ANOTHER fascinating Premier League weekend but what three bets have caught Chris Graham’s (@chrisgraham79) eye?
Tottenham v Manchester City | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Last week I was happy to take on Man City as they faced West Ham, this week I’m not so sure. Their rocky week, which included defeat to Juventus in the Champions League and West Ham at the Etihad, may just have provided them with a wee reminder that they must keep their eye on the ball throughout the season. Their response? A crushing of Sunderland by four goals to one in the Capital One Cup.
Listen, it looks like I got Man City all wrong this season. Manuel Pellegrini looks reinvigorated at the helm of the club and Premier League form figures of P6 W5 D0 L1 represent a side who have been by far the best side domestically this season.
City have scored the third highest number of goals in the league this season and have clearly the best defence in the division with just two goals conceded. Chelsea and Everton have been swatted away and an on-fire Crystal Palace were silenced two weeks ago. City look lean and mean and at a shade of odds on have to be supported here.
Another reason for this is my lack of faith in Tottenham. I got my fingers burnt taking them on last week against Palace but will plough on again this week.
For some unexplained reason I seem to follow more Spurs fans on Twitter than any other club and those guys were raging on Wednesday after losing in the Capital One Cup to Arsenal whilst playing with a weak team. Manager Maurico Pochettino has something to prove here.
I’m not convinced he’ll achieve that though. Tottenham have dropped points in four of their six matches this season and lost to Manchester United in the opening game of the season.
Spurs have always tended to struggle against the top sides in the Premier League and under Pochettino have been beaten by three goals on three occasions by Chelsea (0-3), Man Utd (0-3) and of course Man City (1-4).
Look a bit closer at their record against Man City and you’ll find an abysmal sight. In their last four meetings with them, Spurs have conceded 16 goals and have lost eight of the last nine meetings. I’m banking on this dreadful record continuing on Saturday.
Liverpool v Aston Villa | Saturday 15:00
Liverpool are as short as 4/9 to beat Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday. Horrible innit? I think if any bookmaker wants to dangle big prices on any of their opponents then it’s worth finding ways to back them.
Could you find two more opposite managers than Brendan Rodgers and Tim Sherwood? Rodgers, the shiny toothed spin doctor full of management speak and steely eyed obstinance in the face of his inevitable sacking squares up to some unshaven stupidly honest should-have-been-on EastEnders loveable numpty. Just imagine their post-match drink. Awkward to say the least.
Yes Aston Villa have been pretty poor this season, they’ve only picked up points against Sunderland and Bournemouth and have lost to Leicester and West Brom. It feels like we’ve seen all this before. Get set for another relegation battle and more Sherwood toe-curling histrionics.
Their win against Birmingham in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday looked pretty vital though. Sherwood put a lot of emphasis on that match and in some ways was dicing with professional death so he must be feeling good after that. Hopefully his players are too.
I’d have a lot more confidence in Liverpool if they were away from Anfield. The Merseyside venue looks an incredibly intimidating place at the moment and it’s working against the team rather than for them. Results there so far have been a draw against Carlisle and Norwich, a fortunate win over Bournemouth and a beasting at the hands of West Ham.
Now Aston Villa turn up hungry for blood and Brendan must be quaking in his boots. After all this could be his last stand. With Liverpool so short in the betting we can back Aston Villa +1 on the Asians at 11/10 which is mighty generous.
It’s nearly six months since Liverpool won by more than one goal at home and Villa beat them twice last season including Sherwood getting the better of Rodgers in the FA Cup.
West Ham v Norwich | Saturday 15:00
If you were holding a competition for Best Sides Of The Premier League Season 2015/16 (So Far) these two would be in the nominations. I aggressively backed West Ham to go down at 7/1 and while you may point and laugh at me I’ve not thrown away the ticket. Yet.
The Hammers look to be playing in the mould of their manager this season – erraticly. Dethroning massive clubs and humbly fallen apart against weaker sides. I think Slaven Bilic would be that kind of guy – the best guy ever to go out drinking with but an absolute nightmare when he’s in a bad mood.
As for Norwich well they’ve segued beautifully into the new season and look Premier League naturals. Two wins, two draws and two defeats and the mark of how they’ve come is the lack of surprise of them picking up a draw at Anfield on Sunday.
One theme that bonds these sides is goals. Between them they’ve played 12 times in the league this season and notched in 11 of those matches. The only blank came in Norwich’s 3-0 defeat to Southampton when they were down to 10 men for most of the game.
West Ham have the joint best attack in the league (13 goals scored) while Norwich have the second worst defence (10 goals) so we’re right to expect goals. If you’re worried about the attacking side of the Canaries then don’t, they’ve scored the same number of goals as Manchester United and nearly double the number of Arsenal.
Bilic and Alex Neil look the kind of guys who’ll set their sides up well for this game and I expect both to make an impression during the game. It’s BTTS for me.
Tottenham v Manchester City – Manchester City to win (20/21 Betfred)
West Ham v Norwich – Both Teams To Score (3/4 Betfair)
Sunderland are having a wretched start to the season and Coral are going 5/1 on them losing to Man Utd.
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