EPL Betting Preview Weekend – Round 2 2012/2013

August 25th, 2012 | Posted by in 2012/2013 EPL Season

Big weekend of EPL action this weekend for Round 2 of the 2012/2013. Big games include Manchester United taking on Fulham, Chelsea and Newcastle as well as Liverpool and Manchester City. Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview of some of these big games this weekend. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

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

Aston Villa v Everton – Villa Park – Saturday 25th August 2012

Even before their superb and thoroughly-deserved win over Manchester United on Monday night, there was a growing sense at Goodison Park that Everton could be one of the Premier League’s big improvers this season.

Having finally been handed something resembling a transfer kitty, boss David Moyes has invested wisely thus far this summer and although losing Jack Rodwell to Manchester City was a blow, the $30 million-plus fee received from the reigning champions for the versatile, if largely unproven youngster looked like a decent bit of business.

In terms of the new arrivals on Merseyside, livewire midfielder Steven Pienaar has made a welcome return to the club where he arguably played the best football of his career between 2007 and 2011, while Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas reportedly turned down the opportunity to sign for Arsenal in favour of joining the Toffees having impressed in the Greek top flight with reigning champions Olympiakos.

Steven Naismith, meanwhile, is another notable new arrival whose versatility and composure on the ball should further strengthen what is already an impressive midfield unit.

There have also been strong rumours on Merseyside this week that Michael Owen is poised to join Pienaar, Mirallas and Naismith at Goodison Park, almost certainly on a pay-as-you-play contract, but neither the former Manchester United and Liverpool man nor the club have yet confirmed publicly that any such deal is imminent.

Next up for Moyes’ men in terms of on-field action is an away trip Aston Villa and although the visitors have not emerged from Villa Park with three points since 2005, they will fancy their chances of improving that record against a side who limped over the line last term and began this season with a similarly dismal 1-0 defeat at newly-promoted West Ham.

Indeed, while most Villa fans may still be revelling in the fact that Alex McLeish’s tenure at the club is now just a bad memory, there have as yet been precious few signs to indicate that the future under his replacement, Paul Lambert, will be significantly brighter.

Yes Villa showed more attacking intent at Upton Park than we saw from them during most of last season, but they also looked extremely lightweight up front and faded badly after making a lively start.

One bright spot for Lambert on a largely forgettable afternoon, however, would surely have been the performance of newcomer Ron Vlaar whose dominant, rugged display at centre-back suggested that the Dutch international may just be worthy successor to the likes of Paul McGrath and Richard Dunne.

Dunne himself remains sidelined after undergoing a groin operation, joining Marc Albrighton and Stiliyan Petrov on the long-term injury list, but Nathan Delfouneso may well recover from his thigh problem in time to make the matchday squad this weekend and Aussie starlet Chris Herd will be hoping to see some action off the bench.

The visitors, meanwhile, did not appear to pick up any fresh injuries in their win over United and it would come as a major surprise if boss Moyes were to make any changes to the run-on side that performed so well on Monday night.

The hosts appear to be in the very early throes of what could prove to be a tricky transitional period and Everton have the confidence and personnel to take full advantage by claiming all three points on Saturday.

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Everton

 Chelsea v Newcastle United – Stamford Bridge – Saturday 25th August 2012

Two wins in five days have been enough to move Chelsea to the top of the early-season table and while the Blues have not perhaps been at their very best for the full duration of either game, they have at times shown enough quality to suggest that they are capable of giving the Manchester clubs a run for their money in the title chase this term.

If his opening two display against Wigan and Reading are anything to go by, Eden Hazard will surely prove to be the Premier League’s best newcomer and even though he has thus far been restricted to cameos off the bench, Brazilian midfielder Oscar has caught the eye with his both pace and superb close control.

With Fernando Torres opening his account for the season against Reading in midweek and Ramires building upon his impressive 2011-2012 form, the West Londoners look to be in decent shape, at least offensively.

Boss Roberto Di Matteo, however, can hardly fail to be aware that an ageing, ponderous defence continues to be his side’s Achilles heel.

Even lowly Wigan tore the Blues apart down the flanks, while on Wednesday night John Terry looked utterly hapless against a Reading attack that is not exactly packed with world-beaters. David Luiz may well return from a knee injury to line up against Newcastle United on Saturday, but the Brazilian is not exactly mister consistency either and Magpies strike duo Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse will be licking their lips in anticipation of facing such a painfully porous backline.

Much as adopting a deep, massed defence served Chelsea well against both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League last term, it is not an approach they can realistically employ in the Premier League on a weekly basis and Di Matteo’s ability to solve this issue may ultimately define the club’s season.

Newcastle, meanwhile, got their new campaign off to a winning start against Spurs and even though they were a touch fortunate to claim all three points at the Sports Direct Arena, they did enough to support boss Alan Pardew’s assertion that last season’s 5th-place finish will not prove to be a flash in the pan.

With Hatem Ben Arfa now adding some consistency of performance to his sensational level of attacking skill and the club’s all-African strike duo continuing to rattle in the goals, the Magpies should again prove a handful for most sides in the division.

And they may well receive a defensive boost ahead of their long trip to the capital with Fabricio Coloccini set to recover from the minor knock that ruled him out of the Spurs game and return to the starting eleven.

One man missing from the bench for the visitors at Stamford Bridge, however, will be boss Alan Pardew whose ill-advised push on the assistant referee last weekend means that he will be forced to watch the game from the stands.

Pardew rested several of his big names, including Ba and Cheick Tiote for his side’s midweek Europa League clash with Greek side Atromitos, but should have close to a full-strength squad from which to make his final selection on Saturday.

Newcastle have not tasted defeat on any of their last four trips to West London and indeed won 2-0 there last season, but their more seasoned fans will not need reminding that their eight visits to the Bridge between 2001 and 2008 yielded eight straight defeats.

A price of around $4.50 may tempt punters to back the Magpies to nick another win and while that may ultimately prove beyond them, they are certainly capable of exploiting Chelsea’s defensive frailties sufficiently to earn a share of the spoils.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle United

 Manchester United v Fulham – Old Trafford – Saturday 25th August 2012

He may have been left red-faced and fuming at his own players, the match officials, the stadium clock, the ball kids and pretty much everything and everyone else at Goodison Park on Monday night, but in the cold light of day, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to over-react to the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Everton.

In the absence of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand, the visitors were forced to field an extremely makeshift defence, although quite why Michael Carrick rather than Nemanja Vidic was charged with combating the aerial threat of Marouane Fellaini remains a mystery.

United consequently looked vulnerable, disjointed and a touch underdone and it should also be noted that they came up against an Everton side who were nothing short of superb on the night.

While Ferdinand may well return to face Fulham this weekend having all but shaken off his groin problem, Jones, Smalling and Evans are all set to be sidelined for several more weeks, leaving Ferguson desperately hoping that the likes of Vidic and Patrice Evra can stay fit.

United have moved to bolster their defensive stocks this week by signing highly-rated young Dutchman Alexander Buttner from Vitesse Arnhem, but the left-back seems unlikely to come straight into the squad for Saturday and midfielder Darren Fletcher’s level of match fitness is not thought to yet be high enough for him to be considered either.

On a more positive note for last season’s runners-up, Danny Welbeck has pledged his future to the club by penning a new four-year deal, out-of-favour striker Dimitar Berbatov could soon be off the wage bill courtesy of a move to Fiorentina and the Red Devils have not ruled out a late bid for Borussia Dortmund’s free-scoring Polish international frontman Robert Lewandowski.

As it stands, recent recruit Robin van Persie is expected to make his starting debut against the Cottagers, forging what Fergie and co hope will be a fruitful partnership with Wayne Rooney and fellow-new-boy Shinji Kagawa will be looking to build upon another impressive midfield display against Everton.

But if United left their supporters decidedly non-plussed with their first-up performance, their Fulham counterparts were jumping for joy in the wake of their side’s spectacular 5-0 drubbing of Norwich.

Even without the services of last season’s top scorer Clint Dempsey who appears to be on the brink of a move to Liverpool, Martin Jol’s side produced a superb display of attacking football at Craven Cottage, continuing the strong form they showed towards the end of last season.

They may not be household names just yet, but on the evidence of Saturday’s goal-fest, both Mladen Petric and Alex Kacaniklic have the potential to light up the Premier League this term, Jon Arne Riise is finally back to his formidable best and the capture of former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra on a free transfer looks to have been a massive coup.

And while a lack of squad depth could undoubtedly come back to haunt them once injuries and suspensions start to kick in during the coming months, there certainly seem to be enough indications coming out of the Cottage to suggest that Jol’s men are more likely to be targeting a Europa League place than casting anxious glances towards the bottom three this term.

As it stands, the Londoners currently have a virtually a clean bill of health and Jol is not expected to make many changes for the trip to Old Trafford, but should any of their travelling fans be in danger of getting ahead of themselves, a quick glance at the history books will hand them a very firm reality check. The Cottagers have lost on each of their last nine away meetings with United, managing only three goals and conceding 23 in the process.

The home side’s brittle-looking defence will certainly receive a workout against an ebullient Fulham side, but United’s greater overall quality should enable them to get their campaign up and running with a welcome home win.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Fulham

 Liverpool v Manchester City – Anfield – Sunday 26th August 2012

Having endured plenty of false dawns during the last 20 years or so, Liverpool fans could be forgiven for over-reacting to last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom.

And yet in the opening 40 minutes, before the Reds’ back four reverted to the kind of defending that would have disgraced an under-10s team, there was plenty to suggest that the future under new boss Brendan Rodgers is likely to be a bright one. The visitors were completely dominant, moving the ball delightfully around in midfield, even with Steven Gerrard looking totally out-of-sorts and had Luis Suarez brought his shooting boots, could easily have been two or even three nil up before the defensive meltdown ensued.

Rodgers clearly has plenty of work ahead of him and his overhaul of the club is not perhaps as far advanced as some Reds fans had hoped it would be at this stage, but the Ulsterman also suffered plenty of early set-backs during his time at Swansea before going on to enjoy great success in South Wales and there is still every chance he will do the same at Anfield.

Not that the going will get any easier in the short term, however, with Manchester City providing the opposition on Sunday. Rodgers will of course have to reshuffle his backline in the absence of Daniel Agger who is suspended after seeing red at West Brom, although he would surely have considered making defensive changes anyway in response to that opening day defeat.

The luckless Joe Cole also looks set to miss out after picking up yet another hamstring problem, but Jose Enrique should come back into the selection frame having been sidelined for the West Brom game and highly-rated Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi may also be handed his league debut after completing his move to Anfield from Dutch club Heerenveen last week.

As for City, they weren’t overly-convincing in their first hit-out of the season either and although they ultimately still got the job done against plucky Southampton, the performance arguably produced more questions than answers regarding the prospects of Roberto Mancini’s men retaining their Premiership crown.

Defensively they frequently looked all at sea, with Jack Rodwell enduring a debut to forget and they also took a while to re-adjust going forward following Sergio Aguero’s premature exit with a knee injury. The Argentinean striker is expected to be out for at least a month, joining the likes of Micah Richards and Gareth Barry on the sidelines and having been unusually quiet on the transfer front thus far this summer, it now seems likely that Mancini will dust off the cheque book and draft in several new recruits before the end of the month.

Striker Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid’s Uruguayan centre-back Diego Godin and Swansea’s attacking midfielder Scott Sinclair are all said to be on the Italian’s shopping list, although it seems unlikely that any new recruits will be on board in time for the short trip to Anfield.

Edin Dzeko is likely to replace Aguero against the Reds, though Mario Balotelli is also pressing for a promotion from the bench and Dutch enforcer Nigel de Jong could get the nod ahead of Rodwell in midfield.

In terms of historical omens, recent meetings between the two sides at Anfield have tended to be tight affairs, with four of the last five ending all square and you have to go back to 2003 to find the last time City left Merseyside with all three points.

It’s hard to see the hosts keeping a clean sheet based on last weekend’s performance, but they may just show enough improvement to claim a valuable point against a City side missing its go-to striker and not yet firing on all cylinders.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City

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