EPL Betting Preview Weekend – 6 May 2012

May 4th, 2012 | Posted by in Tips & Previews

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Big weekend of EPL action this Sunday as we arrive at the final games of the EPL season where Manchester City is in the driving seat to take out their first title in 40 years. However they have a tough assignment on Sunday when they take an in form Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena. Below we have Sportingbet Australia EPL betting preview of some of the games this weekend. Click below on the game for this weekend’s EPL Betting odds from leading UK and European bookmakers.

Arsenal vs Norwich
Newcastle vs Man City
Wolverhampton vs Everton
Fulham vs Sunderland
Aston Villa vs Tottenham
Bolton vs West Brom
QPR vs Stoke
Man Utd vs Swansea
Blackburn vs Wigan

English Premier League Sunday 6th May 2012

Newcastle United v Manchester CitySports Direct Arena

And now it all boils down to nerve.

Having put themselves in pole position to win what would their first title in more than forty years, Manchester City know that two more victories will be enough to pip Manchester United to the ultimate prize in English football.

Have the men in sky blue got the character and the mental strength required to get the job done and finally deal a potentially hugely significant blow to the rivals who have ridiculed them from a position of unquestioned power for so long?

Judging by their performance against United on Monday evening, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

The scoreline may only have been 1-0, but that should not be allowed to disguise the fact that City were superior in every department, controlling virtually the entire game with the exception of a brief period immediately after the interval.

And this time it wasn’t the flamboyant genius of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez or David Silva that proved key, it was the dogged midfield work carried out by unsung hero Gareth Barry, along with Yaya Toure, plus the defensive solidity supplied by the outstanding Joleon Lescott and the equally immoveable Vincent Kompany.

United may have erred on the side of caution with their team selection and tactical approach, but even when they threw caution to the wind late in the game City remained largely untroubled and endured few anxious moments before Etihad Stadium erupted at the final whistle.

Boss Roberto Mancini led from the front, happy to engage in a heated confrontation with Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline in an incident that in many ways personified City’s new-found willingness to go toe-to-toe with the side that has dominated them for so long.

Mancini’s men undoubtedly have United on the ropes in terms of the title race and with their final game of the season at home to strugglers QPR, they know that victory over Newcastle United this weekend will move them to within touching distance of that long-awaited title.

Three points will be hard to come by at the Sports Direct Arena, however, as with the exception of last week’s bizarre thumping at Wigan, the Magpies have been the league’s form side.

Wednesday night’s hugely impressive 2-0 victory at Chelsea made it seven wins from eight games for Alan Pardew’s men who could still finish as high as third.

Papiss Cisse was Newcastle’s goal hero yet again at Stamford Bridge, helping himself to a brace to take his tally for the club to an astonishing thirteen in twelve games.

The Senegalese international may not be the hardest working striker going around, but there is no doubting the quality of his finishing and he will ask plenty of questions of City’s defence on Sunday.

Less positive for the home side is the news that key midfielder Cheik Tiote is regarded as a major doubt having been stretched from the field on Wednesday in the wake of an aerial collision with Jon Obi Mikel.

The Ivorian’s head injury will be assessed by the club’s medical staff later this week and Pardew will be desperately hoping he pulls up fit as his combination with Yohan Cabaye in central midfield has underpinned much of Newcastle’s success this term.

In terms of early injury news for the visitors, meanwhile, they appeared to come through the derby clash unscathed and Mancini may well opt to retain faith with the starting eleven that ultimately served him so well.

That will mean more time on the bench for Mario Balotelli, although the headline- magnet may well appear at some point on Sunday after, perhaps wisely, remaining unused against United.

Already on cloud nine in the wake of Monday night’s triumph, City’s army of travelling fans can take further heart from the fact that they have dominated the Magpies in recent years.

Eight of the last ten meetings between the two sides have ended in victory for the men in blue and you have to go back to 2005 to find the last time City left Tyneside empty-handed.

Newcastle will surely defend better than they did against Wiganlast week, but with glory in sight, it’s hard to see City being denied and they should just edge what promises to be a nerve-jangling afternoon in the north-east.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Manchester City

Queens Park Rangers v Stoke City – Loftus Road

Those punters who look for results patterns to guide them will be pleased to hear that Queens Park Rangers’ last nine games have shown a remarkable symmetry.

Since losing to Bolton and then subsequently beating Liverpool back in March, they have repeated that loss followed by a win, followed by a loss, followed by a win, followed by a loss pattern right up until last week’s 6-1 trouncing at the hands of Chelsea.

So bearing that in mind, they should return to winning ways on Sunday when Stoke City visit Loftus Road.

If only it were that simple.

Let’s face it, Stoke are not the kind of side you really want to be facing at this time in the season when only goal difference is keeping you out of the relegation zone.

The Potters may have nothing but pride left to play for, but rolling over is not an expression anyone would associate with boss Tony Pulis and the combative, fiercely competitive side he has assembled at the Britannia Stadium.

So the West Londoners will undoubtedly have their work cut out to pick up the three points on Sunday, yet, with a visit to champions-elect Manchester City looming on the final day of the season, anything other than a victory could well see them making an immediate return to the Championship.

Rangers have certainly looked more organised and tactically switched-on since Mark Hughes succeeded Neil Warnock back in January, but they have still not managed to win two consecutive games at any point during the campaign and Hughes has, at times, been guilty of blaming the officials in a bid to divert attention away from his own shortcomings and those of his team.

Some of their defending at Stamford Bridge last weekend was nothing short of laughable and they will have to show considerable improvement in that area to keep the likes of Peter Crouch and Jon Walters at bay on Sunday.

Hughes may be tempted to promote fellow-Welshman Danny Gabbidon from the bench to bolster his rearguard against the Potters and could well have Fitz Hall at his disposal once again following the former Southampton man’s recovery from the knock he picked up late last month.

As for Stoke, their season seems to have caught up with them in much the same way as it has with their mid-table companions, Swansea.

Their extensive involvement in the Europa League and domestic cup competitions means that they have already played more than 50 games this term and may at least partially explain why they have managed to win only one of their last nine outings.

With a home game to come against Bolton next week, the Potters will ultimately play a key role in deciding who exits the top flight, while they themselves could still finish in the top ten if they secure another two wins and results elsewhere go their way.

Even if they end up slightly below mid-table, Pulis can reflect upon another solid season, but has revealed that he is already busy trying to recruit at least one new striker to take some of the goalscoring burden off the bony shoulders of Peter Crouch.

Ironically, one of the men Pulis is said to be targeting is DJ Campbell who, in an intriguing twist, could be named on the bench for the Hoops against Stoke on Sunday.

Jermaine Pennant, meanwhile, has hosed down speculation that he could be set to leave the club by insisting that he in fact wants to sign a new two-year deal and on the injury front, popular utility man Andy Wilkinson may well return to the squad this week after overcoming a groin problem.

Home fans will take some encouragement from the fact that their side enjoyed one of their rare away successes at Stoke back in November and has also only been beaten once by the men in red and white in the last eleven meetings at Loftus Road.

This clash promises to be anything but easy on the eye and while QPR have so much more to play for, Stoke are exactly the sort of awkward opponents who can throw a spanner in the works by claiming a hard-earned point.

Prediction: QPR 1-1 Stoke City

Manchester United v Swansea CityOld Trafford

Sunday 6th May 2012

The colour of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s face resembled that of his side’s famous shirts in the wake of Monday night’s potentially disastrous defeat at the hands of Manchester City.

And there seems little doubt that the Scot’s legendary hairdryer treatment would have been stripping the paint off the walls in the changing rooms at Etihad Stadium following the curiously lack-lustre display from the Red Devils that left the title City’s to lose.

Having felt the full force of their manager’s wrath, an on-field backlash from the players can be expected and that could spell bad news for Sunday’s visitors Swansea City.

Brendan Rodgers’ men have enjoyed a superb first season in the Premiership, comfortably securing a mid-table position and delighting the purists with their Barcelona-esque short passing game.

The gruelling campaign, however, appears to have caught up with the Welsh side who have won only one of their last seven games and conceded four goals to relegated Wolves in their most recent outing.

So it promises to be a tricky afternoon for the Swans at Old Trafford against a fired-up United side who won 1-0 when the sides last met at the Liberty Stadium back in late November.

Fortunately for the visitors, they did not appear to pick up any fresh injury concerns in last week’s goal-fest with Wolves and Rodgers could well name an unchanged side.

He will certainly stick with the system that has brought them such great success and neither he nor his players will abandon their passing principles regardless of the quality of the opposition, which should make for an open, attractive game.

One possible change for the Swans could come down the left where the more defensively-minded Neil Taylor may replace Andrea Orlandi, while Leroy Lita is likely to come off the bench to test out United’s central defenders with his robust physical presence.

The hosts, meanwhile, will surely opt to field a more attacking side than they did against City when they understandably set up simply to avoid defeat rather than take the game to their nearest and not so dearest rivals.

Antonio Valencia is expected to return to midfield and Danny Welbeck is also set to be restored to the starting line-up if he recovers from a slight ankle problem, with Wayne Rooney pushed up alongside him.

Rafael may replace Phil Jones following the Englandman’s shaky display against City and the Brazilian could well be joined in the back four by Jonny Evans who is likely to overcome a bruised foot and replace Chris Smalling alongside Rio Ferdinand.

By the time this game kicks off, United will know how City have fared at Newcastle and should Roberto Mancini’s men have stumbled on Tyneside, Old Trafford will be no place for the faint-hearted.

Swansea will probably still enjoy more possession than United even though they are limping towards the finishing line, but the home side have everything to play for and it’s all but impossible to see them failing to bounce back with a win.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Swansea City

Monday 7th May 2012

Blackburn Rovers v Wigan Athletic – Ewood Park

Most Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic fans would have looked at this fixture at the start of the season and identified it as a likely relegation six-pointer.

And those who didn’t may well have been those pessimists who believed their side would already have been consigned to the Championship by the time the penultimate game of the campaign rolled around.

As it stands, victory for the visitors will all but seal their survival, while anything other than a win for Rovers will surely leave them preparing for trips to Oakwell and London Road rather than Old Trafford and Anfield next season.

Even a draw would do little for Steve Kean’s men who looked to be edging to safety following successive wins over Wolves and Sunderland back in March, before a run of six defeats in seven games sent them plunging back into the bottom three.

In complete contrast, Wigan looked gone for all money as they headed into March bottom of the league and facing the most difficult run-in of all the division’s strugglers.

Improbable victories over Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Stoke and Newcastle followed, however, as Roberto Martinez’s men suddenly found the form that had eluded them all season and if momentum really is such a vital commodity at this stage of a campaign, no-one has more of it than the Latics.

Last week’s demolition of in-form Newcastle was as impressive as it was startling, with a side that has looked toothless in front of goal so often this term suddenly transforming into a rampant attacking unit that had the Magpies’ much-vaunted defence at sixes and sevens right from the outset and could easily have won by an even more emphatic margin.

Victor Moses starred with two goals, while Chilean midfielder Jean Beausejour also caught the eye, as did Shaun Maloney and his strike partner Franco Di Santo who has endured a tough time in English football to date and will be keen to impress on Sunday against the side that sold him to Wigan back in August 2010.

It’s hard to imagine that Martinez will choose to make any major changes to his winning side, although the influential Hugo Rodallega could get the nod to start after recovering sufficiently from a knee injury to make the bench last week.

The hosts, meanwhile, failed to muster a single shot on or off target in their dismal 2-0 defeat at Spurs last weekend, a fact that will hardly fill their disgruntled fans with optimism bearing in mind that after the Wigan clash they visit Chelsea on the final day of the season.

The game really does look to be up for manager Steve Kean who seems to have been on the brink of being sacked since back in August and will surely finally get the chop as and when Rovers’ fate is sealed.

Even with virtually all of his senior players available, Kean has little room for manoeuvre in terms of his team selection this week and will simply pin his hopes on the likes of Yakubu and Junior Hoilett rediscovering their touch in the final third.

David Goodwillie, Ruben Rochina and Anthony Modeste may come into the reckoning for starting berths up front, but boasting only four Premier League goals between them, they are unlikely to cause any sleepless nights for the Wigan rearguard.

Indeed Goodwillie may not be in the correct frame of mind to play even if he does get the nod having been found guilty of assault earlier this week and handed a 12-month probation order.

And in other off-field news, controversial club owners Venky’s have been forced to deny reports that they will sell Rovers should they go down, insisting that they will still be in charge at Ewood Park come the start of next season.

That claim will further darken the mood of may Rovers fans who feel the chicken business tycoons are running the club into the ground and the atmosphere on Sunday could well turn ugly pretty quickly should Rovers find themselves trailing early in the piece.

It really is all over bar the shouting for Rovers and Wigan look a decent bet to earn what would be their first ever win at Ewood Park and finally put the home club out of their misery in the process.

Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Wigan Athletic

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