The penultimate day of Premier League action in 2023 sees six matches taking place on a Saturday which could easily have plenty of implications at the top of the table but certainly towards the bottom end of it.
This is a typical Saturday in the Premier League in that we begin and end with a TV game and then as always the four in the middle at the traditional time will come with updates on the usual programmes and places.
Early Kick Off
We begin at Kenilworth Road where Luton Town will be looking to make it a perfect Christmas period when they play host to a stuttering Chelsea side. Luton go into the contest off the back of two wins in the last week and should be full of confidence as they bid to come out of the bottom three in the table for a few hours at the very least. Chelsea also go into this one having won last time out but there wasn’t much that was convincing about their win over Crystal Palace in midweek. The Blues did win the reverse fixture 3-0 though. This looks like an intriguing way of getting the action started.
Two big sides headline the action in the four 3pm matches with the champions Manchester City looking to catapult themselves right into the title reckoning once again. They host a Sheffield United side who could still be reeling from letting a lead slip at home to Luton Town on Boxing Day. Aston Villa are the other team in action towards the top end of the table in the 3pm slot. They will look to pick up a first win of the festive period when they welcome struggling Burnley to Villa Park.
The other two matches on the afternoon are likely to have more impact on the bottom end of the table where we have a London derby which could be shrouded by nerves as Crystal Palace host Brentford with both sides suddenly looking over their shoulder after the recent spurt put in by Luton. The other game sees Everton, who will be in the bottom three should Luton win the early game, making the trip to Molineux to take on a Wolverhampton Wanderers side who should be buzzing after successive wins either side of Christmas.
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We round off the penultimate day of 2023 at the City Ground where Nottingham Forest will hope to give their survival chances a shot in the arm when they welcome an inconsistent Manchester United to their home. The City Ground was a fortress for Forest last season but that hasn’t been the case this time around and there is a feeling that this one is all about Manchester United. We know their away woes but they tend to be against the top sides. If they win this they will end 2023 inside the top six so they have a big incentive.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the day and we begin in the early kick off where decent odds on a +1 Asian handicap continue to insult Luton Town in their home matches. The Hatters have played nine home games and six of them have come against teams currently in the top nine of the table so they have had a tough home schedule yet they haven’t been beaten by more than a goal yet so you would be yet to lose on this line. You will have got a push against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City and would have claimed a full win against Liverpool. Chelsea are nothing like as good as any of those and head into this one off the back of four successive away defeats in the Premier League and with just three away wins all campaign. That would be enough to make me side with Luton on this line but when you factor in they played on Tuesday afternoon and Chelsea were made to work hard on Wednesday evening there is another reason to get on here. Results so far this season suggest a push is the worst you’ll do and that is probably heightened with Chelsea only likely to want to win after a tough six days rather than pile on the score.
The other bet I like is over 3 goals in the match between Aston Villa and Burnley. Aston Villa have been nearly flawless at home this season with their one blemish coming in that draw with Sheffield United eight days ago. The Blades ground out a 1-1 draw with a low block which had them camped inside their penalty box for much of the game but we know that Burnley won’t be employing those tactics here. That isn’t the Vincent Kompany way so Villa should be much more dangerous and comfortable in this one. I expect them to bag a few goals here but they are beginning to look more and more vulnerable at the back and with Pau Torres will expected to miss out I don’t see that changing. Burnley have been to Arsenal and Brighton and scored already this season and have the pace to get behind that high Villa line. The Luton resurgence will probably force the Burnley hands in the coming weeks so I fancy the Clarets might have even more of a go here which only plays into the potential for goals.
Back Luton Town (+1AH) to beat Chelsea for a 3/10 stake at 2.03 with Bet365
Back Aston Villa vs Burnley – Over 3 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.82 with Bet365