A rare treat for punters this week: a full set of Premier League fixtures across Tuesday and Wednesday.
The bulk of the good stuff is on Wednesday evening, but that’s not to suggest there isn’t plenty to titillate punters 24 hours earlier.
Arsenal and Liverpool face tough trips to Swansea and Huddersfield respectively, while West Ham and Crystal Palace will stage their own Battle of London with an army of patched-up soldiers.
How does the lay of the land look from a betting perspective?
Swansea City vs Arsenal (7:45pm)
Having been bundled out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest at the third round stage, Arsenal enjoyed a rare weekend off and as such should be much fresher than their opponents here.
The time off has enabled a number of players to return to full fitness including Olivier Giroud, who is the subject of much speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea. Nevertheless, he is likely to join up with the Arsenal squad in Wales.
Swansea, meanwhile, faced a potential banana-skin in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and by all accounts they did well to leave Notts County’s Meadow Lane ground with a draw even if they dominated large swathes of the encounter.
The only downside is that Renato Sanches appears to have aggravated the thigh injury which has blighted his time in Wales so far. The Portuguese international picked up the knock in the first half against the Magpies, and had to be withdrawn.
This is more than just a typical midweek Premier League game, with plenty at stake. Arsenal could go level on 45 points with Tottenham if they win here and their London rivals fail to get a point against Manchester United on Wednesday. Swansea, meanwhile, could climb out of the bottom three with victory on home soil, and assuming other results go their way.
There’s no doubt that the Swans have improved under Carlos Carvahal, although punters are warned not be too exuberant: Liverpool fans bemoaned their side’s worst performance of the season when losing to Swansea 0-1 in the league last time out.
Arsenal have enjoyed more rest and can welcome back a number of players to their first team squad: for that reason they are well worth backing at 8/15. Add them to your midweek accas with relish.
West Ham vs Crystal Palace (7:45pm)
This is one of those intriguing games from a betting perspective with either side can be backed to win at roughly 2/1 – meaning there’s some great value to be had if we can find an angle.
West Ham were in action at the weekend but were thoroughly disappointing in a 0-2 defeat at a confident Wigan side. Worst still for David Moyes, Arthur Masuaku will miss up to six games after being sent off for spitting at Nick Powell, while Pedro Obiang was stretchered off in the first half.
Indeed, the queue for the West Ham treatment table is getting longer and longer: messrs Obiang, Edemilson, Reid, Fonte, Arnautovic, Lanzini and Carroll keeping the physio busy. Cheikh Kouyate, Mark Noble and Michail Antonio could return to the squad.
Crystal Palace were knocked out of the FA Cup by Brighton in the third round, so they have enjoyed the luxury of a weekend off.
The extra time off has enabled them to get Yohan Cabaye back to full fitness, but the Eagles’ injury list is as damning as West Ham’s: Dann and Puncheon are out for the season, while Loftus-Cheek, Sakho and Schlupp are out for the foreseeable future.
There are some key defence-minded players out of this game, and as such we’re inclined to suggest there may be a goal or two in this one. Both teams to score, which has landed six times in as many games for the Hammers and 4 out of the last 6 for Palace, can be backed at a whopping 11/10 with Betfair.
Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool (8:00pm)
Tuesday’s televised game sees Liverpool try to shake off their humbling at the hands of West Brom on Saturday night when they take on Huddersfield.
Most of the newspaper headlines on Sunday morning focused on the deployment of VAR at Anfield in their FA Cup clash with the Baggies: yep, it was a disaster, but that missed the bigger picture: for the second game in a row, the Reds were outfought and outfoxed by an upwardly mobile opponent.
So punters write off Huddersfield at your peril here. Yes, Liverpool are deserved favourites, but the prospect of putting £40 on Jurgen Klopp’s men just to get £10 in profit will not sit well with most.
It’s hard to make a coherent case for the Terriers knowing they are without a win in six, but on home soil they have proved fairly resilient and have shown it by beating Manchester United and losing by a solitary goal against Manchester City who were in full flow at the time.
From a betting perspective, shooting somewhere down the middle ad backing Huddersfield with a +1.50 Asian handicap is perhaps wise.