AFTER a profitable Boxing Day, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) returns with three more Premier League picks on Monday.
Crystal Palace v Swansea | Monday 15:00
Surely Crystal Palace have done enough this season to be odds on here? A win here for the South London club could see them end the year in the Top 4, a superb achievement.
On the flip side Swansea have been struggling since September and lie 12 points behind Palace down in 16th position. If results go against them they could be in the bottom three come the bells.
Okay it’s fair to say Palace have been less effective at home this year. While they sit third in the Away Table they’re down in 10th in the Home Table. But crucially they’ve won their last two games at Selhurst Park and the vibes are good.
The Welsh club secured a valuable win on Saturday against a meek West Brom side and that could be the boost they need to get their season going again.
I’m more than happy to back Palace at odds against here. They’ve been a far better team than Swansea this season and I expected them to be odds on.
Yannick Bolasie will be a notable absentee for the Eagles but hopefully they’ll have enough. Palace have beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Southampton this season and the Swans are a step down from those clubs.
Swansea have lost six of their last seven away games this season and on this season’s form have no right to take three points here. I’m hoping they come away with zero.
Watford v Tottenham | Monday 15:00
A quick glance at the table points out that Tottenham are just six points behind leaders Leicester. These are exciting times to be a Spurs fan, but can they take it up to the next level? I’m inclined to be cynical about that and will take them on against a stoic Watford side here on Monday.
For all that Leicester have been the story of the first half of the season, Watford deserve a huge amount of plaudits for what they’ve achieved this year.
The Hertfordshire side lie seventh in the table after taking 13 points from their last five matches and on Saturday pushed Chelsea all the way by drawing 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
18 games into their campaign it’s very hard to pick out a bad result in their back catalogue. Three of their five defeats came against sides who finished in the Top 4 last season and the other two fell against sides currently in the Top 5.
There’s no doubt that Spurs will provide a stiff test on Monday afternoon and Mauricio Pochettino’s side are as short as 23/20 to win at Vicarage Road.
Maybe I’m being unfair on Tottenham but I always get the impression that when they get themselves in a strong league position they tend to fluff their lines against lesser sides.
Earlier this month they dropped five points to West Brom and Newcastle, while Burnley, Aston Villa, West Ham and Swansea are other sides who have taken points off Spurs in 2015.
I’m happy to back Watford to avoid defeat here at 5/6 with BetVictor. This is a side unbeaten in over a month and playing with lots of confidence.
Arsenal v Bournemouth | Monday 17:30
Ah Arsenal. Never change eh? Just four days after a brilliant grown-up win over Man City last Monday they collapsed to a 4-0 loss at Southampton.
It’s clear that title talk seemed to get to them and their mental fragility was once again brutally exposed on the South Coast. It’s why I refuse to believe this side will be champions.
One of the positive things about Arsenal are that they tend to respond with a strong performance after a very disappointing result and I can see that happening here.
January 2013 was the last time Arsenal lost two consecutive Premier League games within a week and that tells you all you need to know about their ability to bounce back.
Let’s look at how they’ve responded to defeats this season. A win at Palace followed their opening weekend loss to West Ham, Spurs were beaten in the League Cup after they lost to Chelsea and all of Manchester United, Swansea and Dinamo Zagreb were beaten 3-0 after Arsenal suffered defeats in their previous game.
Bournemouth have made a fool of me on a few occasions this season but I think they’ll find it tough at the Emirates. They looked tired against at home against Crystal Palace and this is a tough assignment.
Arsenal have won six of their last seven home games and for me look a fair bet to win by two or more goals on Monday afternoon. They’ve achieved that in three of their last six home league games.
Crystal Palace v Swansea – Crystal Palace to win (23/20 Boylesports)
Watford v Tottenham – Watford +0.50 Asian Handicap (5/6 BetVictor)
Arsenal v Bournemouth – Arsenal -1.5 Asian Handicap (16/11 888 Sport)
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