FRESH from a 17/1 midweek winner Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us the lowdown on his three best weekend Premier League games.
Liverpool v Stoke | Sunday 16:00
Tricky match for Liverpool this after their emotional and energetic trip to Dortmund on Thursday night and I feel Stoke are being underrated at 21/4.
The Reds got a magnificent result midweek when drawing 1-1 at the Westfalenstadion and it’s put them in with a live chance of reaching the Europa League semi-finals.
With captain Jordan Henderson suffering an injury on Thursday he’ll be missing from Sunday’s game and after all their effort on Thursday I think they’ll find Stoke tough here.
Let’s make the case for the visitors. Well for starters they’re above Liverpool in the league in 8th place with a two point cushion over them. Mark Hughes’ side have lost just one of their last seven games and managed a fine draw at Stamford Bridge last month.
The Potters have already won at Anfield this season in the Capital One Cup semi-finals and have drawn at White Hart Lane and the fortress that is Upton Park.
Another key reason for opposing Liverpool here is their poor record in weekend matches directly after a midweek Europa League fixture. It makes for grim reading.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are P8 W1 D5 L2 on the Sunday after a Thursday night Europa League fixture and have failed to beat Norwich, West Brom and Crystal Palace when faced with this predicament.
Factoring that in with the fact that Stoke are over 5/1 in price then I have to find a way to get with the Potteries club. I can back them at 7/5 to avoid defeat with Stan James and that makes real appeal.
West Ham v Arsenal | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League are ebbing away week by week and on Saturday the killer blow might be handed out at the soon-to-be-gone Upton Park.
Arsene Wenger’s side travel to East London a huge 11 points behind Leicester (with a game in hand) and with a mountain to climb to haul them back into the mix.
Their run-in looks the easiest of all the candidates but this match looks as tough as it comes and if they don’t get the right result their remaining fixtures will be pointless with regard to a title challenge.
Their challenge on Saturday is to take down one of the most impressive records in English football – West Ham’s unbeaten home run. Since a calamitous 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in August their Upton Park record reads P15 W8 D7 L0.
During this run they’ve beaten Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool (twice) and held off Man City. It’s been the backbone to their assault on the Top 4 and their current FA Cup run.
So with all this in mind I’ve not got too much love for quotes of even money on Arsenal. Looking at both sides’ form this season it’s hard to say that that’s the correct price.
Initially I was keen on putting up West Ham +0.5 but then I remembered about Arsenal’s propensity to up their game once the party is over. Like the guy who sends his ex-girlfriend flowers every day after she dumps him for sleeping with her best mate it really is all in vain.
Last season they won eight on the bounce between February and April just as Chelsea had pulled away. They scored five wins in a row at the end of the 2013/14 season once the cat had bolted and the season before they went unbeaten in their final 10 matches of the campaign.
So I think Arsenal’s staying-on prowess (once the pressure is off) will stand them in good stead here and mixed in with West Ham’s home record you’d think Both Teams To Score is a good thing.
Sadly though it’s as short as 4/6 and Over 2.5 Goals is still just 3/4 so I’ll push it even harder and back Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at 21/20 with Stan James.
Southampton v Newcastle | Saturday 15:00
Newcastle slipping up last week against Norwich proved costly for me. On paper, Rafael Benitez’s arrival at the club just hasn’t had the desired effect with one point from nine accrued. Do you think he regrets what he’s done?
Benitez, brilliant manager though he is, may not be suited to the fire-fighter role and his appointment may backfire for him and Newcastle. Having said all that I’m finding a way to get with them on Saturday.
Yes, I’m dipping into my favourite market to get onside with them – Over 0.5 Goals. The Magpies have looked more of an attacking threat since Benitez took over and they’ve scored three goals in his last two matches in charge.
True, it’s hardly concrete figures but with the mess they find themselves in they’ll simply have to push the boat out on Saturday against Southampton.
Saints began 2016 with a stunning run of six consecutive matches without conceding but since then they’ve leaked in their last five, conceding twice against Bournemouth, Liverpool and Chelsea.
With so much at stake for Newcastle and with so little at stake for Southampton I’m willing to pin my hopes on a simple Over 0.5 Goals bet for the Magpies at 3/4 with Betfair.
West Ham v Arsenal – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (21/20 Stan James)
Southampton v Newcastle – Over 0.5 Newcastle Goals (3/4 Betfair)
Liverpool v Stoke – Stoke +0.5 (7/5 Stan James)
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