Matchweek 13 was a potentially pivotal one for several teams, none more so than Tottenham. Entering the week in 14th place, Tottenham’s new manager, Jose Mourinho, led the team to a win against West Ham (as predicted) that brought them all the way back up into the top ten (at one point they were sixth). While Tottenham still have several wrinkles to iron out (they allowed two unnecessary goals), Tottenham notched their first win away since January, and their first league win since Matchweek 7. I’m getting to the point where I never want to bet on Arsenal to win anything again after their shocking performance against what should have been an easy opponent. Somehow, a team that had averaged less than one goal per match, and allowed almost three goals per match, drew 2-2 with Arsenal. These two matches have me believing that the managerial hot seats now belong to Unai Emery and Manuel Pellegrini.
Only time will tell if I’m correct about these two, but their performances since taking over their respective clubs have been lackluster at best, and downright awful at worst. Arsenal have slipped all the way to eighth, have a negative goal differential, and are exactly the same differential away from fourth place as they are from 18th place. Meanwhile, West Ham are on track to have their worst campaign in several years and are only three points from relegation as of now. Let’s dive in to the week:
1: Chelsea were dealt their first loss in seven league matches after a remarkable run of form and played relatively well despite the result.
5: Leicester City have now taken over pole position for the longest Premier League win streak this season, having won five in a row.
4: Mourinho has now won every one of his debut matches with clubs in the Premier League.
12: Wolves have now scored in 12 consecutive matches, second only to Liverpool’s 22.
30: Liverpool are now unbeaten in 30 Premier League matches, the third longest streak ever (Arsenal in 2004 with 49, and Chelsea in 2005 with 40).
25: Manchester United have now avoided defeat in 25 Premier League matches when losing by two or more goals, a record.
Week 13’s Pick Em went 2-1, thanks to Arsenal’s abject failure. This week promises some tempting matchups, and I’ve picked the most bets this week of any week thus far (bets are in bold, don’t take my advice, etc.):
Manchester United -1 (-125) vs Aston Villa: United at home are always a relatively safe bet, and it doesn’t get much safer than playing the team in 15th, despite the fact that United are ninth right now.
Leicester City -1 (+120) vs Everton: Leicester are, as previously mentioned, on a very strong win streak and have outscored opponents in their last five matches 17-1. Look for their form to continue at home against a hapless Everton side.
Arsenal (-120) at Norwich City: this is it. The last time i’m betting on Arsenal. I’m not even betting on the spread here, I’m just betting on Arsenal straight up to win. If they cannot beat Norwich, not only am I never betting on them again, but Unai Emery will deserve to be sacked.
Liverpool -2 (+105) vs Brighton: while Liverpool have barely eked out their last few wins against subpar opponents (Aston Villa, Crystal palace, Tottenham), I’ve got a strong feeling about this match having a much wider margin of victory for the home side.
Chelsea -2 (+130) vs West Ham: Chelsea’s form has been outstanding of late, and a loss to Manchester City will only strengthen their resolve to get back on track with a win against West Ham. If Tottenham could beat West Ham (albeit by one goal), Chelsea will do it by much more.
Manchester City -2 (-105) at Newcastle United: City have been up and down of late, beating Chelsea following a major loss at Anfield, but before their last few matches, they’d won by at least two goals in each of their previous four games in all competitions. Look for that form to return here against a Newcastle side that just cannot defend.
Burnley vs Crystal Palace, Tottenham vs Bournemouth, Southampton vs Watford (battle of the bottom), and Wolves vs Sheffield United are all too close to call (although the last match mentioned should be a very good one). After this, matches come thick and fast throughout December, making it tougher to call what should be normal results for teams as fatigue begins to set in. This is where top-tier teams with more fixtures than mid-tier sides can sometimes slip up, simply due to the sheer number of matches being played. Liverpool, as an example, have literally two matches a week until the week of Christmas, including league fixtures, Champions League fixtures, League Cup Fixtures, and Club World Cup fixtures. The next 30 days will be very revealing as to how the rest of the season pans out. Happy Thanksgiving (since I’m American I have to say it!), and enjoy the football. Or soccer. Or American football. Or whatever you’re watching.