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Thursday, 8th March 2012
There are four live Premier League games this weekend with Bolton v QPR kicking things off on Saturday lunchtime. From a betting perspective this is a real no-no as you couldn't make a strong case for either of the three outcomes. Neither team are showing any kind of form and both sides are without a win in their last five matches. Bolton have had a run of tough fixtures playing against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City but Owen Coyle will no doubt be looking at Saturday's match as a winnable game. I've never really liked the idea of winnable games, as I don't think it ever really works out like that. A team could be scrapping for their lives in the relegation zone and although the top teams will always be hard to beat, there's no real easy games.
QPR aren't having much joy under new manager Mark Hughes and defeats at home to Wolves and Fulham in recent weeks aren't what the doctor ordered. Hughes managed to bring in some decent players before the transfer window closed but it'll be a concern that his team are yet to click.
Like I said, this is a really tough betting proposition as you wouldn't be surprised if either team won. With this in mind I'm going to tip up a draw as it's the biggest price of the three results at 12/5 with Bet Victor and I don't think either team will want to risk losing the match.
Everton v Tottenham is the live evening game and all of a sudden Spurs have something to lose. The defeats to Arsenal and Man Utd have left them just four points clear of the Gunners in third place and for the first time this season they're looking down the league instead of up. This brings about a nervousness to the fans and the players and it'll be interesting to see how they react.
It's not all doom and gloom for Tottenham fans however, as their team are still seven points clear of Chelsea in fifth and there's no real signs of an upturn in their form. This is a very tough game for Tottenham and they've got to travel to Chelsea in a few weeks, but bar those matches they have a decent run in to the end of the season.
It's been a tough run of fixtures for Harry Redknapp's side and they'll know they're in a game on Saturday as Everton always give as good as they get against the top sides. David Moyes' team struggle to break teams down when the emphasis is on them to attack, but this shouldn't be the case against Tottenham and they'll give anyone a game at Goodison Park.
The draw takes my fancy again here and I'm going to plumb for a 1-1 correct scoreline at odds of 6/1 with bookmaker Ladbrokes.
Sunday's live game is Norwich v Wigan and I'm confident of a home win here. Norwich sit in eleventh place in the Premier League after promotion last season. If you'd have offered boss Paul Lambert last August this match against Wigan at home to give his side the possibility of reaching 38 points by the second weekend in March, he'd have snapped your hand off! His Norwich side are where they are in the table because they've been winning games like this one at Carrow Road and you have to think three points on Sunday will guarantee them another season in the top flight.
Wigan are bottom of the league for a reason and they put in a miserable effort at home to Swansea last week in a game Roberto Martinez would have earmarked as 'winnable.' I can see a home win here on Sunday so have gone for a 2-1 correct score at odds of 15/2 with Bet365.
Finally, Arsenal v Newcastle is Monday night's live match and what a good game of football this should be. Arsene Wenger's side have won their last four games in the league and are now odds on to finish in a Champions League spot. They just came up short in this season's competition on Tuesday night against AC Milan following a fantastic effort. I got the feeling Wenger just ran out of ideas in the second half and the break was enough for Milan to get their house in order and they then comfortably saw out the tie.
This new found form from Arsenal has put them in good shape and they'll be thankful for a couple days of extra rest this weekend. Newcastle showed last weekend that they're still well up for a fight in what was a good comeback against Sunderland in the north-east derby. You could almost feel the intensity coming out of your TV screen in that match and Alan Pardew doesn't have to worry about his players not giving everything.
I think this will be a good game with plenty of goals, so I'm going to go for a big odds correct score selection, with a 3-2 home win paying 25/1 with Betfred.
Steve Claridge's Weekend Football Tips
Tip #1: Bolton v QPR (10th Mar 2012) The draw @ odds of 12/5 with Bet Victor.
Tip #2: Everton v Tottenham (10th Mar 2012) 1-1 correct score @ odds of 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Norwich v Wigan (11th Mar 2012) Norwich to win 2-1 @ odds of 15/2 with Bet365.
Tip #4: Arsenal v Newcastle (12th Mar 2012) Arsenal to win 3-2 @ odds of 25/1 with Betfred.
Steve's weekly treble: Shrewsbury to beat Burton (4/7); Southend to beat Accrington (8/11); Swindon to beat Cheltenham (8/11). A treble with Coral.com pays just over 7/2.
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