<![CDATA[This weeks Premier League Preview is a bumper one, seven games to take a look at with some teams looking to find their form once again and others trying to continue the good start they have had to the season.
If Blackburn had managed to hold out a couple of minutes longer, Christmas shopping could have been a bit more extravagant this year but a nice profit was made overall, let's hope we can keep that up this weekend.
Newcastle v Everton – 12.45
Two teams at opposite ends of the table come together here with both sides looking for the points, Everton could do with a win to lift them a little further from the relegation zone which, with Christmas fast approaching, is now an area we can really start to look at. Newcastle on the other hand will be looking to continue their fine league form and push for a European place.
Happy days have returned to St. James’ Park (I refuse to give it its full title), unlikely as it may have seemed when alan Pardew took over from Chris Hughton last season, Newcastle are now early contenders in the race for a Champions League spot, a solid defence is backed up by Tioté in midfield and a front line currently full of goals is being fed by Cabaye, Gutierrez, Obertan and occasionally Marveaux, that’s overlooking the talented Hatem Ben Arfa of course who is being slowly reintegrated back into the side after injury.
Newcastles work scouting the French market really seems to have paid off and their strong start to the season could go on a little while longer yet.
Everton have not been able to dip into the transfer market as much as manager David Moyes would have liked but he still continues to do an excellent job, battling against the ravages of injury on what is quite a small squad, he is lucky that the Everton youth system seems to continue to produce young players of Premier League quality, Rodwell and Barkley are two excellent young players that have come through the youth team at Goodison Park.
Barkley may not get on the pitch in this game as Tim Cahill is expected to return for this match and that could see Leon Osman drop into midfield.
The injury doubts surrounding Tioté and Cahill are the main reason I’m staying out of the betting on this match, I could have been tempted into placing a small bet on under 2.5 goals but the odds are too short for my liking right now.
I’m expecting a home win
but won’t be staking anything on that.
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion – 15.00
Arsenal are determined to confound and confuse me this season, I don’t think I’ve won a penny on their games and I got last weeks match prediction wrong as well, just as well I did state that professional advice should be sought before placing a bet!
I’m backing Arsenal for a win this week but with my rotten luck with them, who knows what will happen, perhaps it’s best if all of you tell me where I should be looking to place my money in this match!
Arsenal are still missing a good number of influential players but that didn’t stop them last week and Vermaelens return midweek will be a boost to the squad overall.
West Brom are also missing important players and with shane Long definitel ruled out, a lot will depend on whether Odemwingie will be fit enough to feature in this match.
Regardless, I’m expecting a home win but the odds are way too short to tempt me into the market, let me know where you’re looking in the comments section at the bottom of this page!
Aston Villa v Norwich – 15.00
Last week I bet against Norwich and they proved me wrong with a 90th minute penalty, up until that point, I was having a great day. Norwich are a proper footballing side that knock it about nicely but have a tough edge to them. I’m expecting them to step up in this game and come away with all 3 points from this match.
Aston Villa did as expected and drew against Sunderland, that selection alone brought me in some nice profit last weekend but I expect them to struggle this weekend against a side that will spread the play and wait for a good chance to pick apart their well marshalled back-line and score a goal.
My first bet for the weekend will be on a Norwich win
, currently available at 4.76 with Pinnacle.
Blackburn v Chelsea – 15.00
Blackburn didn’t just deflate their fans and manager by conceding a last minute penalty, their late capitulation cost me the money I’d already started to spend in my head, lesson learned, don’t rely on Blackburn to win you money.
That’s obviously a lesson that the bookies already knew as they are all over a Chelsea win here, even with Chelseas recent form being less than red hot, there is no way I expect them to come away from here with anything less than 3 points, I’m not going to risk my money laying Blackburn as my football lay bets are few and far between and with Chelsea hurting, I don’t trust them not to go all out and try to score a hatful here.
The number of goals this game could produce is too uncertain in my mind for me to risk anything at all on it, so a no-bet game but an away win
Liverpool v Swansea – 15.00
Liverpool are one of the teams genuinely in the hunt for one of the four Champions League spots, it’s games like this one that will determine whether or not they achieve that goal. Certainly they have a striker up front that can score enough goals to get them there but Suarez can’t do it all by himself, Steven Gerrard is out again and when he comes back it’s unsure how long he’ll be able to play again before coming down with another infection or injury, he’s played a lot of games in his career and like a couple of other high profile players, it looks like time is catching up with him.
Swansea are committed to playing good football and even with horrendous injury problems they have stuck to that and should be commended for it. With Agustien, Tate, Caulker and others out, they’ve done extremely well to pick up points where they can and with some of those players back in training, they really have a chance of staying up this season, same as all of the other promoted sides.
Realistically, at least one of them will go back down straight away and Swansea do seem the side least prepared for the rigours of life in the top flight but as long as it lasts, I’m going to try to catch as many of their games as possible and enjoy their commitment to playing “good” football.
Liverpool will win this one and once again, the bookies have it tied up nice and tight so this is another no-bet match for me.
Manchester United v Sunderland – 15.00
For some of the Sunderland players (and of course their manager), this will be like returning to an old home, there are so many Sunderland players with Manchester United ties nowadays that you could be forgiven for mistaking them for Uniteds reserves.
With Sir Alex Ferguson celebrating 25 years in charge at Old Trafford this month, there is bound to be a bit of a party atmosphere at Old Trafford and I don’t think think Sunderland will be up to the task of upsetting the odds in this one. Sunderland could switch to a five man midfield in the hope of stifling United and with Lee Cattermole possibly starting the game, it could be a fiery affair, at least until someone gets sent off.
United have a list of players who will miss this match because of injury but they will still be able to put out a side strong enough to beat Sunderland here. The bookies agree and once again have made that bet prohibitive in my eyes, I’ll be looking at the odds for a red card to be shown in this match but I doubt I’ll put any money on it.
Queens Park Rangers v Manchester City – 17.30
QPR host City in this game and it must seem a daunting task right now, City are sweeping all before them and have faced better sides than Rangers this season, Rangers are coming off the back of a loss against Tottenham and even though they were much improved in the second half, they will surely know that each and every one of their players must be performing to their best if they are to stand a chance here.
Normally an away game a few days after a Champions League match could be a sign towards a tough game but Mancini has incredible depth in his squad and can shuffle the pack well enough to pick up three points here.
City should score a few goals in this one so I’m looking at a bet on the City -1.25 at just above evens for my next and last bet of the day.
What do you think? Let us know below.]]>