Defeat for manager-less Watford
Watford vs Manchester City
Watford were beaten 3-1 by relegation rivals West Ham last weekend, a result that surprisingly spelled the end of Nigel Pearson's reign after he had dragged them off the bottom of the table and to within a win of safety. Hayden Mullins takes charge for the second time this season, and while they face a Manchester City juggernaut that have beaten them 33-3 across their last seven meetings, this game does come at home, where Watford have had most of their success this season (1.8 xGF, 1.5 xGA pg). City were poor for a half against Arsenal in the FA Cup, but on the whole it wasn't a bad performance. Their performance against Bournemouth last midweek was a bad one (xG: MCI 0.6 - 1.9 BOU), but expect them to put on a show here in a bid to build confidence ahead of the Champions League. City are taken to win (66%), with goals highly likely at Vicarage Road (67% O2.5, 60% BTTS) - 1-3.
Back the 1-3 @ 11.521/2
Villa to take a point off Arsenal
Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Depending on the result of Watford's game, Villa could need to win here to avoid relegation. They were hugely unfortunate to only draw with Everton last time out, as they again won the xG battle (xG: EVE 0.9 - 1.6 AVL), something they have done regularly since the break. In fact, only Liverpool and Manchester United have won the xG battle against Villa, and only Man Utd have hammered them. They have impressed from an underlying numbers standpoint since the break (1.2 xGF, 1.1 xGA pg). Arsenal bounced back well on the face of it from their North London derby defeat, beating Liverpool and Manchester City, but they rode their luck in both, being extremely clinical with their chances (four goals from seven shots). In the league they have averaged just 1.1 xGF per game since the restart, so could struggle to breakdown an improving Villa team. Villa are given a 60% chance of avoiding defeat here, with a 61% chance of BTTS - 1-1.
Back the 1-1 @ 8.415/2
United to beat safe Hammers
Manchester United vs West Ham
Manchester United saw their 19-game unbeaten run in all competitions ended in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend, as they were rightly beaten by Chelsea. Ole Gunner Solskjaer opted to rotate his best players which was a surprise, but expect a strong team here, as they are unbeaten in 12 league games and know a win would move them three points above Leicester with a superior goal difference ahead of their showdown on Sunday. West Ham beat Watford to move themselves six points clear of the relegation zone, and they could be mathematically safe before this game if Villa fail to beat Arsenal. We could see them take their foot off the gas if that is the case, but they will likely still offer a good counter attacking threat, and have impressed in attack post-break, averaging 1.87 xGF per game. United should win (68%) a high-scoring game (68% O2.5, 59% BTTS) - 3-1.
Back the 3-1 @ 11.521/2
Chelsea to get a point at Anfield
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Liverpool have coasted through the last few weeks of the season, but they have impressed in their last two matches against Burnley (xG: LIV 2.0 - 0.8 BUR) and at Arsenal (xG: ARS 0.8 - 2.5 LIV). If they keep playing in that manner here, it's more likely than not that they will avoid defeat at the very least. Chelsea impressed at Wembley against Manchester United, but they have shown severe weaknesses on the road since the break, allowing an average of 2.0 xGA per game, and those matches have come against Aston Villa, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United. That's a worry here, in a game which they know that if they win they secure a top four spot, whereas a draw could mean they have to win at home against Wolves at the weekend. Chelsea haven't been the best travellers all season long, but can get a point against the champions who are cruising to the finish (55% CHE or Draw). We should see goals at Anfield (63% O2.5, 63% BTTS) - 2-2.
Back the 2-2 @ 14.013/1
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