Mark O'Haire
2 weeks ago - 8 minute read

Mark O’Haire’s Midweek Premier League Preview

Watford v Manchester City

Manchester City were made to work hard to see off a determined Bournemouth on Saturday. Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan helped the Citizens to a 3-1 success at the Etihad, although Pep Guardiola’s group appeared surprisingly short of urgency or inspiration for large swathes of that encounter.

The City boss opted to shuffle his pack with the table-toppers beginning a punishing six-week schedule that sees them play 13 games in the space of 44 days. Further alteration are expected here, although the Citizens are still expected to pick up maximum points with room to spare, with the 1.90 available on a -1.5 Asian Handicap victory appealing.

The visitors are unbeaten in Premier League action since April (W17-D3-L0) and Guardiola’s gang are also posting Europe’s most phenomenal performance data figures. The numbers suggest the Citizens are dominating the English top-flight in 2018/19 more so than PSG in Ligue 1 or Juventus in Serie A.

Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game against Bourenmouth last weekend.

City are averaging 3.13 goals-per-game over their last 15 outings and have W20-D4-L1 on their travels since the start of last season. Twelve (48%) of those victories arrived by a two-goal margin or better as City scored three times or more on 10 (40%) occasions. The guests also recorded 15 (60%) clean sheets.

Since their last loss across any competition, the Citizens have tabled 13 triumphs from 15 unbeaten fixtures, 11 wins by a two-goal margin or better.

Meanwhile, City have beaten Watford in all four of their showdowns under Guardiola by an aggregate score of 16-1, including 5-0 and 6-0 smashings at Vicarage Road.

If we ignore City’s record against fellow Big Six sides, the visitors have taken top honours by two goals or more in each of their last eight encounters, as well as in 18 of their past 23 fixtures against the Premier League’s lesser lights.

Watford boss Javi Gracia bemoaned his side’s lack of efficiency in the final third as they fell to their fifth successive loss against a top-half team on Saturday. The Hornets enjoyed 62% of the ball at Leicester but were defeated 2-0 in a match that saw midfielder Etienne Capoue dismissed for a two-footed tackle late on. He’ll now miss this match through suspension.

Watford Manager Javi Gracia has struggled to reinforce his side’s defensive frailties in recent times.

The Hertfordshire outfit have now scored just once in their past four games – and fired blanks in five of their last eight – as Roberto Pereyra, Isaac Success and Andre Gray wasted good opportunities at the King Power. That loss leaves Watford with just two triumphs in 10 (W2-D2-L6), to their name since starting the season with four consecutive victories.

The hosts have now returned pointless in 24 of 26 winless meetings with top-four finishers since returning to the Premier League.

With Gracia’s group posting only three shutouts in 14 this term, it’s hard to see them halting the City juggernaut.

Bournemouth v Huddersfield

Four defeats on the spin have seen Bournemouth slide back into mid-table, although the Cherries shouldn’t be downhearted with three of those four reverses coming against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. Three of those four losses were suffered by the tightest of margins and a return home to face struggling Huddersfield should help.

Eddie Howe’s outfit have W6-D1-L2 against clubs in seventh and below this season, whilst if we exclude the Big Six, Bournemouth have bagged eight victories from 12 (W8-D2-L2) with their two losses arriving on the road. Meanwhile, since promotion to the Premier League, the Cherries are enjoying a 51% win rate at home against bottom-half clubs.

Unsurprisingly Bournemouth have a terrible record vs City in recent times.

Visitors Huddersfield could be fatigued having played a large part of their disappointing weekend defeat against Brighton with 10-men. Steve Mounie is now suspended, and with Alex Pitchard injured, David Wagner’s options in the attacking third are looking limited.

The Terriers are the Premier League’s lowest scorers with just nine goals and average just 0.52 Expected Goals from open play. Considering the guests have lost 18 of their last 22 winless matches against top-half opponents – 14 by more than just a solitary strike – they’re easily opposable this midweek with Bournemouth available at 1.72 quotes to triumph.

Everton v Newcastle

Ignore the kamikaze finale of the Merseyside derby on Sunday and Everton should be very pleased with their performance at Anfield.

The Toffees went toe-to-toe with Liverpool and had their opportunities to get on the scoresheet in what could have been a richly-deserved stalemate before Jordan Pickford’s horror error.

Marco Silva’s men will be keen to bounce back as they bid to cement their position in the top-seven of the Premier League and Everton appear a good thing at Goodison Park to deliver a positive result. Excluding Big Six sides here and the hosts have registered an outstanding W26-D5-L2 against the division’s lesser lights.

The Toffees have W5-D1-L1 on home soil this term – all seven games against bottom-half dwellers – as they’ve plundered 13 goals. Silva’s troops have risen up the performance data rankings in recent weeks and their average of just 0.66 Expected Goals from open play conceded is the fifth best return across the league as a whole.

Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle side have been woeful in the attacking third this season.

That solid foundation should hold the Merseysiders in good stead and they can be backed at 1.74 with a -0.75 Asian Handicap start. Newcastle head to Goodison Park having seen their four-game unbeaten run snapped empathically at home by West Ham on Saturday afternoon, whilst the Magpies have scored more than once on only three occasions.

Rafa Benitez’s boys rarely threaten in the final-third – generating just 0.66 xG from open play – and have lost 10 of their 11 trips to top-half sides since the start of last season, making Wednesday night’s away day ominous in their search for survival points.

Recommended Bets

  • Manchester City -1.5 (1.9)
  • Bournemouth to win (1.72)
  • Everton -0.75 (1.74)