This week’s Premier League ties have huge ramifications at both the top and the bottom of the league table. Arsenal and Manchester City will be looking to pull away from Manchester United and West Ham who do not play in the league this weekend. North East clubs Sunderland and Newcastle will be looking to pile pressure on relegation rivals Norwich who again are absent from the fixture this weekend. And finally of course Leicester City will want to take one step closer towards the title; but of course Spurs will be hot on their heels, waiting for them to slip up
Manchester City vs. Stoke City
First up is the lunchtime game between Manchester City against Stoke City with the home team desperate for a victory after dropping points against Newcastle. Manchester City will be feeling the breath of the teams behind them and with Pep Guardiola arriving in the summer they want to provide him Champions League football. Stoke were completely outplayed on Monday by Spurs and with little to play for compared to City I can see this only going one way.
I think Man City will win but I believe they will do it whilst resting star players for the home leg against Real Madrid on Tuesday; so don’t expect to see Sergio Aguero. I think City will win 2-0 against Stoke and you can get 5/1 on that score.
AFC Bournemouth vs Chelsea
Onto the 3pm kick offs. Bournemouth will fancy their chances at home to current champions Chelsea and considering how dire the Blues looked last Saturday I am going to jump on the Cherries bandwagon, why not? A Bournemouth victory is priced at 19/10. I nice little difference maker in an accumulator.
Aston Villa vs Southampton
Southampton visit an already relegation Aston Villa and frankly the result only going one way. Southampton to win to nil is 5/4 but if you are looking for some value then maybe back a 3-0 victory at 9/1.
Liverpool vs Newcastle United
The final 3pm kick off this week is the Rafa Benitez derby, I called it that! One of Liverpool’s most successful ever managers is return with his Newcastle side hoping to not be overawed by the situation and nick a win. Newcastle played well against Manchester City on Tuesday and were unlucky not to win. Liverpool however were successful midweek against Everton and barely broke a sweat in the second half so I can see Liverpool edging this game. This tie has had the most goals in Premier League history and I can that continuing this weekend so I would back over 3.5 goals @ 6/4 or Liverpool to win and both teams to score @ 2/1.
Sunderland vs Arsenal
The next day brings us games that will affect both the top and the bottom of the league. The first game is Arsenal away to Sunderland, a game that both need to win for different reasons. Despite Thursday’s routine win over West Brom, Arsenal will still be looking over their shoulder at the teams behind them in pursuit of a Champions League spot for next year. Sunderland on the other hand are fighting with Norwich City and arch-rivals Newcastle to remain a Premier League club. Two of these three teams will go down and the Black Cats will be eager to make sure they are the one team to survive. This situation makes me believe that Sunderland will give Arsenal a tough game and knowing Sam Allardyce will set up his team to frustrate the Gunners. For this reason I think it’ll be a low scoring affair so look for odds on Under 2.5 Goals (evens) and possibly a 2-0 away win @ 8/1.
Leicester City vs Swansea
Now it is time for Sunday’s the main event. After slipping up slightly against West Ham, Leicester will be looking to get back on track on send a message to title rivals Spurs that they will not be caught. Their opponents are giant-killers Swansea. Swansea have a decent record against so-called bigger sides but Sunday might be their biggest test in front of a pumped up Leicester City crowd. Swansea haven’t anything to play for whereas Leicester have everything to play for and it is in their own hands. I believe despite the absence of Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, the Foxes will have enough to win through. Back Leicester to win and both teams to score @ 16/5 and for those after value Leicester 2-1 is priced at 15/2.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Brom
Last and of course not least are Leicester’s title rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. If the Foxes do win on Sunday that’ll mean the gap at the top will be extended to 8 points which might phase most teams, but not this Tottenham side. Time and time again pundits, fans and so-called experts have said Spurs could crack under the pressure but each time the North London side prove them wrong. West Brom will not have enjoyed Thursday’s tie with Arsenal and their visit to London could only get worse. After watching Spurs away to Stoke last week it’s easy to see that this young side are not only patient but ruthless; they don’t stop at a two goal lead. This leads to think that Spurs could win here very comfortably and I suggest a (-2) handicap @ 7/4 .
A £10 bet on my above team selections of Man City, Bournemouth, Southampton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester and Spurs just to win, handicaps, no specials pays £761.30! Visit the Betfect website to place your bets.
Good luck with all your bets, speak to you soon.
(images: Guardian/Daily Mail/Sky Sports/tottenhamhotspur.com)