With all of the major draws that we had in Matchday 15, we could’ve added a lot more paintings to the museums in Paris. We had three total draws, and all were major that could’ve led to upsets. Winning football club, Leicester City (6-4-5), would take a 1-1 draw to last place Fulham (2-3-10), failing to take advantage of getting easy points on the EPL Table. Everton (6-5-4) also failed to take advantage against a losing team, they would tie 1-1 with the 3-4-8 Newcastle United.
And then we get to Manchester United (6-5-4), yes, another draw — what a disappointment. But they did have an excuse: They were facing off against No. 5 Arsenal (9-4-2). It’ll be interesting to see how Manchester United does against last-place Fulham this weekend. After Fulham tied Leicester City, Manchester United is at a serious threat of suffering yet another draw — and God forbid a loss.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
In the midst of all the draws, we did have one major upset in Matchday 15. The EPL’s No. 4 team, Chelsea (9-4-2), would take a 2-1 loss to the Wolverhampton Wanderers (5-4-6). Chelsea would get off to an early 1-0 lead after Ruben Loftus-Cheek hit a goal in the 18′ mark, and it looked like it was business as usual for the Blues, but Wolverhampton had a different agenda.
Raul Jimenez would tie the game up at 1-1 after he would hit the net at the 59′ mark, and just four minutes later, Wolves’ Diogo Jota would score to solidify the 2-1 victory — magnificent two-on-one play by Wolverhampton to seal the deal. If you’re Chelsea, that’s not a loss that you wanted to take before a powerhouse matchup against undefeated Manchester City (13-2-0) — but that’s where they’re at.
After escaping in the last minute in a thriller against Everton (6-5-4) in Matchday 14, Liverpool sealed a convincing 3-1 victory against Burnley in Matchday 15. Cool, calm and collected trailing 1-0 after a Jack Cork (54′) goal, Liverpool would answer with three straight unanswered scores. At the 62′ mark, James Milner would get things started for Liverpool by tying things up at 1-1.
Seven minutes later, Roberto Firmino would then strike at the 69′ mark for the 2-1 lead. Then at the end of the game, Xherdan Shaqiri (90’+1′) would hit a shot to sit the 3-1 win in concrete. Still undefeated and with massive momentum on their side right now, AFC Bournemouth should be afraid to play the current wave that Liverpool is currently riding on — solid soccer as of late.
MATCHDAY 16 PREDICTIONS:
The top five games to keep an eye on in Matchday 16 are:
- Chelsea (9-4-2) vs. Manchester City (13-2-0)
- AFC Bournemouth (7-2-6) vs. Liverpool (12-3-0)
- Leicester City (6-4-5) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (11-0-4)
- Manchester United (6-5-4) vs. Fulham (2-3-10)
- Everton (6-5-4) vs. Watford (6-2-7)
AFC BOURNEMOUTH VS. LIVERPOOL (SATURDAY, 7:30 AM ET) (TV: NBCSN)
After pulling a last-second win over Everton last weekend, Liverpool (12-3-0) comes into their next match facing off against another winning-team, AFC Bournemouth (7-2-6). Exactly like Everton, AFC Bournemouth are lingering around .500 and are just a spot behind them on the EPL Table. With that being said, expect AFC Bournemouth to give Liverpool all that they can handle — exactly like Everton.
Liverpool has a clear advantage on defense, but everywhere else, neither team has the edge. AFC Bournemouth’s offense can score, so they’ll be testing out Liverpool’s defense from start to finish — definitely one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend. Give me Liverpool for another last-second win in a thriller, but with more goals being scored in this one — especially with the current wave that Liverpool is on.
ARSENAL VS. HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (SATURDAY, 10:00 AM ET) (TV: CNBC)
BURNLEY VS. BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (SATURDAY, 10:00 AM ET) (TV: NBCSG)
Sitting at .500, Brighton & Hove Albion (6-3-6) has the slight advantage against Burnley (2-3-10), who has been in the losing column a lot this season. And when you look at the matchup for this week, it doesn’t look any better for Burnley — Brighton has the statistical advantage in every category. Just too much firepower from Glenn Murray and company for Burnley to handle, Brighton & Hove Albion gets the win.
CARDIFF CITY VS. SOUTHAMPTON (SATURDAY, 10:00 AM ET) (TV: NBCSG)
Both teams are horrendous, so if you’re planning on watching this game, expect to see a lot of sloppy soccer. And when you look at the numbers of the matchup comparison, it gets even worse. Check them out for yourself: In average goals scored per match, both teams have 0.9. In average goals conceded per match, Cardiff City (3-2-10) has allowed 2.0 while Southampton (1-6-8) has allowed 1.9.
And then when you look at average conversion rate, Cardiff City hit just 11% of their goals, while Southampton has hit just 9%. I told you, this game is going to be horrendous. But go and make some money anyways, Cardiff City gets the win.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS. FULHAM (SATURDAY, 10:00 AM ET) (TV: NBCSN, TELEMUNDO)
So I’ve got some good news for Manchester United (6-5-4) fans. I’ll break the bad news to you first: You once again had a draw in Matchday 15, but at least it was to Arsenal — a top five team in the EPL. Not too bad, right? And here’s your good news: You have a chance to recover from your consecutive draws against losing Fulham (2-3-10), but not only are they a losing squad, they’re dead last in the English Premier League.
And when you look at the numbers going into this matchup, things get even better for Manchester United — a complete sweep in leverage of the statistics. However, Manchester United still makes me nervous until further notice, so the struggles will still remain against Fulham. Regardless, Manchester United gets the slim win on the way to their recovery.
WEST HAM UNITED VS. CRYSTAL PALACE (SATURDAY, 10:00 AM ET) (TV: NBCSG)
Not the most exciting of matches on paper, both teams come in with losing records. However, if you’re going to bet on this game of losers, you need to go ahead and ride with West Ham United (5-3-7). Crystal Palace (3-3-9) has a slight edge on defense, yes, but it’s not even close when you look at the offensive side of the ball — West Ham United wins with Marko Arnautovic leading the way in another close one.
CHELSEA (+300) VS. MANCHESTER CITY (-110) (+260 DRAW) (SATURDAY, 12:30 PM ET) (TV: NBC) (GAME OF THE WEEK)
By far my game of the week — a matchup of powerhouses between the No. 1 team in the EPL, Manchester City (13-2-0), and the No. 4 team, Chelsea (9-4-2). Excuse my language, but holy hell, this one will be fun. When you look at the numbers going in, both teams are powerhouses on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. In average goals scored per match, Chelsea has scored 2.1 goals — Manchester City has an average of 3.0. In average goals conceded per match, Manchester City has only allowed 0.5 goals — Chelsea has also been magnificent, only allowing 0.9.
In average conversion rate, Chelsea has hit 18% of their shots — Manchester City has hit a total of 22%. And oh yeah, don’t forget, you also have the matchup between Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling to go along with the numbers. Needless to say, this game (and bet) is a very sexy one. I personally have a draw, but if you need a winner, go ahead and take Manchester City — the numbers line up in their favor, and the upset that Chelsea took against the Wolverhampton Wanderers doesn’t help their cause either.
LEICESTER CITY VS. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (SATURDAY, 2:45 PM ET) (TV: NBCSN)
Tottenham Hotspur (11-0-4) comes into this match fresh off of a 3-1 win over Southampton and sitting at No. 3 in the EPL — now things get testy against a 6-4-5 Leicester City. And also consider this: Even though Tottenham Hotspur has the much better record, they really don’t have much advantage in the statistics. Let’s break it down, because it’s worth taking a look at: In average goals scored per match, Tottenham Hotspur’s 1.9 is only slightly higher than Leicester City’s average, 1.4. On defense, it gets even closer.
In average goals conceded per match, Tottenham Hotspur only holds a 0.1 advantage over Leicester City by a comparison of 1.2 to 1.1. In average conversion rate, same story. Tottenham Hotspur only leads 18% to Leicester City’s 16%. An interesting game to bet on, indeed. The explosiveness of Harry Kane should give Tottenham Hotspur the win in the end.
NEWCASTLE UNITED VS. WOLVERHAMPTON (SUNDAY, 11:00 AM ET) (TV: NBCSN)
We have another set of losing teams going at it in this one, but the statistical matchup is dead even between Newcastle United (3-4-8) and the Wolverhampton Wanderers (5-4-6). Check it: In average goals scored per match, Wolverhampton only holds a slight 1.0 advantage over Newcastle United’s 0.8.
In average goals conceded per match, Wolverhampton once again holds the advantage, but only with 1.2 compared to Newcastle United’s 1.3. And then when you look at the average conversion rate, both are tied at 10%. Easily a fun bet to place. Take the Wolverhampton Wanderers if you need a winner, but I’ll go for a draw in this one.
EVERTON VS. WATFORD (MONDAY, 3:00 PM ET) (TV: NBCSN)
In the last contest of Matchday 16, we have another dead even matchup between Everton (6-5-4) and Watford (6-2-7) — closing out this week with another interesting bet. Let’s go over the numbers: In average goals scored per match, Everton holds the narrow advantage with a 1.4 to 1.2 lead. On the defensive side of the ball in average goals conceded per match, Watford holds the slight lead in comparison, 1.4 to 1.1. And then it gets even better (and closer) when you look at the average conversion rate:
A dead heat at 14%. A tough game to pick, but when you look at the history, Everton has a nice advantage with a 6-2-2 lead in the two team’s last 10 meetings. That’s why I’ll ride with Everton on this one, but it’ll be a competitive game.