Analyst: Alex Christodoulou
Feb 07, 2019 02:15 PM
Can Higuain hinder City's title hopes?
The title race took another turn this week when Manchester City reclaimed top spot on the ladder.
After failing to capitalise on the Citizens' slip up against Newcastle last week, Liverpool will be looking to rediscover their mojo against the Cherries on Saturday.
Tottenham are another side in with a shot of taking out the title, but they can't afford any mistakes when Leicester travel down to London.
And then the highlight game of the round sees Pep out for revenge, as Chelsea and new acquisition Gonzalo Higuain venture to Manchester.
Liverpool vs Bournemouth
EPL Odds: Liverpool $1.17 / Draw $7 / Bournemouth $14
After Man City took top spot on the ladder following their midweek win against Everton, Liverpool need to come out and prove they are the real deal.
Despite the fact that the Reds still have the advantage of a game in hand, losing top spot was a massive psychological blow.
Last week's 1-1 draw at West Ham was just the latest in a string of sub-par performances by Liverpool in 2019.
That's why this fixture with Bournemouth could just about be the most important for Liverpool's season.
Dropping points here would be an absolute disaster. It would have the media and rival fans up and down the UK declaring a Liverpool choke.
That's the kind of pressure that Jurgen Klopp's men are desperate to avoid, and why a convincing win here is absolutely necessary.
The good news is that they come up against a Bournemouth side who have been awful on the road this campaign.
Of their 12 away EPL games, the Cherries have lost 9. Compare this with their home record, where Eddie Howe's men have only lost 3 of their 13 games.
Anfield has been the hardest venue to get a result at for a few seasons now, with Liverpool remaining the only EPL side yet to taste defeat at home.
Not only has Bournemouth's away form been poor having lost their previous seven, but there are no signs of it improving.
The Cherries have only scored once in their last five, against Cardiff, Everton, Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolverhampton respectively.
Their chances of finding the back of the net won't get any better here, with Bournemouth's top scorer Callum Wilson sidelined with a knee injury.
In this five-game period, the Cherries have also conceded a whopping 15 goals, at an average of 3 per game.
Salah, Mane and Firmino should have a field day.
Key EPL Stat
- Liverpool haven't won a game by a margin of 2+ goals this year. Bournemouth with a +1.5 goal handicap @ $2.30
EPL Betting Pick: Liverpool to win by 2+ goals @ $1.58
Reasoning: Against a side who have been woeful on the road, look for the Reds to capitalize.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City
EPL Odds: Spurs $1.62 / Draw $3.75 / Leicester $5
While Spurs fans will be keen for all the title talk to focus on Liverpool and Man City, the North Londoners remain very much in the title race.
Three consecutive EPL victories since Harry Kane's ankle injury have put Spurs in a strong position, just 5 points adrift from the leading pair.
However, there's no doubt that Spurs are suffering without their main man.
This period with Kane sidelined has also seen Spurs knocked out of two cups. Furthermore, their EPL wins have been far from convincing, relying on a goal in the dying stages in all three games.
But this can also be taken as a positive. It will give Tottenham confidence that they are able to win any game, even if the scores are locked and a draw looks on the cards.
Remarkably, Tottenham are still yet to record an EPL draw this campaign, having won 19 and lost 6 of their 25 games to date.
Therefore, Leicester will need to come down with a mentality to win the game, rather than playing defensively and hoping to hold on for a point.
Even without Kane, as well as Dele Alli who is also sidelined, Spurs have bags of attacking quality.
Son Heung-min in particular will be a danger man. The South Korean is full of confidence after scoring the winner against Newcastle last week.
That strike marked his ninth goal from his previous ten matches- a period in which he has also recorded five assists.
But Leicester aren't without a chance.
Their recent away draw to Liverpool has shown that they are more than capable of getting a result in these tough away games.
Last week, the Foxes just went down to Man U by one goal to nil at the King Power Stadium, in a game where the home team had more than enough chances to win the match.
If the likes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison can take their opportunities here, they'll give the home side a real scare.
But with Son in superb form, and Tottenham seeming to find a way to win no matter what, expect them to record another three points here and stay in the title race.
Key EPL Stat
- In the corresponding fixture last season, Tottenham won a 9-goal thriller by 5 goals to 4: Spurs to win 5-4 @ $200
EPL Betting Tip: Tottenham to win @ $1.62
Reasoning: While it might be scrappy or it might be convincing, a Tottenham victory looks the safest bet here.
Manchester City vs Chelsea
EPL Odds: City $1.45 / Draw $4.50 / Chelsea $6.50
Manchester City will be feeling pretty good about themselves after their 2-0 victory over Everton on Thursday morning took them to the top of the table on goal difference.
But considering that City have played an extra game and that they didn't look anywhere near their best against Everton, Pep Guardiola will be sure to bring his players back down to earth.
Coming up against a team that boasts the likes of Eden Hazard is always a formidable task.
Guardiola will be all too aware of this, especially as the team from West London handed Man City their first defeat of the season back on December 8.
Chelsea won 2-0 on that occasion, with Hazard providing both assists.
He will be key to Chelsea's chances of getting a result and halting City's title push.
A bit like Liverpool, the Blues have been in a slump since the turn of the new year.
And after they suffered an astonishing 4-0 away defeat to Bournemouth in Match Week 24, there were even suggestions that Maurizio Sarri's head was on the chopping block.
Sarri started the season in stellar fashion after arriving from Napoli, and for a while the Blues were looking like title contenders themselves.
But a poor run of results of late meant that something had to change.
And that change has arrived in the form of Gonzalo Higuain, who links up with his former Napoli manager at Chelsea.
On his day, Higuain is one of the world's best strikers.
He will fill the number 9 position that has been so troublesome for the Blues in recent seasons, with Alvaro Morata, Michy Batshuayi, Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy among the list that have flopped.
But after Higuain and Hazard both scored braces in Chelsea's recent 5-0 demolition of Huddersfield, expect them to create plenty of work for Ederson in goal.
Key EPL Stat
- The previous 8 match-ups between these teams have seen 4 wins for City and 4 wins for Chelsea: Double chance, Man City or Chelsea to win @ $1.17
EPL Betting Tip: Chelsea with the +1.0 goal handicap @ $2
Reasoning: With the boost of Higuain coming in and coming off a 5-0 win, expect Chelsea to keep it close against a City side who weren't at their best against Everton.