Midweek Preview: (2nd May & 3rd May)
The battle for the Premier League title resumes with Man City hosting David Moyes’ West Ham while Arsenal welcomes a struggling Chelsea to The Emirates in the London Derby. Elsewhere, Victor Osimhen and his Napoli teammates will get a chance to seal the Scudetto with a win at Udinese. We look at these as well as Man Utd’s trip to Brighton, but before we do, 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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Arsenal vs. Chelsea
In April, Arsenal’s attempt to win the title was hindered by a series of disappointing results, but they have a chance to turn things around in the upcoming derby match. Their recent matches include draws against Liverpool, West Ham, and Southampton, as well as a 4-1 loss to Manchester City where the scoreline doesn’t reflect City’s complete dominance. Arsenal’s defensive struggles have been particularly evident at their home stadium, where they have only managed three clean sheets in the Premier League this season – the second-lowest in the league after Southampton. The team’s defense has been vulnerable since William Saliba’s injury in March, with Arsenal conceding 13 goals in their last six games without keeping a clean sheet. Despite this, Mikel Arteta’s squad has a chance to bounce back against Chelsea, who have struggled to score goals.
Recent events at Chelsea demonstrate how a bad situation can be made even worse. The appointment of Frank Lampard as interim-manager has arguably been the English club’s worst decision this season, and the Blues may face an unprecedented relegation battle in the coming weeks, with matches against Manchester City, Manchester United, and Newcastle United on the horizon. Since taking over from Graham Potter, Lampard has lost 5 of his 6 games and has only managed to score once. In fact, the former English Midfielder has suffered 16 defeats in his last 19 games as a manager, with only 2 draws and 1 win. Although Chelsea managed to secure a 2-0 win on their last league visit to the Emirates, the situation looks vastly different now, with Arsenal heavily favored despite their recent struggles.
Arsenal Form: W-D-D-D-L
Chelsea Form: L-L-L-L-L
Arsenal have won 4 of their last 5 league games against Chelsea and could complete their second double in three years over the Blues with a win on Tuesday. The Gunners have also failed to score at home on just one occasion this season – a goalless draw against Newcastle in January.
Real Sociedad vs. Real Madrid
On Tuesday, Real Sociedad will have an opportunity to enhance their position in the Top 4 as they prepare to host Real Madrid at the Reale Arena. Currently sitting on 58 points, they are 5 points clear of Villarreal and are on the brink of securing Champions League football for the first time in a decade. Real Sociedad has recorded 28 points from 15 home games and has suffered just one defeat at home in 2023. Nevertheless, they will be up against a Real Madrid team that has amassed 31 points on the road, which is second only to Barcelona.
Real Madrid are coming off a 4-2 win against Almeria, with Karim Benzema scoring a first-half hat-trick and Rodrygo adding another goal in the second half. However, they have mixed news ahead of their upcoming fixture. On one hand, David Alaba has returned to training after an injury he sustained against Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals, but it may be too soon for him to feature in Tuesday’s match. In the bad news column, Luka Modrić remains sidelined with an injury, and Vinícius Jr. and Eduardo Camavinga will both be suspended for the trip, with the latter receiving his second suspension of the season. With the league title almost certainly going to Barcelona, Real Madrid may prioritize resting some players for Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Osasuna. They also have a crucial Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City just three days later. Although resting players could potentially cost them points, Real Madrid may prioritize adding another piece of silverware to their trophy room over finishing ahead of Atlético Madrid, who currently sits two points behind them but play Cadiz on Wednesday.
Real Sociedad Form: W-L-W-D-W
Real Madrid Form: W-W-W-L-W
Real Madrid have won 10 of their last 18 games at Reale Arena in the 21st century – the best record by a visitor in that period.
Liverpool vs. Fulham
Liverpool is currently enjoying its best form in this league campaign, having secured four consecutive victories. These wins have propelled them into 5th place in the table, and they are now just 8 points away from a top 4 position. Their latest victory came in a 7-goal thriller against Spurs on Sunday. Liverpool took an early 3-0 lead, only for Spurs to equalize deep into stoppage time. However, Diogo Jota, who should have been sent off earlier in the game, capitalized on a mistake by Spurs’ Lucas Moura to score the winner in the dying moments. The game showcased Liverpool’s clinical finishing, as they scored with all 4 of their shots on target. The game highlighted both the good and bad side of this Liverpool team. It showed just how clinical they can be as they scored with all 4 of their shots on target. However, it also exposed their defensive frailties, as Spurs hit the woodwork twice in addition to their 3 goals. Liverpool has kept just one clean sheet in their last 9 games, which came against a Chelsea side that has struggled to score goals. Despite this, Liverpool has maintained their exceptional form at Anfield, and they will be looking to continue this trend when they host Fulham.
Fulham is having to endure its toughest stretch since gaining promotion back into the EPL. 7 losses in their last 9 games in all competitions have seen them get knocked out of the FA Cup and slip to 10th in the Premier League. In each of these 9 games, they conceded at least one goal. This is a poor run following their excellent defending right after the World Cup break that had them keep 4 clean sheets in 5 away games. To make things worse, some of their top performers are dropping like flies while Center-Forward, Aleksandar Mitrović remains suspended. Andreas Pereira suffered a nasty ankle injury in their loss to Man City and will miss the rest of the season and so will Center-Back, Team Ream (fractured arm). Willian suffered a torn muscle and though his return date is still unclear, he definitely won’t make the trip to Anfield. Though Fulham has enjoyed their recent trips to the Merseyside with 3 wins in 3 (1 against Liverpool and 2 against Everton), this shorthanded side is likely to struggle against a free-scoring Liverpool team.
Liverpool Form: D-W-W-W-W
Fulham Form: L-W-W-L-L
Fulham have won just 2 of their 29 league games at Anfield, drawing 7 and losing 20. However, both wins have come in their last 5 visits, including a 1-0 win in their last match back in 2021 when they were last in the Premier League.
- King’s Combo: Mohammed Salah to Score & Liverpool to Win @1.70
- Trent Alexander-Arnold to give 1 or more assists @3.50
- Over 2.5 Goals @1.42
Manchester City vs. West Ham United
Manchester City finally claimed the top spot in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday and while they might temporarily lose it to Arsenal who play Chelsea on Tuesday, they could reclaim it with a win in this game on Wednesday. The Cityzens were without Kevin De Bruyne for the trip to Craven Cottage, but that didn’t slow them down. Julián Álvarez hit a sublime shot from outside the box to win the game, but it was Erling Haaland who once again grabbed the headlines as he opened the scoring from the penalty spot. It was the Norwegian’s 50th goal of the season in all competitions and a record-equalling 34th in the Premier League. He has now scored the most goals by a top-flight player in England for 92 years – since Tom ‘Pongo’ Waring reached 50 for Aston Villa in 1930/31.
History will once again be against West Ham and David Moyes when he travels to the Etihad. The Scottish manager is yet to register a Premier League away win against any of the traditional Top 6 in England. This run includes his time in charge of Everton, Manchester United, Sunderland and the two stints as West Ham manager. The Hammers are coming off back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Crystal Palace and will be heavy underdogs for this. They face a Manchester City side against whom they’ve failed to register a victory in their last 14 meetings (L11, D3). West Ham has also taken just 4 points from their last 16 league visits to the Etihad (W1, D1, L14), while conceding in each of those visits. You’ll have to go back to 2003 for their last league clean sheet on the road against Man City. Luckily for them, they’ve found the back of the net in 12 straight games. So, while they’re huge underdogs, this ability to get goals could give them a fighting chance.
Manchester City Form: W-D-W-W-W
West Ham United Form: D-W-W-L-L
Manchester City have won 10 of their last 11 games in the league, drawing 1. However, they’ve kept just 2 clean sheets in those 11 games. In fact, Pep Guardiola’s side have kept a clean sheet in just 31% of their games so far – their lowest ration in 13 years.
- Over 2.5 goals @1.43
- Both teams to score @2.02
- King’s Combo: Haaland to score and Man City to win @1.50
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester United
This will be the third meeting between these two sides and the second in just 10 days and, once again, there’ll be a lot on the line when the game kicks off. For Manchester United, a win would all but seal a Champions League spot ahead of next season given their relatively comfortable 8-point lead over Liverpool. On the other hand, a win for Brighton could reignite their diminishing aspirations of reaching the Top 4 or Top 6, as they have fallen to 8th place in recent weeks.
On Saturday, Brighton had a remarkable 6-0 victory over Wolves, with Deniz Undav, Pascal Gross, and Danny Welbeck each scoring two goals. In preparation for their upcoming midweek match, Roberto De Zerbi provided rest for Alexis Mac Allister, Kaoru Mitoma, and Moises Caicedo, which should leave them feeling refreshed. In contrast, Manchester United had a challenging time securing their 1-0 victory over Aston Villa, with only Aaron Wan-Bissaka being absent from the lineup. The Englishman came out on top in his battle with Mitoma in the FA Cup semi-final last month and this will once again be the duel to monitor.
Erik ten Hag faces a tough challenge in improving his team’s poor performance in away games. Manchester United has struggled against teams in the top half of the table, managing only one win in 13 games (D3, L9). Their solitary victory came in the dying minutes of the match against Fulham, thanks to a 93rd-minute goal by Alejandro Garnacho. In their recent away game against Spurs, they had a comfortable 2-0 lead but let it slip in the end, resulting in a draw. The significant difference in form between their home and away matches is one of the main reasons why ten Hag’s team was never in the running for the title, and he understands that this issue needs to be addressed if they are to secure a Top 4 finish. Having lost on the opening day, Man Utd will aim to avoid suffering what could be a first league double to the Seagulls.
Brighton & Hove Albion Form: L-W-L-L-W
Manchester United Form: W-L-W-D-W
Manchester United have lost 3 of their 5 Premier League games at the Amex Stadium (W2). Their 60% loss rate at Brighton is their highest against a league side they’ve faced more than once.
- Double Chance: Man Utd to win or draw @1.75
- Both sides to score @1.49
- Higher Scoring Half: Second Half @1.98
Udinese vs. Napoli
With nothing much to play for this season, Udinese will try to be the party-spoilers when Napoli roll into town in search of a win to officially be crowned champions of Italy. The Stadio Diego Maradona was rocking on Sunday as the home fans eagerly awaited a win to seal the Serie A on home soil and the stadium went crazy when Mathias Olivera gave Napoli a 62nd minute lead. However, Salernitana’s Boulaye Dia grabbed an 84th minute equalizer to break the hearts of the Neapolitans which ensured they’ll have to wait at least one more match. With an 18-point lead, Napoli would want to seal this as soon as they can to end a 33-year wait.
In the previous encounter between these two sides in November, Napoli emerged victorious with a 3-2 win, courtesy of goals from Osimhen, Zielinski, and Elmas before the hour mark. Although Nestorovski and Samardzic scored two late goals for Udinese to provide some hope, it was too little too late. This marked Napoli’s 13th victory over Udinese in 14 games, with only one match ending in a draw. Napoli has remained unbeaten against Udinese in all competitions for the last eight years in what has generally been an entertaining fixture, albeit a one-sided affair. Both teams have struggled with their form, winning only once in their previous five games. However, Udinese has remained unbeaten at home for six games, including a 3-1 triumph over AC Milan.
Udinese Form: L-D-L-W-L
Napoli Form: L-D-D-W-D
9 of the last 10 meetings between these two sides have produced over 2.5 goals.
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