EPL Betting Preview – Week 5 2012/2013

September 22nd, 2012 | Posted by in 2012/2013 EPL Season

EPL Week 5 action on the week beginning Sep 22 with some big games on offer . Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview of some of these big games this weekend including Liverpool looking for its first win at home against Manchester United and Man City and Arsenal. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

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

Liverpool v Manchester United – Anfield – Sunday 23rd September 2012

What is a genuinely super Sunday gets underway at Anfield as old foes Liverpool and Manchester United lock horns in the 186th instalment of one of British football’s greatest rivalries.

With the hosts still to secure their first win of the campaign, the pressure is already beginning to mount on new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, but the Ulsterman can at least take some encouragement from the fact that United have failed to win in any of their last five trips to Anfield.

The visitors have also flattered to deceive in all four of their league games to date, losing to Everton first up, then scraping home against both Fulham and Southampton and looking well out of sorts in the first-half of last week’s clash with Wigan before lifting their game in the second-half.

An unsettled back four has of course not aided the United cause and it will be interesting to see if boss Sir Alex Ferguson sticks with the quartet which secured a first clean sheet of the campaign against Wigan.

That would mean new recruit Alex Buttner being exposed to the white-heat of this explosive fixture for the first time and should the Dutch youngster indeed get the nod at left-back, there would be no opportunity for Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez to rekindle the feud that had such major repercussions last term.

Much will depend upon how Ferguson’s squad pull up in the wake of their fortuitous midweek Champions League victory over Galatasaray and Rodgers could also have some late selection decisions to make following his side’s Thursday night Europa League trip to Switzerland to tackle Young Boys.

Fortunately for Sunday’s visitors, both Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa are likely to be fit enough to start having overcome the problems that rendered them only capable of bench duty against Wigan and Darren Fletcher should also be available after making a welcome return to action against Galatasaray following eleven months on the sidelines.

Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, however, are still ruled out.

Joe Cole and Lucas Leiva, meanwhile, remain Liverpool’s only significant walking wounded and although Rodgers will have been upset to see his charges concede yet another soft goal in last weekend’s draw at Sunderland, he will have been encouraged by their subsequent fightback and the problems his attacking players caused for the Black Cats defence.

That result on Wearside capped a difficult week for the club as they came to terms with the publication of the findings of the Hillsborough report and with Rodgers and Ferguson uniting in their calls for both sets of fans to refrain from chanting about either the Munich or Hillsborough disasters, it will be interesting to see what the reaction is in the stands come Sunday.

Clashes between these two north-west rivals are notoriously difficult to predict and this early-season meeting is no exception.

Liverpool are clearly still very much a work in progress and their results won’t improve if they continue making schoolboy errors at the back, while United also remain uncertain defensively even if they do boast a lot more firepower than the Reds going forward.

Both sides likely to be installed at a similar price for the win, so backing the draw might well be a good option here.

Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

 Newcastle United v Norwich City – Sports Direct Arena – Sunday 23rd September 2012

Newcastle United v Norwich City may not quite have the same pulling power as the two fixtures at Anfield and Etihad Stadium that will bookend it on Sunday, but it promises to be an intriguing and potentially significant clash nonetheless.

The Magpies have lost only once this season, at Chelsea and although they were fortunate to emerge from Goodison Park with a point on Monday night, Alan Pardew’s men have shown enough to suggest that they could well threaten to gatecrash the top four again this season.

As for the visitors, they have rallied since being thumped 5-0 at Fulham on the opening day, picking up three consecutive draws against QPR, Tottenham and West Ham, but will have to improve again if they are to secure what would be their first victory on Tyneside since 1988.

New boss Chris Hughton has been keen to stress that there is no need to panic despite the Canaries’ first win still proving elusive and in fairness, three points would almost certainly have been forthcoming for the home side at Carrow Road last weekend had  on-loan Tottenham striker Harry Kane not missed a late sitter against West Ham.

Hughton has also insisted that Wes Hoolahan still has a future at the club despite being a peripheral figure thus far this term and it will be interesting to see if the gifted Irish midfielder can force his way into the run-on side at the Sports Direct Arena.

Injury-wise, although long-term absentee Steven Whittaker will again miss out, the East Anglians could welcome Jacob Butterfield, Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington back into their matchday squad.

Welsh international Steve Morison, meanwhile, is pressing for a recall, possibly at the expense of Simeon Jackson and the travelling fans will be hoping that more of Robert Snodgrass’s colleagues can match the excellent form the Scot has shown since arriving from Leeds over the summer.

The main focus for the home supporters on Sunday will be how their side pulls up after their lengthy midweek trip to the Portuguese island of Madeira to take on Maritimo.

Key men Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Demba Cisse will both be carefully monitored ahead of the Canaries clash, while Danny Simpson and Fabricio Coloccini may overcome their hamstring injuries in time to feature and Ryan Taylor and first-choice ‘keeper Tim Krul could also shrug off their respective knee and elbow problems in time to figure in Pardew’s selection considerations.

Genuine squad depth is not a luxury that Pardew enjoys and getting the likes of Krul, Coloccini, Taylor and Cheick Tiote fit and firing is therefore vital if the Magpies are to avoid slipping back into mid-table.

The home boss also has a growing headache to contend with concerning striker Demba Ba.

As it stands, the Senegalese international is refusing to sign a new deal at the Sports Direct Arena and has a release clause in his existing contract that would be triggered by a bid of more than $10 million.

Clearly already unsettled, the 27-year-old’s mood was not improved by being left on the bench for the Everton game as Pardew opted to employ a five-man midfield and his subsequent two-goal cameo performance at Goodison Park indicated clearly just how much he would be missed were he to depart come January.

Ba is almost certain to be recalled to the starting eleven this weekend, but his days on Tyneside appear to be numbered.

In terms of predicting the outcome of Sunday’s clash, meanwhile, Norwich have tightened up defensively but are still struggling to find the net and although they have the potential to make life difficult for the hosts, it’s very hard to make a case for them returning to Norfolk with even a point.

A solid win for the hosts looks very much the go here.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2-0 Norwich City

Manchester City v Arsenal – Etihad Stadium – Sunday 23rd September 2012

Shortly after the dust has settled at Anfield, Manchester City will face off against Arsenal in a game that should provide an early insight into how this season’s title race is likely to unfold.

Both sides have picked up eight points from their opening four games, but while City have not quite been at their best thus far, the Gunners have recovered from two goalless draws to secure impressively comfortable victories over Liverpool and Southampton.

And while it is fair to say that Southampton’s defending in their 6-1 rout at the Emirates last weekend left a lot to be desired, Arsene Wenger’s side will have been delighted to see his charges sending out the clear message that they can score goals even without Robin van Persie in their ranks.

The scene is thus set for an intriguing, high-stakes showdown on Sunday, with the  sumptuous passing skills of  Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta and the wing wizardry of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the red corner and the dazzling movement of David Silva and Carlos Tevez and the raw power of Yaya Toure in the blue, surely set to keep a capacity crowd at the Etihad enthralled from start to finish.

Given that the hosts were a touch disappointing in their 1-1 draw at Stoke last time out, Roberto Mancini may well opt to make one or two changes to his matchday squad, also taking into account the rigours of their midweek Champions League trip to Real Madrid.

David Silva is expected to replace Scott Sinclair in the run-on side, Gareth Barry should also get the nod to start and it looks increasingly likely that Sergio Aguero will be reunited up front with fellow-Argentine, Carlos Tevez.

Maicon will be fortunate to retain his starting berth following his woeful display in the defeat against Real Madrid, although Pablo Zabaleta fared little better when he replaced the Brazilian in the second-half, leaving Mancini with something of a selection dilemma at full-back.

The Italian may also have to adjust his midfield plans after Samir Nasri limped out of the action at the Bernabeu with a hamstring strain.

Like City, the Gunners also had a European date in midweek, but it was an altogether less daunting assignment in the form of a trip to Montpellier which they duly passed with a workmanlike 2-1 win.

They also appeared to come through their French test without picking up any fresh injury concerns and could receive a further boost for Sunday with both Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby both expected to be fit enough to start.

The jury remains out on whether the Gunners have enough strength in depth to do anything more than secure fourth spot behind the Manchester sides and Chelsea, but crucially they are looking pretty watertight at the back, conceding just once all season.

New assistant coach Steve Bould must take some of the credit for the defensive improvement and the Londoners’ miserly record is all the more impressive given that first-choice ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny has played only twice all season and with the Pole again struggling to be fit to face City, capable deputy Vito Mannone is set to retain the gloves.

So with the rearguard looking solid and the Cazorla-inspired midfield surely set to continue carving out plenty of chances, Arsenal’s ability to mount a serious title challenge this term may well hinge on whether frontmen Lukasz Podolski, Gervinho and Olivier Giroud can collectively fill the van Persie void on a regular basis.

For City, meanwhile, Sunday represents their toughest domestic test to date this term and even given the depth of his star-studded squad, Mancini could certainly do without this game falling in the same week as his side’s high-stakes trip to the Bernabeu.

The last six meetings between these two sides have yielded a grand total of just three goals and it’s likely to be a similarly tight affair again this time around.

The likely return of Aguero is a massive boost for the hosts and the striker’s presence may just be the one percenter that swings the result their way.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur v Queens Park Rangers – White Hart Lane – Sunday 23rd September 2012

Several UK tabloids claimed last week that Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas had only three games in which to save his job and whether you choose to believe those stories or not, there is no doubt that the youthful Portuguese was a relieved man following his side’s 3-1 win at Reading on Sunday.

With club chairman Daniel Levy seemingly controlling the club’s transfer policy and again choosing to seek out late bargains rather than assembling a settled squad before the season got underway, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Villas-Boas who must sense to some extent that he has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire after his switch from Chelsea.

At least now he can focus upon moulding a team from what is a strong squad and attempt to develop the kind of cohesion and tactical discipline that brought him so much success during his spell in charge of Porto.

And to that effect, he will presumably be delighted to see Jermain Defoe hitting such fine early season form, the England man apparently unaffected by speculation that Levy was keen to sell him to Sunday’s opponents Queens Park Rangers as recently as three weeks ago.

Such a move would have been puzzling in the extreme given that Defoe remains arguably the best natural finisher in the top flight as he proved at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

The 30-year-old led the Royals defence on a merry dance, rattling home two goals to cap an impressive team display which would have delighted the fans who made the short trip from North London to Berkshire.

With Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale marauding down the flanks, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Moussa Dembele dominating in the middle and Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker pushing on effectively from full-back, Spurs looked a superb attacking unit and with Emanuel Adebayor and new signing Clint Dempsey trying to force their way in from the bench, there should be plenty of excitement to enjoy at White Hart Lane this term.

QPR fans, meanwhile, may not be quite as optimistic as their Tottenham counterparts right now, but they will certainly have taken heart from what was an encouraging display against league leaders Chelsea last week.

While the Blues probably deserved to win the game, Rangers showed great resilience to secure their first clean sheet of the league season and will hope to use the performance as a platform from which to build in the coming weeks.

Midfielder Esteban Granero seems to have adjusted to the pace of Premier League football pretty quickly and looks like a decent pick-up, ‘keeper Julio Cesar enjoyed an impressive debut and having scored three goals in four appearances, the signs are that  Bobby Zamora could be set to enjoy another successful season in front of goal.

Boss Mark Hughes remains under intense pressure from the club’s hugely-demanding board and will be keenly aware that there is little room for error on his part, but there were indications during the Chelsea game that he may just be able to knit this new-look QPR side together in time to save his own skin.

In terms of early team news ahead of Sunday’s London derby, the visitors are sweating on the fitness of Anton Ferdinand, Fabio Da Silva and Andrew Johnson, all of whom picked up injuries last weekend.

Cameroonian defender Stephane Mbia may also be missing for the R’s and it remains to see whether Samba Diakite will have resolved his personal problems in time to make the short trip across the capital.

For the hosts, meanwhile, Younes Kaboul is unlikely to be back in action this side of Christmas after undergoing knee surgery and although Scott Parker’s recovery from an Achilles injury is reportedly going well, the England midfielder is still some way short of full match fitness.

With only one win from their last 19 visits to White Hart Lane, the omens for Rangers are not especially encouraging and with Spurs starting to hit their straps, they look a good chance to secure their league second victory of the season.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Queens Park Rangers

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