Premier League Preview - Game Week 32Thursday, March 29 2018
Matt Nesbitt has a gander at this week's Premier League coupon...
With International shenanigans done and dusted until that little tournament in the summer, it’s back to Premier League biznizz this weekend.
Sit down, strap in and extinguish all cigarettes.
The Tap Ins are included regardless of price, so I’d reserve them for topping up Accas at best. Or even bypass them totally.
The Smart Money bets are the best way of dredging a bit of value out of the bookies. And any Long Shots are decent priced punts that have some statistical merit.
All Scorecasts are priced up too.
Come on in…
12.30pm Crystal Palace v Liverpool
This is a pressure-off match for Palace following their win in the six-pointer at Huddersfield last time out. Much of their run-in business in firmly in the Bottom Half, so anything added to the pot here will be a bonus. Only Top Six teams have taken maximum points here since Woy’s wevival.
Liverpool are bound to have one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with City, so a couple of big hitters might be benched. And a couple of others might be in third gear. So it’ll be down to one of the usual suspects to summon up a bit of magic.
Scorecast: 0-1 at 8/1.
Smart Money: Liverpool Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 8/5.
Long Shot: HT/ FT Draw/ Draw at 6/1.
3pm Brighton v Leicester City
Brighton look to have timed their best form of the season just right – only the Top Four have been in better nick over the last couple of months. Nine massive points from their last three at home and draws at Southampton and Stoke has built a nice little cushion between them and the bun-fight below. And with their tails up they’ll see this as opportunity to clamber a few places higher.
Leicester haven’t travelled well this season, taking just 2pts from 24pts v teams outside the Bottom Third. Brighton are currently on the cusp, so my needle is twitching between a home win and a draw.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 5/1.
Tap in: Double Chance: Brighton or Draw at 4/9.
Smart Money: Draw & BTTS at 17/5.
3pm Man United v Swansea City
If the season was judged on the last ten weeks, Swansea would be 5th in the table. Just a place behind United. But most of their good work takes place on home turf – only Watford have surrendered all the points to the visiting Swans. Three of the last four have been draws though and another here would be celebrated like a win.
Paradoxically, Old Trafford celebrates wins like draws these days. Jose is falling out with players, fans and the press alike these days with his muscular, attritional football. But the home table is easier on the eye. Only City have been better and we can expect them to get it done again here.
Scorecast: 1-0 at 5/1.
Tap in: Man United Win at 1/4.
Smart Money: Man United Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 10/11.
3pm Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town
Newcastle are another team that are finding their feet at a good time. They are unbeaten in five at home since their 0-1 thrashing to Man City. And a share of the points at Bournemouth and Palace has kept them in the huddle just above the relegation pie-fight. There’s still work to do, of course and a win here could strike a double blow – establishing a healthy foothold for the run-in and stamping on Huddersfield’s increasingly desperate clinging fingers.
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for David Wagner’s lot. Spilling 4pts at home to Swansea and Palace has made their next couple critical (it’s Brighton and Watford up next).
Scorecast: 2-0 at 13/2.
Tap in: Newcastle Win at 8/11.
Smart Money: Newcastle Win To Nil at 8/5.
3pm Watford v Bournemouth
Couldn’t be more mid-table - 11th plays 10th both locked on 36pts. It could’ve been a lot worse for both teams though. Watford’s spectacular mid-season tailspin looked like costing them yet another manager, but a sequence of three home wins has arrested the nose dive. But two successive Top Six hidings on the road (0-8 on aggregate) will have them relieved to be back at home to the entertainingly chaotic Bournemouth.
They are actually more consistent than they first appear – v Bottom Half, not bad; v Top Half, a bit rubbish. But that doesn’t help us much here. Expect goals at both ends though – 11 of the last 12 have delivered.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 11/2.
Tap in: Both Teams to Score at 4/6.
Long Shot: Bournemouth to Win From Behind at 14/1.
3pm West Brom v Burnley
Burnley are unlikely to poke their head through the loft hatch of the Top Six, but very much have seventh place in their own hands. And that will do very nicely, thank you. Their inexplicable 11 match unbeaten run has been buried by two good wins and their tails are up. They’ve got England internationals, don’t you know.
It can’t be easy turning up for work at West Brom these days. The new chief exec said this week he was ‘shocked’ at the state of the club off the pitch. Has he seen what’s happening on it?
Scorecast: 1-2 at 11/1.
Tap in: Burnley Draw No Bet at Evens.
Smart Money: Burnley Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 5/2.
Long Shot: HT/ FT Draw/ Burnley at 5/1.
3pm West Ham v Southampton
Optimistic Hammers will see this as a chance to put 5pts between their squeaky bums and Southampton, probably sending the Saints downstream to Championship waterfalls. Pessimists will expect to see West Ham clinging to the reeds, while Southampton clamber past them and take control of the oars. And the rest will be storming the pitch and calling everyone a ‘facking cant’.
Moyes’ boys have been decent against the Bottom Six – W4 D3 L1 – but shipping 11 and scoring just two in their last three doesn’t bode well. As for Southampton, there might be a Sparky spark and a post-FA Cup win boost. But I’m not sure either team is good enough to win this.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 5/1.
Smart Money: First Half Result – Draw at Evens.
5.30pm Everton v Man City
Unlike Sky’s TV advert, I will acknowledge Man City’s opponents Everton. Although I suspect Pep will have picked his team for Tuesday’s Champions League assignment in the same city before he picks this one. They’ll be a few puffed-out International globetrotters also looking beyond this fixture to the glamour tie, so this will be an examination of City’s attitude as much as anything.
Everton’s attitude won’t be in question, particularly after Sky’s snub. Plus, they are three for three at home. And took a point from the Etihad fixture, remember. So this has got home win written all over it, right? Wrong. But it does have the look of a Coupon Stopper…
Scorecast: 1-1 at 17/2.
Long Shot: Draw & BTTS at 11/2.
1.30pm Arsenal v Stoke City
Stoke could’ve done with this match being a month ago. Then the obstinate form that grappled seven ugly points out of five horrible games might well have been too much for a troubled Arsenal to handle. Now though, buoyed from a hat-trick of wins – two of them v AC Milan – the Gunners look more like the team whose home record is only bettered by Man City this season. A perfect ten wins v teams outside the Top Five suggests a bad day for Stoke. A single point from eight Top Half visits isn’t a very strong counter argument.
Scorecast: 3-0 at 15/2.
Tap in: Arsenal Win at 3/10.
Smart Money: Arsenal Win To Nil at 13/10.
4pm Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
We all know about Tottenham’s away record v the Top Four (or Five or Six, or whatever it is nowadays). One win in 18 matches… 11 defeats in Poch’s reign, including three this season… blah, blah. But Chelsea’s home form has been only just Top Six calibre this season – and barely Top Half form during 2018.
Meanwhile Spurs have hit a nice groove, winning seven of this year’s ten matches and can not only (start to) lay the ghost of ‘that’ record, but also lay the boot in Chelsea’s Top Four hopes. An away win would leave Chelsea needing an 8pt turnaround, a draw keeps it at five.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 11/2.
Tap in: Tottenham Draw No Bet at 21/20.
Smart Money: Draw & BTTS at 10/3.
Keep this frequency clear for some coupon busting Coupon Busters first thing Friday.
Ben is football’s leading injury specialist. The ‘go-to’ guru for big hitters like Sky Sports, ESPN and NBC Sports when they need data. Or the BBC, talkSPORT and the broadsheets when a quote is required. His unique insight has helped provide a better understanding of what is really happening in the treatment rooms.
Johnny is a respected physiotherapist and sports scientist, specialising in football injuries and rehab. Johnny has headed up the medical departments at Chesterfield, Scunthorpe and Notts County. Overseeing everything from player-specific training loads to pre-signing medicals. He has a proven record working with elite athletes in Private Practice and is regularly called upon throughout Europe to deliver presentations on the latest rehab innovations.
Matt's short, unremarkable football career was ended by his own bad driving. His long, distinguished career as a football tipster was ended by his own good advice. Because bookmakers don’t like a winner. First, they closed his accounts. Then his members’ accounts. Then his tipping service. And now they employ him as a consultant. Funny old game.