Tue, Apr 20, 6:55pm by Kevin Pitstock
The English Premier League has been set alight with a stunning turn of events last weekend. Manchester United were under the pump the whole game against Manchester City. Again though, they found a way to score with just seconds remaining in injury time.
The Red Devils would have been screaming in delight as they watched Chelsea go down to Tottenham later that afternoon. John Terry was sent off as he lost his cool, and within hours Chelsea went from heavy favourites to take out the title to having a lead of just one point.
With just a few games left, every point is vital as the title is up for grabs, a top four position for the Champions League and a relegation fight is all on the line.
There is only one mid-week game on this week in the English Premier League and that is between Hull and Aston Villa. Hull are one of the teams fighting to stay in the league and are currently three points adrift of safety. Aston Villa can kiss a top four finish goodbye after some disappointing results in recent times.
They are a quality outfit though, and a little more consistency would have seen them in a battle for the Champions League.
Sportsbet have Hull paying $3.40, the draw paying $3.40 and an Aston Villa win paying $2.10. This is a hard game to predict because of the extra elements that come into play.
Make what you want of those facts, but we all know what can happen when sides are under the pump. My personal opinion is that Hull don’t have the core strength to survive in this league. They don’t have the strength or the resolve. On that note, I will tip against them winning. Whether it is a draw or an Aston Villa win remains to be seen. I’m leaning towards a draw in this one.
Prediction: Draw paying $3.40.
Arsenal vs Manchester City
The early game on Saturday night AEST is between Arsenal and Manchester City. Arsenal have fallen in a heap the past few weeks and have lost their faint chance of challenging for the title. Manchester City on the other hand have peaked at the right time of the season and deserved at least a point against Man Utd on the weekend. That result was harsh on them, and they will need to get themselves up for this clash as Arsenal won’t give them any favours.
Manchester City are fighting with Tottenham for fourth place and will need to come up with a win here to stay in the hunt. Arsenal on the other hand, don’t really have anything to play for except for pride. The Gunners can be tough to beat at home, but after a shock 3-2 loss to Wigan, anything can happen.
Based on those odds alone you really have to go with Manchester City because of the value. This game could go either way, and the $1.91 on offer for Arsenal is way too short. Man City have a lot to play for and they have the quality and depth to do that. They showed their strength on the weekend, and I expect Mancini to get them up for this game as well.
Prediction: Manchester City win at $4.00.
Bolton vs Portsmouth
Bolton vs Portsmouth – The next game is possibly one of the most boring games you could watch. Bolton have not an ounce of entertainment in them and Portsmouth don’t beat that by much.
Bolton are out of the relegation scrap and Portsmouth lost their battle a long time ago. Neither team has anything to play for and I’d rather flip a coin than choose the winner.
Sportsbet have Bolton at short odds of $1.57, the draw at $3.75 and a Portsmouth win at $6.00. Portsmouth have had some promising results of late, none better than their FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham. The $6.00 offers some value, but it’s too risky.
Prediction: Draw at $3.75.
Hull vs Sunderland
Hull vs Sunderland – At the time of writing, Hull’s mid-week game had not been played yet. That could offer some better information as to how they are going to perform under this pressure. They haven’t been performing well at all this season, so don’t be surprised if they lose both games.
Sunderland have been going backwards after a promising start to the season. Their form of late is nothing to write home about, and they don’t have anything to play for in this game.
Despite Hull’s terrible form I am going to have to take hem in this one. It’s a crunch game and they will be playing in front of their home fans.
Prediction: Ride the emotions with a Hull win at $2.25.
West Ham vs Wigan
West Ham vs Wigan – This is the other crunch game in the 2010 EPL relegation battle. West Ham’s form has been disastrous in recent times and see themselves just 3 points ahead of Hull before their mid-week game. Wigan on the other hand, came from 2-0 down against Arsenal to win and will be brimming with confidence.
Neither of these teams have performed well this season and will be disappointed with the results. Wigan are in better form at the moment, but that counts for little in a clash like this. West Ham will be fighting for their lives in front of their home crowd. I can’t see Wigan going to an environment like that and coming away with all three points too easily.
Prediction: West Ham to win at $1.83.
Manchester United vs Tottenham
Manchester United vs Tottenham – This game will be the highlight of the round and is an eagerly awaited clash between two teams that have a lot to play for. Manchester United are just one point behind league leaders Chelsea after they escaped with a lucky 3 points against Manchester City last week in the local derby. Tottenham blew the EPL title race wide open when they took apart Chelsea and climbed into fourth place and a Champions League spot.
Man Utd look like they will have Wayne Rooney fit for the clash, and could prove the difference between these two teams. I don’t think they played well last week, and were more than matched by Man City. This week will be a different story though because they are playing at home.
Tottenham were classy and clinical last week against Chelsea who imploded under the pressure. They are two points ahead of Man City who will be taking on Arsenal in the other big game. The Hotspurs will need to recreate the form from last week to have a chance of winning this one.
This game should prove to be a thrilling spectacle as the two teams fight for their respective goals for the season. Man Utd haven’t been in great form of late and Tottenham have been erratic.
I do think that Manchester United should come on top of this clash, but it should be an enthralling game. Don’t be surprised if Tottenham come out on top at give the $7.00 punters a few extra beers.
Prediction: Manchester United win at $1.50.
Wolverhampton vs Blackburn
Wolverhampton vs Blackburn – Wolves will stay up in the top flight this season and have never really been under a great deal of pressure. Rovers are a mid-table team and have done what everyone expected them to do.
Prediction: A minor upset of Brett Emerton’s Rovers at $3.10.
Aston Villa vs Birmingham
Aston Villa vs Birmingham – Birmingham have been one of the two surprise packets for me this season. They have showed resolve in difficult situations and are much stronger than many of us anticipated. That being said I think Aston Villa will be too deadly at home and will come away with a win in this one. They have been fighting amongst the top teams for most of the season and Martin O’Neill’s me will be up for this one.
Prediction: Take Villa in this one at odds of $1.67.
Burnley vs Liverpool
Burnley vs Liverpool – Burnley don’t have a chance in this one. Liverpool showed class with a 3-0 win against West Ham this morning, even without star striker Fernando Torres.
Prediction: Get on Liverpool here. Easy bet.
Chelsea vs Stoke
Chelsea vs Stoke – Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their horror defeat to Tottenham on the weekend. This is a must-win game from them and they cannot afford to lose. Stoke have shown tenacity all season, with most of that coming at home. Their only real attack comes in the form of Rory Delap’s long throw, and Chelsea will need to be wary. I can’t see any result other than a Chelsea win coming from this match.
Prediction: Chelsea will win. Put them in your multi.
Everton vs Fulham
Everton vs Fulham – Everton have stormed back up the leader board after a disastrous start to the season. Australia’s Tim Cahill has found form and the right end of the season with several goals in the past two weeks, including the winner in their last start. He’ll be looking to cintinue that rich vain as form as the 2010 World Cup rapidly approaches.
Fulham have been the other surprise packet for me this season. They have performed well in both the EPL and the Europa League. Schwarzer will be looking to keep out Cahill in this one as these two, in-form teams do battle. I think the Toffees will come out on top in this one though, as they are in stunning form of late.
Prediction: I don’t think the odds do the punters any favours here. I think Fulham are a great team and should do well, so a win or draw is can happen. I think Everton should only be slight favourites, which is why I am tipping them. That being said I’m tipping Everton to win this in a close one.
That’s it for this week’s games in the English Premier League. This 2010 season has been one of the most exciting yet, with more action and thrill to see yet. There’s still a title fight, a top four fight and a relegation battle on.
Any team involved in those parts of the table will need to perform under the pressure here. Every game is vital for them.
I can’t wait. Happy punting.
If you would like a full review on Australian bookmaker Sportsbet, then take a look at our full Sportsbet Australia review.
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