interruption, Liverpool savvily bombed out of ever other competition and will now be able to focus solely on claiming their first ever Premier League title.
After a massive spell of dominance, the Reds have lost three of their last four games across all competitions, waving good bye to the FA Cup, back to back Champions League Trophies and an Invincibles Premier League season.
If Klopp’s side were to drop points in the Merseyside derby then all hell would break loose!
After showing signs of improvement under Ancelotti, Everton have quickly reverted back to their disappointing ways just before the season was postponed.
The Toffee’s put up less fight than Mundine vs Horn in Game Week 29, going down 4-nil in extremely embarrassing fashion.
Normally Everton would be able to call on their hostile home supporters to give them a much needed leg up in this contest, but with no fans in attendance I’m expecting to see the Reds treat this match like a training session and run rings around their not so fierce rivals.
Game Week 30 comes to a close on Tuesday morning when City host Burnley in their 2nd match in five days.
The Citizens claimed a 4-1 victory at Turf Moor earlier in the season, Gabriel Jesus scored and impressive double on that occasion and should be afforded another start here.
Burnley have been quietly going about their business since the turn of the new year, with seven games unbeaten the Clarets have snuck into the top 10 and are pressing for European qualification.
I’ve had to get creative with this tip as City are currently paying less than George Calombaris pays overtime wages in the head to head market.