After a bit of a gap due to the FA Cup games last weekend, we return to the most interesting title race in years! Leicester face Norwich in what is a must win should they remain in the race, while Arsenal travel to Man Utd and Spurs host Swansea. All three are expected to win, playing teams out of form, and in Man Utd’s case – very low on numbers!
Because of the Capital One Cup final between Man City and Liverpool – Newcastle and Everton don’t feature this weekend, but return on Tuesday/Wednesday for a set of midweek fixtures. These next two games should really separate the men from the boys. Here is my view on the 8 games this weekend:
West Ham vs Sunderland (1245, Saturday)
West Ham are gaining form, and since the return of the King (Payet) they have improved even more so. They are unbeaten in 12 at home, and playing a Sunderland team who are unsure what defending is – I think they will win easily. Sunderland have lost 9 of their 13 away games, and have conceded an alarming amount. They pose a threat on the attack with the likes of Lens and Defoe, but weather they can score more than they concede is another matter. Handicaps are not something I’ve considered for this one as West Ham are good at 1 goal wins. Top tip for this one is West Ham to Win @ 4/5
Leicester vs Norwich (1500, Saturday)
This is a big chance for Leicester to pick up an easy 3 points, with Tottenham and Arsenal facing tougher challenges. Their home form has not been amazing of late, with a few draws and losses mixed in with 5 wins – but against a Norwich side who have lost 4 in row away from home, and look devoid of confidence – I can see Vardy and co licking their lips. Norwich are a wounded deer, limping. A goal early on will finish them, and although they do score a few, Leicester have tightened their belts recently and are keeping more clean sheets.
Mahrez and Vardy to have a field day – Leicester -1 Goal Asian Handicap @ 17/20
Southampton vs Chelsea (1500, Saturday)
This is a potential 0-0’er, with Southampton on a run of 6 consecutive clean sheets. The return of Fraser Forster has been no coincidence – he has been fantastic, while the back 3/5 of Van Dijk, Fonte and co have also been brilliant. Chelsea however are coming in off the back of a 5-1 smashing of Man City’s reserves, and with Willian looking on fire – but the back four still questionable, I see BTTS @ 10/11 as the best bet on offer. Both teams have picked up their game of late, and I think it will show tomorrow.
Stoke vs Aston Villa (1500, Saturday)
Stoke are very unpredictable, much like a few of their schemers like Shaqiri and Bojan. One game brilliant, the next invisible. They are playing an Aston Villa side without an away win since the first game of the season, and including all competitions – they have lost 10/14 since. So, void of confidence and form, playing a team who on their day can beat anyone. In those 10 losses, they have conceded 2+ in all of them, and of late they have been getting worse, trounced 6-0 by Liverpool the other week.
For me, Stoke Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 1/1 is the value bet.
Watford vs Bournemouth (1500, Saturday)
The battle of the best of the promoted clubs. Both are in good form (Bournemouth away at least, with 3 wins in their last 4 games), with Watford winning 6 of their last 10 at home, and taking points from the likes of Chelsea. Bournemouth may have lost 3 in a row, but away at least as mentioned have been good of late. With both fairly safe in the knowledge that Newcastle, Sunderland, Villa and Norwich are all so poor at the moment, it may loosen them up a bit and give us a good game. Over 2.5 Goals @ 5/4 my best tip for it.
West Brom vs Crystal Palace (1730, Saturday)
WBA have picked up their game of late, and also picked up points to pull away from the relegation scrap going on. For me the best bet for this is BTTS @ 1/1 – WBA have managed it in 8 of their last 10 games at home, while Pardew’s Palace have dropped off a cliff recently – so many losses and performing dreadfully. Both will see it as a chance to get 3 points, and with Palace also holding a BTTS record of 6 in their last 10 away – I think it might not be as dull as people are predicting.
Man Utd vs Arsenal (1405, Sunday)
Both played in midweek, but Man Utd played 2 days later and ended up with Anthony Martial injured to add to the other dozen or more already out. Smalling might not feature, and although the likes of Rashford and Riley did a great job against 2nd rate opposition – Arsenal are a different kettle of fish. Very strong back four, as well as the Assist King Mesut Ozil in midfield, and then the pacey options of Sanchez, Welbeck, Walcott and Campbell in attack.
Arsenal Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 13/8 is my top pick.
Tottenham vs Swansea (14.05, Sunday)
In the last of the weekends’ games – Spurs entertain Swansea. Now, Swansea have been better of late, but against a Spurs side that is great at the back, creative in the middle and a Harry Kane in attack – I can’t see them scoring, yet alone getting a point. Kane missed the Fiorentina game with a broken nose, but should feature with a mask of some sort. Fitness might be an issue, but with rotation happening over the last few weeks, and the strength of their squad anyway – I think Spurs will Win to Nil @ 11/10
Of those 8 – here is my top 4 for an accumulator:
- WBA-Palace BTTS @ 1/1
- Stoke Over 1.5 Team Goals @ 1/1
- Leicester -1 Asian Handicap @ 17/20
- West Ham Win @ 4/5
Not the biggest, but a 12/1 bet all the same. The Arsenal game is very tempting, but you never know which Man Utd will turn up, and if the fearless youngsters play it could be one of those games to look back on in years to come, equally – Arsenal could splatter them and win 4-0.
Good luck with all weekend bets!