Today sees the final gameweek of the Premier League and pretty much concludes the football season. Another long summer awaits, with 'ITK's' no doubt coming out in force, transfer gossip and so on. Anyhow, onto today - let's try cap off the season with a winning day. Last week was quite poor results...
Our unders bet between Everton/Wham somehow copped, with Everton winning 2-0. If it wasn't for some excellent keeping, it would have been more, so certainly a bit of luck with that result. West Ham showed their usual slack away form, whilst Everton reacted very well to the Moyes news. Fortunate here. WBA never turned up, just as I was praising them about doing so with nothing riding on things for them, with Steve Clarke saying it was their worst performance of the season! 2pts dropped there. That said, I feel a touch unfortunate about the Southampton result, it ending 1-1, but Sunderland again showed a lack of quality going forward, whereas Soton outpassed and outplayed them, and should have got the victory for me. Man United was very disappointing, and I am cursing myself for letting myself get caught up a little bit in the emotion perhaps. After an absymal performance against Chelsea, and with the Fergie news, I really thought they would come out all guns blazing, but I guess the occasion got to them and they certainly got fortunate in winning. Swansea played very well, and Michu's return boosted them (I thought he was out for the season!)
Under 2.5 goals Everton v Wham, Winner = +1.875pts
WBA, Loser = -2pts
Southampton, Loser = -1pt
Man United, Winner = +0.4pts
Over combinations and correct scores all lost = -2.8pts
Last weekend saw a -3.525pt return.
This week - I apologise for not getting a midweek blog up about my thoughts on City and United, but I will post during the summer about any antepost interests or so on.
What is very interesting, is the number of odds-on favourites in this week's football. Man United have just drifted out to above evens, and Wigan sit around the 11/10 mark, but I make 8 odds-on jollies. At this stage of the season, with a few 'meaningless' games in terms of 'success', I think we could see some surprising results. It is just a case of trying to find them! I know there is money per place to be won, but I can't see that affecting players too much in all honesty. I will start at the top of the card and work down. Here goes...
Chelsea v Everton is an interesting one. Chelsea obviously had the joys of winning the Europa League midweek and they have secured Champions League football for next year. They will want to win to guarantee third spo (which brings automatic qualification) rather than slip into a potential play-off with Arsenal, or even 4th. However, I think they look spent on their feet, and have done for a while. Everton on the otherhand will be fresher, and obviously this represents Moyes' last game for the club. The stat going around that he has never succeeded well away from home in the big games will be a good one to get off his back too. I think there will be goals too, and I think Everton can get something from the game too. I think their physicality is not the time of game they really want now, and Fellaini can certainly put on an audition for potential suitors. The goal line is reflected, which is frustrating a tad, and I wouldn't put anyone off playing some high scoring draws either.
1pt over 3 goals @ 2.19
1pt Everton +0.5 @ 2.23
Liverpool vs QPR is another 'dead rubber', and Liverpool are correctly a short price. They have been playing with a freedom of late, and Coutinho looks a special player. His relationship with Sturridge has flourished, and these two can certainly link again today and cause a lot of issues for a QPR side short on any real quality and confidence. That said I can not really advise anything here, the goal line is anything but too high (for the record if I can not see both sides playing open I do not like advising goals) and Liverpool with a handicap looks poor value too. No bet here.
Manchester City vs Norwich also has a pointless feel to it. City are managerless, and I just don't really rate Norwich. City have a habit of playing well for about 20 minutes and winning football matches and seeing them out. Nothing here for me except a slightly dull home win.
Newcastle vs Arsenal is a bit more like it, and there certainly is no love-lost between these two, with Pardew and Wenger obviously not getting on. Newcastle have secured safety, and Arsenal are 'gunning' for a win which confirms their CL status next year. This could be a fiery affair, and these games have been in the past. I still do not rate Newcastle, and despite a few nervy minutes midweek against Wigan, looked pretty fluid and dangerous on the break. If Newcastle come at them, Arsenal will pick them off. There is no reason for it not to be open, but the quality is all with Arsenal. I am also advising a red card in the match. This is purely on 'feel' on pricing, it is not something I usually look at in all honesty. I expect Pardew to fire up his side, but if Arsenal play as I think, this could be a negative for me.
1pt Arsenal -1.5 @ 2.4
0.5pt To be a red card @ 4/1 Paddy Power
Southampton vs Stoke really doesn't offer too much for me in all honestly. Southampton are a side I like, but they haven't been converting performances into results of late. They are becoming one of these sides I might struggle to back, especially at general quotes of 3/4. They don't strike me as a side who play the favourite card well just yet, which is understandable. I liked Stoke last week, but a needless Adam red card proved costly. We all know how poor they are on their travels, and this could be as dull as they come. On the other hand it could be open. I don't really know so no bet here!
Swansea vs Fulham has the feeling of open encounter as well. Fulham were cut open at times by Liverpool last week, and Swansea can do the same if they play as they can. That said this looks factored in to the markets somewhat. I think Jol's position could be under some scrutiny in the summer in all honestly, Fulham have completely switched off as late too which makes this a trickier betting proposition. No bet.
Tottenham vs Sunderland are too teams I wouldn't want to be with right now as you probably have guessed! Spurs have to win, while Sunderland are safe with the pressure off. The only time I have been impressed with Sunderland was their counter-attacking away to Newcastle, which I haven't seen them repeat since. Tottenham will dominate the ball and come on to them, I expect Sunderland to try and keep it tight and break quickly. Spurs for me have issues right now of breaking teams down who defend narrow, with Bale concentrating on coming inside. An early goal is always crucial in these sorts of matches, and it is something Spurs have not been able to do too recently (except at Wigan away). If this trend continues, and if the Arsenal game goes as I expect, I can picture a frustrated White Hart Line. At the prices, Spurs look a lay to me, and this could be one of the surprising results of the weekend. I can not resist backing them outright at such big prices, but I too believe there is value in the prices of what seem very big handicaps.
0.5pts Sunderland win @ 14.76
2pts Sunderland +1.5 @ 2.26
WBA vs Man United is a game I am loath to look at too long. We all know it is Fergie's last game, and after last week's performance for both these sides it is a difficult one to assess. If WBA turn up they can cause United problems, but whether they will or not is the big question. I can't really see much here, although I do think it could be open. No bet.
West Ham vs Reading and Wigan vs Villa are also games I can not quite find too much. I think West Ham are probably too short in all honesty, especially with the ability of Reading who can play well when they click (see Fulham away) but both games I am not particulary keen on. Villa are missing Benteke, but will still have pace on the counter against a Wigan side I will be sad to see the back off. Nothing in these really and it would be having a bet for the sake of it.
What I will do though is put up a couple of small accumulators:
2pts Liverpool x Man City x Arsenal x Swansea @ 4.59 Paddy Power
1pt Both teams to score: WBA/ManU x Chelsea/Everton x Spurs/Sund x Swansea/Fulham x Soton/Stoke x Wigan/Villa x Wham/Reading x Newc/Arsenal @ 74.74 with Bet Victor - may get better on shop coupons.
Good luck today!