Nine of Mike Norman’s last 11 recommended bets in his look at the non-TV games have landed so, with his P/L for the season on a steady increase, check out our man’s recommendations for Saturday’s five 3pm kick-offs…
Aston Villa 2.568/5 v Swansea 3.259/4; The Draw 3.39/4
I’m still not convinced by Aston Villa but the fact is that they’ve won three on the bounce now and scored eight goals in the process. Prior to Tim Sherwood‘s appointment Villa’s previous eight league goals had taken 16 games to accumulate so it’s fair to say that the former Tottenham boss has made an immediate impact.
But two narrow wins over local rivals and a victory over hapless Sunderland doesn’t have me rushing to back them at all and I can see the visit of Swansea being a very tight affair.
Pre-Sherwood I would have had this game down as an Under 2.5 Goals banker, but odds of just 1.654/6 on that outcome look extremely short now that an attack-minded manager is in charge of Villa. Plus, the home side’s tails are up and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world to see them kick on from here.
But I’m prepared to wait just a few more games before having a firm opinion on Sherwood’s men, and in this very difficult game to predict the tentative selection will be the away win.
Swansea played really well against Liverpool on Monday night and were unfortunate to come out of the game empty handed. Garry Monk‘s men offered plenty going forward and I can see them getting on the scoresheet at Villa Park (they’ve found the back of the net in all bar one of their last 11 away games).
Prior to Sherwood’s appointment that would have been good enough for a win in most matches against Villa, so let’s stick with it.
Back Swansea to Win @ 3.259/4
Newcastle 6.05/1 v Arsenal 1.664/6; The Draw 4.216/5
A lot of Newcastle fans were furious with the 3-0 loss at Everton last Sunday. Furious with what I’m not sure.
Are they angry that the manager they effectively forced out – Alan Pardew – is now working wonders at a club that really wants him there, or are they up in arms that current boss John Carver isn’t getting the results with what is no better than an average bottom-half side.
Pardew is gone, Newcastle are safe from relegation, and Carver will be gone in the summer. Surely this is a time for optimism on Tyneside. The fans have got what they wished for.
Unfortunately I think the St James’ Park faithful will have more cause for pessimism when Arsenal come to town on Saturday. The Gunners have been in terrific form of late (barring that dreadful home performance against Monaco) and have won six of their last seven on the road including victories over Man City, Man Utd, and Monaco in midweek.
As I say, Carver’s men are just average at best with their only victories in 2015 coming against Hull and Aston Villa, two sides that struggle for goals. Arsenal don’t struggle for goals and I believe an away win is the only possible outcome to consider, though odds of just 1.664/6 make little appeal.
Back Arsenal to Win @ 1.664/6
Southampton 1.491/2 v Burnley 9.28/1; The Draw 4.57/2
A match between two sides that produced shock results at the weekend, Burnley a massive one in beating reigning champions Manchester City, and Southampton a slightly less one when holding current Premier League leaders Chelsea to a draw a Stamford Bridge.
Both results will have been big coupon busters I imagine, but it’s the Saints who have the best chance of getting the punters back on side in this encounter.
But I’m not too excited about backing Ronald Koeman’s men at 1.491/2 given their most recent form. They are easily the most likely winners as the odds suggest, but they’ve won just two of their last eight matches in all competition, those being single-goal victories over QPR and Crystal Palace.
In addition, Southampton have won just one of their last six league and cup games at St Mary’s, conceding at least once in four of those home matches.
So let’s take a chance on the No option in the Southampton Clean Sheet market. Sean Dyche’s men have found the net at least once in six of their last eight away matches, including at Man City, Tottenham, Man Utd, and Chelsea, and you just know the Clarets won’t go down without a fight.
Back NO to Southampton Clean Sheet @ 1.9420/21
Stoke 2.26/5 v Crystal Palace 3.8514/5; The Draw 3.412/5
Stoke have been very reliable at the Britannia Stadium in recent months, a far cry from their early season woes on home soil, while Crystal Palace have been excellent on the road under new boss Alan Pardew. And that makes this game a very tough one to call.
Mark Hughes‘ men have once again had a very solid season and barring surprise package Southampton the Potters have been the ‘best of the rest’ so far, currently sitting eighth in the table.
Stoke have won four of their last five on home soil and what stands out about that sequence of results is that the wins all came against sides below them, teams they were expected to beat, whereas their one loss was to title-chasing Manchester City.
But those four teams that Hughes’ men beat on home soil weren’t anywhere near in the same good form as Palace are on the road. Pardew’s men have won five of their last six matches away from home, scoring 14 goals in the five victories before suffering a 1-0 loss to Southampton last time.
So I think we’re set for an entertaining clash here. Both sides are in confident mood and scoring goals at present and that makes the Over 2.5 Goals option at 2.427/5 a very tempting bet indeed.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.427/5 (best bet)
Tottenham 1.594/7 v Leicester 6.411/2; The Draw 4.57/2
I’m not sure where that performance from Tottenham at Old Trafford came from last week – they were never at the races and obviously were beaten within half an hour.
Prior to last week’s reversal Spurs had won back-to-back league games and I fully expect them to get back to winning ways at home to bottom side Leicester and avenge the 1-2 FA Cup loss they suffered at White Hart Lane in January.
Immediately before that cup defeat to the Foxes, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men had won four on the spin at the Lane, including that memorable victory over Chelsea. They’ve since defeated Arsenal and Swansea on home soil, and while draws with Fiorentina and West Ham were just slightly disappointing, there’s no doubting that Spurs are in decent form in front of their own fans.
Leicester are seven points from safety and looked completely doomed to me. They failed to score a single goal in their last three home games to Stoke, Aston Villa, and Hull, and that really does highlight their problems.
Away from home Nigel Pearson’s men have recorded just one league win – a 0-1 at Hull – since early September making it impossible to fancy them here. An early goal for Spurs and I’m confident this game will be over, so that’s how I’ll play it.
Back Tottenham HT/Tottenham FT @ 2.466/4
You can follow me on Twitter – @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L
Staked: 159 pts
Returned: 176.51 pts
P/L: + 17.51 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet