It was an absolutely incredible weekend of football that saw 42 goals hit the back of the net. We have some mid-week catch up games to be played this week with 3 starting Wednesday Morning all of which are looking to be great contests. First up is Arsenal taking on Swansea in a game they’ll be hoping to rectify their problems they encountered at Chelsea on the Saturday night where they repeated their efforts against Liverpool and were rightly thumped 6-0. It’ll be interesting to see how Swansea approach this as on their day they can be a formidable opponent with Bony and Michu up front. Then there’s the big one in the form of the Manchester derby. With Man Utd getting another win on the weekend it’s certainly shaping up to be a bit more of a contest if they can continue to perform although Manchester City are cruising again after a 5-0 win over Fulham. Then we have the meeting between Newcastle and Everton with the result being crucial to Everton’s slim chances of a top 4 spot but perhaps more likely a top 5 spot where they’ll be hoping to push Tottenham out of the Europa league for next season.
Odds from Betfair as at 24/3/2014
Arsenal ($1.47) versus Swansea ($8.2), Draw ($4.7)
It was another tough day for Arsenal being 2-0 down in 7 minutes soon followed by a red card on 15 minutes, albeit mistaken identity, and then 4-0 down at half time. Even before the 3rd goal was struck you could tell it was going to be a long afternoon for Arsenal. With tough fixtures coming up against Manchester City and Everton after this one, they could well find themselves remaining in 4th spot by the time May rolls around. In a worst case scenario they could slip from the top 4 if they get a roll of bad results going but then that’s just me as a wishful thinking Tottenham fan. When they were beaten by Liverpool away in that exhibition of perfect football you had to wonder how they’d perform after that. They played Man United after that in a 0-0 draw followed then by a 4-1 thumping of Sunderland at home. The United game was a tough fixture and perhaps negated by both sides lack of ambition to create chances. I’m sure they’ll bounce back here a bit stronger though they should be wary of a Swansea side that needs a few more points to ensure survival. They had a tight 3-2 loss away to Everton on the weekend which is a strong result as it’s one of the toughest places to play in the league. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to get the win but I do feel they have potential to be troublesome. They made Manchester City earn it when they lost 3-2 at the Etihad and earlier in the season went down by a goal at home to Arsenal. Still feel Arsenal will bounce back but as you’ve seen on the weekend, anything can happen.
Predicted result: Arsenal 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.81
Best Bet Confidence: 70%
Manchester United ($3.55) versus Manchester City ($2.2), Draw ($3.7)
The context of this game isn’t as big as it could have been if Manchester United were also in the hunt for a top 4 spot but there is still plenty to play for in a derby. Both sides had good wins on the weekend with Manchester United getting a well-earned draw at West Ham whilst Manchester City dealt with Fulham how they would any side at the Etihad beating them 5-0 inclusive of a Toure Hat trick. It’ll be interesting to see how well United can compete here with a sense that there is a small amount of momentum creeping in with 2 wins in a row from their Olympiakos win to their West Ham win.
The result here comes down to three key players for me – Van Persie out, Kompany in, and Mata playing centrally. Van Persie’s injury was a massive blow given he found some form against Olympiakos and although Rooney led the charge against West Ham with two goals, it does put a bit of a burden on him as well. If there’s one positive about it though it does allow Mata to play more centrally which is really where he should always play. For me United are a better side with Mata playing centrally and an RVP/Rooney in front with his ability to unlock defences as well as score himself his best assets. If they go in with the same approach here they have every chance of getting something from the game. City on the other hand will welcome back Kompany from suspension having missed the Fulham game and given his influence in defence and the side as a whole he could well be the key to City at least not losing this one.
City are certainly the stronger looking side though I do fancy United to put in a strong contest and at the very least to be competitive. I have question marks over United’s defence which in the end gives a slight edge to City but with Mata playing centrally it could well be his time to really start shining for United.
Predicted result: Draw 2-2 – Not overly confident on the result here but can see this being an open game.
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.6
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
Newcastle ($3.6) versus Everton ($2.26), Draw ($3.45)
Both sides registered home wins over the weekend against competitive opponents with Newcastle beating Palace and Everton beating Swansea. The last time these two played it was an Everton win which ended 3-2 from a fast finishing Newcastle where Everton were in control at half time 3-0 up. I think we’ll have a close game here again with Newcastle looking for an 8th home win of the season whilst Everton are harbouring ambitions of a top 5 place as they chase Tottenham with two games in hand and just 2 points behind. A win here will give them a mental boost over Spurs as they’ll jump into 5th at least until this weekend’s fixtures. Everton have been a bit patchy away from home this season and although they’ve only lost 4 times on the road they have also managed 6 draws which whilst it at least shows they are competitive away from home they perhaps lack some killer instinct when not playing at home. They also lost their last 3 away and haven’t won away since 22nd of Dec when they beat Swansea 2-1. Everton are certainly the stronger side but Newcastle aren’t always easily beaten and they have a pretty good home record so for me I’m going to go with Newcastle to grind out a draw.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.74
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
West Ham ($2.42) versus Hull ($3.4), Draw ($3.3)
West Ham suffered a 2-0 loss to Manchester United on the weekend whilst their opponents for their Thursday morning fixture had a solid 2-0 win over West Brom at home. The Hammers have struggled to get a result over their past 3 games and will be looking to end their current 3 game losing streak with at least a draw here. Perhaps more positively though is that prior to the Manchester United defeat they did win their previous 3 games at home against Southampton, Norwich, and Swansea. Looking at Hull in comparison they have only won 3 of their last 6 however for a team that only has 3 wins away for the season, 2 of them have come in their past 6 games. It’s clear this Hull side have been improving as the season goes on and they are generally tough to score against as well. Their past 8 games they’ve only conceded 9 times which is about on par with their average goals against for the season (1.23). Both sides look pretty safe from relegation though they would still want a few more points to guarantee survival. I think this will be a pretty even contest and although West Ham have the home advantage I can see Hull fighting well enough for a draw here.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.68
Best Bet Confidence: 80%
Liverpool ($1.18) versus Sunderland ($20), Draw ($9.4)
It’s hard to think anything other than a Liverpool win here. Even when they look shaky at the back, you know they have the firepower to keep winning games so for the moment at least it’s somewhat irrelevant how many goals they end up conceding because they seem to be able to score double or more than what they concede. Also the only way they won’t have a chance of winning the title this season really just looks to be if they cope a double injury blow to Suarez and Sturridge who’ve scored 50 from 82 of the team’s league goals this season. For Sunderland they really can’t afford to get smashed here so they’ll be looking to keep the game tight. They have a couple of games in hand sitting in 18th but if they get a hiding here their morale could hit rock bottom and those games in hand will really mean nothing. They’ve also scored only once in their past 4 games and whilst I’m sure they’ll know they can score against a Liverpool side prone to conceding at times, their real issue is how to stop Suarez and Sturridge. If they can somehow get a win here at Anfield it will be one of the upsets of the season!
Predicted result: Liverpool 4-1
Best Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $2.02
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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