Mark your card for Saturday's Premier League games with George Pitts providing a best bet and score prediction for each clash.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
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Liverpool v Watford
- 1230 kick-off on BT Sport
After a week's graft on the training ground, Nigel Pearson takes charge of his first game as Watford manager - but they do not come much tougher than this.
Against the league leaders. At the fortress that is Anfield - Liverpool have not lost there since April 2017 and have won their last 15 in a row on home turf.
One thing is for sure - Pearson will have them scrapping for every ball and it will not be a breeze for Liverpool.
The Reds earned a rare clean sheet at Bournemouth last weekend and Jurgen Klopp has challenged them to add more. Whether they can do that here remains to be seen. After all, Watford do have some attacking threats in their ranks despite being the league's lowest scorers.
While a home win is on the cards, there is definite value in exploring the markets involving the Hornets (BTTS is just under evens) - with preference here on shots.
With players keen to impress Pearson, they can at least try their luck. Considering they average 13 shots per game this season, the 4/1 on offer with Sky Bet on them to have 12 or more is incredibly tempting. But looking at shots on target, they are 2/1 to register four and 9/2 to have five.
The latter is worth taking for a small play. Although they are struggling at the bottom, they can up their game and fight for their lives on Merseyside, so five shots on target is not a big ask for the early kick-off.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
- Liverpool’s last three home Premier League games against Watford have seen them win 6-1, 5-0 and 5-0. No side has ever won four consecutive home games by a margin of 5+ goals against an opponent in top-flight history.
- Liverpool are guaranteed to be top of the Premier League table at Christmas – the last three occasions of a team failing to win the title having been top at Christmas have been Liverpool (2008-09, 2013-14 and 2018-19). The only side to be top of the league table at Christmas in consecutive years and fail to win the title both times was Everton in 1894-95 and 1895-96.
- Liverpool have won their last 15 home top-flight matches – they’ve only had one longer run at Anfield in their history, winning 21 in a row between January and December 1972.
- Liverpool have scored a league-high 10 headed goals in the Premier League this season, with no player in the division netting more headers so far this term than Virgil van Dijk (3). Indeed, the Reds have scored more headed goals (10) than Watford have scored in total in 2019-20 (9).
- Liverpool’s Mo Salah has been involved in seven goals in four Premier League appearances against Watford (6 goals, 1 assist). Teammate Sadio Mané has been involved in eight goals in five games against them for the Reds (5 goals, 3 assists), while fellow forward Roberto Firmino has been involved in eight in his last six against the Hornets (5 goals, 3 assists).
Burnley v Newcastle
These two teams will be pretty happy with where they are at this stage of the season - 13th and 11th respectively - but Sean Dyche will not be happy with Burnley's recent form having lost three in a row.
Granted, two of those were against Man City and Spurs but the home defeat to Palace was disappointing. They have been looking to turn Turf Moor back into a fortress this season, but with four wins and four losses that is still a work in progress.
Newcastle, however, have been great at home but poor on the road, losing five of eight matches and the Clarets will be hoping to capitalise.
This match could be settled on fine margins and half-time draw is tempting, but the 5/1 price on Jeff Hendrick to score anytime stands out more.
The Irishman is due a goal having gone eight games without finding the back of the net. He has two goals to his name this season and tends to try his luck more often against sides outside the top eight, registering at least one effort against Watford, West Ham, Villa, Sheff United, Everton, Norwich and Brighton (and two against title chasers Leicester).
With the positions he occupies, the late runs he makes and his eye for goal, these odds could be worth taking.
Best bet: Jeff Hendrick to score anytime at 5/1
- Newcastle’s average possession figure this season is just 32.8%, the lowest in the Premier League. The Magpies are the only side yet to have more possession than their opponents in a single Premier League match this season.
- Burnley (326) and Newcastle (305) have played fewer passes per game than any other Premier League side this season. These two sides also play a higher proportion of long passes than any other side in the competition (Burnley 21.6%, Newcastle 19.7%).
- Between them, Ashley Barnes (15) and Chris Wood (14) have scored 62% of Burnley’s Premier League goals in 2019 (29/47) – no other player has scored more than four goals for the Clarets this year.
- Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has scored in three consecutive league games for the first time in his career. Only in 2013-14 (6 goals in 32 games) has Shelvey scored more Premier League goals than the five he has this term (11 games)
Chelsea v Bournemouth
Bournemouth have won at Stamford Bridge in two of their last four Premier League visits, but Eddie Howe's side travel there this weekend in dreadful form and it would be some turnaround in performance to come away with something here.
They have lost five in a row and failed to win 10 of their last 11 in all competitions. Consistency has been an issue in recent years and they could well be facing a relegation fight in the second half of the season.
With the Cherries low on confidence and Chelsea boosted by qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages in midweek, the hosts should cruise into a first-half lead. While the 2/1 price on them to score two or more before the interval is tempting, the 5/4 on them to be leading after 30 minutes is preferred.
Frank Lampard's side have scored 10 goals in this period so far this season, including their last home outing against Aston Villa, and that should put them on their way to a comfortable home win over the Howe's men.
- Bournemouth have lost each of their last six Premier League games in London, conceding 20 goals in the process. In total they’ve won just six of their 24 top-flight games in the capital (D3 L15), with 33% of these victories coming at Chelsea.
- Chelsea have lost two of their eight Premier League home games this season (W4 D2), more than they did in the whole of 2018-19 under Maurizio Sarri (W12 D6 L1).
- Only Manchester City (337) have had more shots than Chelsea in the Premier League this season (274). The Blues’ average of 17.1 shots per game is their highest in a single campaign since 2013-14 (18.2).
- Tammy Abraham has scored in consecutive Premier League games at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea – the last Englishman to score in three home games in a row for the Blues was Frank Lampard in August 2010.
- Harry Wilson is Bournemouth’s top scorer in the Premier League this season with six goals. Five of those strikes have come away from home, accounting for 56% of the Cherries’ nine goals on the road this term.
Leicester v Norwich
Such is Leicester's good form, it is no surprise to see them so well fancied in the majority of markets here.
Brendan Rodgers' side have won nine in a row in all competitions while Norwich are in danger of drifting away from the pack in the bottom three of the Premier League table.
Jamie Vardy is in red-hot form and can go closer to his 2015/16 record by scoring in a ninth successive Premier League game - he is, of course, odds-on but you can back him to find the back of the net in the first half at a more appealing 13/10.
The preferred value lies away from the results markets and instead with corners. For all Norwich's recent struggles, they still create chances and average five corners per away game in the top flight this term.
Leicester have the best defensive record in the league having conceded just 10 goals and may well keep out the Canaries, but they could at least have their fair share of defending to do.
Backing at least four Norwich corners is around 5/4 but the more appealing 9/4 price is on them to have at least five set pieces.
Best bet: Norwich to have 5+ corners at 9/4
- Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored in each of his last eight Premier League games, just three short of his own competition record set in November 2015. The only other occasion of a player scoring in nine consecutive games in the competition was by Ruud van Nistelrooy (10 in a row in August 2003).
- Leicester have won their last eight Premier League games by an aggregate score of 25-3. Victory for the Foxes here would be the 22nd winning run of 9+ games in Premier League history, with Leicester being the seventh different club to achieve it (Arsenal x3, Chelsea x5, Liverpool x5, Man City x3, Man Utd x4, Tottenham x1).
- Leicester have scored at least twice in each of their last eight Premier League games. Meanwhile, Norwich have conceded at least twice in 13 of their 16 league games this term; more than any other side.
- No side has conceded the first goal in more Premier League games this season than Norwich (10), with the Canaries going on to lose every single one of those. Meanwhile, Leicester have won their last 19 Premier League games when scoring first.
- Kelechi Iheanacho has scored in all four of his appearances for Leicester in all competitions this season (4 goals), having scored just twice in 35 matches last season. The Nigerian is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time.
- Norwich duo Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki have combined for more Premier League goals than any other pairing in the competition this season (5).
Sheff United v Aston Villa
Two of the promoted sides meet at Bramall Lane and, after spending considerably more in the summer, Aston Villa are struggling and in need of points.
Dean Smith's side have won one of their last six and go into the weekend just outside of the relegation zone - on goal difference - whereas Sheffield United are flying high in eighth.
The Blades are unbeaten on the road so far but some of their home results have been more unpredictable, such as losing to Newcastle last time out in South Yorkshire, and the preference here is to avoid the final outcome.
There could be cards in this one, between two fairly aggressive sides who both average two bookings per game this season.
This is matchday 16 and the cut-off for a suspension for reaching five yellow cards is after game 19. One man close to a suspension is Jack Grealish.
The midfielder is on four cautions and it could be a tough ask for him to go without being booked in their next three (winnable games) against the Blades, Southampton and Norwich.
As the pantomime Villan (see what we did there), Grealish is always in the thick of it and the 4/1 price on him to be carded looks too good to turn down.
- Aston Villa have only lost one of their last 10 league games in Yorkshire (W6 D3), though it was a 1-4 loss at Sheffield United in September 2018.
- Only Norwich, Southampton and West Ham (5 each) have lost more Premier League home games than Sheffield United this season (4). Indeed, only Watford (44.4%) and West Ham (43.8%) have won a lower share of their Premier League points at home than the Blades this season (45.5%).
- Following victory at Norwich last time out, Sheffield United are looking to pick up back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since December 2006.
- Aston Villa have conceded more headed goals than any other side in the Premier League this season (8) – at the other end, the Villans have yet to score a single goal via a header this term.
- Sheffield United forward Lys Mousset has scored with all five of his shots on target in the Premier League this season – the highest such 100% record in the competition this term.
Southampton v West Ham
- 1730 kick-off on Sky Sports Premier League
Two under pressure managers meet here desperate for points. In Sky Bet's next manager to leave market, Pellegrini is the odds-on favourite and it is, at the time of writing, a surprise to see him still in a job.
There has reportedly been talks about his position this week and their run of one win in their last 11 in all competitions has been dreadful. That win at Chelsea bought the Chilean time but now it appears to be a fluke rather than a reflection of the work being done by Pellegrini.
Hasenhuttl is the next in the list at 9/1 and the Saints were denied a point late on at Newcastle last week. Surely they will win this one at home.
While West Ham's record signing Sebastian Haller struggles in front of goal, Danny Ings is in red-hot form having scored in five successive games. The 11/8 available on him to score against a dodgy Hammers defence is not bad at all.
But due to both sides' unpredictability, there is not too much else that stands out here other than backing the hosts to win and under 3.5 total goals at 2/1. The Saints should win, but it is not one that fills you with confidence.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Ham (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
- West Ham haven’t opened the scoring in any of their last 15 Premier League visits to Southampton, since a 1-1 draw in March 1995. Despite that, they’ve ended on the losing side in under half of those games (W3 D5 L7).
- After a run of eight successive home games without a win (D3 L5), Southampton have won their last two at home in the Premier League. They last won three consecutively at St Mary’s in the competition in May 2016 (a run of four).
- Southampton’s last 13 Premier League goals have been scored by English players – excluding own goals, the last team to have a longer run of English goalscorers in the competition was Swansea City between October 2011-January 2012 (14).
- Southampton’s Danny Ings has already scored in five Premier League defeats this season – the only Saint to score in more defeats in a single campaign in the competition was Matt Le Tissier in 1992-93 (7).
- West Ham have lost just one of their seven Premier League games with Lukasz Fabianski starting in goal this season (W3 D3), and have lost seven of nine when the Polish stopper hasn’t started (W1 D1).
Odds correct as of 1500 GMT on 12/12/19
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