"The whole situation is farcical"
Upcoming Football Tips
Thursday, 29th March 2012
First up we've got Newcastle v Liverpool on Sunday lunchtime and this is a difficult game to predict. Liverpool may have created an awful lot of chances in games this season but you look at their points tally and league position and it’s been nothing short of a disaster. They have been really hit and miss but they're set up to play away from home and they've actually won more games on the road than they have at Anfield. You know they've got good players but Newcastle look far better value in the match odds and I don't see Liverpool as favourites for this game.
I think Newcastle have been done a bit of a disservice by a lot of people as they are still sixth in the table after 30 games. Liverpool have already qualified for Europe through the Carling Cup but both teams will want to finish as high up in the league as they can. A draw suits no one but I think there will be goals and I'm going to go for 2-2 at 14/1 with Ladbrokes. Meanwhile, it's interesting that Kenny Dalglish keeps harping on about the cups but if Everton beat them in the semi-final of the FA Cup it could leave him under huge pressure.
Later on Sunday it's Tottenham against Swansea and I think Swansea have done brilliantly this year and they have comfortably got enough points to stay in the Premier League, which means every game is no longer a cup final.
Tottenham have got an awful lot to play for though and I don't think people realise what a big result last weekend's draw at Chelsea was for them. It was a massive result as they've got a decent run-in and keeping that five-point gap between themselves and Chelsea means they've taken a lot of pressure off themselves in the race for a top-four finish. It knocked Chelsea back as they know they're probably going to have to win the Champions League to qualify for the competition next season, which has left the pressure on them. Spurs have got more to play for than Swansea on Sunday and I'm going to go for them to win 3-1 at 12/1 with William Hill.
Monday night's match is Blackburn against Manchester United and while this is far from the best United team we've ever seen they should still be too good for Blackburn. This certainly hasn't been a vintage Premier League this year as it's not the best Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal sides we've seen either. I genuinely believe Manchester City should win the title with the squad they've got. However, even with United well below their best they still look to be favourites and the teams around them might see this season as a chance missed as the Premier League surely can't be as winnable next year.
United should have too much for Blackburn, even though it's not like years gone by when you'd know they would go there and do the job. I think the manager has had a poor season by his own high standards and the players haven't kicked on from last year and they haven't been good enough to do what they need to do. Europe is always the parameter of how good a side is and the fact they've gone out of the Champions League and the Europa League speaks volumes.
United should still go to Blackburn and get a result as they have got too much quality for the opposition. Blackburn have been on a decent run and beat United at Old Trafford earlier in the season but I don't see that happening again and I'm going to go for United to win 2-1 at 15/2 with Coral.
Steve Claridge's Weekend Premier League Tips
Tip #1: Newcastle v Liverpool (1st April 2012) 2-2 correct score @ 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Tottenham v Swansea (1st April 2012) Tottenham to win 3-1 @ 12/1 with William Hill.
Tip #3: Blackburn v Man Utd (2nd April 2012) Man Utd to win 2-1 @ 15/2 with Coral.
Steve's Weekly Accumulator: Leeds to beat Watford (10/11); Sheffield Wednesday to beat Preston (8/15); Charlton to beat Leyton Orient (1/2); Oxford to beat Morecambe (4/6). A four-fold with bookmaker Bet Victor returns just over 6/1.
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