With around half of the season gone the league tables have taken shape and fans of all the clubs now know whether they are in a promotion push or a relegation battle.
Here, we look at the latest state of play in the Football League and pick out our promotion and relegation best for the second half of the 2014/15 season.
While it might be unfancied Bournemouth who lead the Championship at the half way stage it’s the two clubs on their tail that are the bookies’ favourites for promotion in May.
Derby County have shaken off the disappointment of their play-off final defeat well and are 8/11 to be promoted while it’s been a great season for Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough who sit second and are 5/6 to go up.
With just nine points separating the top 12 teams and the lottery of the play-offs to come there is plenty of value in teams further down the table. Norwich City look good value at 11/4 to bounce straight back into the top flight while Fulham and Cardiff City have new managers and could well go on a run. The 7/1 on offer on the Bluebirds looks tempting.
At the other end of the table Blackpool are eight points from safety and look doomed at 1/12. Surely Wigan Athletic will improve under Malkay Mackay and survive while I also can’t see Brighton being relegated.
Rotherham are 6/4 to drop into League One while Huddersfield Town could be dragged into the mix and look like a reasonable punt at 4/1. A speculative bet on Sheffield Wednesday at 20/1 might also pay dividends considering the Owls have won just six of their first 21 Championship matches this season.
Bristol City have lost just twice in League One this season and Steve Cotterill’s side are just 4/11 to return to the Championship in May. Behind them, there looks to be a three way battle for the second automatic promotion berth between Preston North End, Swindon Town and the MK Dons.
Preston were beaten in the play-offs last spring and look good value at evens while MK Dons have been knocking on the door of the Championship for a few years now and are 10/11 to finally get promoted. Sheffield United should easily make the play-offs and are 13/5 to go up while Peterborough United are always there or thereabouts and could be a good investment at 11/2.
Crewe Alexandra have scored just 16 league goals this season and, having survived by four points last season, are just 1/5 to drop into League 2. They could well be joined by Colchester United at 4/7 and Gillingham at evens while even Fleetwood Town in 11th place are only six points above the drop zone.
Leyton Orient and Yeovil Town should turn their form around in the second half of the season and so perhaps the likes of Port Vale (21/10) and even Barnsley (7/1) could be where the relegation value lies.
Burton Albion may have lost manager Gary Rowett to Birmingham but the Brewers continue to fly high in League Two. They have ever played in England’s third tier and, under new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, this could finally be the season. They are 10/11 to go up.
Having stayed up on goal difference on the final day of last season it has been a stunning change of fortunes at Wycombe Wanderers. The Chairboys narrowly missed dropping out of the League in May but now sit top of the table having lost just three league matches this campaign. They are also 10/11 for promotion.
Luton Town have enjoyed a terrific return to the league and could make it two successive promotions at 8/11 while Southend United could be a good outside bet at 9/5.
Hartlepool United have survived re-election several times and so have never fallen out of the League since their formation. However, with just 12 points from their opening 20 matches this could be the season. Six points away from safety, Pool are 2/7 to fall into the Conference.
It’s been 15 years since goalkeeper Jimmy Glass’ injury time winner kept Carlisle United in the Football League but the Cumbrian club are just 7/2 to go down this season. Mansfield Town are on a bad run and could be dragged into a relegation battle at 6/1 while York City have only won three league games and are also 6/1 to drop out of the League.
The top three all won in the league last weekend and Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have winnable ties against struggling sides this weekend.
There’s also a local derby to look forward to while there could be further calls for Brendan Rodgers head if Liverpool lose at home to Arsenal. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Backing a team that hasn’t won in nine Premier League games and has slumped to 19th in the table might not look like great advice but I believe Hull City are overdue a win and can grab a vital three points this weekend.
Their opponents at the KC Stadium this Saturday are Swansea City who will be many people’s fancy at 6/4 to win the match. However, the Swans haven’t won away in the Premier League this season since their opening day triumph at Manchester United and lost the corresponding fixture 1-0 in April.
Steve Bruce’s side are overdue a bit of luck and look good value at 15/8.
Manchester City are on a run of seven straight wins in all competitions and get this weekend’s action under way as they welcome Crystal Palace in Saturday’s early kick-off. Palace have just one win in ten and so even without their leading attacker City should still win at 3/10.
Leicester City have fallen to the foot of the table after a poor run and they also face a tricky away tie at West Ham United. The high-flying Hammers have been in excellent form – particularly at home – and can win this one at 4/6.
Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Liverpool last Sunday was their sixth league win in a row and Louis van Gaal’s side can make it lucky seven on Saturday with a win at Aston Villa. United are just 8/13 to prevail on a ground where they have had a fair bit of success in recent years.
All of QPR’s 14 points this season have come at Loftus Road and while Harry Redknapp’s side lose away they have been solid in front of their home fans. They face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and despite the Baggies winning last week I fancy the home side to bag another vital three points at 13/10.
Southampton’s bubble has well and truly burst and they have lost four Premier League matches in a row and were knocked out of the League Cup by League One Sheffield United on Tuesday night. They welcome an inconsistent Everton side who, if they play well, should win at 11/5. The draw may offer better value at 23/10.
Tottenham have been pretty poor at home this season and so the 1/2 available on them to beat Burnley looks pretty skinny. The away side are a tempting 6/1 to continue their recent run of decent form.
There’s a local derby on Sunday lunchtime as Newcastle host Sunderland in the battle of the North East. The home side’s recent good run was ended by Arsenal last week while Sunderland are the draw specialists having already recorded 9 league draws this season.
Alan Pardew’s side beat Chelsea in their last match at St James’ Park and can win at 10/11.
Liverpool have just eight points from the last eight matches and Brendan Rodgers has been forced to defend his squad this week as their poor run continues. They welcome Arsenal on Sunday afternoon who themselves are on an inconsistent run.
While Liverpool seem to be unable to either defend or score goals, it’s only Arsenal’s defence that is the concern. This could be a good match and the 6/4 on an away win looks tempting.
Chelsea remain three points clear at the top of the Premier League and travel to Stoke City on Monday night. In the past this may have been a tricky encounter but Stoke’s home form this season has been poor – even if they beat Arsenal in their last Britannia fixture – and Chelsea should win at 8/13.
With almost half of the Premier League season gone, it’s time to have a look at the current form and league table to try and work out where the value lies for the rest of the campaign.
Can anyone catch Chelsea? Can Southampton and West Ham keep up their challenge for a Champions League spot? And can the like of Leicester City and QPR survive? Keep reading for our preview.
From early on this season it has looked like a one horse race for the Premier League title. Chelsea have been head and shoulders above their rivals so far this campaign and are as short as 1/2 to win the title.
Their nearest challengers are Manchester City who are just three points behind with fifteen matches played. City have hit some form in recent weeks although they will miss their talismanic striker Sergio Aguero over the busy Christmas period. City are 11/4 to retain their title.
Below the title contenders there is a fierce battle for the two remaining Champions League berths. After a shaky start to the season Manchester United have dragged themselves into the top three and are now as short as 1/5 to return to Europe’s premier club competition. A top four finish should be the least of Louis van Gaal’s ambitions.
So, who can nab the fourth spot? The 8/15 favourites are Arsenal who, over recent seasons, have always done enough to secure their top four berth without ever really looking like potential champions. But, could this finally be the year that Arsene Wenger’s luck runs out? Liverpool have had a shaky start to the season but are only a couple of points behind the Gunners and could prove good value at 9/2 to secure a top four finish.
It looks to be a transitional season for Spurs (8/1) and Everton have been too inconsistent to mount a serious top four challenge (the Toffees are 14/1).
Southampton were many people’s pre-season relegation favourites and are just 7/2 to qualify for Champions League football while surprise package West Ham are as long as 20/1 to secure a top four finish.
Despite their decent run of form the 1/3 favourites to drop into the Championship are promoted Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side have adapted well in the top flight after a slow start and, if they can strengthen in January, could survive.
A better bet would look to be Leicester City who have slumped to the foot of the table having not won since September. The Foxes look doomed and the 8/11 on them going straight back down looks like good value.
QPR are 6/4 to drop back into the Championship and the London club will have to improve their away form if they want to survive. They have yet to pick up a point away from home and their home form may not be good enough on its own.
Hull City and West Brom should have enough to survive while Sunderland should eventually turn some of their draws into wins. Crystal Palace are 2/1 to go down and this could start to look like good value if they have a tricky patch over Christmas.
One of these years it surely has to be Aston Villa’s time to go down? They have narrowly escaped the drop in the last two seasons and are 5/1 to be relegated this time around. If they can keep Christian Benteke fit then they ought to be OK but without him Villa could really struggle.
Manchester United’s win over Southampton on Monday may have been undeserved but it was their fifth win on the spin. United are now just eight points behind leaders Chelsea and feature in one of the matches of the weekend as they welcome old rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
At the other end of the table there are tough matches for Leicester City, QPR and Hull City. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
There is an attractive looking match on Sunday afternoon this week as Swansea City welcome Tottenham.
Swansea sit eighth in the league after a good campaign so far while Spurs are tenth after some inconsistent results. While some of Spurs best performances have been away from home this year I fancy Swansea to keep up their good run with another win.
Garry Monk’s side are unbeaten at home since mid September and look great value at 6/4 to grab another three points.
The relegation candidates in the Premier League face some tough matches this week against the leading sides.
Leicester City haven’t won since their 5-3 triumph over Manchester United in September and have ended each of the last two games with ten men. They are desperate for a win but welcome Manchester City on Saturday afternoon. City will have to do without the injured Sergio Aguero but should win comfortably at 1/2.
Hull City have fallen into the bottom three having won just once since the opening day of the season and Steve Bruce’s side face a daunting trip to Chelsea. The league leaders’ long unbeaten run ended at Newcastle last weekend but they should record another home win at 2/11.
Burnley have produced some good performances in recent weeks and will have to be at their best to get something from their home tie with Southampton. The Saints have lost three in a row but are just 4/5 for the win. You can back the home side at a tasty 7/2.
Arsenal fans who travelled to Stoke last week made their feelings clear to boss Arsene Wenger after their defeat and it could be all out mutiny if the Gunners lose again this weekend. They welcome the in-form Newcastle United but if they can reproduce their midweek form – and spectacular goals – they should win at 4/9.
Sunderland have drawn 9 of their 15 matches this season and it is 23/10 that they secure a point against high flying West Ham. Stoke City’s form is up and down and they look good value to beat struggling Crystal Palace at 9/5 while West Bromwich Albion are good value at 9/5 to end their winless run with a home victory over Aston Villa.
Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off is a derby between two sides determined to restore former glories. Manchester United welcome Liverpool and the home side have won five in a row despite some mediocre performances. Liverpool, on the other hand, have just eight points from their last seven league matches and went out of the Champions League in midweek.
Gary Neville said that this could be a ‘pub match’ and I fancy the home side to make it six wins out of six at 4/5.
Monday evening’s game sees Everton face QPR. Everton’s form has been inconsistent this season and they dropped points against Hull in their last Goodison fixture. QPR have lost all of their away matches this season, however, and so this looks like a home win at 4/9.
After a busy week of football action there are some intriguing matches this weekend at both ends of the Premier League. The title challengers all have winnable matches while there are some six-pointers at the other end of the table.
Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
After a great start to the season culminated in a 5-3 win over Manchester United, Leicester City looked as if they would have no trouble surviving back in the top flight. However, the Foxes have failed to win since that September afternoon and have slumped to the bottom of the table.
In contrast, Aston Villa are back on an upward curve and haven’t lost in four matches following six straight defeats. Christian Benteke’s superb goal was enough for them to earn all three points at Crystal Palace in midweek and Paul Lambert’s side will fancy their chances of taking all three points against struggling Leicester on Sunday.
Villa look great value at 5/4 to win the Midlands battle.
Chelsea continue to set the pace in the Premier League and travel to Newcastle United in Saturday’s early kick-off. Newcastle have been excellent over recent weeks and the league leaders struggled to overcome North East rivals last weekend, drawing 0-0 at Sunderland.
Considering their recent form there will be plenty of backers for Newcastle at 11/2 but Chelsea should keep up their title push with a win at 8/15.
Hull City and West Bromwich Albion have just five wins between them this season and last season’s FA Cup finalists have slipped into the bottom four having won just once since the opening day of the season.
The Baggies have lost their last four matches and so this promises to be a nervy battle between to out-of-form sides. Hull are 11/8 to win, a result which could see the end of Alan Irvine’ short reign as West Brom manager.
Liverpool got a much needed win in midweek and welcome draw specialists Sunderland this Saturday. Gus Poyet’s side are hard to beat – they have drawn 8 out of 14 matches this season – and it is 10/3 that they grab a point at Anfield.
Burnley continue to climb the table after a good recent run but their mini revival could come to an end at Loftus Road on Saturday. QPR scored three times at home last weekend and can grab another three points at 11/10. Man City are 8/15 to beat inconsistent Everton while Spurs are 4/7 to see off Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane.
The Britannia Stadium used to be an intimidating place for away sides but with Burnley, Leicester and Aston Villa all winning there this season visitors no longer seem to feat a trip to Stoke City. Arsenal are the away side this weekend and this could be a good match. The Gunners are evens to record a win but I fancy this could be an entertaining draw at 5/2.
West Ham and Swansea City have been two of the Premier League’s surprise packages this season and both continued their push for a European spot with excellent wins in midweek. The two sides meet at Upton Park on Sunday in what promises to be an excellent match.
West Ham’s home form has been good this season and so I like the chances of Sam Allardyce’s side at 11/8.
Southampton’s great start to the season took a couple of knocks this week as the Saints lost to two of their European rivals. Their recent run of tough fixtures gets no easier on Monday night as they welcome Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal’s side have now won four matches in a row and look to be improving as they get to grips with the Dutchman’s methods. City proved that St Mary’s doesn’t need to be an intimidating away trip last weekend and United are great value at 13/8 to make it five wins in a row.
With the Premier League giants entering the Cup draw after this weekend’s ties, the FA Cup second round gives plenty of minnows the chance of ending up drawn against one of the game’s greats. This weekend the likes of Warrington Town, Blyth Spartans, Worcester City and Telford United have the chance to book their place in the third round draw and, perhaps, a trip to Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool.
The FA Cup always throws up some surprise results and so there’s plenty of value in this weekend’s fixtures. Keep reading for our FA Cup second round preview.
After their giantkilling heroics in the first round, Conference North side Worcester City have another chance to take a League scalp this weekend when they travel to Scunthorpe United.
Worcester took 3,220 travelling fans to the Ricoh Arena in round one where they upset 1987 Cup winners Coventry City 2-1. Now, over 2,000 fans will head to Glanford Park for the tie against the League One strugglers.
“Given the support we had at Coventry, I’m not surprised we’ve sold out our allocation,” City boss Carl Heeley told BBC Sport. “The fans were incredible that day. They gave us such a tremendous lift. But what does surprise me is just how quickly we’ve sold out for the Scunthorpe game. It’s a smaller, more compact ground and the atmosphere should be brilliant.”
Worcester are on an excellent run which has seen them climb to 8th in the Conference North after thirteen games unbeaten. They are 7/1 to cause another upset and, having won their last three matches 3-0, are 175/1 to make it four 3-0 wins in a row.
Another non-league side looking to claim a second major scalp are Maidstone United. A late Frannie Collin header gave them a 2-1 win over League Two side Stevenage in round one and the Isthmian Premier League outfit are just 90 minutes away from a potential tie against one of the Premier League big guns.
Maidstone won’t have the advantage of their 3G home pitch against Conference side Wrexham and are 7/2 to win.
The weekend’s FA Cup action gets underway at Victoria Park where there is a North East derby between Hartlepool United and Blyth Spartans. Hartlepool sit rock bottom of the Football league with just 12 points and this could be an opportunity for the Northern Premier League side to cause an upset.
Spartans have recent FA Cup form. They reached the third round in 2008 only to narrowly lose to then Premiership side Blackburn Rovers and could well cause an upset at 11/2. Robbie Dale has scored in every round of the competition so far this season and is one to keep an eye on in the ‘first goalscorer’ market.
Mansfield Town have won just two of their last twelve matches and so the 10/11 on Cambridge United looks great value. Sheffield United should see off Plymouth at 8/13 while two divisions and 215 miles separates Bradford City and Dartford with the home side just 3/10 to prevail.
Warrington Town’s reward for a win over Exeter City in round one is a trip to Gateshead which guarantees a non-league side in round 3. “Newcastle’s a good night out, so I’ll be worried about my lads” said Warrington boss Shaun Reid ahead of Sunday’s match. Gateshead are 3/10 to win.
Cheltenham Town have won just three of their last 16 matches and it is this poor run that prompted the club to part company with boss Mark Yates, the third longest-serving manager in the Football League. Paul Buckle will hope his side recreate the form that saw them thrash Swindon 5-0 in the last round as they welcome Dover Athletic.
Chris Kinnear’s side knocked out Morecambe in the last round and are 10/3 to cause another upset.
It’s the time of year when managers come under increasing pressure and there’s been plenty of debate about the futures of Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers this week after costly league defeats last time out.
This weekend both Arsenal and Liverpool are once again vulnerable to mid-table teams who could prove to be great value at long odds. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Last week I suggested that Crystal Palace were outstanding value at 10/3 to see off struggling Liverpool and the Eagles duly obliged with a 3-1 win. This weekend there’s another home side who look great value at similar odds to beat a struggling ‘big four’ team.
West Bromwich Albion may have just one win in seven and haven’t won at the Hawthorns since September but the Baggies look great value to beat Arsenal in Saturday’s early kick-off. After a shaky start to the season Alan Irvine’s have improved and looked good in wins over Spurs and Hull and in their narrow defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool.
Arsenal have just four league wins this season – all against teams in the bottom seven – and have won just twice in their last seven league matches. While neither side are in great form the 3/1 available on West Brom looks too good to ignore.
Burnley have now won back-to-back Premier League matches and can make it a hat-trick of wins on Saturday as they welcome Aston Villa. It’s been over ten weeks since Paul Lambert’s team recorded a league win and the confident home side can pile more misery on Villa at 5/4.
Liverpool’s defeat at Palace last weekend was their third in a row and the Reds sit 12th in the Premier League table. Brendan Rogers desperately needs a win but faces a tricky home match on Saturday with Stoke City the visitors.
Mark Hughes’ side have been inconsistent this campaign but have recorded their best wins away from home. The Potters beat Manchester City and Spurs away and there will be plenty of people backing them to do the same against Liverpool at 9/2.
Manchester United looked a shadow of their former selves last week but found a way to win at Arsenal and should see off struggling Hull City at 3/10. Chelsea should also win comfortably and are 2/5 to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in Saturday’s tea-time kick-off.
QPR look good value at 13/10 to see off goal-shy Leicester City while Swansea City can keep up their assault on a European place with a win over Crystal Palace at 4/5. Newcastle United can make it an astonishing seven wins in a row with a win at West Ham at 5/2 but I like the 23/20 available on the home side.
You’d have got decent odds on Southampton v Manchester City being a clash for second place in the Premier League in late November before the season began and the two teams meet at St Mary’s on Sunday lunchtime.
Southampton have 16 points from the last 18 available in the league and they are unbeaten at home this season, scoring 11 goals without reply in their last three matches at St Mary’s.
Considering City’s stuttering form the home side look great value at 11/5 to record another win.
Sunday’s late match sees Tottenham face Everton. Both teams sit on 17 points heading into this match with the visitors on a good run of five matches unbeaten. Spurs woes at White Hart Lane this season are well documented and so Everton look great value at 2/1 to continue their good run.
After the international break the Premier League returns this weekend with some intriguing fixtures at both ends of the table.
Chelsea and Manchester City look to have winnable home matches while the battle for a Champions League spot continues as Arsenal host Manchester United. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Liverpool’s poor start to the season continued last time out with a home defeat to Chelsea. And, Brendan Rogers’ problems could get even worse this week as his side travel to Crystal Palace.
The away side are overwhelming favourites to win considering Palace haven’t won since September and sit just outside the relegation zone. However, Liverpool themselves have won just one of the last four league matches and will again be without talismanic striker Daniel Sturridge.
Palace is not always an easy place to go and Liverpool have lost at both West Ham and Newcastle this season. There won’t be much in this game and so the 10/3 available on the home side looks like terrific value.
Chelsea continue to lead the way in the Premier League and all the talk is now of the club going the season without losing. Jose Mourinho was less than happy with the Stamford Bridge support recently and will hope for a better atmosphere as his side take on West Bromwich Albion.
West Brom have won in London this season but Chelsea should secure another three points at 2/9.
It’s been rather a hit and miss season for Everton so far and the Toffees have drawn their last two league fixtures. They welcome West Ham United this week and can climb to within a point of Sam Allardyce’s side with a win at 4/5.
On current form there’s not much to like about Manchester City and so there may well be plenty of people tempted by the 7/1 on Swansea City to win at the Etihad. Swansea have won in Manchester this season and beat Arsenal last time out so are full of confidence. City should win but the away side look to be where the value lies.
Newcastle United can make it a stunning six wins out of six with a home win over QPR at 3/4 while I also fancy Stoke City to see off Burnley at 7/10. Sunderland are the draw specialists and it is 23/10 that it ends up all square at Leicester City.
Saturday’s big match is the late kick-off which sees Arsenal host Manchester United. On current form it’s impossible to pick a winner here as both teams have been both occasionally brilliant and defensively awful in recent weeks.
It is just 4/7 that both teams score at the Emirates but this could finally be the week that United record a decent result. The away side are 11/5 to grab three points and leapfrog Arsene Wenger’s side in the table.
I’ve backed Hull City twice in as many matches to no avail with Steve Bruce’s side stuttering to defeats against Southampton and Burnley. Couple the Tigers’ poor form with Spurs’ decent away record and there looks to be only one winner in Sunday’s late kick-off. Tottenham are 6/5 to prevail.
Monday night’s match sees struggling Aston Villa take on high-flying Southampton. Villa have scored just once in 711 minutes of Premier League football although they ended their awful winning streak with a dogged 0-0 draw at West Ham last time out.
With one point from the last 21 available Villa have slumped to 16th but it could get even worse this week. The Saints have won five in a row in the Premier League by a combined margin of 15-2 and should be too good for Paul Lambert’s side at 4/5.
The fluctuating fortunes of Premier League managers can be perfectly highlighted in the contrasting narrative surrounding two sides currently on 13 Premier League points.
Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United have spent £160 million and are a ‘work in progress’ with the Dutch boss under no pressure. Compare this to Alan Pardew, who never seems more than 90 minutes from the sack and has spent buttons taking his Newcastle side to the same number of points as their North West rivals.
It is Chelsea however that continue to set the pace in the Premier League and the Blues feature in one of the matches of the weekend. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Last week I tipped Hull City to continue their recent run of good results by beating Southampton at a standout 5/2. The Tigers failed to reward my support, however, going down 1-0 in front of their home fans.
This week it’s possible to back Steve Bruce’s side at odds against in an eminently more winnable match. Hull travel to Burnley this Saturday looking to improve on their recent record which has seen them record just one win in ten Premier League matches.
Burnley are the only side in the four divisions of English football yet to record a win although they were disciplined and organised for two thirds of their match at Arsenal last week. Scoring goals remains an issue and Hull can grab a much needed win at Turf Moor at 17/10.
All Saturday’s matches
Chelsea continue to lead the way in the Premier League and look excellent value at 23/20 to win Saturday’s early kick-off at Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho criticised Reds boss Brendan Rogers for fielding a second-string side at Real Madrid in midweek but even a rested Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling might not be enough for the misfiring home side to get anything out of this match.
Manchester United now have their worst points total after 10 matches than at any time since 1986. Louis van Gaal has defensive problems ahead of Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace with Michael Carrick likely to partner youngster Paddy McNair in the home side’s defence.
Palace have just a point from their last four Premier League matches but you can back them at 8/1 to heap more pressure on United by winning at Old Trafford.
After a bright start to the season Leicester City now sit in the bottom three. The Foxes travel to high-flying Southampton on Saturday and Ronald Koeman’s side can continue their brilliant run with a win at 4/9. I also fancy West Ham to beat Aston Villa at 3/4.
Saturday’s tea-time kick-off sees Manchester City travel to QPR. Rangers were a little unlucky to lose at Stamford Bridge last week and have certainly improved in the last couple of weeks after a poor start to the season.
City’s win in the Manchester derby was just the fillip they needed after a bad run and the away team should win this one at 2/5.
It has been an inconsistent few weeks for both Sunderland and Everton who meet at the Stadium of Light in Sunday’s early kick-off. The Black Cats ended a bad run with a win at Palace on Monday night while Everton couldn’t find a way past an obdurate Swansea side in their last outing.
Everton are the classier side but there is value on backing Sunderland at home at 5/2.
Spurs are another side that have been maddeningly inconsistent this season although have generally performed better away from home. Indeed, boss Mauricio Pochettino has blamed his side’s poor home form on the small White Hart Lane pitch.
Stoke City are the visitors on Sunday and look overpriced at 9/2 considering Spurs have already lost at home to Liverpool, Newcastle and West Brom.
Newcastle United banners at the weekend read ‘Alan Pardew – Back from the Dead’ and after four consecutive wins Newcastle now have the same number of Premier League points after ten games as Man Utd.
The Magpies travel to West Brom on Sunday and are 11/5 to make it five wins out of five. The home side are in good form, however, and I fancy their chances at 13/10.
Sunday’s late kick-off sees Swansea City host Arsenal. The Swans will leapfrog their opponents in the table with a win and you can back Garry Monk’s side at an attractive 11/5.
A last gasp equaliser at Old Trafford prevented Chelsea from extending their lead at the top of the Premier League table last weekend while Southampton continued their brilliant start win another win.
This weekend we have the Manchester derby to look forward to while there’s also some terrific value in backing a couple of home sides in good form. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Southampton’s start to the season has been the story of the campaign so far and the Saints recorded yet another win last Saturday. Things could get tricky this weekend though as they head to Hull City who have enjoyed a couple of terrific recent results.
Steve Bruce’s side came within a couple of minutes of winning at Arsenal before keeping Liverpool at bay last weekend. They have improved over recent weeks and I think the Southampton bubble is set to burst sooner or later.
In front of their home fans Hull are absolutely terrific value at 5/2.
All Saturday’s matches
What a difference a week can make. After two wins, Newcastle United are now just a point behind Stoke and Spurs and things are finally looking up for Alan Pardew. The Magpies welcome Liverpool in Saturday’s early kick-off and will climb to within a point of Brendan Rogers’ side with a win.
Liverpool have been a shadow of the side that pushed for the title last season and are desperately short of goals. Confidence is not high and if Newcastle can start well then the 11/4 on the home side could look very generous.
Two of the promoted sides face tough away trips in London on Saturday. Arsenal haven’t been in great form over recent weeks but should have absolutely no problem in dispatching struggling Burnley at 2/7 while even though QPR registered their first win of the campaign on Monday they face a tough test at league leaders Chelsea. The home side should win this at a canter at 1/6.
Everton showed glimpses of their best form in beating Burnley last week and can overcome Swansea City at 3/4 while there will be plenty of interest in West Ham to beat Stoke City at 21/10 considering that Leicester and Aston Villa have already won at the Britannia this campaign.
After a great start to the season Leicester City have slipped to fourth bottom and really need a win. They host West Bromwich Albion who have drawn their last two Premier League matches 2-2. City are 5/4 to get all three points while it’s 11/1 that we have another 2-2 outcome.
The rest of the weekend’s action
For the second weekend in a row it is Manchester United that feature in the big match. After their late, late show against Chelsea last Sunday there’s the small matter of the Manchester derby in Sunday’s early kick-off.
Even though they held the title favourites, Louis van Gaal was still unhappy with his team’s performance while Manchester City boss Manuel Pelligrini insists that he’s not feeling the pressure despite his side’s defeat to West Ham last weekend.
“We are just starting the season, we have 80 points left to play for. So it is early. We will continue fighting because there is no title being handed out at the moment,” he said on the BBC.
Both teams have looked defensively suspect in recent weeks and so there’s value in both teams finding the net at 8/15. City are worthy 17/20 favourites while United are available at 3/1.
Aston Villa’s miserable run continued on Monday night and it is now 531 minutes since Paul Lambert’s team scored in the Premier League. No goals scored in five matches and 13 conceded doesn’t make for great reading although Villa welcome another team in indifferent form on Sunday.
Spurs were beaten at home last weekend by Newcastle although their away results this season have arguably been better. This is a tough one to call and a bore draw at 12/5 looks the value.
Monday night’s match sees Crystal Palace welcome Sunderland. Both teams are in need of a win and I fancy the home side to nick this one at 11/10.
Chelsea continue to set the pace in the Premier League although their unbeaten start faces a tough test on Sunday as they travel to Manchester United in the tie of the weekend.
Elsewhere, Southampton and West Ham can continue their good form in front of their home fans while QPR could finally register their first win of the campaign. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
After several weeks of looking nailed on for relegation there were signs in QPR’s narrow 3-2 defeat to Liverpool last Sunday that Harry Redknapp’s side have not given up yet. Rangers were unlucky not to get something from the game and they can get their season up and running on Monday night when they welcome out-of-form Aston Villa to Loftus Road.
After a decent start to the season Villa now sit in the bottom half of the table and they have gone 441 minutes without a goal. Considering they haven’t scored in their last four Premier League matches and have conceded eleven goals in the process confidence isn’t high and QPR can exploit that by grabbing a valuable first win of the campaign at 6/4.
All Saturday’s matches
I tipped West Ham to continue their good run of form last week and the Hammers duly obliged with a comfortable win at Burnley. Things get a little harder for Sam Allardyce’s side this weekend, however, as they welcome Manchester City to Upton Park in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.
Sergio Aguero scored four times in City’s win over Spurs last weekend and the Blues look like the only team that can challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title this season. It will be a tough 90 minutes for City and the draw looks good value at 16/5.
Liverpool still haven’t really shown any great form this season and face a tricky home tie against Hull City. Hull came within a couple of minutes of winning at the Emirates last week after an excellent performance and they could make it difficult against an under-pressure Liverpool team at Anfield.
Hull are 6/1 to win while the draw is available at 10/3.
Southampton stuck eight past Sunderland last week and can continue their excellent run with a win over Stoke City at 4/7. Sunderland have promised to refund fans who made the long trip to the South Coast and they will have to up their game significantly if they want to get anything out of their match with Arsenal.
The Gunners were lucky to escape with a draw against Hull and are 4/6 to win at the Stadium of Light. If you fancy a real turnaround from the home side you can back the Black Cats at 4/1.
West Bromwich Albion gave Manchester United a scare on Monday and should be good enough in front of their home fans to see off Crystal Palace at 10/11. In Saturday’s late kick-off Swansea City can end their five match winless run with a win over Leicester City at 19/20.
The rest of the weekend’s action
Louis van Gaal’s assertion that Manchester United were ready to make a title push was rather undermined by another shaky defensive performance on Monday night as his side grabbed a 2-2 draw with West Brom. It gets much harder for United this weekend as they welcome league leaders Chelsea to Old Trafford.
Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with a win at Palace and ought to pose United’s defence plenty of problems. The home side have conceded in all but one of their home ties this season and I expect Jose Mourinho’s to score. The away side look terrific value to win at 6/4.
Burnley have scored just four Premier League goals so far this season and face another tricky tie this weekend. Everton are the visitors on Sunday and I fully expect the Toffees to take the three points at 5/6.
Newcastle United finally won a Premier League match last weekend but the pressure could once again mount on Alan Pardew this Sunday as they travel to Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been frustratingly inconsistent this season and have scored just one goal in their last three home Premier League matches.
Spurs are the 8/11 favourites but there may be plenty of interest on the visitors at 4/1.
The two title favourites lead the way in the Premier League as domestic action returns after the international break.
There are some intriguing fixtures to look forward to this weekend and there’s some decent value available on a couple of away sides. Keep reading for our preview of all this weekend’s action.
Premier League bet of the weekend
Burnley are still without a Premier League win and face another tough test this weekend as they welcome West Ham to Turf Moor.
The home side showed plenty of spirit to twice come from behind last time out to earn a 2-2 draw with Leicester. However, despite a reasonably solid defence they have only scored three Premier League goals and have failed to hit the net in five of their seven matches so far.
West Ham have been much improved this season and could end up in a European spot at the end of the weekend if they can bag three points. Considering Burnley’s lack of goals and the Hammers’ current form the away win looks great value at 13/18
All Saturday’s matches
Saturday’s early kick-off sees Manchester City take on Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium. City are already five points behind league leaders Chelsea and need a win to keep up the pressure on their title rivals.
Spurs are unbeaten away from home in the league this season and could be tricky opponents having drawn at Arsenal last time out. City won the corresponding fixture 6-0 last season and are 4/9 to pick up another three points.
It’s a repeat of the FA Cup final at the Emirates on Saturday as Arsenal welcome Hull City. Just a point separates the two sides after seven matches and the home side have yet more injury problems with both Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey set to miss this match.
Hull recorded their first win since the opening day of the season last time out and could be stubborn opponents for injury-ravaged Arsenal. The home side should win but there’s not much value in the 1/3 available. Hull are a tempting 8/1.
Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at the end of March all but ended the Blues’ title challenge last season and the two London sides meet again at Selhurst Park this Saturday. Chelsea are already five points clear at the top of the table and I don’t expect lightning to strike twice in this fixture.
Jose Mourinho’s side are 4/11 to continue their excellent start to the season with Palace available at 15/2.
After a good start to the season, Aston Villa have come down to earth with a bump, losing three matches on the bounce and failing to score in 351 minutes of football. Villa travel to Everton this Saturday who themselves are enduring a shaky spell of form.
The Toffees haven’t won at Goodison Park this season despite scoring seven goals in their three matches and have just six points from seven games. A home win looks likely at 8/15 but Villa can call on the fit-again Christian Benteke and could be awkward opponents.
Every game seems to be a ‘mustn’t lose’ for Alan Pardew and Newcastle United right now but you can’t help feel that a home defeat to Leicester City would be the end of the manager’s reign.
Papiss Cisse has saved his manager’s job on two occasions this season and could be the man to fire the Magpies to their first win of the campaign. Newcastle look decent value at 6/5 to get the three points.
After five draws in six matches Sunderland finally won their first Premier League match of the season last time out. Gus Poyet’s side face a long away trip to Southampton on Saturday and look terrific value at 5/1 to secure back-to-back wins.
The Saints have been terrific this season but lost to Spurs last time out and face a well-organised Black Cats side who found their touch in front of goal last time out. The home side are 4/7 favourites with the draw available at 29/10.
The rest of the weekend’s action
It’s been a less than consistent start to the season for Liverpool who secured a valuable three points last time out in a nervy win over West Brom. Life should be easier for Brendan Rogers’ side on Sunday, however, as they travel to struggling QPR.
Rangers are bottom of the league with the worst goal difference in the division and have been poor so far this campaign. Harry Redknapp’s side have failed to score in four of their seven Premier League matches this season and Liverpool should secure a morale boosting win at 4/7.
Stoke City fans haven’t had much to cheer about at the Britannia this season. Mark Hughes side have lost two of their three home matches, scoring just one goal in the process, and will hope to do better this Sunday. Swansea City are the visitors and despite sitting fifth in the table Garry Monk’s side haven’t won in four Premier League matches.
The two teams drew 1-1 in this fixture last season and a draw could be on the cards again at 23/10.
West Bromwich Albion were unlucky to lose at Anfield a fortnight ago after back-to-back wins and face Manchester United in Monday night’s live match.
Last time these two teams met at the Hawthorns United won 3-0 and two seasons ago it was a 5-5 draw. Considering United’s shaky defence it could be another goalfest and it is 4/7 that both teams score. United are still struggling to find the right blend and so a home win could be good value at 10/3.