Here’s a look at the weekend’s biggest Premier League fixtures and the best bets to place this weekend.
Manchester United v Liverpool
All eyes will be on Old Trafford this weekend when arch rivals Man United and Liverpool face off in what promises to be a fiery encounter (12.45pm O, Live on Sky Sports 2), and the home side are fancied at 1.91 with Paddy Power to come out on top
The game sees Patrice Evra come face to face with Luis Suarez for the first time since the Liverpool striker was banned for eight games after racially abusing the United defender and the atmosphere will be even more hostile than usual.
The good news as far as United are concerned team wise is that Tom Cleverley looks set to be involved after three months on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
The stats are also good as far as this fixture is concerned for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as they have won six of the last seven meetings between the two sides on their own patch.
They have also lost just two of their last 15 games in the PL, and were arguably unlucky not to beat Chelsea after coming back from 3-0 down to share the spoils at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
Wayne Rooney was outstanding in that game and is due a goal against the Merseysiders, however the value as far as i am concerned in the first scorer market is definitely Hernandez.
Sir Alex admitted after the Chelsea game that he had made a mistake in not giving him a start, as he looked real threat when coming on with his pace and runs causing all sorts of trouble for the Chelsea defence.
I don’t think he will make the same mistake again, and the young Mexican will sure play from the off – especially as he has also scored in the final 10 minutes of the last two Premier League games between the two sides.
He is a 6.5 shot with Paddy Power to net the opener and 2.7 with the same firm to score anytime. Both look worth a punt.
Sunderland v Arsenal
Arsenal look cracking value at 2.15 with Paddy Power to take advantage of a weary Sunderland and bag all three points at the Stadium of Light this weekend.
The Black Cats have collected 22 from a possible 30 points since the arrival of Martin O’Neill but come into this having played 120 minutes in their midweek FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough.
O’Neill will be forced to field a similar team due to the fact that he has a number of key injuries, and the Wearsiders will find Arsenal’s attack very hard to contain if they play anything like they did in their 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn at the Emirates last weekend.
When the two sides met at the Emirates Stadium, Robin van Persie scored Arsenal’s fastest-ever Premier League goal (29 seconds) and went on to notch another in a 2-1 win.
The Dutchman has scored 28 goals in 30 games for Arsenal in all competitions, and his goal tally currently stands at 40 goals in his last 41 Premier League appearances.
Make no mistake Sunderland will be no pushover, but Arsenal come into this by far the fresher team and have the class to make it tell.
For those that like to play the correct score market, I think a 2-1 win for the Gunners is worth a small interest at 9 with Betfred.
Bolton v Wigan
The Reebok Stadium plays host to a crunch Lancashire derby as relegation battlers Bolton face Premier League whipping boys Wigan, and it’s the visitors who are fancied to come out on top at 2.75 with bet365 and Betfred.
Both sides are desperate for points in the race for survival, but the situation is particularly bleak for the Latics who currently lie five points off safety in rock bottom with by far the worst goal difference in the top flight.
However, Roberto Martinez’s side have shown signs of promise in their last two games causing Spurs plenty of problems at White Hart Lane when they could easily have nabbed a pint in a game which eventually saw them get beat 3-1.
They then did well to grind out hard-fought 1-1 draw at home to Everton in difficult conditions, where they came within seven minutes of a much needed win.
Bolton’s season seemed to be picking up when they notched recent wins over Everton and Liverpool, but they looked back to their poorest when getting beat 2-0 by Norwich last time out.
So given that The Trotters have lost eight home games in the league this season, Owen Coyle’s men looks worth a punt at the odds on offer given that they will go for the jugular from the first whistle in a game which they simply must win at all costs.
Everton v Chelsea
Chelsea will need to be much more clinical if they are to beat Everton at Goodison this weekend, but at 2.6 with Paddy Power they look worth a bet to do just that.
They threw away a 3-0 lead against Man United last weekend, and I can’t help thinking that the tactics employed when they had the game in the bag left alot to be desired.
Any side that is gifted a 3-0 lead in such a game needs to know how to shut up shop and get the job done, and why AVB didn’t get his side to do so is a mystery.
As far as the stats are concerned Chelsea have won only two of the last 10 Premier League meetings with Everton, drawing six of the remaining eight encounters.
However overall, Everton have won just two of the last 22 PL games against the Londoners – albeit that they came in the last two meetings at Goodison Park.
So if Chelsea can keep things tight and attack like they are capable of then a win is surely on the cards given that David Moyes’ side have managed to win just one of their last six games in the league.
Daniel Sturridge has continued to impress in recent weeks and is likely to prove a real handful for the Toffee’s defence.
The youngster is a 7 shot with Paddy Power to net the opener and appeals as the player most likely to break the deadlock from a punting perspective.
He can also be backed at 3 with the same to score anytime during the 90 minutes and that looks a big price given that he is as short as 2.2 in a place.