Aston Villa v Newcastle
Villa’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an abrupt end against relegation-contenders Fulham on Sunday, the same day that Michael Owen scored the first goal of the Kevin Keegan Mk II era in their 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at St. James’ Park. The return fixture ended goal-less, and both teams will be hoping for all three points from this encounter, Villa to stake a claim on fourth place, and Newcastle to get their first win in 9 premier league games.
Bolton v Portsmouth
Bolton will be hoping to string two premier league wins together for the first time this season as they host Pompey at the Reebok stadium. Portsmouth will be looking to complete the double over Bolton which would bring Harry Redknapp’s 50th Premier League win as Portsmouth gaffer (including both reigns) and propel them back up towards the Top 6, but their only wins in the last 9 games have been against struggling Reading and Derby. They did manage to get a draw against Chelsea last weekend, and that could spur them on to make something of this season.
Derby v Tottenham
Championship newcomers-elect Derby host Spurs at Pride Park, looking for their first win in 12 under new boss Paul Jewell (and second of the entire season). By contrast, Juande Ramos has won exactly half of his 24 matches as Tottenham supremo. Derby’s eye by now must be on the target of 16 points, to avoid becoming the Premier League’s worst ever club (which is currently held by Sunderland’s 15 point haul in 2005/06), whilst Spurs will be looking for what is surprisingly only their second away win of the season.
Bet365 will give you 11/2 for a Derby win, which is about the longest odds seen for a home victory – And that tells you all you need to know. The smart money will be taking Boyle Sport’s 4/7 for a Spurs win. Or for those brave punters who think Derby might be able to shut out Berbatov, Keane & co, the draw is at a tempting 3/1.
Everton v Reading
It’s fourth-top meets fourth-bottom at Goodison Park, and form would suggest a foregone conclusion as the Toffeemen are on a six-match unbeaten run, whilst Reading are enduring their worst run of Premiership games ever, currently standing at six defeats in a row. They will need to avoid making that Seven in a row to avoid dropping into the relegation zone.
VC Bet are dangling the carrot of a nice juicy 6/1 for Steve Coppell’s Reading to leave Goodison with the three points. Ladbrokes have Everton priced at just 4/7. Bet365 will give you 3/1 for the draw.
Middlesbrough v Fulham
Fulham will be hoping to build on last weekends win against Aston Villa with another maximum, this time away at the Riverside to Middlesbrough, who will be looking to add a few more points to the five point gap between themselves and the drop zone by making it seven games unbeaten. Fulham are the division’s draw specialists, so you may want to look at the odds for a score draw as the Cottagers have only kept one clean sheet in the last 15 games.
Boro are strong favourites for this game, with best available odds currently 10/11 for the home win (with bet365). Boyle Sports have the draw at just 12/5, whilst Ladbrokes are selling a Fulham victory at 7/2.
Sunderland v Wigan
Sunderland host Wigan at the Stadium of Light with what should be on paper two fairly evenly matched teams, with both of them sitting precariously just two points off the relegation zone with 23 points from 25 games. Recent encounters have all gone the Lactic’s way though, who have a 100% Premier League record against the Wearsiders and have already beaten them 3-0 twice this season (league and FA Cup).
Clearly the bookies look at the big picture rather than just recent history, as Sunderland are clear favourites at 23/20 with VC Bet, with Wigan out at 13/5 with Boyle Sports.
West Ham v Birmingham
Alex McLeish has had a terrible start to his reign at St Andrews, with just 2 wins out of his 11 games in charge so far, and he faces a trip to one of his old clubs, West Ham in desperate need of pointage from the Capital , something that has evaded them recently – The Blues have taken just 6 points from a possible 39 in their last 13 trips to London Clubs. The Hammers meanwhile are enjoying not being involved in the relegation dogfight and will look forward to their fourth successive home victory.
Bet365 have a West Ham win as 4/5 and the draw at 13/5. VC Bet will give you 4/1 for a rare Birmingham win in the capital.
All odds correct at time of writing, but subject to change. Please check Searchum Odds for the latest Odds.