Premier League Preview : 16th - 17th December
Going into this weekend's Premier League, Man City's position at the top of the table is looking unasailable with an 11pt lead over city rivals Man Utd and 14pt ahead of defending champions Chelsea. Check below for our preview of this weekend's games and Man City v Spurs plus Bwin's Match Odds, Relegation Odds and the Premier League table (prices 20:15 Thursday 14th December, subject to change)
Claude Puel's appointment as Leicester manager is looking a masterstroke as Leicester host Palace in the Saturday lunchtime match. Of the 3pm games, Burnley travel to Brighton off the back of two 1-0 victories, while Arsenal and Chelsea are at home against Newcastle and Southampton respectively. The late Saturday game could be one of the big challenges to Man City's attempt to go the season unbeaten as Spurs travel to the Eithad.
Sunday's two games see's Liverpool and Man Utd warm odds-on favourites away from home. Mourinho's side travel to West Brom with Pardew's side coming off a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Wednesday. Having also drawn at home against Everton last week, Liverpool may be relieved to be away from Anfield as they travel to Bournemouth in the late TV game on Sunday.
Backing the Live TV home sides with Bwin this Saturday pays around 9-5 (Leicester & Man City) while the two away sides on Sunday is 13-10 (Liverpool & Man Utd)
Premier League Relegation:
Despite approaching the mid-point of the season, only Swasea are odds-on to go down in a wide-open relegation race. Crystal Palace's odds continue to lengthen under Roy Hodgson - now out to 11-5 while Newcastle are going in the opposite direction, as big as 14-1 at the start of November are now into 12-5 after a poor run of results. See below for Bwin's latest Relegation odds plus the Premier League table (prices 20:15 Thursday 14th December, subject to change)
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, December 16th, Etihad Stadium 5:30pm
by John Spillane
On October 2nd 2016, during Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge in Manchester, after winning their opening six Premier league games, numerous experts had already decided that the title race was all but over. City came to White Hart Lane and lost 2-0. From that point their season never really recovered. On New Year’s day 2017, Chelsea’s top flight record equalling run of 13 consecutive wins came to an end, thanks to two goals from Dele Alli. Fortunately for Antonio Conte’s side this was but a minor setback and his team bounced back from that setback and went on to claim the title by seven points from Tottenham.
One season on and heading in to Saturday evening’s clash after 17 games Mauricio Pochettino’s side lie in fourth place 18 points behind City. A portion of Tottenham’s woes can be placed at the move to Wembley where opposed to the fortress of White Hart Lane (2016/17: 17W, 2D) this season has seen home points dropped already against Burnley 1-1, Swansea 0-0, and West Brom 1-1. Additionally, the sale of Kyle Walker to City, injuries to Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and more recently Toby Alderweireld, not forgetting Dele Alli’s drop in goals (which saw him rested in midweek) may be more significant as to why they are not further up the table this time around. Despite all those missed opportunities Tottenham, thanks to the failings of Arsenal and Liverpool, still find themselves in the top four.
As we approach the season of giving, having become the first team to win 15 games in a row the plaudits for Pep Guardiola’s side are flowing in from all quarters. Consideration is already being seriously given as to whether they are the best side of all time. Much as their style of football is pleasing on the eye and currently bringing them the rewards and results, it is still only December and as yet no trophies have been won.
The manner in which City have stepped up from last season’s early form can be seen in the effort they put in during the increasingly brief moments of the game when they are not in possession. The professionalism of some of their main creators; Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and co, to put in the hard yards in winning the ball back has the cumulative effect of wearing down stubborn opposition, giving them the opportunity to find one more opportunity late in the game. In recent weeks Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham have frustrated them for long periods, earned the respect of many, but come away with nothing concrete from their encounters. The ability of teams to pick up maximum points despite not playing to their best has often been seen as a trait of champions and at the moment City are on their off days are getting the job done.
The loss of John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Bernard Mendy may provide opportunities for Tottenham, with City only picking up two clean sheets in their last eight games. Tottenham’s 2-0 midweek against Brighton gave them seven goals in two games and their first back to back league wins since October. Any team that can go to Madrid and draw 1-1 with the Champion’s league holders, before following that up with a 3-1 victory at Wembley will be a challenge to anybody, on their day. Sadly for Tottenham their current away record against fellow members of the top six is one win in their last 17 (3 out of 22).
In the 2013-14 season while in charge at Bayern Munich, Guardiola’s side won 19 in a row, so there is unlikely to be any complacency following recent achievements, as for serial winners there always new targets to achieve and records to be set.
Suggested bet : Man City to Win and BTTS (7-4 Paddy Power, Join PP for a £20 Risk-free bet. 18+ T&Cs Apply)