That my attentions on Saturday were directed toward Spurs victory over Crystal Palace said it all. United simply aren’t worth watching at the moment, and they’re certainly not worth betting your hard-earned cash on. Unless of course, you’re laying them with some clueless rube.
Tuesday 2 February
Forget about betting on the FA Cup this weekend. You’ve got a better chance of understanding the new Super Rugby format than landing a bet in that god-forsaken competition. We’re all about the Premier League here, with a bumper schedule of midweek matches to look forward to, starting with Southampton’s trip to the Emirates. The Saints gave the Gunners an absolute hiding over the festive period, running out 4-0 winners at St Mary’s. Those wounds will still be fresh, as will those inflicted by Chelsea at the weekend. Wenger’s have now failed to win in their last three league matches, while the Saints are on a three-match winning streak. They’ve also managed to keep three clean sheets during that period. Arsenal are too short for my liking. I’d rather have a stab at the Saints Double Chance at 9/10.
Leicester recovered from their festive season stumble in fine style, dispatching Stoke to return to the top of the table. Next up for them is Liverpool, who snuck a 1-0 victory at Anfield just over a month ago. The Reds’ result at the weekend was a far-cry from that edgy affair, as they served up a nine-goal thriller at Carrow Road. It was one of those freakish matches that simply cannot be explained. Ten shots at goal produced nine goals, helped in no small part by Simon Mignolet’s general lack of ability. These two results show the inconsistency the Reds are capable of. From sublime to second-rate at the flick of a switch. Which side will we get on Tuesday? You never can tell. Leicester will be well rested, while Liverpool will be playing their third match within a week. With that in mind, there has to be value in backing a home win at 31/20.
Let’s just take a moment to discuss Dele Alli’s wondergoal against Crystal Palace. The control. The vision. The nerve to actually execute during a high-profile Premier League match. This lad is only 19-years-old. Good lord. With Alli in their side, Spurs are capable of most things. They should have no issue seeing off Norwich on Tuesday evening. The Canaries are in disarray. They may count themselves unlucky to score four at home and fail to gain at least a point, but that is to overlook certain aspects in their make-up. They’ve now conceded 14 goals in their last four Premier League games. Harry Kane and co will have a field day. Back the away Win and Over 2.5 Goals at 18/10, sit back and watch the goals fly in.
Manchester City 5/10
Manchester City really should be waltzing their way to the league title. The Citizen’s have far and away the best squad in the league, but for some reason they are unable to string a run of victories together. Much of that has to do with their away form. Their frailties were once again apparent in the draw at Boleyn Ground, with Vincent Kompany’s absence once again proving crucial. However, at the opposite end of the pitch, Sergio Aguero was superb and might’ve had a hat-trick had an audacious lob gone in. Their next opponents, Sunderland, remain firmly in the bottom three. Big Sam has attempted to bolster their squad with a number of signings, but the quality of the players brought in remains questionable. The gulf in class showed as City ran out 4-1 winners in the reverse fixture. It will show again, with City tipped for a comfortable win.
West Ham 8/10
Aston Villa 36/10
West Ham might’ve taken all three points against City as a Cheikhou Kouyaté header rattled the crossbar with the final touch of the game. The Hammers, reinvigorated by the return of Dimitri Payet, have rediscovered their early season swagger. They once again look capable of challenging for a Europa League spot. Next up for them is Aston Villa, who are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions. They had the better chances in their draw with West Brom, but failure to convert has left them 10 points adrift of safety. It’s an issue that has plagued them all season, with just 18 goals scored in their 23 matches. Their unbeaten run looks set to come to an end here, with the 8/10 available for the home win looking a good price.
Crystal Palace 27/20
Crystal Palace finally managed a Premier League goal against Spurs, but that was as good as it got for the Eagles as they crashed to another defeat. It’s now four Premier League defeats on the trot, and six without a win. That run has seen them drop from fifth to 11th on the table. In contrast, their opponents on Tuesday, Bournemouth, continue to impress in their debut Premier League season. They’ve lost just twice in their last nine matches, including away wins at Chelsea and West Brom. Benik Afobe looks a good signing and will offer them some much-needed guile up front. Form suggests an away win is a runner, and at 21/10 it looks another decent wager.
Manchester United 7/10
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West Brom 31/20
Consecutive victories over Watford and Everton have eased the pressure on Swansea, but they aren’t out of the woods yet. Just four points above the drop zone, Francesco Guidolin, has his work cut out for him if they’re to stay up. Integral to their hopes is the future of Andre Ayew, who has been strongly linked with relegation rivals Sunderland. The Ghana international has been one of the few bright points of a fairly forgettable campaign. Tuesday’s visit to the Hawthorns provides another opportunity for three points. The Baggies have been terrible in recent weeks, struggling past Bristol City in the FA Cup before getting thumped at Southampton. I’ve made my thoughts known on Tony Pulis and his poor excuse for a football team. New manager syndrome to lift Swansea to victory? It’s available at 2/1.
Wednesday 3 February
What to make of Everton? The Toffees currently reside in the bottom half of the table and have won just three home matches all season. Yet Roberto Martinez remains assured of his position, despite his side’s failings. They were once again apparent in their defeat to Swansea, with John Stones contributing to their downfall along with the aging Tim Howard. Next up for them is Newcastle, who followed a victory over West Ham with defeat to Watford. Results like those make any sort of form line hard to follow. Instead, I’ll be following the goals. No side’s matches have seen more goals than Everton. Back Both Teams To Score at 7/10 or Over 2.5 Goals at 13/20.
Few sides are as infuriating to watch as Chelsea. Despite being in the midst of their worst season since they changed their history, the Blues completed the double over Arsenal thanks in no small part to Diego Costa’s contribution. The Premier League’s No 1 villain was up to his dastardly tricks again at the Emirates, before slotting home the winner. The victory moved them up to 13th, still four points behind Wednesday’s opponent, Watford. Odion Ighalo was back in the goals as the Hornets returned to winning ways at the weekend. The two sides played to an entertaining 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge and one gets the feeling this fixture will follow suit. Both Teams To Score is available at just under evens, which looks another solid punt.
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