Will Liverpool and Arsenal return to winning ways this weekend?

This weekend we have the big North London derby with roles reversed – this is Arsenal’s worst season under Wenger, and Tottenham are outside title contenders / guaranteed to finish in the Champions League places. We also have the Carling Cup Final as Liverpool aim to win their first title for six years.

Carling Cup Final – Liverpool v Cardiff

Liverpool are 1.4 to beat Cardiff in 90 minutes and land their first piece of silverware for six year in the Carling Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.

The 18-time English league champions, whose last trophies came in 2006 with victories in the FA Cup and Community Shield, go into the game on a high

after thrashing of Brighton 6-1 in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Captain Steven Gerrard said it had been too long since Liverpool had added to their trophy cabinet.

Kenny Dalglish’s side have overcome the likes of Chelsea and Man City to reach the final, while Championship side Cardiff have had a much easier run.

Malky Mackay’s side have beaten Oxford United, Huddersfield Town, Leicester City, Burnley, Blackburn and Crystal Palace on the way to Wembley but are a decent outfit who are likely to battle hard and make it hard for the Merseysiders.

However they need to leave behind their recent form having won just one of the 5 games, and that makes Liverpool look worthy odds-on shots for glory.

Craig Bellamy has been outstanding for Liverpool this season and looks a certainty to get a start against his former club.

He is a tremendous player to have at your disposal in big games, and is sure to cause the Cardiff backline all sorts of problems.

Boylesports go 5.5 about him netting the opener, and that looks a decent punt.

Liverpool to win 2-1 and lift their eighth Carling Cup crown is my idea of the outcome, and that is a 9 shot with bet365.

North London Derby – Arsenal v Tottenham

It’s the North London derby this weekend at the emirates, and Arsenal are a top priced 2.6 with Boylesports to beat their arch rivals Spurs in a game in which the two managers go into under vastly different circumstances.

Arsene Wenger is a man under pressure after his side’s 4-0 drubbing in the Champions League at the hands of Ac Milan which was quickly followed by a poor 2-0 defeat at Sunderland.

He is fighting to justify his football philosophy and this will be his seventh season at the club without winning any silverware. Things must change fast to ensure the club gets back on track and this would be the ideal game in which to start the fight-back.

By stark contrast Spurs’ boss Harry Redknapp is a man who can do little wrong at present.

He is being wooed by the FA for the England job and is revelling in the media spotlight with the full support of Spurs and Three Lions supporters.

That makes this a really interesting clash, and with both side’s liking to play attacking football there is the distinct possibility of plenty of goals.

Indeed, the two sides met three times last season and and shared 16 goals in those encounters. Even if you add in Spurs’ 2-1 win at White Hart Lane this season, that makes 19 goals in their last four meetings – an average of nearly five goals a game.

So from a betting perspective, the most attractive wager has to be over 2.5 goals, which can be backed a top priced 1.73 with Boylesports.

Norwich City v Manchester United

Man United take trip to Carrow road this weekend, and even though they are likely to be without Wayne Rooney  still look a solid punt at 1.57 with Paddy Power to beat Norwich.

The Red Devils have a formidable record on the road and have lost just once in their last 13 away games.

Admittedly their opponents are in good form, having lost only on of their last six games and managed to keep clean sheets in the last two.

However United themselves have also been very solid in defence having kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season, and their formidable striking power should prove too much for the Canaries.

Hernandez got a much needed start and the opening goal in United’s 2-1 home defeat against Ajax in midweek and looks sure to be in the staring XI once again.

Five of his 8 goals in the Premiership this season having been the opener, so that makes him look a tasty bet a 5.5 with Boylesports and Paddy Power to net first.

He also looks far too big at 2.25 with Boylesports to net anytime during the 90 minutes.

I think there will be plenty of goals in this, and over 2.5 goals at 1.66 with bet365 is also worthy of a wager.

Chelsea v Bolton

Chelsea are a top priced 1.33 with Paddy Power to beat Bolton at the Bridge , and although they would normal be considered bankers to do so I would not be rushing in to back them at cramped odds given their current form.

The Blues have not won any of their last 5 games in all competitions, and have lost two out of the last three of those.

Sandwiched in between those two defeats was a woeful 1-1 draw with Birmingham in the FA Cup, and they are currently looking a shadow of their former selves.

AVB is a man under pressure and facing the possibility of being shown the door, and  the players are not responding to his needs.

However the good thing as far as this encounter is concerned is that Bolton have a terrible record against the Blues.

The Trotters have won none of their last 16 visits to London, and have also managed to keep just one clean sheet in their last 38 Premier League away games.

That really should make them perfect fodder for an anywhere near on-song Chelsea side, but from a betting perspective I am going to swerve the outright market and suggest  we concentrate on Frank Lampard hopefully make us some dosh.

He has scored more goals against Bolton than against any other team in the Premier League (11) and has to make him of interest in the first and anytime scorer markets.

Boylesports go 6.5 about him netting first, while you can get a very tasty looking 2.5 with the same firm about him bagging one in the 90 minutes.

Carling Cup Final: Liverpool v Cardiff Preview
Carling Cup success more than just a trophy for Liverpool


  1. Phil N 25 February, 2012
  2. Ben 25 February, 2012