West Ham v Crystal Palace
The Hammers have not won a football match for weeks and despite claiming a very tidy 2-2 draw at Spurs last time out, it seems increasingly likely that Big Sam won’t be offered a new deal in the summer. The word is he’s just not sexy enough and the owners don’t want to see his prehistoric tactics at the new stadium. Palace are not without a squeak here, having given both Liverpool and Arsenal an argument in recent weeks.
Betting: Palace to win (Draw no Bet) at 37/20 (Ladbrokes)
Burnley v Swansea
Y’all ready for a truth-bomb? If Sean Dyche keeps Burnley in the top flight this season, he should be named Manager of the Year. No ifs or buts. The Clarets are still scrapping down among the dead men and will fancy their chances here, especially if Danny Ings is up for it. Ings has scored five in his last seven Premier League starts and looks the most likely to open the scoring at Turf Moor.
Betting: Ings to score first at 11/2 (Hills)
Manchester United v Sunderland
The Black Cats have won just one of their last nine in the league and as a consequence are again flirting with relegation. Louis van Gaal of course doesn’t do flirting. Or sexy football, apparently. The headstrong Dutchman is doing it his way at Old Trafford and to hell with it if the masses (or Angel di Maria and David de Gea) think he’s a bit of a t*t. Expect them to claim the three points here, but don’t expect a masterclass.
Betting: Manchester United to win by one goal at 13/5 (Ladbrokes)
Newcastle v Aston Villa
It’s all going horribly wrong for Villa. Second from bottom and averaging precisely 0.5 goals a game in the league so it’s going to take some effort from Tim Sherwood to steer them to safety. They head to Tyneside with half a chance however as the Toon were awful against Manchester City and John Carver is proving to be about as tactically astute as one of those monkeys you see with the really red arses at Flamingo Land.
Betting: Draw at 5/2 (bet365)
Stoke City v Hull City
I’ve had a bit of grief in the past for being a bit Stoke-ist in this column. It’s not because I hate all things Stoke. It’s just that I spy a coupon and regularly fancy them to get turned over. Not this weekend however. This weekend I see them doing a job on Ste Bruce’s Hull. They’ve lost just one of their last 11 against The Tigers and quotes of 10/11 genuinely make my heart sing.
Betting: Stoke to win at 10/11 (Sky Bet)
West Brom v Southampton
I fancy The Saints to steam in unannounced like thieves in the night and pinch the points here. West Brom have enjoyed a decent February thus far, but it’s worth remembering they have failed to score in any of their last three matches against Southampton.
Betting: Southampton to win 1-0 at 11/2 (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool v Manchester City
Absolutely huge game at the top of the table. Liverpool know a win will put them right back in the Champions League mix, while a defeat for the champions will mean they have a mountain to climb in the table to retain their title (if they don’t already). It should be a highly charged affair and I’ve had a funny feeling all week that Stevie Gerrard will absolutely boss this. Stevie G is 14/1 to be voted man of the Match and this type of occasion is right up his street. Disclaimer: I had unprotected sex with a girl from Grimsby last Saturday night – which means the ‘funny feeling’ I had been enduring all week may have less to do with Gerrard and more to do with herpes.
Betting: Gerrard to be Man of the Match at 14/1 (Bet Victor)
Arsenal v Everton
‘Shambolic. Inept. Naïve. Disappointing’. But enough about my sexual display with the Grimsby big unit last weekend. These are words you could also use to describe Arsenal’s horror showing against Monaco in the week. The Gunners are a ‘top price’ 4/7 but that price doesn’t impress me much given they have now gone five games without a win against Everton. Both teams to score at 10/11 with Billy Hills is much more like it.
Betting: Both teams to score at 10/11 (Hills)
Chelsea v Tottenham
The first silverware of the season will be decided on Sunday and it’s Chelsea who are warm 7/10 jollys to lift the League Cup. Spurs of course played against Fiorentina on Thursday night (not ideal) so Senor Pochettino will either be hailed as a tactical genius for shuffling his pack accordingly or an Argie buffoon who got it all wrong and made Chas & Dave cry salt tears. My guess is it will be the latter. Jose Mourinho may be trying to play down the importance of the Capital One Cup but he knows Chelsea v Spurs at any level is a huge game and he will be wanting the win here. He has the personnel to get the job done too and as long as John Terry and Co can keep Harry Kane quiet I’d happily back the Blues here with the rent money.
Betting: Chelsea to win to nil at 13/8 (Stan James)
For all your Premier League betting, go to Paddy Power.