Ok. thank you FA Cup, that’s quite enough magic for now, back down to business in the Premier League this weekend and their are some titanic clashes as Chelsea visit the Etihad in a game that could be pivotal for their season, Steven Gerrard puts his Liverpool shirt under his suit ready to strip down if his Villa team can get the VAR onside this week against Man United, and then there’s small matter of Spurs v Arsenal on Sunday afternoon to look forward to.
Smashing stuff I think you’ll agree.
But what’d make it even better is if we could find a few shrewd selections for some of the games.
HELLO FROM PADDY POWER NEWS!
That’s where our top footie traders Jason Murphy, Emmet O’Keeffe and Brian McDonnell come in.
We literally pay them to crunch the numbers, consider the angles and weigh up the best wagers, so who better to talk you through the very best bets of the weekend?
They’ve picked their banker of the weekend, their value plays worth a look and thrown in a little something to be the cornerstone of your Bet Builder on some of the biggest games, just click or tap below to get their read on the weekend’s action…
West Ham v Leeds: Both teams to score & Over 2.5 Goals
All recent evidence points to high-scoring game between the Premier League’s great entertainers… and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds.
It was always possible David Moyes would enjoy a late career revival at a mid-ranking Premier League club, but his evolution into a progressive modern manager is something I never thought possible.
West Ham scored 62 league goals last season – more than any of his Everton teams, averaging 1.63 goals per game and have improved to 1.85 this campaign. No team outside of the Premier League’s big three has scored more and their expected goals (XG) figures suggest it’s no fluke.
It’s very hard to see a Leeds side shorn of Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper keeping them at bay, though West Ham also have their own defensive injuries. Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma remain out and their absences were felt over Christmas where West Ham conceded a total of six goals to Watford, Palace and Southampton.
With Patrick Bamford due to return to the starting line-up, Leeds should carry enough threat to make an this a high scoring and profitable game for Overs backers.
Man City v Chelsea: Man City to Win
The best bet I have this weekend is simply Man City to beat Chelsea.
You get to cheer on the team that will be dominant and do the most attacking. Confidence can be taken from what we saw between the sides in the reverse fixture in September.
Chelsea went into that game joint top of table with Liverpool after five matches and we thought we’d have a three-horse title race. That all changed in that game at Stamford Bridge.
Since then, Man City went from two points behind Chelsea to 10 points clear of them, and Tuchel’s side were so disappointing and passive in that game.
What have Newcastle, Southampton, Watford and Burnley all got in common? They all created more quality and/or quantity of chances against Man City this season than Chelsea did
In fact, Chelsea didn’t even have a shot on target against Guardiola’s men, and Chelsea will be weaker this time around with Reece James out and Kepa replacing Mendy in goal.
Aston Villa v Man United: Aston Villa to Win
When is the last time Aston Villa beat Manchester United in a home league game? If you guessed August 19, 1995, congrats! I’d guess you were probably there and tell your son how the Holte End was rocking that day. I think the Villa Park faithful could relive that summer’s day with a win this weekend.
Last Monday night, you might have wondered how Villa didn’t at least get extra-time out of their FA Cup tie with the Red Devils. United got the goal and had their moments, but Villa looked the better team on the day.
The price on them to win seems big for a Villa side who are playing with confidence again. Gerrard’s in the dugout, new faces are arriving in Lucas Digne & Coutinho, and Danny Ings is relishing playing without Oli Watkins, so they look a threat to United.
Nothing has changed with the visitors since Ole left. There is clear discontent amongst the players with the system Ralf Rangnick is trying to introduce, and Villa can take advantage of it.
Liverpool v Brentford: Double Chance – Brentford & Draw
Brentford couldn’t play Liverpool at a better time, coming three days after Jurgen Klopp played his strongest team in the League Cup semi-final and missing Mo Salah and Sadio Mane on AFCON duty.
This puts further strain on a squad that hasn’t the depth of Man City and Chelsea, and while Klopp may be able to rotate one or two for this game, injuries to Thiago and Divock Origi leave Liverpool vulnerable.
Whether Brentford are good enough to pull off an upset is open to question. Thomas Frank’s side meekly subsided at St Marys on Tuesday, but I’m prepared to back them at a generous price to avoid defeat.
The Bees have been very competitive against the league’s elite this year, drawing with Liverpool, dominating the XG in a 1-0 loss to Chelsea and narrowly losing to Man City.
Aston Villa v Man United: Aston Villa Win & Under 3.5 Goals
I didn’t know the answer to Brian’s quiz question, but I do remember watching Match of the Day that night when Alan Hansen said “You’ll never win anything with kids…” One of the more unsuccessful predictions I think any of us can remember!
Hopefully this tip will be a memorable prediction for all the right reasons.
Even as a United fan, watching the FA Cup game Monday night, I knew if price was right, that I would look to back Villa this weekend.
They were the better team at Old Trafford and are decent pric just to win, but at longer odds, you can get Aston Villa to win and under 3.5 goals.
Since Steven Gerrard took over, ‘Under 3.5’ goals has clicked in eight of his nine matches.
United are missing Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay through suspension, Ronaldo, Jason Sancho and Harry Maguire are doubtful, and even if they’re fit, United wouldn’t inspire confidence under Rangnick at the moment.
Newcastle v Watford: Watford to win & Both teams to score
It’s only mid-January but this game has the feeling of a must win for both teams here.
While the tactic this weekend might be to throw in new signing Chris Wood and have another new arival, Kieran Trippier, whip crosses on to his head all afternoon, I think the value in this one lies with Watford
They’ve only won four games all season, but all four have seen both teams scoring at an average of over five goals per game.
There’s also more pressure on Newcastle to get a result here in front of their home crowd who couldl turn if the match is going against them early on.
The away side have lost a couple of players to AFCON, but kept their star striker, Emmanuel Dennis and that could be crucial.
I’d take them to edge it and both teams to score at around 5/1.
Man City v Chelsea: Bernardo Silva to be carded
The Portuguese magician is that rare player who matches technical excellence with an outstanding work-rate off the ball.
You’ve surely heard a pundit or two utter the stock phrase ‘Bernardo likes a tackle’ and while that is a horrible cliché, it’s also true.
He’s already accrued five bookings this season, joint highest in the City squad. Given that and the intensity we can expect in Saturday lunchtime’s clash, this looks a more-than-fair price.
Man City v Chelsea: Man City to Win
When we put up these tips, we are genuine in picking them and really are giving you our best bets and insights. I could tell you why Newcastle and Everton are too short. Or I could’ve told you all the players missing for Leicester this weekend – Evans, Fofana, Soyuncu, Castagne, Pereira, Ndidi, Mendy, Soumare, Iheanacho and Vardy – and why you should look for a way to side with Burnley, until their game was cancelled.
But I’m not going to mix it up just for variety’s sake. Man City to win can be the foundation of any Bet Builder on that game this Saturday.
If my reasoning above didn’t convince you, here’s a stat – Man City have won their last seven competitive matches, scoring over 3.5 goals per game. Back City to win in confidence here.
Man City v Chelsea: Over 2.5 goals
The lack of a striker hasn’t hampered the Citizens this season with 53 league goals scored (a league high) and 31 of those coming at the Etihad.
Despite only conceding six goals at home this season, three of those came against Leicester in their last home outing. City were vulnerable again against Arsenal recently and were lucky to only concede the one goal at the Emirates.
Despite being on the ropes in these games they’ve got the result.
Chelsea are coming to Manchester knowing anything other than a win will all but spell the end to their already diminished title challenge.
They could say they have nothing to lose and that would lead into an open game with plenty of chances at both ends. They’ve scored 20 away goals this season.
The last six Premier League meetings at the Etihad between these sides have averaged 3.33 goals per game and I think we could be in for another cracker of a game here.