EPL Betting Preview – Week 6 2012/2013

September 28th, 2012 | Posted by in 2012/2013 EPL Season

EPL Week 6 action on the week beginning Sep 29 with some big games on offer . Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview of some of these big games this weekend including Arsenal v Chelsea and Manchester United v Tottenham. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

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

Arsenal v Chelsea – Emirates Stadium – Saturday 29th September 2012

This week’s early kick-off in the EPL is the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea and the Emirates Stadium clash should set the tone for what promises to be a cracking round of games.

Having shaded last week’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City, belief is growing in North London that Arsenal may be able to do more this season than simply battle it out for a top four spot, while Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Stoke showed that Manchester United do not have the monopoly on playing badly but still grinding out results.

The Gunners probably look the more balanced of the two sides, especially with Mikel Arteta reinventing himself as a holding midfielder and Santi Cazorla already looking like one of the buys of the season.

Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile, made a welcome return to form last weekend and full-back Carl Jenkinson continues to catch the eye in a back four that is providing the kind of security not enjoyed by the Gunners for several seasons.

Questions marks do remain concerning the club’s strike force, with Gervinho enduring one of his nightmare off-days at against City and Olivier Giroud still struggling to find his feet since arriving from Montpellier, but there is no doubt that this Arsenal side is far better equipped to challenge the Manchester clubs and Chelsea than last season’s version.

In early team news for the hosts, Belgian centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is set to return after missing the City trip due to illness, Wojciech Szczesny is closing in on a return from his ankle problem and although neither Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere nor Emmanuel Frimpong are likely to make the squad for Saturday, all three should be back to bolster Wenger’s selection options at some point in October.

As for Chelsea, it’s hard to argue with top spot and 13 points gained from a possible 15, but it should be noted that they are yet to play any of their likely title rivals and question marks remain regarding both their defence and midfield.

While their attacking midfield options are superb, with Eden Hazard in particular looking every inch a world-beater, the Blues are yet to effectively replace Michael Essien and the lack of a quality screening player in front of the back four is at least partially to blame for the fact that John Terry and his fellow-defenders continue to look shaky on a weekly basis.

They may have operated effectively in the Champions League last season when they were content to drop deep and play on the break using the now-departed Didier Drogba as a lone spearhead, but Di Matteo favours a more possession-focused approach in the Premier League and it remains to be seen whether the Blues have the personnel required to play that way successfully against their main rivals.

That personnel will not include John Terry who has been hit with a four-game ban after being found guilty at an FA hearing of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand in last season’s meeting between the two clubs at Loftus Road.

The Chelsea skipper is considering an appeal, but as it stands, he won’t feature at the Emirates which means that David Luiz is likely to partner Gary Cahill at the heart of the defence despite the Brazilian being fortunate not to be serving a suspension himself following his appalling challenge on Stoke’s Jon Walters last weekend.

Elsewhere, the visitors’ only major injury doubt is striker Daniel Sturridge who is struggling to overcome a hamstring problem.

Last year’s two meetings between the two capital rivals produced sharply contrasting games, namely a goalless draw at the Emirates and a 5-3 win for Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, but the Blues have generally fared better in this fixture in recent years, picking up six wins to the Gunners’ three.

Saturday will provide an early examination of both sides’ title credentials and it would come as no surprise if the points were to be shared.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

Everton v Southampton – Goodison Park – Saturday 29th September 2012

If both Everton and Southampton can replicate the performances they produced in their respective victories last weekend, their clash at Goodison Park on Saturday could well prove to be the game of the season so far.

The swashbuckling Toffees fired in an incredible 31 efforts on goal in their handsome 3-0 win at Swansea, while the Saints were similarly gung-ho as they came from behind to thump Aston Villa 4-1 at St Marys.

Admittedly that win was the south coast club’s first of the season, but they can be excused their indifferent start given that they faced Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in three of their opening four games.

Nigel Adkins’ side scored and conceded plenty of goals on their way up to the top flight via back-to-back promotions and they have continued to do so this term, finding the net nine times themselves while shipping fifteen and they look likely to be involved in plenty more high-scoring thrillers in the months to come.

Ricki Lambert remains their main go-to man in front of goal and while the former Bristol Rovers and Stockport man may not be the most elegant striker going around, he is hugely effective and could force his way onto England’s radar should Andy Carroll’s injury woes continue.

And although they may have paid slightly over the odds to secure his services, Gaston Ramirez could become a real star for the Saints if his performance against Villa last weekend is anything to go by. The $18 million capture from Serie A side Bologna was a stand-out in what was his first start for the club and with the likes of Steven Davis and Adam Lallana alongside him, should ensure that Southampton’s midfield holds its own against all but the very best sides in the division.

With the notable exception of midfielder Jack Cork who is set to be out for six weeks with a knee problem, Adkins does not have too many injury concerns to contend with ahead of the trip to Merseyside and is expected to reward his charges for their performance against Villa by naming an unchanged starting eleven.

His Everton counterpart David Moyes, meanwhile, may also be tempted to stick rather than twist in the wake of his side’s triumph in South Wales.

With the notable exception of Tuesday night’s embarrassing Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Leeds and an off-day at West Brom, the Toffees have made a superb start to the season and it’s not hard to see why so many neutrals are giving them so much love.

Marouane Fellaini has been simply magnificent on a weekly basis, Steven Pienaar has recaptured his best from since returning to his former club, Tim Howard remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the top flight and Moyes finally has a range of options up front in the form of Victor Anichebe, Kevin Mirallas and Nikica Jelavic.

The defence, meanwhile, has been so resolute that a player of Sylvain Distin’s quality and experience  has been left cooling his heels on the bench.

Happy times indeed then on the blue side of Merseyside and a sharp contrast to the pattern of recent seasons which has seen the club lose several key men over the summer and consequently start badly before picking up after Christmas and surging back into the top ten.

With no European football to distract them this term and now no need to worry about the Capital One Cup either, this Everton side can realistically take aim at a top four finish.

In terms of injury news for the hosts, Jelavic is set to come back into the squad after coming off the bench against Leeds and there should also be a place for crowd favourite Tony Hibbert who missed the trip to Swansea with a calf strain. Darron Gibson’s thigh problem, however, is likely to rule him out for at least another week.

Saints have not enjoyed the taste of victory at Goodison Park since November 1997 and while they will undoubtedly play their part in what should be a cracking game, Everton look set come out on top once again.

Prediction: Everton 3-2 Southampton

Fulham v Manchester City – Craven Cottage – Saturday 29th September 2012

Much like Everton, Fulham have won a lot of admirers already this season and will receive plenty more plaudits if they manage to down Manchester City on Saturday.

And it’s certainly not out of the question that Martin Jol’s men could take the scalp of the reigning champions when you bear in mind that City are yet to keep a clean sheet this season and that the West Londoners have lost only once at Craven Cottage in the whole of 2012.

Aside from an off-day at West Ham at the start of the month, Fulham have been extremely impressive, rattling five past Norwich on the opening day, downing both West Brom and Wigan with relative ease and deserving far more out of their 3-2 defeat at Manchester United.

Even the departure of talismanic frontman Clint Dempsey has not unduly bothered the Cottagers, with his replacement, Dimitar Berbatov, scoring twice on his full debut against West Brom and doing enough to suggest that he has fully rediscovered his appetite for the game.

Damien Duff seems to have found a new lease of life after announcing his retirement from international football, fellow-midfielder Alex Kacaniklic is a player of huge promise and Hugo Rodallega is starting to recapture the kind of form that made him such a key figure for former employers Wigan.

The fact that big-hitters Simon Davies, Philippe Senderos, Kieran Richardson and Mahamadou Diarra have all missed games due to injury makes Fulham’s fine start to the campaign all the more impressive and they could potentially climb to second in the table if they win on Saturday and results elsewhere go their way.

Davies, Senderos, Richardson and Diarra are all again likely to be unavailable for the hosts against City, but new Iranian recruit Ashkan Dejagah is reportedly now fit enough to press for a place in Jol’s matchday squad.

As for the visitors, they continue to back up the old adage that defending a title is tougher than winning it in the first place.

Second-best for much of last weekend’s draw with Arsenal, the league champions crashed out of the Capital One Cup at the hands of Aston Villa in midweek and while that competition would have been way down the priority list as far as Roberto Mancini is concerned, the City boss was still forced to apologise to the club’s fans for the poor performance.

Mancini will be keenly aware that the longer his side’s performances and results remain mediocre, the greater the likelihood of the big egos in his dressing room becoming disruptive and indeed rumours have already surfaced that the Italian has again locked horns with fellow-countryman Mario Balotelli.

The City coach has also repeated his complaints regarding the club’s decision to do so much business at the eleventh hour of transfer deadline day, suggesting that their sluggish start to the season is at least partially due to the fact that the new arrivals have yet to gel into the squad.

As it stands, City desperately need a convincing win to silence the doubters inside and outside the club, but if they are to secure that kind of victory at Craven Cottage, they may have to do it without Micah Richards, James Milner, Maicon and Samir Nasri, all of whom will face late fitness tests.

Solving his side’s backline woes remains Mancini’s main priority, which is a task he would not have expected to be so pressing given that they boasted the division’s best defensive record last season.

Joleon Lescott could be axed this week following another indifferent display against Arsenal, with Serbian teenager Matija Nastasic likely to replace the England man, while Aleksandar Kolarov may get the nod to return at full-back.

Up front, meanwhile, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez will surely be given the nod to re-form their deadly strike partnership as City look to extend their unbeaten record at the Cottage to seven games.

The visitors seem no closer to resolving their defensive issues and will be given plenty to think about by a buoyant Fulham side.

Jol’s men may not have quite enough about them to clinch all three points, but a draw is definitely not beyond them.

Prediction: Fulham 2-2 Manchester City

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Old Trafford – Saturday 29th September 2012

Just like their bitter cross-town rivals, Manchester United’s performances so far this season have raised as many questions as they have provided answers.

Once again at Anfield last Sunday they came off second best in midfield where Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen ran them ragged, while Robin van Persie was left so isolated up front that he touched the ball only five times in the entire first-half.

Even when the hosts were reduced to ten men, they still looked the better side and yet, somehow, it was United who emerged with all three points.

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that his charges had been poor and were fortunate to claim victory, but he did little to explain why United failed to secure as much as a toehold in midfield until the veteran Paul Scholes was introduced at the start of the second-half.

In the Red Devils’ defence, they have been crippled by injuries this season, with Nemanja Vidic the latest big name to join the lengthy queue trying to access the Old Trafford treatment room.

The club skipper will be out for at least two months after undergoing knee surgery, joining fellow-defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the sidelines.

And complicating the situation still further, Rafael Da Silva is struggling to shake off a knock he picked up late in the Liverpool game and Rio Ferdinand also finished the Anfield showdown in obvious discomfort, along with Luis Valencia who took a knock to his foot.

Ashley Young, meanwhile, is unlikely to feature for at least another fortnight, but the Red Devils did receive a boost in midweek as Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher both returned to action in the Capital One Cup victory over Newcastle.

The duo are expected to be named in United’s squad for Saturday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur,  although it remains unclear as to whether either will make the run-on side.

So can Spurs take advantage of the home side’s injury woes and sketchy form to end an abysmal run of 27 visits to Old Trafford without a win?

It’s not out of the question, but those fans heading north from the capital will be doing so more in hope than expectation.

Andre Villas Boas’ side secured their first home win of the season last time out, climbing to 8th place in the process and having downed Reading the week before, are starting to look like a side capable of challenging for a top four finish.

Their late summer signings are beginning to bed in, Jermaine Defoe is continuing his early-season hot-streak in front of goal and Brad Friedel is keeping French number one Hugo Lloris on the bench with some hugely impressive displays between the sticks.

With the players reportedly warming to Villas Boas and his methods, there is a mood of cautious optimism surrounding White Hart Lane which would develop into outright euphoria if the North Londoners were to lay their Old Trafford bogey to rest on Saturday.

Their prospects of doing just that could be boosted by the return of pacy full-back Kyle Naughton who is set to shrug off a foot injury in time to feature, while Emmanuel Adebayor should recover from his hamstring problem, but defensive duo Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul remain sidelined along with Scott Parker.

If there is ever a good time for Spurs to visit United, this is it and those looking for a bit of value may be tempted by the visitors’ odds which are likely to be around the $6 mark.

Despite their injury woes, however, the hosts will surely improve upon their display at Anfield and may well squeeze out another vital, hard-fought win.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

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