As the final weekend of Premier League action rolls into view before the World Cup, Gameweek 16 will serve as a pivotal avenue in the season as the English top-flight looks to go out on a high.
We begin on Saturday evening at St. James’ Park, as a rampant Newcastle entertain Chelsea. Having won four league games on the spin, the Magpies have catapulted themselves into third in the standings and are now unbeaten since their loss at Anfield back on the final day of August. Conversely, the Blues, after an impressive start to life under new boss Graham Potter have lost back-to-back league outings and after Carabao Cup exit in midweek are in something of a rut. Playing Newcastle, therefore, is perhaps not the ideal scenario.
Indeed, the Tyneside outfit are perhaps the only other side more feared than leaders Arsenal and chasers Manchester City on current form. Though there is not much to separate the two here with the bookies (Chelsea holding 11/5 odds) with the run Eddie Howe’s men are on and retaining the threat they possess, with Chelsea having already lost on the road at Brighton, Leeds and in Zagreb this term, backing a home win at 11/8 is surely the way to go. Both prices with SpreadEx.
Before that in north London however, Spurs welcome a buoyed Leeds to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. With the Lilywhites now eight points off the top of the table having played a game more, Antonio Conte will be desperate to secure three points before the league goes into hiatus. Defeat here to Liverpool in GW15 alas, would have further knocked the hosts’ confidence, now facing a Whites side who having won their last two league outings, may not be in the mood to curry favour.
Crucially for Tottenham though, Dejan Kulusevski returned to action off the bench last time out and instantly made an impact to assist Harry Kane. A repeat will fetch 15/2 odds with Betfair. For Leeds, Crysencio Summerville has been a revelation for Jesse Marsch and having netted in the last two league games. Summerville netted the final and decisive goal in both GW14 and 15, and though it may be less significant here, a stonking 16/1 punt as last scorer could pay off again – also with Betfair. Even a Summerville anytime goal will rake in a 7/1 win with Bet365.
As we turn to our leading duo, Arsenal and Manchester City, the latter have a trickier assignment at Molineux but will still be confident of maintaining their advantage for the break. On five occasions this term, the Gunners have kept a clean sheet on the road and will look to repeat that again here. If we throw in City to win-to-nil also, an acca double will tot up to just over 4/1 with PariMatch.
Over at Anfield, Liverpool look to build momentum at home to Southampton, as Nathan Jones takes charge of the Saints for the first time. Will we see more managerial bounce, this time for the visitors? We don’t foresee it. Mo Salah, meanwhile, looks to be finding his touch in front of goal perhaps at the worst time. Nevertheless, the Egyptian should be in punters’ minds and for Salah to have 3+ SOT, a 9/4 bet with SkyBet might be a smart play.
Finally, back in the capital on Sunday, the final game before recess takes place at Craven Cottage as Fulham host Manchester United. Getting their revenge in midweek against Aston Villa after GW15 defeat only days before, the Red Devils travel Thameside having not lost to their opponents since 2009; but it might just a different story here. Last-gasp loser to United’s noisy neighbours City last Saturday, Fulham have lost only to the rampant Newcastle at the Cottage this term and held Liverpool on opening weekend. On that occasion, a 2-2 scoreline resulted and we feel that this could be a similar outcome. A 2-2 draw then, stands at 14/1 with William Hill, whilst to cover goals more widely, over 3.5 goals at 13/8 with VBet may suit better.