It’s week 33 in the Premier League and things are certainly getting exciting. Three teams are fighting it out for 4th spot (4 if you count Everton who are certainly not out of it) whilst there are 4 teams, excluding QPR and Reading, that are in real danger of being relegated if they don’t snap up some wins soon. We have 7 games to keep us entertained this weekend, with a number of games to be played over next Tuesday and Wednesday before the next weekend of games comes around again. In total there are 21 games over 10 days, so there’s plenty to keep us entertained. There’s also the FA Cup Semi Finals with Millwall taking on Wigan and Chelsea taking on Manchester City.
Best Value Bet: Halftime/fulltime double – Man Utd/Man Utd at $2.54 looks great value
Value Multi: Man Utd/Man Utd halftime/fulltime double at $2.54, Aston Villa to win at $2.32, Reading/Liverpool over 2.5 goals at $1.65 and Arsenal/Norwich over 2.5 goals at $1.58 = $15.36
Reading ($7.4) Versus Liverpool ($1.51), Draw ($4.9)
- Last corresponding fixture: Reading 3 – 1 Liverpool (December 2007)
- Reading Last 5: LLLLL
- Liverpool Last 5: WWLWD
Reading was strong in patches last week against Southampton and were unlucky to not score on a few occasions but Southampton were just a bit too slick for them. 7 losses on the trot and it looks all over now as even QPR are now above them on the table. In their last 7 games they have conceded 17 goals and only scored 4 times (1 o.g). Ranked last for average shots per game (9.5), possession % (39.5) and pass success % (68.9) it clearly shows they are lacking class and perhaps were a little short sighted in not pushing harder in the transfer windows. Liverpool had an unlucky day against West Ham where they dominated possession (65.1%) and had a huge 20 shots on goal but still could score so all credit to the Hammers defensively there. Reading will give this a crack at the start and is absolutely their last chance and if they somehow pull off a stunning win here they’ll have a slim chance of survival but the likes of Suarez, Coutinho, Sturrdige and Gerrard will have a big say on their chances. Look for some fight from the Royals but we’d expect Liverpool to put the foot down here after a disappointing showing against the Hammers.
Predicted Result: Liverpool 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.65
Southampton ($1.93) Versus West Ham ($4.4), Draw ($3.85)
- Last corresponding fixture: Draw 1-1 (April 2003)
- Southampton Last 5: LDWWW
- West Ham Last 5: LWLWD
Great win by the Saints last week and although the opposition wasn’t exactly class, it showed they belonged in the top flight. 3 wins on the trot has them in a strong position to survive the drop and consolidate for an even stronger finish next season. The last time Southampton played West Ham they got smacked 4-1 away with Lallana the scorer for the Saints. Lallana could be an important factor here since his return from injury against Reading saw him score a second half goal which will give him plenty of confidence. With West Ham to welcome back Andy Carroll, after he was ineligible to play against Liverpool whilst on loan, it should make the game a little closer than what the odds suggest. In saying that, Southampton has a pretty good record at home this season and their last 5 has only seen 1 loss at home. Southampton has scored in 13 of their 16 home games so we expect them to score at home here despite West Ham keeping Liverpool goalless last week as they were playing for the draw. Despite the Hammer’s scoring only 9 goals in away games this season, 4 of these have come in their last 6 away.
Predicted Result: Southampton 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.76
Everton ($1.45) Versus QPR ($9), Draw ($4.7)
- Last corresponding fixture: Everton 0 – 1 QPR (August 2011)
- Everton Last 5: LWWWD
- QPR Last 5: WWLLD
Everton has done fantastic without important players Fellaini and Pienaar, but perhaps this is really just further proof that we didn’t need that Moyes is just a fantastic manager. QPR battled bravely with 10 men early against Wigan to go ahead 1-0 only to lose in injury time. With the headlines full of which players will be leaving QPR at the end of the season it really shows how bad a position they are in and it’s perhaps the huge amount of names that were rushed into the side this year that has really been their downfall. You need only look at a side like Swansea or Southampton to see you don’t need to go ballistic in the transfer market to stay in the top flight. Everton will be too strong at home despite a QPR side that we feel will come out fighting. Remy has been the shining light for QPR in recent weeks and it’d be great to see him at another PL side next season.
Predicted Result: Everton 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.95 looks good value with the likes of Remy in good touch.
Aston Villa ($2.32) Versus Fulham ($3.45), Draw ($3.45)
- Last corresponding fixture: Aston Villa 1 – 0 Fulham (March 2012)
- Aston Villa Last 5: LWWLW
- Fulham Last 5: WDWWL
This should be one of the games of the weekend with a resurgent Villa side hosting Fulham. Villa has a great record over Fulham at home where they are undefeated in their last 4 and with the likes of Benteke (4 goals in his last 4) and Agbonlahor (3 goals in his last 4) in form they could well get their 4th win in 5 matches here. Fulham will be tougher opposition than their recent wins over Reading, QPR and Stoke, but have a great chance to capitalise on their good form here. Fulham was on track for a well earned draw against Newcastle last week only for a last grasp and magnificent goal from Cisse to snatch it away from them. Berbatov will be a force here with 5 goals in his last 5 games but Fulham’s away record and record at Villa could go against them this weekend.
Predicted Result: Aston Villa 2-1
Best Bet: Value on Villa to get another 3 points here at $2.32
Arsenal ($1.27) Versus Norwich ($14), Draw ($6.8)
- Last corresponding fixture: Arsenal 3 – 3 Norwich (May 2012)
- Arsenal Last 5: WLWWW
- Norwich Last 5: LDDLD
The Gunners are in some pretty good form with 3 wins on the trot and have their eye on a likely 4th spot if they continue this run of form. Norwich on the other hand has done well to keep themselves above the drop zone, but 1 win and 11 goals scored in their last 15 doesn’t read well and they could well do with a few more points to ensure they stay up. Norwich is one of those sides that can take points and a few wins without dominating possession or passing with great effectiveness. Their last game against Swansea at home saw them with 34.7% possession and 67.7% passing accuracy but they managed to score twice to draw 2-2. Swansea play a similar passing/possession type game to Arsenal so Norwich won’t be too worried about holding onto the ball so they’ll look for the counter and the opportunities at set pieces. We can’t underestimate Norwich against the big teams with wins against Arsenal and Manchester United as well as narrowly losing to Manchester City showing they can mix it with the best. They’ll certainly take it up to Arsenal here but we can’t go past the Gunner’s given their good run of recent form.
Predicted result: Arsenal 3-2
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.58
Newcastle ($1.97) Versus Sunderland ($4.4), Draw ($3.6)
- Last corresponding fixture: Newcastle 1 – 1 Sunderland (March 2012)
- Newcastle Last 5: LWLLW
- Sunderland Last 5: DLDLL
Newcastle has now won their last 4 games at home thanks to a last minute winner from Cisse last time out against Fulham. It’s the perfect preparation before hosting rivals Sunderland who have a new manager and are precariously close to being in the drop zone. If they don’t get a point this weekend, the pressure will continue to mount on their survival efforts. They played pretty well against Chelsea to miss out on a point but there were some good signs there. Newcastle haven’t lost their last 4 against Sunderland at home so Sunderland has a lot of work to do if they are to get the 3 points here as Newcastle just seem to be able to get out of trouble every single time when they play at home lately. Newcastle should get the win (Despite their Thursday Europa League clash with Benfica) here given that they’ll want to heap the pressure on a struggling Sunderland side that could quite easily be relegated by seasons end.
Predicted result: Newcastle 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.99
Stoke ($6.4) Versus Manchester United ($1.63), Draw ($4)
- Last corresponding fixture: Stoke 1 – 1 Manchester United (September 2011)
- Stoke Last 5: LLDLL
- Manchester United Last 5: WWWWL
It’s hard to see how Stoke can even manage a point here when they host a Manchester United side looking to bounce back after their derby loss to Manchester City. Stoke has only won once in their last 13 whilst conceding 26 goals, so it’s been a horror run after looking very strong in the first half of the season. They seem to have lost a lot of confidence and their style of play is predictable in that they just don’t have enough creative players to supply their forwards. United should get across the line here pretty easily to confirm their league dominance and at $1.63, that’s pretty good value for a win.
Predicted result: Manchester United 2-0
Best Bet: Manchester United for the halftime/fulltime double at $2.54
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