Paul Higham has three games to get through and has three best bets including Chelsea v Man City in the big game of the night.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Southampton v Arsenal (1800, Sky Sports)
Match Odds: Home 6/4 | Draw 5/2 | Away 13/8
I can't be the only one who watched David Luiz at Man City and confidently predicted that was his Arsenal farewell - and yet the club have just handed him a new contract. You have to ask yourself what state a club is in that is willing to keep a liability like him on in what is your biggest area for concern.
You feel for Mikel Arteta as the club's bosses have never really backed managers to the hilt, so just what they'll do now their lucrative matchday income has vanished is anyone's guess. Throw in goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who was their best player in their opening two defeats, being out injured and you have a recipe for disaster.
So maybe a trip to Southampton is the antidote - yet here we are with Arsenal slight underdogs at the team who hold the worst home record in the division (W4 D2 L9). I was staggered to see again that the Gunners had won just twice away from the Emirates this season, twice!
Saints have actually won two more games than draw specialists Arsenal, and Ralph Hasenhuttl's men can draw level on points with Thursday's visitors with a win. The fact that I'll be backing them to do just that, after also backing Arsenal to finish in the bottom half of the table (11/4 at time of writing) shows how much trouble this side is in.
Listen, Arsenal aren't without talent, in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang they have who I think is one of the best strikers in the league, but he must be wondering just when he can get out of this mess the way it's going.
Danny Ings is happily getting the recognition he deserves after banging in 16 goals this season, he's now 10/1 for the Golden Boot and Evens to score against Arsenal - given his form and the Gunners defence you would not be surprised at all.
It's all set up for a rare home win that will get Southampton to that magical 40-point mark.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Arsenal (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
Best bet: Southampton to beat Arsenal at 13/8
Southampton v Arsenal Opta stats
- Southampton have won three of their last five Premier League home games against Arsenal (D1 L1), more than they had in their previous 12 against them at the Dell/St Mary’s (W2 D5 L5).
- Southampton are yet to draw a Premier League game in 2020, with Saints winning five and losing five of their 10 matches. Southampton have kept a clean sheet in four of those five victories, while they’ve conceded at least twice in four of the five defeats.
- Having been on an 11-game unbeaten run away from home in all competitions since the start of December, Arsenal have lost each of their last two on the road.
- Arsenal have lost 10 points from winning positions in their 12 Premier League games under Mikel Arteta – as many as they’d lost in their previous 36 combined under Fredrik Ljungberg and Unai Emery.
- Southampton’s leading goalscorer this season Danny Ings has scored three goals in his last two Premier League appearances against Arsenal. The striker has only found the net more often against Aston Villa and Everton (4 each) in the competition.
- Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 49 Premier League goals, and a goal here will see him become the sixth fastest player to reach 50 in the competition (78 games). However, he’s failed to score in any of his last three appearances, with his goalless run standing at 314 minutes (10 shots attempted).
Burnley v Watford (1800, Sky Sports and Pick)
Match Odds: Home 2/1 | Draw 9/4 | Away 11/8
It's tough to get motivated just to write about this one, let alone play in it, and it's the draw that you immediately look at with two teams hard to figure out in a situation that promotes quite careful, low intensity football, from what we've seen so far.
As we find out more about these games, and as we get nearer the end of the season, you'd think desperation would normally take hold - whoever has that extra desire would come out on top, and that would certainly point you in Watford's direction given their relegation worries. Burnley will, though, have a point to prove after that flyover at Man City embarrassed the entire club.
The fact the Hornets are favourites despite winning just two away games all season shows what strange times we live in - in their favour are Sean Dyche's selection problems with a host of out-of-contract players not being selected, and the fact Watford have had two days extra to prepare.
Squad strength will be huge going down the stretch, and that's something the Clarets simply don't have, so for them there's a huge difference from them playing on Monday night and their opponents on Saturday lunchtime.
I'm afraid I can't guarantee you goals here - these two rank as the bottom two overall for BTTS games, while Turf Moor has seen goals at both ends just five times this season. Throw in Watford being third-lowest in away BTTS games and, on what is forecast to be a hot summer's evening to slow the pace right down, goals will be at a premium.
Under 2.5 goals (8/13) and both teams to score 'no' (4/5) both make the shortlist and look solid bets to me, but when you can make more of a case why both teams should lose it rather than win it, the play is always to back the draw.
Prediction: Burnley 0-0 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Best bet: Burnley and Watford to draw at 9/4
Burnley v Watford Opta stats
- Burnley have played 12 midweek (Tuesday-Thursday) Premier League home games, with the Clarets netting exactly once each time. They were unbeaten in their first seven such games (W4 D3), but have since lost the last five in a row.
- Watford have won only one of their 20 midweek (Tuesday-Thursday) Premier League away games (D3 L16), with that victory coming at Arsenal in January 2017.
- Watford have won just one of their last eight Premier League games (D3 L4), beating Liverpool 3-0 in February. The Hornets’ six points earned in these eight matches is as many as they’d won in their first two Premier League games of 2020 (W2).
- Having gone 19 Premier League games without a draw at Turf Moor (W9 L10), two of Burnley’s last three home league games have ended level (W1).
Chelsea v Manchester City (2015, BT Sport)
Match Odds: Home 16/5 | Draw 29/10 | Away 5/6
The big one, that will no doubt have as many viewers tuning in from Merseyside as Manchester, sees City take on Frank Lampard's Chelsea at the Bridge in what could be one of the more entertaining post-shutdown games between the top and fourth-best scorers in the league.
The no crowds and quick-fire schedule really does play into City's hands. With the best squad in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola is able to rotate and keep his expensively assembled squad fresh and firing. No better example of this was their almost £500m bench that watched them kick-off against Burnley on Monday.
A knee injury to Sergio Aguero is a blow, but it means we'll see more of Gabriel Jesus - who has scored ten Premier League goals this season but just one in eight. Chelsea's defence will give City plenty of chances too - they somehow lost the xG battle with lowly Villa in their win on Sunday, and have conceded just one goal fewer than Arsenal's much-maligned rearguard.
We can put a line through the draw immediately with Chelsea drawing just one of the last 14 at home and City not finishing level once in 14 road trips.
Goals should be on the menu too, even in these more cautious games, with four of Chelsea's last five at home having over 2.5 in and with these two having the top two goals per game outputs in their matches - Chelsea's 3.1 topped only by City's 3.29.
City have been so dominant upon their return that Ederson has yet to face a shot on target in their two outings, but Chelsea have had 500 efforts on goal this season (only City have more) and City have had just one clean sheet in eight games against the current top six this season, so Chelsea are backed to at least get on the scoresheet.
Olivier Giroud would be my man to do that, the Frenchman is one of my personal 'most underrated' players, and has scored in his last two games so I'll be taking the 11/5 on him netting against Guardiola's outfit.
City should win but we're backing goals at both ends.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-3 Man City (Sky Bet odds: 12/1)
Chelsea v Manchester City Opta stats
- Chelsea have alternated between defeat and victory in their last four Premier League home games against Man City, winning this exact fixture 2-0 last season.
- Man City have won six of their last nine Premier League meetings with Chelsea (L3), as many as they had in their previous 34 against them (W6 D7 L21).
- Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League meetings with Man City, though it was in this exact fixture last season (2-0).
- Manchester City have won 18 of their last 20 midweek Premier League matches (Tuesday-Thursday), losing the other two against Leicester and Newcastle in 2018-19.
- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since January 2017, when he played for Arsenal. Giroud has scored in his last three Premier League starts against Man City, although they came between January 2015 and May 2016.
Odds correct as of 1512 BST on 24/6/20
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