This week’s EPL card features some of the heavy hitters again, after they all went off to play in the Carling Cup last week. Manchester United is back in EPL action, always a popular pick for bettors due to their prolific offense and overall dominance. Here’s a look at their game as well as the others this Saturday, and both Sunday games are covered, as well.
Saturday, 24 Sept, 2011 – Starting at 7:45 AM EST
—-Manchester City (10/27) vs. Everton (15/2)
Manchester City showed up to play in the Carling cup, as recent acquistion Owen Hargreaves scored in his debut. Nonetheless, MC aren’t entirely content with their performance. And if they ever hope to play with the big boys, they have to win games this one, a game in which they are heavy favorites against an Everton team that has beaten them in the last four meetings. In all, Everton has won 7 of their last 8 matches. They have been anchored by Tim Cahill, who scored in all three of his last apperances against MC.
MC led 2-0 against Fulham, but let them back in the game for a 2-2 draw. Both MC goals were from Sergio Aguero, who is now averaging 1.6 goals per match over his last five. Dzeko has contributed six as well; pair those two with the dynamic Nasri and Silva and you have a pretty talented front for MC.
If Everton can score, they have a shot at this one. MC is loaded however, and will look to get out to a hot start. Everton hasn’t persisted in games they’ve trailed in, so a quick strike by MC could leave Everton players sulking on their way to a loss. Thus, it is likely we see a MC victory, even if recent history has NOT been on their side.
Liverpool (4/11) vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (7/1)
Liverpool started the season in impressive fashion, but they have since returned to reality and dropped their last two, to Stoke and Tottenham, both matches in which they did not manage to score a goal, while giving up five. Somehow, the Wolves won 1-0 last year at Liverpool, and after that victory Liverpool fired their manager. It turned out to be a silver lining, as Dalgish’s take over seemed to rejuvenate players, and they have performed significantly better since the switch.
While Liverpool’s defense and goal tending has been suspect in recent times, they could return to form and shut the Wolves out. Welshman Craig Bellamy has already paid dividends for Liverpool. He should start with Suarez and that combo may prove even more deadly than when Suarez was paired with Carroll.
The Wolves have now dropped their last two matches and their last outing was a miserable one in which they lost 3-0 to QPR. While they exited the pitch, fans booed loudly and it seems they don’t really have the kind of fans that stay behind their squad when times get tough, making this home game a little less “homey” than the Wolves would like. There’s no reason not to expect Liverpool to capitalize on this game against a bad Wolves team.
—-West Bromwich Albion (13/10) vs. Fulham (2/1)
This game pits the bad against the horrible, with only 3 points between the teams and no chance of making any waves at all.
West Brom has lost 4 of their last 5 matches, with their only victory being a road win at Norwich. They lost to Everton 2-1 in an extra-time game. Fulham has had much better recent fortunes. Fulham came back from down 2-0 to draw Manchester City (as mentioned above) and they kept Chelsea scoreless. It’s a bit annoying that it was just a penalty which kept them from winning that match. While Fulham may be fatigued, facing a poor West Brom team may invigorate them, and they are likely to win this one, at any rate.
—-Wigan Athletic (3/1) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (10/11)
As bad as Wigan is, they can draw positives from managing 5 points of a possible 15 points so far. This matchup against the Spurs will be one of their better opportunities for an actual victory, though they are still pretty heavy underdogs. The main problem for Wigan is that they just don’t have the money to spend on players and it has made it hard to keep them competitive in the EPL. They did have an impressive win over QPR, as they shut them down and managed to score two goals themselves. Draws against both Norwich and Swansea have made Wigan begin to look a lot more competitive.
Wigan lost their last two to Manchester City and Everton, however, scoring only 1 goal between the two games. The Spurs are probably better than Everton, too, so that doesn’t bode well for the Letics. With Rodallega injured, Wigan is missing their only true offensive threat, and it has caused them to be shut out twice already in only 5 games.
Wigan is also going to be without the services of Alcaraz, Gohouri, and the aforementioned Rodallega. Boyce is also doubtful as he has an injured hammy. It’s going to weaken Wigan’s defense, and they are already struggling on offense, so that advantage is only further mitigated, making it an unlikely prospect that they win.
Chelsea (1/5) vs. Swansea City (11/1)
Chelsea finds themselves as heavy, heavy favorites in this one. Last match on Sunday, they played well and had more shots than Manchester United, which is a rarity for MU. They won 4 games in a row before the loss to MU, and beat Fulham in a penalty shootout Wednesday evening. Alex is suspended for this game and Peter Cech suffered an injury as well last game. Fernando Torres will likely start, despite a terrible miss at Old Trafford.
Swansea scored their first goal and also won their first match last weekend. It gives them confidence, at least, knowing that they are outmatched on a weekly basis, and they sit at 14th in the Premier league since they earned 3 points against West Brom last weekend. They did not win any of their first five matches this season. They have won only 1 of their last 10 road games since last season and in 5 of those 10 games, they have not even scored. Expect Chelsea to win, but they may not cover the 2 goal spread, so be wary of betting the spread; stick to the moneyline, though it doesn’t offer a lot of betting value.
Arsenal (5/12) vs. Bolton Wanderers (6/1)
It’s a bit strange to think the Gunners are in 17th place after 5 games. Star players have left them and the recent signings haven’t managed to make a significant difference in matches. In their match against Blackburn, they turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-2 loss. Doesn’t get much worse than that.
The odd thing is that Arsenal hasn’t played horribly, but they have found a way to lose in unprecidented (for them) fashion. Their offense is still very potent with Persie, Walcott, Arshavin, Gervinho, and Chamakh and it could be their day to have a goal fest against a weak Bolton defense.
This is a game in which Bolton will probably lose momentum in. They’ve lost 9 of their last 10 EPL matches and have won only 1 of their last 14 road matches. It doesn’t look good and that is why the odds are so heavily stacked against them. Aresenal is disappointed with their start, but not disparaged, as they know they can find a way to beat teams like Bolton, which will enable them to climb back up in the standings.
—Stoke City (11/2) vs. Manchester United (20/37)
Manchester United has been playing very well, per usual, and there’s no reason to expect their fortunes to be any different against Stoke City. They’ve won their last 5 games, while scoring a ton. They went to Leeds and punlished their old rivals with a Carling Cup victory. Stoke also appears to be showing signs of fatigue, as they have never played this many games in so short a span.
United beat Manchester City last weekend, but lost a weird one to Fulham after leading 2-0 to start the game. They came back and nailed Chelsea for a 3-1 win.
Manchester United is often able to rest their entire first unit, due to outstanding depth, and having done so last week, they should be ultra fresh and ready to fire. Moreover, Stoke City may be inclined to write this one off to some degree, looking beyond this match to their future meeting against Besiktas. Bettors have little reason to back Stoke, as Manchester has won all 6 Premier league meetings against them, while averaging 2.67 goals per game. Even at the seemingly very unrewarding odds, bettors will be smart to back the heavy favorite in this one, with confidence that Stoke will not reverse their dismal fortunes against Manchester United.
Sunday, 25 Sept, 2011 at 11 AM EST
Queens Park Rangers (13/10) vs. Aston Villa (41/20)
QPR has been heavily impacted by their recent signings. Joey Barton has picked up 4 points in the two games he has participated in. They moved up to 9th after beating Molineaux and pounding the hapless Wolves 3-0. In their first 5 games of the season, they have picked up 7 points, but they are 0-1-1 at Loftus Road and they didn’t score in either game while they gave up 4 goals. QPR has failed to score at home in 3 games this season and they have failed to record a victory in the six home games since the end of last season. Danny Gabbidon is doubtful, while Orr and Hulse are expected back.
Aston Villa suffered a disgusting loss in the Carling Cup that left the home crowd launching boos at the pitch as players exited the field. The lack of offensive power wasn’t a good sign for AV moving forward, but they held an important team meeting that may help them get things together. They have drawn 4 of their 5 Premier league games, and fans are looking for some victories. While being 7th in the table isn’t horrible, expectations called for more. They have been good away from home, however, where they have lost only 1 of their last 6. Carlos Cuellar is still rehabbing and will not play, but Stephen Warnock should make his return. Jermaine Jenas should return as well.
Both teams are pretty decent offensively and the ‘over’ on 2.5 goals is a good wager for bettors, since AV is a good road scoring team. The moneyline isn’t particularly appealing, but the total does offer a lot of +EV.
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