Well it certainly isn’t the EPL if there isn’t any controversy and the Chelsea v Manchester United game certainly brought us some. The controversy surrounding the referee in being accused or suspected of racially abusing some Chelsea players has certainly been the main story over in the UK and is an unfortunate facet of not only this sport but many sports. Then there was the disallowed goal for Liverpool in the derby with Everton – but what’s a Merseyside derby without controversy? Behind these unfortunate events we still saw some great football. Wigan surprised a few people even us by getting up for a great win over West Ham and Newcastle finally got back on the winning sheet after a bit of a dull period. It’s also getting tight at the top of the table with only 8 points separating the top 9 teams. So with that in mind, let’s jump into this week’s games as we give you our thoughts and tips.
Best Value Bet: This week we like a multi of West Brom, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham at $8.02
Manchester United ($1.72) Versus Arsenal ($5.50), Draw ($4.1)
Manchester United host Arsenal this week in what should be an interesting encounter. Straight away it’s hard to see why the Gunners are such outside favourites in this one especially when United have had some less than convincing wins this season with a lot of luck going their way. A fantastic but lucky result against Chelsea last week saw United close the gap to 1 point behind Chelsea. Many will remember last season’s corresponding fixture between these two when United absolutely poleaxed the Gunners 8-2. The bad news for the Gunners is that United are a much more potent team up forward this season with the likes of Welbeck, Rooney and RVP roaming up front. Another issue for the Gunners here is that they have not won at Old Trafford in their past 5 attempts and it looks like this could continue this weekend. The Gunners have had a decent start to the season but have stumbled in recent weeks especially with the shock loss to Norwich. They’ll take confidence that Theo Walcott has found some form with 3 goals in the Capital One Cup win over Reading during the week. The loss of Gervinho with an ankle injury will hurt the Gunners a little as he’s been in some strong form this season. With all said, United should be just too strong in this one at home and should edge over the line for a win.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 2-1
Betting Option: none
Fulham ($2.84) Versus Everton ($2.74), Draw ($3.45)
Everton make the trip to Craven Cottage to face a Fulham side they beat 3-1 last season in the corresponding fixture. Both teams have been impressive this season though Everton have struggled to get the 3 points in recent weeks when they should have against QPR and Wigan. The absence of Fellaini has certainly hampered Everton’s midfield strength in recent weeks as he struggled to overcome a knee injury. If he finally returns this weekend with the addition of Pienaar returning from suspension, Everton could run away with the win here due to their strength in midfield. One of Everton’s strengths this season has been the partnership of Baines and Pienaar on the left with both players making attacking runs and causing plenty of problems – Look for that in this one. On the flip side, Fulham have been strong defensively at home having only conceded 2 goals in 4 games whilst knocking 10 goals of their own in. The concern here for Fulham is main threat in Berbatov could be hampered by a bruised rib but he should still play and could yet cause the Everton defence some issues.
Predicted Result: Everton 2-1
Betting Option: Lay Fulham at $2.84
Norwich ($2.76) Versus Stoke ($2.80), Draw ($3.40)
Another tough game sees Norwich host the stubborn Stoke City. Norwich had a fantastic win over Spurs earlier in the week in the Capital One Cup and will surely take plenty of confidence out of that result. This will be an interesting encounter as Stoke have only conceded 9 goals this season and Norwich have only scored 7 whilst letting slip through 18 though only 6 conceded at home. So with Stoke being strong defensively, Norwich somewhat weak offensively though stronger at home this could well end in a draw in similar fashion to last season’s 1-1 draw here at Carrow Road. Look for both teams to score in this one with Crouch most likely for Stoke, but don’t expect either team to win overly convincingly.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Betting Option: none
Sunderland ($2.10) Versus Aston Villa ($4.20), Draw ($3.45)
Sunderland is due for a win and could get it when they entertain Aston Villa this weekend. Sunderland has been the more impressive team out of these two with Villa certainly improving in recent weeks without getting the results they would have wanted. Fletcher will be looking to get back on the scoring sheet having had a blistering start to his Sunderland career since switching from Wolves. Darren Bent will also be looking to reclaim some form and knock a couple of goals in if he gets an opportunity to start. Sunderland have only won 1 of their last 4 against Villa at home so recent history is a little against them here but with the talent they have they should be able to get over the line here. Villa have also struggled away from home with only 2 goals and 9 goals conceded which shows they haven’t travelled particularly well this season.
Predicted Result: Sunderland 1-0
Betting Option: Lay Aston Villa at $4.20
Swansea ($5.10) Versus Chelsea ($1.81)
In a somewhat David versus Goliath matchup, Chelsea visit Swansea and are looking to get back onto the winners list after a controversial display in the loss to Manchester United. The loss of Ivanovic and Torres to suspension will hurt Chelsea but not stop them from getting a win. With Torres out, it gives Sturridge the opportunity to start and put on a performance. Ivanovic has been a beast this season in both defending strongly and scoring goals so his impact will be missed, but again it gives another player an opportunity to step in a do a job. Perhaps new signing Azpilicueta will get his chance to shine here. The last time these two met in their corresponding fixture last season it ended in a 1-1 draw but it looks unlikely that this will end in the same way with Chelsea in such excellent attacking form. Look for Chelsea to score a few goals here regardless of no Torres and at $1.81 it’s decent value to throw in for a multi bet.
Predicted Result: Chelsea 3-1
Betting Option: Chelsea to win at $1.81
Tottenham ($1.48) Versus Wigan ($8.20), Draw ($4.70)
Tottenham host Wigan at White Hart Lane this weekend with Spurs looking to get back to winning ways after their Capital Cup loss to Norwich during the week. Wigan on the other hand were impressive last week with their win over West Ham showing they are capable of getting 3 points against good sides. Spurs also had a good win over Southampton away which gives them 5 wins in their last 6 games which puts them in good form. Gareth Bale is starting to get into full flight having scored against Southampton and Norwich during the week and he’ll be looking to exploit the Wigan defence as he did last season with 2 goals against them when they won 3-1 at home. Wigan will take some confidence in knowing that Tottenham has been prone to let goals slip through with some shaky defence and if they can get one early it could make it tough for Tottenham to get the win.
Predicted Result: Tottenham 2-0
Betting Option: Tottenham to win at $1.48
West Ham ($5.50) Versus Manchester City ($1.71), Draw ($4.10)
West Ham faces a huge task in toppling last season’s league winners in Manchester City. Recent history between these two is relatively irrelevant since City have evolved quickly in the past few years with their big spending. City’s concern has been their inability to blow sides away this season as they should be doing with the world class talent they have. The hammers will be looking to Carroll to score his first goals for the club if they are to get up. Though he hasn’t yet scored, he has been influential with his big body and providing plenty of options. We can see West Ham getting off to a good start here with the first goal but the comeback kings in City should get over the line by a goal with their talent too much.
Predicted Result: Manchester City 2-1
Betting Option: Manchester City at $1.71
QPR ($1.86) Versus Reading ($4.7), Draw ($3.90)
This is certainly QPRs best chance yet of the season to get their first win when they host Reading. They linger at the bottom of the table with only 3 draws and have shown at times that they are a better side than what the results have shown. With a huge number of new names coming in, it was always going to take time for them to gel. Reading showed during the week that they can score goals when they scored 5 against a second string Arsenal side, but that’s part of the problem as it was a weaker Arsenal team. They, like QPR, will also be looking to get their first win of the season and although they lost during the week to Arsenal, they will take plenty of positives out of that game. Also coming off a 3-3 draw with Fulham, they certainly won’t have trouble getting onto the scoresheet. QPR should have too much class in this one and as long as their strikers start to score they should run out 2-1 winners in a tight contest.
Predicted Result: QPR 2-1
Betting Option: Lay Reading at $4.70
Liverpool ($1.58) Versus Newcastle ($6.60), Draw ($4.30)
Liverpool were very unlucky to not get the win last week against Everton due to a disallowed goal that was called offside – but that’s football at the end of the day. Hosting Newcastle this week, they have another tough team to face. Newcastle is perhaps a little underrated here at $6.60 and should be a little shorter given their talent as well as coming off a win against West Brom who have been extremely strong this season. Perhaps why Liverpool are at such odds is that Newcastle have not won at Anfield in their past 5 attempts with Liverpool winning all 5. The last corresponding fixture between these two resulted in a 3-1 win to Liverpool with goals to Gerrard and a brace to Bellamy who has since moved on. Liverpool will need to watch Demba Ba closely as he now has 7 league goals in 9 appearances though he is in slight doubt to appear this week due to a shin injury he picked up against West Brom. This is a tough one to call especially if Demba Ba plays and is likely to finish in a draw but it could go either way in the closing stages.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Betting Option: none
West Brom ($1.75) Versus Southampton ($5.30), Draw ($4.10)
West Brom entertains Southampton in what should be a straight forward win. Both teams are coming off two losses but West Brom has been the stronger of the two. Loan signing Lukaku is looking menacing and scored in the loss to Newcastle and will relish the opportunity coming up against a Southampton side that has let 16 goals slip through in away games. With Southampton struggling away from home it’s hard to see them getting a win here with their best chance being the slim possibility of a draw if they play their best football. Their best football is capable of them getting a result but it’s hard to see it here against West Brom
Predicted Result: 3-1
Betting Option: West Brom to win at $1.75
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. Bet at your own risk.
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