Well its back to the exciting world of actual football with the close of the January transfer window. We saw some interesting transfers occur with the most notable being Balotelli heading to AC Milan and he’ll be missed purely for his ridiculous antics. It was fantastic to see that Beckham will be back in European football albeit a pity that he didn’t join a Premier League side. We also find it intriguing with the transfers that QPR completed with the likes of Samba who will be paid 100k a week and Redknapp reuniting with Jenas and Townsend. Will it stop them from the drop? It’ll start this week when they host Norwich, so let’s have a look.
Best Value Bet: Manchester United at $1.66 is great value against Fulham.
Safe Multi: Manchester United to win ($1.66), Everton to win ($1.41), Arsenal to win ($1.48) = $3.46
5 leg Multi: Manchester United to win ($1.66), Everton to win ($1.41), Arsenal/Stoke over 2.5 goals ($1.81), QPR to win at $1.98, Chelsea to win at $1.96 = $16.42
QPR ($1.98) Versus Norwich ($4.4), Draw ($3.65)
- QPR Last 5:LWDDD
- 3 clean sheets in the last 4! Cesar had a fantastic game against Manchester City.
- Norwich Last 5:LLDLD
- Have only been ahead at half-time once in away games
QPR’s revival continues after holding Manchester City to a draw mid-week with Cesar in fine form. Reinforcements have arrived in Samba, Jenas and Townsend of which Samba has raised some eyebrows in the willingness to invest so heavily at such a risk of beating the drop zone. Home advantage will be crucial as Redknapp will be looking to close the gap to safety to just one point. Norwich on the other hand showed promising signs against Spurs and were only stopped by a world class run and goal by Bale. The Canaries poor away form suggests QPR will take all three points with their new signings have a good influence.
Predicted result: QPR 1-0
Best Bet: QPR Double chance at $1.27
Everton ($1.41) Versus Aston Villa ($9.8), Draw ($5.2)
- Everton Last 5:LWDDW
- Only conceded 7 second half goals this season at home (12 games)
- Aston Villa Last 5:LDLDL
- Conceded on average 2.87 goals a game over the last 8!
Everton gained ground for fourth spot as Arsenal and Tottenham both dropped points with draws mid-week and this is a fantastic opportunity to get another 3 points. Baines was in great form scoring twice and will be a threat against Villa who have been poor. Lambert’s players have lost all confidence and need to get back to basics. Everton should be too strong for Villa and the way they are playing, a Champions League spot is not out of the question.
Predicted result: Everton 2-0
Best Bet: Everton win at $1.41
Arsenal ($1.48) Versus Stoke ($9), Draw ($4.5)
- Arsenal Last 5:DLLWD
- Averaging 3.2 goals at home over the last 5 (7 against Newcastle and 5 against West Ham)
- Stoke Last 5:DLLLD
- Conceded 17 goals in their last 8. In their first 16 games they only conceded 12 goals.
The Gunners had to put on a strong last half hour to come from a 2 goal deficit to draw with Liverpool. Wenger will be concerned as to how they allowed the Reds to control two thirds of the game and concede two goals at home. Stoke broke their three game losing streak with a draw against Wigan however they will still be frustrated with their defence struggling to contain the opposition having had a 2 goal lead. Arsenal will look to exploit their depleted defensive confidence. It’s a must win if Arsenal are to keep in reaching distance of fourth spot. January was unkind to both teams, hopefully this month they can actually string a few wins together.
Predicted result: Arsenal 3-1
Best Bet: There’s a bit of value in over 2.5 goals at $1.81
Newcastle ($4.4) Versus Chelsea ($1.96), Draw ($3.7)
- Newcastle Last 5:LLDLW
- Conceded the most goals in the final 15 minutes (12), however only 4 of these have been conceded in home games
- Chelsea Last 5:LWDWD
- Chelsea has the best record at half time in away games this season where they have yet to be behind at half-time.
Chelsea’s unpredictable season took another twist midweek throwing away a two goal lead to draw against Reading. Lampard and Mata have been outstanding in the last two games with both finding the net twice, however Torres and Ba will need to improve. Pardew would be relieved that his team finally produced the goods when it was crunch time breaking a 5 game winless drought. Ba returns to face his old side in which could prove decisive. Chelsea need a win to maintain their gap on the chasing pack of Spurs and Everton.
Predicted result: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea is value at $1.96 but it’s best to be safe with the double chance at $1.23
Reading ($2.54) Versus Sunderland ($3.1), Draw ($3.45)
- Reading Last 5:WLWWD
- Scored the most goals at home in the last 10 minutes with 9! They certainly have belief now.
- Sunderland Last 5:LLWWD
- Have only conceded 2 goals in the final 10 minutes of away games this season.
Reading’s form in their last five games has surprised many who may have written them off after a terrible start to the season. The self-belief the Royals have to fight every minute of the 90 gives them hope they might just stay up and currently they sit just out of the drop zone only on goal difference. Sunderland’s form has been solid of late and will be tough team to beat, hard to pick which team will actually bring the goods this week, draw looks the value bet here.
Predicted result: 1-1
Best Bet: none
West Ham ($2.44) Versus Swansea ($3.25), Draw ($3.45)
- West Ham Last 5:WLDLL
- Let 16 goals through in their last 8 games
- Swansea Last 5:WDDWD
- Only scored 2 goals in their last 5 away but they have also only conceded 2 goals.
The Hammers are on a poor run at the moment with 1 win in their last 9 and they face an in form Swansea side that have not lost in their last 7 matches. In West Ham’s favour is the fact that Swansea have not been scoring in their away games with only 2 goals in their last 5 away but the fact they have only conceded 2 goals in these games suggests they are not playing with as much risk as they could. Despite the Hammers only winning one of their last 9, their last 5 at home shows much stronger results with 2 wins, 2 draws and a loss. Swansea is also weaker in attack with the loss of Graham to Sunderland so much of the goal scoring responsibilities will rest with Michu.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: none
Wigan ($2.18) Versus Southampton ($3.65), Draw ($3.6)
- Wigan Last 5:WLDLD
- Have not won at home since 24th November versus Reading.
- Southampton Last 5:DWDDL
- Coming off 3 tough opponents in Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United.
Wigan will be boosted by the return of Paul Scharner on loan from Hamburg to help ease their defensive problems but can he prevent Southampton from impacting the scoresheet? Southampton is coming off 3 tough games and did well to take the lead against Manchester United mid-week. Wigan are one of those sides that can bob up and snatch points every now and then but with their recent form being so terrible and Southampton performing quite well with only one loss in their last 5 away (3 draws and a win), we can see Southampton snatching the 3 points here.
Predicted result: Southampton 2-1
Best Bet: Southampton double chance is the value here at $1.60
Fulham ($5.7) Versus Manchester United ($1.66), Draw ($4.2)
- Fulham Last 5:LWDLW
- Only one loss in their last 5 home games (2 wins, 2 draws)
- Manchester United Last 5:WWWDW
- Failed to score only twice this season in the PL
Fulham entertain Manchester United in what’s sure to be an interesting match. Fulham had a strong win over West Ham at home to build on their strong recent home form but could find it difficult to defend against a rampant Manchester United forward line. RVP is in startling form whilst Rooney found some form in United’s win over Southampton 2 goals. Fulham will also need to overcome their recent 4-1 loss to United at Old Trafford. Expect some resistance from Fulham, but United should get the 3 points comfortably.
Predicted result: Manchester United 3-1
Best Bet: Hard to go past Manchester United at $1.66 for the win
West Brom ($3.7) Versus Tottenham ($2.2), Draw ($3.45)
- West Brom Last 5:LLLDL
- Yet to win a PL game in 2013 (3 losses and a draw)
- Tottenham Last 5:WWDDD
- 73.2% of their goals (30) have come in the second half. They continue to start slowly!
West Brom host Spurs with both sides experiencing varying issues. It’s obvious that West Brom have failed to recapture their early season form that had them sitting in the top 4 for some time. For Spurs, they have been pretty flat in the New Year coming off 3 draws and in desperate need of a win to consolidate 4th spot. In a positive sign, Holtby looks to be a great signing after his short stint versus Norwich and could be just the man to spark some good form for Tottenham. If Spurs start well and score early they will surely wrap this one up but if they continue to let the opposition score first, it could go either way (They’ve let this happen 8 times for 3 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws). We feel Spurs will start to click again this week to get back on the winner’s list.
Predicted result: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.72
Manchester City ($1.88) Versus Liverpool ($4.5), Draw ($3.9)
- Manchester City Last 5:WWWWD
- 64.4% of their goals have come in the second half
- Liverpool Last 5:WWLWD
- Suarez has scored 40.4% of Liverpool’s goals.
This is probably the game of the round when Liverpool travels to Manchester City. Liverpool was fantastic in the first half against Arsenal with Suarez and co causing plenty of problems early. City was disappointing to not get the win over QPR mid-week but all credit to QPRs Cesar for denying City the win. New signing Coutinho is a strong one for Liverpool but he is unlikely to play here. Manchester City said goodbye to the unpredictable and unstable influence in Balotelli and perhaps this will be to the benefit of the side in their push towards the top. We can see Liverpool troubling Manchester City here but City at home look a little too strong.
Predicted result: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: none
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