FOR the final time this season Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us his three best bets from the Premier League.
Aston Villa v Burnley | Sunday 15:00
I’ve spent most of this season taking on Aston Villa with gusto. I’ve backed them for relegation the last two seasons and I’m ending the campaign penniless again. This year’s that solely down to Tim Sherwood.
Let’s debate the overall merits and qualities of Sherwood this time next year when he’s had a longer time to show what he’s made of, but his critics (and he has many) cannot deny the impact he’s had on this Villa side since he arrived in February.
His self-confidence has been the antidote to his predecessor Paul Lambert and it’s worked wonders with this fragile Villa team. He’s giving them passion, vim and vigour back and I’m getting involved with them on Sunday.
They’re odds against to beat relegated Burnley on Sunday and of course there’s a fear that Sherwood will play a shadow side as his team prepare for next weekend’s FA Cup Final but I’m willing to take my chance.
Remember Villa were humiliated last week by Southampton. Sherwood won’t want to go into the Cup Final with another poor performance to their name so I expect a bold show here and it’s worth stating Villa haven’t lost to a bottom half side since February.
Burnley simply run out of gas this season as I predicted in this piece from March. I was keen on them last week (and they didn’t let me down) but that was their final home game of the season and I see this as less of a big deal. The players have given so much this season but surely now they’re focussed on the beach.
In the Sherwood era these sides are miles apart. Villa have scored 25 goals since mid-February, Burnley just three. Villa have won eight times, Burnley just twice. Odds against suits me.
Chelsea v Sunderland | Sunday 15:00 | Sky One
The stats are rock solid to be honest and that’s illustrated in the prices we’re seeing on this weekend’s coupon with Under 2.5 Goals odds-against in most games.
I’m a sucker for value though and if there’s one team you can trust to keep the score down it’s the champions Chelsea. On Sunday they receive the trophy at Stamford Bridge after deservedly winning the title and there’s a good chance they’ll let go of the reins and smash the goals in.
I’ve fallen for that a few times though and indeed I had one of my biggest bets of the season on them beating Crystal Palace by more than one goal on the day they clinched the title but it just didn’t materialise. Another 1-0 win.
So when BetVictor offer 13/10 on two goals or less when they’re up against the second lowest scorers in the division can you blame me for getting involved?
Yes it’s Sunderland who are in West London on Sunday. 30 goal Sunderland. I’ve had many a decent night in the North East city over the last few years, made some good friends there and been to the Stadium Of Light, but is this the dullest side that’s ever stayed up?
To me they just represent meh. A goal shy ordinary bunch with nothing to say bar the odd humiliating defeat and daft managerial appointments. Newcastle? At least we can point and laugh at them!
Anyway let’s move on. If this game goes to form Chelsea win 1-0 or 2-0. This bet has paid out in 10 of the last 11 Stamford Bridge league encounters and it’s 13/10. So from a practical point of view, I have to back it.
Stoke v Liverpool | Sunday 15:00
What right do Liverpool have to be as short as 10/9 in this game? What right! I took a barrel-load of abuse for sticking up for Steven Gerrard last week on Twitter but I was happy to back Palace on the Asian Handicap. Turns out I was too kind to Liverpool.
On Sunday they travel to a club who look the complete opposite of them – together, organised and positive. Mark Hughes has had another great year at the helm and a 9th place finish is assured. Not even Tony Pulis could match those figures.
After a wayward first half of the season, it really did click for the club from December onwards. If you trace their form from their 3-2 home win over Arsenal on December 6th it reads P23 W10 D6 L7.
Just three of those defeats came at the Brittania and they were against the Top 2 and Crystal Palace. The latter being their only poor result of the second half of the league season there.
In other games on home turf this season they’ve beaten Arsenal, drew with Manchester United and in recent weeks dispatched Southampton and Spurs with ease. Again, what right do Liverpool have to be 10/9?!
Liverpool have had an atrocious couple of months with five defeats out of 10 and are crawling towards the finish line riddled with internal coups and rotten form. They can’t be trusted from a betting point of view.
Add into the mix that they’ve won just once at Stoke in the league since the Potters returned to the top flight in 2008 and you have a firmer case. I’ll back them Draw No Bet at 31/20 with BetVictor.
Aston Villa v Burnley – Aston Villa to win (11/10 Bet365)
Chelsea v Sunderland – Under 2.5 Goals (13/10 BetVictor)
Stoke v Liverpool – Stoke Draw No Bet (31/20 BetVictor)
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