Saturday 16th March Premier League Best Bets

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Everton v Manchester City 12.45pm

The Toffees don’t appear to be as bombproof as they were earlier in the season, and Manchester City could well be coming up against them just at the right time. City have appeared to step up a gear in the last month or so, and while all games are sure to be tough at Goodison Park, the Citizens have momentum and form on their side.

Everton’s shocking 3-0 loss last weekend against Wigan in the FA Cup is sure to be playing on Davis Moyes’ mind, while all appears to be rosy in th eblue half of Manchester at present, and Reberto Mancini will be doing his best to narrow the chasm between them and their city rivals.

Tip – Manchester City to Win 11/10 Bet Victor

Southampton v Liverpool 3.00pm

Southampton have done a sterling job in their first season in the top flight and have taken points from some big clubs, but that hasn’t been enough to steer them clear of the relegation battle.

However, at the odds it may be worth siding with a Liverpool team that are in top form with 4 straight wins in all competitions which include drubbings of Swansea (5-0) and Wigan (4-0) as well as a hard fought 3-2 victory over Spurs last weekend.

Luis Suarez has been a handful all season, but with other players now starting to perform, Liverpool are finally playing football worthy of a possible European place next season.

Tip – Liverpool to Win 10/11 Sky Bet

Aston Villa v QPR 3.00pm

Harry Redknapp has instilled a little bit of fight into Queens Park Rangers and the players will believe they have what it takes to pull them off of bottom spot come Saturday evening. Back to back wins over Southampton (2-1) and Sunderland (3-1) have given them renewed hope that they can escape the drop.

Aston Villa earned a much needed win over Reading last weekend to remain just outside the relegation zone, but I’m taking the Hoops to continue their winning run at Villa Park and force their way out of the dreaded drop zone.

Tip – QPR to win 23/10 bet365

Spurs Favourites In FA Cup Betting

Tottenham Hotspur edged into pole position as the bookmaker’s favourites to win this season’s FA Cup following their 3-1 fifth round replay victory against Stevenage.

The League One side looked to cause an upset when they took a shock lead after four minutes at White Hart Lane. Joel Byrom scored from the penalty spot but Jermaine Defoe equalised after 26 minutes.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor put the Premier League side in front 10 minutes after the break with a penalty and Defoe netted his second 15 minutes from the end to ease Harry Redknapp’s side into a quarter final tie against Bolton Wanderers.

The previous evening, Chelsea won their first match under caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo with a 2-0 victory at Birmingham City.

The in-form Championship club kept the scoreline goalless until 54 minutes when Juan Mata scrambled the ball over the line and Raul Meireles sealed victory six minutes later with a spectacular finish.

Chelsea were the biggest movers in the betting, cut from 5.5 to a best-priced 4.0 with the bookmakers fancying them to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

The Blues have home advantage in the quarter finals against the remaining Championship side in the FA Cup, Leicester City.

Elsewhere, Everton host Sunderland while recent Carling Cup winners and second favourites to win the FA Cup, Liverpool, play Stoke City at Anfield.

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

  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 3.75 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool @ 3.8 (Ladbrokes)
  • Chelsea @ 4.0 (Betfred)
  • Everton @ 8.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Sunderland @ 10.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Stoke City @ 23.0 (bet365)
  • Bolton Wanderers @ 34.0 (Boylesports)
  • Leicester City @ 67.0 (Betfred)

Liverpool vs Arsenal Betting

Both teams enjoyed spectacular weekends and will go into this match full of confidence.

Liverpool beat Cardiff City on penalties in an exciting and memorable Carling Cup Final to end their six-year wait for a trophy while Arsenal battled from two goals down to defeat arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 in a classic north London derby.

While a trophy in the cabinet is important for Liverpool in terms of progress and morale, they must turn their attentions to something arguably more important which is Champions League qualification.

They head into Saturday’s match in seventh position and as many points behind Arsenal in fourth place. The Reds are now an outside bet to finish in the top four with both Chelsea and Newcastle above them in the reckoning but home advantage is key this weekend.

Liverpool, like Manchester City, are unbeaten at home this season. However, they have won just four out of 12 in front of their home fans, on a par with Blackburn Rovers who sit in the bottom three.

Kenny Dalglish’s side have become draw specialists at Anfield, with eight matches ending all square this season. That is where out attentions will focus on for this particular match because six of the last nine meetings have ended in deadlock, five of which with a 1-1 scoreline.

Arsenal look susceptible on the road and have lost more than they have won – six defeats to five victories, with two draws thrown in for good measure.

Despite netting five goals last Sunday, the Gunners have not scored in three of their last four away matches in all competitions. That said, at Anfield, they find their shooting boots and have scored in their last five Premier League visits. The 2008-09 campaign saw them score four times in a remarkable 4-4 draw.

With Liverpool solid, if not spectacular at home and with eight draws at Anfield already this season combined with the recent draw sequence between these two, another stalemate would not come as a great shock.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.6 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 2.05 (Boylesports)
  • Arsenal @ 3.8 (Betfred)

First Goalscorer

Due to playing away from home, red-hot Robin Van Persie does not head-up the bookmaker’s first goalscorer list in the betting, with them favouring Liverpool striker Luis Suarez instead. But, with 33 goals in all competitions to his name this season, Van Persie cannot be ignored and he is available to bulge the back of the net first at 6.5 (bet365).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 6.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 7.5 (Boylesports)
  • Andy Carroll @ 8.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 8.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 10.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 12.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Gervinho @ 13.0 (Boylesports)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain @ 15.0 (Boylesports)
  • Charlie Adam @ 15.0 (Coral)
  • Theo Walcott @ 15.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Mikel Arteta @ 19.0 (bet365)
  • Aaron Ramsey @ 21.0 (bet365)
  • No Goalscorer @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)

Anytime Goalscorer

One player who showed his goal scoring ability last week was Dirk Kuyt  for Liverpool. The bustling midfielder had only been on the pitch five minutes during extra time of the Carling Cup Final and put Liverpool 2-1 in front. With three goals in his last six club matches, he’s worth a dabble at 4.0 (Sportingbet).

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 2.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Robin Van Persie @ 2.6 (bet365)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 3.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Andy Carroll @ 3.25 (Paddy Power)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Gervinho @ 4.75 (Sportingbet)
  • Theo Walcott @ 5.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Charlie Adam @ 5.5 (Coral)
  • Mikel Arteta @ 7.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Aaron Ramsey @ 7.5 (bet365)

Correct Score

With recent history between these two clubs suggesting a draw and with five of the last nine meetings ending in one goal apiece, I cannot see beyond a 1-1 draw. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the bookmakers’ correct score of choice and the best price currently available is 7.5 (Bet Victor).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 8.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 11.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 9.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 19.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 29.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 15.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Arsenal 1-0 @ 12.0 (bet365)
  • Arsenal 2-0 @ 23.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Arsenal 2-1 @ 13.0 (Betfred)
  • Arsenal 3-0 @ 51.0 (Betfred)
  • Arsenal 3-1 @ 31.0 (Coral)
  • Arsenal 3-2 @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)

Cardiff City vs Liverpool – Carling Cup Final Betting

Carling Cup Final Betting Preview

Liverpool are unsurprisingly the bookmakers favourites to lift the Carling Cup trophy on Sunday but the team will be under immense pressure to bring home their first trophy in six years.

Ironically, Liverpool’s last piece of silverware was the FA Cup in 2006 – which they won in Cardiff.

The Reds go into the match full of confidence against Championship opposition having crushed Brighton 6-1 last weekend in the FA Cup fifth round. Kenny Dalglish’s side were, however, aided by three own goals.

Cardiff City are not in great form and have lost three of their last four league matches.

A comfortable 3-1 home victory against Peterborough United has been sandwiched by a home defeat against Blackpool and on the road losses at Leicester City and Ipswich Town last weekend.

Indeed, last weekend’s defeat at Ipswich saw the Bluebirds slip to fifth in the table and their involvement in the Cup this weekend could see them out of the top six depending on the results.

Liverpool are going to be well-backed and expected to win comfortably on Sunday but as we all know, football doesn’t always go according to plan.

And, where is the fun in backing a red-hot favourite at odds-on in a Cup final, where a wicked deflection, a missed offside call or a dubious penalty can all mean the difference between victory and defeat?

You could plough a significant percentage of your betting bank to try and “buy money” but before you do, I just want to leave you with four words to remember:

Birmingham City Last Season.

Verdict: Cardiff City @ 9.5 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 1.4 (Betfred)
  • Draw @ 4.5 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Scotland international Kenny Miller is usually the favourite in this market but given the standard of opposition, he has been pushed down the list. Therein could like some value and the current best price of 13.0 (bet365) looks tempting. Miller is without a goal in six matches but he was first off the mark the last time he scored – a 3-2 league victory against Portsmouth.

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 6.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Andy Carroll @ 7.0 (bet365)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 7.0 (Coral)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 7.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 9.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Charlie Adam @ 13.0 (Coral)
  • Joe Mason @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Stewart Downing @ 19.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 19.0 (Boylesports)
  • Martin Skrtel @ 26.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Craig Conway @ 29.0 (bet365)
  • No Goalscorer @ 12.0 (Betfred)

Anytime Goalscorer

Cardiff-born Liverpool midfielder Craig Bellamy is the only player on the field who will draw applause from both teams should he score. He has also stated he will not celebrate should he score against the Bluebirds, where he spent a successful spell on loan last season. Bellamy can be backed at 2.6 (Bet Victor) to register his name on the score sheet.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Luis Suarez @ 2.38 (Betfred)
  • Andy Carroll @ 2.75 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 3.0 (Betfred)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 3.4 (Bet Victor)
  • Charlie Adam @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Kenny Miller @ 6.5 (Betfred)
  • Stewart Downing @ 6.5 (Betfred)
  • Joe Mason @ 7.5 (Betfred)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 7.5 (Betfred)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 8.5 (Betfred)
  • Craig Conway @ 11.0 (bet365)
  • Martin Skrtel @ 12.0 (Betfred)

Correct Score

A comfortable Liverpool victory is the bookmaker’s verdict so there is definite value in going against them. While the fancied scoreline is 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, how about a 2-1 victory to Cardiff City at 26.0 (Sky Bet).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Cardiff City 1-0 @ 21.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Cardiff City 2-0 @ 56.0 (Coral)
  • Cardiff City 3-0 @ 226.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Cardiff City 3-1 @ 81.0 (bet365)
  • Cardiff City 3-2 @ 101.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 12.0 (Boylesports)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 26.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 6.5 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 13.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 34.0 (bet365)
  • Liverpool 4-0 @ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 5-0 @ 41.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 6-0 @ 91.0 (Paddy Power)

Manchester United vs Liverpool Betting

It is advantage Liverpool as both sides go head-to-head at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.

Kenny Dalglish’s side earned the bragging rights with a 2-1 victory at Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round and all eyes will be on what happens between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra and the customary pre-match handshake.

In some ways it’s fortunate the circus surrounding Harry Redknapp being cleared of all allegations of bungs and tax dodging and Fabio Capello resigning on the same day, happened this week to ease some of the speculation that could have filled the media in the run-up to this match.

United have lost just two of their last 15 Premier League matches but we saw the best and worst of them during last weekend’s remarkable 3-3 draw at Chelsea. Yes, United were magnificent as they battled back from 3-0 down but their defensive weaknesses were there for all to see.

Goalkeeper David De Gea does not look up to Premier League standard yet and he was exposed during the FA Cup tie against Liverpool. No doubt he will be a target yet again from set-pieces should he stand between the sticks.

At the back United may be vulnerable but they are irresistible in attack with 16 goals in their last five matches. Wayne Rooney’s two penalties against Chelsea were his first in the league since scoring at Fulham before Christmas and of course Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season. The Bulgarian netted a treble against Wigan on Boxing Day and it will be interesting to see if he features on Saturday.

Liverpool are in good form themselves and have lost just three times in their last 15 in all competitions. They are also very mean in defence – only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals in the Premier League this season.

The danger man for them in recent weeks has been Craig Bellamy and the Welshman has scored six goals in his last eight starts. The pacy striker gave Rio Ferdinand a torrid time when playing for Manchester City a couple of seasons ago and will been keen to impress on the big stage again.

This is a difficult match to predict but given home advantage, I will favour United to avenge their FA Cup exit and close the gap on Manchester rivals City before their match kicks off on Sunday.

Verdict: Manchester United @ 1.91 (Paddy Power)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 4.5 (Betfred)
  • Draw @ 3.6 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Wayne Rooney finally broke his goalscoring duck with two penalties against Chelsea last weekend and is overdue a goal against Liverpool. His last strike against the Reds came in March 2010 and he can be backed at 5.0 (Bet Victor).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Javier Hernandez @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Danny Welbeck @ 7.0 (Boylesports)
  • Dimitar Berbatov @ 8.0 (Boylesports)
  • Luis Suarez @ 8.5 (bet365)
  • Nani @ 9.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 10.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Ashley Young @ 11.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Andy Carroll @ 13.0 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 13.0 (bet365)
  • Luis Valencia @ 13.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Ji Sung Park @15.0 (Betfred)
  • No Goalscorer @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)

Anytime Goalscorer

Craig Bellamy has scored six goals in the last eight matches he has started and is on course to win Player of the Season for Liverpool. He looks good value at 4.0 (Ladbrokes) to hit the back of the net at any time, especially given United’s defensive frailties.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Javier Hernandez @ 2.7 (Paddy Power)
  • Danny Welbeck @ 2.85 (Sportingbet)
  • Dimitar Berbatov @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
  • Luis Suarez @ 3.5 (Coral)
  • Nani @ 3.8 (Sportingbet)
  • Ashley Young @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Andy Carroll @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Luis Valencia @ 5.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 5.0 (bet365)
  • Ji Sung Park @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)

Correct Score

Despite Liverpool’s mean defence, there could be goals in this fixture. United scored three last weekend and with David De Gea shaky in goal, Liverpool could grab a couple themselves. How about United to win 3-2 @ 29.0 (bet365).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Manchester United 1-0 @ 7.5 (Boylesports)
  • Manchester United 2-0 @ 9.5 (Coral)
  • Manchester United 2-1 @ 9.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Manchester United 3-0 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Manchester United 3-1 @ 17.0 (Coral)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 11.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 12.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 23.0 (Coral)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 15.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 67.0 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 41.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 41.0 (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)

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)

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:

Premier League Predictions 21 January 2012

Eight matches take place in the Premier League on Saturday 21 January, including a huge relegation six-pointer at Loftus Road where QPR host rock-bottom Wigan Athletic. Wolves face their second Midlands derby in a matter of days when they tackle Aston Villa while both Chelsea and Liverpool will be expected to record away victories at Norwich and Bolton respectively.

Norwich City vs Chelsea

After a difficult December, Chelsea look to be getting back on track and could take all three points at Carrow Road. January has seen the Blues win both Premier League matches against Wolves and Sunderland, while Portsmouth were spanked 4-0 in the FA Cup.

Norwich have also won all three fixtures in January, winning at both QPR and West Brom in the league and recording a 4-1 victory against Burnley in the FA Cup. Very similar results to Chelsea in fact.

The Canaries weakness is their defence and Paul Lambert’s side have not kept a clean sheet all season. Chelsea have also looked shaky at the back but that will be remedied by the £7 million arrival of defender Gary Cahill, who could make his debut on Saturday. Norwich will be up for this but Chelsea will edge it.

Verdict: Chelsea @ 1.62 (Paddy Power)

Everton vs Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers have hauled themselves out of the relegation zone after some decent form in recent weeks. Back-t0-back defeats against Newcastle and Stoke were sandwiched between a draw at Liverpool and victories against Manchester United and Fulham.

Steve Kean’s side were magnificent in their victory against Fulham last weekend. Wantaway defender Chris Samba didn’t play while top goalscorer Yakubu was sent off. Yet, Rovers still managed to fire in three goals and keep poor travellers Fulham to just one.

Everton are a team in mixed form. An unbeaten four-match run which produced two wins and two draws at the back end of December leading into the New Year was followed up by a dismal home defeat against rock-bottom Bolton. Blackburn are tough to beat on the road and a dour draw looks the call here.

Verdict: Draw @ 4.0 (Bet Victor)

Fulham vs Newcastle United

With Demba Ba, Cheick Tiote and now new signing Papiss Cisse all away on Africa Cup of Nations duty, Newcastle United are not such an exciting betting proposition. They laboured their way to a 1-0 home victory against struggling QPR last weekend and may find a trip to Craven Cottage a lot more difficult.

Fulham followed up a memorable home victory against Arsenal with a humiliating 3-1 defeat at Blackburn last week and Martin Jol’s team are difficult to predict. They are still six points from the relegation zone but a couple of bad results could see them slip closer to danger.

Fulham’s home record is the same as Newcastle’s away: four wins, three draws and three defeats. Neither sequence inspires confidence here with all three results just as likely. A draw may be the sensible option.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.5 (Betfred)

Queens Park Rangers vs Wigan Athletic

A real relegation six pointer and one I fancy Wigan will be up for more than their hosts. QPR were not convincing in their midweek FA Cup victory against League One side MK Dons and on another day could have lost. They also offered little in a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle last weekend.

Mark Hughes has his work cut out against rock-bottom Wigan who put up a fighting display against Manchester City on Monday night and were unlucky not to get anything out of the match. Roberto Martinez’s strugglers have won at West Brom and Sunderland this season and also held the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal to a draw.

It would be easy to pick a draw in this match but Wigan showed enough on Monday they will up for the fight on Saturday. QPR may turn their season around thanks to a glut of new signings but those reinforcements won’t arrive until after this weekend.

Verdict: Wigan @ 4.0 (Ladbrokes)

Stoke City vs West Bromwich Albion

West Brom are being dragged into the dogfight at the bottom of the table and their status as relegation candidates was compounded by a home defeat by Norwich last weekend. Roy Hodgson’s side are still five points clear of the bottom three but they need more to give themselves some breathing space.

With Stoke sitting in eighth position you may think this should be a routine home win. However, the Baggies may be dire at home, but away from the Hawthorns they are a much different proposition with four wins and two draws out of 10 matches.

West Brom have won two of their last three fixtures on the road, beating both Blackburn and Newcastle. While Stoke have a solid home record with four wins, four draws and just two defeats, consecutive stalemates against Aston Villa and Wigan suggest they could be in for a shock on Saturday.

Verdict: West Brom @ 4.33 (Paddy Power)

Sunderland vs Swansea City

After Swansea played Arsenal off the park for much of their 3-2 victory last Sunday, Sunderland should not pose too much of a problem. But, much of Swansea’s success this season is down to their inspired home form – five wins, five draws and just one defeat at the Liberty Stadium compared to just one win, three draws and six defeats away.

Sunderland are similar. Decent enough at home but prone to defeat on the road. Since Martin O’Neill took charge, the Black Cats have lost just twice in eight Premier League matches and were good value in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea by all accounts.

This will be a close match but given home advantage and Swansea’s poor away record, Sunderland will just edge this one.

Verdict: Sunderland @ 1.91 (bet365)

Wolves vs Aston Villa

This will be Wolves’ second Midlands derby in the space of a few days and another they may finish as the losing side. Mick McCarthy’s side were dumped out of the FA Cup after a home defeat by Championship side Birmingham City and face a difficult travelling outfit in Villa.

Alex McLeish’s side are heading into lower mid-table territory but have lost just two in 10 on the road this season. Admittedly, six have ended as draws with just two victories but it shows the battling spirit required for a local derby such as this.

Wolves rested Steve Fletcher midweek and the nine-goal striker will be raring to go. If Villa can keep him quiet then Wolves will struggle to score and may be able to nick a victory for themselves.

Verdict: Aston Villa @ 2.9 (Sky Bet)

Bolton Wanderers vs Liverpool

Liverpool have an excellent record against Bolton, winning the last 10 meetings home and away.  Bolton last tasted victory against the Reds in September 2006, when the late Gary Speed and Ivan Campo scored the goals in a 2-0 win.

Liverpool clearly like playing Bolton and it is difficult to oppose them on Saturday. Kenny Dalglish’s side may have dropped points at home to Stoke last weekend, but with league and Cup games coming thick and fast, you cannot be expected to win every match.

It’s not a great price for an away win given Liverpool’s hit-and-miss form on the road (five wins, one draw and four defeats) and while Bolton are in mixed form, they have lost eight out of 10 at home this season and could be beaten again on Saturday evening.

Verdict: Liverpool @ 1.67 (Coral)