The Premier League is certainly getting more and more exciting as the season starts to draw to a close. There’s still plenty of action around the relegation zone with a number of sides in trouble with Stoke and Wigan looking the most likely at this stage with Sunderland and Aston Villa not out of it yet. At the top of the table the title is decided albeit for a horror run of losses for Manchester United whilst the fight for top 4 is intensifying with Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and even Everton all fighting it out for those final spots. Anything can happen in football as they say, so let’s see what happens this weekend.
Best Value Bet: Tottenham versus Manchester City Over 2.5 goals at $1.91 (their last 3 meetings have all been over 2.5 goals)
QPR ($2.28) Versus Stoke ($3.65), Draw ($3.4)
- Last corresponding fixture: QPR 1 – 0 Stoke (May 2012)
- QPR Last 5: WLLDL
- Stoke Last 5: LDLLL
Both sides are coming off a loss and perhaps one side has a lot more to play for given their respective ladder positions. QPR obviously need to win given they are now 10 points from safety whilst Stoke are perhaps in a much more precarious situation as they sit level with Villa and Sunderland on 34 points – both of whom are in much better form. Stoke has one win in 2013 which is the worst record in the league and at this rate they are going to get very close to being relegated. Although they haven’t been winning, QPR has had some pretty good patches of form and plenty of bad luck to go with it. At home against a struggling Stoke team and given it’s still possible for survival, QPR will push very hard here for 3 points as a last effort for survival despite their last 3 games coming against Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool. Watch for Remy with his 4 goals in his last 6 games a standout for QPR.
Predicted Result: QPR 1-0
Best Bet: QPR to win at $2.28
Sunderland ($3.55) Versus Everton ($2.3), Draw ($3.4)
- Last corresponding fixture: Sunderland 1 – 1 Everton
- Sunderland Last 5: LDLLW
- Everton Last 5: WWDWD
Sunderland stunned us all with a fantastic performance to get a 3-0 over rivals Newcastle whilst Di Canio also showed us some passionate goal celebrations. Everton performed very well in their draw against Arsenal mid-week and they now only sit 4 points off top 4, so there is plenty of motivation for them to close off the season strongly. Sunderland is reinvigorated by Di Canio and will view another win and a few draws as more than enough to see them to safety for next season. Sunderland will be pumped and full of confidence after their win over Newcastle away and will come out strong here. We can see a Sunderland win against the odds again, though a draw is most likely for this one.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Double chance Sunderland at $1.65
Swansea ($2.4) Versus Southampton ($3.2), Draw ($3.55)
- Last corresponding fixture: Swansea 3 – 0 Southampton (October 2008)
- Swansea Last 5: WLLLD
- Southampton Last 5: DWWWD
Both sides have done what they needed to do this season and that is survive and look towards another year in the EPL. Swansea has lost their last two at home to Arsenal and Tottenham but had won their previous 3 against opposition that was perhaps more level to themselves. This should be a pretty open game with neither side too interested in playing for a draw nor worrying too much about results from other games. With that said, Swansea should be able to get the points here with the likes of Michu and Moore in some good form.
Predicted result: Swansea 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.82
West Brom ($2.34) Versus Newcastle ($3.4), Draw ($3.45)
- Last corresponding fixture: West Brom 1 – 3 Newcastle (March 2012)
- West Brom Last 5: LWDLL
- Newcastle Last 5: WLLWL
West Brom hosts a Newcastle side that will be bitterly disappointed to have lost in their last fixture against Sunderland. West Brom has only won twice at home in 2013 whilst Newcastle has only won away once in 2013. The baggies have done their job for the season so perhaps will be playing a bit more for fun and pride more than anything else whilst Newcastle does need a fee more points to make sure they don’t run the risk of dropping (which is unlikely at this stage anyway). The problem Newcastle faces is the mental burden that they only have 8 points of a possible 48 from all of their away games so far. Lately they just seem to not be able to get wins on the road. They may again not get an away win here but they are a good shot at a draw as they’ll want to bounce back strongly having lost at home to Sunderland last week.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Can easily see both teams scoring here at $1.65
West Ham ($2.34) Versus Wigan ($3.4), Draw ($3.45)
- Last corresponding fixture: West Ham 3 – 1 Wigan (November 2010)
- West Ham Last 5: LWDDD
- Wigan Last 5: LWWDL
West Ham is in some really good form considering 2 of their 3 draws have come against top class opposition in Liverpool and Manchester United of which they had every chance of getting the 3 points against United mid-week. Wigan on the other have also been in some pretty good form with 2 wins and a draw from their past 5 relieving some of the relegation pressure that they have. Wigan was a little unlucky to not steal a point from Manchester City during the week where they played some really good football. With the Hammer’s in pretty good form and looking to play out the season strongly they should get the win here despite some fight from Wigan.
Predicted result: West Ham 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.71
Fulham ($5.2) Versus Arsenal ($1.76), Draw ($4)
- Last corresponding fixture: Fulham 2 – 1 Arsenal (Jan 2012)
- Fulham Last 5: WWLDL
- Arsenal Last 5: WWWWD
Fulham will be looking to bounce back from their 3-0 loss to Chelsea where they really should have been a lot more competitive. Their opponents this week have certainly put the runs on the board in terms of results, but their last 3 games could have gone either way. Fulham’s loss to Chelsea was their first in their last 5 league games at home so they have been in some decent form there. Arsenal won’t have it as easy as Chelsea did and it will probably take a wonder goal much like from Luiz to open the scoring here. If Fulham get up in the faces of Arsenal much like Everton did, they’ll have every chance of getting a point here at the very least.
Predicted result: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.69
Norwich ($1.77) Versus Reading ($5.6), Draw ($3.85)
- Last corresponding fixture: Norwich 2 – 1 Reading (Feb 2011)
- Norwich Last 5: DDLDL
- Reading Last 5: LLLLD
Norwich has a very strong record at home this season with only the 3 losses and hosting a Reading side destined for relegation they’ll be confident of a result here. Much like QPR, it’s going to take a miracle for Reading to survive from here and you can already imagine the Reading coaching staff thinking of next season and their plans to gain promotion for next season. Norwich themselves are only 4 points off the drop, so a win here is quite crucial to them to ensure their survival. Reading will show some fight early but expect Norwich to run over the top of them by the final whistle unless young keeper McCarthy repeats his goalkeeping heroics in the same way he did against Liverpool.
Predicted result: Norwich 2-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $2.02 looks good value
Tottenham ($3.35) Versus Manchester City ($2.32), Draw ($3.6)
- Last corresponding fixture: Tottenham 1 – 5 Manchester City (August 2011)
- Tottenham Last 5: WLLWD
- Manchester City Last 5: WLWWW
A very big game here for Spurs which could potentially decide their Champion’s league aspirations for the season. Get a point or a win and it keeps their goal alive, but a loss will surely dent their hopes of making the top 4 with another big game against Chelsea still to come. Their opponents in City have been playing quite a lot of football in the past week with their FA cup tie against Chelsea and their mid-week game against Wigan. City was pushed to the edge by Wigan where they were perhaps pretty lucky to get the 3 points and keep their slim title hopes alive. Spurs will be banking on a City side that could be a tad tired given their hectic schedule whilst Spurs have had a solid few weeks break. If Bale makes a return here from injury it gives them a chance, otherwise it looks like their best could only give them a draw.
Predicted result: Manchester City 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.91. If there is no Bale, Lennon and Defoe then City to win at $2.32 is great value.
Liverpool ($2.2) Versus Chelsea ($3.6), Draw ($3.6)
- Last corresponding fixture: Liverpool 4 – 1 Chelsea (May 2012)
- Liverpool Last 5: WLWDD
- Chelsea Last 5: WWLWW
Liverpool is certainly due for goals given they have been held scoreless in their last 2 games against West Ham and Reading. Liverpool are certainly creating chances thanks largely to a young star in the making by the name of Coutinho and the goal scoring shackles should break for them here against top opposition. Chelsea played well against Fulham to get a good 3-0 win but you can’t always bank on your defenders to score your goals week in week out so Torres and Ba need to step up a little bit here. Liverpool are strong favourites here given they are still creating numerous chances to score and they also hold a strong record over Chelsea in their last 10 where they have only lost twice. Should be a pretty close game but the interesting thing to see is how both sides approach this given that Liverpool won’t make the top 4 and Chelsea are still in the hunt for the top 4. Liverpool should get the win on their home turf.
Predicted result: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.64
Manchester United ($1.26) Versus Aston Villa ($14), Draw ($6.8)
- Last corresponding fixture: Manchester United 4 – 0 Aston Villa (April 2012)
- Man Utd Last 5: WWLWD
- Aston Villa Last 5: WWLWD
The draw against West Ham keeps Manchester City in the title race ever so slightly and this will surely frustrate Ferguson greatly. They’ll still win the title but Ferguson would no doubt like it assured sooner rather than later. Villa has been playing extremely well of late and look to be doing enough to ensure survival. Many have written off and underestimated this Villa side in recent weeks but 10 points of a possible 12 in their last 5 clearly proves they are in some great form. Villa knows more often than not that United will beat them at Old Trafford so won’t be going into this one with a mindset that they’ll get beaten but more so a mindset that they have every chance of a point if they keep playing how they have been. In saying that though, United should be too strong at home despite a spirited Villa side that we can see will cause some problems throughout the game.
Predicted result: Manchester United 3-1
Best Bet: Manchester United for the half/full time double at $1.77
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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