Matchday 18 Premier League Preview: Liverpool, Chelsea face tough opposition as both Manchesters favourites to win
This weekend’s fixtures see table toppers Manchester United head to Swansea. Liverpool and Chelsea face the sturdiest test as they prepare to host Fulham and Aston Villa.
Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool are once again odds-on at home as they play host to Fulham, and the visitors look worth a bet at 5 with bet365 in the draw/no bet market.
The Reds seemed to have turned the corner with three back to back wins in all competitions, but then put in a woeful display last weekend when beaten 3-1 at home by the youngest side fielded by Aston Villa.
It was a performance which suggest they simply have to be taken on at a best price of just 1.57, and the stats are also mixed as far as the home side are concerned.
Fulham have won only one of their 11 Premier League trips to Anfield (L6 D4), have scored just three goals in that time.
However the Cottagers won 1-0 on their last visit to Anfield back in May when completing the double over Brendan Rodgers’ side their manager Martin Jol is unbeaten in his last three encounters with the Reds as a Premier League manager (W2 D1).
Given the unpredictability of Liverpool, I think Fulham are capable of serving it up to them think and inflicting more misery on the Merseysiders.
Wigan v Arsenal
The Gunners come into the game having won their last two in the league and were impressive in thrashing Reading 5-2 at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night.
By stark contrast, Wigan have managed to win just one of their last seven matches, suffering five defeats in that period, and have won only two of their last 18 Premier League games played in the month of December (W2 D9 L7).
The stats are also good as far as Arsene Wenger’s men are concerned as the sides have met 14 times in the top flight with Arsenal emerging victorious on 10 occasions.
In the first goalscorer market defender Thomas Vermaelen looks worth an each-way punt at the 19 on offer with Boylesports as he has scored in each of his three Premier League appearances against Wigan – netting four in total across those matches.
Another bet well worth considering is over 3.5 goals at 2.62 with Boylesports and Paddy Power as there have been 18 goals in the last four league meetings between these two sides at the DW Stadium with at least four in each encounter.
Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City
The Lilywhites come into the game in fourth place having returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Swansea last weekend, a result which saw them notch their fifth victory in their last six games in all competitions.
However this is not going to be easy form them as the Potters are also in good form and are unbeaten in their last 7 games in the top flight (Won 4, Drawn 3).
So in what is likely to be a tight game the first bet that appeals is under 2.5 goals at 1.83 with bet365 as just three of Stoke’s 17 Premier League games this season have gone over that total.
Spurs have also failed to keep a clean sheet in eight previous Premier League meetings with Stoke City, so both teams to score looks worth considering at a 1.91 with Paddy Power.
Jermaine Defoe makes plenty of appeal in the first goalscorer market at a tasty looking 6 with Betfred.
Manchester City v Reading
The Royals have won just one game all season and come into the game bottom of the table having lost all their last six matches in the top flight.
They got hammered 5-2 at home by Arsenal on Monday night when they decided to go with just two in central midfield, and if adopting the same tactics in this will get torn apart.
It will be interesting to see how they cope against the title holders, who are capable of really putting them to the sword an notching a wide margin victory.
Roberto Mancini’s side got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 win at Newcastle last weekend, and one interesting stat is that they have won all 13 of the Premier League matches that Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have started together.
Tevez is priced up as favourite with the bookies to get the opener at 4 with bet365, but it’s Aguero that looks the better value of the pair to break the deadlock at 4.5 with the same firm.
Another bet well worth considering is City to win without reply as it’s virtual impossible to see where a goal will come from for the visitors.
They are a standout 1.91 with Paddy Power to win to nil, and that looks far better value than backing them at 1.14 in the outright market.
Swansea v Manchester United
Table toppers Manchester United travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea on Sunday (1.30pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1) and simply have to be the bet 1.67 with bet365 and Betfred to bag another three points.
They come into the game on an unbeaten run of five in the league and maintained their six point lead at the top of the table with an easy 3-1 win over Sunderland last weekend.
The home side have also been in good form, and have shocked many with their solid start to the season which has put them currently in 10th position in the top flight.
However United did the double over them last season, winning 1-0 here and 2-0 at Old Trafford and the stats are really good as far as Sir Alex’s men are concerned.
Swansea have won just one of their last nine league meetings with the Red Devils, and that came way back in 1982.
Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have really struck up a great understanding upfront and the Swansea defence are got to find them a real handful in their current form.
I am going to take them United to win 2-0 and that is a 9.5 chance with bet365.
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea are general 1.33 shots to beat Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (4pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1) and everything suggests they are worthy odds on shots to do just that.
The Blues come into the game on after coming from 1-0 down to thrash Leeds 5-1 in the Capita One Cup in midweek, and the stats are certainly good as far as this game is concerned.
Rafael Benitez has suffered just one defeat in 12 meetings with Aston Villa as a Premier League manager (W7 D4), and Villa have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games at the Bridge (L6 D3).
The Villans also suffered their biggest ever top flight defeat at the hands of the Blues when getting beat 7-1 in this fixture back in 2010.
The last six league meetings between the two sides have produced a whopping 26 goals, and that makes over 2.5 goals look a solid bet at 1.53 with Betfred, while over 3.5 also appeals at 2.38 with Boylesports.
I fancy Chelsea to register a comfortable success, and like the look of 4-0 and 4-1 in the correct score markets.