Aston Villa v Watford
Collectively Villa don’t seem to have the skill or the minerals to dig themselves out of relegation danger and with no league win since the opening day of the season, they are bang in the sh*t as we hurtle towards Christmas. This has the feel of a ‘must-win’ game for the hosts but anyone who saw them capitulate at Everton last weekend will surely think twice before punting them here. No it’s one man who has been rock solid for followers of this column all season who gets the vote again. As the old saying goes ‘Cometh the hour, cometh Odion Ighalo’.
Betting: Ighalo to score first at 13/2 (Boylesports)
Bournemouth v Everton
I’m expecting an open game at Dean Court and if Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are at it again then Bet Victor’s 5/6 quote about the onion bag being breached more than twice looks an absolute lock.
Betting: Over 2.5 goals at 5/6 (Bet Victor)
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United
In Merson speak, Palace are a proper bag of Revels just now and it’s hard to fathom how a side who can win at Liverpool can then look so thoroughly incompetent next time out in losing at home to Sunderland. The good news for Eagles fans is that Newcastle are proper dog sh*te. And they are arguing. Steve McClaren apparently delivered some ‘home truths’ to his players recently, though reports he mocked Fabricio Coloccini’s perm and called him an Emo remain mere speculation at time of writing. It’s not wise for top-flight managers to pick fights with players as in the current climate the players always seem to win. Sunderland of course went to Palace and won 1-0 on Monday but I don’t expect their bitterest rivals to follow suit and can see Palace winning this with a bit to spare.
Betting: Crystal Palace (-1) to win at 2/1 (Stan James)
Manchester City v Southampton
Man City’s inability to score against Juventus in the week cost me £479 and it didn’t help that Raheem Sterling’s gilt-edged miss ten minutes from time in Turin was replayed in my local gym about 17 times on Thursday morning while I was doing the hard yards on the treadmill. City need a win after two poor results in the league but I would rather be on both teams to score here than have a lazy lump on the hosts (who continue to look iffy at the back) at 4/7.
Betting: Both teams to score at 4/5 (Boylesports)
Sunderland v Stoke
Under 2.5 goals looks a lock here at 4/6 as Big Sam revealed the blueprint of how he intends to keep Sunderland up at Crystal Palace the other night. With literally no prizes for originality he is looking to not concede goals and become hard to beat. Time will tell whether he can pull off the improbable and keep the Black Cats up but from a punting perspective I like Jonathan Walters here at 5/2 to score at the SOL.
Betting: Walters to score anytime at 5/2 (Paddy Power)
Leicester City v Manchester United
Fascinating clash of styles here as gung-ho Leicester square off against a very circumspect United. Naturally all eyes will be on Jamie Vardy as he attempts to set a new Premier League record for scoring in consecutive matches. He’s 2/1 to find the net in this one, the same price as Wayne Rooney. If someone held a shooter to your head and asked you to back either for your life where would you go? Exactly!
Betting: Vardy to score anytime at 2/1 (Bet Victor)
Tottenham v Chelsea
If Spurs hadn’t been involved in Europa League action on Thursday night, I would have made them my nap of the year. I’m still rowing in heavy at 6/4 despite fears regarding fatigue after a long trip into Europe. That aside I see no other reason not to smash Tottenham here. They have not lost since the opening day and in Harry Kane have a striker who has scored nine goals in his last six games. In stark contrast Chelsea have been a shambles. Never mind what Don Jose is saying (the geezer could talk under wet cement with a mouthful of marbles) there is definitely something amiss at Stamford Bridge where he and Diego Costa are apparently giving each other pelters on a daily basis. Beg, steal, borrow or cadge. Just make sure you back Spurs on Sunday.
Betting: Tottenham to win at 6/4 (Betway/Coral)
West Ham v West Brom
The Hammers need a response after that horror show against Spurs last weekend and I reckon they have a team good enough to break down West Brom, who show virtually no ambition on their travels these days.
Betting: West Ham to win at 11/10 (Coral)
Liverpool v Swansea
Liverpool produced the Premier League shift of the season so far as they battered Manchester City 4-1 last week. Seriously what the f*ck was all that about? The movement, tempo and purpose was absolutely off the scale and on another day they truly could have scored 10. If they manage to show even 40% of that form they will ease past Swansea at Anfield, where the visitors have won just once in 17 attempts.
Betting: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 23/10 Hills)
Norwich v Arsenal
Arsenal, genuine coupon busters last time out after slumping to a 2-1 defeat at West Brom, need a win at Carrow Road but it’s been a crazy season and even a second shock defeat on the spin wouldn’t put them out of the title picture. I don’t expect them to blow in again though despite their injury worries and actually like the look of them to win this 2-1 at a very respectable 8/1.
Betting: Arsenal to win 2-1 at 8/1 (bet365)