SO close to a treble last week, can Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) reel off another successful Premier League weekend?
Stoke v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
Someone on Twitter said to me last Saturday they were surprised I wasn’t backing Stoke last weekend as I always back them on here. I chuckled and told him I was opposing them against West Brom. Thankfully I called that one right.
This weekend I’m flipping back into Stoke mode. Moany Mark Hughes was angry in the post-match interviews after the West Brom game and I’m sure he’ll have his charges in good nick for this match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The key for me is that they’re back at home and available at odds-against. After a wobbly start to their home season, they’ve now won seven of their 14 Premier League games on home turf.
Remove the top two from the equation and Stoke are unbeaten at home since November and have won five out of five against sides outside the Top 4. It’s a fearsome record.
Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace get a lot of respect for me and the fact they’re nice and safe in 12th place is a testament to the wonderful 2015 they’ve had. That win over QPR last week means they can afford to coast their way to the end of the season.
Palace have picked up wins in the last six weeks, but only against sides they ought to have beaten (Leicester, QPR and on-the-beach West Ham), or maybe I’m being a little harsh on Palace.
Stoke at home against a bottom half side at odds against? Yes please!
Tottenham v Leicester | Saturday 15:00
Leicester are down. They’re doomed. The game’s over. The baw’s burst! How do I know? Well obviously their position in the table hardly screams safety, but for me Nigel Pearson looks like he’s given up. The fight has gone from his eyes and I wonder how that translates in the dressing room.
On Saturday they face a buoyant Spurs side still harbouring hopes of a Champions League berth. Yes, Manchester United took a sledgehammer to those hopes on Sunday in a 3-0 win but it’s one step back, two steps forward for Mauricio Pochettino’s young pups.
What really struck me was the way they fought back from Europa League/Capital One Cup heartbreak to win twice in six days from that Wembley defeat. That takes guts, determination and incredible motivation. Everything that seems lacking from Big Nige at the moment.
I appreciate Leicester have been losing narrowly all season, but this free-flowing exuberant spunky Spurs side score goals. Indeed they’ve scored two or more in seven of their last eight Premier League games.
I’ll back them -1 on the Asian Handicap at silly odds of 66/67 with BetVictor (Evens really). That means if they win by exactly one goal I get my stake back, a bigger win and I get paid out in full.
Liverpool v Man Utd | Sunday 13:30 | Sky Sports 1
This looks a great game on Sunday! Two gladiators fighting it out for a Champions League place.
I’ll start with the home side and once again pay tribute to Brendan Rodgers. The reverse fixture of this tie really was a defining moment for Liverpool’s season. They lost 3-0 that mid-December day, lay stranded in mid-table and Rodgers was trading at single figures to be the next manager to leave.
Since that cold Sunday they haven’t lost again in the league. In fact they haven’t lost in 90 minutes in this country since. What a turnaround! In that period they’ve beaten Man City, Tottenham and Southampton and are back in the Top 5.
In their seven home league games since that day they’ve scored two or more on every occasion. Three against Tottenham and two each against the champions and Arsenal. Goals have been no issue.
As much as Manchester United have struggled away from home this season, quotes as short as evens on Liverpool make no appeal to me. We saw on Sunday that Louis Van Gaal’s side do have it in them to produce striking performances and I can’t quite forget their smash-and-grab at the Emirates last November.
Again though I’m looking at goals, and despite just four away wins out of 14 this league season, the Red Devils have scored in eight of their last nine away Premier League games.
You’d also like to think that in a game of this magnitude they might just show their teeth. In terms of big games, I can only think of the Arsenal FA Cup match where they looked empty.
Yup, it’s goals for me, I can see both sides scoring but I’ll go with Over 2.5 Goals at 20/21 with BetVictor.
Stoke v Crystal Palace – Stoke to win (6/5 Skybet)
Tottenham v Leicester – Tottenham -1 Asian Handicap (66/67 BetVictor)
Liverpool v Man Utd – Over 2.5 Goals (20/21 BetVictor)
Come on then. What’s your view on these bets? Are you with Chris or against him? Let us know below in the comments box.