Seven Premier League matches this weekend, with Manchester City and Chelsea both in action as the race for the title goes down to the wire…
Manchester City v Southampton
Every game counts now for City, with Liverpool in great form and Cty having to go to Anfield they cannot afford to slip up. Southampton, with their raft of young British talent, is not an easy game either and Jay Rodriguez has five goals in his last four games. I fancy goals in this game, as do not expect Southampton to sit back. Manchester Cty are 1/3 outright, not much being given away there,so look at the goals markets for speculative alternatives. My eye is drawn to over 4/5 goals at 14/5 with Sportingbet
Aston Villa v Fulham
Time is running out for Felix Magath and Fulham. They have won just one of their last 12 Premier League away games and in six games remaining have Nrwich, Palace and Hull to play. Real six-pointers! Aston Villa are inconsistent, and can flatter to deceive. Predicting wether the side that struggles at home or the one that beats Chelsea and tears teams apart with the pace of Weimann and Agbonlahor playing off Benteke is tough
All that said the most sensible option here has to be to expect Aston Villa to win and 19/20 with BetVictor looks a reasonable price for a home game against a bottom of the table side.
Cardiff City v Crystal Palace
Both teams are in the bottom five but the pressure is really on Cardiff, three points adrift of safety and five points off Crystal Palace after Palace’s excellent win versus Chelsea. Tony Pulis sides away from home in the Premier League set up not to lose first and foremost and have produced successful results with both Stoke and Palace with this approach. Palace have only conceded three goals in their past five games and don’t see a lot of goals in this game.
Cardiff will go for it, Palace will resist and at 11/5 generally the draw is a very short price by Premier League betting standards. Under 2.5 goals at 4/6 is also widely expected and I wouldn’t argue. However I will take a chance on Crystal Palace at 2/1 with Stan James, to carry on the momentum from the Chelsea game and virtually secure top flight football for next season
Hull City v Swansea City
Swansea have not won back to back Premier League games since December 2012, and eased slight relegation concerns with a facile win over abject Norwich last time out. Hull have lost four of their last five Premier League matches (W1 L4) and won only one of the last six on home soil (W1 D1 L4), and Steve Bruce has already been talking about next week’s FA Cup Semi final at Wembley. Slightly odd, that, if it alters the players focus on this game. With Swansea inconsistent and Hull in poor form, the percentage play her appears to be the draw at 23/10 Ladbrokes
Newcastle v Manchester United
Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last six Barclays Premier League appearances and United have some semblance of form coming into the game with a tactically aware performance against Bayern and wins against non-top six sides in the Premier League in the last month.
Whilst they may not be competitive against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool when not content just to play as they did against Bayern, prices around even money, with BetVictor, to go to Newcastle and win seem decent value
Newcastle United have failed to score in 10 of their last 14 Premier League games, and will be desperately hoping 13 goal Loic Remy is finally back. He is apparently close to full fitness. However the away team at evens is the bet here
Norwich v West Brom
Norwich City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League home games (W3 D3), keeping five clean sheets and conceding just one goal in that run. Just as well, as on the evidence of their performance at Swansea they are going to beed their home form and their current six point advantage over the bottom three.
West Brom have issues, the Cardiff Cty last gasp equaliser last weekend was a huge blow and according to reports there has been significant unrest in the dressing room after and since. I would not be hugely expectant that a foreign manager new to the league would be best placed to sort out these simmering tensions and will be looking to back Norwich here at 29/20 BetVictor
Chelsea v Stoke
“I do not have strikers of the quality to play in these games”. Ouch. So said Mourinho after the PSG game, played by Chelsea with a false number nine. Their loss in Paris is also after losing three of their last five games in the League, on occasions showing a characteristic most unlike a Mourinho team, a lack of fight. Now, Stoke City at home, not the ideal opponent for a team lacking some mettle.
That said, Chelsea’s home league record is so good and until the Aston Villa game Stoke’s league away record so bad that it would be a major surprise if Chelsea were not to win here, and keep their hopes of the title alive. Chelsea are 2/7 outright and I prefer looking at Eden Hazard first goal-scorer at 13/2 with Corals. After all, when we look at the three strikers priced below him in the market, your guess is as good as mine over which will play