TWO out of three last week. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) returns with his three best Premier League weekend bets here.
Newcastle v Crystal Palace | Saturday 15:00
One team foaming at the mouth desperate for three points, the other lying back on the turf with cigar pursed round their lips. Easy win for Newcastle eh? Hey, we’ve all been chinned taking that line of thought but I do think there’s merit in it this week.
With Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final I reckon it might provide an opportunity to take them on in their remaining three Premier League fixtures. Let’s be honest it’s their biggest match in over a quarter of a century so minds will surely be attuned to May 21.
For Newcastle it’s all about the here and now. Every matchday is circled in the calendar unlike their opponents and every sinew of energy needs to be expended in these games.
After a slow start Rafael Benitez is starting to weave his magic at the club. A thumping 3-0 win over Swansea kept them alive and since then they’ve navigated past the in-form Manchester City and Liverpool without losing.
The Magpies have Tottenham on the final day of the season which although looks like being a meaningless match for their opponents will still be a stiff test. Before that they have Palace and then Aston Villa and both these fixtures are surely must-wins.
Let’s just have a wee reprise and bask in the poor form of Crystal Palace since Christmas Day. P18 W1 D7 L10 is their record and although results have improved in April they simply can’t be trusted.
Newcastle have lost just three of their last 14 Premier League home matches and have one loss in their last seven St James’ encounters. A replication of their recent form; 3-0 win over Swansea and draws with Man City and Sunderland will surely be enough to see off this Palace side with Wembley on their mind. 21/20 with William Hill suits me fine.
Watford v Aston Villa | Saturday 15:00
They’ve been one of the most inept, awful, pathetic sides to grace the Premier League but I want to get with Aston Villa 2015/16 this weekend. Sometimes you have to go with your hunch.
Back on Christmas Day all was stunning in the garden of Watford. They lay in 7th position in the table just one off the Champions League qualifying spots and were fresh from an amazing 3-0 disrobing of Liverpool.
At this point the brakes have well and truly been applied at the club. From their next 17 Premier League games the Hornets have won on just three occasions and have lost 10 times.
Like Crystal Palace (see above) all their energy seems to have been concentrated on the FA Cup but unlike the South London side their Cup run is over with semi-final defeat on Sunday hurting bad.
On top of this gloom there are also big question marks hanging over the future of their handsome manager Quique Sanchez Flores. Morale can’t exactly be booming at the moment.
Aston Villa for all their ineptitude have improved slightly in recent weeks. Yes of course they continue to lose but the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford and erratic 4-2 loss to Southampton showed signs of promise.
This club have absolutely zilch to lose now and with Newcastle and Arsenal next on their itinerary this is probably their last chance to savour a Premier League win for a very long time.
The purpose of this column is to find winners so I’ll keep it simple and back Aston Villa to avoid defeat at 5/4 with 888 Sport. On top of that (in my own time) I’ll be backing them on the Draw No Bet at 11/4 and also on the Win and Under 2.5 Goals market at a massive 9/1. Pray for me!
Manchester United v Leicester | Sunday 14:05 | Sky Sports 1
Yes it’s incredible. Yes it’s surreal. Yes it’s unprecedented. But I suspect you’re going to read lots of words like that over the next 48 hours about Leicester’s season so I’ll just cut to the chase – Leicester are too big a price on Sunday.
Bookmakers are inching towards odds on quotes for Manchester United and it’s not a status they deserve at all. They’re up against a much better side on Sunday and have no right to be that price.
I can’t fathom defeat for Leicester on Sunday and wouldn’t be surprised if they chinned Louis Van Gaal’s side on Sunday. I mean, why not eh?
Don’t talk to me about pressure! They’ve had pressure since the late-autumn when they got themselves into this position and it’s been turned up to the max in recent weeks. Their response? Two massive fuck-off fingers to the doubters!
The easiest time for Leicester to lie down and assume their natural position would have been after their Valentines Day losing liaison with Arsenal. But no, they pulled their breeks (trousers for non-Scottish readers) back up and won seven of their next nine games remaining unbeaten. Clinical! Bit like Manchester United of old.
For me there is no logical reason for them to lose on Sunday. Well, actually maybe one. The ever-impressive home form of this fairly average Manchester United side.
It’s nine unbeaten for the Red Devils at home at the moment and they’ve only lost twice at Old Trafford all season. Norwich and Southampton their bogey teams. Odd eh?
So yeah perhaps I’m being a little disrespectful to Manchester United here but why doubt Leicester? If Newcastle, Norwich, West Ham, Southampton and Middlesbrough can get something from Old Trafford why can’t this steely Leicester side?
Newcastle v Crystal Palace – Newcastle to win (21/20 William Hill)
Watford v Aston Villa – Aston Villa Double Chance (5/4 888 Sport)
Manchester United v Leicester – Leicester +0.5 (17/20 Bet365)
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