Aston Villa v West Ham Free Tips

May 4th, 2015

Tim Sherwood’s success at Aston Villa has been much-discussed already. A Christian Benteke double helped the Villains to secure a 3-2 victory over Everton at Villa Park.

The three points from the Everton win helped to push Villa ahead of Newcastle and into 14th place. At this stage, Sherwood is of the opinion that Villa have to win all three remaining games against West Ham, Southampton, and Burnley, respectively.

Winning all three of their games would give Villa 41 points, which as historically been enough. Of course, standing in the way of Aston Villa’s survival is a West Ham side that has fallen beneath their hot early season form.

After four games without a win, Sam Allardyce managed to earn three points from a home encounter with Burnley last Saturday. West Ham bombarded Burnley’s goal with 29 total attempts, but the pressure was off because of Mark Noble’s 24th minute goal.

Expectations

Aston Villa did not fluke their way past Liverpool in the FA Cup. Out of the two sides, it was Liverpool that performed poorly and did not deserve to progress to the final. Therefore, a matchup with an inconsistent West Ham team is almost certainly winnable.

Tim Sherwood has sacrificed a degree of defensive solidarity to inspire Aston Villa’s turnaround. Rather than playing with a back three, Villa now play a 4-5-1 in which wingers Jack Grealish and Charles N’Zogbia provide support to Christian Benteke. Their potency should be tough for West Ham to resist.

West Ham are currently 13th for their away form, where at home they rank eighth. On average they concede 1.53 goals and score just 1.12 goals in away games.

The Hammers’ loss-rate of seven from 17 will make this away game with a resurgent Aston Villa extremely difficult, especially without the injured Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.

Match Tips

Tip one: Aston Villa @ 1.90 with Betfair
Tip two: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.86 with Betfair

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Aston Villa will commit players to attack West Ham. And while Villa are likely to score a couple in winning the game, the Hammers should have opportunities to nick a goal.

Swansea City v Stoke City

April 27th, 2015

Swansea City have performed better than expected since losing star striker Wilfried Bony to Man City in a multimillion-pound January transfer. Admittedly, Garry Monk’s side have struggled to score goals, but they have managed to snatch eighth place in the Premier League table going into the final four games.

Stoke City have managed to turn around three-straight losses by claiming five points from their past three games. Mark Hughes has done well in convincing players to buy into his philosophy, while covering for season-ending injury for Bojan cannot have been easy. The Potters are ninth behind eighth-placed Swansea.

Expectations

Although Newcastle have been in free-fall during recent weeks, that should not take away from Swansea’s excellent comeback last Saturday. After going behind to a 20th-minute goal, Swansea rebounded to score three unanswered goals. An 87-minute goal from Newcastle made for a tense 3-2 finish.

Swansea have conceded five fewer goals than Tottenham (44 to compared to 49). The Swans have a reasonably solid defence that is led by club captain Ashley Williams. They need him to step up and lead from the back in order to give Gylfi Sigurdsson the time on the ball he needs to be creative.

Stoke will have been disappointed to claim all three points after drawing their last game 1-1 at home against struggling Sunderland. That was a prime opportunity for Mark Hughes’ side to snatch the points and close in on Swansea, but they blew it.

The problem with Stoke is that they have struggled to score goals since losing Bojan. The fact of the matter is that Peter Crouch is years past it and that Mame Biram Diouf is more of a squad player than a starting striker. Barring set-piece excellence, this match could struggle to yield goals.

Verdict

Tip one: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.72 with bet365
Tip two: Draw @ 3.25 with bet365

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Arsenal v Chelsea Free Tips

April 20th, 2015

Arsenal were not in Premier League action last weekend because they were busy defeating Reading 2-1 (AET) in the FA Cup semi-finals. That result leaves the Gunners with an FA Cup final against Aston Villa. First, though, they need to focus on a difficult London derby with rivals Chelsea.

José Mourinho can almost feel the Premier League trophy in his hands. A 1-0 win over Man Utd has moved the Blues 76 points, which puts them 10 clear of Arsenal. Mourinho will seek to maintain that gap at all costs, which means that Arsenal could be in for a frustrating afternoon.

Expectations

Astoundingly, the Gunners have won eight-straight Premier League games since defeat at Tottenham in early February. Arsène Wenger committed to changing his tactical approach by sticking with Francis Coquelin as holding midfielder. Coquelin has been fantastic in solidifying the Arsenal midfield.

Arsenal will need Coquelin to play effectively if they are to beat Chelsea. The Blues started with Nemanja Matić and central defender Kurt Zouma, as their holding midfielders against Man Utd, and Chelsea were the home team. Mourinho is absolutely going to do the same against Arsenal.

The Portuguese manager will always adapt to negate the tactics of teams that are of a close standard to his. He almost never takes the game to quality teams. An incredible 70% of possession was given up to Man Utd, which could have gone so badly on a different day.

Mourinho’s tactics fell short recently in the Champions League, resulting in departure at the hands of PSG. He might not get it right all the time in Europe, but his success in the Premier League is much more consistent.

Chelsea can start against Arsenal with the very same line-up from their last game. Of course, Mourinho will hope that Loïc Remy returns from injury to start in place of Didier Drogba.

Match Tips

Tip one: Draw @ 3.25 with Betfair
Tip two: Halftime draw @ 2.05 with Betfair

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Arsenal have been so good in their recent league games, but they are unlikely to win a ninth-straight. Meanwhile, Chelsea will settle for a draw to maintain their 10-point lead over the Gunners.

Chelsea v Man Utd Free Tips

April 13th, 2015

Man City’s collapse has allowed for Chelsea to cruise ahead in their quest to life the Premier League title. The Blues are seven points in front of second-placed Arsenal and even have a game in hand. José Mourinho and his men look increasingly likely to win the league, even with Arsenal and Man Utd playing so well.

Chelsea have become much more conservative since Christmas, but you cannot really argue if it results in a Premier League title and a League Cup. However, that conservative nature nearly cost them all three points again QPR. A late strike in the 88th minute was required from Cesc Fàbregas to win the game.

Man Utd has been expected to struggle in their encounters with Tottenham, Liverpool, and reigning champions Man City, but Louis van Gaal did not get the memo. After discovering his best line-up, van Gaal managed to win all three games.

Following a 4-2 demolition of Man City, van Gaal’s team are third in the table and could earn one of the automatic qualifying spots for the Champions League. A positive result against Chelsea will help them to strengthen their hold on third.

Expectations

José Mourinho showed far too much respect to his friend Louis van Gaal when these two sides met in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October. Chelsea only controlled 48% of possession and gave up 19 total attempts on goal to Man Utd.

Chelsea will once again give up possession, much like they did against PSG in the Champions League. The aim will be to catch Man Utd on the counter, but that could be problematic with Diego Costa injured and Loïc Remy a potential doubt.

Chelsea would likely accept another draw from this fixture, as would van Gaal, considering the recent high profile victories he has earned.

Match Tips

Tip one: Draw @ 3.50 with bet365
Tip two: Both Teams to Score @ 1.83 with bet365

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bet365 is offering highly generous odds of 3.50 for a draw. Man Utd have only lost five league games all season, so Chelsea will struggle to beat them.

Burnley v Arsenal Free Tips & Preview

April 6th, 2015

Burnley are fighting for their Premier League existence. Sunderland, Hull, and Aston Villa are all within touching distance, while QPR are one point behind in the relegation zone. Although likely to return to the Championship, there is a slim chance Burnley could survive. A point against Arsenal would be extremely helpful.

Burnley have lost three, draw two, and won one of their last six games. That haul of five points has not been good enough to lift them from the relegation zone. A home game against Arsenal is going to be one of the toughest games of their season.

Arsenal beating Liverpool 4-1 was a shocking result. Liverpool had been expected to bounce back after losing 2-1 to Man Utd the previous weekend, but Arsenal were much better. The Gunners blew Liverpool away with their scintillating attacking football.

Arsène Wenger has guided his team to seven wins in a row. Their form has even brought them distantly back into the title race, but it is unlikely that they will pose a serious threat to Chelsea. Finishing ahead of Man City and Man Utd, though, will be a tremendous achievement.

Expectations

Burnley have tempted to play narrower in recent weeks to prevent their opponents from playing impressive attacking football. That strategy worked against a Tottenham team that played with a slightly different formation than normal. Christian Eriksen played centrally and there was no width on right. Spurs could not score in a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal are much more effective than Tottenham at playing attacking football. Francis Coquelin provides force in midfield, allowing for Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sánchez, and Mesut Özil to play creatively and score goals. Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has also been excellent. A second straight clean sheet seems unlikely for Burnley against perhaps the strongest attack in the league.

Match Tips

Tip one: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.80 with bet365
Tip two: Arsenal and over 2.5 goals @ 2.30 with bet365

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Burnley have the second-worst defensive record in the league (49 conceded). Combine over 2.5 goals with an Arsenal victory to get odds of 2.30 with bet365.

Sunderland v Newcastle – Free Tips & Match Preview

March 30th, 2015

The Premier League’s second Tyne-Wear derby of the season will feature two different managers taking charge. For the home team, fans will recognise former UEFA Cup-winning manager Dick Advocaat. On the away bench, John Carver has been tasked with the role of caretaker manager for the remainder of the season.

In the reverse of this encounter, it was Sunderland that triumphed with a 1-0 victory at James’s Park. Adam Johnson scored the winner in the 89th minute, with Newcastle unable to respond before the game ended.

Expectations

Over the past six Tyne-Wear derbies, Sunderland have dominated with four victories. Incredibly Newcastle have not been able to win once over those six games. John Carver’s Magpies will be under major pressure from their fans not to lose again to Sunderland.

The bad news for Newcastle fans is that Sunderland played pretty well in their recent 1-0 loss away to West Ham. Also, it does not help that Sunderland have a highly experienced manager in Advocaat. Despite having never managed in the Premiership, Advocaat should still be regarded with caution.

Comparatively, Sunderland are the only team here with anything really to play for. Newcastle are on 35 points and edging slowly closer to Premier League survival. In contrast, Sunderland have just 26 points are just one ahead of Burnley in 18th place. Sunderland have only managed to claim two points from their past 18.

Newcastle do not compare much better, having only earned four points from a possible 18. Complacency is the concern for Newcastle, with former manager Alan Pardew having done much of the hard work this season before leaving for the Crystal Palace job. Sunderland could use the appointment of Advocaat to generate some sudden momentum, as so often happens at this stage in a Premier League season.

Verdict

Tip one: Draw @ 3.2 with Betfair
Tip two: Over 1.5 Goals @ 1.44 with Betfair

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This feels like the type of game where neither team will quite assert its dominance. Newcastle are becoming complacent while Sunderland have a new manager. A draw with Betfair will get you odds of 3.2.

Bulgaria v Italy – Euro 2016 Qualifiers 28 March 2015

March 23rd, 2015

Antonio Conte shocked European football when he resigned suddenly as Juventus manager last summer. But following three successive Serie A titles, the Italian manager had developed a high enough reputation to earn him the head coaching role with Italy.

As a national coach, Conte is slowly finding his way. In his first four qualifying games, his players have won three and drawn once from four. That places Italy on 10 points with Croatia. However, Italy only have a goal difference of four compared to Croatia’s record of nine.

Elsewhere in Group H, Bulgaria are holding fourth spot, leaving them five points behind Norway. The first three of their points came in a 2-1 away victory over Azerbaijan, which came in the first group match. However, their only point since came in a 1-1 home draw versus Malta.

Expectations

Bulgaria are not set up to be an attacking force, which explains how the defensive team were unable to overcome a dogged Malta side. In losing just 1-0 to group leaders Croatia, Bulgaria were able to prove their defensive qualities. They will sit back and attempt to frustrate Italy.

There is every chance that Bulgaria could frustrate Italy. For starters, the Italians are just a few games into understanding a new system. Crucially, it will have been approximately four-and-a-half months since the team played together. That will leave plenty of rustiness in the side.

A concern with new international football regimes is that players need time to gel with one another. Unfortunately for Antonio Conte, this could be a big problem against Bulgaria. His players could let a goal slip due to an error, leaving an unfamiliar attack trying to open up a tight defence that is unwilling to give up.

Match Tips

Tip one: Draw @ 3.5 with Betfair
Tip two: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.47 with Betfair

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International fixtures are rarely certain, which is why backing a draw at odds of 3.5 with Betfair could prove to be a wise wager. A safer possibility is to back under 2.5 goals for two teams that are not overly prolific in their recent form.

Liverpool v Man Utd

March 16th, 2015

The ramifications of this encounter are huge, with both teams desperate to clinch the fourth Champions League spot behind Chelsea, Man City, and Arsenal. Additionally, Liverpool will want to continue their impressive recent form by overcoming the demons of their 3-0 December defeat at Old Trafford.

Things have been coming together nicely for Liverpool, of course setting aside their departure from the Europa League. The Anfield side are a win away from moving to the semi final of the FA Cup, while Man Utd are still within reach in the final Champions League place.

Louis van Gaal silenced many critics who were eager to point out how grateful Tottenham were that they did not appoint the enigmatic Dutchman. The 3-0 home win over Tottenham was the perfect way to start what will be a tricky run of fixtures against top-six teams.

Winning so convincingly against Tottenham has added importance, as Liverpool will press Man Utd hard between now and the end of the season. Fourth place is only a realistic outcome for these heated rivals.

Expectations

These days, Liverpool line up with 3-4-3 formation. After struggling greatly during the earl portion of the season, Liverpool are now capable of keeping clean sheets and actually scoring goals. Their team has really come together since the tactical switch. Liverpool will present few surprises with their tactical approach, and that consistency will serve them well against Man Utd.

In contrast, there is no telling as to how Louis van Gaal will approach games. For instance, the was switched from three at the back to four at the back, while Juana Mata made an unexpected return against Tottenham. Van Gaal must go with a similar line-up to the Tottenham game and forget about experimenting.

Match Tips

Tip one: Liverpool to win @ 2.10 with bet365
Tip two: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.85 with bet365

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There were three goals in the reverse of this fixture in September, all of which went to Man Utd. This time around, Liverpool are playing much better in defence. Therefore, they could probably win this game with just a single goal.

Man Utd v Tottenham

March 9th, 2015

Having played Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter finals on Monday night, a difficult period has now begun for Man Utd. First up for them in the league is Tottenham, which is a potentially tricky encounter.

After the past couple of weeks, it has become clear to football analysts that Louis van Gaal is purposely encouraging his players to control the game at the expense of taking risks. And after shipping two goals away to Swansea in a 2-1 loss, it is clear that van Gaal is right not to trust his defence.

For a while, Tottenham’s season was extremely exciting for the fans. Once the side began to hit peak form over Christmas, they managed to defeat Chelsea 5-3. Along with playing for a Champions League place, Spurs were still in the League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League.

Now, though, Spurs’ best chance at success is to finish fifth and earn guaranteed entry to the Europa League. And much of their success can be attributed to the meteoric rise of 21-year-old striker Harry Kane, without whom Spurs would be suffering greatly.

Expectations

While Louis van Gaal has wisely favoured stable tactics to mask his team’s defensive deficiencies, he is still not entirely committed to selecting the right players. For instance, only recently has Wayne Rooney returned to a striking role. The issue for this game is that van Gaal might again try to cram in players who do not quite fit.

When this match was played at White Hart Lane, the outcome was a 0-0 draw. Now, Spurs are in much better form and will fancy their chances against the Reds. This could be a tight encounter, with Spurs afforded opportunities to counter Man Utd’s attacks and score on the break.

Match Tips

Tip one: Under 2.5 goals @ 2.00 with bet365
Tip two: Tottenham @ 4.50 with bet365

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The odds of 1.75 for Man Utd winning are not particularly rewarding for what will be a tough game for the Reds to win. Alternatively, backing Tottenham at 4.50 with bet365 could lead to a lucrative payout for going with the upset.

QPR v Tottenham – Free Tips

March 2nd, 2015

QPR v Tottenham – EPL 7 March 2015

After facing Arsenal at Loftus Road on Wednesday night, the reward for QPR is to next host Tottenham on Saturday. Despite having a game in hand and being able to potentially remain outside of the relegation zone, life is undeniably tough for Rangers.

Since Harry Redknapp left his role as manager, supposedly due to a knee injury, QPR turned to Chris Ramsey to act as interim manager for the remainder of the season. Nicknamed Rambo, it will be a tall order for this first-time Premier League manager to prevent his team from being relegated.

Tottenham were full of expectation ahead of facing Chelsea in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday, but the confidence gleaned from beating the Blues 5-3 at Christmas was quickly eroded. Mauricio Pochettino had to guide Spurs through a home game against Swansea before facing QPR.

On paper, this is an away game that Tottenham absolutely need to win. First of all, this is a game in hand that Spurs could use to try and move past Southampton. Secondly, this is a London derby. And thirdly, chairman Daniel Levy will be desperate for his club to challenge for Champions League qualification.

Expectations

Prior to the midweek Premier League matches, QPR had conceded the most goals thus far, along with Burnley. Meanwhile, Spurs have mustered 19 away goals in 12 matches, which is better than 1.5 goals every game.

This is the type of away game in which a team like Spurs can score at least a couple of goals. Harry Kane has been prolific in recent games, supported by the intelligent attacking play of playmaker Christian Eriksen. Spurs have to pick themselves up after the Chelsea loss and get back to playing well.

Match Tips

Tip one: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.80 with Betfair
Tip two: Harry Kane anytime goal scorer @ 1.95 with Betfair

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QPR easily have one of the worst defensive records in the league. Going with the goals in your bets will make a lot sense. Surprisingly, the odds for Harry Kane to score any time are better than for Spurs actually winning (1.83).

 

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