Sunderland v Liverpool | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Nasty wee coupon this week, but I've managed to find three selections I like. One of my themes this season is to side with Sunderland when they're up against the big boys of the league.
Gus Poyet's side noticeably raise their game when these games occur. That was what kept them up last season and it's certainly having an effect this campaign. Not sure how I'd feel about that as a Sunderland fan to be honest. Must be frustrating when they can't beat a Hull side on an awful run of form yet perform heroics elsewhere.
Well when I say heroics perhaps that's a little over the top. They're holding these big sides as opposed to beating them like last year. Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Everton and indeed Liverpool have all failed to beat Sunderland this season in the league and the Black Cats put two past Man City on New Years Day before succumbing 3-2. A gallant display.
I'll take the Both Teams To Score angle here which BetVictor are offering at 4/5. The Black Cats scored against three of those big five sides I mentioned above and have notched in five of their last six games overall.
Liverpool have still only lost one of their last 12 matches and have bulged the net in 12 of their last 14 games. Like their opponents, I think they'll score here, that's why I'm backing Both Teams To Score.
West Brom v Hull | Saturday 15:00
Jesus, I've had faith in Hull this season! They've let me down left, right and centre for most of the 2014/15 season though so wouldn't it be typical the week I oppose them they throw egg all over my face?
Anyway, enough of the negative thoughts. Be strong Chris. I'm backing West Brom here quite simply because of the initial buzz the club will feel now that Tony Pulis has arrived in the dugout. As my colleague Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) pointed out last year, more often than not a new manager has a positive effect on results.
This good vibe has already been witnessed in their last two games with a superb draw at Upton Park on New Years Day followed by a mauling of Gateshead in the FA Cup.
As we know, Pulis performed wonders last season at Crystal Palace comfortably keeping them up after a torrid start under Ian Holloway and Baggies fans must be delighted by his appointment.
It's great to see Hull get back to winning ways over the festive period but I actually feel they couldn't have faced many harder opponents this weekend than West Brom. It's the timing you see.
The Hawthorns should be rocking with the new administration in place and I think Tony Pulis's side can beat a side who've lost eight of their last 12 matches. I'll be on at Paddy Power's 21/20.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham | Saturday 17:30
After the up's and down's they've had this season it's amazing to see Tottenham in the Top 5 of the Premier League table. Their extraordinary win over Chelsea on New Years Day has pushed them above Arsenal and West Ham in the standings and huge respect must go to Mauricio Pochettino.
On Saturday evening they face a Crystal Palace side now under the tutelage of Alan Pardew. As I mentioned above, I'm an advocate of the belief that bringing in a new manager can cause an initial upsurge of results. For what it's worth I've always been an admirer of Pardew and thought he did an excellent job at Newcastle.
So with that in mind, I'm feeling quite positive about Crystal Palace this weekend and for the remainder of the season. I'm sure Pardew will be able to steer them to safety and I'm sure he'll be able to get something from this game.
Another theme I've paid close attention to this season is The Hangover Effect. This is when a side follows up a tremendous result with a poor one. We've seen it a few times in 2014/15 and I referenced it in this piece published on Halloween.
There are a few examples that back up the theory in that article and in recent weeks you can add my own team Queen Of The South into the pot. Queens beat Rangers in the league on December 12th in what was one of the greatest results in their history. That emotional win was followed by a defeat to Cowdenbeath (17 points behind Queens going into the game) and a draw against Alloa (16 behind Queens at kick-off).
The hangover theory will be weighing heavily on Spurs on Saturday after their stunning New Years Day win and I'm confident we'll see it come to the fore again. I appreciate they've already played since, but the FA Cup doesn't count. It doesn't matter.
Chucking all this into my big info pot, I'll be backing Crystal Palace +1 in this game at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.
Sunderland v Liverpool – Both Teams To Score (4/5 BetVictor)
West Brom v Hull – West Brom to win (21/20 Paddy Power)
Crystal Palace v Tottenham – Crystal Palace +1 (4/5 Ladbrokes)