Premier League Preview - Game Week 36Friday, April 27 2018
Punter, tipster, serial winner and considerate lover Matt Nesbitt is at it again...
Don’t fancy this weekend’s coupon much. Lots of variables. Some big European scene-stealers midweek, a couple of dead rubbers and a smattering of teams who’ll be going through the motions with their minds on more realistic fish to fry in the remaining weeks. So it’s a tricky week.
At times like this I wish I’d paid more attention at school. But here goes…
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.
12.30pm Liverpool v Stoke City
Another lunchtime kick off against another (probably) relegation doomed struggler. And another massive distraction in midweek. Actually, the same distraction – but the second leg.
Jurgen is bound to leave a few out, but a ‘few’ can be replaced without much loss of quality. It is the attitude with which they go about things which counts here. Last week v West Brom it was bob on for 75 minutes. Then they wobbled and conceded twice. Ditto midweek.
Stoke will be bang at it for the full 90 minutes, that’s a given. They have scrapped a couple of draws in the last two and perhaps deserved more. Minus Salah (rested) and possibly Mane (knock) this has Coupon Stopper potential.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 9/1.
Smart Money: Liverpool Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 13/10.
Long Shot: HT/FT Draw/Liverpool at 3/1.
3pm Burnley v Brighton
There are only five teams between these two, but perhaps three divisions. Burnley are tucked up in one of their own in 7th place - Arsenal and the Top Six won’t be caught, but Everton and Mid-table are safely out of reach. Brighton are just a point or two away from the firm ground of Mid-table and at this stage of the season that will do. Like a marathon runner in the last mile, the finish time goes out of the window - it’s about getting over the line. Saying that, it’s Man United, City and Liverpool up next so a point would do nicely.
Draw written all over this.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 5/1.
Tap In: Burnley Draw No Bet at 8/15.
Smart Money: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals at 5/2.
3pm Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Palace have been one of the PL’s most consistent teams post-Roy Hodgson. Against the Bottom Half, they are bold and pick up points; against the Top Half, they are brave and get narrowly bet. In a nut shell.
Leicester come bang in the middle of the Top Half/ Bottom Half ranking, but I can’t see leaving the Palace with the crown jewels.
Take out the Top Four from Palace’s last 14 at home and they have only lost once (to Arsenal). And with Stoke and West Brom to play will be confident of A, avoiding any late relegation drama and B, perhaps even finishing the season six unbeaten.
Scorecast: 2-1 at 15/2.
Tap In: Palace Draw No Bet at 1/2.
Smart Money: Palace Win & BTTS at 3/1.
3pm Huddersfield Town v Everton
Huddersfield’s season peaked back in October (beating Man United) but this weekend is the tipping point. Another point will mean Southampton and Stoke would need two wins and a draw in order to draw level. And that’s unlikely. But here’s the thing… squeezing anything out of the Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal games they still have to play is equally unlikely. So it’s all on this one.
Everton aren’t winning any friends – at home or elsewhere – with their style of play. But they are starting to pick up points. Including four from their last two away trips.
Scorecast: 1-1 at 5/1.
Tap In: Everton Draw No Bet at Evens.
Smart Money: Draw & Under 2.5 Goals at 12/5.
3pm Newcastle United v West Brom
Two team in form. No, that’s not a typo. Hear me out… Newcastle are four from four at home and would be Top Six if the season had started ten matches ago. And if the season had started four weeks after that – that’s six matches ago, keep up – West Brom wouldn’t be rock bottom. In fact, they’d be a giddy 13th.
Whether it’s the impact of Darren Moore or the acceptance of their fate, Albion go to St James’ Park in better fettle than the last few months.
Newcastle have handled the Bottom Seven pretty well all season though, winning eight of their 13 matches (D4 L1) and dropped points would sting here.
Scorecast: 2-0 at 7/1.
Smart Money: Newcastle Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 27/20.
Long Shot: Newcastle Win, Under 10.5 Corners & Under 35.5 Bookings at 4/1.
3pm Southampton v Bournemouth
Is this really a derby? Geographically perhaps, but surely it’s more flip-flops and donkey rides than bandanas and police horses. Sparky will hoping to ignite something in Southampton to avoid the ignominy of taking down two teams in one season. But just 3pts from their last eight matches – including five blanks in front of goal – doesn’t inspire much faith in these Saints. Something miraculous is required.
Bournemouth have failed to register a goal or a point in their last two – okay, it was Liverpool and Man United – but only won of their last nine. And haven’t won a ‘derby’ in ten attempts. They are safe enough on 38pts but still have the chance to push this season from ‘average’ to ‘decent’. Maybe even ‘good’.
Scorecast: 2-3 at 40/1.
Tap In: Both Teams to Score at 7/10.
Long Shot: Bournemouth & BTTS at 7/1.
5.30pm Swansea City v Chelsea
Another ugly one to call. Swansea looked to have performed the great escape, but instead of heading straight to the bar seem to be lingering dangerously close to the trap door. They might be relying on back-to-back six-pointers in the final week v Southampton and Stoke. Which could be great for Sky’s Final Day coverage, but less favourable for the nerves of their fans.
Chelsea have stirred from their winter hibernation, recording a hat-trick of wins for the first time since early December. Everyone wants to play in the Cup Final, after all. In the mood, they should have plenty here. But have looked flaky for a while. Like I say, an ugly one.
Scorecast: 1-2 at 15/2.
Long Shot: Draw & BTTS at 5/1.
2.15pm West Ham v Man City
West Ham are another team that hasn’t quite scrambled up the relegation embankment to safety yet. Until they bag another couple of points, their security is based on the their rivals being further down a more slippery slope. And three home matches from the last four is less of an obvious advantage when two of them are from Manchester.
City for their part look back in the groove of going anywhere and beating anyone. They still have record points and goals totals to shoot for. Which will define their season more than one pivotal week in April.
Scorecast: 1-3 at 9/1.
Tap In: Man City Win at 3/10.
4.30pm Man United v Arsenal
Getting beaten 1-3 to 10-man United in December, despite 22 shots and 75% possession was a body blow that Arsenal might still not have fully recovered from. Revenge for that, plus four wins from five, plus Arsene’s last chance to get one over on the old enemy – Jose AND United – could inspire an upset. But coming in the middle of their all-egg-carrying Europa League semi-final favours the home side.
United have looked focussed since the West Brom mishap and will fancy this as a chance to nail down second place. And, of course, to administer one final boot into Arsene’s Wengers.
Scorecast: 2-0 at 6/1.
Tap In: Man United Win at 2/5.
Smart Money: Man United Win & Under 3.5 Goals at 5/4.
Long Shot: HT/FT Draw/ Man United at 3/1.
8pm Tottenham v Watford
Tottenham might be rocked by their FA Cup semi-final defeat. And the inevitable echoes of their issues v Top Six teams – four of the other five have beaten Spurs this season. But I daresay Watford would swap positions.
The Hornets’ sting is nothing more than a tickle away from Vicarage Road. They have scored just a single goal in their last nine away days (at Man City of all places) and taken just 6pts from a possible 39pts on the road all season. So any hangover Tottenham have from last weekend should probably be short-lived.
Scorecast: 3-0 at 11/2.
Tap In: Tottenham to Win at 1/7. Pfft!
Smart Money: Tottenham Win to Nil at 7/10.
Coupon Busters to follow on Friday PM. Don’t touch that dial.
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.