The big game of the weekend takes place on Saturday evening when fifth-placed Arsenal host Chelsea, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot.
After a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions, Arsenal have found things more difficult in recent weeks, but those problems have come away from home and there is every chance of thinking that they are overpriced at 2/1 to beat Chelsea, who have been installed around 11/8 favourites by bookmakers.
Arsenal have lost only to the champions in the league at the Emirates this season and only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more home goals.
Despite being thrashed 5-1 by Liverpool, losing to Southampton and West Ham, and drawing with Brighton in their last three away games, Arsenal’s home league form has not dipped alarmingly, with easy wins over Burnley, Fulham and Huddersfield following a magnificent North London derby win over Tottenham.
Arsenal’s defence looked a lot more solid at West Ham than it had in recent weeks and Unai Emery will surely attempt to influence this game in much the way he did in the first half against Tottenham, instigating a high-pressing game and putting pressure on Jorginho early.
Since Chelsea’s 3-1 league defeat by Tottenham in late November, there has been a lack of goals in their matches, with only four of their last 11 domestic matches featuring at least three goals. None of those 11 games involved four or more games.
That would suggest that because of a lack of top-class front man, Maurizio Sarri has focused on tightening things up defensively, with only Wolves scoring more than one goal against Chelsea in those 11 matches.
Sarri’s side have the third-best defensive away record in the league behind the front two but that will be tested by a side who have failed to score at home just once in the league this season.
With that in mind, it could be worth chancing Arsenal to win at 2/1, while Arsenal to win 1-0 at 12/1 and 2-1 at 11/1 should also be considered.
Bournemouth v West Ham
Bournemouth have been on an extremely poor run in the Premier League, winning just two of their last twelve league matches.
Those two victories have come at home and it is their form at Dean Court that is preventing them from flirting with relegation.
Only Fulham have lost more away matches and conceded more goals on the road than Eddie Howe’s side but Bournemouth have lost just three of their 11 home laague matches.
Those defeats have come against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, so it is no surprise that bookmakers make them 6/4 favourites to beat West Ham.
However, their home wins have come against Cardiff, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Brighton, and their visitors this weekend are better than those vanquished teams.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have improved immensely after losing their first four league games and are now up to ninth in the league, just one point off Watford in seventh.
They have lost just two of their last nine league games and have only lost once away from home since October and that was during the congested Christmas period when they were suffering with a lengthy injury list.
Despite doubts surrounding Marko Arnautovic’s future, he has reportedly remained professional and is training well, and he should cause problems for Bournemouth’s struggling defence.
West Ham are available at evens with draw no bet and that is a confident selection, especially if Bournemouth’s star forward Callum Wilson remains out with a hamstring injury.
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Liverpool are 1-5 to win this match and it’s difficult to imagine Crystal Palace pulling off another surprise victory to match their achievement of beating Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Roy Hodgson’s side may take heart from the fact that midfielder Fabinho will probably continue at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s defence, but a back four of Fabinho, Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Neil Robertson prevented Brighton from getting a single shot on target last week.
Alexander-Arnold has now added to Liverpool’s defensive absences but his side have conceded just three goals in their ten matches at Anfield and Palace will still find it difficult to find the net.
Palace have conceded at least two goals in six of their last eight away games, so it could be worth taking a chance on them being heavily beaten here.
Liverpool are 5-6 to win to nil and that price should be taken given the home side’s ability to prevent goal against them, while a Liverpool to win by two goals at 3/1 and three goals at 4/1 also makes plenty of appeal.