Premier League Betting Preview: Top Five Weekend Bets

Another weekend in the Premier League, another huge Sunday as four of the top six lock horns over the course of what may be a pivotal few hours in the race for the title and Champions League qualification places. The team currently placed fifth, Everton, make their move on Monday when they will be the first opponents in the Premier League management career of new Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, who replaced the deposed Nigel Adkins in highly controversial circumstances yesterday.

Adkins can regard himself extremely hard done by to have been sacked less than 48 hours after taking a point at the home of the champions of Europe, and on a wider scale being the architect for the revival of one of this country’s iconic football clubs. The Liverpudlian dragged the South Coast club up from their knees and back to the division in which the club feel they belong.

His successor Pochettino will therefore arrive at St. Mary’s amidst hostility from all angles, though his recent top-level playing reputation and good record at his previous job as boss of Espanyol may arguably provide the Saints with more clout, both commercially and in the transfer window, than Adkins could ever have provided. That is no substitute for success on the pitch, however, and the Argentine may well struggle initially to impose his fresh ideas on the Saints players. For that reason, Everton, who seem to have finally mastered the art of keeping a clean sheet, can complete a trio of Sunday and Monday away wins.

Manchester United can be heartened by the unfortunate news of Sandro’s abscence for the remainder of Tottenham’s season. The beefy Brazilian has been a rock in the heart of the Spurs midfield in this midfield and Andre Villas-Boas’s men will be weakened in his abscence, especially with likely replacements Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone undercooked.

A defensive steel is steadily returning to United’s play, and returning ex-Lilywhite Michael Carrick, along with partner-in-crime Tom Cleverly can overpower a Sandro-less Spurs if they replicate their performance from last week’s victory over Liverpool. Or the first 60 minutes of it, at least.

Arsenal are a value bet to claim a second successive victory at Stamford Bridge against stricken Chelsea. Home victories are fast becoming a collectors item for Blues fans, with the midweek Southampton draw surely sealing their title fate. Even if the West London club win all of their remaining league games – which they almost certainly won’t – they will finish the season on 90 points. United finished second last season on 89 points, and that was an inferior model to the one that can now boast the irrespressible Robin van Persie in their ranks season.

The flying Dutchman destroyed Chelsea in an Arsenal shirt last season and of course won’t be available to the Gunners tomorrow, yet Jack Wilshere is returning to his best and Theo Walcott has the pace to trouble a ponderous Chelsea defence that are shipping too many goals of late. Laurent Koscielny will be a miss, but Arsene Wenger has the defensive strength in depth and can be pleased by his side’s character in returning to winning ways against Swansea in the week after their non-match against Man City last weekend.

It’s been two months since freefalling Wigan last won at the DW Stadium, and improving Sunderland can extend the Latics’ home misery by picking up at least a point today. The Fletcher-Johnson-Sessegnon trident is finally starting to show its obvious sparkle and if captain John O’Shea can overcome a late fitness test then that can be even more of a boost for Martin O’Neill and company.

Five of the last seven matches between West Brom and Aston Villa have finished in a 2-1 scoreline and the Baggies can oblige in that respect again tonight. Villa’s problems are well-documented but they do score regularly on the road – its just the other end which is the issue.

Steve Clarke has enjoyed seven wins already at the Hawthorns this season in the league, and in-form Romelu Lukaku can propel his boys to victory number eight against their Midlands rivals. Place your bet in a Coral shop if you can, ask they are refunding stakes on losing correct score bets on televised games if the actual scoreline is the reverse i.e. if Villa win 2-1 you would get your money back.

 

TOP FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE BETS

1) Everton to beat Southampton 21/20 (William Hill)
2) Manchester United to beat Tottenham 6/4 (BetVictor)
3) Arsenal to beat Chelsea 10/3 (Betfred)
4) Sunderland 0 (Asian Handicap) 15/8 (188Bet)
5) West Brom to beat Aston Villa 2-1 7/1 (Coral)

 

Elsewhere in the Premier League this season, Daniel Sturridge aims to build on his positive start for Liverpool in his home debut against Norwich today. His former club Manchester City can close the gap on their bitter title rivals United today with a home win against struggling Fulham.

Michael Laudrup and Tony Pulis will no doubt have plenty of chances to discuss the future of Kenwyne Jones when Swansea and Stoke meet at the Liberty meet at the Liberty today, while QPR fans will get their first opportunity to see new star signing Loic Remy in action against West Ham in a Loftus Road London derby.

The club Remy jilted meanwhile, Newcastle, host a Reading side with their tails up after an unlikely comeback victory over West Brom late last Saturday.

 

Written by Emelie Okeke

Follow him on Twitter @Emelie_Okeke

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Premier League Betting Preview: The First Top 5 Bets of 2013

And a happy new year to you, too.

Weary and bleary-eyed (and that’s just the players) we stumble into the fourth full Premier League matchday in the space of just ten days, and the first of 2013. Three points will be crucial in the eyes of many managers seeing as the Prem ratrace gets put to the back-burner after tomorrow till the middle of the month as the FA Cup and transfer window comes to the fore.

First off, Manchester United look the ideal bet to carry on their winning assault on the title at the DW Stadium today, and with Nemanja Vidic inching towards full fitness and instrumental in orchestrating a rare clean sheet for the league leaders against West Brom on Saturday, it may well be a profitable strategy to fall on the side of the Red Devils scoring unanswered in the second half of the season a lot more often than they did in the first half.

Wigan equipped themselves superbly in their dismantling of Aston Villa at the weekend, a result not foreseen by yours truly, but the Latics have struggled to score against the top teams at home this season whilst shipping them in at the other end, and today may be a similar story. Arsenal have rediscovered the joy of scoring as of recent, but look a tad short in the win market away to Southampton in the evening fixture.

A better option would be to stick with Theo Walcott to score anytime against the club where it all began for him. The England man has revelled in his new centre-forward of late, rounding off 2012 with a hat-trick against Newcastle, and may inflict further misery on his former employers who may get jaded late on following their gargantuan efforts at the Britannia Stadium last Saturday.

With Arsenal being just one of several odds-on shots in this midweek matchday, it is difficult to find value bets so a better strategy may well to be stick with the tried and tested. They don’t come more tried and tested than backing both teams to score in an Everton match, as anyone who reads this column regularly knows, and with the opponents being vulnerable Newcastle albeit at what will be a vociferous St. James’ Park, expect the bet to oblige yet again.

That match is the live televised fixture tomorrow evening, and simultaneously there will be another meeting of Mersey and North-East minds when Sunderland visit Liverpool. The Mackems are slowly and surely beginning to click into gear under the wile and guile of Martin O’Neill, and can at the very least avoid a heavy defeat at Anfield.

Manchester City got off the blocks quicker than Usain Bolt with a Visa credit card against Norwich on Saturday, with Edin Dzeko firing his side to a 2-0 lead inside less than five minutes. That scenario has been more anomaly than norm over the course of the season, and with a disciplined Stoke City side arriving at the Etihad this afternoon boosted by the return of key defenders Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron from suspensions, City may well have to play their usual waiting game followed by a possible late show.

 

TOP FIVE BETS

1) Manchester United to beat Wigan to nil 12/5 CORAL
2) Southampton vs. Arsenal Theo Walcott to score anytime 11/8 BETVICTOR
3) Newcastle vs. Everton Both teams to score 4/6 LADBROKES
4) Sunderland +1.5 Handicap to beat Liverpool 5/6 PINNACLEBET
5) Man City vs. Stoke 2nd Half Highest Scoring Half 6/5 WILLIAM HILL

 

Elsewhere, crisis club Aston Villa face a tough task in arresting the slide in the shape of a trip to the Liberty Stadium to play in-form Swansea today, while in the early fixture West Brom and Fulham fans can bask in the enjoyment of watching their respective clubs face each other whilst nursing a new year’s hangover.

A Bale-less Tottenham should still be good enough for three points when entertaining Reading today, and across the capital West Ham will be eager for the same amount from their battle with Norwich in order to ease the anxious looks over their shoulder towards the relegation zone of the table.

Lastly, there is a good old-fashioned West London derby tomorrow evening when Harry Redknapp takes his beleaguered Hoops to Stamford Bridge. It will be interesting to see whether Chelsea or QPR, two clubs expected to be very busy in the transfer market this month, have any new faces in tow in time for their clash. We shall see.

 

Written by Emelie Okeke

Follow him on Twitter @Emelie_Okeke

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