MANCHESTER UNITED v LIVERPOOL – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Manchester United v Liverpool

Sunday, 1.30pm

‘It could end up like the Dog & Duck against the Red Lion’. Never mind bet of the week, the quote of the week had to be from Gary Neville. He isn’t as far off the mark as a Balotelli shot, either.

Gary Neville

Quackers: Gary Neville

Manchester United’s victory over Southampton on Monday was notable for three things: Referee Kevin Friend’s blinkeredness (or leniency, or matey-ness – delete as applicable) was akin to a first-season ref on a park pitch, United had just three shots and yet they managed a fifth successive victory.

Otherwise, it was as exciting as getting up with a hangover on a cold, wet Sunday morning, knowing the Dog & Duck’s number five is ready to kick lumps out of you.

Liverpool, dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday, hope to avoid a seventh league defeat of the season. Liverpool are 4.40 to win, while United, on offer at 1.79, will be confident, having won four of the last six meetings and six of the last seven at Old Trafford. The draw is 3.75.

Mario Balotelli is considered a bust, even though he would thrive in a twin strike partnership (something he has yet to encounter at Liverpool), and is surely heading home to Italy sooner rather than later – Fiorentina is a likely landing spot – but he should prove a handful to United’s inexperienced defence.

Five of the last seven meetings yielded three total goals – it is 1.76 for three or more goals to be scored on Sunday – but neither strike-force inspires much confidence. United looked fairly ordinary in beating Southampton, while Liverpool aspire to be fairly ordinary at present. And the killer stat is this: Liverpool have won back-to-back trips to Old Trafford on just two occasions since 1906.

True, Liverpool won two of their last three games before being held by Sunderland. Those win came against Stoke and Leicester. However, that three-game unbeaten oasis comes with an asterisk designating a dearth of conviction.

United look a shade too big to beat a side low on confidence – and that should be a red flag to bettors: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and balks at the words ‘orange sauce’, then it probably is a duck. From the Dog & Duck, no doubt.

A draw between these two is long overdue, as there have been just two draws in the last 32 meetings and that is where our money is going.

VERDICT: Man Utd 1 Liverpool 1 (Correct Score odds: 7.0)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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SUNDERLAND v WEST HAM – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Sunderland v West Ham United

Saturday, 3pm

In West Ham’s best-ever League season, when they finished third to Liverpool and Everton in 1985/86, Shakin Stevens topped the charts with ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’, and the Saturday before Christmas the Hammers equalled a club-record 18 successive League games without defeat with a 0-0 draw at Luton.

Frank Lampard Senior

Christmas cheer: Frank Lampard Snr

West Ham are on course for their best ever Premier League season – football was not invented upon the inception of the Premier League, whatever you’ve been told – and have lost just once in the last nine games. A top six finish would be a remarkable feat but a more realistic aim is a top 10 finish.

West Ham have not won on successive visits to Sunderland since 1985 and Sam Allardyce’s side have won just once in their last six meetings. The Hammers are 2.58 to win this Saturday.

A win here and then another against Leicester next weekend would really have them challenging for a European spot before they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

It was Frank Lampard Senior who famously coined the phrase ‘West Ham usually come down with the Christmas decorations’, but the squad is deep, there is plenty of competition for places and they look relatively solid at the back.

Sunderland, on offer at 2.78, have been a boon to draw backers, with nine of their EPL games finishing in a stalemate. It is 3.30 for the draw this weekend. They have won win at home all season, are just two points off the relegation places and have gone into the break with a lead just twice. Frankly, they are overdue to put that right and it is 4.40 for the Black Cats to be winning at half-time and full-time.

Gus Poyet’s side have held both Chelsea and Liverpool scoreless in recent weeks, while West Ham have been a little fortunate to come from behind to beat West Brom and Swansea in a remarkable run. Their away wins have come at Crystal Palace, Burnley and West Brom, all sides who have had trouble finding the net.
Sunderland have scored just 13 goals in 15 games, but created some decent opportunities in the last two games. All it will take is a slice of luck before the tide turns for the Black Cats.

VERDICT: Sunderland 2 West Ham 0 (Correct Score odds: 13.50)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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BURNLEY v SOUTHAMPTON – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Burnley v Southampton

Saturday, 3pm

Three straight losses is no reason for Saints’ fans to panic. Look at who they have faced: Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. They have lost by the odds goal to the last pair.

And yet…

Dyche

Unbowed: Sean Dyche

They’ve hardly set the world alight since drowning the Black Cats of Sunderland 8-0. Beating Stoke and Hull by a single goal, defeating Leicester 2-0 and drawing with Aston Villa is commendable, in the same way as winning first prize at the church raffle.

Burnley should offer a little respite. Sean Dyche’s side have two wins on the board and have scored a joint league-low 10 goals.

And yet…

Like the Saints, Burnley also beat Hull and Stoke before drawing with Aston Villa. They were much the better side in drawing with Newcastle and how they lost 2-0 at QPR last weekend, having outplayed the hosts, only Robert Green knows.

The Saints, who are 1.77 to win, have won on just three of their last 11 trips to Turf Moor and they have never won three back-to-back meetings with the Clarets, who are 5.00 to win. The draw is 3.55.

Are Southampton really a top six team?

The Saints’ defence is tighter than your average prom date, conceding just 12 goals in 15 games (three in one game against Manchester City). They allowed Manchester United just three shots on goal in their 2-1 home defeat on Monday. What they will do when the bigger clubs come calling for midfield enforcers Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama, or leading tackler and right back Nathaniel Clyne, for example?

The familiarity of the Saints’ defence – they have suffered no major injuries – plus a leading keeper in Fraser Forster means they will continue to be tough to beat.

And yet…

Their lack of width and inability to break down a makeshift Manchester United defence was surprising. They have managed just six goals in their last seven games.

Both sides found the net in eight of the last 11 meetings and it is 2.02 for both to net again.

With the chances that Burnley are creating, you would think they are good for at least one goal.

Saints are set up to win on the road and the onus will be on Burnley, who have lost the second half six times in the last 10 outings. While this fixture has produced five draws in the last 11 meetings, Southampton should be able to hit the Clarets on the break and take the points.

VERDICT: Burnley 1 Southampton 3 (Correct Score odds: 15.50)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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LEICESTER CITY v MANCHESTER CITY – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Leicester City v Manchester City

Saturday, 3pm

Chelsea are in crisis. They have lost one whole game and draw another. They are sure to be relegated by Christmas.

While not quite pantomime season in Fleet Street, Jose Mourinho may have a slightly awkward smile if he hears the words ‘They’re behind you!’ over the next couple of weeks.

While Chelsea face awkward clashes with Stoke, West Ham and Southampton, the champions must face the next six weeks or more without Sergio Aguero, who has been a one-man wrecking crew up front. This bowling ball of butchers’ knives is sidelined with a knee ligament injury, but if there is a good time to have a break, it is now. City face Leicester, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Burnley – four of the current bottom six – to close out the year.

nigel pearson

On the brink: Nigel Pearson

Chelsea are still odds-on to win the title, even though City, who are 1.49 to win at Leicester, have closed the gap to three points on the back of four straight victories.

Leicester, available at 6.80, have won twice since returning to the top flight but have lost seven of their last eight matches and, with in-form West Ham and desperate Tottenham on the horizon, it is hard to see where the next win is coming from.  The draw is available at 4.40. There is no doubt Nigel Pearson is under pressure and the Foxes are odds-on to go down.

Five of the last six meetings have produced three goals or more. It is 1.51 for three or more goals to be scored on Saturday. While City are unbeaten on their last five visits to Leicester, they have managed just four wins over the Foxes in the last 15 meetings.

Given the trends, the adjustment they will have to make to replace Aguero, and coming off a huge Champions League game, it is not too difficult to think Leicester could be catching the Sky Blues at an opportune moment.

While it is the season for fairytales, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have only lost once on their travels this term – at Upton Park – and they can play the role of the villain. We’ll side with the champions.

VERDICT: Leicester 0 Man City 3 (Correct Score odds: 10.0)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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WEST BROM v ASTON VILLA – MCB’s Premier League Preview

West Brom v Aston Villa

Saturday, 3pm

West Brom, without a win in five, are a point above the relegation zone and are heading towards the trap door faster than you can say Sweeney Todd. The supply of goals has dried up, even if Saido Berahino hasn’t.

Paul Lambert

Rejuvenated: Paul Lambert

Just one goal and one point from their last five games, one home win all season and three successive defeats at The Hawthorns means their relegation odds look more tempting than a sprig of mistletoe above Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleaders.

Villa, available at 3.70, may still be in the bottom half of the table, but they have been rejuvenated. On the back of three successive draws came wins against Crystal Palace and Leicester. Those victories at least add an air or respectability, in the same way that a titty bar has food.

But it also means they head into the Midlands Derby with a chance to notch three successive league wins for the first time since April 2010. It is the stuff of nosebleeds and it still won’t have us rushing to back them to finish in the top 10.

Four of the last five meetings were drawn and it is 3.25 for another draw, but the law of averages says a positive result is overdue – much like a decent performance from referee Kevin Friend, whose grasp of law enforcement at Southampton on Monday night was, quite frankly, embarrassing.

Eight of the last 10 meetings yielded three or more total goals and it is 1.75 that three or more goals are scored this time. Nine of the last 10 meetings saw both sides net, but the Baggies have won just three of the last 20 meetings and are 2.08 to win on Saturday.

With Villa unbeaten in their last four trips to The Hawthorns and their tails up, the weight of money will be with Paul Lambert’s side.

But Villa have scored a joint-low 10 goals from 15 games and are hardly banker material. Going against the grain, we reckon the far more desperate hosts will find a way to win. Somehow. Divine intervention, perhaps?

VERDICT: West Brom 2 Aston Villa 0 (Correct Score odds: 9.0)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

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EVERTON v QPR – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Everton v QPR

Monday, 8pm

Everton are going better in the Europa League than the Premier League and are in need of a home win.

Roberto Martinez

Sticking to the plan: Martinez

While their Europa League dream lives on, something has not been right at Goodison Park this season. Could it be that second-season syndrome has kicked in for Roberto Martinez, a man who will not budge from his footballing philosophies?

Could it be that opponents have worked out the system that served him so well in the past?

Goodison Park is an old-fashioned stadium but the usually loyal fans booed off the players after the recent home draw with Hull.

Everton have won the last two matches between these two sides but it is over 40 years since they have won three on the bounce and the Toffeemen are 1.45 to win.

Harry Redknapp as a manager is more about style than substance and despite being lauded as some kind of coaching genius, has yet to manage a side to win the Premier League. In fact his CV his full of jobs involving keeping teams in the league at the other end of the table.

He seems to be getting to grips with Rangers, who somehow managed to beat Burnley last weekend.

Rangers, available at 8.00 to win, have shipped at least two goals in 10 of their 15 league games this season and have kept only three clean sheets.

There have been two draws in the last four meetings it is 4.40 for a draw to occur on Monday night.

Everton are six places and four points ahead of QPR and despite their patchy form of late, should be able to confirm that disparity in form by recording an easy home win. It is worth noting that Rangers have scored just two goals on the road in seven league matches this season.

VERDICT: Everton 3 QPR 0 (Correct Score odds: 10.0)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service. It is completely free and your club will not only receive 20% of the bookmakers’ net profit, it will also receive free kit and equipment. See myclubbetting.com for details.

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SWANSEA v TOTTENHAM – MCB’s Premier League Preview

Swansea v Tottenham

Sunday, 4pm

Tottenham looked to be getting their season on track when beating Everton recently and even Roberto Soldado scored.

Pochettino: Feeling the heatHowever, it now appears to be one step forward and two steps back after their usual embarrassing loss at Chelsea and goalless home draw with Crystal Palace. Mauricio Pochettino seemed to be getting things right but now he might fear a meeting with Daniel Levy.

Swansea are on a run of two wins, loses and draws over the last six matches and are thus currently the height of inconsistency. That run includes beating Arsenal at home and then only drawing with Crystal Palace at their own stadium. They were out-muscled by Andy Carroll at West Ham last Sunday.

Spurs, available at 2.98, have won the last five meetings while Swansea, available at 2.40, have won just two of the last 10 meetings. The draw is on offer at 3.30.

The last four meetings in Swansea has seen both sides score and it is 1.68 for that to happen on Sunday.

The Swans, two places and one point above Spurs in the league table, have been level at the break in 11 of their last 12 league games and it is 2.12 for it to be a stalemate at half-time.

This is yet a new dawn at White Hart Lane with the eighth managerial appointment since 2002. It appears that the money raised from the sale of Gareth Bale has not been spent wisely and most of the recruits have yet to justify the fees paid for them. Swansea are more of a team and there is little reason for them to fear getting involved in relegation issues.

Despite losing at West Ham, Swansea are going in the right direction while nobody at Spurs seems to have a clue what will happen next. The draw looks the best option.

VERDICT: Swansea 1 Tottenham 1 (Correct Score odds: 6.00)

 

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service. It is completely free and your club will not only receive 20% of the bookmakers’ net profit, it will also receive free kit and equipment. See myclubbetting.com for details.

Please gamble responsibly. You must be 18 years or over to bet.

 

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