CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) has studied the Premier League coupon and makes these his three best bets on Saturday.
Norwich v Sunderland | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Match of the weekend? Got to be this one for me. There’s just so much at stake and Norwich have the opportunity to deliver a perhaps fatal blow to their opponents.
Norwich looked doomed a few weeks ago and were trading as short as 2/5 to go down but somehow Alex Neil’s men got a draw against Man City and then won against West Brom and Newcastle. Will they do the North East double here?
If they do that they’ll go seven points clear of Sunderland and the relegation zone and put themselves in an exceptional position as the season draws to a close.
Please excuse the horrid cliché but this feels like a Cup Final for both these sides. Sunderland simply need to take something from it while the Canaries will likely be safe with a win.
My angle goes against the odds. I’m siding with goals. Let’s start with the away side, the Black Cats simply have to be offensive here. They have to harry and hassle Norwich and find a way of unlocking them. A draw is not an option for the Black Cats.
Two blanks in a row for Sunderland isn’t a good sign but Sam Allardyce’ side scored in 10 of the 12 games preceding these matches with only Man City and West Ham shutting them out.
Norwich were the BTTS kings at the start of the season with clean sheets a rarity for the Norfolk club. They’ve conceded in 28 of their 33 Premier League matches this season and in a game like this they’re bound to feel nerves.
It’s the match of the weekend for me and I can’t imagine either of these sides looking meek on Saturday; let the blood, guts and goals flow. I’ll back Both Teams To Score at 10/11 with William Hill.
Manchester United v Aston Villa | Saturday 15:00
Manchester United’s erratic season chugged on on Wednesday night as they eliminated West Ham from the FA Cup and booked a place at Wembley for semi-final weekend. What they do next is always a tough one to call but I’d like to assume they’ll see off a woeful Aston Villa side on Saturday.
Relegation should be confirmed for Villa on Saturday bringing to an end a run of 28 years in the top flight. It’s certainly been on the cards and I’m actually surprised they stayed in till 2016.
It’s eight defeats on the bounce for the Midlands club and it’s hard to make a case for them here as the Red Devils have a strong record at Old Trafford.
Despite that it’s unlikely we’ll see a barrel-load of goals on Saturday. Old Trafford has seen the fewest number of goals in the Premier League this season than any other stadium. A truly startling stat that must make Sir Alex Ferguson wince.
United have scored exactly one in their last four games at the stadium and have gone Under 1.5 Goals in 11 out of their last 17 Premier League fixtures there.
Aston Villa have scored just one goal in their last five matches and haven’t scored away from home since February. The stats don’t point to a goalfest.
With all this in mind I think the 2-3 goal line mark looks fairly possible and I’ll back that option on the Total Goals market at 21/20 with BetVictor.
West Brom v Watford | Saturday 15:00
One of the most interesting trends in recent weeks has been the poor performance of sides who’ve reached the FA Cup semi-finals. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
Crystal Palace come out of it best with one win from their four matches since qualifying but for Everton it’s no win in four and it’s two defeats and a draw for Watford. I’m not counting Manchester United as they only got through on Wednesday.
It’s Watford who I’m focussing on on Saturday. I’m keen to take them on as they travel to The Hawthorns to face West Brom. At 7/5 I have to back the home side.
The Hornets have been on the beach since Christmas really. On the fringes of the Champions League places after smashing Liverpool 3-0 five days before Santa arrived, they’ve won just two Premier League games since.
Their post-Christmas Day record in all it’s g(l)ory reads P15 W2 D4 L9 and all their good form has been transferred to the FA Cup where they knocked out the holders Arsenal last month.
The club are now on the cusp of reaching a major Cup Final for the first time since 1984 and next week’s date with Crystal Palace at Wembley is enormous.
As I’ve already mentioned, their form has continued to be in a slump since reaching the last four and I can see their mind being focussed on Wembley not West Brom this weekend.
The Baggies are not a side you should put your last penny on but after a wee wobble at the start of the year Tony Pulis has managed to get his side over the line again and secure survival.
They’ve lost just one of their last nine matches at The Hawthorns in all competitions and have beaten Manchester United and Stoke at the venue during this spell.
With Watford’s mind potentially elsewhere and at generous odds of 7/5 I’ll have to get with West Brom here on Saturday. Let’s hope Watford’s poor Premier League 2016 continues.
Norwich v Sunderland – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)
Manchester United v Aston Villa – Exactly 2-3 Goals (21/20 BetVictor)
West Brom v Watford – West Brom to win (7/5 Bet365)
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