Steve Claridge has joined Betting Directory to provide his expert views and tips on the latest football betting odds and the latest matches.
Friday, 24th October 2014
West Ham v Man City (12.45pm, Saturday 25th October 2014)
The weekend's live Premier League action kicks off with West Ham against Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime and City will have to be on their guard because this season is providing plenty of surprise results. I wouldn't say it has been the year of the underdog but West Ham are one of a few teams who have defied expectations so far and their recent run of form has come at a good time for manager Sam Allardyce, who might not have been in a job for much longer if the previous malaise had continued.
In fairness to Allardyce, there does seem to be a bit more about the Hammers during this campaign as he isn't just playing with a little man off a big striker and he has changed his style slightly to incorporate some pace in the team. There is no doubt that they have improved and Saturday's game will show how far they have come.
City will give them chances at Upton Park because Manuel Pellegrini's team are vulnerable defensively, as we saw the other night when they threw away a 2-0 lead against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. It was ridiculous to drop two points from that position, albeit they were undone by a shocking penalty decision, and that game emphasised to me why they won't do anything in Europe again this year. They fail to control games but with Sergio Aguero in such good form they should have a bit too much for West Ham on Saturday and I'll take the visitors to win 2-1.
Match Result Tip: Manchester City to win @ odds of 4/7 with Betfred.
Correct Score Tip: Manchester City to win 2-1 @ odds of 8/1 with BetVictor.
Swansea v Leicester (5.30pm, Saturday 25th October 2014)
The later kick-off on Saturday is Swansea against Leicester and I think it is worth mentioning that I thought Gary Monk was absolutely spot on with what he said about Victor Moses last weekend. Moses blatantly dived to win Stoke a penalty and he should now be facing a lengthy retrospective ban from the FA. He has cheated at the end of the day and you could tell from his reaction that he realised he had made a mistake, although the referee should have been stronger in that situation. Michael Oliver had given Swansea a penalty for pulling in the box earlier in the game, which I would like to see more of by the way, and he must have known that when you have given one team a relatively soft decision then the opposition are going to be looking for every opportunity to give him a chance to even it up.
Moses got away with it at the end of the day and Monk's reaction has actually taken all of the headlines. The Swansea manager will be hoping to make happier headlines this weekend against Leicester, who have done fine so far this season. Nigel Pearson's side won games I didn't really expect them to early on but then they have tailed off slightly by dropping points against teams they would have expected to beat. With all due respect, their season won't be defined by winning the odd match against Manchester United, it will come down to winning fixtures with the likes of Burnley. It has been a strange start I guess but I do think they can get something at the Liberty Stadium and I'm going to go for the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ odds of 27/10 with BetVictor.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 correct score @ odds of 7/1 with BetVictor.
Burnley v Everton (1.30pm, Sunday 26th October 2014)
Moving on to Sunday and Burnley continue their search for a first win of the season when they take on Everton at Turf Moor. I think Burnley have learned a lesson from the last time they were promoted as they have decided that they're not going to go out and spend the family jewels because they don't want to get themselves into debt again. They won't live beyond their means to try and survive but they will be competitive and it is a major positive that the teams around them at the bottom of the table aren't pulling away. Just one win could give them that belief to go on a bit of a run and it is great to see Danny Ings back from injury.
Meanwhile, I've been to see Everton twice this season and I have been massively disappointed by them. Ross Barkley coming back will make a huge difference as he will get beyond Romelu Lukaku, who has been horribly isolated during the past few months. Barkley provides them with a cutting edge, as we saw when he orchestrated the 3-0 win over Aston Villa last Saturday, and his presence could be enough to see Everton to another win, with 2-1 my pick in the correct score market.
Match Result Tip: Everton to win @ odds of 17/20 with BetVictor.
Correct Score Tip: Everton to win 2-1 @ odds of 8/1 with BetVictor.com.
Man Utd v Chelsea (4.00pm, Sunday 26th October 2014)
The later fixture on Sunday is then Manchester United against Chelsea at Old Trafford and I'm looking forward to this one. United aren't going to win the league this season but they could have a massive say in where the title ends up because they are one of the few teams who can beat Chelsea. They have got a great opportunity this year as I don't think they would finish in the top-four during any other year but this isn't a normal year because the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham are all regressing, rather than progressing.
United have got players than can hurt Chelsea and not too many teams can say that, albeit Jose Mourinho's side are the team with the fewest deficiencies in the Premier League. They can play a variety of different styles and they are equally competent when defending or attacking. I do think the two centre halves can be got at though because they aren't the quickest and they are vulnerable to blinding pace, as Crystal Palace's Fraizer Campbell showed when giving them the run around during the first half an hour last weekend. That is probably the only chink in their armoury at the moment, which is a minor problem compared to the problems their title rivals have, and that is why they are favourites to win the league.
Having said that, I do think Mourinho would be happy with a point at Old Trafford because of the players United have got going forward. This is one of those games that could end up finishing 4-4 but I'll plum for a 1-1 draw because of the way I expect Mourinho to approach the game.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ odds of 2/1 with Betfred.com.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 correct score @ odds of 13/2 with BetVictor.
QPR v Aston Villa (8.00pm, Monday 27th October 2014)
I'm going to Monday night's live game between Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa and this feels like a massive fixture, even at this early stage of the season. These are the types of teams that QPR need to be beating if they are to avoid relegation, while it is important for Villa to get a positive result as they look to turn a corner after four defeats on the trot. This is one of those where the winner of this match might look back on a victory as a turning point in their season.
I thought QPR played well in defeat against Liverpool last weekend but then Liverpool are awful at the moment so it is hard to read too much into that performance. It was positive to see them creating chances at least, which they hadn't been doing with the 4-5-1 formation that Harry Redknapp had been employing. He doesn't have the players to implement that system effectively and it is a strange one because it isn't a style that you would normally associate with Redknapp. There is so much pressure on the club to stay in the Premier League and you do wonder if the weight of expectation has forced Redknapp to compromise his normally positive approach.
They will need to adopt the same mentality as they had against Liverpool when they take on Villa, who were again being tipped to have a brilliant season after a couple of decent results, which I find ridiculous. They're not going to finish in the top-ten and they probably won't get relegated, so it will be the same old as far as they are concerned. They need to start winning a couple of games or they could find themselves in trouble, although I'm going to go for the 2-2 draw at Loftus Road.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ odds of 9/4 with BetVictor.
Correct Score Tip: 2-2 correct score @ odds of 18/1 with Betfred.
This weekend's treble comes from the Championship, League One and League Two:
A treble returns just over 5/1 with Ladbrokes and a £20 winning treble returns £107.10.
|City Tipped To Close Gap On Chelsea For A Few Hours At Least||17 Oct 2014|
|England Can Make It Three Wins In A Row With Victory In Estonia||10 Oct 2014|
|Arsenal Tipped To Earn A Valuable Draw At Chelsea On Sunday||02 Oct 2014|
|Arsenal Tipped To Beat Tottenham In The North London Derby||26 Sep 2014|
|Chelsea Can Maintain Their Winning Start With Victory At Manchester City||19 Sep 2014|
"United have got players than can hurt Chelsea"
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West Ham v Man City
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Swansea v Leicester
Burnley v Everton
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Man Utd v Chelsea
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