Clear your diary. Get comfortable on the sofa.
There’s another bumper weekend of Premier League action in store, with all four live TV matches likely to have a significant impact at both ends of the table.
Adrian Clarke runs the rule over an appetising set of fixtures…
Chelsea v Arsenal
It’s over five years since Arsenal left Stamford Bridge with anything but regrets, so when I see the leaders rated as 19/20 to beat Arsene Wenger’s men, that looks an attractive price. With the carrot of a 12-point gap opening up, there’s plenty of incentive for Antonio Conte’s side.
Those of you who take refereeing appointments into account may be interested to note that Martin Atkinson will be the man in the middle. He’s refereed fixtures between these two clubs four times, and the Blues have won on each occasion.
Known as card happy – he’s dished out 90 yellows and one red in 23 matches this season – don’t be surprised if the tough tackling Francis Coquelin (6/4) or N’Golo Kante (5/2) have their names taken by Atkinson.
What about the football? It’s win or bust for the Gunners, so I expect them to take the fight to Chelsea.
Both teams to score is just 4/6, but there is decent value in backing Arsenal, the division’s leading scorers away from home, to grab over 1.5 goals. That’s available at 41/20.
As much as the neutrals would like to see an Arsenal victory that blows the title race back open, hand and on heart I can’t confidently predict that.
For me an entertaining score draw, perhaps 2-2 (12/1) is a more likely outcome.
My price-boosted pick to score one of those goals would be fit again Danny Welbeck. He was sharp last weekend, and after a midweek rest, is somebody Chelsea must keep tabs on. He’s 29/10 to score anytime.
Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough
Every season you get at least one Premier League side that’s content to bore us silly with safety-first football, and in 2016-17 Middlesbrough take that crown. Manager Aitor Karanka hates conceding goals, so it’s nailed on that he’ll set up to keep a clean sheet at White Hart Lane.
For those of you who believe Karanka’s men are capable of holding out, there’s a pretty generous 7/1 on Spurs to score under 0.5 goals.
The 0-0 (it’s amazing how often teams experience back to back goalless draws, and Sunderland did hold Tottenham in midweek) is even steeper at 21/2.
Having collected 29 points from a possible 33 on home soil this season, you have to fancy Mauricio Pochettino’s men though.
Son Heung-Min has scored four goals in his last five appearances, and with memories of a match winning brace at the Riverside still fresh, he could be the man to watch.
Son is 11/8 to score, but if like me you can imagine the South Korean forward hitting the net anytime in a Spurs victory, it’s 17/10 on the Grosvenor Wincast.
Manchester City v Swansea City
From the outside looking in, Pep Guardiola and Sergio Aguero don’t see eye to eye.
The Manchester City boss has dropped his superstar striker more than once this term, and the Argentine looked peeved with a capital ‘P’ to be sat on the bench watching new hotshot Gabriel Jesus grab headlines at West Ham.
But was this latest axe merely a motivational exercise to keep Aguero on his toes? Perhaps.
If it was, and he starts his leading marksman on Sunday, the Welshmen had better watch out. A fired-up Aguero is capable of causing serious damage, especially with wide men Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in tip-top shape at the moment. Based on current form, the ammunition will be excellent.
Sergio Aguero is 12/5 to score the first goal, and if you think he’ll do that in a Man City victory you can stretch the odds to 3/1 on the Wincast.
Should Swansea be written off as no hopers? Not completely.
They’ve picked up back-to-back wins under the astute Paul Clement, and will have gained great belief from their stunning 3-2 triumph at Liverpool.
While I think it’s probably asking too much to claim a third win in a row (12/1) the draw is available at 6/1.
Remember, City have failed to win five of 11 Premier League matches at the Etihad under Guardiola.
Leicester City v Manchester United
The first goal is always crucial, but for the soon-to-be-dethroned champions it feels like an absolute must at home to Manchester United. With morale so fragile and a relegation battle looming, they desperately need an early boost.
As we saw when Manchester City came to their patch, Claudio Ranieri’s players are far better when they’re front running.
The Foxes have bagged the opener five times at the King Power this season, claiming three points every single time. In contrast when they’ve shipped the first goal at home, last season’s miracle men have drawn one and lost three. A fast start is essential.
Based on their last few performances this tip sounds fanciful, but the 7/1 on Leicester/Leicester could be a shrewd one to land.
Although Manchester United are on a 14-match unbeaten Premier League run, they are a hard side to judge at the moment, especially on their travels.
Since the turn of the year away from Old Trafford they have edged past 10-man West Ham, drawn with Stoke thanks to a late equaliser, and lost 2-1 at Hull in the EFL Cup semi-final. It’s not been exhilarating stuff.
So flying in the face of the form table I’m leaning towards Riyad Mahrez to score (22/5) in a 2-1 win (14/1) that would be just the tonic Leicester City need.
If you fancy an Acca on my selections for this weekend’s televised matches, the Chelsea/Arsenal draw, Spurs, Manchester City and Leicester four-fold comes out at 31/1.
You can watch all this weekend’s goals from the Premier League from the comfort of any one of our 53 local casinos in the UK.
Diego Costa has been boosted to 15/4 (from 33/10) as well as seven other players this week.
We also have a multitude of Enhanced Accumulators including Man City, Man Utd & Brighton all to win at 4-1.
Image: ronmacphotos/flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))
Leave a Reply