The first games of 2013 are upon us and we certainly have some great matches to witness. Manchester City versus Stoke is surely the pick of the bunch with Stoke the best defensive team in the league coming up against one of the strongest attacks in the league (on paper at least). Apart from the stuff that goes on the pitch, there will also be plenty of deals going on off the pitch with the January transfer window reopening. It’s an enthralling time of year to be a football fan with many names being thrown around the media – who will your team lose and who will they bring in?
Best Value: A draw between Stoke and Man City at $5.9 is the best value and by far the most tempting. West Brom is also good value at $2.04 to beat Fulham who have been poor.
Multi Option: West Brom to beat Fulham ($2.04), Swansea to beat Villa ($1.62), Arsenal to beat Southampton ($1.72), Tottenham to beat Reading ($1.37), Manchester United to beat Wigan ($1.59) and Chelsea v QPR over 2.5 goals ($1.54) = $19.06
West Brom ($2.04) Versus Fulham ($4), Draw ($3.7)
- West Brom Last 5:LDWWL
- 3rd best home record in the league – 22 points from 10 games and conceding only 7 goals at home.
- Fulham Last 5:WLLDL
- Lost 5 of their last 8 and have not won in their last 5 away
It was always going to be tough for West Brom to win at Old Trafford despite their good recent form. They’ll entertain Fulham who are in a shocking run of form with only 1 win in their last 12 games. Fulham have also not won at West Brom in their last 4 attempts and with their confidence down after their loss to Swansea it’s hard to see anything but a West Brom win here.
Predicted result: West Brom 2-0
Betting Option: West Brom to win at $2.04
Manchester City ($1.32) Versus Stoke ($13), Draw ($5.9)
- Manchester City Last 5:LWWLW
- Still off their 2011/12 pace in terms of goals scored – 38 compared to 53 at the same point last year.
- Stoke Last 5:DDDWD
- Only conceded 3 or more goals twice this season – against Southampton and Manchester United (20th Oct). In the next 11 games till the Southampton game they only conceded 5 goals.
- Conceded 2 goals in their last 5 away.
Whilst taking nothing away from Southampton, Stoke showed some Man Utd-like fight to come back from 3-1 to draw without star defender Shawcross. Manchester City broke the shackles a little against Norwich in terms of goals scored but they were vulnerable in defence and they are also still well off their 2011/12 pace in terms of goals scored. With Manchester City not scoring as regularly as they should, Stoke’s self-belief very high and with star defender Shawcross returning from suspension this one could well end in a draw to be their 12th draw of the season.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Betting Option: Draw at $5.90 OR Stoke double chance $3.80
Southampton ($5.6) Versus Arsenal ($1.72), Draw ($4.1)
- Southampton Last 5:LWLDD
- Only 1 loss in their past 5 at home (Sunderland)
- Arsenal Last 5:LWWWW
- 13 goals in their last 3 games
- Put 6 past Southampton in their last meeting
Southampton played very well to get 3 past Stoke but they were unable to get away the 3 points at the toughest place to get them in the league. Arsenal showed their attacking prowess against Newcastle whilst Walcott again showed his brilliance with a hat-trick. Arsenal will be the biggest team the Saints have faced at home since their 2-1 loss to Tottenham at the end of October. We know they tend to get up for the big sides but Arsenal are in such good attacking form we can’t see Southampton getting the 3 points.
Predicted result: Arsenal 3-1
Betting Option: Arsenal to win at $1.72
Swansea ($1.62) Versus Aston Villa ($6.6), Draw ($4.2)
- Swansea Last 5:LLDDW
- 100% win record when scoring first (7 wins scoring 19 and conceding 4)
- Aston Villa Last 5:DWLLL
- 15 goals conceded in 3 games, what more can one say?
With Swansea back on the winners list after a strong win over Fulham and now returning home to face a Villa side that looks in all sorts of trouble, it’s hard to see them losing. Villa is a young side and injuries to the likes of Dunne and N’Zogbia as well as the form woes of Bent haven’t helped. With Michu looking to return we expect a Swansea win here.
Predicted result: Swansea 2-0
Betting Option: Swansea to win at $1.62
Tottenham ($1.37) Versus Reading ($10.5), Draw ($5.4)
- Tottenham Last 5:LWDWW
- Ranked 2nd in the league over the last 8 games – 19 points from a possible 24.
- Reading Last 5:LLLDW
- Their defence is much tighter recently with only 1 goal conceded in their last 3 when playing much stronger teams in Man City, Swansea and West Ham.
Reading has been superb in their last 3 matches and their confidence is growing after a desperately poor run of form. The problem they have now is they travel to White Hart Lane to face a Tottenham side that has been one of the best teams in the league over the last 8 games. They will be relieved that Bale will not be playing due to suspension but they still need to watch out for the likes of Lennon, Defoe and Adebayor. They won’t die wondering, but I fear that Reading will be too outclassed here.
Predicted result: Tottenham 2-0
Betting Option: Tottenham to win at $1.37
Wigan ($6.8) Versus Manchester United ($1.59), Draw ($4.3)
- Wigan Last 5:DLLLW
- Their December form has been shocking with 4 points from a possible 18 (Ranked 18th in the league in Dec)
- Man Utd Last 5:WWDWW
- Unbeaten in their last scoring an average of 2.62 goals.
Wigan got the win they were searching for albeit against the hapless Aston Villa but regardless it was a fine performance. Manchester United had a good win over West Brom to maintain their lead at the top of the table. Importantly for United was the RVP only made a substitute appearance which was invaluable for his energy levels during this busy period of fixtures. Wigan won their last corresponding fixture here at the DW stadium, however United look irresistible of late with their never say die reputation they always find a way to win.
Predicted result: Manchester United 2-0
Betting Option: Manchester United to win at $1.59
West Ham ($2.18) Versus Norwich ($3.75), Draw ($3.5)
- West Ham Last 5:WLDLL
- Only 1 win in their last 5 at home
- Norwich Last 5:WWLLL
- Yet to win a game when the opposition scores first
Norwich showed plenty of fight against Manchester City. After being 2 goals down within the first 5 minutes they could have easily shut up shop and played for a draw but they played their natural game and took it up to City. Norwich has come off a run of games against top sides in Manchester City, Chelsea and West Brom. So for Norwich to be visiting the out of form West Ham they will definitely fancy their chances. Perhaps a little bit of an upset but Norwich are due for a win.
Predicted result: Norwich 2-1
Betting Option: Both teams to score at $1.75
Chelsea ($1.23) Versus QPR ($17.5), Draw ($7.2)
- Chelsea Last 5:LWWWW
- 1 loss in their last 7 matches
- QPR Last 5:DWLLL
- Along with Norwich they have conceded the most first half goals (17) and the most within the first 10 minutes equal with Everton (5)
It’s clear that the high of Redknapp joining QPR has faded and the hard work begins now. It’ll be very interesting to see what players he brings in during January and we wonder whether it’ll make much difference with even more new faces on the pitch. Coming off 3 losses and now facing Chelsea (and then Spurs) it’s going to be a massive ask. Chelsea are revitalised and are playing fantastic football. The last time APR visited Stamford Bridge they were whacked 6-1 and given their current form they’ll need to show a lot of fight to prevent another thrashing.
Predicted result: Chelsea 4-0
Betting Option: Over 2.5 goals at $1.54
Liverpool ($1.44) Versus Sunderland ($9), Draw ($4.9)
- Liverpool Last 5:WLWLW
- 1 loss at home in their past 5 (Aston Villa)
- Sunderland Last 5:WLWWL
- Only conceded 5 goals in their past 5 games – the preceding 5 games they had conceded 9 goals – defence has improved
Liverpool entertains an improved Sunderland side in what should be a tighter contest than what the odds suggest. Suarez has been on fire for Liverpool yet again with a brace in his last game against QPR. Interestingly he has also not scored in a losing game for Liverpool this season. Sunderland has not beaten Liverpool in their past 5 attempts at Anfield and could find it difficult to get the 3 points here. Sunderland could also be without John O’Shea who has been important to their defence after he came off against Spurs. Liverpool should get the points here.
Predicted result: Liverpool 2-1
Betting Option: none
Newcastle ($3.1) Versus Everton ($2.5), Draw ($3.45)
- Newcastle Last 5:LLWLL
- Won 2 of their last 3 home games (Wigan and QPR)
- Everton Last 5:WDWWL
- 1 loss in their last 5 away games (1 win, 3 draws)
Everton’s loss to Chelsea was their first in their last 8 games but on a positive note they should welcome back Fellaini after his suspension. Newcastle on the other hand has had a tough run in their last 10 matches with only 2 wins. This is a side that should have been fighting for a top 4 or 5 spot given the talent they have but injuries have cruelled them. Everton are deserved favourites in this one and one but they can’t count on Demba Ba’s head being elsewhere given his 2 goals against Arsenal. The positive for Newcastle is despite the losses to Arsenal and Manchester United, they have shown some fight. If they can keep scoring and defend well, this game could go either way.
Predicted result: Draw 2-2
Betting Option: Both teams to score at $1.64
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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