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Mid-Week European Preview (26th & 27th April)
Man City face Arsenal for the 3rd time this season in what is a title decider while Juventus and Inter face off in the 2nd leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final. We look at these and more but before we delve into these games, head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have. You can also read about our new feature; the Pick 11 Jackpot Bet here.
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Chelsea vs. Brentford
Frank Lampard is still in search of his first win since taking over the Chelsea job early this month. A draw with Liverpool in his first game has been followed up with 4 consecutive losses, having scored just once in those 5 games. Stuck in 11th place and with dreams of European football next season now bordering on delusion, the Blues have begun their search for a new manager. Mauricio Pochettino is widely reported to be close to accepting the role, but he would join in July ahead of next season, hence, any hope of finishing the current campaign on a decent run can be dismissed.
Chelsea haven’t won a game since the 11th of March when they traveled to Leicester City. This ongoing 7-game winless streak (D2, L5) in all competitions is the worst run they’ve had in 3 decades. Back in late 1993, they went 11 games without a win – a run that included 6 straight defeats – and the Blues haven’t lost 5+ games in a row since then. To make things tougher for them, they’ve lost 3 and drawn 2 of their last 6 London derbies in the Premier League and a loss on Wednesday could see them lose 4 Premier League London derbies in a single campaign for the first time since the 2001/02 season. Luckily for Chelsea and its fans, they’re facing a side on a poor form just like them, albeit one that has enjoyed a more productive season.
Brentford’s incredible campaign seems to have hit a roadblock in recent weeks and manager, Thomas Frank has eased the minds of supporters, explaining that it was part of the journey. Having enjoyed a fine first-half of the season that saw them stay in the top half of the table, the Bees are now on a 6-game winless streak (D3, L3) and have just one away win in 2023. This poor run has been characterized by their inability to hold on to leads, as they’ve failed to win each of their last 4 leagues in which they’ve opened the scoring (D3, L1). Before this run, they had won 19 & drawn 4 of the 23 league games in which they scored first (L0).
Chelsea Form: D-L-L-L-L
Brentford Form: D-L-L-L-D
Brentford has lost 6 of 8 games at Stamford Bridge in all competitions, though they won this fixture last season when they came back from a goal down to win 4-1. Also, worth noting is the fact that just one of Frank Lampard’s 5 games in charge has featured over 2 goals.
West Ham United vs. Liverpool
Two wins and a comeback draw against Arsenal has seen David Moyes steady what looked like a sinking ship after the heavy 5-1 defeat to Newcastle at the start of the month. Sandwiched in between this good run is a 5-2 aggregate win over Gent in the Europa Conference League. West Ham now find themselves in the semi-final of a European competition and in a more respectable 13th position in the league.
The Hammers are currently on a run of 3 wins and 3 draws in their last 7 games at home, with the defeat to Newcastle the only blemish in that stretch. They’ve scored in each of those 7 games which is impressive considering the misfiring of their summer signings in attack. Winger, Jarrod Bowen has come alive in recent weeks with a series of goal contributions to take his season tally to 11 goals and 7 assists while Lucas Paquetá has registered 4 goal contributions in his last 2 games (2 goals & 2 assists), almost doubling his season tally of 2 goals & 3 assists in 32 games before that. West Ham is definitely a side that can roll over like Newcastle showed. But their comeback draw against Arsenal also tells a story of how punishing they can be if they’re not finished off.
Liverpool come into this looking for their first pair of consecutive league wins away from home since late last year. The Reds have struggled on the road in all competitions, losing 8 and drawing 2 of their last 14 games outside Anfield. Their 6 goals in the (6-1) win over Leeds United in their last away trip was more than they had managed in 8 previous Premier League games on the road. While they followed up the 6-1 win with victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, there are concerns about their defense that gave up leads on two different occasions. Jürgen Klopp will have to rely on his Egyptian star attacker to deliver the win for him in a game that should feature a lot of goals. Since the start of March 2023, no player in Europe’s top 5 leagues has more direct goal contributions than Mo Salah (10).
West Ham United Form: W-D-D-W-W
Liverpool Form: L-D-D-W-W
Liverpool have enjoyed 10 wins and a draw in their last 12 Premier League games against West Ham. The draw and loss came in the London Stadium in 2019 and 2021, respectively. The Reds have also struggled in away matches in the nation’s capital with 1 win, 3 draws and 2 losses against London sides this season.
- Over 2.5 Goals @1.66
- Both sides to score @1.59
- King’s Combo: Mo Salah & Diogo Jota to both score @4.50
Inter vs. Juventus
These two Italian giants have seen their Cup ambitions take a toll on their Serie A form over the past few weeks. For Juventus, they have 3 losses, a draw and a win in their last 5 games in all competitions. Prior to that, they were on a run of 8 wins and a draw in 10 games. Luckily for them, the restoring of their 15-points which were docked earlier in the year has taken them up to 3rd place in the league with no imminent danger of missing the top 4. Inter, meanwhile, are on a worse run with just 2 wins in their last 10 games (4D, 4L). However, one of those wins (a 2-0 win in Benfica) helped them book a ticket to the semi-final of the Champions League. With tensions still high from a controversy filled 1-1 draw from the first leg, this second leg promises to be more intense.
This will be the 4th Derby d’Italia of the season, with Juventus winning 2 of the previous 3 and drawing the 3rd. The Old Lady was close to making it 3 wins in 3 before Lukaku’s late penalty made it 1-1. The Belgian striker was wrongly sent off for inciting the Juventus crowd, but that decision has since been overturned as Lukaku’s red card was rescinded while Juventus were given a partial stadium ban for their racists chants towards the Inter striker. Lukaku was on target over the weekend as Inter ended their 5-game winless streak in the Serie A. He grabbed a brace and an assist in a 3-0 win over Empoli and would be eager to stick it to the traveling Juventus fans on Wednesday.
Juventus has won the Coppa Italia a record 14 times and would look to extend that record against either of Fiorentina or Cremonese in next month’s final. They had their hearts broken over the weekend after what looked like a 1-0 win, courtesy of an overturned Ángel di María goal ended up in a 1-0 loss to Napoli. It was their 3rd league loss in a row and the first time since 2011 they had gone on such a run. Max Allegri knows his job is on the line given the earlier exit from the Champions League. Though he’s made up for it with a place in the semi-final of the Europa League, victory over Inter will go a long way in getting a positive appraisal at the end of the season.
Inter Form: D-W-L-D-W
Juventus Form: L-W-L-D-L
The 3 games between these sides have featured 5 red cards with each of those red cards coming deep into stoppage time. The earliest of each of those cards came in the 98th minute.
Manchester City vs. Arsenal
In a game that will decide where the Premier League trophy will head to at the end of the season, Arsenal travel to Etihad in search of a first win over the Cityzens in 12 league games. Following 3 consecutive league draws, including a heartbreaking 3-3 draw against 20th place Southampton on Friday, the Gunners’ lead at the top has increased from 4 points to 5. However, having played 2 games more and with this trip looming, they know things could look very different over the next 2 weeks. If ever there was a Premier League game with a finals feel to it in recent memory, it’s this one.
Arsenal’s recent struggles has been down to a mixture of mental fatigue and an injury to William Saliba. Since the young Frenchman got injured in the Europa League clash with Sporting CP, they’ve gone 5 games without a clean sheet, conceding 9 goals in that span. Their 3-3 with the Saints was their 13th home game in which they had failed to keep a clean sheet. 3 home clean sheets by the league leaders is the 2nd fewest this season with only Southampton (1) having fewer. While Bukayo Saka rediscovered his scoring touch with a late goal on Friday, the one consistent performer for the North Londoners remains Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian winger has been in fine form since February and has 8 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games. He’s someone Guardiola will want to monitor.
Manchester City got back to winning ways with a routine 3-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup. Rúben Dias, John Stones, Rodri, Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne were all rested while Erling Haaland, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish didn’t complete 90 minutes. This unmatched squad depth has been key to Manchester City’s excellent form in this run-in, and with the squad fresh ahead of this crucial tie, this would also play a part on Wednesday. Man City, who have already beaten Arsenal in the league and FA Cup this season, have won 17 of their last 19 games at the Etihad. However, they will be weary of the fact that their last 4 defeats at home have come against London sides; Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Brentford and Spurs.
Manchester City Form: W-W-W-D-W
Arsenal Form: W-W-D-D-D
Manchester City have won all 6 Premier League home games against Arsenal with Pep Guardiola in charge by an aggregate score of 17-3 and the Gunners’ 11 game losing streak against the Cityzens is their longest against an opponent in Premier League history.
- Man City to win @1.57
- Over 2.5 Goals @1.62
- King’s Combo: Erling Haaland & Gabriel Martinelli to score @6.50
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United
Tottenham comes into this game amid a mini-crisis. With Head Coach Antonio Conte already let go, Director of Football, Fabio Paratici, resigned from his role following an unsuccessful appeal for the 30-month ban he received, having been found guilty of false accounting during his time at Juventus. Paratici was the man tasked with finding a replacement for Conte and had left Cristian Stellini in-charge on an interim basis. Now, following the horrendous 6-1 loss to Newcastle, Stellini has also been let go and Ryan Mason being named as caretaker. The 31-year-old Mason will take charge for a second time having also acted as interim head coach in 2021 following the sacking of José Mourinho. With a lot of uncertainties in the white half of North London, they welcome Manchester United to town – a team they have lost each of their last 4 Premier League games to.
Manchester United has been stretched thin over the past few months. Their busy schedule has seen multiple injuries to key players and they’re on course to play 62 matches this season, their most since the 2016/17 campaign (64). Following a dreadful trip to Sevilla on Thursday in the Europa League, they were taken to penalties by Brighton in the FA Cup and though they came out with a win and a ticket to the final, victory once again came at a cost as Bruno Fernandes was limped off with an injury.
Historically, this is the most one-sided fixture in Premier League history. The Red Devils’ record of 39 league wins against Spurs is the most by a team against a specific opponent. Even more embarrassingly, Spurs have won just 3 of their last 21 league games against Man Utd in front of their fans with 7 draws and 11 losses. While Spurs will undoubtedly look for a bounce back win following the Sunday defeat to Newcastle and Man Utd have a few injuries of their own to nurse, Erik ten Hag will fancy his chances against a side who clearly don’t have their house in order.
Tottenham Hotspurs Form: D-D-W-L-L
Manchester United Form: W-D-W-L-W
None of Spurs’ last 26 league games have ended in a draw (W18, L8) and each of their last 108 home games has seen at least one goal – the longest run in the Premier League.
Rayo Vallecano vs. Barcelona
Rayo Vallecano’s hope of getting European football ahead of next season is quickly fading, no thanks to their poor form. Following a run of 20 points from 10 games in which they won 6 games and drew 2, they’ve won once and drawn 5 in their last 10 games, accruing just 8 points in that stretch. While 9th position at this stage of the season is decent for a team that returned to the top flight of Spanish football just last season, they would feel results could have been slightly better, especially at home where they’ve picked up just 2 wins in 2023. The Catalans lost on their last visit to this ground back in 2021 and Vallecano will look to make it back-to-back losses for them at the Estadio de Vallecas for the first time since December 2002.
League leaders, Barcelona travels to the nation’s capital having maintained their 11 point lead with a 1-0 lead over Atlético Madrid over the weekend as Ferran Torres’ goal just before half-time was enough to seal the win against a tough Diego Simeone side. Robert Lewandowski’s struggles in front of goal continued as he once again failed to find the back of the net. The Polish striker now has only 4 goals in his last 14 LaLiga games with just one of those coming against teams in the upper half of the table. His scoring has obviously affected the teams’ average in recent games, and they’ve scored over 1.5 goals in just 4 of their last 15 games.
Rayo Vallecano Form: D-D-L-W-L
Barcelona Form: W-L-D-D-W
Barcelona have conceded just 3 league goals in 2023, keeping 12 clean sheets in 15 games in that stretch.
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