IT’S been a busy week for Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) so his Premier League picks are in bullet point fashion.
Middlesbrough v Swansea | Saturday 15:00
- Despite stats not backing up my pick I’ve got a funny feeling for Swansea here on Saturday.
- The stakes are growing ever larger for the Swans now with Christmas approaching. They find themselves three points beneath 17th place.
- The stakes felt equally high last weekend when they faced Sunderland. On that occasion, last Saturday, Bob Bradley’s side put the North East side to bed with a woozy 3-0 win.
- Wednesday night was a setback as they lost 3-1 to West Brom but the Welsh side dominated the numbers with 61% possession and a corner count win of 11-0.
- It was perhaps, a more unsettling midweek for Middlesbrough as they were taken apart 3-0 by Liverpool on home soil.
- No great shame you may think, but the result stuck out like a sore thumb as Boro are usually very tidy in defence. Indeed it was only the second time this league season they had leaked more than two goals.
- Perhaps there’s a case to suggest that that result may have stung their confidence a bit and they may find it tough against a more experienced side like Swansea fighting for their lives.
- Boro lie 19th in the Home Table and I’m going to take them on here and back Swansea at 4/5 with a +0.5 goal start.
Stoke v Leicester | Saturday 15:00
- I’ve dipped into a large proportion of Stoke games this season as I think they’re a decent yardstick. I’ll go in again this Saturday as they host Leicester.
- I caught a cold last weekend taking on the Foxes as they very impressively put Man City to the sword in a 4-2 win and I berated myself for getting it so badly wrong.
- I think I may have figured them out now though and am happy to take them on in unappetising matches. They’ve proved their worth in the Champions League and have played fairly well against the top sides at home this season so maybe it’s the opposition that inspire the Foxes.
- With that in mind I’ll take them on on Saturday as they travel to (let’s be honest) the not very glamorous location of Stoke.
- As well as being a tough tie for them, their away record still stinks with just one road point gained out of 24 in the league. Awful.
- Stoke sit just three points off 7th place and have lost just one of their last six home league games. Their overall form sits at two defeats out of 11 in the Premier League.
- With Stoke generally reliable and Leicester really struggling away from home the case is there to back the Potters. I’ll side with them on the Draw No Bet market at 6/7 with Marathon Bet.
West Brom v Manchester United | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sport 1
- Two wins in a row for Manchester United and the good vibes are returning to the club. Have they turned the corner? Are they worth backing at 3/4 at West Brom? Not for me.
- First up, it’s a fixture they’ve struggled in during recent seasons. Manchester United have won just two of the last seven encounters. The Baggies beat them at The Hawthorns last season and even managed to stop Fergie going out on high in 2013.
- This season they look more awkward than ever and it’s great credit to Tony Pulis that they sit as high as seventh in the table with Christmas just days away.
- They made things very tough for leaders Chelsea last weekend and were perhaps unlucky to leave empty handed when they lost 1-0 to Antonio Conte’s men.
- Their form against the top sides this season has been decent. They drew with Tottenham and lost by the odd goal away to Chelsea and Liverpool.
- It’s just one defeat in seven at home for West Brom and they face a Manchester United side who may not have the fluency to unlock them on Saturday.
- Two wins in their last six away games has left the Old Trafford side down in sixth place and they lack a cutting edge that’s present elsewhere in the league.
- It’s West Brom to avoid defeat for me at a generous 24/19.
Middlesbrough v Swansea – Swansea +0.5 (4/5 Marathon Bet)
Stoke v Leicester – Stoke Draw No Bet (6/7 Marathon Bet)
West Brom v Manchester United – West Brom +0.5 (24/19 Marathon Bet)