After Sunday’s derbies in Manchester and Liverpool, the focus for local rivalry shifts to London this midweek, when, across a full programme of Premier League fixtures, two all metropolitan match-ups should appeal to those looking for investment.
OK, so I’m stretching it a little to suggest Watford’s trip to Crystal Palace is a cockney classic, but it’s a game that offers punters the opportunity to strike gold. The narrative for both clubs at the moment seems skewed to me. Palace, I keep hearing, have been unlucky in picking up just two wins all season, while Watford are supposed to be the most progressive club in the top flight with results to match – two wins in eight, however, says otherwise.
Hornets to Hold on in Front of the Holmesdale
It makes for a difficult game for the layers to price up, which should open the door for canny investors. Roy Hodgson’s side are 5/4 to pick up three points at Selhurst Park, with Marco Silva’s men 47/20 and the draw also 47/20.
The way Palace went about their business against Bournemouth on Saturday – 24 attempts at goal – makes me think that Hodgson will once again send out his team to play on the front foot. Watford’s loss at Burnley owed much to the early sending off of Marvin Zeegelaar, but they too will surely have targeted this fixture as winnable. An open game should lead to plenty of action, with over 2.5 goals a standout bet at 22/25.
Belgian no Banker
Christian Benteke was the focus of the home fans’ ire at the weekend, after the Belgian failed to convert a late penalty against Bournemouth that would have sealed the Eagles a rare victory. The former Liverpool striker has now gone 12 games without a goal in the Premier League. This season he has registered 24 shots in 852 minutes without finding the net. Benteke is 4/9 to extend his drought, which seems more than fair given he is yet to score against the Vicarage Road club in four previous attempts.
Ton Up For Upton Park Originals
West Ham’s capital credentials were re-established with a crucial success over Chelsea at the weekend and, if David Moyes could double up with a win over Arsenal, even those that used to populate the ‘Chicken Run’ at the Boleyn Ground might warm to the Scot.
This will be the Stratford club’s 100th home London derby in the Premier League, but they’ve won only 36 of their previous 99 and are unlikely to improve that record in this fixture according to the bookmakers. They believe the Gunners will confirm recent superiority over their hosts at the London Stadium, offering Arsene Wenger’s side at 3/5, with a Hammers win 22/5 and the draw 16/5.
Goals But No Glory For The Gunners
Can we trust Arsenal at odds-on? Probably not. They were short-priced favourites against Southampton at the weekend, but were found wanting after a fairly listless display that saw them manage only a third of the attempts on goal than they did against Manchester United. Still, the visitors are unbeaten in their last nine top-flight away games against West Ham, who in turn have won only one of their last 18 Premier League matches versus the Gunners.
I can easily see a draw here, and, as Arsenal have conceded 32 league goals away from home in the current calendar year (the fourth most in the Premier League), over 2.5 goals, at 4/6, looks a solid bet, as does ‘both teams to score’ at the same price.
Dine Out On Dyche
Elsewhere, three of the top six in the Premier League are at home to clubs in the bottom half of the standings, which always brightens the eyes of punters looking to morph short prices into something more significant. Home wins for Liverpool (versus West Brom), Manchester United (Bournemouth) and Tottenham (Brighton) multiply to odds of just 9/10, though, so my advice is to beat that price by backing Burnley to defeat Stoke at 13/10.
Sean Dyche’s team sit in seventh in the first tier of English football, outside of the Champions League qualification places by only two points. Given Stoke last won at Turf Moor in 1975, a home win for the Lancashire club would come as no surprise.