The good news for those soccer supporters who aren’t fans of international breaks is the next one isn’t due until late March – over 120 days away. The latest international break may have come at a good time for Everton who lost their last three English Premier League (EPL) games, but it may have come at a bad time for Southampton and Tottenham who had won their last three to move into the top four. This weekend’s standout game sees leaders Leicester City travel to champions Liverpool on Sunday. Here are some soccer bets that stand out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook for this weekend’s slate of games.
When it comes to winning games after international breaks, no manager does it better than Pep Guardiola. Guardiola committed his future to Manchester City by signing a new two-year deal ahead of his side’s trip to Tottenham. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, City has taken 33 points from a possible 36 following a fortnight’s break when their best players have been away on international duty. Tottenham is unbeaten in their last five matches after an international break but more importantly, Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven since losing their season opener at home to Everton. City has struggled to score goals in the EPL with exactly one goal in each of their last five while they have scored three in each of their three Champions League ties. Tottenham’s attacking style should make this an open game with plenty of chances created at both ends, which is why over 2.5 total goals is a bet worth considering.
The international break came at a bad time for Manchester United, who would have preferred to continue playing after winning 3-1 at Everton last time out. West Brom will have welcomed the break and hope they can register their first win of the season at the ninth time of asking. The Baggies have managed just one goal in their last five EPL games and that came on the road in a 1-1 tie at Brighton. Incredibly, United has taken just one point from their first four EPL matches at Old Trafford and they won’t need to be reminded that West Brom claimed a 1-0 win in their last visit to the Theatre of Dreams in April 2018 when Jay Rodriguez scored the only goal. United’s win at Everton a fortnight ago eased the pressure on under-fire boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and defeat at home to the Baggies could be the final straw. Following international breaks, United has not lost any of their last 12 while West Brom has not won any of their last five.
This will be the first Premier League meeting between these two sides since April 2004, which was won emphatically by Arsenal 5-0 with Thierry Henry scoring four times. It was the fourth successive EPL meeting between these two sides in which exactly five goals were scored. There is a chance for five goals in this contest if conditions allow for a free-flowing game. Arsenal has struggled for goals with just one in their last four and manager Mikel Arteta will hope his Gunners will be firing on all cylinders this weekend. Leeds has not been tempted to change the way they play and they will be expected to press Arsenal at every opportunity in the hope of forcing an error or two. In Patrick Bamford, Leeds has the league’s second leading scorer with seven. Bamford has one goal more than Arsenal trio Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah combined.
The international break was not kind to Liverpool, who will be without three key players for their home game with the current league leaders Leicester. Defender Joe Gomez and captain Jordan Henderson picked up injuries during their time in the England camp. In Egypt, Reds’ leading scorer Mohamed Salah twice tested positive for COVID-19 which will sideline him for this weekend’s contest. Missing Salah will be a blow, but it should be noted that the Egyptian failed to score in his last four against this weekend’s opponents. Ready to take Salah’s place will be Diogo Jota, who has done enough in recent matches to earn a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI. Salah’s absence makes the manager’s team selection a lot easier and spares him the tough decision as to which player drops out to accommodate Jota. This has all the ingredients to be the game of the weekend with over 2.5 goals a solid bet. Leicester can go four points clear of the champions if the Foxes can win their fourth straight game.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Southampton
Southampton was one of four teams to lead the EPL during the last round of EPL fixtures and they go into this contest two points behind leaders Leicester. The Saints have scored first in six of their last seven games, including their last three which all ended in victories. Losing leading forward Danny Ings looked set to halt the Saints’ progress up the standings, but they scored in both halves at home to Newcastle for the fourth time in their last five games. Wolves has yet to click, but a win in this game will see them draw level with their opponents on 16 points. In the two contests last season, Southampton scored first but Wolves came back to win at St Mary’s and rescue a point at Molineux. There isn’t too much between these two sides which makes another draw a possibility. If you are looking for a player to draft from this game, Raul Jimenez could be the player you need. Jimenez scored three times for Wolves in the two meetings with two of those goals coming from penalties.
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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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