English Premier League Game Week 35 Preview

English Premier League - Football

Welcome to the start of the final 4 games in the 2013/14 EPL season. Things are starting to become a little clearer in the title race after a massive win for Liverpool over title rivals Manchester City last weekend in what was probably the match of the season. It gives Liverpool a massive opportunity to take out the title where they need just a draw against Chelsea and 3 wins in their fixtures against Norwich, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle to take it out. It seems fairly straight forward on paper, but when you see results during the week with Everton falling to Crystal Palace at home and Manchester City struggling to get back in their contest with a draw against Sunderland, it’s never really as easy as it seems. Norwich and Crystal Palace away represent tricky encounters and perhaps more so with Crystal Palace given they’ve been in such good fighting form under Pulis. For now though it starts with this weekend all 3 title contenders looking for a win. Let the games begin!

Best looking bets

Tottenham versus Fulham – Over 2.5 goals at $1.62

Chelsea versus Sunderland – Chelsea half time/Full time at $1.69

Good Value

Norwich versus Liverpool – Liverpool half time/Full time at $2.04

Odds from Betfair as at 19/4/2014

Tottenham ($1.54) versus Fulham ($6.8), Draw ($4.8)

Tottenham take on Fulham in the first game of the weekend in what should be an interesting contest. Fulham are on the chase for points in a bid for survival and have done well winning their past 2 games. They have a tricky run home with Hull, Stoke, and Crystal Palace but they look to be in a fairly healthy position 2 points behind Norwich who have a much tougher run home. Tottenham are coming off a 3-3 draw where again they conceded early which has cost them many times this season. They did well to come back and snatch a draw but they can’t afford to concede early here as it could give Fulham the sniff they need. Spurs will be missing a few key players again in the form of Soldado, Vertonghen, and Walker among others but they will still have a pretty strong team on the pitch. It’s clear that Sherwood is taking an attacking approach to these final games of the season and with Fulham likely to be taking a similar approach given they need something from this one, we should be treated to a pretty open game. One blow for Fulham here will be Holtby’s ineligibility to play against his parent club as he’s been a regular performer for Fulham in the second half of the season and it’ll be interesting to see how that could affect the side.

Predicted result: Tottenham 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.62

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Aston Villa ($3.45) versus Southampton ($2.34), Draw ($3.45)

Villa are getting dangerously close to the drop zone on 34 points and although they have the luxury of a game in hand they need to get points from their next 3 as they face Manchester City and Tottenham in their last 2. Add to this that they have lost their last 4 games heading into a clash with a Southampton and they could be in for a long day. On the flipside though, Southampton have lost 3 of their last 4 which puts themselves in a bit of a need for a win with the loss to Cardiff last week something they’ll want to bounce back from quickly. I guess it really goes to show that at this stage of the season the clubs fighting for survival are much more determined than those that have just fallen out of reach of a potential spot for European football. I think this could give the advantage to Villa here and whilst I don’t think they’ll win, I do think they’ll push Southampton here to get a draw.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.81

Best Bet Confidence: 70%

Cardiff ($2.58) versus Stoke ($3), Draw ($3.45)

Cardiff had a massive win last week when they beat Southampton away and it puts their survival fight back on track on 29 points and just 3 points off safety at the moment. If they can get another positive result here against Stoke then they’ll surely begin to believe a little more though with a tough encounter at Sunderland to follow and a final game away at Chelsea, they could still find themselves in trouble. Stoke are well and truly safe and whilst they have little left to play for they’ll perhaps turn their motivation to achieve their highest ever points tally needing just another 5 more points from their final 4 games to do so. It’ll be a fantastic achievement for them under the much maligned Mark Hughes. To do so they’ll need to buck the trend in terms of their away record where they have lost 11 and drawn 4 of 17 which I’m sure is something Hughes will be looking to improve upon heading into next season. There’s something to like about Cardiff getting a win here and really taking the relegation fight to another level.

Predicted result: Cardiff 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.84

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Newcastle ($2.76) versus Swansea ($2.78), Draw ($3.5)

Newcastle take on Swansea this week in a game where Swansea will have the advantage of motivation given they are currently 1 point off the drop so they have a little more to play for here. Newcastle are well and truly safe on 46 points and their recent form suggests they want the season over quickly. 4 losses on the trot conceding 12 goals in the process without scoring themselves is a pretty poor return. Their dip in performance could be attributed to their extensive injury list to key players though with Sissoko and Debuchy to miss whilst they’ve also been without Santon, Steven Taylor and Remy in recent weeks. Remy could return this week in what would be a big boost and he’ll be sure to play well especially given he’s looking to get to another big club. Looking at Swansea, they haven’t had the best run of results either. They have lost their last 2 games and have won only once in their past 8. Chico is set to miss through suspension whilst Michu could also miss through injury which will be a blow. It’s an interesting fixture here but I can see a tight win for Newcastle if Remy returns.

Predicted result: Newcastle 2-1 (assuming Remy returns)

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.94

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

West Ham ($2.3) versus Crystal Palace ($3.65), Draw ($3.35)

Another London derby takes place with West Ham hosting Crystal Palace. Palace are in excellent form which has propelled them above West Ham in the ladder with West Ham losing their past 2 games. They say the safe points tally for survival is 40 which Palace have done extremely well to achieve and with 4 games to do. When you consider they were on 4 points after 11 games, they’ve had a massive turnaround to get to where they are now and they deserve to play in the top flight next season. West Ham are coming off two tough matches against Liverpool and Arsenal and whilst they aren’t at the 40 point barrier just yet, they won’t be relegated with a number of teams further down looking far more likely. Either way they’ll want a win here so they can feel a bit more secure about their position. I don’t think they’ll have it that easy though as Palace will push for a result here to as they look to continue their strong form. They’ll be on a high after last week’s huge win over Everton away to be only the second team to win at Goodison so far this season. I think we’ll have a pretty even contest here in what should end as a draw.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.78

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Chelsea ($1.22) versus Sunderland ($18), Draw ($7.8)

Massive game for both sides here in what is a crucial match for the title race and for the relegation battle. Sunderland had a massive result against Manchester City last time out and were unlucky not to get a win with Mannone desperately fumbling the ball over the line in the dying minutes. This will be a game Chelsea will want to win even more so to capitalise on City’s poor result and to keep in touch with Liverpool. Sunderland are still rooted to the bottom of the table on 26 points with a game in hand and will leave nothing to chance as they push for another season in the top flight. I don’t think they’ll get the chances this week as they did against City as Chelsea are the best defensive side in the league conceding just the 24 goals with the next best Everton and Manchester city on 34. They also still haven’t lost at home with 15 wins and 2 draws and despite Sunderland’s fight Chelsea should get another win as preparation for their Liverpool encounter next weekend.

Predicted result: Chelsea 3-1

Best Bet: Chelsea Half Time/Full Time at $1.69

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Norwich ($8.6) versus Liverpool ($1.41), Draw ($5.5)

The title leaders take on Norwich this weekend and they can’t start faltering here. Liverpool may say they are taking it one game at a time but I have no doubt some of the players will be looking ahead to Chelsea next week and their last two games. I don’t know if they’ll feel the pressure to win in their final games but one thing is for sure they have massive belief now. Liverpool are yet to lose in 2014 with 13 wins and 2 draws which is a run that has propelled them to the top of the table. They’ll fancy themselves against Norwich too with the past 4 games producing 21 goals of which 18 go Liverpool’s way with Suarez scoring 11 of them. Norwich have plenty to play for as well as they are just 2 points off the drop with a fast finishing Fulham on their heels. The only thing they really have going for them this week is home advantage. Liverpool at times were patchy away from Anfield but their 2014 results speak for themselves. With Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal to follow, Norwich have a massive task on their hands to survive and whilst they’re capable of an upset I highly doubt it’ll be against Liverpool.

Predicted result: Liverpool 3-0

Best Bet: Liverpool Half Time/Full Time at $2.04

Best Bet Confidence: 85%

Hull ($4.9) versus Arsenal ($1.9), Draw ($3.65)

Arsenal need to win to maintain their 4th spot on the table with Everton faltering against Crystal Palace earlier in the week. It’s a tough test here for Arsenal as Hull have been pretty strong at home this season and won’t be brushed aside easily. Hull have won their last 2 at home though this will be the tougher matchup thus far of the 3. Arsenal have been in such patchy form since February it’s difficult to see if they’ve got over that as they head into this match. Their past 10 games have produced just the 3 wins with the massive loss to Liverpool 5-1 probably the root cause to their slide along with a growing injury list. Hull still have plenty to play for as they aren’t yet safe from relegation on 36 points so this will no doubt be a contest. You have to give the edge to Arsenal though given their quality across the pitch.

Predicted result: Arsenal 2-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.95

Best Bet Confidence: 75%

Everton ($2.5) versus Manchester United ($3.05), Draw ($3.55)

David Moyes takes on his old side for the second time this weekend and will be hoping to dish out a similar result that Palace did earlier in the week. The last time these two met Everton took it out with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Everton have clearly more to play for here with 4th spot still up for grabs despite their loss to Crystal Palace during the week. United will be a little fresher here having not played since 9th April in the Champion’s league so that could play a factor if Everton’s fitness isn’t up to scratch. Everton will be pretty tough to beat here though despite their loss to Palace earlier in the week which was just the second home loss of the season. The players too will know they are a huge chance of Champion’s league football next season so they’ll ride on that as much as they can though I can see this as a bit of a bump in the road to that goal. Moyes will definitely not want to lose twice and with his job seemingly in the balance if you believe the rumours of Van Gaal potentially waiting in the wings then I dare say he’ll be pumping his team up for a win as best he can. I think it’ll be a tight one in the end with a draw a likely outcome.

Predicted result: Draw 1-1

Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.63

Best Bet Confidence: 80%

Manchester City ($1.23) versus West Brom ($16), Draw ($7.8)

Week 34 is rounded off with Manchester City taking on West Brom in what’s an even more crucial game for City given their shock draw with Sunderland during the week. For West Brom it’s a matter of getting as many points as they can to ensure survival of which they probably should’ve had 3 against Spurs last week only to concede late for a draw. A win here for City takes them to 74 points with a game in hand on Liverpool and Chelsea though they’ll likely still be 6 points off the top with Liverpool likely to beat Norwich. The injury to Silva and Toure who were absent against Sunderland obviously had an impact in their match with Sunderland but I think they’ll have adjusted to that now especially given that Silva should return for this one. West Brom will take some belief out of the Sunderland result but City should be too strong in the end in this one as they strive for another title.

Predicted result: Manchester city 3-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.39

Best Bet Confidence: 95%

Please Note:
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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As an Australian growing up AFL was always my no.1 sport especially given I was lucky enough to grow up a few blocks from Carlton’s home ground, Princes Park, where I was lucky enough to attend many games. That’s where my passion for sport began but it was until the early 2000’s when I discovered a real passion for football with the Socceroos 2002 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay accelerating my football journey. From there I began to follow the Premier League and haven’t looked back since. These days I’m a massive Tottenham fan where I’ve enjoyed many sleepless nights religiously watching them without missing a game despite many roller coaster feelings. There’s just something magical and glamorous when you watch the EPL and knowing the Profits owners Drew and Euan through studies, I’m now lucky enough to be able to share my thoughts on each game each week of the season.

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