Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool — Palace got booed off the field in its midweek fixture against Bournemouth. Fans are decidedly not happy with coach Roy Hodgson’s methods this season. Liverpool, meanwhile, is quietly having one of its strongest seasons in years, pulling off win after win without too much fuss or drama for neutrals to latch onto. Don’t let the lack of hype fool you, though — this Liverpool side is the real deal, and summer signing Dominik Szoboszlai has been its tireless midfield engine.
Talismanic striker Mo Salah was furious not to score midweek against Sheffield United, and not just because he wanted Liverpool to win: because he’s one goal shy of netting 150 in the Premier League. It’s an impressive statistic and one that Salah is hungry to have in his back pocket. At +125 to score at any time, we’re putting our money on Salah to hit the target this weekend.
Everton vs. Chelsea — Are any two Premier League teams in deeper crises than these two? Both, in their own ways, are dealing with the long-tail consequences of their questionable financial decisions: Everton is managing a 10-point deduction for financial malfeasance, while Chelesa is managing a dressing room of approximately 150,000 overpaid players on eight-year contracts. Despite the gap between them, both in terms of spending and table position, Everton and Chelsea aren’t far apart in quality. Just two points would separate the teams if Everton hadn’t received its deduction.
The recent record between these two sides is spotty and unhelpful: the last six meetings have seen two wins, two draws and two losses for each side. But Everton tend to do well at home against Chelsea, and for that, we’d love to see them pull off a confidence-boosting victory here. At +240, it could be a decent moneymaker — and with the similarities between these clubs, it’s certainly not out of the question.
Tottenham vs. Newcastle — It’s a real shame that James Maddison and Anthony Gordon are injured. If they were fit, this game would be an epic battle of Aggressive, Egocentric English Attacking Midfielders. (Both are fantastic, for what it’s worth — excellent entertainment and the kind of players you hate playing against.) But with both doubts for Sunday’s match, along with about 20 other starters between the two teams, the narrative around this one is less fun and more existential: can either team survive the festive season with the injury lists they’re carrying?
Signs point to yes, but it’s not going to be easy for either party. Spurs will miss Rodrigo Betancur and Micky Van de Ven in the back of their midfield; Newcastle will miss starting goalkeeper Nick Pope between the sticks. We think Spurs will take advantage of Pope’s injury and find the back of the net at least once, but that Newcastle will throw everything it has at Spurs’s weakened defense. A Spurs win with both teams to score feels interesting at +260; for the Magpies out there, a scored draw could also whet the appetite at +333.