Premier League Betting Tips: Can Mikel Arteta beat his mentor and will Aston Villa get a vital win?
Odds, team news and previews ahead of tonight’s games
The Premier League returns this evening, three months after being put on hiatus. While the title may be all but decided, there are still plenty of teams with something to play for.
Relegation-threatened Aston Villa host surprise package Sheffield United in the first game back, before Manchester City welcome Arsenal to the Etihad.
Read on for our in-depth look at tonight’s games.
Aston Villa v Sheffield United (18:00)
Aston Villa are currently 19th in the table and sit two points from safety. Tonight, they come up against Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United side who have defied the odds all season and find themselves in seventh, with a great chance to qualify for European football next year.
Aston Villa’s form before the break saw them lose four games on the bounce, with losses to Bournemouth and Southampton particularly damning. If they’re to rescue their season and retain their Premier League status, Dean Smith’s side willl need to perform far better against the teams around them in the league. Conversely, Sheffield United were unbeaten in four league games, notching up wins over Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Norwich before the league was put on hold.
Despite their relative positions in the table, Aston Villa have actually scored more goals than Sheffield United, with 34 goals to Utd’s 30. Villa’s struggles have largely been at the other end of the pitch, with a league-high 56 conceded, compared to Sheffield’s 25, second only to Liverpool.
When the two sides met at Bramall Lane in December, Sheffield United ran out as a 2-0 winners, with a John Fleck brace securing the points. The midfielder has netted five times this term and is 11/4 to score anytime, while Lys Mousset leads the goalscorer betting for Utd, at 4/1 to score first, or 7/4 anytime.
The good news for Villa is that John McGinn is back from injury and fit to play, with the all-action midfielder arguably their standout performer this season alongside Jack Grealish.
Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell is set to miss out tonight with a knee injury, with the centre-back having played every minute of the season so far.
Manchester City v Arsenal (20:15)
Tonight’s second game sees second-placed Man City take on Arsenal in ninth, with the former having enjoyed themselves at the Etihad all season, dropping just 10 points in 13 games so far. Will home advantage still matter when games are behind closed doors though? Early signs from the Bundesliga suggest not.
Another enticing sub-plot is that it pits Pep Guardiola against former assistant Mikel Arteta, with the latter looking to get one over on his old boss and keep his strong away record intact.
Man City’s form before the break was patchy by their standards, winning three and losing two, including a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in their last outing.
Arsenal on the other hand finally seemed to find some form, winning three and drawing two of their last five league games. The Gunners haven’t lost in the league since falling to a 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea back in late December and are unbeaten in seven away from home.
City have tended to outplay Arsenal in the first half of their recent meetings, winning in their last five league meetings and being two or more goals ahead by the break in four of their last six encounters. If you expect them to be ahead by half-time and win the game, you can back City to be winning at both half-time and fulltime at 4/5.
Sergio Aguero loves a goal against the Gunners, scoring 10 times in his last 12 games against them. He’s 12/5 to score first, or 4/7 to score anytime. Leroy Sane is reportedly fit for the first time since his cruciate ligament injury in the Community Shield and you can back him to score anytime at 7/5 on his return.
For Arsenal, the usual suspects of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette pose the biggest threat. Aubameyang is 11/2 to score first, or 17/10 to score anytime, with Lacazette 9/1 to open the scoring, or 14/5 to score anytime.
Both teams have nearly their entire squads available, with Lucas Torreira the only doubt for Arsenal, while Kieran Tierney will hope his injury woes are behind him. Man City welcome both Sane and Aymeric Laporte back to the fold.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.