FOUR winning weekends out of five for Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) in the Premier League. Can he deliver the goods again here?
Burnley v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
You feel that? That’s good vibes. And those vibes are encircling this fixture like flys over excrement.
I’ve got a lot of love and affection for both these sides at the moment. Sean Dyche is doing incredible things at Burnley and deserves every bit of respect thrown in his direction. Back on the morning of Saturday November 8th his side were five points adrift of safety and had a big fat 0 in the Win column.
Since that day everything has turned. Dyche’s assessment that one win would release all the group’s confidence was spot on. Their 1-0 victory over Hull has triggered three more wins and crucially five draws amongst the following 12 fixtures. They now sit 17th and look to have a real chance of surviving.
If Burnley’s crucial date was November 8th 2014 then maybe Palace’s was January 3rd 2015. That was the day Alan Pardew was appointed manager and results since have been impressive.
A 4-0 win over Dover in the FA Cup was routine, but their spectacular win over Tottenham last weekend surprised many, if not me. I’ve always been a fan of Pardew and I reckon he has the tools to keep his side in the Premier League.
With two positive sides on display I’m expecting goals. The Palace tails will be high after their win last week and I think they can use that to be competitive here. Burnley will be equally positive and having scored in 11 of their last 13 matches I’m expecting them to notch again.
Yes, the bet here for me is Both Teams To Score. Betfair are going odds-against on that outcome at 21/20. I like this.
QPR v Man Utd | Saturday 15:00
Ok, let’s go in again. At the risk of sounding like a complete plum I’ve always found it hard to grasp the concept of home advantage. Yes, it must be comforting playing in your own surrounds with your fans cheering you on, but ultimately playing away is just competing on another strip of grass. QPR completely disprove that naive theory though.
You’ll be familiar with the numbers. QPR P10 L10 away from home in the league this season, yet at home they’re unbeaten in seven at Loftus Road in the league. Despite these impressive figures, bookmakers consistently price them too big in the betting (in my opinion of course). On Saturday they’re 5/1 with Coral to turn over a Manchester United side without a league win since Boxing Day.
It’s a frustrating time for United fans at the moment. Rewind the clock back a month and there were murmurings that this side might just challenge for the title. That looks folly now after draws with Aston Villa, Stoke and Tottenham and a straight-forward defeat to Southampton on Sunday.
Louis Van Gaal’s side have been inconsistent away from home this season (almost a reverse of last campaign) with just two wins in 10 games. I fancy them to find things tough at fortress Loftus Road (stop laughing) on Saturday.
Out of all the Premier League clubs, it’s QPR who have made me the most money this season. Why should I desert them here? I’ll back them +1 on the Asian Handicap at odds of 13/16 with BetVictor. Those odds equate to just a bit better than 4/5.
Man City v Arsenal | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
So Man City haven’t won a Premier League game since April without Yaya Toure in the line-up? I’m willing to bypass that stat and back Manuel Pellegrini’s side to win comfortably on Sunday against Arsenal.
It’s all about Arsenal really. Bar the odd surprising result you can pretty much track them to perfection. They’ll beat anyone bar the Top 6 at home, suffer the odd away howler against a bottom half side and almost always lose on the road to the elite sides.
Last season in the eight matches against fellow Top 5 sides they won just once (a home win against Liverpool) and lost all four away games haemorrhaging an astonishing 20 goals. This season they’ve lost away to Chelsea and Southampton and succumbed to Manchester United at home. It’s a very poor record against the elite sides.
Man City are unbeaten in 14 games and while they’ve dropped points against Everton and Burnley in recent weeks, I reckon they’ll have their heads screwed on here. Dropped points could see Chelsea go four or five points clear and that is not a nice thought. For Man City fans. Or any fans actually.