The Premier League returns this weekend after a short break to allow for some tantalising Capital One Cup and FA cup fixtures to take place in which we saw more than one shock result occur. Was the biggest Swansea beating Chelsea or was it lowly Bradford claiming the scalp of Aston Villa? Either way each result could have compounding effects as the teams enter this weekend’s fixtures. Adding to this mix of results and fixtures is the opening of the January transfer window. We’ve already seen Liverpool strengthen in the form of Sturridge from Chelsea but we are yet to see whether both he and Suarez can play together. And of course we cannot forget the Redknapp Versus Tottenham fixture which is sure to draw plenty of attention.
We’re sure to be treated to another rollercoaster January with plenty going on, so let’s get stuck into this weekend’s games.
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Best Value: Tottenham to beat QPR looks the best value at $1.88 otherwise a Stoke/Chelsea draw is value at $3.70 and not out of the question.
Multi Option: Tottenham to win ($1.88), Man Utd/Liverpool over 2.5 goals ($1.63), Stoke/Chelsea Draw ($3.7) = $11.34
QPR ($4.5) Versus Tottenham ($1.88), Draw ($3.95)
- QPR Last 5:WLLLW
- Poorest scoring record at home in the league equal with Aston Villa – 8 goals in 10 games
- Tottenham Last 5:WDWWW
- Only conceded 6 goals (27 conceded whole season) in their last 9 games – huge turnaround in defence since start of the season.
QPR had a shock win against Chelsea in their last fixture but that was Chelsea’s fault for resting their start players in Mata and Hazard – Who are professional athletes. But without disrespecting QPR, they got what they deserved in the 3 points and a morale boosting victory. This is sure to be one of the games of the round with the Redknapp versus Tottenham build up. There is no doubt Redknapp has done some good things at QPR so far, it’s just a matter of whether they have the quality to beat a Tottenham side who have been incredibly strong in their last 9 games. The return of Gareth Bale will boost Spurs greatly here. Expect a Tottenham win.
Predicted result: Tottenham 2-0
Betting Option: Tottenham look good value at $1.88 to win
Aston Villa ($2.48) Versus Southampton ($3.15), Draw ($3.5)
- Aston Villa Last 5:WLLLD
- Conceded 30 goals in the 2nd Half – Highlights their inexperience and recent lack of confidence.
- Southampton Last 5:WLDDD
- Struggle away from home with only 1 win and 2 draws from 9 games though their 2 draws came in their last 2 away against Fulham and Stoke – Improved!
It’s plain and simple that Villa is struggling even more so after their Capital One Cup loss to lowly Bradford. Villa was admirable in their last game against Swansea which ended 2-2 away and should look to that for confidence when they entertain Southampton. Southampton has had strong results over their last 6 games with narrow losses to Liverpool and Sunderland amongst 3 draws and a win. Despite Southampton’s poor away record this season, we expect them to bring their best football here as they did against Stoke in that 3-3 draw. Expect a draw with Villa struggling to get 3 points here.
Predicted result: Draw
Betting Option: none – could go either way.
Fulham ($2) Versus Wigan ($4.3), Draw ($3.7)
- Fulham Last 5:LLDLW
- When scoring first this season they have won 6, drawn 2 and lost 2.
- Wigan Last 5:LLLWL
- Have not won at Craven Cottage in their last 5 PL fixtures.
Berbatov was absolutely sublime in his last PL game against WBA – just an enjoyable player to watch that seems to do everything with ease. Both sides have a knack of scoring goals as well as conceding goals. Wigan is a side then tends to bob up for critical wins here and there but it will be tough at Fulham where they have not had much success recently. Should be a tightly fought contest if Wigan turns up to play, otherwise it should end in a Fulham win to give them 2 on the trot which is most likely here.
Predicted result: Fulham 2-1
Betting Option: Fulham the value at $2 to win
Everton ($1.61) Versus Swansea ($6.4), Draw ($4.3)
- Everton Last 5:DWWLW
- Only lost one game when the opposition scores first – occurred 11 times for 5 wins, 5 draws and 1 loss.
- Swansea Last 5:LDDWD
- Interesting in comparison to Everton they have not lost when scoring first (7 wins, 1 draw from 8 Games)
Everton has been fantastic all season and their recent record is no exception. They also always seem to find a way to find points after going behind when their opposition scores first similar in some respects to Manchester United. Speculation linking Fellaini to Chelsea shouldn’t impact his performances too much as he seems to be enjoying himself in a successful side – And besides, he’s been linked to them for over 6 months anyway. Swansea has also been impressive lately without getting the 3 points as often as they probably should. Michu is back in form after his goal against Chelsea in their stunning Capital One Cup tie and he’ll be dangerous here but we expect nothing less than an Everton win.
Predicted result: Everton 3-1
Betting Option: Over 2.5 goals at $1.77 looks the best value in this one.
Norwich ($2.22) Versus Newcastle ($3.5), Draw ($3.65)
- Norwich Last 5:WLLLL
- Only 1 loss in their last 4 against Newcastle at home.
- Newcastle Last 5:LWLLL
- Yet to win away this season from 10 games – 4 draws and 6 losses. Norwich are not easy beats at home.
Could the departure of Demba Ba open the floodgates for Cisse to start scoring? Ba had been the central striker with Cisse forced to play wider which resulted in a struggle to 4 Premier League goals. He’ll be of critical importance to their chances here and his early goal against Everton should give him confidence. Norwich like Newcastle has been struggling for wins of late and will be looking to get the 3 points here at home where they play their best football. Norwich is value here at home at $2.22 but we feel that Cisse could be about to hit a run of form being the focal point now. This is likely to end in a draw with goals scored.
Predicted result: Draw 2-2
Betting Option: Both teams to score at $1.65
Reading ($3.05) Versus West Brom ($2.54), Draw ($3.5)
- Reading Last 5:LLDWL
- Lost 2 of their last 5 at home to Man Utd and Arsenal.
- WBA Last 5:DWWLL
- Lost 5 of their last 8 games scoring only 6 goals in total. Previous 4 games to this streak they had 4 wins scoring 10 goals (1og) – horror run!
20 points separate these two teams as they face each other at the Madjeski stadium. This season most people predicted that WBA were going to have a consolidation season trying to avoid relegation and maintain a mid-table finish, but under Clarke they sit 7th on the table after an incredible first half of the season. Reading on the other hand has followed the script book unable to breakthrough and sit 19th. This will be a game McDermott’s men will feel they can snatch a win as WBA have struggled on the road in recent games (losing 3 of their last 5 away). Home form has been up and down for Reading only losing to the top four who have visited (Arsenal, Man Utd and Spurs). This will be a close game with Reading just pipping their visitors.
Predicted result: Reading 2-1
Betting Option: None
Sunderland ($2.36) Versus West Ham ($3.4), Draw ($3.4)
- Sunderland Last 5:LWWLL
- Worst record in the league when it comes to the opposition scoring first. It’s happened 8 times, for 7 losses and 1 draw and conceding 20 goals.
- West Ham Last 5:LDLLW
- When scoring first, the Hammers have won 6 of 8
The Hammers haven’t played at the Stadium of Light for over 2 years and will want to leave with a better result after their one nil loss last time. Sunderland has been brought back down to earth after their big win over City, suffering back to back defeats. West Ham will need to play with the same creativity and finishing they showed against United to have a chance to take all three points, but with both teams showing such inconsistency, a draw looks the likely outcome. Joe Cole’s return to the team has definitely made an impact and the possible return of Carroll from injury could see former Reds become a real threat.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Betting Option: None
Stoke ($4.4) Versus Chelsea ($1.96), Draw ($3.7)
- Stoke Last 5:DDWDL
- Still undefeated at home conceding 7 goals of which 3 came in their 3-3 draw with Southampton.
- Chelsea Last 5:WWWWL
- Averaged 1 goal against Stoke in their last 5 games and their last two visits to Stoke ended in draws.
Chelsea’s disappointing season continued mid-week with another shock loss at home to Swansea in the Capital One cup. Two losses in a row and with a defence line lacking cohesion and a forward line shattered in confidence, Benitez looks like running out of ideas though the signing of Demba Ba looks a good one. Stoke will be a tough test as they have made Britannia Stadium a fortress without a single defeat this season at home. The physicality and style of play Stoke produce has troubled many teams this season and with Chelsea’s form it looks like a scrap match will be on the cards. Neither team has shown us confidence in backing them for a result.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Betting Option: The value here is on the draw given Stoke’s number of draws this season and recent results between these two.
Manchester United ($1.9) Versus Liverpool ($4.5), Draw ($3.9)
- Man Utd Last 5:WDWWW
- The average amount of goals in their last 5 games is 3.8. In their last 5 against Liverpool it’s been an average of 3.4 goals.
- Liverpool Last 5:LWLWW
- Only 3 wins from 10 away games. Need to improve this.
The last time these fierce rivals met it was a controversial red card to Jonjo Shelvey and a very soft penalty that gave Man Utd the 2-1 win at Anfield. Since then Man tdU have soared to top spot while Liverpool has struggled with consistency. Liverpool has not beaten United at home since 2009, nevertheless the Reds did out play United at home earlier this season and this should be another close contest. Key battle to this match would be the two inform strikers in RVP and Suarez. Which to score first and which side’s defence can tame either player will be the interesting battle. Hard to look past the red devils with home advantage here but look out for a few bookings and high possibility of a red card.
Predicted result: Man Utd 2-1
Betting Option: Over 2.5 goals at $1.63
Arsenal ($2.72) Versus Manchester City ($2.78), Draw ($3.6)
- Arsenal Last 5:WWWWD
- Undefeated against City in their last 4 games at home (2 wins, 2 draws)
- Manchester City Last 5:WWLWW
- Only averaging 1.6 Goals in away games – The loss of Aguero to injury will compound this concern.
Another tough game to call at the Emirates, with Arsenal undefeated in their last 5 games against so called ‘smaller’ clubs this would truly test how far Arsene’s young gunners have developed. City will surely miss the attacking presence of Aguero and their anchor man Yaya Toure while the continuous issue of Balotelli’s behaviour will surely distract the squad’s concentration with the media scrutinising every bust up. Walcott & Cazorla will need to have a blinder of a game for Arsenal to have a chance but Mancini should just have enough depth in his squad to take the 3 points for their first win at the Emirates.
Predicted result: Man City 2-1
Betting Option: None
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