The transfer window has closed. The chaos is over. Now it’s time to forget all about player valuations and spending budgets, and get back to what really matters. This weekend, an ailing Arsenal face a rejuvenated Everton, and the upcoming match between Liverpool and Tottenham could ultimately determine the final member of the EPL’s top four.
BetWay has the odds and we’ve got the picks. [Is BetWay the right sportsbook for you? Learn the advantages and drawbacks of the site.]
Arsenal (-334) vs Everton (+900), Draw (+450)
Friday, Feb. 3, The Emirates Stadium
Arsenal (12-6-7, 42 points) have little to play for in the Premier League. They’re currently in sixth place, eight points short of the top four, and their only realistic path to the Champions League is through the Europa League. At this point, their aim is just to finish the season ahead of rival Tottenham, who are currently six points clear of the Gunners. Everton (8-7-10, 31 points) don’t have much to play for, either. They’re comfortably mid-table, with no chance of qualifying for a European cup but also relatively safe from relegation.
The Gunners suffered yet another humiliating defeat on Tuesday, losing 1-0 to Swansea. It was a fitting end to a horrible month. They began the New Year with a loss to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, followed by a 2-1 defeat against Bournemouth, and now they’ve ended January with a loss against a relegation-threatened side.
The transfer window was not kind to the team. Arsene Wenger dubbed it the most “destabilizing” of his career. As expected, Alexis Sanchez left for greener pastures (Manchester United) and Olivier Giroud signed with Chelsea for a reported £18 million. In their place, Arsenal brought in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a club-record fee of £56 million and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a swap (in exchange for Sanchez).
Everton just ended a seven-game winless streak on Wednesday with a 2-1 win over Leicester City. Theo Walcott, who recently left Arsenal for £20 million, netted a brace for the Toffees in the much-needed win. He’ll be the man to watch on Saturday when he takes on his former club. The long-time Arsenal player seems to have settled in nicely at Everton, joined by Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun, who might finally fill the hole left by Romelu Lukaku up front.
It’s a shaky Arsenal against a revitalized Everton. The addition of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan may be beneficial in the long run to the Gunners, but in the immediate future, the shake up could be — to use Wenger’s word — destabilizing. Picking against the Gunners when they’re the overwhelming favorite is a decent strategy at the moment. Put a small bet on Everton at +900.
Pick: Everton (+900)
Liverpool (+105) vs Tottenham (+230), Draw (+280)
Sunday, Feb. 4, Anfield
This is the must-watch game of the week. Liverpool (14-8-3, 50 points) host Tottenham (14-6-4, 48 points) with both sides fighting to end the season in the top four and earn a spot in the 2018-19 Champions League.
Spurs are currently on a seven-game unbeaten streak and recently picked up a 2-0 victory over Manchester United. Christian Eriksen opened the scoring just eleven seconds in, and an unfortunate own-goal by Phil Jones sealed the win. It was a particularly poor showing by Man U, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Tottenham’s performance. When Mauricio Pochettino’s men are at their best, they’re capable of making great teams appear mediocre.
Liverpool have won five of their last six league games and recently ended Manchester City’s hopes of an unbeaten season, edging out a 4-3 win over the league leaders. At their best, they are capable of beating any club in Europe. At their worst, they can fall to Championship teams. That’s been the story of Liverpool for some time. They’ll exceed expectations against a top club only to lose to a bottom-table side the week after.
Like with the last transfer window, Tottenham remained pretty inactive. Their only signing was PSG midfielder Lucas Moura, whom they picked up for a cool £25 million. Meanwhile, Liverpool let go of Philippe Coutinho for £106 million, the chart-topper this January, and picked up Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for £75 million, making him the most expensive defender of all time.
Both clubs are probably better off after the January window. Spurs strengthened their midfield, and Liverpool brought in the pieces to alleviate their defensive woes. The absence of Coutinho will be felt, but Liverpool already have plenty of options when moving forward.
While handing Liverpool their first league defeat at Anfield is a tall order, Spurs are in great form. When the two sides last met at Wembley, Tottenham defeated them handily, 4-1. Spurs at +230 is good value.
Pick: Tottenham (+230)