Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, left, fights for the ball with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates stadium in London, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)
- Only five fixtures survive after coronavirus rips through England’s top-flight program
- Villa looks for more improvement under coach Gerrard while Leeds must recover from 7-0 hammering
- See all the odds, best bets and predictions for England Premier League Matchday 18
A widespread outbreak of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus has played havoc with English football’s weekend Premier League Matchday 18 schedule.
Only two EPL fixtures will now take place on Saturday with three more scheduled for Sunday – more further outbreaks permitting.
Premier League Matchday 18 Odds
|Aston Villa vs Burnley||-140||+275||+425|
|Leeds Utd vs Arsenal||+300||+280||-110|
|Wolves vs Chelsea||+550||+320||-185|
|Newcastle Utd. vs Manchester City||+1400||+700||-575|
|Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool||+450||+350||-170|
Odds as of December 17 at DraftKings
Aston Villa vs Burnley Prediction
Aston Villa will aim to continue its climb up the EPL table under new boss Steven Gerrard when it hosts Burnley on Saturday in Premier League Matchday 18.
Gerrard has overseen four victories in six matches since he took charge at Villa Park on November 11.
Meanwhile, Burnley is stuck in the relegation zone after just one win all season – and none away from home.
Previously manager at Glasgow Rangers, Gerrard’s only defeats at Villa have come against the current top two – leaders Manchester City and second-placed Liverpool.
Therefore, it is easy to see why DraftKings makes the 10th-placed outfit a wide favorite for a home win at -140. The kick-off is at 10:00 am ET.
Burnley, moreover, is rated at +425 with the draw at +275.
Burnley has drawn five of its last seven league games.
Undeniably, 18th-placed Burnley can be a tough nut to crack defensively and is very well-organized and gritty.
Furthermore, it has drawn five of its last seven league games.
So the draw could be a good prospect here.
With Covid-19 disrupting the Premier League schedule, when could postponed fixtures be played?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 17, 2021
But we’re searching for value here and Villa is still surfing a feel-good move created by the arrival of Gerrard.
Therefore, the team prop offer of +205 for Villa to win by 2+ goals is also attractive.
Significantly, Burnley has failed to score in its last three games – with a 0-0 stalemate the result the last time out against West Ham last weekend.
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) December 16, 2021
There was a 3-2 win at home for Burnley the last time these teams met in January.
Villa’s last game produced a 2-0 win at bottom club Norwich City last Tuesday. And in conclusion, the prop offer for them to win by two goals or more looks highly feasible this weekend.
Pick: Aston Villa to win by 2+ goals (+205)
Leeds United vs Arsenal Prediction
Battered Leeds must recover from a 7-0 midweek thrashing by Manchester City when it welcomes fourth-placed Arsenal later on Saturday in Premier League Matchday 18.
The Gunners, meanwhile, have won their last two matches to signal their continued improvement from a rocky start to the season.
Accordingly, DraftKings makes Arsenal a big favorite for an away win at -110.
Despite the shock of the defeat by City, however, it has not been all gloom for Leeds which is in 16th place.
The defeat against City was preceded by a 3-2 setback at Chelsea – but Leeds had been unbeaten in three games before that, although two of those games were drawn.
Arsenal has lost its last three away games
Even so, Leeds is priced as a big underdog at +300. The draw is at +280 with kick-off at 12:30 pm ET.
Markedly, however, Arsenal has lost its last three away games.
So Leeds’s determination to recover from the mauling by City – coupled with Arsenal’s rocky form on the road – makes the draw the best prospect here.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 17, 2021
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds has been beaten only twice at Elland Road. But it has won only two home games with four draws.
There was an impressive 2-0 defeat of West Ham for Arsenal last Wednesday.
It will again be without striker and former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been dropped for disciplinary reasons.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not available for Arsenal’s Premier League match at Leeds on Saturday, says manager Mikel Arteta.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 17, 2021
Furthermore, Arsenal won 2-0 the last times these sides met in October in the EFL Cup.
To sum up, however, a draw looks most likely this time around.
Pick: Draw +280
Wolves vs Chelsea Prediction
Wolves has lost two of its last three games. However, that is deceptive because the setbacks were against the top two – Manchester City and Liverpool.
Third-placed Chelsea, meanwhile, has stuttered a little lately with only two wins in the last five league fixtures.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 15, 2021
Furthermore, eighth-placed Wolves took four points from Chelsea last season and has won two of its last three home league meetings with the Londoners.
However, with kick-off at 9:00 am ET on Sunday in Premier League Matchday 18, DraftKings makes Wolves a wide outsider at +550.
Chelsea is rated at -180 with the draw at +320.
At that price, the draw is attractive with Wolves steadily becoming more solid, if unspectacular, under coach Bruno Lage
Only 12 goals have been scored at Wolves’ Molineux home this season so it could, furthermore, be a dour draw unless Chelsea rediscovers its powerful early season form.
Chelsea was held to a 1-1 draw by Everton last Thursday.
Wolves ended a four-game winless run with a 1-0 win at Brighton last weekend.
This time out, however, a draw looks like the best value on offer at this price.
Pick: Draw +320