Manchester City’s impeccable start to the season came to an unexpected end last week as they conceded their first goals of the campaign in a 2-1 home defeat to West Ham. The two Manchester clubs lead the way after United’s win at Southampton while the two North East clubs are still without a win and prop up the table.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Hard to beat and winning by the odd goal has long been the Tony Pulis way and his West Bromwich Albion side climbed to mid table last weekend with a win at Midlands rivals Aston Villa. With Saido Berahino seemingly reintegrated into the set-up it should be a comfortable season for Baggies fans and they can grab another three points on Monday night when they welcome Everton.
The Toffees have lost just once this season and are unbeaten away from home in all competitions. It’s been a bright start to the season for Roberto Martinez’s men but I fancy West Brom to win this in front of their home faithful at a standout 2/1.
Manchester City‘s 100% record fell last week and they face a tricky away tie this Saturday as they travel to Tottenham in the early kick-off. Spurs have kick-started their season with a couple of wins and there will be plenty of interest in the 3/1 about the home side. City are 10/11 to win.
West Ham United ended City’s unbeaten run last weekend, climbing to third in the Premier League table as a consequence. Slaven Bilic’s side have won at the Emirates, the Etihad and Anfield this season and if they can start to replicate that form at home they could be set for a great season.
The Hammers welcome Norwich City this weekend and look terrific value at 6/5 to continue their excellent start.
Manchester United should beat struggling Sunderland at 1/4 while Chelsea ought to see off struggling Newcastle United at 4/6 in Saturday’s teatime kick-off. Liverpool are desperately in need of a win and are 4/9 to beat Aston Villa at Anfield.
Leicester City‘s impressive start to the season continued with a hard earned draw at Stoke last time out but the Foxes face a real test of their credentials this Saturday as they welcome Arsenal. A win for the home side would leave them five points ahead of the Gunners in the table and they look terrific value at 3/1. Arsenal are just 5/6 to win.
There’s an attractive looking fixture on the South Coast as Southampton meet Swansea City. Both teams have aspirations of European qualification and this could be an entertaining draw at 12/5. Stoke City sit in the bottom three after a poor start but can get their season up and running with a win over Bournemouth at 13/8.
There’s just one match on Sunday this week and it sees Watford take on Crystal Palace. Promoted Watford have made a very solid start to their Premier League season and come into this fixture sitting 10th in the table after two successive wins. They have been pretty strong defensively, conceding fewer goals than Liverpool and Southampton – and in Odion Ighalo they look as if they have a real goal threat.
Palace have been inconsistent this season so far – three wins and three defeats – and this is the sort of match the Eagles need to win if they are going to push on for a top 10 finish. The visitors are 15/8 but I fancy the home side to win again at 6/4.
Five matches, five wins and no goals conceded. Manchester City fans could barely have wished for a better start to the Premier League season although their European challenge has already faltered with defeat to Juventus in midweek.
Manuel Pelligrini’s side can put that defeat behind them and record another win this weekend while there’s a big London derby as Chelsea face Arsenal.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
At the start of the season there were many people that believed Stoke City would be challenging for a European place. Some exciting arrivals at the Britannia Stadium have raised expectations but things haven’t quite gone to plan for Mark Hughes’ side yet this campaign.
The Potters are one of three teams yet to win this season but they can bag their first three points this weekend as they welcome Leicester City.
Leicester sit second after their excellent comeback last Sunday and are the league’s joint highest goalscorers. Unbeaten this season, the Foxes arrive in excellent form but I think that Stoke will get their season up and running sooner or later and look good value to win at 7/5.
Chelsea sit 17th in the early season table and face another tricky match this weekend as they welcome London rivals Arsenal in Saturday’s early kick-off. Arsene Wenger finally got the better of Jose Mourinho in this season’s Community Shield and the Gunners will believe it is a good time to play their title rivals considering Chelsea’s poor form.
Chelsea put six past Arsenal in this fixture in 2014 but that looks unlikely this Saturday. The home side are 7/5 and you can back Arsenal at 19/10.
Aston Villa haven’t won since the opening day of the season and welcome Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion this weekend. Villa looked comfortable for the first 70 minutes against Leicester last time out before contriving to lose the match while West Brom have been hard to beat but low scorers. The 0-0 is available at 13/2.
Sunderland look a huge price at 9/2 to get their first three points of the season as they travel to Bournemouth while their North East rivals Newcastle United can register their first win of the season against Watford at 13/10.
Manchester City can make it six wins out of six with a victory over West Ham United at 1/4 while in-form Everton look a great price at 21/10 to beat Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Could Crystal Palace supplant Tottenham as London’s third club this season? Their initial form suggests that they can and the pair meet at White Hart Lane in Sunday’s early kick-off.
Palace were unlucky to lose to table-topping Manchester City last weekend while Spurs were fortunate to nick a 1-0 win at Sunderland. The home side are 19/20 favourites but there will be a lot of backers for Alan Pardew’s side at 14/5.
It’s been a mediocre start to the season for Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers is the 6/4 favourite in the Premier League ‘sack race’ market. Having lost their last two league matches the Reds can steady the ship this weekend as they welcome Norwich City to Anfield.
The Canaries were comfortably beaten at Southampton in their last away match and Liverpool should win this at 8/13.
Sunday’s late kick-off sees Southampton face Manchester United. Both teams have struggled to find their best form this season and United were dealt a double blow in midweek when they were beaten by PSV and lost ex-Saints full back Luke Shaw to long term injury.
It could be an entertaining match at St Mary’s and the home side are 2/1 to win.
The Premier League is back and there were plenty of talking points after the first games of the new season. Arsenal and Chelsea’s title challenge faltered in the starting blocks while there were surprisingly good results for the likes of West Ham, Leicester and Watford.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
You’d struggle to find anyone other than a die-hard West Ham United fan who put big money on their side winning at Arsenal last Sunday. Just a few days after a limp exit from the Europa League, many pundits expected the Hammers to be on the receiving end of a big defeat at the Emirates but Slaven Bilic’s side capitalised on two Petr Cech errors to win 2-0.
West Ham have the opportunity to capitalise on the win on Saturday when they welcome Leicester City. Leicester were well worth their 4-2 win at the weekend and it was a positive result for another team that many thought will struggle.
However, Leicester’s win was against Sunderland – a team who ‘scared’ their manager with their performance – and I still expect the Foxes to struggle this season. With home advantage West Ham look terrific value to make it two wins from two at 13/10.
Could this be the season that Stoke City make a sustained European challenge? With the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke now boast five Champions League winners in their ranks and if Mark Hughes can find the right blend it could be an exciting season in the Potteries.
Stoke travel to Tottenham on Saturday, a side who looked far from Champions League challengers in their defeat to a very ordinary Manchester United side last Saturday. Stoke are an outstanding price of 4/1 to win at White Hart Lane.
Swansea City got their season off to a terrific start with a draw at Chelsea and they look excellent value at 10/11 to register their first win of the season at the Liberty Stadium with a win over Newcastle United. On the evidence of their first match Everton could be in for a tough season and Southampton can beat the Toffees at 10/11 while West Bromwich Albion look overpriced at 2/1 to beat promoted Watford at Vicarage Road.
Sunderland will need to pick up as many points as possible from the teams around them and they can start this Saturday with the visit of Norwich City. Dick Advocaat’s side were awful at Leicester and are 13/8 to win at the Stadium of Light while Norwich are 2/1 to record their first win.
Policing issues mean that there is an unusual Friday night kick-off in the Premier League this week as Aston Villa welcome Manchester United. Both sides started the season with a 1-0 win at the weekend although Louis van Gaal’s side will struggle to play worse than they did last weekend.
The home side are 4/1 to win but United have a great record at Villa Park and should outclass their opponents at 4/6.
The first big match of the season is at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as Manchester City take on Chelsea. After a comfortable win at West Brom it could be a great time for City to face the champions who will be without their first choice goalkeeper.
Manuel Pelligrini’s side look excellent value at 23/20 to inflict an early season defeat on the Blues.
Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from an opening day defeat but they face a tricky away tie at Crystal Palace. Alan Pardew’s side won at Norwich last weekend and look terrific value at 7/2 to capitalise on the Gunners’ poor start and make it six points out of six.
Promoted Bournemouth face a daunting task in their second match in the top flight as they head to Anfield on Monday to face Liverpool. It would be a fairytale result if the Cherries could get something from the match but Liverpool should be too good at 4/9.
As ever, picking a winner of the Championship is a perilous affair with at least two thirds of the teams boasting genuine promotion credentials.
Middlesbrough lost last season’s play-off final and have been gradually improving under manager Aitor Karanka. Replacing the goals of Patrick Bamford could be crucial to their chances although the £5.5 million signing of Stewart Downing is a statement of intent. Boro are 6/1 to win the title, as are Derby County who, for long periods of last season, looked to be on their way back to the top flight.
A late season collapse saw the Rams finish outside the play-offs but new boss Paul Clement comes with a big reputation and there have been a number of high quality signings. Tom Ince, Chris Baird, Jason Shackell, Andreas Weimann and Darren Bent have all arrived and this could well be the year that County finally return to the top flight.
There are few better managers at this level than Mick McCarthy and so Ipswich Town look good value at 13/2 to be promoted. Their recent progress resulted in a play-off appearance last season where they were beaten by local rivals Norwich but I fancy the Tractor Boys to make a sustained top six challenge this campaign.
If Brentford‘s owners can replicate their success in Denmark then it could be a great season. Using analytics the management team guided unfashionable Midtjylland to their first Danish Superliga title and if their methods work as well in England the Bees could be great value at 7/2 to go up.
Considering their budget is, according to the chairman, “five times more than anyone else in League One” it’s perhaps no surprise that Wigan Athletic are the 6/1 second favourites to win the title. Having graced the Premier League just three years ago it’s been a dramatic fall for the Latics and Gary Caldwell is the man charged with stopping the decline.
With a large turnover of players and some poor pre-season results it could be a harder season than expected for Wigan and fans of Sheffield United can attest to how tough a league it is. The Blades are the 9/2 favourites to win the title and new boss Nigel Adkins’ CV includes three promotions during his stints with Scunthorpe and Southampton. Billy Sharp and Connor Salmon could fire United to promotion this season.
Swindon Town were last season’s beaten play-off finalists and could go well at 20/1 while Keith Hill guided Rochdale to their highest ever league finish last season and look absolutely terrific value at 17/2 to be promoted, perhaps through the play-offs.
The points difference between the top and bottom of League Two was the smallest of all the divisions last season and so it is the most volatile and difficult division to predict.
Portsmouth could end their stay in the bottom tier under the stewardship of the experienced Paul Cook although the former Chesterfield boss has warned his nine new signings will need time to gel. Luton Town finished outside the play-offs last season after an end of season wobble but should go well again while Leyton Orient‘s relegation was a surprise and the Os could bounce straight back at the first attempt.
Northampton and Notts County are two yo-yo sides that seem to be often too good for League Two but never quite good enough for League One. Ricardo Moniz is the new man in charge at Meadow Lane and his signings are a cosmopolitan mix of foreigners while Chris Wilder’s Northampton look good value at 4/1 to be promoted.
Yeovil and Plymouth could offer a strong South West challenge whilst if you’re looking for a relegation bet you could do worse than consider Mansfield at 5/1 who struggled to a 21st place finish last season.
It looks like being another four horse race for this season’s Premier League title and it’s no surprise that the reigning champions are this year’s 13/8 favourites.
Chelsea were comfortably the best and most consistent team in the league last season and despite a lack of high profile arrivals this summer they are clear favourites again. Jose Mourinho is clearly happy with the quality of his squad although the Blues could run into trouble if Diego Costa were to miss a period of the season through injury. Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao are the back-up strikers and the question mark would be about whether either can score enough goals in Costa’s absence to propel Chelsea to the title.
Manchester City were Chelsea’s nearest challengers last season but it could be a year of transition for the 2014 champions. With Manuel Pelligrini essentially a lame duck and the defence showing signs of creaking it could be a tough season, although the arrival of Raheem Sterling improves the club’s attacking options.
Could this be the season that Arsenal finally make a sustained title challenge? The signs are good after an FA Cup and Community Shield win and the arrival of Petr Cech could be crucial. Arsene Wenger has plenty of attacking options and the 4/1 on the Gunners to win their first title since 2004 will tempt many.
Louis van Gaal steadied the Manchester United ship in his first season and his job is now to turn his side into genuine title contenders. The Dutchman has added quality to his squad in the form of Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin but United still look short of a ball playing centre half and a world-class striker.
It looks like it could be a make or break season for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. After their title challenge in 2014 they finished sixth last time out, 25 points behind the champions. The new additions to the squad look promising but a poor start could see the end of the Irishman’s reign on Merseyside and the Reds are just 2/9 to finish outside the top four.
Tottenham finished above Liverpool last season but Mauricio Pochettino has work to do to match their fifth place finish. His side conceded more goals than relegated Hull City last time out and there have been more departures from White Hart Lane than arrivals.
Spurs are 4/7 for a top 6 finish but with excellent clubs behind them it could be a difficult year.
After two consecutive 9th place finishes could this be the season that Stoke City grab a Europa League spot? Gone are the days of long balls and log throws and two of the Potters’ summer arrivals are from European champions Barcelona.
Mark Hughes has done a terrific job at the Britannia and if they can manage to score enough goals (only Mame Biram Diouf got into double figures last season) they could continue their improvement and they are 11/1 for a top 6 finish.
Southampton and Swansea City are also likely to be among the European chasing pack while if Crystal Palace can replicate their form from the second half of last season they could also be in the mix.
As ever, the promoted sides are amongst the favourites for the drop and it’s no surprise that Watford are 4/5 to go down. In their two previous seasons in the Premier League the Hornets have won a total of 11 matches and finished rock bottom on both occasions although they look better prepared this time.
Quique Flores’ side do have a sprinkling of quality although it looks likely to be a tough season. The same can be said for Norwich City who bounced back after just one season in the Championship under young boss Alex Neil. Scoring enough goals could be the problem for the Canaries who are evens to go down.
Leicester City performed a miracle escape last season although May’s optimism soon evaporated with the departure of manager Nigel Pearson and the arrival of the much-travelled Claudio Ranieri as his replacement. I actually think the Foxes could really struggle this season and the 3/1 on them slipping back into the Championship looks excellent value.
Aston Villa have flirted with relegation for three seasons and the departure of Christian Benteke leaves Tim Sherwood’s side frighteningly short of goals. It could be another relegation scrap for Villa who are 3/1 to go down, while Sunderland may need a third consecutive ‘great escape’ to remain in the top flight.
It is the sixth season since UEFA rebranded the UEFA Cup to the Europa League. While there have been long conversations between Spurs and Liverpool fans about whether qualifying for the competition is a good idea, the prize for either Sevilla or Dnipro this Wednesday night is a place in next season’s Champions League.
The Spanish team are looking to retain the trophy as they did in 2007 but will face tough competition from the Ukrainian outfit who will take their place in the 2015/16 Champions League with a win in Warsaw. Keep reading for our 2015 Europa League Final preview.
With half an hour of the La Liga season to go last weekend, it looked as if Sevilla would secure their place in next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth in their domestic league. Only a very late comeback from Valencia denied them a top four finish but all that will be immaterial if they can win Europe’s second-tier competition for the fourth time in ten seasons and benefit from UEFA’s new reward for the competition winners.
While the competition may be much derided, Sevilla’s captain is looking forward to his fourth Europa League final in six years. Ex-Arsenal striker Jose Antonio Reyes has won three times – with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla – and the 31 year old says “It is not every day you reach a European final. We should feel proud to be where we are.”
It has certainly been an impressive run from Unai Emery’s side who have beaten the likes of Feyenoord, Borussia Monchengladbach, Villareal and Zenit St Petersburg on their way to Warsaw. In the semi-final they overcame Fiorentina, comfortably beating Italy’s fifth best side 5-0 on aggregate.
Los Rojiblancos have lost just one of their last 21 games in all competitions and are just 3/5 to retain their trophy.
Back in 2009, Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk became the last team to win this tournament in its old guise as the UEFA Cup. Dnipro are rank outsiders to emulate their more famous compatriots this week but have proved this season that they are capable of beating more esteemed rivals.
Sitting third in their domestic league, few had heard of the team from Dnipropetrovsk before this season and reaching this final is by some distance their most impressive achievement. They haven’t actually won a trophy since lifting the Soviet Cup in 1989 and they qualified for the Europa League on account of finishing second in the Ukrainian league, their best finish in over twenty years.
After scraping qualification from their group – they ended up with just 7 points from 6 matches – their road to the final has been impressive. They beat Olympiacos, Club Brugge and the Dutch champions Ajax on their way to the semi-finals where they caused a huge upset by eliminating Rafa Benitez’s Napoli side 2-1 on aggregate, Yevhen Seleznyov scoring the winner in the home leg.
Another Premier League season comes to a close this Sunday and with most of the major issues resolved the one remaining questions is who will join QPR and Burnley in being relegated to the Championship.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bets of the weekend
The big match of the day is at the KC Stadium where only a win will be good enough to save Hull City‘s Premier League status. Steve Bruce’s side need three points to stay up and even then will be relying on results elsewhere to preserve their top flight status for another season.
They face a difficult task as the visitors are Manchester United. With Arsenal having won in midweek Louis van Gaal’s side are guaranteed to finish fourth and so there’s nothing left for them to play for. Add in the fact that they have only taken four points from the last five games and many people will be tempted to back the home side at 11/5.
However, Hull are third bottom for a reason and have been pretty poor in recent weeks. A United reserve side went to Hull on the final day of the 2008/9 season and won and van Gaal will send a stronger side this time around. The 6/5 on an away win looks too good to ignore.
The battle to avoid the drop
A win for Hull on Sunday would leave Newcastle United in danger of the drop. The Magpies can preserve their top flight status irrespective of results elsewhere, however, if they can overcome West Ham United at St James Park.
With one point from the last 30 available it’s been a terrible couple of months for the home side. It promises to be a tense afternoon on Tyneside with fans planning to ‘occupy’ the pitch at the final whistle irrespective of the outcome.
West Ham have long been safe and Sam Allardyce seems to have found it hard to motivate his team for the last three months of the season. Still, the manager would like to go out with a win as well as getting one over on his former side. If you bet with your head and not your heart the 7/2 on an away win looks the value.
All Sunday’s other matches
Sunderland guaranteed their survival with their draw at Arsenal on Wednesday which is probably just as well as they go to champions Chelsea. We tipped the Blues to come a cropper at West Brom last week but it should be a party atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and I fully expect the home side to win at 1/3.
Leicester City‘s escape has been nothing short of miraculous and Nigel Pearson’s side could finish the season in the lofty position of 14th if they can conclude their terrific run with another home win. Their opponents are QPR who are already relegated and I fancy the Foxes to pick up another three points at 4/7. Aston Villa are also safe and I expect them to bounce back from their thrashing at St Marys last week with a win over Burnley at 11/10.
Manchester City will finish in second place if they beat Southampton at 1/2 while Arsenal can end their season on a high ahead of the FA Cup Final with a win over West Bromwich Albion at 4/11.
At any other time of the season – and with something to play for – the remaining three fixtures look like interesting games. Stoke City look terrific value at 5/2 to see off struggling Liverpool in Steven Gerrard’s last game for the Reds while Crystal Palace could end the season in the top ten if they can beat Swansea City at Selhurst Park at 5/4 and other results go their way.
Everton have struggled this season but can end on a high and they are 7/5 to beat Tottenham at Goodison Park.
Six teams will head to Wembley this Bank Holiday weekend for the three Football League play-off finals. With all the rewards of a season in a higher division dependent on one match it promises to be a nerve-shredding weekend for both fans and players.
Keep reading for our 2015 Football League play-off finals preview.
There is no single sporting event in the world more valuable to the winners than the Championship play-off final. Neither of this year’s finalists have ever won this match in the Premier League era and both teams boast young managers looking to guide their teams into the top flight.
Aitor Karanka featured in a Champions League final but never played at Wembley. The Boro boss believes his team ‘deserve’ a place in the top flight after their 5-1 aggregate win over Brentford although also acknowledged the financial implications of promotion.
“The first thing is the money, but these players deserve to play in the Premier League,” Karanka said. “It’s the biggest step for everybody. We have to prepare for that game and do the best.”
Boro have spent six seasons in the second tier and are 9/5 to win in 90 minutes.
A few eyebrows were raised when Alex Neil was appointed manager of Norwich City in January but the 33 year old has lost just three of his 24 matches as the Canaries boss. His side overcame old rivals Ipswich 4-2 to reach the final and could bounce back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
Neil believes his team deserve credit for how they have coped with the hype surrounding a promotion push. “I’m delighted for the players, everybody reminds us after every game that the pressure is on us and how good a squad we’ve got,” he said.
The young Scotsman has crafted an excellent side and I fancy Norwich to win at 6/4.
The play-offs occasionally produce some exciting and thrilling matches but there can be few that have been quite as crazy as Swindon Town’s second-leg tie against Sheffield United. Coming into the match with a 2-1 advantage, Swindon twice threw away a two goal lead to draw 5-5, scraping through to the final 7-6 on aggregate.
“It was torture,” Mark Cooper, the Swindon manager, said. “I can’t really put into words what I’ve just seen. It was just a freak of a game. I don’t think there’ll ever be another [play-off] game like that. It was like two heavyweight boxers trying to punch each other out.”
Swindon’s reward for their win is a match against Preston North End. Having missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season thanks to their defeat at Colchester, Preston had a smoother ride into the final, beating Chesterfield 4-0 on aggregate.
Simon Grayson’s side have reached Wembley for the first time since 1994 but have a dreadful record in the play-offs. They have failed to gain promotion on 9 previous occasions through the post-season contest although are the favourites this time.
It could be a great game and Swindon look excellent value at 12/5.
It’s been a great 12 months for fans of Wycombe Wanderers. A year ago they only secured their League status on the final day of the season, staying up on goal difference after a last day win over Torquay. Now, Gareth Ainsworth’s side are heading to Wembley after a 5-3 aggregate win over Plymouth Argyle in the League Two play-off semi final.
Ainsworth is delighted to be taking his team to the final. “I’m a really lucky guy. I was stuck by when things were going really bad,” he told the BBC. “Things just seem to have happened the right way this season – Andrew Howard coming in as chairman, the signings gelling so quick and with injuries, we’ve been lucky.
“I’m so lucky to just be a proud Wycombe Wanderers manager. I hope the emotion’s coming across because I am so proud to be able to take my team to Wembley, lead them out and hopefully we can do the job there.”
Wycombe will face Southend United for a place in League One after Phil Brown’s side beat Stevenage 3-1. The Shrimpers ended the season as the division’s form side, winning seven of their last eight league matches and keeping an astonishing eight consecutive clean sheets.
This should be a close game but I fancy Southend to edge it at 11/8.
Chelsea wrapped up the Premier League title last weekend and so the focus for the rest of the season turns to who will survive in the Premier League.
Depending on results QPR and Burnley can both be relegated this weekend while Newcastle could drop into the bottom three if the teams below them get good results. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
It’s been a rocky season for Hull City. They have struggled near the foot of the table for most of the campaign and just when it looks as if a couple of good results may drag them out of trouble, they lose again and are suddenly back in the bottom four.
Steve Bruce’s side face a vital match on Saturday as they take on bottom of the table Burnley. Now eight points adrift, anything other than a win for Sean Dyche’s side would see them relegated to the Championship after just one season in the top flight.
While Burnley may have more to play for the fact remains that they haven’t scored in any of their last six Premier League matches and they have only picked up one point from the last 18 available, losing their last four matches 1-0.
It promises to be a nervy affair but I fancy Hull City to ease their relegation worries and condemn Burnley to the drop. Hull are evens to win and it is 11/2 that Burnley go down 1-0 for the fifth game in a row.
A month ago it looked as if Manchester United may be surging into a late title challenge with Chelsea. Now, having lost three Premier League games in a row for the first time since December 2001, Louis van Gaal’s side are suddenly back in a battle for Champions League qualification.
United face a tricky away tie at resurgent Crystal Palace in Saturday’s late kick-off having failed to score in three successive matches (the first time since 2007). Palace have been great in recent weeks and look terrific value at 7/2 to inflict an unprecedented fourth straight league defeat on United.
Sunderland remain in the bottom three despite their win over Southampton this week and face a difficult away tie at Everton. The last couple of weeks have been symptomatic of Roberto Martinez’s side this season; a comfortable win over Manchester United and then defeat to relegation threatened Aston Villa. They should have too much for the Black Cats at Goodison Park though and can win at 5/6.
Aston Villa grabbed a vital win last Saturday and can make it two wins out of two as they face West Ham United at Villa Park. Three points should be just about enough to save Tim Sherwood’s side and they can beat a Hammers side with nothing to play for at 19/20.
Leicester City‘s great escape continued with victory over Newcastle last weekend and it is now five wins in six for the Foxes. They welcome Southampton whose season is petering out after a strong start and, with home advantage, I fancy Leicester to win again at 13/8.
Stoke City are 9/5 to beat Tottenham at the Britannia while West Bromwich Albion look terrific value to follow up their win at Manchester United by condemning Newcastle United to an eighth successive defeat. The home side are in disarray and will have a makeshift defence for the visit of the Baggies who can capitalise with a win at 7/4.
Manchester City and Arsenal‘s remaining matches will determine which of them finishes runners-up to Chelsea in this season’s Premier League with Arsenal in pole position. City should grab an easy three points on Sunday by beating struggling QPR at 2/9 while Arsenal are just 1/3 to beat Swansea City at the Emirates in Monday night’s live match.
Chelsea secured the title with their win over Palace last weekend and they can celebrate their achievements by throwing off the shackles to beat Liverpool on Sunday. Liverpool have been poor in recent weeks and the home side look absolutely terrific value at 11/10 to win.
After their win in midweek Chelsea can secure the Premier League title this weekend and it promises to be a party atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Elsewhere there are some intriguing matches featuring sides fighting to avoid relegation while Sunday’s late kick-off is an attractive looking tie between Spurs and Manchester City.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Leicester City‘s recent excellent run of wins was halted by Chelsea in midweek but the Foxes can take another huge step towards survival this Saturday with a win over struggling Newcastle United.
Four wins in a row helped to lift the Foxes out of the relegation zone and with the majority of their remaining matches at the King Power stadium, an unlikely escape act is on the cards.
Newcastle have now lost seven in a row and a win for the home side would actually take them to within one point of John Carver’s struggling side. Defeat would mean Newcastle were in the thick of the relegation dogfight but Leicester can drag themselves further clear of the drop zone at 19/20.
All Saturday’s matches
Aston Villa were unlucky to come away from the Etihad empty handed last week but the FA Cup finalists still have work to do at the wrong end of the table. They host Everton on Saturday in what may be a trickier game that Tim Sherwood would have wanted.
Everton have improved immeasurably in recent weeks and were impressive in their 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday. Villa are 17/10 but on current form the away side look good value, also at 17/10.
Liverpool‘s season has rather petered out after their Cup elimination but they are just 4/11 to beat struggling QPR at Anfield. Manchester United should now comfortably finish above them in the table and Louis van Gaal’s side are the same price to beat West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in Saturday’s late kick-off.
Burnley haven’t scored in their last five Premier League matches and it looks like time is running out for Sean Dyche’s plucky but limited side. They travel to West Ham United on Saturday and while the Hammers have little to play for they look good value at 6/5 to see off the struggling visitors.
Sunderland desperately need a win and look a terrific price at 3/1 to beat Southampton at the Stadium of Light while there is a battle of the safe mid-table sides at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea City take on Stoke City. It is essentially a battle for 8th place and the home side can take it at 5/4.
The rest of the weekend’s action
After their win at Leicester in midweek it could be a carnival atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Chelsea will win the league title if they beat Crystal Palace.
Jose Mourinho’s side have clearly been the best team in the league this season and are worthy champions. While Palace have been in decent form of late I can’t see them stopping Chelsea’s inexorable march to the title and the home side can seal the title with three games to spare by winning at 4/11.
There is an attractive looking match on Sunday afternoon as Tottenham take on Manchester City at White Hart Lane. Having been Chelsea’s main rivals for much of the season City are now trying to avoid finishing outside the top three while Spurs are all but out of the Champions League race.
City are 21/20 but I like the home side’s chances at a standout 13/5.
Two wins in a week for Hull City have eased their relegation fears although they face a difficult run-in starting with the visit of Arsenal on Monday night.
The Tigers are four points above the drop zone after wins over Crystal Palace and Liverpool but will face a Gunners side still trying to secure a top three finish so as to avoid a perilous Champions League qualification tie. Hull are available at 9/2 while Arsenal are 4/6.
With just half a dozen matches to go there’s still plenty to play for in this season’s Premier League, particularly at the wrong end of the table. Just six points separate bottom club Burnley with 15th placed Aston Villa and with Newcastle also in terrible form it could be a seven-way battle to avoid the drop.
At the other end of the table the top two face each other in a huge game at the Emirates. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Although their run of five straight Premier League wins was ended by Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester United can take plenty of heart from the way they dominated possession against the champions-elect.
Louis van Gaal claimed it was his side’s best performance of the season and, considering they were without key players Michael Carrick and Danny Blind, United showed that they should be title challengers next campaign.
United travel to Everton on Sunday. The home side beat Burnley last weekend and could still finish in the top half of the league having won four of their last five league matches. In addition, Roberto Martinez’s side haven’t lost at Goodison Park since Boxing Day.
While it hasn’t been United’s happiest ground in recent years, on current form it is a match they should win at 6/5.
All Saturday’s matches
There will be some tense fans of teams at the wrong end of the table this weekend; not least at bottom club Burnley who welcome in-form Leicester City to Turf Moor.
Leicester lifted themselves off the foot of the table with their third straight victory last weekend while Burnley have only won one of their last 12 league fixtures. It will be a long way back for the team that loses and on form Leicester look the value at 9/5.
QPR remain in the bottom three but have an eminently winnable home match on Saturday against West Ham United. Sam Allardyce’s side have only won 7 points in 2015 so far and are drifting towards the end of the season with nothing to play for.
QPR have been better of late but have lost their last seven matches at Loftus Road in all competitions. Something has to give and Chris Ramsey’s team can gain a vital three points at 7/5.
Sunderland face a tough away trip to Stoke City and are 16/5 to win while Hull City are the same price to beat the league’s form team, Crystal Palace, at Selhurst Park.
Newcastle United have now lost six Premier League matches in a row and must be thankful for the points they picked up under Alan Pardew earlier in the season. They probably have just enough in the bank to see them to the end of the season but things will get very nervy if they lose at home to Swansea City on Saturday.
The Swans have won at struggling clubs in recent matches – they beat Burnley and Aston Villa – and there could be all-out mutiny at St James Park if Garry Monk’s side can prevail at 21/10.
West Bromwich Albion look absolutely terrific value to follow up their win over Palace with a home victory over struggling Liverpool at a standout 14/5 while Tottenham can end Southampton‘s Champions League ambitions by winning at St Mary’s in Saturday’s early kick off. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are 5/2 to get one over on his former club.
Saturday’s late kick-off sees Manchester City face Aston Villa at the Etihad. City still need points to secure a Champions League spot while Villa are still not safe from the drop despite some good recent form. The home side should win at 2/7 but there will be a few punters tempted by the 9/1 available on Villa.
The rest of the weekend’s action
If there is going to be any excitement at the top of the league between now and the end of the season it will need Arsenal to overcome Chelsea in Sunday’s late kick-off. A win for the home side would close the gap to seven points and increase Arsenals grip on second place but this could be a tall order, even with the Gunners’ excellent form.
Arsenal have won eight consecutive matches in the Premier League but haven’t beaten their London rivals at the Emirates since 2010. Chelsea are likely to play as they did against Manchester United last week, soaking up the home side’s possession and hitting them on the counter attack.
It should be a good game and I like Chelsea’s chances at 7/4 with a 1-0 away win available at 8/1.
After last week’s matches just four points now separate the bottom five in the Premier League. With other teams looking nervously over their shoulder – West Brom and Newcastle are also in poor form – the battle to avoid the drop hots up again this weekend.
At the top of the table there’s also an important clash as Chelsea host the in-form Manchester United. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
A couple of weeks ago it looked as if Leicester City were doomed to an immediate return to the Championship. However, late winners against West Ham and West Brom have given the Foxes hope and another win on Saturday could lift them out of the relegation zone.
And, a win this weekend is certainly possible as they welcome Swansea City to the King Power Stadium. While Garry Monk’s side have enjoyed an excellent season they have nothing to play for and with Leicester having gained some confidence from a couple of wins it could be another good day for the City faithful.
Back Leicester to make it three wins out of three at 6/5.
All Saturday’s matches
Last week I tipped Manchester United to win at a standout 8/5 and, apart from the opening ten minutes at Old Trafford, a victory against neighbours City was never really in doubt. Any chance that Louis van Gaal’s side have of overhauling Chelsea for the title will depend on them overcoming the league leaders at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s late kick-off.
United have now win six Premier League matches in a row including impressive victories against Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester City. In their favour they are playing well with a settled side but an away tie at a side managed by Jose Mourinho is always a tough proposition. Chelsea have lost just one league match at home under the Portuguese manager (to Sunderland in April 2014) and so are likely to be tough to beat. While not playing particularly well at present the home side look good value at evens.
Crystal Palace are on a superb run of form under Alan Pardew and were impressive in their 4-1 win at Sunderland last week. They welcome West Bromwich Albion to Selhurst Park on Saturday and Tony Pulis’ side are still not 100% safe from the drop. Palace look great value to win at 19/20.
Everton‘s form has improved in recent weeks and they should beat Burnley at 7/10 while Stoke City look good value at 11/5 to beat Southampton at the Britannia Stadium.
The rest of the weekend’s action
Defeat in the Manchester derby all but ended Manchester City‘s bid to retain the Premier League title and their ambition now must be to finish in the top four. They can take a big step towards Champions League qualification this week as they welcome West Ham United to the Etihad.
City should see off their London rivals at 2/7 but if you fancy Sam Allardyce’s side to cause an upset you can back the Hammers at a tasty 10/1.
Both Newcastle United and Tottenham suffered defeats last weekend and the pair meet at St James’ Park in Sunday’s late kick-off. John Carver’s side have lost their last five Premier League games and another defeat could see them dragged into the relegation struggle. Spurs are now unlikely to finish in the top four but can grab another win at 13/10.