By William Hill
Last Updated: 20th December 2019
The busiest period of the domestic football calendar kicks-off this weekend with some cracking action in the Premier League including a mouthwatering clash between Manchester City and Leicester on Saturday evening. Here is our look at a selection of the games going on over the next few days.
Toffees can earn sweet victory
Both Everton and Arsenal are in the process of signing off contracts on a new manager, with Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta expected to be sat in the Goodison Park stands come kick off. It’s unlikely to be pleasant viewing for either as Everton have managed to muster up two wins in just eight Premier League matches, while Arsenal have managed one victory from nine outings.
The value of Everton’s starting XI has reached in excess of £230million in matches this season, meaning that only Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have spent more in five years. Despite that, they sit just three points off the relegation zone but the impending appointment of serial winner Ancelotti could be the boost the demanding home fans have craved for so long.
It may have ended in penalty shootout heartbreak, but the Blues showed real character when coming from two goals down to draw level against Leicester in the Carabao Cup in midweek. With club legend Duncan Ferguson likely to take charge for the last time, Everton will feel Arsenal are there for the taking and the 27/20 available on a home win could prove value as Ferguson bids to keep his unbeaten run at the helm going.
Expect more hassle Hasenhüttl
It may not jump off the page as the game of the day, but it’s impossible not to be tempted by the proposition of Aston Villa beating Southampton following the Saints’ performance last time out. The south coast club had the chance to give their home fans a big reason to cheer when they welcomed struggling West Ham to St Mary’s Stadium in the Saturday evening televised game. However, they were bullied throughout by a side who hadn’t won outside London in more than a year and despite trying to go up through the gears late on, they deservedly lost the game. Boos rang out from the home fans as the pressure on manager Ralph Hasenhüttl reached an all-time high, with the Austrian now 7/2 to be the next Premier League manager to leave his role.
Aston Villa have lost just two of their previous seven Premier League games this season and those defeats came at the hands of league leaders Liverpool and second-placed Leicester. They may only have had to get the better of Liverpool’s kids in midweek when booking their place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, but that was certainly as confidence booster for the players. Especially for Wesley who netted late on having struggled to really make an impact this season and fellow striker Jonathan Kodjia who bagged a brace having returned from a number of injuries.
It’s five games since Southampton managed to win on the road, including a disappointing defeat by Newcastle, and the 7/5 available on Aston Villa beating them looks really good value.
Guardiola can outfox Rodgers
Leicester’s mettle was tested in midweek when Brendan Rodgers saw his side blow a two-goal lead away against struggling Everton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. The Foxes were in full control at half time, but goals from Tom Davies and Leighton Baines meant former Celtic manager Rodgers and his side were forced to endure a penalty shootout at Goodison. Fortunately for them it was a test they passed but, having also failed to beat Norwich at home last weekend, the trip to Manchester City this time out is likely to be a pretty daunting one.
With Liverpool preparing for their Club World Cup final in Qatar, both sides have the chance to close the gap at the top of the table but it’s difficult to see anything other than a City win here. Pep Guardiola and Co have lost just two of their last 17 games at the Etihad and blew Arsenal apart last weekend in London. At 4/11 it won’t make you rich, but they are worth putting in your weekend acca.