The Daily Star’s Chief Football writer, Danny Fullbrook, gives his verdict on the four TV Premier League fixtures this weekend.
Norwich v Chelsea, Sat 21st Jan, 12.45, Skysports 2
There are some very big Sunday games this weekend so Chelsea, 8/13 with Blue Square, had better make sure that they get an early blow in when it comes to the top four and title race.
They will arrive at Carrow Road this Saturday all guns blazing, but that does not necessarily mean that much considering they are hardly free-scoring.
With Didier Drogba away in Africa, again it has been left up to Fernando Torres, and again he is struggling. It was his scissor kick which hit the bar against Sunderland and rebounded to Frank Lampard where the ball went in off his legs to give them a narrow 1-0 win last Saturday.
But when it came to the Spaniard scoring, no chance. Mind you, I still think that Chelsea will rise to the challenge, They are in the right frame of mind at the moment and therefore I fancy them to keep the pressure up with a win. I doubt it will be straight-forward, but a 2-1 away win (15/2 at Coral) with Ramires scoring at some point (10/3 anytime, William Hill) in the game should do the job.
Bolton v Liverpool, Sat 21st Jan, 17.30, ESPN
The later game on Saturday night is Bolton against Liverpool at the Reebok which will hardly get the pulses racing. Both clubs are struggling and particularly Liverpool at home in recent months. They managed to lose at Fulham before Christmas, and this could be another game Kenny Dalglish’s team could struggle in – the draw is 14/5 with Stan James.
At last for Bolton the Gary Cahill saga is over, and they got a win under their belt in the FA Cup, even if it was only Macclesfield, but it was a win and that mattered. On that basis I fancy a 1-1 draw, 7/1 courtesy of BetVictor, between these two teams which will not help either of them.
Man City v Tottenham, Sun 22nd Jan, 13.30, Skysports 1
It is then a case of a true Super Sunday kicking off with Manchester City at home as 10/11 favs (Paddy Power) against Spurs. This has been a top four battle in the recent two seasons with the winner of this game making it through to the Champions League. But now the pair are fighting it out for the Holy Grail with City as Premier League leaders and the Championship at stake and Manchester United sandwiched in between them.
City have been playing ugly and scraping out a few points while Spurs have been slightly complacent and wasteful while playing well. Only beating Wigan 1-0 was a surprise from City, but Spurs could only managed a 1-1 home draw against Wolves last week which was perhaps typical of them.
With Aaron Lennon back and Gareth Bale on fire then Spurs should never get a better chance, especially with the Toure brothers away in Africa. So here we go, big call but Spurs away win at 10/3 with Ladbrokes with Rafael van der Vaart scoring (9/1 first goal, Coral) in a 1-0 away win (12/1 at bet365). Good odds, maybe a load of rubbish, but a Fullbrook hunch which will look good if it comes in.
Arsenal v Man United, Sun 22nd Jan, 16.00, Skysports 1
There will be goals galore though when Manchester United travel to Arsenal later in the day, no doubt about that. Both defences are dodgy as are the goalkeepers, while the best players on the pitch are the strikers from both teams.
So on that basis I fancy a lot of goals and Arsenal will fail to get their revenge they are looking for after losing 8-2 to United at Old Trafford earlier in the season. It will not be a complete disaster with a 2-2 draw, 14/1 with Betfred, and Robin van Persie scoring first (5/1, Ladbrokes), only for United to peg them back. There will be a lot of fun though and a lot of angst, especially when it comes to Arsene Wenger. Four goals or more is 21/10 at William Hill.
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