Last weekend this column was all around the mark without hitting the bullseye. This week the analysis has been exhaustive as I look to give you some tips that will hopefully fatten your wallet.
Aston Villa v Arsenal (kickoff at 23:45 AEDT)
An absolute humdinger kicks off the action on Saturday night. Aston Villa, almost unnoticed, have slipped to be now just three points from the relegation spots. Despite their poor table position, they have maintained impressive home form and are yet to be defeated at Villa Park this season. Arsenal travel to the midlands after a nightmare week. The gunners were cruising to the top of the table when leading spurs 2-0, but simply capitulated in the second half. They then lost 2-0 to Braga in the Champions League, and that results leaves their qualification for the next phase of Europe’s elite club competition in real doubt. The news got worse with key player Cesc Fabregas tweaking his hamstring against Braga and he will now miss 2 weeks. Both sides have too much to lose, so I’m tipping the draw
Bolton v Blackpool (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
The two surprise teams of the league will do battle at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium. After watching them easily and clinically dispose of my Newcastle team last week, I am now on the Trotters bandwagon. Kevin Davies provides the muscle and Johan Elmander the sublime skill. A lot of people laughed when Bolton bought the Swede for over 8 million pounds before the start of last season. They’re not laughing now. I think Bolton will cement their spot in the top 4 with a comfortable win over a Blackpool team that continue to surprise. I foolishly tipped against them last week, but I am going to stand firm in belief that they will crash back down to earth soon.
Andy’s bet: Bolton to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.55 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s bet: Johan Elmander to score first for Bolton @ 3.60 (Sportsbet)
Everton v West Brom (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
Everton impressed me with their battling 2-2 away draw with Sunderland last week. West Brom continued their dismal form with a 3-0 home defeat to Stoke. The brummies have now lost 4 of their 5 November fixtures, drawing the other. Also worth noting is that these fixtures have mostly been against the weaker teams including losses to Blackpool, Wigan and Stoke. Everton look comfortable winners in this one. Given that Everton are around $1.60 for the win it is tough to get value. I am not going to get fancy, but if you’re feeling lucky, maybe back Everton to win by 2 or more goals at around the $2.50 mark.
Andy’s bet: Everton to win @ 1.62 (Sportsbet)
Fulham v Birmingham (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
This is an interesting fixture. Two teams who are performing well below their own expectations. Birmingham are in the better form, having taken a point at Man City and all 3 against Chelsea. Fulham let me down last week and I just can’t see them scoring goals.
Andy’s bet: Birmingham to win @ 3.80 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s bet: Under 1.5 goals @ 3.15 (TAB Sportsbet)
Manchester United v Blackburn (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
The red devils have been just enough to get the points and now, suddenly, they ominously find themselves level on points with Chelsea. I got a bit excited last week and backed them to beat Wigan 4-0. They only ran out 2-0 victors. United are flying at Old Trafford and have scored at least 2 goals in all of their home matches in the league. Blackburn impressed me greatly by dispatching Aston Villa last time out. This is much tougher and I expect Big Sam’s plucky side to be outclassed.
Andy’s bet: Man United to win to nil @ 1.91 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s bet: Man United to win 3-0 @ 8.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
Stoke v Manchester City (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
This match excites me greatly! I have tracking Stoke’s progress with interest this season. Manager Tony Pulis has assembled a squad full of quality and although they started slowly, a handy swag of points is now being accumulated by the boys from the Brittania. City were awesome last week. They are a much improved side when Carlos Tevez leads the line. The little Argentine bagged a double at Fulham, and will need to be closely marked. City are the better team, but Stoke are always lifted by their vocal home fans. I am thinking this one might be a draw. Perhaps 1-1.
Andy’s bet: Draw @ 1.91 (Sportsbet)
West Ham v Wigan (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
They have to win soon don’t they? West Ham that is. Wigan captain Antolin Alcaraz is suspended after picking up a red card at Old Trafford last weekend. Exciting striker Hugo Rodallega is also suspended, so the lads from Upton Parl don’t have a better chance of victory. Hammers captain and key man, Scott Parker, returns from a chest infection to lead the team. His inclusion is enough to sway me to jump on West Ham. If they can’t win this they will be relegated.
Andy’s bet: West Ham @ 2.00 (Sportsbet)
Wolverhampton v Sunderland (kickoff at 02:00 AEDT)
I was on both these team to succeed last week and neither did. Sunderland were the more impressive though. I really like their line up and if they can overcome Wolves’ physical test, then they should win. 2-1 is a popular scoreline for Wolves this season. 6 of their 14 games have finished that way. I’m on another 2-1, this time for Sunderland.
Newcastle v Chelsea (kickoff at 12:30 AEDT)
Hmm. I’m still hurting after my Newcastle boys got smacked 5-1 last week by Bolton. Midfield general Joey Barton serves the second of a three match ban, while Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson are also suspended. That could see a new defensive pairing of Steven Taylor and the nearing pension age Sol Campbell (shudder). Chelsea are far from their best either. Two losses in a row for the league leaders. Surely it can’t be three? I think Chelsea will over-run and outclass Newcastle. Chelsea will still be missing the suspended Michael Essien, while Frank Lampard and John Terry are doubtful to make the trip north to Tyneside due to injury. Didier Drogba is one who will make the trip and he will probably score.
Andy’s bet: Chelsea to win by 2 or more goals @ 3.00 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s bet: Didier Drogba to score at anytime @ 1.91 (Sportsbet)
Tottenham v Liverpool (kickoff at 03:00 AEDT)
Another interesting game. Can spurs complete the perfect week? Victorious in the north London derby, qualification for the Champions League knockout stage and perhaps a victory over a Liverpool team they seem to have overtaken. Tottenham arguably have a greater attacking threat than any other team in the league with players like Bale, Van der vaart, Crouch, Defoe, Lennon and Modric. Tom Huddlestone also plays an important role protecting Tottenham’s back four. Liverpool are just coming into form, but are still unconvincing away from Anfield. Spurs’ confidence will be sky high and if they can get at Liverpool early, they should complete their dream week.
Andy’s bet: Tottenham to be leading at half time and full time @ 3.30 (Sportsbet)
Sneaky European Multi of the week
After coming very close to multi success last week, I’m back for another crack.
It’s the same deal as last time, pick one winner from each of Europe’s main leagues.
Andy’s bet: Everton, Marseille, Bayern Munich, Lazio, Sevilla all to win @ 8.90 (Sportsbet)