SUNDERLAND v CHELSEA – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

SUNDERLAND v CHELSEA

Saturday, 17:30

Is the Stadium of Light the place where Chelsea’s unbeaten record comes to a shuddering halt?

Be under no illusions: the Black Cats’ odds of 9.00 to win at home is no aberration. Chelsea are unbeaten in last 11 trips to Sunderland, they have won 18 of the last 21 meetings and are brimming with confidence after dispatching Schalke 5-0 away from home in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Gus Poyet 1
Just give me one goal: Poyet

Furthermore, they can virtually wrap up the Premier League by the end of January, as they do not play any of their main ‘rivals’ – Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool – until facing last year’s champions on January 31.

Chelsea are considered 1.39 to win at Sunderland in a fixture that has produced three goals or more in 12 of the last 14 occasions. The draw, which has occurred on two occasions in the last 32 meetings, is offered at 4.70.

Sunderland are fast becoming the draw specialists of the Premier League, with seven of their 12 games ending in stalemate. But if Sunderland fans thought the worst was over after their 8-0 defeat at Southampton a month ago, they may soon think again. They host champions Manchester City on Wednesday, travel to Liverpool next weekend, then host a West Ham side who are high on confidence. The Tyne-Wear derby follows that – and Newcastle are on a five-game winning spree.

Chelsea, who are considered 2.0 chances to be leading at half-time and full-time, have not beaten Sunderland in their last two meetings, losing 2-1 at home in April and drawing 1-1 in the League Cup last December. They did, however, win this corresponding fixture last term 4-3.

Gus Poyet’s side have only once managed to net three goals this term (a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace) and they have managed just 12 goals in 12 games thus far.

We look for another relatively comfortable win for the Blues, although it may not be as emphatic as their midweek annihilation of Schalke.

VERDICT: Sunderland 0 Chelsea 3 (Correct Score odds: 9.0 or 8/1)

All odds quoted from hettonlyonscc.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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WEST HAM UNITED v NEWCASTLE UNITED – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

WEST HAM UNITED v NEWCASTLE UNITED

Saturday, 15:00

We can still clearly remember 1986, West Ham’s best-ever league season. The old Canon League Division One, as it was then, saw John Lyall’s Hammers win more games than any other team (17) and finish third, four points behind Liverpool, thanks to a start that saw them beaten in three of their first four games, win one of their first seven and forced to play nine games compacted into 28 days at the end of the season.

Alvin Martin 1986
Hat-trick hero: Alvin Martin

One of the highlights of that season was the visit of Newcastle to Upton Park, which threw up a great pub-quiz question: Who scored a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers?

The answer, of course, is central defender Alvin Martin, who hit the first and only hat-trick of his 22-year playing career in an 8-1 romp, the Hammers’ biggest league victory since an 8-0 defeat of Sunderland in 1968. The unfortunate keepers were Martin Thomas, Chris Hedworth and Peter Beardsley, with the latter proving himself to be the best stopper of the three.

The Hammers also hit the woodwork twice. And the prolific striker Tony Cottee failed to score. It still rankles with him today.

But we digress. Since that massacre, Newcastle have more than held their own in clashes at Upton Park, winning seven and drawing five of their last 20 visits. They have lost just once on their last eight visits.

Tony Cottee
Failed to score: Tony Cottee

In fact, the Hammers’ recent record against Newcastle, who leapfrogged the Hammers after their 1-0 win over QPR last Saturday, is poor – just two wins in the last 17 meetings with Alan Pardew’s side.

Newcastle have won their last five games and have conceded just one goal in that span. They are 3.60 to make it six consecutive wins.

Yet, when we delve into those five wins, four came against teams in the bottom half of the table, and the other against 10th-placed Tottenham. Wins they may be, but hardly ones against quality opposition.

West Ham were in the top four until reverting to type last weekend, losing at Everton (as they invariably do). They are considered 2.08 shots to beat Newcastle, with the draw – which has been the outcome in seven of the last 15 meetings – on offer at 3.40.

Peter Beardsley
Good keeper: Beardsley

Newcastle face an awkward spell before Christmas, travelling to Burnley on Tuesday, before hosting Chelsea and travelling to Arsenal, before the Tyne-Wear derby on December 21. Victory here would stand them in good stead.

West Ham have not won in three outings and, as the saying goes in East London, they come down the table with the Christmas decorations.

That may still be the case, but this is the most exciting team the Hammers have produced for many years and we look for them to nick a win. It might not be as emphatic as that balmy night on April 21, 1986, but it will still be cheered to the rafters.

VERDICT: West Ham United 2 Newcastle 1 (Correct Score odds: 7.60 or 33/5)

All odds quoted from shorehamfc.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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SWANSEA CITY v CRYSTAL PALACE – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

SWANSEA CITY v CRYSTAL PALACE 

Saturday, 15:00

This is the Marmite game of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures. Some will love it, some will hate it. Punters who like games won to nil will probably relish it.

Six of the last eight meetings saw one or other fail to score and Swansea, considered 1.77 shots, are unbeaten in the last six meetings. They have won four of the last five clashes with Palace, who are 4.90 to follow up their victory over Liverpool. The draw is offered at 3.55.

Swansea have scored in five of their last six Premier League games and their two defeats in the last seven outings came at champions Manchester City and at Stoke. Their sole home defeat was at the hands of second-placed Southampton.

Liberty_Stadium_interior_-_2
Home comfort: Liberty Stadium

However, they have managed to win just twice in their last nine games since opening with three straight victories and have slipped to seventh, a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

Palace ended a run of five without a win when thumping Liverpool 3-1 on Sunday and hauled themselves out of the bottom three and into 15th place. There was no fluke about that result – Liverpool looked sluggish, struggling to move the ball quickly and failing dismally to cope with the pace of Yannick Bolasie.

And Palace have been a little unfortunate of late, being pegged back by West Brom after going 2-0 up and they deserved at least a point against Manchester United, but fell 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Palace boss Neil Warnock is well aware of the task facing his side, claiming “they are the best side I have seen this season”.

While that is typical Warnock, taking the weight of expectation off the shoulders of his side, Garry Monk has continued to solidify and build an exciting side, who dispatched Leicester and Arsenal in their last two home games.

With strugglers QPR visiting the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday, Swansea have a fantastic chance to return to the top four, but Palace, who have won just once on the road this term, will fight for everything. The fact that they have conceded in all bar two of their 12 games, means a score draw could be on the cards.

VERDICT: Swansea 2 Crystal Palace 2 (Correct Score odds: 15.0 or 14/1)

All odds quoted from rockinghamccc.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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MANCHESTER UNITED v HULL CITY – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

MANCHESTER UNITED v HULL CITY

Saturday, 15:00

Hull’s unfortunate home defeat by a very average Tottenham side has left them one point and one place below the drop zone.

Mohamed Diame
Mohamed Diame: Return

With one win in their last 10 EPL games and tough-looking games upcoming against Everton, West Brom, Chelsea and Swansea to come before Christmas, manager Steve Bruce is worried. He has every right to be. They have lost their last three and face a Manchester United side who have won the last six meetings and, despite several injuries, are ominously starting to find their feet under Louis van Gaal.

The good news for Bruce is that there is some positive injury news regarding influential summer signing Mohamed Diame. The former West Ham United midfielder, who has been a revelation since joining the Tigers, should be back on Saturday after fears regarding his knee were allayed.

If history is a guide, there should be a few goals. United scored three or more goals in five of the last six meetings and they will fancy their chances of eating into the 13-point lead Chelsea have over them at present.

United are 1.31 (31/100) to win, with Hull available at 11.0 (10/1). The draw is 5.40 (22/5).

Louis Van Gaal
In form: Van Gaal’s United

Louis van Gaal’s United, who do not have the hazards of playing in Europe this season, will feel the benefit as the season wears on. Their injury list grew ever longer when left-back Luke Shaw was ruled out with an ankle injury and they are still minus centre-backs Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones.

The good news is that defender Jonny Evans is closing in on a return to action, having been sidelined since early September.

Hull may well dig their heels in but this could be a more open encounter than many are expecting. We reckon United will win easily enough and the half-time/full-time forecast is of interest. We take United to be in front at the break and at the end at the more juicy odds of 1.82 (32/39).

VERDICT: Manchester United 3 Hull City 1 (Correct Score odds: 9.60 or 42/5)

All odds quoted from whyteleafe.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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QUEENS PARK RANGERS v LEICESTER CITY – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

QUEENS PARK RANGERS v LEICESTER CITY

Saturday, 15:00

This red-headed stepchild of this weekend’s Premier League games is nothing short of a relegation dog-fight which would not be an attractive proposition, even if it involved naked cheerleaders.

Redknapp: Under pressure

The last four meetings were pretty dour affairs, each yielding less than three goals. Rangers won four of the last 11 meetings, with Leicester winning four of the last six.

Rangers are available at 2.28 (32/25), with Leicester at 3.20 (11/5). The Draw is 3.30 (23/10).

Harry Redknapp’s QPR side have won one of their last nine EPL games (a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Aston Villa), while Leicester are without a win in their last seven.

The overall trend at Loftus Road is pointing upwards. Rangers have faced three of the top four in the last three weeks, giving Chelsea a run for their money, holding Manchester City to a draw and going down narrowly at in-form Newcastle last week in a dreadful game.

Goals have not been much of an issue – they have drawn a blank just twice in their last eight games – but the knee injury to Brazilian Sandro, who limped off at Newcastle and will keep him out until the New Year, is a mighty blow for Redknapp. Sandro will miss key games including visits from Everton, Swansea and Arsenal, and trips to Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace.

Leicester will head to Loftus Road with a little more confidence than of late. Morale had been low after four successive defeats, but Nigel Pearson’s side produced an encouraging display last Saturday against Sunderland and claimed a point in a goalless draw.

City face Liverpool and Aston Villa – two sides bot struggling with confidence – in their next two games and if they get a result against Rangers, they may well start to propel themselves up the table.

Rangers looked most likely to win until Sandro’s injury but City’s second-half performance against Sunderland saw them create plenty of good chances. If they can play with the same verve as last week, they might just sneak a road win.

VERDICT: QPR 0 Leicester 1 (Correct Score odds: 8.80 or 39/5)

All odds quoted from garwfc.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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LIVERPOOL v STOKE CITY – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

LIVERPOOL v STOKE CITY

Saturday, 15:00

If ever Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers could choose a team to face at Anfield, the chances are it would be Stoke City.

The Potters have not won at Anfield in their last 51 attempts. Stoke have more winless games by one team at the home of another in any of the top four divisions.

Brendan Rodgers
Under pressure: Rodgers

Stoke have won three of the last 10 meetings, but all have been at the Britannia Stadium. And they will be without former Wigan and Chelsea winger Victor Moses for the next six weeks after he limped off with a thigh injury in the defeat at Burnley. Boss Mark Hughes has already lost Peter Odemwingie for the season with a knee problem. To add a little more angst, Stoke’s training ground was closed for cleaning this week after some of the Academy players came down with a stomach bug, although none of the senior squad appear to have been affected.

Liverpool may have lost their last three league games but it is Stoke, available at 5.30 (43/10), who could soon be in freefall, with games against Manchester United, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Everton upcoming.

Rodgers’ problems are well documented, but while he stayed with Liverpool for the remainder of last season, even those at the baker’s shop near Anfield knew that the sale of Luis Suarez was agreed as long ago as January. So why wasn’t a plan in place to find a suitable replacement?

Balotelli: Gamble The Mario Balotelli gamble has yet to come off and Rodgers appears to be placing all his cards on the return of injured Daniel Sturridge, whenever that may be.

Liverpool are short on confidence and looked very uncertain at times at the back against Ludogorets in midweek. It doesn’t help that legends such as Bruce Grobbelaar have cited keeper Simon Mignolet as a prime reason for their leaky defence which, it must be remembered, shipped 52 goals last season when they finished second. He may not command his box as Grobbelaar would wish, but he is still an excellent shot-stopper and he alone is not the primary reason for the Reds’ woes.

Even so, Liverpool should get back on track and give Rodgers a little respite. The odds of 1.67 for a home win reflect Stoke’s woes and it may be worth looking at Liverpool to be leading at half-time and full-time at odds of 2.50.

VERDICT: Liverpool 3 Stoke 0 (Correct Score odds: 14.0 or 13/1)

All odds quoted from workingtontown.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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BURNLEY v ASTON VILLA – MCB’s Premier League Betting Preview

BURNLEY v ASTON VILLA

Saturday, 15:00

Burnley did us a favour last week – they won 2-1 at Stoke to give Correct Score backers a handy 15-point profit. Could a third consecutive win be on the cards for Sean Dyche’s side?

Dyche: Seeks trebleThe Clarets can haul themselves out of the bottom three with victory and leap-frog Villa at the same time. But these two are the lowest scorers in the Premier League, with Villa finding the net six times and Burnley netting eight times. Everyone else is in double figures after 12 games.

Burnley are 2.16 (29/25) to win, with Villa on offer at 3.55 (51/20). The draw is 3.20 (11/5).

Interestingly, 10 of the last 12 meetings saw both sides net and it is 1.92 (23/25) that both score this time.

The most fascinating trend is the lack of success Villa have had a Turf Moor. Burnley are unbeaten against the Villains in their last 22 meetings at home dating back to September 1929. The odds for that trend to continue are 1.32 (8/25) – backing Burnley and the Draw together.

Though Villa have avoided defeat in their last four encounters, this is the longest run Burnley have had without beating Villa since 1926.

Burnley entertain Newcastle at home on Tuesday and then travel to QPR before a tricky patch of games that include Southampton, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, so three points against fellow strugglers Villa would be most welcome.

Agbonlahor: Pace aceVilla are without a win on eight games, although there have been signs of life with consecutive draws at West Ham and at home to Southampton. They also enter an easier stretch, with winnable games against Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Brom upcoming.

The difference between Burnley and Villa is not that great. Burnley at least have a system and Dyche’s players buy into it. Villa rely too heavily on Gabriel Agbonlahor’s pace and while Andreas Wiemann grabs the odd goal, they lack a purpose, lack creativity and are low on confidence.

Their fragility has been exposed time and again this season and it would take a brave man to back them at a venue where points have been hard to come by for so long.

The best they can perhaps hope for is a draw, but we take Burnley to pile the pressure on manager Paul Lambert and steal another valuable win.

VERDICT: Burnley 2 Aston Villa 1 (Correct Score odds: 8.60 or 38/5)

All odds quoted from cefnfforestafc.myclubbetting.co.uk.

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