I was close enough with Champions League predictions, but now the focus is back onto the Premier League
The planes have landed, the warm weather is coming back, and we’re heading into crunch time in the Premier League at both ends of the table. Leicester now have to show their merit as worthy champions, and show off to the world why they deserve to get the fairytale ending that Claudio Ranieri wants . They are key in my 5/1 Saturday treble along with Stoke and Watford.
West Ham vs Sunderland – Saturday 12:45 LIVE on BT Sport
West Ham are just favourites, and Sunderland badly need the victory. But I’m with Paddy on this count.
West Ham are a young, ambitious side and are playing fantastically now they’ve got Dmitri Payet back. The way they’re playing football is brilliant to watch. The players are enjoying themselves and they can really push on in this league. Sam Allardyce won’t want to be heading back to the Boleyn Ground, particularly with his side out of form. Irons win
Andy’s bet: West Ham win at 5/6
Southampton vs Chelsea – Saturday 3pm Live on Setanta Ireland
I think Chelsea need to go and play this game. Take their focus off of the FA Cup, off of the Champions League and work their way up the table. They’re 12th now, they’ll want to get into the top 10. I think they’ll play their best side available. They go to Norwich on Tuesday but won’t be worried.
Southampton are decent and are in that cluster of teams that are fighting to get into (or stay away from) the Europa League. I’d be hedging my bets. The draw is very tempting
Andy’s bet: Draw at 9/4
Manchester United vs Arsenal – Sunday 2:05– LIVE on Sky Sports
The way Man United are at the moment, any win is good. All this talk about turning a corner though is confusing me, they’ve only beaten Shrewsbury and Midtjylland. Well get a better idea this weekend. Arsenal are a better barometer to see if they’ve turned a corner.
I like the look of the Gunners. United have been hit by injuries badly, and Arsenal got an important win over Leicester last weekend.
Yes, they did lose to Barcelona mid week, and were a bit flat in doing so, but I think they’ll go to Old Trafford and break a long hoodoo in the Theatre of Dreams
Andy’s bet: Olivier Giroud first goalscorer at 5/1
Liverpool vs Manchester City – Sunday 4:30 – LIVE on Sky Sports
I fancy Manchester City. They had another great result in Kiev on Wednesday. They’ve all their big players fit apart from Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure looked back to his best in the away game.
Liverpool are so hot and cold these days. They need their best form to come out and hope that City have an off day. Aguero’s back scoring and he got one during the week. He could well open the scoring. I’d be looking at Toure as well, and for Liverpool, maybe Firmino.
Andy’s bet: Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 10/3
Watford vs Bournemouth – 3pm Saturday
This is probably the trickiest game to call for me this weekend. You’ve got two closely matches sides, two form strikers in Benik Afobe and Odion Ighalo, and two very attacking minded managers.
I think home advantage just tips the scales towards Watford though. Hornets love sweet things, and what’s sweeter than a Cherry?
Andy’s bet: Watford to win at 11/8
Leicester vs Norwich – 3pm Saturday
The way this Premier League campaign has gone, it would not surprise me to see Norwich toppling Leicester this Saturday. This year has just been full of twists and turns. Norwich are one of those teams (as Liverpool found out) that’ll kick and fight their way through 90+ minutes. They don’t give in.
But I do fancy the Foxes. They’ve had a couple of weeks rest, a good relaxing time in the sunshine, and have to kick on for the final 10 or 12 games. I think it’ll be a close game though. Low scoring Leicester win.
Andy’s bet: Leicester 1-0 Norwich at 6/1
West Brom vs Crystal Palace – 3pm Saturday
I’m thinking a bit like the Southampton and Chelsea game for this. I’m looking for a draw, which is a decent bet.
Palace’s style of play particularly away from home, is quite defensive and scrappy. It’s almost like Alan Pardew is trying to be like Tony Pulis the way his team sets up when not at Selhurst Park
West Brom are tricky enough to beat at the Hawthorns when Tony Pulis has his way. They’ll want to respond after being embarrassed in the cup at Reading, but against a resolute defence, I don’t see them winning. Back the score draw
Andy’s bet: Score draw at 10/3
Stoke vs Aston Villa – 3pm
Stoke are my banker for this week.
There’s nothing about Aston Villa that suggest to me that they can win too many football matches. They’re in sorry state of affairs and as an ex-Villain it hurts me to say that. Stoke at home, we all know the joke and the cliché at this stage. Easy Potters win
Andy’s bet: 3-0 Stoke at 12/1
Spurs vs Swansea – 2:05 Sunday
There seems to be no stopping Spurs at the moment. They’ve got a young squad who seem determined and they’ got another good result during the week in the Europa League to set up a mouth-watering last 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund. They’re going to be right in this title race until the very end, and I don’t think Swansea have the quality to stop them on Sunday
Andy’s bet: 2-0 Spurs at 11/2