WHEN Leicester City failed to beat West Bromwich Albion in midweek, many thought it was the beginning of the end for their remarkable title tilt.
And yet, somehow, one point was enough for Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes to extend their lead atop the 2015-16 English Premier League table.
Neither Tottenham Hotspur nor Arsenal nor Manchester City could close the gap, with all three losing on Wednesday night.
Spurs were done by a lone Michail Antonio goal at Upton Park, the Gunners were shocked by Swansea City after going 1-0 up, and the Citizens – who edged out Liverpool in the League Cup final last weekend – were well beaten at Anfield.
That means Leicester hold a three-point lead over Spurs, with Arsenal three further back and City, who have a game in hand, now 10 adrift and level on points with fifth-placed Manchester United.
West Ham are only one point out of the Champions League places, while Swansea’s win gives them a six-point break on the bottom four after Newcastle United – now 19th due to poor goal difference – lost to Stoke City.
Here’s our preview of the upcoming action for round 29 of Premier League 2015-16, featuring the best value bets from our top-ranked online bookmakers.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal
12:45pm local time on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at White Hart Lane
Tottenham – $2.45 (WilliamHill.com)
Arsenal – $3 (Sportsbet.com)
Draw – $3.40 (Bet365.com)
Spurs threw away a gilt-edged chance to go top on Wednesday as Mauricio Pochettino rested the likes of Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. Arsenal were also humbled, with Swansea coming from a goal down to hand the Gunners’ their third straight defeat in all competitions. The news gets worse for Arsene Wenger and company, with Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny both set to miss the short trip to White Hart Lane. The Lilywhites are unbeaten in their last three EPL encounters with Arsenal, who hosted a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
– Spurs to win 2-1 ($9 at CrownBet)
– Dele Alli to score first goal ($8.50 at Sportsbet)
Manchester City vs. Aston Villa
3:00pm local time on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Etihad Stadium
Man City – $1.22 (WilliamHill.com)
Aston Villa – $15 (Sportsbet.com)
Draw – $6.60 (CrownBet.com)
They may be League Cup champions, but Man City’s Premier League campaign is rather going off the rails. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have now lost to Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool in consecutive outings, which leaves them 10 points off top and in real danger of losing their top-four status. Lucky for them, their only obstacle this weekend is a hopelessly relegation-bound Aston Villa outfit which has managed three wins all season while averaging less than 0.79 goals per game.
– Man City to win both halves ($2.25 at Bet365)
– David Silva to score first goal ($7.50 at Sportsbet)
Watford vs. Leicester City
5:30pm local time on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Vicarage Road
Watford – $2.90 (Bet365.com)
Leicester – $2.50 (CrownBet.com)
Draw – $3.40 (Bet365.com)
If someone said 18 months ago that this fixture could prove pivotal in the title race, you would assume they were talking about any division but the Premier League. Leicester remain top after escaping with a draw at home to West Brom, but the injured N’Golo Kante was sorely missed in midfield. Watford, meanwhile, will be frustrated to have lost 1-0 at Man United despite creating the better chances. The Hornets haven’t beaten Leicester since 2013, when they claimed a 3-1 home win in the Championship.
– Half-time draw/full-time Leicester ($5.80 at CrownBet)
– Shinji Okazaki to score first goal ($8.50 at Bet365)
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
1:30pm local time on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace – $3.50 (WilliamHill.com)
Liverpool – $2.25 (Sportsbet.com)
Draw – $3.40 (CrownBet.com)
Aston Villa notwithstanding, the Eagles are just about the worst team in the competition right now. Their last win in the Premier League came against Stoke in December, since when they have lost seven matches and drawn four. Palace do, however, have an excellent record of late against Liverpool, who have lost each of their last three EPL encounters with the Londoners. But the Reds are fresh off a dominant 3-0 victory over Man City and could have both Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge back in the starting lineup for Sunday’s trip south.
– Liverpool to win 2-1 ($10 at Bet365)
– Roberto Firmino to score first goal ($8 at Bet365)
West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United
4:00pm local time on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at The Hawthorns
West Brom – $4.75 (WilliamHill.com)
Man United – $1.93 (CrownBet.com)
Draw – $3.40 (WilliamHill.com)
A graph of West Brom’s table position from week to week would rather resemble a flatline on a hospital heart monitor. The Baggies have hovered at or around 13th place since November, and a record of nine wins, nine draws and 10 losses oozes mid-table mediocrity. There’s still a strong pulse at United despite their star-studded injury list, as wins over Arsenal and Watford have put them back in the hunt for Champions League qualification. The Red Devils have lost only two of 19 Premier League matches against West Brom, although both of those instances have come since 2013.
– Half-time draw/full-time Man United ($4.80 at CrownBet)
– Jesse Lingard to score first goal ($9.50 at Bet365)
More 2015-16 Premier League match odds
Dates listed according to British Standard Time (BST)
Saturday, March 5
Chelsea $1.50 – Draw $4 – Stoke City $7
Everton $1.72 – Draw $3.80 – West Ham United $4.60
Newcastle United $2.60 – Draw $3.40 – Bournemouth $2.60
Southampton $1.50 – Draw $4 – Sunderland $7
Swansea City $1.90 – Draw $3.50 – Norwich City $4
Odds provided by www.WilliamHill.com
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