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bet365 English Premier League preview - Round 26

3 minute read

Only eight matches this weekend owing to the Carabao Cup final on Sunday between Chelsea and Liverpool. From a betting perspective things looks a bit skinny, with seven of the eight favourites shorter than evens.

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Arsenal v Newcastle looks the most attractive match on paper with plenty of goals likely. As was the case last weekend last weekend, no top-of-the-table meetings. The stragglers Burnley and Sheffield Utd face probably their last chances of survival – losses this weekend would certainly seal their fates.

ASTON VILLA v NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Sunday 25 February 2.00am

POSITIONS: Aston Villa 49pts, 4th. Forest 24pts, 16th.

VILLA FORM: Did well to win away at Fulham last weekend, with Ollie Watkins on target yet again. Consistency is the issue – the Villains haven't won two in a row since 17 December. The home form has slipped a bit as well, with consecutive away defeats to Newcastle and Man U.

FOREST FORM: Registered their first win of 2024 at home to a sub-standard West Ham. The 2-0 scoreline could have been more and while beating the Hammers isn't the greatest form line in the league, it will boost the confidence after a run of narrow defeats against strong opposition.

HISTORY: This clash of two of only six English clubs to win the European Cup/Champions League has been dominated by Villa recently. Forest won the reverse meeting at the City Ground in November but picked up just two points in the previous six encounters. Their last win at Villa Park was in 1994.

Prediction: Aston Villa win ($1.53 with bet365*)

BRIGHTON v EVERTON: Sunday 25 February 2.00am

POSITIONS: Brighton 38pts, 7th. Everton 20pts, 17th.

BRIGHTON FORM: Struggling for consistency all season. Had fun against ten men at Bramall Lane last weekend which is hardly a reliable guide. Their last gasp defeat at Spurs the week before was a strong performance as was their 4-1 triumph over Palace, so things might be coming good just as the Seagulls approach Europa League commitments.

EVERTON FORM: Eight matches without a win has put the Toffees in a precarious position. They left it late to grab a point at home against an understrength Palace on Tuesday, a game they probably had pencilled in for three points. Away from Goodison things have been brighter this season than at home, with five of their eight wins coming on their travels.

HISTORY: Strangely this has been a difficult home fixture for Brighton. They were sucker-punched 5-1 in this game last season and failed to score in their two encounters with Everton at the Amex prior to that. In November, Brighton grabbed a late equaliser courtesy of an Ashley Young own goal.

Prediction: Draw ($3.80 with bet365*)

CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY: Sunday 25 February 2.00am

POSITIONS: Palace 25pts, 15th. Burnley 13pts, 19th.

PALACE FORM: A new era at Selhurst Park with the arrival of Oliver Glasner, a stark contrast to Roy Hodgson. Palace's first game since Roy's departure saw them almost grab three points at Goodison in an encouraging display. With a few training sessions under the belt we might see a bit more of Glasner's stamp on the side. Eze is in doubt – if he makes it on the team sheet expect the price on offer to shorten.

BURNLEY FORM: No wins in seven games since Xmas and seven points adrift of safety – it looks bleak for the Clarets. A rampaging Gunners scored early at Turf Moor last weekend and it was one-way traffic after that. To be fair, Kompany's side has played Liverpool twice, Villa, Arsenal and Man City during the losing run so this will be a welcomed reprieve. Their other two games in that time has seen them draw with Luton and Fulham.

HISTORY: The Eagles won the reverse fixture 2-0 in November to end a five-match winless streak against Burnley.

Prediction: Crystal Palace to win ($1.95 with bet365*)

MANCHESTER UTD v FULHAM: Sunday 25 February 2.00am

POSITIONS: Man Utd 44pts, 6th. Fulham 29pts, 12th.

MAN UTD FORM: Chalked up a fourth win in a row when they struck early then held on against a determined Luton outfit at Kenilworth Road last time. Hojlund's fine form has been crucial. He has scored six in the last five games, all coming in the first half to give his side something to build on or protect. While they are still a long way off the top three performance-wise, a sniff of Champions League qualification should keep the momentum going.

FULHAM FORM: Doing enough to stay clear of danger, and not enough to give themselves a shot at Europe. Four home games since Xmas have seen them defeat Arsenal and Bournemouth, draw with Everton, and go under last Saturday to Villa after a spirited second half.

HISTORY: A nightmare match for the Cottagers. Their last win at Old Trafford was in 2003 and since then they have lost 14 times and drawn twice in Manchester. Fernandes grabbed a late winner in the reverse fixture in London in November.

Prediction: Man Utd win ($1.53 with bet365*)

BOURNEMOUTH v MANCHESTER CITY: Sunday 25 February 4.30am

POSITIONS: Bournemouth 28pts, 13th. Manchester City 56pts, 2nd.

BOURNEMOUTH FORM: Boxing Day was the last time the Cherries collected three points. It looked about to change last Saturday when they led into the 90th minute at St James' Park only for a Matt Ritchie scrambling goal evened the ledger. At home, just one loss in their last six which was to Liverpool. They remain good value for supporters – that 4-0 loss to the Reds was the only time in the last 16 games that Bournemouth has failed to score.

MAN CITY FORM: Although City has dropped just four points in their last ten games, they aren't bulldozing sides in the way Arsenal, and at times Liverpool, are at the moment. In the last four matches, they have been level three times and behind once at half time. In fact, all four goals in their last three games have come after the 70th minute. They remain title favourites and deservedly so, but fans might want to see four or five go in soon to restore the faith.

HISTORY: There is no more one-sided fixture than this. In 20 meetings, the first in 1987, City has won 18 times with two drawn. The last three have been won by City at an aggregate of 14-2.

Prediction: Manchester City win ($1.44 with bet365*)

ARSENAL v NEWCASTLE: Sunday 25 February 7.00am

POSITIONS: Arsenal 55pts, 3rd. Newcastle 37pts, 8th.

ARSENAL FORM: Five matches in 2024 for five wins by an aggregate of 21-2 says it all. Four of those matches have been against struggling or out-of-form opponents, but the 3-1 win over Liverpool in their last home game stamped them as serious title contenders. A 1-0 defeat at Porto in the Champions League midweek might have brought them back to earth. However, Liverpool and Man City will be relentless through the next three months so Arteta must pick them up for this vital game.

NEWCASTLE FORM: Much better after a bleak Xmas/New Year period. Lots of goals are being scored, at both ends unfortunately for Eddie Howe. The equal-best defence in 22/23 is no more. In the seven matches since Boxing Day the Magpies have leaked 19 goals – in all of the 22/23 campaign they shipped just 33. Added to that, the absence of Joelinton, Isak and Wilson has hurt them up front although the goals have come from unlikely sources such as Schar, Longstaff and Ritchie.

HISTORY: It was November 2010 when Newcastle last tasted victory over Arsenal in the capital. After that, the Gunners won ten straight in all competitions at home until a 0-0 draw last January. Newcastle ended Arsenal's unbeaten run at the start of the season when they scored the now infamous winner at St James' Park on 4 November.

Prediction: Arsenal win ($1.36 with bet365*)

WOLVES v SHEFFIELD UTD: Monday 26 February 12.30am

POSITIONS: Wolves 35pts, 11th. Sheffield Utd 13pts, 20th.

WOLVES FORM: A very difficult team to follow form-wise. Since winning three in a row in late December, they have been beaten twice at home, and picked up seven points from three games on their travels. The effort to topple Spurs last weekend was one of the season highlights for Gary O'Neil's side.

SHEFFIELD UTD FORM: The glimmer of hope after the Luton win was snuffed out as soon as Mason Holgate launched a Vinnie Jones-style tackle on Mitoma at Bramell Lane last weekend. The ensuing 5-0 rout was hardly surprising and marked the fifth time this year that dubious defensive landmark had been reached. The most goals conceded in a 38-match EPL season is 89 by Derby County in 07/08. At the current rate, the Blades will get to about 98.

HISTORY: Sheffield Utd's first win this season came in Round 11 when they defeated Wolves 2-1. Prior to that, Wolves had won three straight in all competitions without conceding.

Prediction: Wolves win ($1.44 with bet365*)

WEST HAM v BRENTFORD: Tuesday 27 February 7.00am

POSITIONS: West Ham 36pts, 9th. Brentford 25pts, 14th.

WEST HAM FORM: Going from bad to worse. Another miserable display at Forest last weekend to extend their run without a win to eight in all competitions, and just one goal from open play in the League in 2024. Paqueta has been sorely missed, but it is a sad indictment on a side if such a terrible slip in form can be attributed to one player. Bowen hasn't been right since his injury, Phillips looks like he'd rather be on the City bench (suspended for this one), and Antonio's immediate reinstatement to the run-on side shows how awful their attacking stocks look.

BRENTFORD FORM: Very sloppy defensively against Liverpool at home, making life too easy for the visitors. Showed a lot more resilience on their trip to the Etihad midweek and it took well over an hour for City to break the deadlock. Remarkably, the Bees have gone 18 games without a draw, although nine of those games have been decided by one goal.

HISTORY: West Ham has played Brentford five times since the Bees made it into the Premier League and has lost each time. A 2-1 lead to the Hammers at half time at the Gtech in November was overturned by two second half goals to the hosts.

Prediction: Brentford win ($2.75 with bet365*)


Manchester City to win and both teams to score at $2.75* with bet365.

*Odds correct at 9.20am 23 February 2024.

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