Matchweek 27 was an interesting one, fueled by further VAR controversy (against Chelsea, again), a tight match for Liverpool, who just managed to pull out a win, a great match between Leicester and Manchester City (Leicester will also feel hard done by VAR for not giving Ederson a penalty for what is his third shoddy tackle of an oncoming attacker this season), and a record (for this season) six matches where the losing side did not manage to score a goal. Liverpool have managed to maintain the distance between first and second place (22 points, the same as the distance between 20th and 5th place). Arsenal finally has shown some signs of life, picking up six points in their last two matches, a feat they had not managed to accomplish since the first and second matchweek of this season (that’s right – this is only the second time all year Arsenal have won back to back matches, and both of them were at home), only to promptly give up their one-goal advantage, and crash and burn out of the Europa League in a dismal home loss against Olympiacos, making them the first English side to be kicked out of a European competition this season (although Chelsea are likely on their way out also, unless they produce a miracle against a Lewandowski-less Bayern). Liverpool lost their first leg against Atletico Madrid in Madrid; they will fancy their chances, however, to claw back that 1-0 deficit at Anfield in two weeks. Let’s dive into some statistics:
Lampard: I know, I know, I’m biased as a Chelsea fan. However, this stat is massive – in just his first season, Lampard became the first manager to ever achieve a league double over a Jose Mourinho side, throughout all of Jose’s illustrious career.
10: Dwight McNeil, at 20 years and 92 days, is the youngest player to earn 10 Premier League assists since Raheem Sterling in 2014. One for Southgate to keep an eye on, especially if English players keep dropping like flies.
40: Sheffield United have earned 40 points over the first 27 matches, the fastest they have ever reached 40 points in the top flight.
4: Kasper Schmeichel has now saved four penalties in the Premier League, one more than his father in his entire career. Side note to Pep: STOP having Aguero take your penalties – he’s awful.
Sunday nightmare: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 38 goals in 38 Premier League appearances on Sundays.
25: Trent Alexander-Arnold became the second youngest player to earn 25 assists, behind only Wayne Rooney, who was 77 days younger than Trent is now.
Last week saw us go 1-1-1 against the spread, which isn’t great, but isn’t terrible either. Let’s try to do better than that this week:
Brighton vs Crystal Palace +.5 (-130). Brighton haven’t won a game in seven matches, and I don’t see a reason for them to get back on the right side of the score sheet this week.
Bournemouth vs Chelsea -.5 (-140). Bournemouth and Chelsea are both streaky, but Chelsea will look to alleviate their painful Champions League loss here.
Watford vs Liverpool -1 (-145). Liverpool aren’t going to drop points here, so the question becomes, how badly will Watford lose by? This is probably the safest bet of the week.
Good luck, and happy betting! (But don’t do it because I said so, betting is bad).