Chelsea v Sunderland
Just a few short months after presiding over Chelsea’s fifth title win, the ‘Special One’ has been told to ‘Do One’ by the Stamford Bridge top brass, meaning the Blues go into this one without a manager. Guus Hiddink is the odds-on favourite to replace him but if you fancy someone at longer odds you can get 66/1 about Didier Drogba making an emotional early return, though the less said about Paddy Power’s 300/1 that Eva Carneiro gets the gig, the better. Truth is they could have Barry Chuckle in charge on Saturday and beat Sunderland, and I have a hunch that with Mourinho now gone a few of those who have under-performed this season might step up to the plate.
Betting: Chelsea (-1) to win at 10/11 (Paddy Power)
Everton v Leicester
Observers of social media will note that some lucky f*cker had five English pounds on Leicester being top at Christmas at a casual 1000/1 with Ladbrokes. They are now just a game away (with the only teams that can catch them playing each other on Monday night) and one can only imagine what said person will be feeling when the Foxes trot out at Goodison. Leicester have been quite magnificent this term and after scalping Chelsea last time out I am a bit miffed that they are bigger than 5/2 to win this. They are on the crest of a wave and while I am not certain they are good enough to hang on until May, they are plenty good enough to topple an Everton side who can be magnificent one week, murder the next.
Betting: Leicester to win at 27/10 (Paddy Power)
Manchester United v Norwich City
That was the week that was. Dumped out of the Champions League and then losing 2-1 to little Bournemouth, how long before LVG goes the way of Don Jose? He has lost the love of a lot of United fans, including my mate Jonny who was so gutted when I raised the subject of the Red Devils’ recent travails on Thursday afternoon during our Christmas buffet at work that he had to be resuscitated after choking on a Mr Kipling Angel Slice. Expect them to huff and puff again against the Canaries but I simply don’t see them steam-rollering anyone just now.
Betting: Manchester United to win by one goal exactly at 13/5 (Stan James)
Southampton v Tottenham
Just when I needed them most, Spurs were an absolute shower of sh*te against Newcastle last week, destroying a rather tasty 4/1 treble of mine as they limped to a home defeat. Hand on heart I daren’t trust them again at St Mary’s but I will give Harry Kane the benefit of the doubt. The Spurs tyro has enjoyed a fantastic 2015 and looks every inch the man to lead club and country to great things in the coming years.
Betting: Kane to score first at 11/2 (Coral)
Stoke v Crystal Palace
Two clubs punching above their weight, And as Mr Miyagi once said: “Never put passion in front of principle. Even if you win you lose. Stoke got this innit?”
Betting: Stoke to win at 6/4 (Sky Bet)
West Brom v Bournemouth
The Baggies need to turn those solid draws (West Ham, Tottenham and Liverpool) into wins. But that can happen. That can happen.
Betting: West Brom to win at 31/20 (Bet Victor)
Newcastle v Aston Villa
The Mags? Isn’t it? Mmm? Three wise men at St. James’? Mmmm. Marvellous. The nativity? Jimmy Nail? For goalposts? Mmm. Crocodile shoes? Precocious talent? Mike Ashley? Sports Direct? Slazenger socks? Five pairs for £3? An enduring image. Isn’t it?
Betting: Newcastle to win at 21/20 (bet365)
Watford v Liverpool
Odion Ighalo. Caught all 151 Pokemon. Used no Pokeballs.
Betting: Ighalo anytime at 5/2 (bet365)
Swansea v West Ham
Garry Monk. Taken down like a baddie in a Steven Seagal film (possibly Marked for Death – he would be like a token ginger Yardie). Be careful what you wish for Swansea. As the old saying goes ‘All that glitters isn’t Marcelo Bielsa’.
Betting: West Ham to win at 3/1 (Bet Victor)