EPL Betting Preview – December 1/2

December 1st, 2012 | Posted by in 2012/2013 EPL Season

Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview of some of these big games this weekend including West Ham and Chelsea and QPR and Aston Villa. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

West Ham vs Chelsea
Arsenal vs Swansea
Liverpool vs Southampton
QPR vs Aston Villa
West Brom vs Stoke
Fulham vs Tottenham
Man City vs Everton
Reading vs Man Utd
Norwich vs Sunderland
Newcastle vs Wigan

Saturday 1st December 2012 – West Ham United v Chelsea – Upton Park

It’s rarely easy to have much sympathy for Chelsea at any level given the club’s behaviour in recent times and the fact that so many Blues fans are so upset at the appointment of Rafa Benitez as their new manager is therefore unlikely to tug at the heartstrings of the rest of the football fraternity.

The simple fact is that the West London club now belongs to owner Roman Abramovich and he has bought the right to run it as his personal fiefdom.

The plusses of this state of affairs are the clutch of domestic and European titles won in the last few years and the financial wherewithal to buy almost any player in the world.

The minuses, meanwhile, include Abramovich enjoying the prerogative to hire and fire whoever and whenever he likes, regardless of whether the individual in question is a club hero such as Roberto Di Matteo, or a fans’ hate figure like Benitez.

That’s the pay off and if Blues fans don’t like it, they would surely be better off holding up pieces of A4 paper calling for Abramovich to leave rather than their newly-appointed manager.

As it stands, the Spaniard has made a rather inauspicious start to his tenure at Stamford Bridge, guiding his new club to consecutive goalless draws against Manchester City and Fulham and he will consequently be desperate to chalk up his maiden win in Saturday’s derby clash with West Ham United.

The Blues have certainly looked more defensively sound in those two stalemates, with Branislav Ivanovic impressing in his new role at centre-back, but having now scored only two goals in their last five outings in all competitions, the Londoners seem to have lost their attacking mojo.

Fernando Torres has now found the net just once since early October and although Benitez brought the best out of his fellow-countryman during their time together at Liverpool, he must now be wondering whether the 28-year-old’s career has slipped into terminal decline.

With Daniel Sturridge still struggling with injury, Torres is likely to retain his starting place for the short trip to Upton Park almost by default and he is set to be joined in the run-on side by Juan Mata who was surprisingly relegated to the bench for the Fulham game in midweek.

Gary Cahill, meanwhile, will come in for the suspended David Luiz at centre-back, but John Terry is still ruled out by his knee injury and Frank Lampard almost certainly won’t recover from his calf strain in time to receive the hostile welcome afforded to him each and every time he returns to his former club.

As for West Ham, they have made a remarkably smooth adjustment upon their return to life in the top flight and the mood of general contentment at Upton Park could hardly provide a sharper contrast to the ongoing melodrama currently engulfing Stamford Bridge.

Sam Allardyce’s side are presently lying tenth despite losing their last two games at the hands of Spurs and Manchester United respectively and will be quietly confident of adding to Chelsea’s misery by claiming what would be their sixth win of a solid campaign to date.

Mark Noble has been in outstanding form for the Hammers thus far this term, prompting calls for him to receive an England call-up and his fellow-midfielder Kevin Nolan has also been an influential figure, helping himself to five goals and gradually emerging as the heartbeat of the side with his all-action style.

Andy Carroll, too, has endeared himself to the Upton Park faithful with his robust displays up front, even if goals have proved hard to come by for the Liverpool loanee, while quicksilver winger Matt Jarvis will relish the opportunity to run at Chelsea’s rather creaky backline this weekend.

Unfortunately for the hosts, the terms of Yossi Benayoun’s loan deal mean that he won’t be eligible to play against his parent club, but defender George McCartney is likely to be available after missing the midweek trip to Old Trafford through injury.

Hammers’ fans won’t need reminding that their side has failed to win any of the last 13 meetings with the Blues and Benitez’s men will inevitably be installed as warm favourites to continue that domination with another win.

Allardyce loves nothing more than assuming the plucky underdog role, however and there could be some value to be had in backing the men in claret and blue to pull of an upset and deepen Chelsea’s and Rafa’s blues.

Prediction: West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea

Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa – Loftus Road

Harry’s back and we need look no further for the narrative of Saturday’s clash between Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.

Redknapp will take a pre-match bow in front of the Rangers faithful at Loftus Road, the press will lap up his every word in the post-match press conference and in between, if his bullish newspaper column claims are to prove correct, the former Tottenham boss will steer his side to their first win of the season and ultimately, away from the foot of the table.

Mark Hughes’ successor has also promised to win the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history and all this while making a five-hour daily commute back and forth from his home in Dorset.

So it’s fair to say that Redknapp has not let his demise at Spurs weaken his self-belief and if Rangers’ improved display at Old Trafford last weekend was anything to go by, their 65-year-old coach could well deliver on his promises.

The West London outfit followed that unfortunate defeat against United by grinding out a goalless draw with Sunderland and they are therefore likely to be reasonably confident of downing a Villa side currently sitting three places above them in 17th.

Redknapp certainly has a reputation for creating harmony in the dressing room and building team morale and that is something Rangers’ eclectic mix of expensive overseas imports and seasoned British pros is badly in need of.

While the tabloid press have linked the R’s with a whole host of potential January recruits, including Spurs duo Michael Dawson and Jermain Defoe, their new boss will have to make do with what he’s got for now and seems unlikely to make too many alterations to the side that picked up that precious point at Sunderland.

One definite exception will come in goal where Robert Green will step in for groin-injury victim Julio Cesar and there is a possibility that Ji-Sung Park could oust Samba Diakite in central midfield, but there is little scope for change up front with Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora both on the long-term injury list and Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell completing loan spells in the Championship.

Villa, meanwhile, have shown just enough improvement in recent weeks to suggest that they won’t end up embroiled in a relegation scrap come the end of the season.

Manager Paul Lambert is slowly re-shaping the side and they won plenty of plaudits for their organisation and tactical discipline in drawing with Arsenal and beating Reading in their last two games.

They remain far from the finished article, but have several promising up-and-comers including Enda Stevens, Ashley Westwood and Barry Bannan and in Belgian striker Christian Benteke have a man with the potential to trouble most top flight defences.

The Midlanders do of course have another quality striker on their books in the form of Darren Bent, but the former Sunderland goal-machine has fallen well and truly out-of-favour with Lambert and will surely be heading for pastures new as soon as the transfer window re-opens in January.

In terms of early team news ahead of the trip to Loftus Road, meanwhile, skipper Ron Vlaar should recover from his calf strain to reclaim his position at the heart of the defence and Eric Lichaj could also feature in the back four, while Socceroos regular Brett Holman is a certain starter in midfield, but fellow-Aussie Chris Herd will miss out due to a knee problem.

Both of last season’s meetings between these two sides ended honours even and although Redknapp’s arrival will undoubtedly galvanise the home players and fans alike, Villa should be able to maintain their recent steady improvement by extending that run of draws to three.

Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Aston Villa

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