EPL Gameweek 29 Preview and Betting Tips

Chelsea might be out of the title race, but on Wednesday morning they more than played their part in splitting it wide open. The blues beat table topping Manchester United 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and kept the red devils just four points ahead of Arsenal. The lead is effectively only one point should the gunners win their game in hand. Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham are in a massive scrap for the final two Champions League qualification places. I fancy Chelsea to build on their victory over United and clinch third spot, leaving City and Spurs to fight for the last place.

Things are just as exciting at the foot of the league. Incredibly just six points separate teams in the bottom half of the table. Wolves are still in the bottom three, however Mick McCarthy’s men are starting to get results against fellow relegation contenders. Supporters of Blackburn Rovers will be nervously starting to look over their shoulders. The Lancashire club is dropping down the league table like a stone.


Saturday Night

Birmingham v West Brom (2345 AEDT)

How does a team motivate itself for a league fixture against West Brom, when last weekend they were busy beating Arsenal 2-1 in a cup final at Wembley? That is the position Birmingham find themselves in. The brummies have to get up for this match because they are one bad weekend of results from slipping into the drop zone. The drop zone is exactly where West Brom were sitting until they snatched a dramatic equaliser at Stoke on Monday. The Birmingham crowd will greet their home players with a rapturous reception on Saturday and I think the players will reward them with a competent display. In time new manager Roy Hodgson will tighten West Brom’s leaky defense, but he has only had two weeks so far.

Andy’s Bet: Birmingham to win to nil @ 3.75 (Centrebet, Sportsbet)

Arsenal v Sunderland (0200 AEDT)

Life is never dull for an Arsenal fan. They suffered heart break late on in the Carling Cup final, then progressed to the FA Cup quarter finals midweek and next week have a 2nd leg Champions League tie with Barcelona. Before that epic showdown they have a date in the league with Sunderland. The black cats have lost four on the spin and an excellent season is starting to turn ugly for the Wearsiders. They are still 8th in the table and will be thankful to have already collected 37 points because after this trip to London they face Liverpool and Manchester City. Arsenal have a host of regular starters missing due to various injury complaints including captain Cesc Fabregas, leading striker Robin van Persie and pacy winger Theo Walcott. This game might just lack the usual creativity an Arsenal game has.

Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.98 (Sportingbet)

Bolton v Aston Villa (0200 AEDT)

Bolton could only manage a draw against 10 man Newcastle last weekend. Villa, meanwhile, were in fine form dispatching Blackburn 4-1. Bolton have a great record at the Reebok only tasting defeat twice in fourteen home matches. Villa’s away form is the opposite with just two away victories all season. Aston Villa have really improved since the turn of the year and they are good fare to watch for the neutrals. You can just about guarantee they will find the back of the net, scoring in eight of their nine league fixtures in 2011, and only Blackpool have conceded more goals this season. That is a great recipe for entertainment!

Andy’s bet: Draw @ 3.50 (Betfair)

Andy’s Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.00 (Sportsbet)

Fulham v Blackburn (0200 AEDT)

This match intrigues me more than any other this weekend. Both clubs have amassed 32 points this season and sit precariously above the drop zone. However their respective formlines could not be any different. Fulham are unbeaten in their last four league fixtures while Blackburn have collected just one point from their last fifteen available. If Fulham keep it on the ground they will be fine.

Andy’s Bet: Fulham to win @ 1.76 (Betfair)

Newcastle v Everton (0200 AEDT)

Everton are beginning to rival Newcastle as the Jekyll and Hyde of the Premier League. They were outstanding to get past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup only to be beaten in the very next round by Reading. Newcastle are starting to pick up injuries and suspensions which is worrying as the magpies have a very thin squad. Most concerning is the right midfield slot. Joey Barton was playing like the Joey Barton version from the mid 2000’s, but he injured his thigh last week and his replacement, Ryan Taylor, got a red card and automatic three match ban. Marouane Fellaini and Aussie Tim Cahill will miss though injury for the toffees. These two understrength teams should share the points, although that is probably too conventional. It will be interesting to see how they contrive to produce an unexpected result!

Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.45 (Betfair)

West Ham v Stoke (0200 AEDT)

West Ham got a properly good result last week. Liverpool have been the league’s form team since Kenny Dalglish arrived to steady the ship. The hammers burst the Liverpool bubble and kept themselves just one good result away from safety. That good result could very possibly occur this weekend. If you happen to watch this game I encourage you to take a close look at hammers captain Scott Parker. In this form Parker would walk into any premier league team’s starting XI. Yes, I said any team. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion there could be a few net-busters in this one, so I’m going to have a cheeky wager on over 4.5 goals.

Andy’s Bet: West Ham to win @ 2.30 (Betfair)

Andy’s Bet: Over 4.5 goals @ 7.50 (Sportsbet)

Manchester City v Wigan (0430 AEDT)

This match will kick off with a cloud hanging over the future of City centre back Kolo Toure. The Ivorian has been suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of his positive drug test. Toure tested positive to a ‘specified’ substance, which means it is likely to involve a non-doping explanation. The punishment could range from a warning to a two year ban. Fortunately for the sky blues they only have to face cellar dweller Wigan. The Latics should provide cannon fodder for Carlos Tevez and his accomplices.

Andy’s Bet: Manchester City to win @ 1.39 (Betfair)

Andy’s Bet: Carlos Tevez to score anytime @ 1.67 (Sportsbet)

Sunday Night

Liverpool v Manchester United (0030 AEDT)

Last week I said that United could afford to drop points just once more this season. Well, that happened during the week against Chelsea, so the equation has changed. The new requirement for United is for them to match or beat Arsenal’s results for the remaining ten games of the season. United will have to face their historical rival Liverpool with the disturbing defensive pairing of Wes Brown and Chris Smalling. Who? Sure Brown has been around for a while, but he hardly plays these days and Smalling is, well, no one knows. I am sure this defensive pairing will have Andy Carroll declaring his fitness for a Liverpool debut. The aggressive striker could do a lot of damage even if it is just a half hour cameo off the subs bench.

Andy’s Bet: Liverpool to win @ 2.88 (Betfair)

Andy’s Bet: Liverpool to win by 2 or more goals @ 6.50 (Sportsbet)

Wolverhampton v Tottenham (0300 AEDT)

Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City. Those are three high profile clubs that have already perished to Wolves at Molineux in season 2010/11. This is a big game for both clubs. Wolves are relying on their home form to keep them up in the big league. The men in orange have the best home record of any side in the wrong half of the table. Spurs are fairly good on the road, but will probably have an eye on their glamour match up with AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday. Wolves have enough about them to get a point against a Gareth Bale-less Tottenham.

Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.40 (Betfair)


Tuesday Morning

Blackpool v Chelsea (0700 AEDT)

Things are getting tight for the seasiders. Blackpool are now finding out just how hard the premier league can be.  They are another team on 32 points getting sucked into the relegation whirlpool. Unfortunately for Ian Holloway’s men, Chelsea are not in a gift-giving mood. The blues strike me as a team about to go on a good run. They will have no problems against a Blackpool team missing star player Charlie Adam and leading scorer DJ Campbell. If Chelsea can keep winning they should comfortably guarantee Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next season.

Andy’s Bet: Chelsea to win @ 1.33 (Betfair)

Andy’s Bet: Frank Lampard to score anytime @ 2.06 (Centrebet)


Sneaky European Multi

Andy’s Bet: Manchester City, Celtic, Lazio, Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon and Real Madrid all to win @ 7.95 (Sportsbet)

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