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We may be watching the title race end over the holidays.
Manchester City is eight points ahead of Chelsea and nine points ahead of Liverpool (who has a game in hand) in the English Premier League table. And it’s not inconceivable that City could grow that gap to double digits to both teams over the weekend.
City has the most talented and deepest squad in the league and it’s no surprise that its the heavy favorite to win the title. But it’s also a bit astounding how quickly City can make a mockery of the title race. Man City has won its last 10 league games and scored 30 points in that span. Chelsea has 17 points in its last 10 games and Liverpool has 23 in its last 10.
Man City is obviously not going to keep this winning streak going forever. But it’s also unlikely to have an extended league slump either. Once its lead gets to 10 or more at the top of the table, the league race is probably over.
Here’s a look at the odds from BetMGM for the New Year’s weekend of fixtures. All games are on Saturday unless noted. Manchester United plays Wolves on Monday and that game isn’t included in this preview.
Arsenal vs. Manchester City (Over/under: 3.5)
Manchester City (-200)
Arsenal has a game in hand on Manchester City but is a whopping 15 points behind City despite sitting fourth in the standings. That’s how good City has been this year. It’s hard to bet against City in this one, and the over is +115 if you think there will be four or more goals.
Leicester City vs. Norwich City (3.5)
Norwich leads the league with 13 losses and has lost its last four games by a combined score of 14-0 after tying Newcastle. Leicester just stole a win against Liverpool on Tuesday and shouldn’t have much trouble with the canaries, especially if Norwich rolls out another lineup featuring 11 starters with a combined 0 EPL goals.
Watford vs. Tottenham (2.5)
Watford is somehow two points above the relegation zone despite losing its last five games since a surprising win over Manchester United. Watford has given up two or more goals in all of those losses too. Take Tottenham and take the over.
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham (2.5)
Crystal Palace (+220)
West Ham (+115)
Perhaps Palace can make it a third consecutive 3-0 game. Palace beat Norwich 3-0 earlier in the week after losing 3-0 to Tottenham on Boxing Day. West Ham is a point ahead of Tottenham in fifth, but Spurs have two games in hand. We’re going with a tie here as West Ham may be shorthanded.
Brentford vs. Aston Villa (2.5) [Sunday]
Aston Villa (+145)
Both teams are outside the top 10 and safely above the elevation zone. Brentford had just a quarter of the possession in a 1-0 midweek loss to Manchester City while Aston Villa has had two of its last three games postponed because of COVID-19 cases. The one game that was played was a 3-1 loss to Chelsea. Another tie here feels right.
Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (2.5) [Sunday]
Brighton & Hove (+200)
Everton is 14th in the standings after an uneven start to the season and has had its last three games postponed due to COVID-19 cases. Brighton finally got a win against Brentford on Boxing Day and then tied Chelsea earlier in the week. Let’s go with the upset.
Southampton vs. Newcastle (2.5) [Sunday]
Newcastle got a surprising tie against Manchester United on Monday while Southampton has gotten five points out of its last three games. Southampton should get the win here, as it’s hard to trust Newcastle until it puts together a few good performances in a row.
Leeds vs. Burnley (2.5) [Sunday]
Leeds should have players back after being unable to play its last two games due to COVID-19 cases. The first game between these teams ended 1-1 and three points here will go a long way to helping each side’s chances of staying up. That’s why it’ll probably end in a tie.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (2.5) [Sunday]
There’s a nice bookend to the weekend among the teams in the top four. Chelsea has gotten points in its last six EPL games but three of them have been ties. Liverpool, meanwhile, has gotten just one point from its last two. These teams tied 1-1 in August and we’re going with that result again.