Premier League Preview: Upset at the Bridge and a third defeat for United?
With Tottenham tied on points with Manchester United and City hitting a bump in form, the title race is becoming more wide open, and in turn it leaves three teams – three of the original Big Four, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – fighting it out for the fourth place. Here’s a look at the best betting odds for the weekend’s top games:
Liverpool v Stoke
Liverpool turn their attentions back to the Premier League this weekend after their 1-0 FA Cup win over City at the Etihad and are 1.44 with Betfred to take care of Stoke.
The Reds go into the clash boosted by the news that skipper Steven Gerrard has signed a new long-term deal which is likely to see him end his playing career at Anfield.
His return to action has been a terrific boost for the side following Luis Suarez’s controversial ban, and he is beginning to hit top form.
Liverpool, who now sit in sixth spot in the table, are looking to to maintain their push to finish in the top four and that mean’s that Kenny Dalglish is likely to put out his strongest starting X1 for this game.
The stats are certainly good as far as Liverpool are concerned, as Stoke have never won in 48 top-flight visits to Anfield (39 defeats, nine draws).
Liverpool have also lost just once in 19 games at home since Dalglish took over it’s hard to see the Potters posing any real threat.
The last time the two sides met at the Britannia it was Suarez that inspired Liverpool to a convincing League Cup win.
In his absence, Andy Carroll will be expected to finally start delivering the goods and he is a 6 shot with Paddy Power to net the opener.
That looks a decent price, and the big man is certainly due a goal.
In the correct score market, Liverpool to win 2-0 makes plenty of appeal at the 6.5 on offer with Paddy Power.
Chelsea v Sunderland: Another upset at the Bridge?
A couple of months ago Chelsea would have been expected to comfortably beat Sunderland, but the arrival of Martin O’Neill has seen the Black Cats turn around their season and they look value at 6.5 in the draw/no bet market with bet365 in their game at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Since O’Neill took over the Black Cats they have looked a different outfit and have won five out of seven games
They were 18th when O’Neill selected his first Sunderland side and they are now 10th and looking solid. having at one time looking to be relegation material they are now looking pretty certain of a top half finish.
The stats reveal that the Blues have won 13 of their last 14 games against Sunderland, and that’s presumably the reason why bookies make them 1.4 shots for another victory.
But Chelsea have only won four of their last nine home games across all competitions and will be without Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba due to Africa Cup Nations commitments.
Sunderland showed when beating Man City 1-0 recently that they are not a side to be taken lightly anymore, and have the ability to grind out results.
That makes them look terrific value at 6.5 in the draw/no bet market given that they are as short as 8 in the outright betting.
Can Bolton hand Manchester United a third league defeat in a row?
Following their terrific performance to knock City out of the FA Cup it’s back to Premier League business this weekend for Manchester United who are a top priced 1.16 to beat Bolton at Old Trafford.
The performance put in by the Red Devils to beat City 3-2 at the Etihad would have delighted Sir Alex, and if they turn up in the same frame of mind for this one then three points look assured.
United have won 12 of their last 14 meetings with the Trotters and thrashed them 5-0 at the Reebok earlier in the season.
They have also won their last 8 league home games against Owen Coyle’s men and it really should be a matter of how many they put past them to register another victory.
OK, Bolton have managed to secure 7 out of the last 12 available and United come into this following back to back defeats in the league.
However it’s more than 10 years since Sir Alex’s team lost three league games in a row, and I can’t see that happening here.
I think that they will win this with a bit to spare, and fancy Rooney to net the opener and fire them to a wide margin victory.
He is a top priced 3.75 with bet365 to score first, and that looks a big price given his current form and the fact that he is as short as 3 with several firms.
Henry could start for Arsenal away to Swansea
Arsenal face tough away trip to Swansea on Sunday knowing that a win will get them back into the Premier league top four, and they are 1.8 shots with bet365 to emerge victorious.
The Gunners trail fourth-placed Chelsea by one point after losing 2-1 to Fulham in their last league start, but regained some confidence with a 1-0 win over Leeds in the FA Cup thanks to a goal from Thierry Henry.
Whether the on-loan Frenchman will make his first league start for the club in five years remains to be seen as Arsene Wenger can confirmed that Robin van Persie will be making the coach trip down to Wales.
The flying Dutchman has scored 17 of Arsenal’s 36 goals this season and since he has been rested Arsenal have looked to be lacking badly in front of goal.
But given that Swansea have a good home record and only one side – Manchester United – have managed to secure three points on their own patch this season he will surely be in the starting X1.
bet365 also go 1.91 about him scoring anytime and that also looks worth a punt.
It definitely won’t be easy for the Gunners, but I think they will edge it 2-1 and that scoreline can be backed at and 8.5 with bet365.