Tottenham v Sunderland
The Black Cats have won their last two in the league and will see this trip to north London as something of a free roll after the way they have started 2016. Spurs need a result after that catastrophic midweek defeat to Leicester and it’s clear to everyone but Mr Pochettino that they also need a striker. It’s four games now since Harry Kane scored from open play and a hectic season might be catching up with him. I like Kane. But what’s his voice all about? I could easily envisage that voice calling pregnant women at 03:35am and breathing heavily down the phone to them.
Betting: Tottenham to win by one goal at 14/5 (Stan James)
Bournemouth v Norwich City
Absolutely huge game at the foot of the table and a win for either of these two would put some daylight between them and the bottom three. Junior Stanislas couldn’t get a look in for the Cherries earlier on this season but his form has been decent in recent weeks and having watched him run the show against my beloved Hartlepool in the League Cup in August (a night he scored two and could have had four) I’m aware how much of a threat he is when in the mood.
Betting: Stanislas to score first at 12/1 (bet365)
Chelsea v Everton
Mid-January and last season’s champions are seventh from bottom. Wowzers. Just wowzers. That midweek draw with West Brom must have blew a load of betting accas to smithereens, but also surely blew their faint hopes of finishing in the top four out the water too. Everton are such a Jekyll and Hyde side this season but I’d bet my own mother (if Paddy Power would just allow it) that they score at Stamford Bridge.
Betting: Both teams to score at 3/4 (BetBright/Bet Victor)
Manchester City v Crystal Palace
This is a bigger game for the hosts than it is for Palace, who are going along very nicely in eighth despite that surprise defeat to Villa in the week. Man City need a win to keep pace with the leaders but I don’t envisage this being anything other than routine for them. Yaya Toure has scored three goals in his last six games and might be worth tickling at 11/4 to notch again at the Etihad.
Betting: Toure to score anytime at 11/4 (Coral)
Newcastle v West Ham
It was much better from Newcastle on Tuesday night against Manchester United but they still shipped three goals and I cannot fathom how the camel coats make them favourites here to beat a West Ham side who have won four on the bounce. 2/1 West Ham? Yes f*cking please.
Betting: West Ham to win at 2/1 (Betfred/Stan James)
Southampton v West Brom
Fair play to the Baggies who have really come up with the goods these past few weeks and are now on the same number of points as the Saints. They are fighting tooth and nail and have scored some crucial late goals in recent weeks. Again can someone tell me why the bookies are going as big as 5/1 about the away win here? The freaks.
Betting: West Brom to win at 5/1 (Betfred)
Aston Villa v Leicester
At long last Villa claimed a home win in the league in midweek but it looks a case of too little too late, unless they can back it up with three points here. That won’t happen though as Leicester are a very good side. They are joint top of the league – in January – yet still nobody will take them seriously as title contenders. I smashed into them to finish in the top four before Christmas and might top up again (still available at 4/5). They reckon Jamie Vardy hasn’t trained for a month but he should feature here and I fancy him to help the Foxes get the job done.
Betting: Leicester to win at 6/5 (Hills/Sky Bet)
Liverpool v Manchester United
Both of these bitter rivals were involved in amazing 3-3 draws in the week and while the neutral would love more of the same, a point isn’t really that handy for either manager. No side has enjoyed more possession this season than the Red Devils but you don’t win titles for keeping hold of the ball and nine wins from 21 matches tells its own story. Jurgen Klopp has been at Liverpool for precisely 100 days and while there have been some seriously sh*tty moments in that time, he seems to be able to galvanise the Reds for the really big games. For Liverpool’s fans, no game is bigger than this and I fancy the men from the Mersey to heap more misery on Louis Van Gaal, who remains a 1/2 betting jolly to be next Premier League boss out the door. If they are given a proper good hiding here, LVG could be gone from M16 quicker than you can say ‘geggenpressing’.
Betting: Liverpool to win at 13/10 (Paddy Power)
Stoke City v Arsenal
Huge test of Arsenal’s title credentials here and I’m a bit shocked that Arsenal are odds-on for this. Not shocked as in ‘James Corden is still getting gigs on TV’ shocked. Just slightly unsettled. You get me? The reason being that Stoke have vanquished Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City already at home this season and and won’t fear the Wenger boys. For this reason 100/30 about another home win at the Britannia makes plenty of appeal.
Betting: Stoke to win at 100/30 (bet365/Betway)