Happy New Year to everyone!
Friday 30th December
Liverpool v Newcastle United Live on Skysports1
Liverpool continue to struggle to score goals and were left frustrated by a resilient Blackburn in a 1-1 draw at Anfield last weekend. Newcastle steadied the ship with a 2-0 win at Bolton having lost three of their previous four games. This has traditionally been a thrilling encounter and Liverpool will certainly be going all-out for a victory to put themselves in the thick of the chase for a Champions League spot.
The bookmakers may be under-estimating Newcastle a little by offering 3-1 against them coming away with a point. Although they have struggled in recent matches, they were facing a particularly difficult run of fixtures and last week’s victory will have restored some pride. Demba Ba remains a persistent threat and 5-2 about him scoring at anytime looks tempting. Also note that Liverpool’s Luiz Suarez is banned for this game and other players need to step up. Ladbrokes offer the best price of 8-1 about another frustrating time for the Reds and a 1-1 draw.
Saturday 31st December
Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers Live on ESPN HD
Blackburn thoroughly deserved their 1-1 draw at Liverpool, although they needed an inspired display from stand-in goalkeeper Mark Bunn. With Manchester United scoring for fun in recent games it is difficult to imagine Steve Kean’s side holding out in similar fashion at Old Trafford. It is a measure of the gulf between the sides that Victor Chandler are happy to offer 28-1 against a shock Blackburn victory. With no value in the result market, it may be worth taking some of the fancy prices about a big home victory. You can get 33-1 on United chalking up a 6-0 win and as high as 80-1 with Stan James about them smashing seven goals past the hapless Rovers.
Arsenal v QPR Live on Setanta Ireland
Arsenal dropped valuable points at home to Wolves over Christmas and will be desperate not to make the same mistake against their struggling London rivals QPR. The Gunners could not make the extra man count and had to settle for a point against a determined Wolves side, missing out on the chance to move into fourth place in the Premiership in the process.
Mikel Arteta has been slow to hit form for Arsenal but has been looking sharper in recent matches and could be worth supporting at 12-1 with Corals to open the scoring. A 3-1 home win is forecast at odds of 10-1 (freely available).
Also; Bolton v Wolves, Chelsea v Aston Villa, Norwich City v Fulham, Stoke City v Wigan, Swansea v Spurs
Sunday 1st January
West Brom v Everton Live on Skysports 1
West Brom came within inches of inflicting a shock defeat on Manchester City last weekend and a repeat of that performance would certainly be good enough to beat an Everton side that is still struggling to hit the target. However, the best price on offer about Albion is a miserly 13-8 so it could be worth having a little of the 12-5 about the two sides cancelling each other out. 1-1 is the most likely scoreline and is priced at around 6-1.
Sunderland v Manchester City Live on Skysports 1
Sunderland have looked a much-improved side in recent matches, boosted by the arrival of Martin O’Neill. A few weeks ago Manchester City would have gone into this game full of confidence but a defeat at Chelsea and a draw at West Brom has taken the wind out of their sales and allowed Manchester United to draw level on points. With United facing a much easier task at home to bottom club Blackburn, the pressure will be on Mancini’s men to return to winning ways.
William Hill are offering a best price of 17-5 against Sunderland holding City to a draw. 8-1 is available with Ladbrokes about a 1-1 scoreline. Bendtner could be value at 10-1 to open the scoring for the Black Cats.
Monday 2nd January
Fulham v Arsenal Live on Skysports 1
Fulham bounced back from their humiliating defeat at the hands of Manchester United by battling to a draw at Chelsea over Christmas. If they show a similar spirit against Arsenal they could make a game of it but it is difficult to know which Fulham side will turn up. Arsenal are probably a safer bet at 20-21 to come away with all three points while Van Persie predictably heads the first goalscorer market at 7-2. Arsenal are 16-1 to come away with a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
Also; Aston Villa v Swansea, Blackburn Rovers v Stoke City, QPR v Norwich City, Wolves v Chelsea