Liverpool vs Swansea

Saturday’s game offers Liverpool a great opportunity to break into the top 4 ahead of the international break. With both Spurs and Chelsea stuttering in recent weeks, now is the time to start putting wins together, and move on up.

Liverpool are in good form at the moment – unbeaten in their last six games, with four wins – and it looks like Carroll and Suarez are finally striking up the partnership that King Kenny envisaged all the way back in January. With Bellamy on the bench, there is certainly greater competition between the strikers, and a bigger attacking threat going forwards.

Unfortunatley Steven gerrard’s return has had to be curtailed, this time an ankle infection is causing the trouble, though he should / might be back once th international games have been played out. When we do finally get him playing in the team we will start to look like genuine contenders, but for now w’ll have to make do with Henderson and Adam, who, to be fair, have done reasonable well so far.

The biggest disappointment so far has been the effectiveness of Stewart Downing – an expensive £19m buy from Villa who has yet to create too many assists. With Carroll in the first team proper this might all change, but in all truth the quality of the man in the middle has never been an issue, the ball just simply doesn’t make it into anything like the right areas when he crosses it in!

Swansea are an entertaining side, and are comfortable on the ball. In fact, they keep possession better than everyone but Chelsea and Arsenal in the league, which may well make for a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool fans. That said, they seem to do better at home than on the road, with lowly Norwich amongst the teams to win by two goals or more when the Swans are the visiting side. We’re quietly confident.

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RESULT BET
Liverpool are expected to win against Swansea, with bookies offering a measly 1.36 on a home win (Paddy Power). It means we’re forceed to pick the score instead, and with Suarez in good form, we’re plumping for a 3-1 vitory, available at a cool 11.0 (Ladbrokes).

BEST BET
Liverpool are normally quick out of the blocks when they have the Kop screaming them forwards, so gambling on a Liverpool/Liverpool ht/ft seems good value to us (at 1.8 with Bet Clic).

As ever, let us know your hot tips too! :)

West Brom vs Liverpool

After last week’s disappointing result against Norwich, when they were held to a 1-1 draw, Liverpool really need to start picking up maximum points – they currently lie in 6th, a full 10 points behind Manchester City. Thankfully both Chelsea and Manchester United dropped points too last week, but Liverpool missed out on the chance to capitalise on it.

Liverpool created chances against the Canaries last Saturday but struggled to convert them – Luis Suarez actually set a new Premiership record for having 10 shots in a game without scoring. By the looks of Wednesday’s performance, when Suarez put on a stellar show and scored two goals, including a late, late winner, the Uruguayan striker has solved his striking issues.

All of which puts Liverpool in good shape – Gerrard is back, the midfield has started to settle, with Jordan Henderson playing an integral part in the Carling Cup win, and the defence seem to have it pretty much nailed.

West Brom enter the tie in good form, with last week’s derby win over Aston Villa (at Villa Park) showing that they have both the resolute defending and goal scoring needed to progress. Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has made the Baggies difficult to beat, especially at home, but they still seem to lack the partner up-front for Odemwingie. It should be a close game… (live on ESPN in the UK)

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RESULT BET
In spite of playing away from home, Liverpool are firm favourites (at 1.83 with Paddy Power), and at those odds we’re happy just to back them. If you wanted a score bet, we fancy 2-1 (8.5 at Ladbrokes).

BEST BET
We may have fell out with him last week (well, not really, but still…) but we’re still backing him to score again this week. Back Suarez as an anytime scorer at 2.2 (Bet Clic). Come on El Pistolero!

As ever, let us know your hot tips too! :)

Chelsea vs Arsenal

Now is probably a good time to play Chelsea. The board is in disarray after they lost their battle with their own fans for the rights to the stadum, John Terry is all over the papers for all the wrong reasons, and the team is suffering in terms of form, with manager Andre Villas-Boas struggling to come up with an attacking formation that works.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have both Thomas Vermaelen coming back, as well as an actual right-back in the form of Carl Jenkinson – it actually gives the defence a chance! They will not be being tested by Didier Drogba, who is suspended following his red-card antics last week, though Chelsea have a £50m replacement waiting in the wings…

Chelsea were taken to extra-time in the Carling Cup, so there may well be some tired legs out there on Saturday morning, whereas Arsenal were barely put through their paces by a lacklustre Bolton, which even afforded Wenger the chance to rest a few players.

Previous matches between these two London sides have resulted in mass brawls, which may well happen again this time around, with Ashley Cole set to take centre-stage once more. Chelsea will be organised, but Arsenal will dominate possession. It should be an interesting game…

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RESULT BET
We think this game has a draw written all over it (available at 4.0 with Paddy Power). If we had to guess, we’d say it will be a score-draw 1-1 (7.5 at Ladbrokes).

BEST BET
We know its going to be a contentious game, and we think that Chelsea will be up and out of the starting blocks early. Expect a few BIG challenges early doors. With this in mind, we’re highlighting the fact that you can bet on Ashley Cole to be carded (red or yellow) in the match at 2.75 (Bet Clic). Looks good to us…

As ever, let us know your hot tips too! :)

Everton vs United

After last week’s capitulation at the hands of Citeh (thats the last time we’ll mention it, we promise!), Manchester United have been likened to a wounded animal, just waiting to lash out at the next person who happens to walk through the woods. The only problem is that, in Everton, they have a formidable opponent, especially when it’s on their home turf.

It’s not the ideal opponent for a confidence-boosting win, and the blues of Liverpool always seem to try extra hard against United – they’ve taken points off us in each of the past 3 seasons. Whilst what we needed may have been some Premiership newboys ready for a good whipping, this game may actually help us out more in the long run. We may have gained some confidence from beating a plucky Swansea side 4-0, but in truth everybody would have been waiting for us to come up against a real opponent. Everton are just that.

It’s been very much a season of two halves so far for United – they powered out of the starting blocks in the early stages and took Arsenal to the sword, but ever since Tom Cleverly got injured against Bolton they have struggled to regain that luency and dynamism in the centre of midfield. With his return against Aldershot on Tuesday, at least we can rely on that for the game versus Everton.

Hernandez and Berbatov have impressed in recent weeks, and might be selected ahead of Wayne Rooney, who tends to be protected whenever the Reds head to Goodison. That said, Rooney was one of the few players who have played their hearts out in every match (I’m looking at you, Rio!) so maybe we can’t afford to be without him? It should be an interesting game…

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RESULT BET
It’s rare that Manchester United are ever offered at anything above 1.5 to win, but with the recent uncertainty they are available at 1.83 to win (with Paddy Power). We think those odds are high enough (and we’re not completely sure how well we’ll fare in a tough-tackling match but if you fancy a more exhilarating ride, we’re backing the Reds to run out as 2-1 winners (8.0 at Ladbrokes).

BEST BET
Given the fairly sloppy nature of the goals United have conceded over recent weeks (Basel, etc) we think that the chances are that Everton will score. In which case we think backing both teams to score at 1.82 (Bet Clic) makes sense. No, we don’t want them to score either, but…!

As ever, let us know your hot tips too! :)

United vs City

Can you believe it!? Last week we correctly predicted that it would be a draw, and that Gerrard and Hernandez would score!

Another week, another massive match! Fresh from a tough away trip to Romania, and last Saturday’s 90 minutes against Liverpool, United face their main title rivals. Whilst Manchester United will benefit from playing at home, Manchester City can be thankful that their Champions League match on Tuesday was played at the Etihad Stadium, with the players returning to their own beds away from the gruelling away-day routine. And it’s that freshness that will make this match a hard one to call.

Undoubtedly Sir Alex Ferguson will freshen up his team from the one that played against Olegati, with Rio Ferdinand set to return to partner Nemanja Vidic in the centre of defence. In midfield, we’re expecting the tireless Darren Fletcher to be teamed up with Giggs, who has a habit of performing well in Derby matches, with Nani and Ashley Young providing the attacking threat down the wings.

In spite of Michael Owen’s derby-day heroics in previous matches, expect to see him starting on the bench (alongside Berbs), with Rooney and Hernandez trying to create chances against a backline that have conceded just 6 goals all season.

In terms of experience United probably have the upper-hand, but in reality the quality of the players Manchester City have at their disposal shoudl narrow that to only the slightest of margins. David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli are all capable of changing the game in an instant, whilst the back-line is shielded by the gargantuan Yaya Toure and hard-working Gareth Barry.

All in all, it has the makings of another 4-3 classic, especially now that City play a much more expansive and attacking football. It’s a close one to call.

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RESULT BET
It WILL be close, but we think that home advantage will hand United the edge. They are available at 2.0, which is great value for a game at Old Trafford (Paddy Power). If we had to pick a score, we’d be looking at something like 3-2 (at a massive 21.5 at Ladbrokes), but getting the right result will be tough enough!

BEST BET
Though we’re backing United to win, we still think City will score. You could back both teams to score (at 1.57 with PaddyPower), but we think the smarter money is on Sergio Aguero – as United fans we hate to say it, but he looks great at the moment, and if anyone is going to score, we think it will be him (at 2.4 with Bet Clic).

Who are you backing? Post your bets below and let us know your success stories!

Arsenal vs Stoke

Arsenal enter the game against Stoke with something of a defensive crisis on their hands. Having already lost first-choice right-back Bacary Sagna until the new year, stand-in right back Carl Jenkinson pulled up after 60 minutes on Wednesday, leaving the Gunners with no more specialist full-backs to play. Against Marseille it was Johan Djourou that was brought on to play, but against Stoke it might end up being Coquelin.

After the confidence-inspiring win in mid-week, Arsenal were probably hoping for a bit of an easier match on Sunday than a game against the most physical and bustling team in the Premier League. Stoke will be at a distinct disadvantage, having played in Europe on Thursday night, but their hassling style of play and their workhorse footballers should still be able to make life difficult for Arsenal.

With Arteta and Ramsey starting to link up well in the centre of midfield, the Gunners finally have something of a spine in the team, with Mertesacker and Vermaelen trusted at the back, and Robin van Persie leading by example from the front. They finally start to look like a team.

Hopefully their defensive frailty is behind them – it will be severely tested by the battering ram of Stoke’s throw ins and corners – and Arsenal will have the ability to pick their way through where Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United have failed. We shall see…

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RESULT BET
Arsenal have a good record at home, so we fully expect them to do enough. You can back them at 1.53 (Paddy Power). If we were score-betting, we’d proably go for 2-1 (8.5 at Ladbrokes).

BEST BET
Robin van Persie looked in imperious form last week, with his delightful fade and then chip almost taking the Goal of the Season Award with only 8 games gone. We’re backing him as an anytime goalscorer at 1.83 (Bet Clic). Looks good to us… Come on Arsenal!

What are you betting on? Let us know below.