Steve Claridge has joined Betting Directory to provide his expert views and tips on the latest football betting odds and the latest matches.
Thursday, 14th August 2014
Steve's tips will appear here on Friday but in the meantime you can check out last week's tips, as well as the upcoming match odds...
|Saturday 23rd August|
|12:45||Aston Villa v Newcastle||Odds|
|15:00||Chelsea v Leicester||Odds|
|15:00||Crystal Palace v West Ham||Odds|
|15:00||Southampton v West Brom|
|15:00||Swansea v Burnley|
|15:00||Tottenham v QPR||Odds|
|17:30||Everton v Arsenal||Odds|
|Sunday 24th August|
|13:30||Hull v Stoke||Odds|
|16:00||Sunderland v Man Utd||Odds|
|Monday 25th August|
|20:00||Man City v Liverpool||Odds|
Man Utd v Swansea (12.45pm, Saturday 16th August 2014)
The Premier League makes a welcome return this weekend and the first live game is Louis van Gaal's opening match as Manchester United manager as his side take on Swansea at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime. The Dutchman has obviously overseen a decent run of results during pre-season and it is promising that he is fitting the shape of the team according to the players at his disposal rather than trying to make individuals fit into a certain system, which is something that his predecessor David Moyes was guilty of far too often last season.
The sign of a good manager is not necessarily winning trophies, although that helps, but it is doing the best with what you have got at your club. Van Gaal has identified the areas of the pitch where United aren't as strong as in years gone by and he is changing the style of play to try and overcome those weaknesses. They are short of a quality centre half and they've never been able to replace Paul Scholes and Roy Keane in the middle of the park which has meant that they have had to move away from the 4-4-2 formation. It will be interesting to see if van Gaal persists with his 3-5-2 system against Swansea, who have settled down a bit since Gary Monk took over as manager.
Monk has done well as he has made a couple of new signings but his most important bit of transfer business this summer will be keeping Wilfried Bony at the club. It just shows how quickly things can change in football as Michu was the hottest property in the Premiership not so long ago but he has been farmed out on loan to Napoli and it is Bony who is now the main man after a fine first season in Britain. It obviously won't be easy for Swansea but I fancy the look of a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford as I'm not getting carried away by United's pre-season form and the results of summer friendlies can often be a bit flattering.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ odds of 17/4 with BetVictor.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 correct score @ odds of 21/2 with BetVictor.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace (5.30pm, Saturday 16th 2014)
The later game on Saturday evening is Arsenal against Crystal Palace and I genuinely believe that the Gunners can be title challengers for the first time in a long while this season. Arsene Wenger has strengthened in areas he needed to by bringing in Alexis Sanchez, Callum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy. I do think that he might want another experienced centre back and a holding midfielder before the transfer window closes, while the fitness of Aaron Ramsey will be hugely important as the Welshman was massive for them last season.
Arsenal appear to be going in the right direction at least as they are buying players that they actually need to help improve the team, rather than signing individuals who were never really going to make an impression. They will be wary of coming unstuck at The Emirates on Saturday as Crystal Palace were magnificent under Tony Pulis last year but I do think the home side will be too strong and I'll go for Arsenal to win 2-0.
Match Result Tip: Arsenal to win @ odds of 3/10 with PaddyPower.
Correct Score Tip: Arsenal to win 2-0 @ odds of 11/2 with Ladbrokes.
Liverpool v Southampton (1.30pm, Sunday 17th August 2014)
Moving on to Sunday lunchtime and it is Southampton's old team against their new one at Anfield isn't it?! In all seriousness, I'm really interested in how Liverpool get on during this campaign because Brendan Rodgers never convinced me that he had another way of playing - other than 'gung-ho' - last season and that style may be fantastic to watch but as the 3-3 game against Crystal Palace showed, you sometimes need to have a Plan B. A few people have been drawing parallels between them and Tottenham as Spurs struggled when they lost their star man in Gareth Bale last year and Liverpool will obviously have to cope with the loss of Luis Suarez this term.
Rodgers has signed some good players in the summer so there is no reason why Liverpool shouldn't do well, albeit I still wouldn't swap Suarez for any of those new additions. They will obviously have to tinker with their system this year but let us make no mistake they have added to what was already a very good squad and they should be able to cope better than Spurs did when they sold Bale.
The Reds have obviously signed several players from Sunday's opposition Southampton, who will hope to give £12m signing Shane Long his debut. You know what you are going to get from Long as he is a willing runner, gets in behind defenders and he is decent in the air but the transfer market appears to have gone barmy as £12m for a striker who scored seven goals in thirty appearances last season seems excessive to me. It is hard to look beyond Liverpool this weekend and I'll go for them to win 3-1.
Match Result Tip: Liverpool to win @ odds of 4/11 with Ladbrokes.
Correct Score Tip: Liverpool to win 3-1 @ odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Newcastle v Man City (4.00pm, Sunday 17th August 2014)
The later kick-off on Sunday afternoon is Newcastle against Manchester City at St James' Park and this is a tough first away trip for the defending champions. Manuel Pellegrini has identified the areas of the pitch where his squad needs improving and he has signed new players accordingly, which is always important for a team that wants to progress in the Champions League. English clubs simply have to improve because they are way behind in comparison to the top European teams now. Gone are the days where Premiership teams would step outside of England and smash foreign opposition and I think Pellegrini recognised that he needed to add depth to his squad. City are probably competing at the level they would expect nowadays and they probably should be after spending as much as they have!
Alan Pardew has spent a few bob on new players at Newcastle during the summer and he needed to after the debacle that was the second half of their season last year. You are punting in the dark with them at the moment though as you just don't know what you are going to get but I do fancy them to take a point with a 1-1 draw, particularly as City must do without the injured Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ odds of 16/5 with Betfred.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 correct score @ odds of 17/2 with BetVictor.
Burnley v Chelsea (8.00pm, Monday 18th August 2014)
Finally, there is a nice easy start to life back in the Premier League for Burnley on Monday night as they take on Chelsea. A lot of people will be wondering how Burnley will cope in the top-flight but this is the sort of game where they can take plenty of positives by showing that they can hold their own at this level. It is important that they don't get heavily beaten, which I don't think they will, but Chelsea's extra quality should tell.
Chelsea remind me of Arsenal in recent seasons in that they tend to buy a very similar type of player during each transfer window and there has been no effort to try and add some width to their side. Jose Mourinho knows exactly how he wants his team to play though and the addition of Diego Costa, as well as Didier Drogba, will be so important as the likes of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have all struggled to play in that important position as a lone striker, which is a really difficult role to master when you're in a side with no natural width. Costa and Drogba add further quality to Mourinho's squad and I'll take them to win 2-0 on Monday evening.
Match Result Tip: Chelsea to win @ odds of 2/5 with PaddyPower.
Correct Score Tip: Chelsea to win 2-0 @ odds of 6/1 with BetVictor.
This weekend's treble comes from the Championship and League Two:
A treble returns just over 15/2 with PaddyPower.com and a £20 winning treble returns £175.64.
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"It's Southampton's old team against their new one at Anfield isn't it?!"
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