Walker’s Word – Premier League Betting Preview – Part 1
Manchester United could delay Chelsea’s celebrations by a further week while Portsmouth could relegate both West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City this weekend writes David Walker.
Chelsea vs Manchester United
The clash of the form teams and the result which could confirm Chelsea’s retention of the Premiership should the Blues win. Chelsea have been impeccable in front of their own fans this season, winning 17 out of 18 Premiership matches. Indeed, the only time they have been beaten inside 90 minutes at home this season was against Barcelona in the Champions League. Manchester United are the Premiership’s form team, with 10 wins in their last 11 matches and the shocking goalless draw against Sunderland the only blot on an immaculate copybook.
United have won just four times at Stamford Bridge in 14 Premiership meetings while Chelsea have experienced the same success against the Reds on home soil. The match has finished all square on five occasions so historically there is not much to split the sides. Chelsea have won the last two meetings at home 1-0 while United’s last success came four years ago when they won 3-0.
Chelsea go into the match as favourites, but Manchester United could extend the title “race” to another week with victory at tempting odds.
Walker’s Word: Stubborn United to battle on @ 114.
Birmingham City vs Newcastle United
Birmingham are in desperate need of points if they are to avoid relegation and have slowly turned the corner by remaining unbeaten in their last three home games. However, with fellow relegation candidates Portsmouth also hitting form, Steve Bruce’s side may run out of games. The last two meetings between the pair have finished all square while Newcastle won 2-0 in 2002. Newcastle have hit a rich vein of form under caretaker manager Glenn Roeder and have won their last five matches. The Magpies will have a lot to say in the relegation battle, having beaten West Brom 3-0 last weekend and are unlikely to do a side which has not beaten them at St. Andrews since 1977 any favours.
Walker’s Word: Newcastle win @ 1710.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Liverpool, fresh from dispatching Chelsea out of the FA Cup will be confident of beating lowly Aston Villa. The Reds have won their last two against Villa at and three in their last five meetings at Anfield. While Liverpool have won 14 out of 18 home matches this season, David O’Leary’s side have been dreadful on the road. They have lost their last four, including two heavy defeats: 5-0 against Arsenal 5-0 and 4-1 at Everton. Villa are likely to survive relegation by the skin of their teeth and a better goal difference, but points on the board won’t prevent them from playing like a side tumbling out of the division on Saturday.
Walker’s Word: One for the big hitters – home win @ 411.
Manchester City vs Fulham
After a promising start to the season, Manchester City have plummeted to the lower echelons of the Premiership and will see this match as a way of restoring some pride. The last two meetings between the sides have ended as draws, although City have had the better of previous encounters. The Citizens dished out a 4-1 hammering in 2003 and enjoyed a 4-0 win in 2000 and 3-0 victory in 1999 as both sides progressed through Division’s One and Two respectively. Added to this, Fulham not won at City since 1984 in the old second division and Stuart Pearce’s side could take full advantage and creep above them in the table.
Walker’s Word: Manchester City @ Evens.
Middlesbrough vs Everton
Middlesbrough have experience a congested fixture list in recent weeks due to their success in the FA and UEFA Cups. Despite some iffy results on the road, they remain a force at the Riverside Stadium and have won four of their last five at home, including the 3-0 defeat of Chelsea. Everton have not beaten Middlesbrough away since 2000, with Boro recording two wins and two draws since then. The clash against Everton will be Middlesbrough’s tenth match in April and with Steve McClaren’s side playing a crucial UEFA Cup semi-final on Thursday, the Toffees have a chance of returning to Merseyside with at least a point.
Walker’s Word: Low scoring draw @ 94.
Wigan Athletic vs Portsmouth
Wigan have not fared well recently but have done remarkably well overall in their first season in the top flight. Just three wins in their last 13 matches and one victory in their last eight at home will give a resurgent Portsmouth optimism in their battle to avoid the drop. The Latics beat Aston Villa 3-2 on 18 April, their first since beating Manchester City on Boxing Day, but suffered five home reverses in between. Harry Redknapp’s side could relegate West Brom and indeed Birmingham if they win and Steve Bruce’s side lose and are in pole position to do so. After a dismal campaign, Pompey have won five of their last eight matches including away victories at West Ham United and Fulham.
Walker’s Word: Portsmouth to survive @ 74.
Charlton Athletic vs Blackburn Rovers
Charlton are on course to finish comfortably in mid-table and this is largely thanks to their solid home form. The Addicks have not lost at The Valley since Arsenal beat them on Boxing Day and have won six out of nine home matches since that defeat. Alan Curbishley’s side have a good record against Rovers, winning three of the last four Premiership meetings in London. Despite Blackburn being on course for a place in Europe, they have not fared well away from home. Mark Hughes’ side have won just won in seven matches on the road, including a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham and 2-2 draw at Portsmouth in their last two away games.
Walker’s Word: Home form to prevail @ 138.
Sunday 30 April
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bolton Wanderers
Bolton have been the scourge of Spurs in recent seasons, winning the last two meetings at White Hart Lane and also enjoying a 1-0 win at the Reebok Stadium back in November. Spurs realistically need to win both of their final two games to confirm a fourth place finish ahead of North London rivals Arsenal and their solid home form could serve them well here. Martin Jol’s side have won 11 out of 18 matches in front of their own fans this season and will be buoyed by the 1-1 derby draw with Arsenal last weekend. Another home win is the sensible bet here.
Walker’s Word: Tottenham Hotspur @ 813.