Premier League Heats Up
April 19, 2012
Post created by Tim
With roughly four rounds of fixtures remaining the Premier League has reached fever pitch as teams get closer to their potential fates. At the bottom there is a scrabble for points so desperate and undignified it feels like someone left their fries in a fat camp, and the battle at the top has been reignited by Roberto Mancini’s clever ruse of pretending it is all over. There are some games this weekend that could go a long way to deciding who is in the league next year, and who’ll be defending their title.
Unsurprisingly, the double-edged sword of TV money means both Manchester’s United and City will have to wait until Sunday to play, with City kicking off nearly two hours after the United game finishes, and that could well mean extra pressure on the men in sky blue. Sir Alex Ferguson welcomes Everton to Old Trafford with the Red Devils 1/3 favourites (with VictorChandler) to win the game, and most bookies favouring them by three or more goals, but Wigan showed last weekend what can become of complacent hosts in beating Arsenal.
£20 FREE at Unibet: Man U: 1.30 | Draw: 5.00 | Everton: 10.00
Having said that, Everton have little to play for and David Moyes may struggle to motivate his men, a problem I very much doubt Mancini will have prior to City’s 4pm kick-off away at Wolves. The return of Carlos Tevez has given them a new dimension, and they are at 1/4 to beat the team most have accepted are already relegated, with 2-0 the favoured score (13/2, WilliamHill) Considering Wolves have two points from their last ten games, it’s hard not to agree with those evaluations.
£20 FREE at Unibet: Wolverhampton: 11.00 | Draw: 5.50 | Man City: 1.25
The top four will almost certainly contain the Gunners, despite their aforementioned loss to Wigan, and they take on Chelsea in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. Wenger’s side are even-money to win the game, with most places favouring a 1-goal win, but this Chelsea side will be difficult to predict. Their win over Barca could well have a galvanising effect, but on the other hand players will need resting ahead of the trip to Spain, which is surely a bigger game than this for the Blues.
£20 FREE at Unibet: Arsenal: 1.95 | Draw: 3.40 | Chelsea: 3.75
At the other end of the table we’ve got an extremely interesting set of fixtures, all kicking off at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, with the three sides fighting not to be relegated all at home. Bolton and Blackburn both host promoted sides who have massively outperformed much more established teams, while QPR host a Spurs team struggling to get over the line in terms of qualifying for the Champions League.
Blackburn host Norwich in a game that, if they lose and the side around them win could well see the Rovers all but down. They are 11/10 favourites (Bet365) to win, but the Canaries are a very good team and if Steve Kean’s side play as poorly as they did against Swansea or West Brom the away side could easily nick this one and send Blackburn fans into a world of hurt. Of course, the opposite is also true, but the silver lining gets harder to see the further down the table you slide.
£20 FREE at Unibet: Blackburn: 2.05 | Draw: 3.40 | Norwich: 3.40
Bolton have to face the Barcelona of the valleys, and Swansea against the Trotters could be a cracking game, even if the top-rated score is a 1-1 draw (WilliamHill). Both sides play good football at a decent pace, but Swansea have the freedom of knowing they are safe and that could be the difference between scoring and fluffing your lines. The home team are still marginal favourites to win this game, but I doubt any home fan will be feeling too confident.
£20 FREE at Unibet: Bolton: 2.20 | Draw: 3.25 | Swansea City: 3.20
QPR are hosting Spurs, who can boast just two wins in their last ten league games, form more suited to relegation, but Tottenham are still fancied for the win (10/11, Bet365). A lot will depend on the defenders the away side can call on but Mark Hughes knows his entire remit was ‘safety first’, and with his team a couple of points above Bolton in 18th he has nearly got there. However it goes down this Saturday afternoon will be absolutely pivotal in forming next season’s table, and deciding what name is engraved on the trophy, so don’t miss a second of the action as it unfolds.
£20 FREE at Unibet: QPR: 4.00 | Draw: 3.650 | Tottenham: 1.85