TWO days. Ten matches. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out his three best bets from this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
Man Utd v Hull | Saturday 15:00
Man Utd are as short as 2/7 with Ladbrokes to win this game and that makes me want to puke all over this laptop screen. I’m happy to concede that their victory over Arsenal last Saturday night might kickstart their season and send them towards a Champions League berth. But I’m not convinced.
I heard a few pundits claiming that win last weekend was a big statement from United but I didn’t see it that way. Arsenal were limp as usual but really should have had them on the floor in the first half. It took a long time for Louis Van Gaal’s side to get into the game but when they did they were professional.
The match stats illustrate Arsenal’s missed opportunity: 32 shots compared to Man Utd’s 14, and 61% possession.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I’m not falling for Man Utd. And I’m certainly not prepared to back them at 2/7.
They face Hull on Saturday, with Steve Bruce’s side down in 17th and just one point off the relegation zone. It looks bleak but in all honesty I think Hull have been massively unlucky this season. Late goals have cost them badly.
They’ve conceded points on four occasions this season leaking goals in the last 10 minutes of a match. If you take away those conceded goals (bear with me) they’d be up in eighth, just one point off a Champions League spot.
Look at Sunday for example, 1-0 up against Spurs and playing well, Gaston Ramirez gets sent off and the house falls down. So frustrating.
I’m backing them with a two goal start at Evens with Ladbrokes as I think they can give Man Utd a tough game on Saturday.
QPR v Leicester | Saturday 15:00
11/8 for QPR to win at home to Leicester with Paddy Power is a bet I like this weekend. Last week’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle was disappointing, but let’s not forget they were up against the form side in England.
Cast your mind further back and the graph is on an upward curve. The unlucky 3-2 defeat to Liverpool, the comfortable 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, the admirable loss to Chelsea and the superb draw against champions Man City.
On Saturday they host Leicester. Nigel Pearson’s side have suffered an almighty hangover since their historic 5-3 win over Man Utd in that hot mid-September day and since have figures of P7 W0 D2 L5 to be ashamed of.
They’re not getting hammered by any means, but surely last weekend’s home tie against Sunderland provided the perfect platform to record a win, and they failed to do that.
I just think QPR have got more gusto, pizzaz and verve than Leicester at the moment and will back them accordingly.
Swansea v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
Another team I like at home this weekend is Swansea. It’s really hard not to be impressed by what Garry Monk has done at The Liberty Stadium this season. The Welsh club are up in seventh and just a point off a Champions League berth.
They’ve beaten Man Utd. They’ve beaten Arsenal. And they performed with great credit in defeat against Chelsea and Man City.
The Swans have got some winnable fixtures coming up so don’t be surprised to see them hanging round the Top 4 by the time Santa comes. Home form figures of P6 W4 D1 L1 also strengthen my view.
Crystal Palace got a superb result on Sunday against a wayward Liverpool, but the Eagles have been in poor form in October and November with four defeats in five before that game.
Palace have won just one away game in six attempts in the league this season too, and that was against a ragged Everton side coming off a high-energy Europa League match against Wolfsburg.
I’ll also be factoring in The Hangover Effect here as well. A number of sides this season have crumpled after beating the big sides and it will be interesting to see if Palace fall into that behaviour after their triumphant Liverpool win on Sunday.
Other examples include Leicester failing to win since they beat Man Utd, West Ham winless since their win against Man City and Stoke following up a White Hart Lane win with a loss to Burnley.
Swansea at 5/6 with Bet365 is my kind of bet.
Man Utd v Hull – Hull +2 (Evens Ladbrokes)
QPR v Leicester – QPR to win (11/8 Paddy Power)
Swansea v Crystal Palace – Swansea to win (5/6 Bet365)