BIG weekend of Premier League action. We got Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) to pinpoint his three best bets.
Man City v Man Utd | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
This is my best bet of the weekend and the outcome should put to bed any thoughts of Man City finishing outside the Top 4 this season and the idea of Man Utd finishing above them.
If both these sides were playing to their maximum this season I could see City up to 20 points ahead of United. The fact they’re not is a concern when backing them but it has to be done on Sunday.
I’m pretty certain Man City will give PSG a tough match in the Champions League as when they seem up for it this season they’ve looked like the best side in the division.
Frustratingly though that’s been far too rare in 2015/16 and it’s unlikely Manuel Pellegrini will end his reign as Citizens manager under a ray of glory.
You’d like to think the Man City players will be up for this match against their local rivals and the opportunity to keep them locked outside the Top 4 will be a real motivation.
City have been the second best home side in the Premier League this season with 10 victories in their 15 matches at the Etihad with defeat coming against three of the Top 5 and a rampant Liverpool side.
Amongst their home games are a collection of heavy wins against the likes of Chelsea (3-0), Crystal Palace (4-0), Bournemouth (5-1), Newcastle (6-1), Sunderland (5-1) and awful Aston Villa (4-0). On their day they’re lethal.
While Man City are higher up the Home Table than in the overall table, Manchester United plummet down to the bottom half of the Away Table from their Top 6 slot in the overall standings.
Louis Van Gaal’s side have won just five of their 15 away matches and have won just once on the road since November in the Premier League. That was a somewhat fortunate win at Liverpool.
United have lost four of their last five away games in all competitions and their opponents hardly strike fear into the heart (Midtjylland, Sunderland and West Brom amongst them).
This match comes just three days after their convincing exit from the Europa League at the hands of major rivals Liverpool and in truth the side remain as fragile as ever with no win in four to their name.
If City click here and find their stride then, for me, they’ll simply be too strong for this average United side. I’m happy to get involved at odds of 5/6.
Chelsea v West Ham | Saturday 15:00
It’s a funny old world isn’t it? My headline ante-post punt this summer was 7/1 on West Ham to go down. Now, as we enter the final furlong of the season my closing ante-post bet is 11/1 on West Ham winning the FA Cup.
Yeah I got West Ham and Slaven Bilic all wrong this summer and I’ve found them to be a breath of fresh air in what’s been a hugely enjoyable season.
What I’ve found most admirable about them is their ability to take out the big sides this season. Their hit list looks sensational when you dig into their results.
Tottenham (2nd place), Arsenal (3rd place), Man City (4th place), Southampton (7th place), Liverpool and champions Chelsea have all been beaten by the Hammers this season. Amazing!
On Saturday they face Chelsea again hoping to replicate their brilliant 2-1 win over them back in October. There’s no doubt though that this time they’ll face a stronger Blues team.
Chelsea come into this game back in 10th position, a marked improvement on their standing for most of the season. Guus Hiddink has yet to taste defeat domestically with this side and they’ll be eager to produce a late rally to finish as high as they can.
Unbeaten since mid-December yet still only in 10th place. Why? Well quite simply this side have been drawing too many times. In the 13 Premier League matches since Hiddink took charge Chelsea have drawn seven times.
Bar their 1-0 win over Arsenal back in January, fifth place West Ham will be the highest ranked side they’ve faced since Jose Mourinho’s departure so this will be a tough test.
With West Ham sniffing a Champions League qualifying berth and with just one loss in their last 11 matches I’m happy to invest in them getting something here.
Crystal Palace v Leicester | Saturday 15:00
At the heart of this selection is my belief that bookmakers are still not showing enough respect to the league leaders. Leicester are 6/4 to win here, I’m pretty certain Arsenal would be shorter and on current form that doesn’t make sense.
Let’s start with the home side and while they’ve just clinched a place in the FA Cup semi-finals their league form has gone from concerning to downright worrying.
Alan Pardew’s side are still yet to win in the league in 2016 and have dropped all the way down to 15th in the Premier League table. With Newcastle and Sunderland both looking progressive they need to be a wee bit careful.
Their form has been so flaky of late that it’s not ridiculous to assume they’ll have Wembley on their mind and continue to drop the ball in the league.
Who knows, but their 2016 form figures in the league read P10 W0 D2 L8 and in their last six games they’ve only faced one side from the top half of the table.
Like a hardy staying chaser Leicester continue to grind through this league and are now in sight of the winning post. The prospect of them winning the title becomes more real by the day.
Since their Valentines Day loss to Arsenal they’ve picked up 10 points out of 12. That loss in London seems to have inspired them rather than derailed them.
Overall now it’s six wins out of eight and their record against current bottom half sides reads P16 W12 D4 L0. It’s hard not to be impressed by those figures.
With Palace continuing to flounder in the league and Leicester continuing to stay on I’ll back the Foxes in the Draw No Bet market with Netbet.
Chelsea v West Ham – West Ham Double Chance (Evens Netbet)
Crystal Palace v Leicester – Leicester Draw No Bet (5/6 Netbet)
Manchester City v Manchester United – Manchester City to win (5/6 Netbet)
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