Harry Redknapp Favourite In Next England Manager Betting

Harry Redknapp is the bookmakers favourite to become the next permanent England manager after Fabio Capello resigned yesterday.

Redknapp was found not guilty of taking “bungs” in a £189,000 tax dodge and speculation is rife that it was “no coincidence” that Capello left his post on the day Redknapp was cleared.

The 63-year-old Englishman would be a popular choice to lead his underachieving country into Euro 2012 following a dismal World Cup campaign two years ago.

Indeed, Redknapp has displayed such credentials at Tottenham Hotspur, who were languishing near the bottom of the Premier League when he took over in 2008.

Just two years later Redknapp delivered Champions League football for the first time in the White Hart Lane club’s history and has turned Welsh international Gareth Bale into one of the best players in the Premier League. This was a player who had infamously played 24 league matches for the club and not been on the winning side.

This is not the first time Redknapp has turned around the fortunes of a flagging club – his first managerial appointment at Bournemouth in 1983 was when the Cherries sat second-from-bottom in the old Division Three. But, in 1987, they were promoted after winning the league.

He joined West Ham United as assistant manager in 1992 and was appointed manager in 1994 after Billy Bonds resigned. He quit in 2001 after avoiding relegation.

He joined Portsmouth as director of football and when Graham Rix was sacked, he took over as manager in 2002 and won promotion to the Premier League a year later.

But, in 2004, Redknapp committed the cardinal sin of leaving Portsmouth to join arch-rivals Southampton. He stayed at St Mary’s for just over a year and by December 2005 was back at Fratton Park after admitting he made a “monumental mistake” in leaving the club.

Redknapp guided Portsmouth to winning the FA Cup in 2008 but just a few months later, quit the club for a second time to take the job at Tottenham Hotspur.

Redknapp can be backed at current best odds of 1.4 (bet365).

More England Manager Candidates

Undoubtedly Redknapp’s odds are short due to the media frenzy which has taken place during the past 24 hours with him being cleared of tax-dodging and Capello resigning. Both England striker Wayne Rooney and former player-turned-pundit Gary Lineker have also publicly called for Redknapp’s appointment.

However, value hunters will be keen to look elsewhere, so if you want to back somebody at longer odds, you can choose from:

  • Stuart Pearce @ 8.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Guus Hiddink @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Jose Mourinho @ 15.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Roy Hodgson @ 15.0 (Betfred)
  • Alan Pardew @ 21.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Arsene Wenger @ 34.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Martin O’Neill @ 34.0 (bet365)
  • Rafa Benitez @ 34.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Gareth Southgate @ 41.0 (Betfred)
  • Carlo Ancelotti @ 51.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Chris Powell @ 51.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Louis Van Gaal @ 51.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Roberto Mancini @ 51.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Sam Allardyce @ 51.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Steve Coppell @ 51.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Alan Curbishley @ 67.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Alan Shearer @ 67.0 (Sky Bet)
  • David Beckham @ 67.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Kevin Keegan @ 67.0 (Boylesports)
  • Steve Bruce @ 67.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Ray Wilkins @ 67.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Sir Trevor Brooking @ 67.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Gary Neville @ 101.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Sven Goran Eriksson @ 101.0 (Boylesports)
  • Terry Venables @ 101.0 (Sportingbet)

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Betting

After Manchester United slipped up in the title race on Sunday following a remarkable 3-3 draw at Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur will be keen to make up ground with a victory at Anfield.

Easier said than done, however, as Liverpool are still unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League this season and are a team hitting form when it counts.

They may have been humiliated 3-1 by Bolton Wanderers a couple of weeks ago, but that was followed up by a convincing 3-0 victory at Wolves. Kenny Dalglish has inspired his side to dumping Manchester United out of the FA Cup and reaching the Carling Cup final at the expense of Manchester City.

Last September, Spurs smashed the Reds 4-0 at White Hart Lane but are likely to depleted as they hunt a league double over Liverpool in successive seasons. Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart all rated doubtful and Aaron Lennon is struggling to be fit in time.

Manager Harry Redknapp may give a debut to striker Louis Saha who has scored just once in 18 league appearances this season for Everton and is some 942 minutes without a goal. The home side welcome back Steven Gerrard who was rested at Wolves while striker Luis Suarez is also available following an eight-match suspension.

With key players unlikely to play, Redknapp’s record of two victories on Merseyside in 28 Premier League visits may get a little worse on Monday night.

Verdict: Liverpool @ 2.15 (Paddy Power)

Other Results:

  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 3.75 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw @ 3.4 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Craig Bellamy has scored in each of his last four Premier League starts and scored a total of five goals this season. The Wales international has become a key player for Dalglish this season and can be backed at 7.5 (Boylesports).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 6.5 (Boylesports)
  • Andy Carroll @ 9.0 (bet365)
  • Emmanuel Adebayor @ 9.0 (Boylesports)
  • Rafael van der Vaart @ 9.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Jermain Defoe @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 9.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Louis Saha @ 10.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 10.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Gareth Bale @ 11.0 (bet365)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 13.0 (Boylesports)
  • Giovani Do Santos @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • No Goalscorer @ 10.0 (Sky Bet)

Anytime Goalscorer

After an eight-match absence, it is unlikely Luis Suarez will start the game but don’t rule out a contribution from the bench. The Uruguay striker can be backed at best odds of 3.0 (Coral) to hit the back of the net at any time.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Craig Bellamy @ 3.0 (Coral)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 3.4 (Sportingbet)
  • Andy Carroll @ 3.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Emmanuel Adebayor @ 3.6 (Sportingbet)
  • Jermain Defoe @ 3.75 (Paddy Power)
  • Rafael van der Vaart @ 4.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Louis Saha @ 4.0 (bet365)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 4.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Gareth Bale @ 4.33 (bet365)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Giovani Do Santos @ 5.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Charlie Adam @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)

Correct Score

With two influential players returning for Liverpool in Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, while Spurs could be without a host of attacking players, a 2-0 home win @ 10.0 (Betfred) looks appealing.

Selected other correct scores:

  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 7.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 21.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 19.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 34.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 10.0 (bet365)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 @ 10.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 @ 19.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 @ 15.0 (Betfred)
  • Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 @ 34.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)

Premier League Predictions 5 February 2012

On Sunday 5 February, Manchester United look to end a winless run at Chelsea that spans almost a decade in the Premier League while Newcastle United could unleash the “Two Demba’s” on an Aston Villa side unbeaten in their last five away fixtures.

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa

Newcastle welcome back top goal scorer Demba Ba and could hand a debut to £10 million striker Papiss Cisse in the televised lunchtime kick off. Alan Pardew’s side are in good form at home, winning their last three in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat of Manchester United.

What is exciting about Newcastle’s form is they have won four of their last six league matches, even when key players like Ba and Cheick Tiote have been missing. The Magpies are unbeaten in their last five at home against Villa, including handing out a 6-0 drubbing at the beginning of last season.

This is not a cut-and-dried home victory though. Villa are unbeaten in their last five away matches in the Premier League and have won their last two – at Wolves and Chelsea.

Alex McLeish’s side showed great spirit coming from two goals down against QPR midweek to draw the fixture but they have not scored in their last three visits to Newcastle.

With a bolstered front line – the “Two Demba’s” have scored 59 league goals between them since the start of last season, the Magpies are tipped to outgun Villa, with Darren Bent having scored in his last three league appearances.

Verdict: Newcastle United @ 2.15 (Bet Victor)

Chelsea vs Manchester United

This is a crucial time in United’s season – having beaten Arsenal a few weeks ago, they face Chelsea this weekend and then host Liverpool next Saturday. They have also played Manchester City and Liverpool in the FA Cup in recent weeks.

The big games are coming thick and fast and it is time to put the notion that United always step up a gear in the second half of the season to the test.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last nine home league matches against United – winning six and drawing three with United scoring just five goals during that sequence.

But, with John Terry missing with a knee injury and Ashley Cole suspended, United have a great opportunity to end their winless run at Stamford Bridge. Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Nani and Tom Cleverly are all available for Sir Alex Ferguson too. Under-fire goalkeeper David de Gea is set to return between the sticks after Anders Lindegaard was ruled out for six weeks.

Chelsea’s form has not been great. Since beating Manchester City at the Bridge convincingly, they have won just twice in eight league fixtures, despite having a relatively easy run of opponents.They lost at home to Aston Villa and dropped points against Wigan Athletic, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City and Swansea City.

Rooney has a great record against Chelsea – scoring six in 12 meetings while it is now 17 hours and 56 minutes since Fernando Torres scored for the Blues. Only youngster Daniel Sturridge looks dangerous for Andres Villas-Boas and he hasn’t found the net in his last five league and cup appearances.

Verdict: Manchester United @ 2.9 (Betfred)

Premier League Predictions 4 February 2012

Seven matches take place on Saturday 4 February with teams boosted by their deadline day arrivals. Arsenal and Manchester City will be keen to get back to winning ways with home fixtures against Blackburn Rovers and Fulham, while there is a relegation six pointer happening at Loftus Road when Queens Park Rangers take on Wolves.

Arsenal vs Blackburn Rovers

This could be a potential banana skin for Arsenal who are yet to win in 2012. However, a goalless draw at Bolton midweek stopped the rot to some degree and at the very least, prevented their first four-match losing streak under Arsene Wenger.

Even though Blackburn are a tough side to beat on their travels – they have only lost five of their last 15 on the road – Wenger will no doubt see this fixture as a means to get back to winning ways.

The Gunners have an excellent record against Rovers – prior to last season’s goalless draw, they had won seven successive home league matches.

Robin Van Persie has scored 10 goals in 12 matches against Blackburn and with Chris Samba not playing, Rovers defence is not as strong as it could be.

Verdict: Arsenal @ 1.3 (Betfred)

Norwich City vs Bolton Wanderers

The statistics suggest this will be a goalfest due to the dire defensive records of both teams. Norwich have kept one clean sheet this season while Bolton have managed just one match in their last 37 on the road where they haven’t conceded a goal.

The Canaries have struggled in front of goal in recent matches. While Chelsea and Spurs can be forgiven, Paul Lambert’s side could only muster a last minute goal against poor travellers Fulham.

Bolton have boosted their attacking options with Watford striker Marvin Sordell and managed to keep hold of Kevin Davies but I think the home side will edge this one.

Verdict: Norwich City @ 2.1 (Betfred)

Queens Park Rangers vs Wolves

There will be huge expectation on QPR to win this match despite struggling at the wrong end of the table themselves. Mark Hughes will be optimistic in that his side lead at Aston Villa 2-0 before drawing the game 2-2, but a leaky defence is a major cause for concern.

Even with the arrivals of Taye Taiwo and Nedum Onuoha, Rangers’ back line still looked shaky and Wolves will feel they can get something from this game. Steven Fletcher is in form and has scored in each of his last four on the road while the arrival of Sebastien Bassong from Spurs will bolster their defence.

But, let’s not pretend Wolves are something special. They are second from bottom for a reason and have won just once away from home. With new signing Djibril Cisse up front, Rangers for once look like they have a dangerous striker on their books.

Verdict: Queens Park Rangers @ 1.62 (Ladbrokes)

Stoke City vs Sunderland

In recent seasons this fixture would have been marked down as a home win but things are a little more complicated this term. Stoke have been relatively poor at the Britannia Stadium this season, winning just four of their 11 home matches.

Four draws and three defeats suggest they are tough to beat which is why I am not going to rave about Sunderland’s chances here, despite their remarkable turnaround in form since Martin O’Neill took over.

In 11 matches since O’Neill took over, the Black Cats have won seven, drawn two and lost two, but they could get a reality check against a physical Tony Pulis side.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)

West Bromwich Albion vs Swansea City

West Brom have tumbled down the table and Norwich City were correctly predicted to beat them at the Hawthorns last weekend. Just two home victories in 11, scoring eight goals in the process is the form of a team battling against the drop.

Much has been said about Swansea’s passing game and quite frankly, the comparisons with Barcelona are ridiculous. For a start, Barcelona win away from home, something that the Swans struggle to do.

One victory, three draws and seven defeats on the road is the reason Swansea are still not out of relegation danger but taking into consideration West Brom’s wretched home form, they cannot be backed with any confidence either. Bore draw, anyone?

Verdict: Draw @ 3.4 (Bet Victor)

Wigan Athletic vs Everton

I have tried to view Wigan positively in the last few weeks, giving credibility to their fighting spirit but the fact is, for all their bluster, they are a poor side.

Roberto Martinez’s side have been beaten six times at home already this season and face an Everton side full of confidence. The Toffees beat high-flying Manchester City midweek and have a good away record against the Premier League’s strugglers this season – beating West Brom, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers.

Manager David Moyes also has some depth in the squad following the arrivals of Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Darron Gibson – scorer of the winning goal against Manchester City.

Verdict: Everton @ 2.2 (Boylesports)

Manchester City vs Fulham

January has been a poor month by City’s standards. Even though they won three of their five Premier League fixtures, two defeats at Sunderland and Everton mean their lead at the top of the table has been reduced to goal difference.

However, City are perfect at the Etihad – winning 11 out of 11, scoring 34 goals and conceding just six in the process. They will be expected to continue this sequence against Fulham, who are notoriously poor on the road. Just one win in 11 and scoring seven goals in the process does not bode well against a side abundant in attacking options.

City are boosted by the return of Vincent Kompany in defence and they have added to their midfield options with the loan arrival of David Pizarro. Fulham sold Bobby Zamora to QPR on deadline day but brought in striker Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart.

Verdict: Manchester City @ 1.3 (Paddy Power)

Neil Warnock Favourite For Next Leeds United Manager

Former Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock is the bookmakers favourite to take over at Leeds United after Simon Grayson was sacked yesterday.

The former Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers player had been in charge at Elland Road for three years but a 4-1 home defeat against Birmingham City left the club in tenth place, three points away from the play-offs.

Warnock, sacked by QPR earlier this season to make way for Mark Hughes, is odds-on at 1.73 (bet365) and former Leeds defender believes his availability may have influenced chairman Ken Bates to show Grayson the door.

“I think so for definite [Warnock’s availability influencing the decision]. He got sacked for QPR because he is basically known as a Championship manager who will get you up. That’s what he has done time and time again.

“That has probably swung Ken Bates’s decision”.

A selection of the names in the running for the Leeds United job are as follows:

  • Steve Bruce @ 10.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Gordon Strachan @ 11.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Gareth Southgate @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Roberto Di Matteo @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Gary Kelly @ 17.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Gus Poyet @ 17.0 (bet365)
  • Dave Jones @ 21.0 (bet365)
  • Neil Redfearn @ 21.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Nigel Worthington @ 21.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Billy Davies @ 26.0 (Sky Bet)
  • David O’Leary @ 41.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Gary McAllister @ 51.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Vinnie Jones @ 51.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Lucas Radebe @ 67.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Eric Cantona @ 101.0 (Paddy Power)

Grayson took over in the 2008-09 season and Leeds won their final 11 home games, matching Don Revie’s 40-year-old record. The club finished in fourth place but lost 2-1 on aggregate in the League One play-off semi finals against Millwall.

The 2009-10 season saw Leeds record a famous away victory at Manchester United in the FA Cup third round and won promotion to the Championship finishing as runners-up to Norwich City.

In their first season back in England’s second tier, Leeds were on course to finish in the play-off places but a dip in form saw them finish in seventh place.

Grayson was sacked after 169 matches in charge – winning 84, drawing 40 and losing 45.

Youth team coach Neil Redfearn has been temporarily placed in charge of Leeds’ first team.

Spurs Favourites In FA Cup Betting After Fifth Round Draw

Tottenham Hotspur have been instilled as favourites to lift the FA Cup in 2012 following the fifth round draw yesterday.

A goal from Rafael Van Der Vaart three minutes before the break was enough to edge past Championship side Watford at Vicarage Road on Friday night. Harry Redknapp’s side were rewarded with another potential banana skin at Stevenage who won the League One fourth round battle against Notts County.

But, the bookmakers expect Spurs to progress against lower league opposition and they can be backed at a current best price of 4.5 (Paddy Power).

Following their 2-1 defeat of Manchester United on Saturday, Liverpool are joint favourites at best odds of 4.5 (Betfred). A ding-dong affair at Anfield was set for a replay after goals from Daniel Agger and Park Ji Sung saw the match all square at 1-1.

But, Dirk Kuyt’s winner two minutes from time set up a fifth round home tie against Championship giant-killers Brighton & Hove Albion. A Mike Williamson own goal saw the Seagull shock Newcastle United with a 1-0 victory at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday evening.

The third side currently available at 4.5 (Sky Bet) is Chelsea. A Juan Mata penalty after 62 minutes was enough for the  Blues to creep past London rivals Queens Park Rangers and face Championship form team Birmingham City, who thumped Sheffield United 4-0, at Stamford Bridge.

Arsenal survived going into half-time 2-0 down against Aston Villa after Richard Dunne and Darren Bent looked to cause an upset. However, Villa imploded during a seven minute spell where the Gunners scored three goals. Two penalties from Robin Van Persie either side of a deflection in off Theo Walcott earned Arsene Wenger’s side a trip to either Sunderland or Middlesbrough, who drew 1-1 at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

If you think Arsene Wenger can end Arsenal’s seven year wait for a trophy, you can back them at 6.5 (Sportingbet).

With new arrivals during the transfer window, there may be some interest in 1995 winners Everton. The Toffees saw off Fulham on Friday night and have a favourable home tie in the fifth round against either Blackpool or Sheffield Wednesday. David Moyes’ team are available at 17.0 (Ladbrokes).

Stoke City are another unfashionable side progressing nicely in the competition and can also be backed at 17.0 (Coral). After winning at Derby by a two-goal margin in the fourth round, last year’s finalists face a potentially difficult trip to Crawley Town. The League Two big spenders have already dispatched Championship duo Hull City and Bristol City from the competition this season.

Norwich City have home advantage in the fifth round and face Championship opposition in Leicester City, who eased past third round giant killers Swindon Town. After winning at West Bromwich Albion for the second time in three weekend (as predicted here), Paul Lambert’s Canaries are available at best price of 34.0 (bet365).

Bolton Wanderers, who saw off the challenge of Swansea City on the weekend, will progress to the quarter finals if they win at either Millwall or Southampton. A tricky tie, but one against opposition from a division below nonetheless. Owen Coyle’s improving side can be backed at 41.0 (Sportingbet).

Best odds available for all teams remaining in the FA Cup:

  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 4.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Liverpool @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Chelsea @ 4.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Arsenal @ 6.5 (Sportingbet)
  • Everton @ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Stoke City @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Sunderland @ 26.0 (Boylesports)
  • Norwich City @ 34.0 (bet365)
  • Bolton Wanderers @ 41.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Southampton @ 81.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Leicester City @ 81.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Brighton & Hove Albion @ 151.0 (Coral)
  • Birmingham City @ 126.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Middlesbrough @ 151.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Blackpool @ 201.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Millwall @ 251.0 (bet365)
  • Sheffield Wednesday @ 251.0 (Betfred)
  • Crawley Town @ 301.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Stevenage @ 751.0 (Bet Victor)

FA Cup Fourth Round Betting Preview 28 January 2012

The FA Cup fourth round is in full swing on Saturday 28 January and here are some insights into all 12 matches taking place including the titanic lunchtime kick-off at Anfield where Liverpool take on Manchester United!

Queens Park Rangers vs Chelsea

A potential powder keg awaits at Loftus Road which may explain the midday nature of the kick-off. It’s the first time both London sides meet since the race row between Chelsea’s John Terry and QPR’s Anton Ferdinand and it’s likely the focus will surround that rather than the action taking place on the pitch.

New QPR manager Mark Hughes got his first victory since taking charge when his side beat lowly Wigan Athletic last week and have a solid chance at home against stuttering Chelsea. The Blues were held to a goalless draw last week and were unconvincing in a 1-0 victory against Sunderland the week before.

This could turn out to be a bad tempered game and one which may need a replay.

Verdict: Draw @ 4.0 (Sky Bet)

Liverpool vs Manchester United

The second fixture dogged by racist abuse is also set for an early kick off on Saturday. This will be the first time both teams have played eachother since Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for abuse directed at Patric Evra during a 1-1 draw last October.

Liverpool were good value for their 2-2 draw against Manchester City midweek, a result which set up a Carling Cup final clash against Cardiff City (correctly predicted here and here). Kenny Dalglish’s team will not fear United and the FA Cup is a welcome distraction from their poor league form which sees a top four finish increasingly unlikely.

United demonstrated their quality when they beat Arsenal late on at the Emirates last weekend and while Sir Alex Ferguson would prefer this tie not to need a replay, there is a strong chance it will.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.3 (Bet Victor)

Blackpool vs Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday caused an upset in the third round when they defeated Championship high-fliers West Ham 1-0 at Hillsborough but they may find the visit to Blackpool a much tougher prospect.

Blackpool still have the on-form Matt Phillips, who has scored seven goals in his last six games for the Seasiders, including two hat-tricks, after the club rejected a bid from Cardiff City.

Ian Holloway’s team are unbeaten in their last six matches at Bloomfield Road and haven’t tasted defeat in their home turf since Nottingham Forest beat them 2-1 last October. Wednesday have won their last six out of seven league and cup matches on the road, but I feel they will come unstuck against Blackpool.

Verdict: Blackpool @ 1.91 (bet365)

Bolton Wanderers vs Swansea City

Bolton Wanderers are in real danger of relegation from the Premier League this season but proved they will not go down without a fight by beating Liverpool 3-1 last Saturday.

Swansea City are also doing their best to remain in the top flight but their results are as excellent as they are awful. At home, Brendan Rogers’ side are a match for anybody – as proven in their 3-2 victory against Arsenal. But, on the road, they are prone to defeat and have lost seven out of 11 against Premier League opposition this season.

Let’s not pretend Bolton are any great shakes at home either – the victory against Liverpool was only their second of the season. But with Swansea almost incapable of scoring goals away from the Liberty Stadium, the bet has to be Bolton.

Verdict: Bolton Wanderers @ 2.5 (Betfred)

Derby County vs Stoke City

After a bright start to the Championship season, Derby now find themselves in eleventh place but are just two points behind sixth placed Birmingham City. The Rams have won their last five league and cup fixtures at home, including beating West Ham United on New Years Eve and Carling Cup semi finalists Crystal Palace in the third round.

Stoke appear to be stuttering of late. Last weekend they lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion (as predicted here) and have won just once in their last six Premier League outings. It could be that Europa League involvement is taking it out of their relatively small squad.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis may want as high a finish as possible in the Premier League as a priority to FA Cup progress and with ground to make up on Liverpool in seventh, a few fringe players may be selected here.

Verdict: Derby County @ 3.5 (Betfred)

Hull City vs Crawley Town

Hull are progressing quietly and confidently under Nick Barmby this season and occupy fifth spot in the Championship table. The Tigers have won five of their last six league and cup fixtures at home, including a confident 3-1 dispatching of Ipswich Town in the third round.

League Two Crawley have been excellent value in the FA Cup this season. They are unbeaten in their last 10 league and cup fixtures on the road since they were thumped 6-0 by Morecambe last September. Steve Evans’ side defeated Championship outfit Bristol City in the last round and will be looking for another scalp here.

But, Hull are a different prospect to the Robins, who have hovered around the lower reaches of the Championship all season. Crawley will certainly not be underestimated but the team from the higher division will progress here.

Verdict: Hull City @ 1.91 (bet365)

Leicester City vs Swindon Town

Swindon Town caused arguably the shock of the third round when they beat Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic. Just like Hull vs Crawley, this match pits a confident League Two outfit against a Championship side expected to beat them.

A few weeks ago, I would have given Paolo Di Canio’s side a much better chance of turning over City but this is not perhaps the best time to play against the Foxes. Things appear to be clicking into place under manager Nigel Pearson and in their last two matches, Leicester won at Southampton in the league and smashed local rivals Nottingham Forest 4-0 in a FA Cup third round replay.

Just like Crawley at Hull, Leicester will not underestimate the quality Swindon possess but with confidence high at the Walkers Stadium, I expect the Foxes to be in the draw for the fifth round.

Verdict: Leicester City @ 1.57 (Ladbrokes)

Southampton vs Millwall

After an incredible first half of the season, Southampton’s league form has been patchy. A 3-0 away victory against Nottingham Forest was sandwiched between defeats against Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Bristol City. Indeed, the Saints have lost two of their last three in front of their home supporters.

Millwall have spent most of the season near the bottom of the Championship and are in mixed form themselves. Their last two results have been positive – a 3-1 away win at Barnsley in the league and a 5-0 thumping of Dagenham & Redbridge in a third round replay but prior to that Kenny Jackett’s side lost four out of six in the Championship. Including a 6-0 mauling at the New Den by Birmingham City.

Neither side are in great recent form but with the Saints winning 11 out of 14 at home in the Championship this season and beating Millwall 1-0 at St Mary’s earlier in the campaign, I will side with Nigel Adkins’ team.

Verdict: Southampton @ 2.6 (Coral)

Sheffield United vs Birmingham City

Sheffield United have made excellent progress this season under Danny Wilson. After winning eight out of their last 10 League One fixtures, the Blades are up to third in the table, level on points with second placed Huddersfield Town. But, two of their last four in the league have ended in defeat – most recently last Saturday when table toppers Charlton Athletic beat them 1-0.

Birmingham have won their last four league and cup matches in a row and are unbeaten in their last eight in all competitions. After labouring through the first half of the season Chris Hughton’s side are climbing the table and are into the play-off positions.

United are solid at home, winning 10 out of 14 at Bramall Lane and losing just twice while Birmingham are shaky on their travels, losing seven out of 13 and winning just three times. This tie may need more than 90 minutes to settle it.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)

Stevenage vs Notts County

An all-League One fixtures pits play-off chasing Stevenage against mid-table Notts County and with a place in the last 16 at stake, neither side will take this match lightly. Stevenage, now under manager Gary Smith are solid, if not spectacular at home – winning six, drawing four and losing three.

That is better than County who are poor on the road, losing nine out of 14 in the league. Indeed, that is a record matched only by Tranmere Rovers in seventeenth and Rochdale and Chesterfield who prop up the table.

County inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Stevenage when the pair met in League One last September but Smith has cup victory experience – leading Colorado Rapids to MLS Cup glory in 2010 and I’m tipping the home side to exact their revenge.

Verdict: Stevenage @ 2.0 (Boylesports)

West Bromwich Albion vs Norwich City

Norwich City recorded a Premier League victory at the Hawthorns just a fortnight ago and it would not be a shock to see Paul Lambert’s side do the same again in the FA Cup.

Norwich are fresh from holding Chelsea to a goalless draw last weekend – their first clean sheet of the season and are riding high in ninth place in the Premier League. The Canaries are decent enough of their travels – winning three, drawing four and losing four in the league.

The Baggies earned a much needed victory at Stoke which kept some distance between the bottom three and themselves but it is their home form which is a huge concern. Two defeats, two draws and seven defeats does not inspire confidence and I choose Norwich to progress.

Verdict: Norwich City @ 4.0 (Ladbrokes)

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United

Championship side Brighton needed extra time and penalties to see off the challenge of Conference promotion contenders Wrexham in the last round. But, strangely, they may have an easier time of it against Premier League side Newcastle United.

Despite leading at half-time against Fulham last weekend, Alan Pardew’s side were thumped 5-2 at Fulham and are unquestionably missing the likes of Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote who are on Africa Cup of Nations duty. While not terrible away from the Sports Direct Arena, the Magpies are vulnerable to defeat.

Brighton are solid enough at home, winning seven out of 13 and five of their last six, including a 3-0 victory against Southampton. Under Gus Poyet the Seagulls play good football and Craig Mackail-Smith is always a danger when fit.

Verdict: Brighton & Hove Albion @ 4.0 (Paddy Power)

FA Cup Fourth Round Betting Preview 27 January 2012

The FA Cup fourth round gets underway tonight with two matches. Championship side Watford host London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, while a third team from England’s capital, Fulham, travel to Everton. If you fancy a flutter on a Friday night, here is where we believe profits can be made.

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur

Watford are going through a tough spell in the Championship right now. Three defeats in their last three league matches sees them hover six points above the relegation zone in eighteenth place. The Hornets were unbeaten in December, winning twice and drawing three times but the losing run began on 2 January in a 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth.

However, Watford will be buoyed by the fact Spurs have kept just two clean sheets in their last 11 away matches and there are likely to be a host of changes made to the third placed Premier League team that lines up at Vicarage Road.

Key players Gareth Bale and Scott Parker are doubtful with thigh and hamstring injuries while Younes Kaboul is also struggling with a groin injury. Ledley King is likely to be rested for this match.

We are likely to see a similar side that beat Cheltenham 3-0 in the last round so there could be starts for Carlo Cudicini, Niko Kranjcar, Stephen Pienaar and Roman Pavlyuchenko. I don’t like backing teams at short odds-on away from home but even a weakened Spurs side should have too much quality for Sean Dyche’s team.

Verdict: Tottenham Hotspur @ 1.5 (Coral)

Everton vs Fulham

Everton have been poor this season in the Premier League but the FA Cup could offer some respite for David Moyes’ side. After struggling to hold relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers to a draw on Saturday (as predicted here), they take on a Fulham side who have a wretched record at Goodison Park.

In their last 11 visits, Fulham have lost 10 and drawn just once. The draw came way back in 2004 when Francis Jeffers snatched a last gasp equaliser for a 1-1 final score in an FA Cup fourth round tie. Martin Jol’s team are without an away win in seven attempts and not even top goalscorer Clint Dempsey inspires confidence.

The 15-goal USA international may have blasted a hat-trick against Newcastle United last weekend but he has scored just three times away from Craven Cottage this season.

Expect a low scoring affair tonight too – Everton have not scored two goals in a match involving Premier League opposition since beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 last November. They also managed the same scoreline against Conference side Tamworth in the last round of the FA Cup. Since the Bolton result, 10 of their 11 matches have featured two goals or less. It’s a similar tale with Fulham – in their last 19 away matches, only three have featured more than two goals.

Everton have offered little in recent home matches but Fulham even less on the road. With home advantage crucial in matches like this, a narrow victory for Everton is the call here.

Verdict: Everton @ 2.15 (Bet Victor)

Liverpool Favourites in Carling Cup Final Betting

Liverpool are the red hot favourites with the bookmakers to lift the Carling Cup this season.

The Reds twice came from behind to draw against Manchester City at Anfield to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Having not won at Anfield for nine years, punters were advised to back the draw at best odds of 3.3 and the bet duly obliged.

Nigel De Jong scored from distance after 31 minutes to level the score on aggregate but a Steven Gerrard penalty 10 minutes later saw the advantage return to Liverpool.

Edin Dzeko put City in front for a second time after 67 minutes but Welshman Craig Bellamy, on loan at Cardiff City last season, struck on 74 to set up a final against the Bluebirds.

The night before, Cardiff City overturned a 1-0 deficit and beat Crystal Palace just as predicted.

Our advice was to back odds-on Cardiff to win in 90 minutes at odds of 1.8 and an early own goal from Anthony Gardner was enough to earn the home side a 1-0 victory.

While the bet came up trumps, it was not enough to secure passage to the final for Malky Mackay’s team.

Despite enjoying the lions share of possession and creating almost 20 chances, the score remained 1-1 on aggregate. Kenny Miller, Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson all saw efforts come back off the woodwork while Palace were reduced to 10 men from 78 minutes when Paddy McCarthy was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Both extra time and then penalties were required to separate the teams and when Miller blazed his effort high and wide it looked like it was not going to be City’s night.

But, goalkeeper Tom Heaton saved efforts from Jermaine Easter and Sean Scannell with Jonathan Parr shooting Palace’s make-or-break penalty over the bar.

Cardiff won 3-1 on penalties and booked a third Wembley final in four seasons.

Liverpool can be backed at current best odds of 1.17 (Sky Bet) to lift the trophy. If Kenny Dalglish’s side win, it will be the clubs first trophy since 2006 – when the Reds won the FA Cup and Community Shield a few months later.

Cardiff are rank outsiders and are available at 5.5 (bet365). The last time City won a trophy was in 2003 as Division Two play-off winners and of course they reached the FA Cup final in 2008 but were beaten by Portsmouth.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Betting

Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg

Liverpool have the upper hand going into the second leg after shocking Manchester City with a 1-0 victory at the Etihad a fortnight ago.

Steven Gerrard scored from the penalty spot just as we predicted and City have to win at Anfield over 90 minutes to have any chance of reaching the final.

Roberto Mancini’s side will go into this match full of confidence having beaten Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but the cracks are beginning to show. City blew a 2-0 lead, allowing Spurs to get back into the match at 2-2 and only a penalty five minutes into stoppage time gifted them all three points.

City will be without defender Vincent Kompany, who serves the last game of his four-match ban, so under-fire defender Stefan Savic is likely to continue at the heart of Mancini’s defence.

Any defensive mistakes like the poor back header against Tottenham which lead to a Jermain Defoe goal are likely to be pounced upon, with Craig Bellamy set to use his blistering pace to exploit the unsure Savic.

Liverpool were poor on Saturday night in their 3-1 defeat against Bolton but they were also poor when they were thumped 3-0 by City in the league and then went on to beat them in the first leg of the semi final. The Reds have a big game mentality and will not give the same performance as they did against Owen Coyle’s strugglers.

Liverpool have failed to score just once in 43 League Cup matches – the 2-0 quarter final defeat at Chelsea in 2007 and will relish playing at Anfield for the first time in this season’s competition – a ground where City have not won in nine years.

The Reds have blown hot and cold this season while City are looking shaky in defence. I expect both teams to score but Liverpool are good enough to get a draw at what is a bogey ground for City and sneak into the final.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.3 (Betfred)

Other Results:

First Goalscorer

After a string of scintillating performances, Craig Bellamy would love to put one past the club that froze him out and sent him on loan to Championship side Cardiff City last season. Bellamy has the pace and trickery to exploit a weak defender live Savic and can be backed at a best priced 8.0 (Coral).

Selected other first goalscorers:

Anytime Goalscorer

Defender Joleon Lescott found himself in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball over the line for City’s second goal against Spurs on Sunday. As the tension mounts, he could capitalise again at odds of 14.0 (Paddy Power).

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

Correct Score

Even though Liverpool’s defence was breached three times on Saturday and City conceded twice against Spurs, I expect fewer goals in this match. Liverpool don’t need to be gung-ho while City will not want to fall further behind. I predict this match to end all square and the bookies agree. A 1-1 final score is a best priced 7.0 (Betfred).

Selected other correct scores: