The last weekend of April could see the Premier League title decided one way or the other.
But before Monday night, there’s quite a lot of football still to play with Arsenal fighting to secure third place, Chelsea and Tottenham fighting to make up ground to fourth place and Liverpool fighting to stay ahead of Everton in the league table.
Below we preview the biggest games of the weekend and the best bets as well (Click here for more betting odds):
Stoke v Arsenal
Arsenal don’t have a good record at the Britannia Stadium but look worth a punt at a top priced 1.91 with Paddy Power
to beat Stoke on Saturday (3pm KO).
They have lost three of their last four games at the ground and face a side who have secured 10 out of a possible 12 points on their own soil in recent weeks.
However Tony Pulis’ men are also the division’s lowest scorers with just 32 in total, and if Arsenal can grab the first goal it’s very hard to see them coming away empty handed.
The Gunners remain in pole position for third place despite a couple of frustrating displays against Wigan and Chelsea and need to pick up the pace again.
Their slick build-up play was virtually none existent in a mundane 0-0 draw against Chelsea, and worryingly Robin van Persie has barely had as sniff of a goal in the last couple of games.
The Dutchman needs to find the back of the net again to restore some confidence in the side, and if he can then could well nick the spoils in what is going to be a tight fought affair.
He is a 4.33 shot with the Betfred
to net the opener and that makes plenty of appeal in a game where I don’t think there will be many goals.
I fancy him to fire his side to a 1-0 win and that is a 7.5 chance with bet365
and Paddy Power
Also, given that both sides have been struggling to score, under 2.5 goals looks the bet of the match at even money (2) on offer with Paddy Power
Norwich v Liverpool
Liverpool travel to Carrow Road to take on Norwich (5.30pm KO, Live on ESPN) and are a top priced 2.05 with Paddy Power
to come away with all three points.
Under normal circumstances that would be a tremendous price, but the Reds have become hard to predict and their league form since the turn off the year has been shocking.
I expected their 2-1 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby to provide a springboard for them to put together a string of victories and round off the season in style but they went back to their old ways when going down 1-0 at home to West Brom last weekend.
It was a game in which their effort could not be faulted, but they once again missed a whole host of chances in what was ultimately another disappointing performance..
So the big question going into this is whether they can finally start converting the chances that they are creating in front of goal.
If they can they should win and they have at least won more on the road (7) than they have at home (5).
Steven Gerrard, who was rested as a precaution against the Baggies, is set to return and looks value at 8.5 chance with Betfred
and Paddy Power
to do so in style by netting the opener.
Also, given that the wheels appear to have come off in recent weeks as far as the home side are concerned, I am going to suggest a speculative punt on Liverpool winning 3-1 at a juicy looking 17 with Betfred
Chelsea v QPR
On Sunday Chelsea play host to QPR in the first game on Sky Sports 1 (1.30pm KO) and look bankers at a general price 1.4 to round off an amazing week with another victory.
The Blues are flying high at present and put in an outstanding performance to draw 2-2 against Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday to secure their place in the Champions League
final on May 19.
Roberto Di Matteo’s men showed great resolve to see off the team regarded as the best in the world, and they have now lost just one of their last 15 matches in all competitions.
However they do face a defensive crisis going into this match.
Gary Cahill and David Luiz have both been ruled out with hamstring injuries, while Branislav Ivanovic serves the final instalment of his domestic three-match ban – leaving John Terry as the only recognised centre-half.
But even with a make shift defence they should be able bag all three points against a side who are just one point above the relegation zone with just three games remaining.
Mark Hughes’ side have managed to win their last four fixtures at home to give them a chance of survival, but their form on the road is dreadful.
They haven’t won on their travels in 11 matches and will need to put in a herculean performance to change that in this clash.
Torres, who will have gained some much needed confidence from his goal at the Nou Camp, looks worth a wager at 5.5 with bet365
to net the opener, and I like the looks of the 8 on offer with with Betfred
about a 2-1 win for Chelsea.
Tottenham v Blackburn
The second game on Sky (4pm KO) sees Spurs chalked up at just 1.4 to beat Blackburn at White Hart Lane, and they simply have to be taken on at those odds.
Harry Redknapp’s side have lost the plot in recent weeks and lost their last three games.
They and can ill-afford more slip-ups if they’re to finish inside the top four and are currently three points behind Newcastle.
However with Benoit Assou-Ekotto set to join Michael Dawson in missing the rest of the season, and Emmanuel Adebayor and Younes Kaboul also struggling to make the line-up they will not be fielding their strongest side for this.
Ok, Rovers have won once, drawn once and lost six times on the road since the turn of the year.
But Steve Keane’s men have proved on more than one occasion that they are no pushover and capable of raising their game.
They beat Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve, and have managed to salvage points in games against Everton and Liverpool.
They also come into the game with their tails up following a vital win over Norwich, and at 8.5 with Betfred
look too big a price to let go unbacked.