EPL Betting Preview Weekend – 28 April 2012

April 27th, 2012 | Posted by in Tips & Previews

Big weekend of EPL action this weekend which included the game that could determine the premiership between arch rivals Manchester City and Manchester United. After drawing with Everton Manchester United have a do or die game with Manchester City. Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

Sunderland vs Bolton
Wigan vs Newcastle
Tottenham vs Blackburn
Man City vs Man Utd

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers – Stadium of Light Saturday 28th April 2012

Their victory at Aston Villa in midweek was a vital and deserved one, but if Bolton Wanderers fail to back it up by securing another positive result at Sunderland on Saturday, their Premier League status will again be left hanging by a thread.

Despite high pre-season expectations, Owen Coyle’s men have spent virtually the entire campaign scrapping it out at the bottom of the table, although curiously enough, their away form has actually been significantly better than their record at home.

The Trotters have picked up six wins on the road to just four at the Reebok Stadium and will fancy their chances of improving that return still further at the expense of a Black Cats side who have recorded only one win in their last nine outings.

Crucially, Wanderers have a game in hand on all their rivals at the wrong end of the table and with Spurs, West Brom and Stoke providing the opposition in their last three fixtures, look to have a decent chance of scrambling to safety, possibly at the expense of an Aston Villa side who appear to be in freefall.

In terms of injury news ahead of the trip to Wearside, midfielder Darren Pratley should come back into contention for a squad place having overcome the effects of a virus, but long-term absentees Ricardo Gardner, Stuart Holden, Fabrice Muamba and Tyrone Mears remain unavailable.

One man who is fit and raring to go is Kevin Davies and should the veteran target-man enjoy a successful afternoon, it will only fuel the growing speculation that he will be swapping the Reebok Stadium for the Stadium of Light during the off-season.

The Trotters may also struggle to hang onto young goalkeeper Adam Bogdan who has enjoyed a stellar season and is said to be on the radar of several top six Premiership sides along with a number of powerhouse clubs in Europe.

As for the home side, they would have very gladly settled for a top twelve finish when they looked to be deep in relegation trouble just before Christmas.

Boss Martin O’Neill seemed to have the Midas touch when he succeeded Steve Bruce and oversaw an immediate and dramatic improvement in results and although that touch has eluded him more recently, he still deserves plenty of credit for righting what looked every inch a sinking ship.

The Northern Irishman will surely use the off-season to put his own stamp on the squad and if the Sunderland board make some funds available, there seems to be no reason why the Black Cats could not emulate the success of their bitter local rivals Newcastle next term.

For now though, O’Neill must try and ensure that his charges finish the current campaign on a high despite having his selection options severely limited by both injury and suspension.

Titus Bramble, Wes Brown, Craig Gardner, Kieran Richardson and Connor Wickham are all set to miss the Bolton clash, while combative midfielder Lee Cattermole is also regarded as a major doubt.

Welsh international David Vaughan may well start in midfield and Nicklas Bendtner is also set to feature in the run-on side despite claiming this week that he is unlikely to sign for Sunderland on a permanent basis once his loan move from Arsenal comes to an end.

And if press reports are to be believed, the Danish frontman may not be the only man departing the Wearside club in the near future, with midfield duo Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean both strongly linked with big money moves elsewhere.

Bolton have tasted victory just twice in their last eleven visits to the north-east, but sheer desperation may just be enough for them to make that three in twelve at the expense of a home side who, mentally at least, already appear to be on their summer holidays.

Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

Market: Sunderland $1.91, Draw $3.45, Bolton Wanderers $3.90

Wigan Athletic v Newcastle United – DW Stadium

Football pundits are fast running out of adjectives to describe the incredible late-season rally that has now put Wigan Athletic in with a very decent chance of avoiding the drop.

Even the most optimistic of Latics fans would surely have conceded that their fate was sealed back in mid-March following a run of just one win in fifteen games which left them seemingly marooned at the foot of the table.

Roberto Martinez’s men, however, subsequently stopped the rot with two creditable draws against Norwich and West Brom, before stunning everyone, perhaps even themselves, with shock wins over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Stoke.

Now three points clear of Blackburn who occupy the final relegation place, Wigan know that if they can repeat the trick and down another high-flying side in the form of Newcastle United on Saturday, they will be within touching distance of maintaining their top flight status yet again.

Wigan haven’t suddenly started rattling in the goals, indeed they remain the division’s joint lowest scorers along with relegated Wolves, but they have tightened up considerably at the back, conceding only seven times in their last eight games.

Omani goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has played a key role in that improved defensive performance, pulling off a string of spectacular saves on an almost weekly basis, while Honduran Maynor Figueroa has also caught the eye with his sterling work in the back four.

Martinez is set to receive a double boost on the injury front this week, meanwhile, with Shaun Maloney and Hugo Rodallega both set to come back into the selection frame having been sidelined by knee injuries.

The return of Rodallega could be especially important as the Colombian international is a genuine match-winner on his day and adds a much-needed cutting edge to the Latics’ frontline when available.

Midfielder Albert Crusat, however, will again miss out due to a calf problem.

As for Newcastle, they will head to Lancashire brimming with confidence on the back of a run of six consecutive victories.

That impressive form has fired the Magpies up to fourth place, three points clear of fifth-placed Spurs and within sight of a Champions League berth next season.

And qualifying for the money-spinning continental competition could be especially vital for the men from Tyneside given that if they don’t receive that windfall, owner Mike Ashley might well be tempted to cash in on at least some of the players who have performed so well for them this season.

The likes of Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse have all been strongly linked with summer moves away from St James’ Park and Ashley has shown all too often in the past that he won’t allow anything to stand in the way of what he perceives as a good financial deal.

As it stands, however, spirits could hardly be higher in the north-east, with boss Alan Pardew clearly enjoying every minute.

A far from popular appointment back in December 2010, the former Charlton and West Ham man deserves huge credit for what his side have achieved this term and will be determined to seal the deal by clinching that fourth-placed finish.

In terms of injury news ahead of Saturday’s trip toLancashire, Cabaye is expected to feature despite picking up a slight knock in last week’s win over Stoke and Danny Guthrie should also be available having all but shrugged off a calf strain.

The last six meetings between these two sides have thrown up an even split of two wins apiece, along with two draws and those recent fixtures have generally been low-scoring affairs.

Wigan know that they are by no means out of the woods yet, while Newcastle could yet pip Arsenal for third if they can continue their blistering run of form, so a tense afternoon therefore looks to be on the cards at the DW Stadium.

It’s a difficult one to call and it might be worth backing a low-scoring draw.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1-1 Newcastle United

Market: Wigan Athletic $2.70, Draw $3.35, Newcastle United $2.50

Sunday 29th April 2012

Tottenham Hotspur v Blackburn Rovers – White Hart Lane

A season that at one time promised so much is in danger of ending in a damp squib for Tottenham Hotspur.

Their FA Cup dream was shattered by Chelsea in humiliating fashion at Wembley a fortnight ago, while a run of just one win in their last nine league games means that they are in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification.

Unsurprisingly, the natives are growing restless at White Hart Lane and boss Harry Redknapp has been the subject of much of their ire.

The man who seems destined to lead England at this year’s European Championships has been accused of failing to rotate his squad properly, being tactically inflexible, playing his key men out of position and allowing too many players to leave the club on loan.

There appears to be an element of truth to all those claims, especially regarding the loan situation at the Lane, with the absence of Vedran Corluka, Andros Townsend, Jermaine Jenas and John Bostock among others compounding the injury woes that have plagued the club in the second half of the season.

Luka Modric has also looked tired in recent weeks having made some 43 appearances already this term, Rafael van der Vaart is struggling to recapture his early-season form and Emanuel Adebayor has been beset by fitness problems.

Redknapp is nevertheless expected to start all three against struggling Blackburn Rovers on Sunday in a game Spurs simply must win if they are to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto is expected to miss out after picking up an injury in last week’s defeat at QPR, joining fellow-defenders Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson on the sidelines.

Rovers, meanwhile, are another side limping towards the finish line and their late-season slump is threatening to cost them their place in the top flight.

Manager Steve Kean did seem to have hauled the Lancashire club out of trouble when they strung several positive results together in late February and March, but they subsequently lost five on the bounce and although they did manage to stop the rot with a vital 2-0 win over Norwich last time out, the men in blue and white now find themselves three points adrift of safety.

With a massive six-pointer coming up next week against Wigan, followed by a daunting trip to Chelsea on the final day of the season, Rovers know that they simply must pick up at least a point from Sunday’s trip to the capital to keep them in the hunt for survival.

And Kean at least doesn’t appear to have any fresh injury concerns to contend with heading into the crunch clash, with key attacking threats Junior Hoilett and Yakubu both coming through the Norwich game unscathed having picked up knocks in the previous week’s defeat at Swansea.

Midfielder David Dunn has admitted that the ongoing unrest at the club has taken a heavy toll on the players and indeed he and his colleagues may be happier playing on the road given that most of the noise generated at Ewood Park this season has been produced by fans calling for Kean to be sacked.

Those Blackburn supporters who do follow their side to the Lane this weekend will not need reminding that they have enjoyed the taste of victory just once in their last eight trips to North London, have picked up only twelve points on the road all season and lost at home to Spurs back in October.

There is a real element of disarray about both of these clubs just at the moment, but even though they are far from at their best, Tottenham should still have enough about them to hammer another nail into Rovers’ relegation coffin.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

Market: Tottenham Hotspur $1.40, Draw $4.50, Blackburn Rovers $7.50

Monday 30th April 2012

Manchester City v Manchester United – Etihad Stadium

For once the hype contains a high level of truth, because this is undeniably the biggest ever Manchester derby given what is at stake for both sides.

United’s shock home draw with Everton last weekend has left the title door ajar for their city rivals who now trail them by just three points and crucially, have a six goal advantage in terms of goal difference.

Victory for Roberto Mancini’s men would therefore make it their title to lose, while even a draw for United would be enough to keep them very much on course to retain their crown and keep their noisy neighbours at bay for another season.

The game pits the side with the best home record in the division against the side who have been the strongest on the road all season and will of course see Carlos Tevez come up against his former employers now that he is no longer a persona non grata at City.

Then there’s the duel between Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson who have been busy playing mind games over the last few weeks, with the former claiming the title race is already over and the latter insisting that his cross-city counterpart is starting to crack under the pressure.

In terms of team news, Mancini’s only selection dilemma appears to involve whether to start Nigel de Jong at the expense of either Samir Nasri or David Silva.

Including the Dutchman would allow Yaya Toure to push further forward, a role which certainly better suits the former Barcelona man, but would leave either Silva or Nasri surplus to requirements.

Although the Spaniard has performed poorly in recent weeks and looks to be feeling the effects of a long, gruelling season, Mancini seems unlikely to drop him and consequently it is likely to be Nasri who makes way.

Elsewhere, Gael Clichy should start at left-back and if Micah Richards recovers from his hamstring strain in time, he is set to get the nod ahead of Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, not least because he ran riot on the overlap the last time the two sides met at Old Trafford.

Up front, meanwhile, Sergio Aguero and Tevez will form an all-Argentinean spearhead that has been all but unstoppable in recent weeks and will ask plenty of questions of a United defence that somehow contrived to concede four goals to an Everton attack that hasn’t exactly been free-scoring this season.

Mario Balotelli is of course also available once again having served his three-match ban and although the Italian loose cannon is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench, he will doubtless still find a way of featuring prominently in Tuesday’s newspaper headlines.

Like Mancini,Ferguson may opt to make a change at full-back where the more defensively-sound Phil Jones is expected to replace Rafael and he could also err on the side of caution by preferring Ashley Young to Nani in midfield.

If Young does get the nod, there will be plenty of scrutiny of his response to challenges in and around the area, with even Ferguson admitting that he has spoken to the former Watford man about his over-eagerness to go to ground.

Given that a point would more than suit the visitors, we may see Wayne Rooney operating in more of a midfield role, leaving Danny Wellbeck to patrol up top as a lone striker.

The last league meeting between these two old foes did of course famously end in a 6-1 victory for City at Old Trafford, before United gained their revenge by bundling the Sky Blues out of the FA Cup in January.

Including the Community Shield clash at Wembley back in August, the three fixtures this term have produced an amazing 17 goals, but Monday night’s encounter is likely to be a much cagier affair.

It’s hard to imagine United defending as badly as they did last week against Everton or during the 6-1 derby defeat at Old Trafford and they may well do enough to claim the point that should ultimately decide the title race in their favour.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

Market: Manchester City $2.20, Draw $3.25, Manchester United $3.30

 

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