Only Burnley failing to score prevented Mike Norman from a clean sweep on Saturday, but four correct recommendations from five means our man remains in good form ahead of Wednesday night’s Premier League action…
Man City 1.271/4 v Leicester 14.013/1; The Draw 7.06/1
It must be quite frustrating following Man City; superb at times when producing performances like they did 10 days ago when beating Newcastle 5-0, but bitterly disappointing when losing crucial games at home to Barcelona and away to Liverpool in the last week.
Sunday’s defeat to the Reds leaves Manuel Pellegrini’s men with a mountain to climb in the Premier League title race. It will take a minor miracle for City to reach 85 points this season (they’d need to take 30 points from the next 33 available to reach that total) and that points tally was good enough to win just one of the last dozen titles.
So City’s mindset must surely be to win every remaining league game, and a home match against rock bottom Leicester should provide few problems.
And they also ought to be able to score at least two or three against a side who are without a win in five games and have conceded an average of two goals per game in that time. Backing the Citizens -1 on the Sportsbook is the way to play.
Back Man City -1 to Win @ 13/20 (Sportsbook)
QPR 7.06/1 v Arsenal 1.574/7; The Draw 4.47/2
Arsenal, embarrassed on home soil against Monaco in the Champions League last week, have moved up to third in the table thanks to their 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday, their eighth league win from their last 10 matches.
Arsene Wenger’s men haven’t lost to a side currently in the bottom half of the Premier League all season and it will be a big shock if that record is broken on Wednesday night.
The Gunners have failed to score in a game – home or away in all competitions – just the once in the last five months, and that was at an in-form Southampton side on New Year’s Day. QPR meanwhile have won just a single game in 2015, and that was at woeful Sunderland.
Alarmingly the Hoops’ home form has deserted them, and as I said a few weeks ago either their away form is going to have to dramatically improve or they are going to have to beat some big clubs at Loftus Road if they want to avoid the drop.
I’m not sure the latter is going to happen, not in midweek anyway, and I’m backing Wenger’s men to record a win by leading at the interval and at the end of 90 minutes.
Back Arsenal HT/Arsenal FT @ 2.3611/8
Stoke 2.68/5 v Everton 3.185/40; The Draw 3.412/5
Stoke’s setback of having Bojan ruled out for the rest of the season doesn’t appear to be hampering them with the Potters sitting comfortably in mid-table following back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Hull.
In fact Mark Hughes’ men have now won eight of their last 13 games in all competitions, making them one of the form sides in the division, and those latest two victories show that they have character too following two heavy defeats to Man City in the league and Championship side Blackburn in the cup.
What I like about the Potters is that I always fancy them to score, and anyone who regularly reads my previews of Villa, Sunderland, and Hull, will know that I’m a big fan of that particular asset. If you score just once in a game – as Stoke have in 12 of those last 13 matches – then you’ll always have a chance of winning.
Everton performed reasonably well at the Emirates on Sunday without threatening to get on the scoresheet too often, but the defeat they suffered means that Roberto Martinez‘ men have won just two league games since mid November, those wins coming against QPR and Crystal Palace – two out of form sides at the time.
I’m confident the Toffees will string a few results together before the end of the season but on current form the 2.68/5 about a Stoke win looks extremely tempting.
Back Stoke to Win @ 2.68/5
Tottenham 1.84/5 v Swansea 5.39/2; The Draw 3.814/5
It’s been a bad week for Tottenham; two points dropped at White Hart Lane in the league, elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Fiorentina, and a cup final defeat to Chelsea in a game that they performed well below par in.
But it’s how Spurs bounce back that matters, and with Swansea, QPR, Leicester, Burnley, and Aston Villa being five of their next six opponents then Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have a great chance to put some heat on the top four.
A win over Garry Monk‘s men on Wednesday night is a must you feel, if only to get back on track and restore some confidence following a run of five league and cup games without a win.
The Swans are consistently inconsistent – four wins, four draws, and three losses from their last 11 outings – and away from home they’ve suffered reversals at West Brom and Championship side Blackburn recently. They can be tough to break down, but if Tottenham are on their game I fancy they’ll edge this crucial encounter.
Back Tottenham to Win @ 1.84/5
West Ham 6.25/1 v Chelsea 1.645/8; The Draw 4.216/5
This is a tough time for West Ham, and the calls for Sam Allardyce’s head are starting to become louder and louder despite the Hammers still being comfortably inside the top 10 in the table.
But the facts are that West Ham have failed to win any of their last six league and cup games and their only victory in the Premier League since the start of the Christmas period was a home win over hapless Hull.
Perhaps more worryingly is that Big Sam’s men have suffered a couple of shocking defeats in the last few weeks – a 4-0 hammering at West Brom and a 1-3 home loss to Crystal Palace will have done nothing to build confidence at Upton Park.
Chelsea are the visitors on Wednesday night, Jose Mourinho‘s men buoyed by Sunday’s Capital One Cup success of course.
A few people are predicting a shock outcome here, suggesting that the Blues players wouldn’t be human if they hadn’t have enjoyed a celebration of some kind, and while I can see that argument I’m wagering on the complete opposite here. I expect Mourinho’s men to come flying out of the blocks and get this game won as soon as possible.
Back Chelsea HT/Chelsea FT @ 2.68/5
Liverpool 1.392/5 v Burnley 10.5n/a; The Draw 5.39/2
Up until a few weeks ago it was pretty easy to pick holes in Liverpool’s unbeaten run; a lot of their games had finished all square and most of their opponents were far from top quality – Bournemouth, Wimbledon, Bolton, Burnley, Sunderland, Leicester, and Aston Villa for example.
But in recent weeks Brendan Rodgers‘ men have defeated top eight clubs like West Ham, Southampton, Tottenham, and Manchester City, and in most cases they’ve looked really impressive.
The acid test is arguably this fixture – they’re now expected to win comfortably against a team who look destined for relegation. Burnley have won just one of their last 13 league and cup outings – that coming against the worst away side in the division, QPR – and the goals are starting to dry up also.
The Reds will surely continue their recent good form but it’s hard to recommend them at 1.392/5 so instead we’ll back them to win and keep a clean sheet, a wager that has a strong chance of landing given the opposite directions these two clubs are seemingly moving in.
Back Liverpool Win to Nil @ 2.01/1
You can follow me on Twitter – @MikkyMo73
Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L
Staked: 152 pts
Returned: 163.26 pts
P/L: + 11.26 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet