As we head into the home stretch with 7 odd games left in the season there’s sure to be some twists and turns yet. Arsenal for one have certainly dropped off lately after their draw against Swansea mid-week means they’ve now only won 2 of their past 7 games and are becoming dangerously close of dropping out of the top 4 to a fast finishing Everton or Tottenham side. So with Arsenal seemingly stopping out of the title race given they also have a mounting injury list it seems it’s down to Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool with Chelsea looking like they have the easiest run home of the three and even more so if Manchester City don’t get a favourable result against Arsenal this weekend.
Best looking bets
Southampton versus Newcastle – Over 2.5 goals at $1.87
Liverpool versus Tottenham – Over 2.5 goals at $1.51
Odds from Betfair as at 29/3/2014
Manchester United ($1.46) versus Aston Villa ($8.8), Draw ($4.9)
It was another disappointing performance by both the players and the manager tactically for Manchester United against Manchester City during the week in their 3-0 loss at home. Whilst Villa is a step down in quality they’ll still need to perform well if they want another 3 points this weekend as Villa have some dangerous players. Both sides have little to play for in the remainder of this season with United really just trying to build towards next season and Villa looking to play out the season on a positive note as they look safe from relegation. United will still be without RVP this weekend but they will welcome back Vidic from suspension which should help shore up their defence that will need to deal with Benteke this weekend. Villa have been a fairly unpredictable side this season picking up wins over Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea so they could well put in another similar result here against a struggling United. It’s a difficult game to predict in the way of what the end result will be but there should be a few goals either way with the game likely to be pretty open. Both sides have nothing to lose with Villa arguably having more to play for in their hopes of a top 10 finish.
Predicted result: Manchester United 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.99
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
Crystal Palace ($10) versus Chelsea ($1.43), Draw ($4.7)
Crystal Palace take on Chelsea this weekend in what should be a tough game for both sides. Palace are for the most part quite difficult to break down defensively and even more so at home where they’ve only conceded 18 times in their home games this season. Even over their last 5 home games they have only conceded 4 times to give them 3 wins and 2 losses. But whilst they have been defensively strong under Pulis they have been a bit lacking in goals with just the one goal from their past 5 games which was also a penalty. It is however a great foundation for them to build upon if they survive for next season. Chelsea though are coming off a big win over Arsenal last weekend where they steamrolled their way to a 6-0 win. Whilst Chelsea should get the win this weekend it’ll be interesting to see how well Palace can hold them off. It’s hard to go past a Chelsea win here but I’d expect a pretty strong showing from Palace here as well.
Predicted result: Chelsea 2-0
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.43
Best Bet Confidence: 95%
Southampton ($1.74) versus Newcastle ($5.7), Draw ($3.85)
Both sides are coming off losses heading into this weekend’s meeting although Newcastle look to have it a lot tougher given they also played during the week in a tough 3-0 loss to Everton at home. Southampton have the luxury of a few more days rest and playing at home so they are in a strong position here to get the 3 points. A win will also push them ahead of Newcastle by 2 points as they currently sit in 9th 1 point behind. Southampton were excellent in the first half against Tottenham to go 2-0 up inside the first half hour before they succumbed the immense pressure by Spurs in the second half. They should be more comfortable at home though against Newcastle where they’ve lost once in their past 5 home games. Newcastle also suffered another injury blow with Tim Krul out which is not ideal for Newcastle when they need to nullify an attacking trio of Lambert, Lallana, and Rodriguez. Between them they have 30 league goals of their teams 45 for the season. Look for a strong Southampton win here.
Predicted result: Southampton 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.87
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
Stoke ($2.22) versus Hull ($3.9), Draw ($3.3)
Stoke head into their match against Hull off some strong results. 3 wins and a draw in their 4 including that win over Arsenal, a strong 3-1 win over West Ham, and a dominant win over Aston Villa away. Hull on the other hand have only had the one win over their past 4 games and could find it difficult this weekend playing away at Stoke with Hull’s away record not doing them any favours either. Adding to their difficulties this weekend will be Alan McGregor’s red card mid-week against West Ham. This should be a pretty tight tussle but given that this is a home game for Stoke and they are the form side it’s hard to go past a home win here.
Predicted result: Stoke 2-0
Best Bet: Stoke to win at $2.22
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
Swansea ($1.75) versus Norwich ($5.7), Draw ($3.9)
Swansea had a great result mid-week against Arsenal where they led for the majority of the game before 2 quick fire goals put them behind and then for an own goal from Flamini to somewhat deservedly give them a draw. They take on Norwich this weekend who had a solid win over Sunderland at home last week however they face a bit of a tougher task in Swansea. Their main task will be stopping Bony who has had a great season with 20 goals in all competitions with the injury plagued Michu next best on 6 in all comps. Norwich will have a slight advantage with some extra time off given they didn’t play during the week but Norwich don’t travel well so that evens it up in that regard. Norwich only have the 2 wins and 2 draws away from home from 15 games so far so I think they’ll find it tough to get a result here. They also don’t score much away from home with 11 goals from 15 games whilst also conceding 36. With 5 losses on the road in a row this could well be 6 in a row for Norwich.
Predicted result: Swansea 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.98
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
West Brom ($1.84) versus Cardiff ($4.9), Draw ($3.85)
Relegation battlers West Brom take on fellow battlers Cardiff this weekend in a tough looking encounter for both sides. It’ll be interesting to see the approach both sides take given their respective relegation threats. West Brom are in a slightly better position in 16th but sitting only 3 points off the drop, their position could change pretty dramatically in a few games. Cardiff have had some tough opponents the past few games losing to Everton and Liverpool but they at least took it to them. They kept the first half scoreless against Everton and kept it level with them in the second half with 20 minutes to go only for a late winner from Everton to snatch victory. The Liverpool game was a little different score-line wise losing 6-3 but they really had a crack when they went ahead after 9 minutes with Liverpool equalising on 16 minutes and then took the lead again after 25. I think that performance will give them a little bit more confidence against a title contender however they still face a tough task against another side that has something to play for as well. For me it comes down to the fact that Cardiff just don’t travel well at all with only 1 win and 3 draws away whilst for all West Broms problems they at least have been competitive at home losing only 5 games. They’ve also been solid defensively at home conceding 19 from 15 games and with Cardiff struggling to score away from home with just the 8 goals (3 of which came last weekend against Liverpool) it looks to me that this is West Brom’s to lose.
Predicted result: West Brom 2-0
Best Bet: West Brom to win at $1.84
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
Arsenal ($3.7) versus Manchester City ($2.18), Draw ($3.65)
The biggest match of the weekend takes place in London with Manchester City taking on Arsenal. Arsenal have now dropped to 4th spot on the table and their growing injury list and tough fixtures are putting them in danger of dropping out of the top 4 from Everton and possibly Spurs. They have a pretty average record over their past 7 games now with just the 2 wins along with 3 losses and 2 draws. With Everton away to follow this one they certainly could do with an upset win here. Their 2-2 draw with Swansea at home during the week wouldn’t have done them too many favours mentally either as they looked like they had snuck a home win after being behind for the majority of the game. With an injury list consisting of Walcott, Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey, and Koscielny it’s certainly a tough ask to take on a Manchester City side that are starting to hit their stride again after an impressive win against Manchester United during the week. Although their main striker Aguero will miss with injury again, they’ll have plenty of attacking options to cover his absence as usual. Toure has 5 goals in his past 4 games whilst Dzeko scored a brace against Manchester United during the week so he should keep his place up front. We should get another solid performance from City here as they push for that title.
Predicted result: Manchester City 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.78
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
Fulham ($5.1) versus Everton ($1.83), Draw ($3.8)
Rooted to the bottom of the table Fulham need wins and need them quickly. They face a tough test against Everton at home this weekend but I suppose there is always a bit of an unknown about relegation battling sides. The problem for them though is that Everton are starting to believe in a top 4 spot especially given that Arsenal are stumbling at the moment. A win for Everton this week puts them 3 points behind Arsenal if Arsenal lose to City and they’ll also have a game in hand. Given that they meet next week if Everton get a win there they’ll be level with Arsenal and still with a game in hand. Although I’d love to see my Tottenham side in that position it’d be fantastic to see Everton top off their season with a shot in the Champion’s league. Everton still have a couple of injury concerns at the back with Jagielka just starting to near a return after injury so we should see young Stones in the backline again. There’s no doubt Fulham will give it everything here as they really have nothing to lose with wins a must but it’s hard to see Everton not putting in a solid performance with Lukaku leading the line. Fulham did get their 4th home win of the season in their last home meeting with Newcastle but Everton are a bit of a step up in competition and coming off a 5-0 thumping to Manchester City won’t help the cause too much either.
Predicted result: Everton 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.75
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
Liverpool ($1.49) versus Tottenham ($7.2), Draw ($5.1)
This will either be a tight tussle or another performance close to perfection for Liverpool. 7 wins in a row clearly makes Liverpool favourites here and with a title no far from their grasp they’ll certainly be sky high on confidence. They’ve also continued their heavy scoring with 32 goals over their past 10 and with Tottenham prone to being scored against heavily by the top sides we could be in for another potential blowout here. Tottenham had a good win at home over Southampton last weekend and whilst they’ll have slightly fresher legs having not played during the week they will still be the underdogs here. Tottenham’s issue is they haven’t been able to compete with the top 4. They’ve lost twice to Arsenal, thumped twice by Manchester City, and were thumped by Chelsea away with their only positive result being a 1-1 draw at home against Chelsea earlier on in the season. With Liverpool’s title chances growing and Tottenham’s hopes of a top 4 finish fading it’s hard to see Tottenham being able to overcome and stop a rampant frontline of Suarez and Sturridge to get a shock win.
Predicted result: Liverpool 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.51
Best Bet Confidence: 90%
Sunderland ($2.28) versus West Ham ($3.7), Draw ($3.35)
The final game of the week takes place between Sunderland and West Ham in a game that Sunderland has a lot more to play for. Currently sitting in 18th, Sunderland are once again in danger of relegation after 4 losses in their past 5 games. The positive of course is that they have some games in hand but they are running out of time to get the results on the board. They also have an incredibly tough run home with games against Tottenham, Everton, Manchester City, and Chelsea to follow this meeting with West Ham so a win here is crucial. West Ham on the other hand had a much needed win over Hull during the week after 3 straight losses and will be hoping to back that up against Sunderland here. I think this will be a pretty tight game with the advantage with Sunderland given they have more to play for and for also putting in a solid performance against Liverpool during the week where they only lost 2-1. West Ham don’t particularly travel well either and I think Sunderland will capitalise on that.
Predicted result: Sunderland 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.79
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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