The final slate of EPL games for 2020 is scheduled to take place this week with champions Liverpool looking set to start the New Year on top of the standings. They face a tricky trip to Newcastle on Wednesday in the final fixture of the year, but Jurgen Klopp will expect his players to come out on top. If the Reds do slip up, they could be joined at the top by their rivals and neighbors Everton, who host Manchester City. There isn’t much time for the players to recover as the first slate of fixtures for 2021 gets underway on Friday. Here are some soccer bets that stand out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook for the final slate of games for this year.
Chelsea vs. Aston Villa
Credit has to go to Dean Smith for the turnaround he has produced at Aston Villa. His goal in Villa’s first season back in the EPL was to survive which was achieved on the final day of the season. With a limited preseason due to COVID-19, Villa has been one of the surprise teams this season, and they find themselves going to Chelsea seventh in the table, one place above their hosts. With two games to make up on the sides above them, Villa is one of the teams battling it out for the title. Chelsea’s title hopes took a dip with three straight road losses, including their 3-1 loss at Arsenal on Saturday. This is the first of back-to-back home games for Chelsea with Manchester City next on the schedule after Villa, who have kept clean sheets in their last four contests. Chelsea has won the past six meetings with Villa, but the visitors are better this season than they have been for a long time.
Everton vs. Manchester City
A win for Everton against Manchester City at Goodison Park will ensure the Toffees start 2021 in the top two positions in the EPL. It’s been a while since the Toffees were considered contenders to be crowned champions of England. The last time they won the championship was in 1987, and after seeing their rivals Liverpool end their 30-year drought last season, Everton fans will hope it’s their turn this season. There is still a lot of football left to be played, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side is very well placed to stay in the mix. So is City, who can draw level with their hosts on 29 points having played a game less. Both Everton and City have scored in five of the past six meetings, which have been dominated by City, who has won each of the past five, including the last three on Merseyside. Gabriel Jesus enjoys playing Everton and with seven goals in his past five against the Toffees, he will be hoping to score in the sixth successive meeting. Everton is looking to win for the fifth game in a row, but City will make them work for anything the hosts get.
Burnley vs. Sheffield United
Sheffield United has shown great loyalty towards manager Chris Wilder, but there comes a point when the long-term future of a club has to be considered. The Blades are in grave danger of being relegated sitting bottom of the standing with just two points from their opening 15 matches. Midseason changes often produce a change of fortune, as Sam Allardyce’s appointment proved with West Brom taking a point from their visit to Liverpool. A win will ease the pressure on Wilder, for now, while a defeat will surely leave the board no alternative to look for a new manager to save their season. Burnley stuck with Sean Dyche after a less than impressive start to their season, and he has managed to steer the Clarets out of the bottom three. This is one of the biggest games at the bottom end of the table this season. A win for Burnley will open up a 14-point gap on their opponents, while a loss for United will make relegation a real possibility for visitors. With so much riding on the outcome, this could be a low-scoring contest. Three of the last four meetings at Turf Moor have produced under 2.5 and that includes the 1-1 draw in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Tottenham vs. Fulham
Tottenham has been the king of scoring early goals, but it’s the late goals that are denying them a place at the top of the standings. Already this season, Tottenham has dropped nine points in the final 10 minutes of matches which would have seen them top the table by three points. Romain Saiss’ late equalizer to earn Wolves a 1-1 draw on Sunday was the eighth goal Spurs has conceded in the 80th minute or later. Jose Mourinho’s side took the lead in the first minute at Wolves, but they were unable to hold on. It was the sixth goal before the 10th minute Tottenham has scored this season and they face a team that has been outscored 6-0 in the opening 10 minutes of their matches this campaign. Harry Kane has gone three games without a league goal and with five goals in his past four games against Fulham, it would be no surprise to see Kane on the scoresheet this time. Fulham has tied their last four EPL games, but they need to turn those spirited performances into wins to keep alive their hopes of staying in the league next season.
Newcastle vs. Liverpool
There are certain games in the Premier League that you expect goals to be scored and this is one of them. Averaging 3.18 goals per meeting, this fixture rarely disappoints. Recent meetings back up that trend, with the past four contests producing four or more total goals, including the past two at St James’ Park. Sadio Mane scored three times in the two meetings last season and he will be looking to score for the third successive game after finding the net against Crystal Palace and West Brom. Liverpool has scored in all 15 of their EPL games this season and it’s hard to see Newcastle stopping them from scoring. Newcastle has yet to register a shutout at home this season, but Steve Bruce’s side will have taken plenty of encouragement from the manner in which West Brom rescued a point against the champions at Anfield. If Liverpool avoids defeat, they will start 2021 top of the standings and even a loss should be enough to keep them top of the table.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is CharliePMullan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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