Again, last week was tinged with frustration at the Man U Stoke game as some nice priced bets fell late on with that United comeback. I was completely wrong about the Baggies, as Liverpool, with Henderson in the middle of the park, shored up some of the gaps that have been evident with a Lucas-Gerrard-Moses axis. I would be mightily surprised if he is left out against Arsenal tonight as his pressing and work-rate really compliments that side.
Anyhow, on to today and I am finding things a little tricky in all honesty. Newcastle-Chelsea is an odd one as Newcastle on the surface may look a big price at 5/1 at home. I do not think this is the case though, and Chelsea really seem to be clicking into gear for me and look very strong with each passing week. They were a bit fortunate admittedly against Man City who played better stuff, but the efficiency of Chelsea was impressive, they can move the ball quickly and their transition stages from defence to attack are improving. Torres looks interested again and is scoring goals and really providing an outlet. Chelsea also seem to have the most gears for me - represented perfectly well against Arsenal in midweek. They snuffed out the game early on, before breaking incredibly well to go 1 nil up. They look the side to beat, and I think they can win comfortably today.
2.5pts Chelsea -1 goal @ 2.06 SBO Bet
I don't like Fulham or Man U as regular followers will testify, so I am staying away from that, whereas I am starting to come round to Hull, but with Sunderland still very early on into the Poyet reign I am leaving that to.
I will be supporting Norwich again though in some format. It remains to be seen how much the way they lost to Chelsea will hurt them, and I will echo my statements for Norwich against Arsenal. If it wasn't for some excellent attacking play and goals by Arsenal, they would have covered the handicap and this is why I am supporting them again. All the pressure is on City, and if Hughton can get his tactics right, Norwich can be comfortable enough with the ball to frustrate. My big concern is the form of Aguero, and Pellegrini giving a license for City to play, but I would rather go against the grain here. The price we are getting for the same bet is crazy really, when Arsenal were in much better form. The second bet is more than speculative, but the price looks a bit out to me so we will go in small.
1.5pts Norwich +1.5goals @ 2.42 188bet
0.25pts Norwich to win @ 17/1 Bet365
Stoke - Southampton will be interesting to watch and learn from this end, while I am happy to avoid WBA - Palace as well, even though Baggies possibly look a tad short on the surface. Arsenal - Liverpool will be of real interest, and as indicated above, the line-ups will be key - I sort of expect it to be more cagey than open, each team relying on the magic they can both be capable of.
Finally, I am heading towards to the West Ham - Villa game and we are backing Villa @ 14/5. West Ham have a few injury problems, while Villa welcome back their main man Benteke. Despite defeat last time out against Everton, Villa played well enough and created chances to have won the game. West Ham on the other hand have lost 3 home games on the trot now, and Villa are a side who, for me, prefer the nature of the game on the road. The only concern is Villa still tend to concede, but they look a better side on paper compared to West Ham at the minute in the forward line.
1pt Villa @ 14/5 Coral & 365
Best of luck whatever you do!