BACK from his holiday, Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) is focussing on the underdogs this weekend in the Premier League.
Chelsea v Norwich | Saturday 15:00
Let me be honest here. Nothing in football would give me greater pleasure this weekend then seeing Alex Neil stick one over Jose Mourinho and Chelsea. Could it get more beautiful than that? Humbleness overcomes arrogance innit. I certainly think they can make a dent on the game.
Are we starting to see recovery signs from Chelsea? That’s debatable but the win over Dynamo Kiev and unfortunate defeat against Stoke pointed to a brighter future. The international break may also have refreshed things at the club.
Despite those (possible) positives you’re a braver man then me if you’re backing them at best price 4/9 on Saturday. It’s a rancid price for a side with just three wins from their 12 league games this season. I’ll pass thanks.
Norwich have impressed me this season. Yes, they went through a bad run of four straight league losses in October but their unlucky defeat against Man City and subsequent win over Swansea have got the show back up and running.
A key stat for me this season is that The Canaries have scored in 10 of their 12 league games. As well as Manchester City they’ve also found the net against Liverpool, Leicester and West Ham amongst others. I think they’ll score on Saturday.
While Norwich have scored in 10 of their league matches, Chelsea have conceded in 10 of theirs. It’s been a calamitous season for the Blues so far and their only league clean sheets have come against Arsenal (a club who seem frightened of them) and Aston Villa (bottom of the league).
Yes, I’m dipping back into my favourite betting market here and backing Norwich to score a goal at 4/5 with Coral. Wouldn’t that be a lovely bet to get paid out on?
Swansea v Bournemouth | Saturday 15:00
I’m not entirely 100% happy with this pick but I think it’s worth rolling the dice. I’m a big admirer of Swansea boss Garry Monk but there’s no doubt he’s under serious pressure at the moment and in many ways this is the last kind of game he needs.
Since their epic win over Manchester United at the end of August (when a whole army of people including me gathered on Twitter at the end of the match to froth, praise and metaphorically touch up Monk) his side have won just one of their next nine games. Their sole win came against Aston Villa. Hardly impressive that.
The reason for this slump seems unclear but a home match against fellow strugglers Bournemouth looks a horrid tie for Monk. Lose this and he’ll be squeezed into a very tight corner. One that may result in a P45.
As we’ve discussed on a number of occasions Bournemouth have been horribly unlucky with injuries this season and since Callum Wilson exited proceedings in late September they’ve lost five of their next six games.
In truth though they seem rather unlucky. Two weeks ago for example against Newcastle they certainly deserved to get something from the match but left empty handed. Could the tide be turning?
Probably not, but if there’s ever a game for them to get back on track it’s this one. The Cherries always went off a short price at the start of the season but common sense has kicked in now and they’re as big as 37/10 to win on Saturday.
I won’t go that far but I do think they’re worth supporting to avoid defeat against shaky Swansea. That’s odds against 24/23 with BetVictor and that’s good enough for me.
Tottenham v West Ham | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
I always tend to feel Tottenham don’t get enough respect from the layers when they chalk up the prices every weekend. There’s definitely a sense that they’re clearly the sixth best side in the division going by their odds but this week the love is too strong.
I had Spurs at 4/6 to beat West Ham at home on Sunday but the best price in the village is 4/7. It’s just too short for me when you consider how dangerous the Hammers can be.
As you’ll be aware West Ham’s away from this season has been exquisite with wins over Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Yeah they’ve thrown in a few bad results along the way but they are definitely team to support at big prices and to ignore at prohibitive ones.
I always feel a bit uneasy when I see Spurs at these kind of prices. They flopped against Stoke early in the season and couldn’t beat Everton either at White Hart Lane.
There’s no doubt they’re making great strides at the moment (as the North London derby showed) and a place in the Top 4 looks within their range but excuse me if I pass up these kind of quotes against a side as enigmatic as West Ham.
The Hammers have lost just one of their last five against Tottenham and won three within that five match series and have to be respected here at juicy odds of 11/2.
To be able to back them +1 on the Asian Handicap and still come away with an odds against quote is very exciting. It’s West Ham +1 on the Asians at 68/67 with BetVictor.
Chelsea v Norwich – Norwich to score Over 0.5 Goals (4/5 Coral)
Swansea v Bournemouth – Bournemouth +0.5 (24/23 BetVictor)
Tottenham v West Ham – West Ham +1 Asian Handicap (68/67 BetVictor)
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