Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, center, gives instructions from the side line during the English Premier League soccer match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at the Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, England, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Naomi Baker/Pool Photo via AP)
- Matchday 26 of the 2020-21 EPL season takes place this weekend
- Leicester versus Arsenal and Chelsea versus Manchester United are two of the headline fixtures
- Get the latest odds, betting previews and picks below
EPL Matchday 26 of the Premier League season is spread across Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Manchester City and West Ham kick off the weekend’s action on Saturday, followed by a relegation six-pointer between West Brom and Brighton. There are significant matches in the top four race on Sunday as Leicester host Arsenal and Manchester United travel to the capital to face Thomas Tuchel’s resurgent Chelsea.
Manchester City might have taken decisive charge of the title race, but there’s plenty to play for this weekend, with key matches in the relegation battle and the contest for European places.
EPL Matchday 26 Odds
|Manchester City vs West Ham||-440||+550||+1100|
|West Brom vs Brighton||+310||+240||-105|
|Leeds vs Aston Villa||+125||+260||+210|
|Newcastle vs Wolves||+260||+220||+115|
|Leicester vs Arsenal||+150||+230||+185|
|Crystal Palace vs Fulham||+240||+210||+125|
|Tottenham vs Burnley||-195||+300||+600|
|Chelsea vs Manchester United||+125||+230||+230|
|Sheffield United vs Liverpool||+680||+380||-250|
|Everton vs Southampton||+115||+250||+230|
Odds taken on Feb 25 from FanDuel
Leeds vs Aston Villa
Just one point separates Leeds and Aston Villa in mid-table. One win in four matches represents a real setback for Villa, who have fallen off the top four pace after their loss to Leicester last time out. Leeds have been just as inconsistent – Marcelo Bielsa’s team have three wins and three defeats from their last six. It’s been a great season for the newly-promoted side, but results have been very up and down.
Leeds remains the league’s entertainers, but a considerable injury crisis has made life difficult for Bielsa. Rodrigo and Kalvin Phillips are doubts for this one, while Robin Koch remains sidelined. Dean Smith is likely without Jack Grealish once again, which might mean Ross Barkley gets another start. Villa are a far less scary opponent without Grealish – he is in the mix for Player of the Year, and all of their attacking play runs through him.
These are the fifth and sixth-ranked teams in expected goals this season, behind only Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs. Villa’s attack is not as dangerous without Grealish, but there is talent and mobility to take advantage of the space Leeds leaves open.
Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United were made for each other 💛 pic.twitter.com/VurBjFHmXx
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) February 23, 2021
Over 2.5 goals has hit in 63-percent of Leeds’ matches this season. It’s up at 57-percent for Villa. Even at a short price, that’s the obvious bet here.
Pick: Over 2.5 goals (-170)
Leicester vs Arsenal
Only goal difference is keeping Leicester out of second place ahead of EPL Matchday 26. Brendan Rodgers’ side have three wins in four, including impressing victories over Aston Villa and Liverpool in their last two. With Manchester United heading to Stamford Bridge this weekend, this is a perfect opportunity for the Foxes to strengthen their top-four case against an out-of-form Arsenal side.
The Gunners have lost more than they’ve won in the league this season. The pressure is once again mounting on Mikel Arteta after three losses in four Premier League outings. They have failed to score in three of their last five matches, too. Arsenal’s advanced numbers suggest what the league table does – they are no better than a mid-table side.
Brendan Rodgers on Jack Grealish: “I first really came across Jack when he played in the semi-final against my Liverpool team & he was sensational in that game. I thought then that the boy was a big talent. Now in his mid-20s, he’s a real special player. He has everything.” #AVFC pic.twitter.com/nqxcS46FgS
— Aston Villa News (@AVFC_News) February 19, 2021
A Jamie Vardy goal gave Leicester a 1-0 win at the Emirates earlier this season. Leicester have conceded only twice in their last six in all competitions. Another win to nil is a good bet here.
Pick: Leicester to win (+150)
2021 English Premier League Odds Tracker
Chelsea vs Manchester United
Chelsea are full of confidence right now entering EPL Matchday 26. The Thomas Tuchel era might not have provided thrilling football, but the Blues are picking up results. They are yet to lose since Tuchel took over, and a win over Atletico Madrid in midweek was arguably Chelsea’s best performance of the season to date. Chelsea welcomes a Manchester United side with two wins in six league matches.
2 – Thomas Tuchel has conceded just two goals in eight games as Chelsea manager; in the club’s history, the only coach to concede fewer goals after eight games in charge is José Mourinho (one). Masterclass. pic.twitter.com/fkvHRIwEfT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2021
Having looked to have played themselves into the title race, United have dropped off quickly. The win over Newcastle was much needed last time out, but the shaky performances against West Brom and Everton loom large for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Defeat on Sunday would see United fall to just three points ahead of their hosts.
Chelsea have controlled matches under Tuchel. Their 2.12 expected goals against is the lowest in the Premier League in February. A low-scoring home victory is the best bet here – Chelsea are decent value straight up, though the odds can be improved to +200 with a small parlay.
Pick: Chelsea to win and under 3.5 total goals (+200)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.