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

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)

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 22 January 2012

Super Sunday lives up to its name for once with two cracking fixtures taking place on 22 January. First up, Premier League leaders Manchester City take on third-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad and later on, second placed Manchester United travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal. Victories for both Manchester sides are predicted – find out why here.

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

This has been a massive fixture for both teams in the past couple of seasons. In 2010, striker Peter Crouch got the winner to guarantee Champions League football for Spurs for the first time and last season, an own goal from Crouch in a 1-0 defeat meant it was City who would play in Europe’s most lucrative competition.

City top the Premier League table and go into the match three points ahead of local rivals United. A victory against Spurs is imperative to keep a three point margin should Alex Ferguson’s side win at Arsenal later in the day. City have an excellent record at home this season – winning all 10 matches and have scored 31 goals in the process, conceding just four.

Spurs have also been excellent on the road this season – winning six, drawing two and losing two but it could be argued the pressure is getting to Harry Redknapp’s side. Spurs could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Wolves last weekend, with Luka Modric sparing his team’s blushes after they fell behind to a Steven Fletcher goal in the first half.

Compare that to City, where much has been said about their vulnerability due to the loss of Vincent Kompany to suspension and Yaya and Kolo Toure leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations. On Monday night they faced a difficult trip to a Wigan side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table. But, while Spurs only drew, City held their nerve to grind out a 1-0 victory and get back on track after suffering successive Cup defeats.

Spurs have won four of their last six visits to City but with Roberto Mancini’s side holding onto a perfect home record so far, I think they are capable of adding another tick to the win column.

Verdict: Manchester City @ 1.91 (Ladbrokes)

Arsenal vs Manchester United

The City result will determine just how vital this match is for United but if Alex Ferguson’s side harbour any ambitions of overtaking their local rivals, a victory against Arsenal would be a good start.

Arsenal will want to throw a spanner in the works and gain some revenge for the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford last August. But, depending on Saturday’s results they will be at least four points behind fourth placed Chelsea going into this match and still licking their wounds from a 3-2 defeat at Swansea last weekend, they won’t want to do anything stupid.

Champions League football is the goal for Arsene Wenger this season and they cannot afford many more slip-ups if they are to overtake their west London rivals. If they can’t do it, Newcastle and Liverpool will give it a good go. Not losing this match will be on¬†Wenger’s mind.

United have a solid away record this season, winning seven out of 10, two draws and just one defeat – exactly the same record that Arsenal have at the Emirates this season. The goals for and against are almost identical too: Arsenal have scored 16 and conceded six at home, while United have scored 19 and conceded six away.

In terms of picking goalscorers – both Arsenal and United hotshots have a great record against each other. Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has netted three times past United while Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last six appearances against the Gunners in all competitions.

Verdict: Manchester United @ 2.62 (Paddy Power)

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City Betting

Top visits bottom on Monday night when Manchester City travel to Wigan Athletic. But, the result may not be as straightforward as you think.

First of all, let’s get all the negative stuff about rock-bottom Wigan out of the way:

  • They have not won in five matches and have a poor home record with just one win in 10 – on a par with fellow relegation candidates Bolton Wanderers and QPR.
  • They are the most shot-shy side in the league – scoring just 18 goals in 20 matches this season.
  • They are prone to conceding late goals – 11 in the last 15 minutes during their league matches this campaign is more than any other team.

But, for all their weaknesses they have a tendency to grind out results against some of the better teams in the division. In December, they earned successive home draws against both Liverpool and Chelsea and earlier this season they pulled off unexpected away victories at West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland.

Not many will give the Latics much hope against a City team that has beaten them in their last four league matches without conceding a goal, but Roberto Mancini’s side are not in great form away from home. They have not won on the road in their last four league attempts and have not scored a goal in their last two.

It is also worth pointing out that until last season, Wigan had an excellent home record in the Premier League against City with three wins and two draws. A 2-0 defeat at the JJB Stadium in September 2010 brought that excellent run to an end.

City are likely to be boosted by the return of David Silva but striker Mario Balotelli, who limped off the field during the Carling Cup defeat by Liverpool is doubtful. They will of course be without the suspended Vincent Kompany and the Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya.

Like the Toure’s, Wigan midfielder Mohamed Diame is on Africa Cup of Nations duty but winger Albert Crusat has recovered from a back injury.

Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has arguably been Roberto Martinez’s best player this season and he will need to be in inspired form if the relegation strugglers are to frustrate their big-spending rivals.

Verdict: Draw @ 4.6 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Wigan Athletic @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester City @ 1.44 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

If he starts, Sergio Aguero @ 4.75 (bet365), is the favourite to score the first goal and the bookmakers are taking no chances with the odds on him doing so. Aguero has found the net 14 times in 19 Premier League appearances this season.

More First Goalscorers:

  • Mario Balotelli @ 5.0 (Betfred)
  • Edin Dzeko @ 5.5 (Coral)
  • David Silva @ 7.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Samir Nasri @ 8.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Adam Johnson @ 9.0 (Coral)
  • Hugo Rodallega @ 11.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Connor Sammon @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Franco Di Santo @ 13.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Callum McManaman @ 15.0 (bet365)
  • Denis Suarez @ 15.0 (Sky Bet)
  • James Milner @ 15.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Victor Moses @ 17.0 (Paddy Power)
  • No Goalscorer@ 17.0 (Ladbrokes)

Anytime Goalscorer

An interesting prospect to find the net at any time during the match is Ben Watson @ 8.5 (Paddy Power). The Wigan midfielder has scored three times in the league this season, two of which came from the penalty spot. Incidentally, Wigan have been awarded six penalties this season, more than any other top flight team.

More Anytime Goalscorers:

  • Sergio Aguero @ 2.0 (Betfred)
  • Mario Balotelli @ 2.1 (Betfred)
  • Edin Dzeko @ 2.1 (Betfred)
  • David Silva @ 2.88 (Paddy Power)
  • Samir Nasri @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)
  • Adam Johnson @ 3.4 (Paddy Power)
  • Hugo Rodallega @ 4.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Connor Sammon @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Franco Di Santo @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)
  • James Milner @ 5.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Aleksandar Kolarov @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Jordi Gomez @ 7.0 (Paddy Power)

Correct Score

With City out of form away from home and Wigan’s propensity to get results against perceived “bigger” teams, I am predicting a 1-1 @ 9.5 (Sportingbet) scoreline.

More Correct Scores:

  • Wigan Athletic 1-0 @ 23.0 (Coral)
  • Wigan Athletic 2-0 @ 51.0 (Betfred)
  • Wigan Athletic 2-1 @ 23.o (Bet Victor)
  • Wigan Athletic 3-0 @ 176.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Wigan Athletic 3-1 @ 81.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 17.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 23.0 (Betfred)
  • Manchester City 1-0 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester City 2-0 @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester City 2-1 @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester City 3-0 @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Manchester City 3-1 @ 11.0 (bet365)
  • Manchester City 4-0 @ 19.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Manchester City 5-0 @ 41.0 (Boylesports)
  • Manchester City 6-0 @ 101.0 (Boylesports)

Manchester City vs Liverpool Betting

Carling Cup Semi Final First Leg

Manchester City will not want to be dumped out of two Cup competitions in the space of just a few days so expect them to take a commanding lead in their first leg tie against Liverpool.

Roberton Mancini’s side will arguably be weakened going into the match after losing the appeal over Vincent Kompany’s red card in their FA Cup defeat against Manchester United on Sunday. Kompany begins his four match suspension against the Reds while both Kolo and Yaya Toure are on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

City will be boosted by the return of Gareth Barry from suspension but Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and David Silva may also be absent tonight.

Liverpool will again be without striker Luis Suarez, who serves the third of his eight-match suspension. The goal scoring responsibility will be passed on to the below-par Andy Carroll who was linked with a cut-price return to former club Newcastle United today.

Carroll may not be able to benefit from a Stewart Downing supply line after the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough winger’s off-field troubles threatens his place in tonight’s starting eleven. Kenny Dalglish’s side should be boosted by Steven Gerrard who is nearing full fitness. If anybody can rally the team for this match then it’s Gerrard who has made over 560 appearances for Liverpool since making his debut during the 1998-99 season.

This match comes little more than a week after the two sides met in a Premier League clash with City running out comfortable 3-0 winners. Mancini’s side have won all 10 league fixtures at home this season, scoring 31 goals and conceding just four.

By comparison, Liverpool have struggled on the road in the Premier League – scoring just 10 goals in as many games which have produced five wins, four defeats and a single draw.

City are looking for a sixth successive home victory in a League Cup fixture and my prediction is they will get it.

Verdict: Manchester City @ 2.0 (bet365)

Other Results:

  • Liverpool @ 4.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw @ 3.4 (Bet Victor)

First Goalscorer

Unsurprisingly, it is Sergio Aguero who gets the bookmakers nod as favourite to break the deadlock tonight. Since joining City from Atletico Madrid in the summer, the diminutive striker has scored 17 goals in 27 appearances. He cost the same amount of money that Liverpool paid Newcastle United for Andy Carroll, £35 million, but looks a bargain by comparison. Aguero can be backed at 6.0 (Ladbrokes) to draw first blood.

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Mario Balotelli @ 6.5 (Sky Bet)
  • Edin Dzeko @ 6.5 (Coral)
  • David Silva @ 9.0 (Betfred)
  • Andy Carroll @ 10.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 10.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Steven Gerrard @ 11.0 (bet365)
  • Samir Nasri @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Adam Johnson @ 12.0 (Coral)
  • Charlie Adam @ 17.0 (Sportingbet)
  • James Milner @ 17.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 21.0 (Paddy Power)
  • No Goalscorer @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)

Anytime Goalscorer

Again, it’s Aguero who heads the bookmaker’s list to get his name on the scoresheet but for a little more value, why not go for Steven Gerrard @ 4.5 (Paddy Power). Gerrard is a big game player and if the Reds are awarded a penalty, you can be sure he will take it.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Sergio Aguero @ 2.38 (bet365)
  • Mario Balotelli @ 2.75 (Paddy Power)
  • Edin Dzeko @ 2.75 (Ladbrokes)
  • David Silva @ 3.75 (Paddy Power)
  • Andy Carroll @ 4.2 (Paddy Power)
  • Craig Bellamy @ 4.2 (Paddy Power)
  • Samir Nasri @ 4.2 (Paddy Power)
  • Dirk Kuyt @ 4.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Adam Johnson @ 4.5 (Coral)
  • Charlie Adam @ 6.5 (Sportingbet)
  • James Milner @ 7.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Maxi Rodriguez @ 8.5 (Paddy Power)

Correct Score

If you believe City will have as easy a time of it against Liverpool as they did eight days ago, you can back a 3-0 home victory at best odds of 21.0 (Ladbrokes).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Manchester City 1-0 @ 8.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Manchester City 2-0 @ 10.0 (Coral)
  • Manchester City 2-1 @ 10.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Manchester City 3-1 @ 21.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Manchester City 3-2 @ 34.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 0-0 @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Draw 1-1 @ 7.5 (Ladbrokes)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 17.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Draw 3-3 @ 81.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Liverpool 1-0 @ 12.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 2-0 @ 23.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 2-1 @ 19.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool 3-0 @ 67.0 (Betfred)
  • Liverpool 3-1 @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Liverpool 3-2 @ 41.0 (Coral)