Premier League predictions: Chelsea to shrug off Everton, Kane can down Saints, but will Palace hold Arsenal?
Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sporting CP on Thursday, and Mikel Arteta will be looking for an instant response in the Premier League.
The title is now their sole focus, and with Manchester City in FA Cup action this weekend, the Gunners can move eight points clear at the top should they beat Crystal Palace, who on Friday sacked Arsenal great Patrick Vieira after an 11-game winless run.
Palace are 12th but only three points above the relegation zone, and that picture could change by the time they play on Sunday.
After Nottingham Forest welcome Newcastle United on Friday, Bournemouth visit Aston Villa, Leicester City have a tough trip to Brentford, Southampton host Tottenham, and Wolves and Leeds United face off in another big match at the bottom of the table. Everton, who are also in the relegation scrap, play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Here, with the help of Opta data, Stats Perform has provided some key insights and predictions.
Southampton v Tottenham
Between December 2019 and January 2021, Southampton won five of six Premier League games against sides starting the day in the top four of the table (L1). However, since then they are winless in 15 such games (D6 L9), conceding 43 goals and scoring just nine in return.
Southampton have scored at least once in each of their last 14 Premier League games against Spurs, since a 2-0 home loss in December 2015, but they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 21 against them, when they won 1-0 in January 2020.
In all competitions, Tottenham have lost each of their last four away games, the last three of which without scoring. This is Spurs' longest run of away defeats in succession since May 2019 (five in a row), while not since January 1983 have they lost four straight away matches without scoring (a run of five).
Best bet – Harry Kane to score or assist: Harry Kane has been directly involved in 17 goals in 15 Premier League appearances against Southampton (11 goals, six assists), having only had a hand in more goals against Leicester (22). The England captain has scored nine away goals in the competition this season – no other player in Premier League history has netted 10 times on the road in more than four separate campaigns, whereas Kane is on the verge of doing so for the seventh time.
Long shot – Richarlison to score: Richarlison was desperately unlucky not to break his duck for Spurs in the win over Forest last week, with a fierce finish ruled out for offside. The Brazil forward has netted five times in his last seven league appearances against Saints, making them his favourite team to play against when it comes to goals, but he is yet to score in the Premier League this season.
Opta prediction: Spurs are made favourites for this one by Opta's supercomputer, with Antonio Conte's team given a 54 per cent chance of victory. There is roughly a one in four chance of a draw (25.7 per cent), while Southampton, who prop up the table but could move as high as 15th with a win, are given a 20.3 per cent chance of claiming the spoils.
Wolves v Leeds United
Having been unbeaten in six league games against Leeds between 2017 and 2021 (W5 D1), Wolves have lost their last two against the Whites. Indeed, Leeds are looking to complete their first league double over Wolves since 2015-16 and their first in the top flight since 1973-74.
Leeds, who will be without key midfielder Tyler Adams due to a hamstring issue, have earned four points from their three Premier League games under Javi Gracia (W1 D1 L1), as many as they had in their 10 games before his arrival (W0 D4 L6). However, they are winless in their last seven away matches (D2 L5).
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui has won both of his previous meetings with Gracia in all competitions. These games came in the 2020-21 campaign, with Lopetegui's Sevilla beating Gracia's Valencia 1-0 in LaLiga and 3-0 in the Copa Del Rey.
Best bet – Wolves to avoid defeat: No side have fewer away wins (one) or away points (six) in the Premier League this season than Leeds, who have lost nine of their 13 away league games this term. Wolves, meanwhile, have won three of their last four home league games (L1), more than they had in their previous 12 (W2 D3 L7).
Long shot – Wolves to score over two goals: Wolves have a shot conversion rate of 6.8 per cent in the Premier League this season, their lowest in any of their nine campaigns in the competition. Only once have they scored more than twice in a top-flight game this term, when they beat Liverpool 3-0 in February.
Opta prediction: Expect this one to be close, based on the prediction model, which makes Wolves the slight favourites (39.3 per cent), although Leeds are at 31.3 per cent. A draw is certainly feasible and is given a 29.4 per cent chance.
Chelsea v Everton
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 27 Premier League home games against Everton (W15 D12) since a 1-0 loss in November 1994. Against no side have they ever had a longer unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge in their top-flight history. Everton managed a 1-1 draw with a makeshift side in the corresponding fixture last season, but a win still evades them.
Before this season, Everton had beaten Chelsea in each of the last four Premier League campaigns, although all of their victories were at home. They have not beaten the Blues in five straight league seasons since the 1930s.
Everton have won three of their seven Premier League games under Sean Dyche so far (D1 L3), as many as they had in their 20 matches under Frank Lampard this season (D6 L11), but again all of those wins have come at home.
Best bet – Chelsea to win: Everton are winless in their last 11 Premier League away games against London sides (D3 L8), failing to score in each of the last four, and Chelsea have only failed to beat the Toffees at home twice since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Long shot – Everton to win 1-0: If the visitors are to claim a victory, expect it to be a cagey one. In fact, 40 per cent (30) of Dyche's 75 Premier League wins have been by a 1-0 scoreline, including his three as Everton boss. Of the 52 managers with at least 50 wins in the competition, only Tony Pulis (42 per cent – 41 of 98) has won a higher share by a 1-0 scoreline.
Opta prediction: Given Everton's torrid form on the road – they have won fewer Premier League away games (three) and earned fewer points on the road (18) than any of the 17 ever-present sides since the start of last season – and dismal record at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are the overwhelming favourites at 54.1 per cent on Opta's model. Everton are handed a slim 19.3 per cent chance of success, while the draw is rated at 26.6 per cent.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Palace elected to part ways with Arsenal legend Vieira and could well be further embroiled in the relegation battle by the end of Sunday's game. After all, the Gunners have won their last five Premier League matches, netting at least three goals in four of those, including each of the last three.
Arsenal have won eight of their nine London derbies in the Premier League this season (D1); in English Football League history, no side have ever won nine all-London match-ups in a single season. Palace, on the other hand, have won just one of their eight derbies this term. The Eagles have, however, avoided defeat in their last four Premier League away games against Arsenal, with each of the last three ending level (W1).
Since his Premier League debut for Arsenal in January, no player has been involved in more goals for the Gunners than Leandro Trossard (six – one goal, five assists). He has five assists in his last four Premier League games, as many as in his previous 64 appearances.
Best bet – Gabriel Martinelli to have 2+ shots on target: After missing the crucial penalty in Arsenal's shoot-out loss to Sporting in Europe, Martinelli will be determined to put things right. He is Arsenal's highest goalscorer in the Premier League this season with 12 goals, including five in his last five appearances.
Long shot – Palace to keep a clean sheet: Palace have kept just one clean sheet in 22 away league games against Arsenal (49 goals conceded), a goalless draw in January 2021, while the Gunners have scored in all but one of their league games at Emirates Stadium this season.
Opta prediction: Arsenal are the favourites, although given the respective form of these sides, a 54.6 per cent win prediction perhaps feels a bit low – a reflection of Palace's recent unbeaten run at Emirates Stadium. Opta gives the draw a 26.5 per cent chance, while the supercomputer has a Palace win ranked at 18.9 per cent.