"'The powers that be' seem desperate to keep him at the club."
Upcoming Football Tips
Thursday, 15th November 2012
Steve's tips for the weekend's upcoming live action will appear here on Thursday but in the meantime you can check out what he tipped up in his last article......
Saturday lunchtime's live Premier League match is a big one for both teams involved as it's Arsenal v Tottenham and the repercussions of defeat at the Emirates could be huge for whoever loses. To be honest is anyone surprised at what has gone on at Arsenal? I don't think so. This is almost the beginning of the end with regard to whether or not they finish in the top-four. It's could be short term pain over long term gain and it has to change because they might win a cup but that will only mask over their problems.
Tottenham will have their eye on that fourth spot as well but I think we're all a bit unsure about Andre Villas-Boas and I'm not totally convinced he gets the Tottenham ethos yet. I think he really misses Scott Parker as he's not confident in the ability of the two lads he's got in central midfield to be able to play 4-4-2, which is why he keeps playing just one up front. However, this is an interesting game on Saturday because I think this is a situation where he needs to play a lone striker as the midfield is the one area where Arsenal can dominate so it would be ironic if Villas-Boas were to change the system when he does need an extra midfielder. It's not an easy one to call from a betting perspective but I'm going to go for the 7/1 on offer with Ladbrokes for a 1-1 correct score.
Next up it's Norwich v Man United in Saturday's late kick-off and we saw United struggle to a 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend. They're giving teams plenty of chances and what we've seen in the Premier League so far is plenty of individual brilliance but we're not getting stunningly convincing team performances. All of the top teams know at this stage that they probably need to score at least two goals to win a game of football because none of them can keep a clean sheet and United alone have won 15 points from losing positions this season.
Norwich have settled down since the start of the season and apart from the match against Liverpool where they conceded five they've kept it reasonably tight at home. If we take out that 5-2 defeat, they've conceded just one goal in league games at Carrow Road and Norwich will no doubt look to contain United on Saturday. They can nick a goal against this United side but it's a different kettle of fish when you're defending against the players United have got coming forward and my pick is for the away side to win 2-1, which is 15/2 with Bet365.
Moving on to Sunday there is just the one live match as it's Fulham v Sunderland and I have to admit that Fulham have done better than I expected. When you lose a couple of good players like Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey you do worry but obviously Dimitar Berbatov and a few others have come in and done well. They're an established Premier League side now and Fulham are a club that can go out and buy players who are maybe on the periphery at other sides. There isn't a huge amount of pressure or extreme expectations from fans at Fulham which can suit some players, who might not enjoy the 'cut and thrust' at so called 'bigger' clubs.
Looking at Sunderland, I think it is an even longer term project than Martin O'Neill thought and they look like a team who have to play at full throttle every game. When a team doesn't score goals it does have a massive psychological effect and when you fall a goal behind you wonder where the goals are going to come from to get you out of trouble. Having said that I think Sunderland will be good enough to get something here and I'm going to go for 1-1 at 7/1 with WilliamHill.
Finally, it's West Ham v Stoke on Monday night and I flagged West Ham up as potential dark horses at the start of the season. They've got good quality, they've bought well and they look as if they are enjoying themselves which wasn't always the case in the Championship last year. Kevin Nolan in particular is pivotal to the way they play because he can play as an extra man in midfield or if needs be he can push right on to Carlton Cole or Andy Carroll up front.
I was worried about them defensively but they've been fine and they certainly have plenty of options in the way they play. It will be a different sort of test for them after their win at Newcastle last weekend but they are capable of mixing it up with teams like Stoke. Tony Pulis's side are going through a gradual transition between being what they were and moving with the times. They are a team that tends to win at the first sign of danger so relegation is rarely a worry and I'm going to have to go for another 1-1 here, which is 6/1 with WilliamHill.
Steve Claridge's Weekend Premier League Tips
Tip #1: Arsenal v Tottenham (17th Nov 2012) - Match Bet: Draw @ odds of 13/5 with Ladbrokes. Correct Score: 1-1 @ odds of 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Norwich v Man United (17th Nov 2012) - Match Bet: Man Utd win @ odds of 4/9 with Bet365. Correct Score: 2-1 to Man Utd @ odds of 15/2 with Bet365.
Tip #3: Fulham v Sunderland (18th Nov 2012). Match Bet: Draw @ odds of 5/2 with WilliamHill. Correct score: 1-1 @ odds of 7/1 with WilliamHill.
Tip #4: West Ham v Stoke (19th Nov 2012). Match Bet: Draw @ odds of 11/5 with WilliamHill. Correct score: 1-1 @ odds of 6/1 with WilliamHill.
Steve's Weekly Treble: Bolton to beat Barnsley (4/7); Bournemouth to beat Oldham (8/11); Crawley to beat Walsall (4/6). A treble with BetVictor.com returns a touch over 7/2.
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