Sunday's EFL Cup Final means we have two fewer fixtures, as Tottenham, Luton, Liverpool and Chelsea all blank...

But that doesn't mean there will be a lack of Premier League betting in Round 26, with some fantastic sides still on show.

Crystal Palace vs Burnley

Potentially, this is one of the most interesting matchups, with Oliver Glasner set to take charge for the first time. The Eagles will look for a bounce and three points to ease their relegation fears. 

The appointment of the Austrian coach should please Palace fans, who had become disillusioned with Roy Hodgson and his tactics following a run of only two league wins in thirteen, and only one in 2024, against bottom side Sheffield United.

Glasner arrives with much promise and a CV that shows a great history of developing smaller teams into sides capable of punching above their weight.

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We could see a highly attacking and physically demanding setup, possibly in a 3-4-3 system, as we did at Goodison Park on Monday night. A footballing philosophy that Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze will relish once they are fully fit.

It will be interesting to see how the incoming manager can balance his ideologies whilst engineering a move away from the relegation zone. One area that Glasner can focus on initially is the Eagles' poor set-piece record, having scored just once in 2023-24 from the dead ball.

Everything points to a positive performance for Palace in front of their supporters.

Burnley are winless in their last eight games in all competitions, conceding, on average, 2.5 goals per game during this torrid run, and so, Palace, despite their issues, will be optimistic of a win, with a 51 per cent chance of victory. 

Arsenal vs Newcastle United

In the league, Arsenal have been unstoppable this year, blowing away all before them, but on Wednesday night, the Gunners were humbled in Portugal, and Saturday will be a real test of their title credentials. 

For Newcastle, injury woes continue to hamper the side, particularly up front, with Callum Wilson sidelined following surgery and Alexander Isak dogged by a problematic groin complaint. 

This has contributed to the Magpies' inconsistencies, with their defensive issues being another area of concern. Since Gameweek 20, no team has fared worse, by some margin, with Newcastle sitting 20th for xG Conceded (17.9) and xClean Sheets (0.7) and seventeenth for Goals Against (17).

This is relegation-level output for a team supposedly pushing for a European spot. Away from home, the Magpies can boast only three wins from twelve, while the Gunners have only tasted defeat once at The Emirates, winning 75 per cent of their matches.

In recent times, this fixture has been marked by strong defensive performances, and the last time we saw both teams score was in 2018, some twelve games ago. So, an Arsenal clean sheet, at 42 per cent, could be a good shout, as Newcastle have failed to score in their last eight visits.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sheffield United

Wolves bounced back from their surprise loss at Molineux to Brentford in Gameweek 25 with a fantastic win against Tottenham. But while everyone expects a betting Home Banker this weekend, Sheffield United will be no pushovers as they showed at Kenilworth Road two weeks ago. 

We may only be two-thirds through the season, but Wolves have already scored more (39) than in any of the previous three campaigns, and this weekend, that goalscoring trend could continue.

The Blades will be without Mason Holgate, Max Lowe and Rhys Norrington-Davies, while the side has conceded five goals in three of their last five matches. 

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For Wolves, they have 16 goals in seven games, and although Matheus Cunha will miss out through injury, leading scorer Hee-Chan Hwang is back after his involvement in the Asian Cup. But the South Korean isn't Wolves' only threat, as Pedro Neto is beginning to show signs of his pre-injury form.

Both players have similar attacking outputs: Shots in the Box per 90 (2.11 v 2.17) and Shots on Target per 90 (0.76 v 0.75), but Hwang is the deadlier.

An early goal could see a Sheffield collapse, but the longer the game goes on, the more it will suit the visitors as frustration begins to creep in. Wolves have the highest likelihood of a win this weekend.

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest 

Recent form indicates that where once this game may have been considered a free pass, the outcome now is far from guaranteed.

Villa won 15 consecutive games at home earlier in the season, a run that carried over from 2022-23, but after beating Arsenal one-nil, the side has only won one of four, Burnley (3-2), and that includes back-to-back losses to Newcastle and Manchester United. 

Injuries have disrupted the team and their backline, with Tyrone Mings, Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa all out, plus defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara sidelined for the season.

However, the Villains' win at Craven Cottage provided a much-welcomed confidence boost, their third in eight matches, with Ollie Watkins firing on all cylinders.

There has been a significant downturn in form for a side that was flying high during the first half of the season, with Villa reverting to a more sustainable output level. And this can go some way to explaining their dip in results.

Through game weeks 1-17, Villa were the second-highest-scoring team in the league (37), averaging 2.18 goals per game, a six-goal overperformance on xG. But this has fallen dramatically since Christmas to 1.68, with the side matching their metrics (15 goals from an xG of 15.31). 

Nuno Espirito Santo has overseen some improvements. Undoubtedly, Forest are much tougher to play against, giving up fewer chances.

The side are 2nd best for xG Conceded (4.5), sine week 21, although their actual Goals Against column is double that (9), showing promise and optimism that the club is moving in the right direction. 

This could be much closer game than many think, and I wouldn't rule out a surprise draw for Forest.


*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Ben Dinnery is the founder of Premier Injuries, a website used to track and record injury data for the British Premier League.

Described by The Telegraph as the “country’s leading data injury analyst,” Ben provides statistic insight and data to a host of broadsheet outlets and some of the world’s leading media organisations.

A regular contributor on talkSPORT radio and BBC Radio 5 Live, Ben’s data is published globally through his work with Sky Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN plus a host of other leading media broadcasters.