Liverpool looked to be heading in the right direction before last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa, a result that surprised most pundits but the shock reverse was the perfect illustration of how much work still needs to be done by Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.
The Reds face Fulham this weekend as they seek to respond to that setback, although after punters had their fingers burned backing Liverpool against Villa, there could be a reluctance to pile in again, especially at what looks like a pretty skinny 4/7 courtesy of Coral.
The visitors’ form however, has been somewhat shaky of late; they were the first team to lose to QPR a week ago and have suffered four defeats in six outings, so the Reds should feel confident about their chances of getting back on track.
Bet365 make Rodgers’ troops 3/1 to shade it by a one-goal margin and as most recent meetings between the two have been low-scoring, a case can be made for William Hill’s 7/1 marked against the hosts carding a 1-0 success in a contest that’s a tasty 6/5 (BetVictor) to produce fewer than three goals.
Leaders Manchester United have now won five on the spin in the Premier League and there’s a sense that they will take some stopping in the race for the title if they manage to go into the second half of the campaign still in possession of their six point lead at the summit.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are emphatic favourites at 13/20 with BetVictor to retain their advantage this weekend at least, by getting the better of Swansea, Skybet’s 9/2 outsiders, at the Liberty Stadium.
Stan James post 3/1 against the stalemate but as United have yet to share the spoils this term, it’s not unreasonable to expect a conclusive contest in South Wales, where the formbook points to the visitors.
Nevertheless, the table toppers haven’t exactly been water tight at the back this term, indeed they’ve conceded the same number of goals as struggling Sunderland in 16th, so it’s fair to surmise that Michael Laudrup’s slick side can make it an uncomfortable afternoon for the championship hopefuls.
Ladbrokes’ 8/13 for both teams to get on the scoresheet should catch the eye of banker hunters then, as will bet365’s 4/7 for the contest to produce three or more goals while a strong case can be made for BetVictor’s 14/5, chalked against a United success by a one-goal margin.
More specifically, Stan James offer 8/1 about Ferguson’s charges nicking it 2-1 and with a goal in each of his last four matches, Robin van Persie is hard to resist at 15/4 (bet365) to break the deadlock.
Set to temporarily cut United’s lead to three points, Manchester City are just 1/7 at best via William Hill to get the better of rock-bottom Reading meaning punters might consider the handicaps if they want to pocket a decent profit at the Etihad Stadium. There, Stan James rate Roberto Mancini’s team at 4/9 when kicking off a goal in arrears, but it’s worth gambling on a more comfortable triumph with Paddy Power, who penalise City by a couple of goals at 6/5.
Just below the Manchester pair, Tottenham and Chelsea are separated by goal difference alone and that’s set to be the case after the latest round of fixtures, with the duo warmly fancied at 8/13 (bet365) and 4/11 (Ladbrokes) to overcome Stoke and Aston Villa respectively.
Everton have shared the spoils in over half of their 17 fixtures this term so it’s Stan James’ 12/5 for a stalemate that stands out ahead of the Toffees’ trip to West Ham while Skybet make West Brom and in-form Norwich 5/2 to be inseparable at the Hawthorns and at evens with bet365, Southampton get the nod as they host Sunderland.
Finally, QPR’s long wait for a victory came to an end last week and Harry Redknapp’s troops are too big at 11/4 (BetVictor) to quickly double their win tally by beating off-colour Newcastle at St James’ Park.
Liverpool to beat Fulham 1-0 – 7/1 (William Hill)
QPR to beat Newcastle – 11/4 (BetVictor)
Man Utd to beat Swansea by a one-goal margin – 14/5 (BetVictor)
West Ham and Everton to draw – 12/5 (Stan James)