Premier League Preview & Tips April 6,7,8th April 2013

Reviews of all upcoming English Premier League fixtures from 6th to 8th April 2013.  Last week we gave predictions on the 8 Saturday games and got 5 correct results with 1 perfect score.

Sat 6 Apr 2013 – English Premier League

readingReading v Southamptonsouthampton

Madejski Stadium, Saturday 6th April 2013, kick-off 12:45

Reading are in deep trouble, having picked up just 5 points from 16 games away from home this season.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is a must-win at home for the Royals if they have any realistic hope of avoiding returning to the Championship.  They’ve now lost 6 Premier League matches in a row.

The Royals have made a habit of putting themselves in difficult positions early on in games, conceding the first goal 19 times this season already.

Southampton are coming off a fantastic win at home against Chelsea and will be full of confidence. The Saints have scored more times than any other team outside the top seven (44 goals) but they have not yet won away from home under Mauricio Pochettino in 4 EPL games.

Reading will be desperate to give themselves some hope of climbing off the bottom of the table but if they concede first again in this game it could signal the beginning of the end of the Royals’ Premier League survival battle.

Prediction: Reading 1 Southampton 3
Betting odds on full time result: Reading win 3.20, Draw 3.50 Southampton win 2.20
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norwich-cityNorwich City v Swansea Cityswansea-city

Carrow Road, Saturday 6th April 2013, kick-off 15:00

Norwich City’s form over the last 14 games is the worst in the Premier League, with the Canaries collecting just 9 points.  Against Swansea they have won all 3 of their Premier League meetings though, which have all been high scoring affairs.  Captain Grant Holt will be looking to add to his tally of 3 goals in his last 2 appearances against the Swans.

Swans goal machine Michu has scored an amazing 39% of Swansea’s goals this Premier League season. This is bettered only Christian Benteke.  However, in 2013 Michu has not once found the net away from the Liberty Stadium.
Fact: Swansea have not won a single Premier League match in the 2012/13 season after they have gone behind.

Prediction: Norwich City 2 Swansea City 3
Betting odds on full time result: Norwich City win 2.60, Draw 3.25 Swansea City win 2.75
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stoke-cityStoke City v Aston Villaaston-villa

The Britannia Stadium, Saturday 6th April; kick-off 15:00

Stoke aren’t exactly on fire at the moment, 34 points from 31 matches being their worst in five seasons in the EPL.   The Potters have just one win from their last 6 league matches played at the Britannia Stadium, very unlike the Stoke of seasons gone by.  They need to get more shots on target, as they’ve the lowest statistic in the league (together with Reading, 94 shots on target).

On Saturday, they come up against an Aston Villa team who are in even worse form, with the silver lining being the goal-scoring form of Christian Benteke (9 in 11 Premier League games).  Villa have sunk steadily lower in the table as the season has worn on and haven’t kept a clean sheet for 15 Premier League games.  Conversely, if Premier League matches ended at half-time, Aston Villa would be sixth in the table – above Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.  Unfortunately, they don’t and Villa aren’t – so if they go ahead in the first half on you may know what to expect.

Difficult to predict, this one.  A low scoring draw could be on the cards.

Prediction: Stoke City 1 Aston Villa 1
Betting odds on full time result: Stoke City win 2.10, Draw 3.30 Aston Villa win 3.60
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west-bromwich-albionWest Bromwich Albion v Arsenalarsenal

The Hawthorns, kick off 15:00 on Saturday

West Brom host a confident Arsenal side in what is shaping up to be one of the games of the day.

The Gunners had an impressive 26 shots against Reading on Saturday although only six were on target.  And although Arsenal have won their last 3 EPL games against West Brom, Steve Clarke’s men have won back-to-back matches at The Hawthorns against Sunderland and Swansea.

For the hosts, Shane Long is due a goal – he has not scored in his last 430 minutes of football.  The same can be said of Theo Walcott who has zero goals in his last 5 matches.

Arsenal are on a fine run of form and have a knack of scoring late goals this season. In fact, no other team has scored more goals after the 76th minute (The Gunners have netted 15).
The Baggies are no easy beats and they will be out to avenge their loss at West Ham last week by halting Arsenal’s great run towards a top four finish.

The Gunners are the favourites to win this with the bookies.

Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 2 Arsenal 2

Betting odds on full time result: West Brom win 3.75, Draw 3.60 AWAY win 1.95
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Sun 7 Apr 2013 – Premier League

liverpoolLiverpool v West Hamwest-ham-united

Anfield, Sunday April 7th, 2013; kick off 13:30

Following his 4 shots on Sunday, Luis Suarez has produced the most shots on-target (60) in the Premier League this season.  Liverpool have won 6 of their last 8 Premier League games against West Ham and will fancy themselves to overpower them on Sunday, too. The Reds’ home form is excellent with five wins from their last six at Anfield.

For the Hammers, Andy Carroll has scored four times in his last six EPL games, but will be unavailable to play here which significantly blunts the Hammers’ attacking options and aerial strength.

Some pretty good odds on a draw on this one, and massive returns for a rare Hammers win at Anfield.  Stranger things have happened in sport…

Prediction: Liverpool 3 West Ham 0
Betting odds on full time result: Liverpool win 1.33, Draw 5.25 AWAY win 9.00
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tottenham-hotspurTottenham Hotspur v Evertoneverton

White Hart Lane Stadium, Sunday April 7th; kick off 15:00

In their last meeting at Goodison Park, Everton managed to score two late goals to win the match at the death.  The same thing happened again to Tottenham just down the road away to Liverpool. The Lilywhiltes are in a great position to finish in the top 4 and need to get their momentum going again for the run in.

Everton have now won three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since January 2010, with all of those games being at Goodison.  Only the Manchester teams have a better home record than Everton (33 points from 16 games).  In contrast, David Moyes’ team have not won in their last three matches away from home in the Premier League (lost 2, drawn 1).

At this same stage last season, Harry Redknapp’s Spurs were a point better off than this season under AVB.  Everton’s Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic likes playing against Tottenham, having scored in both of his appearances against Spurs, but just the once in his last 14 Premier League matches.

Spurs will again be recovering from Thursday’s Europa League match with Basel, so the Toffees will have a better chance of emulating Fulham’s rare win at White Hart Lane.  Injuries to Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and William Gallas in the Basel game could prove to be decisive.  Spurs will also need to contain the dangerous and in-form Leighton Baines.  Everton look good value for an away win.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Everton 2
Betting odds on full time result: Tottenham win 2.25, Draw 3.30 Everton win 3.30
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chelseaChelsea v Sunderlandsunderland

Stamford Bridge, Sunday April 7th; kick-off 15:00

Chelsea will be glad to be back at Stamford Bridge, having failed to win any of their last four away games. The Blues’ away form (over five games) is actually worse than both Queens Park Rangers and Villa’s.  But Sunderland is a rich source of points for Chelsea – they’ve won 15 of their last 16 Premier League clashes with Sunderland.

Paolo Di Canio, who has already had to contend with a torrid media frenzy over non-football issues,  inherits a Sunderland side who have the worst record in the Premier League in the last 8 matches – just three points gained. He is the fifth manager to start his time in a Premier League job with a trip to Stamford Bridge. None of the previous four have won there.

It’s a big ask for Sunderland to win against the might of this expensive and superior Chelsea team who rarely lose two in a row.  Will the ‘new manager effect’ kick in for the Black Cats?  Good betting odds if it does, but perhaps not where the smart money will be.

Prediction: Chelsea 4 Sunderland 0
Betting odds on full time result: Chelsea win 1.33, Draw 5.00 Sunderland win 10.00
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newcastle-unitedNewcastle v Fulhamfulham

St. James’ Park, Sunday April 7th; kick-off 15:00

The Magpies will be glad to be back at St James’ – Only Reading have a worse away record than Newcastle this season. 25 of Newcastle’s 33 points have been picked up at home and the Magpies have won only once in 16 games away from St. James’ Park.  If they win this, it’ll be 4 straight home wins.

For Fulham, Dimitar Berbatov is on top form, having provided 8 of Fulham’s 13 shots on target in their last four Premier League games (against Stoke, Sunderland, Spurs and QPR) and scoring in every one of them.  The Cottagers have won 5 of their last 7 Premier League games against the Magpies and have only lost once in their last 5 away games.

Given Newcastle’s league table position (just 3 points above the relegation places), they should come out hungrier than Fulham (39 points and in 10th position) who do not have as much to play for this season now.  Or will fresher Fulham have too much for their Europa League travelling opponents – after all, Tottenham recently came undone at White Hart Lane in similar circumstances against the men from Craven Cottage.

Prediction: Newcastle 2 Fulham 1
Betting odds on full time result: Newcastle win 2.05, Draw 3.40 Fulham win 3.60
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queens-park-rangersQPR v Wigan Athleticwigan-athletic

Loftus Road, Sunday 7th April 2013, kick-off 16:10

Harry will need to tell his players to look at Wigan’s fighting spirit if they are going to do a Houdini themselves. Redknapp’s team have the worst shot conversion rate in the Premier League at under 10%.  One one hand, QPR have conceded fewer goals (51) than at the same stage of last season (54).  On the other, they have scored seven fewer (28 v 35).  Winning just the one home game in the last seven at Loftus Road is worrying.

For Wigan, Arouna Koné has scored 6 EPL goals in his last eight appearances as the Latics traditional late push gather momentum.  They have lost only one of their last five Premier League away matches, winning two of these.  Will the great escape experts win this six-pointer?  The stats suggest that they just might.

The bookies have QPR as favourites though, with the best returns for a draw or a Wigan win.

Prediction: QPR 1 Wigan Athletic 2
Betting odds on full time result: QPR win 2.30, Draw 3.40 AWAY win 3.10
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Mon 8 Apr 2013 – Premier League

manchester-unitedManchester United v Manchester Citymanchester-city

Old Trafford, Monday April 8th; kick-off 20:00

Although still mathematically possible that United could be pipped to the Premier League title by City again, this is the game that City simply must win to keep any hope alive.  But it would be some feat.  Manchester United will be aiming to keep their seventh Premier League clean sheet in a row, having not conceded for 627 minutes.  It seems Fergie’s warning about never again losing the title on goal difference was heard loud and clear.

And with United having dropped only 3 points from a possible 51 against bottom-half opposition this season, it’s easy to see how they’ve got so far ahead of the chasing pack.

For City, they have to go for it so expect to see an attacking game with United looking for opportunities on the counter.  Man City’s Silva has created more chances per match than any other player in the Premier League this season (3.3). A City win would certainly make for an interesting finish to the season – and for better odds on this game.

Prediction: Manchester United 2 Manchester City 3
Betting odds on full time result: Man Utd win 2.20, Draw 3.40  Man City win 3.25
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