West Brom were 2-0 up and cruising at Reading last weekend but a late meltdown saw them suffer a third straight Premier League defeat and the Baggies followed up that result with an FA Cup replay reverse at home to QPR.
Steve Clarke’s men aren’t exactly in the best of shape then but they’ll see a televised derby clash against beleaguered Aston Villa as the ideal opportunity to get back on track. Totesport make them 8/11 to do just that at the expense of Paul Lambert’s strugglers, Paddy Power’s 4/1 outsiders but it could be a close affair and Albion just can’t be recommended on current form.
However, one thing that has been pretty reliable from a Baggies point of view of late has been the form of Romelu Lukaku. The on-loan striker has helped himself to nine league goals this term, three of those coming in the last two and he’ll relish coming up against a defence as generous as that of Villa.
Champions Manchester City stayed in the title hunt with a 2-0 success in a pulsating contest at Arsenal last Sunday and they should add another three points to their tally at the expense of Fulham, a result Coral price at 2/7. That price gives little away however and more shrewd punters might back City, starting from a goal behind, at 8/11, in Skybet’s handicap betting.
City will be boosted defensively by the inclusion of Vincent Kompany, who no longer faces a suspension after his red card at the Emirates Stadium was rescinded. The presence of the Belgian can help Roberto Mancini’s charges prevail ‘to nil’, an outcome Skybet quote at 6/5 and BetVictor price the home side at 7/1 to notch twice without reply.
Liverpool can take plenty of positives from their second half performance at Old Trafford on Sunday, despite ultimately emerging empty-handed and on the back of that showing they’re worthy favourites to overcome Norwich at 1/3 via Blue Square, who also rate Harry Redknapp at 14/5 to guide his improving QPR side to a vital victory at the expense of his former club West Ham at Upton Park.
In the remaining fixtures, Coral chalk Swansea up at 6/5 to defeat Stoke, Newcastle are 5/6 with Ladbrokes to get back to winning ways against struggling Reading and Betfred make Wigan 23/20 to boost their survival hopes by seeing off Sunderland.