Here’s a look at this weekend’s best Premier League action and top betting tips for the big games.
QPR v Arsenal: Eight in a row for the Gunners?
Arsenal are on a roll and make plenty of appeal at 1.62 with Betfred and Paddy Power to make it win number eight on the bounce when they take on QPR at Loftus Road.
The Gunners’ 3-0 win over Villa last weekend meant that they now have the joint-longest run of consecutive league wins (7) in 2011-12 Premier League.
They last won eight in a row back in March 2004, and everything suggests they are worthy odds-on shots to match that.
QPR have gone to pot since Mark Hughes took over, and have picked up more red cards this season than any other team (6).
Half of those have come since the Welshman’s arrival, and Cisse will be suspended for this having picked up a second red card for the club at Sunderland last week.
The R’s are really struggling and it’s difficult to see where any revival will come from.
Their defence is poor, and an on-song Arsenal should be able to tear it apart and register a comfortable win.
The Gunners’ superb run of form has seen them climb into third place, and this is an ideal opportunity to pick up more points in a bid to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
For those that play in the goalscorer markets, I like the look of Aaron Ramsey to score anytime at 4.5 with bet365.
The midfielder could have bagged a hat-trick in Arsenal’s last away game at Everton, and if back in the side after being dropped for last week’s game will be a potent threat.
Aston Villa v Chelsea: nowhere to hide for the Villans
Chelsea face a trip to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa and look bankers at 1.91 with Betfred to emerge victorious.
The Blues lacked a cutting edge in their goalless draw against Spurs last weekend, but they’ve won all six of their other games since Roberto Di Matteo took the reins and put in a solid performance in their midweek 1-0 Champions League win at Benfica.
They currently sit five points off the top four with just eight games to go, so they can’t afford any slips ups against a side who have have all sorts of problems.
A host of injuries has left Alex McLeish with a real headache, and Charles N’Zogbia and Alan Hutton have now joined the likes of Richard Dunne, Darren Bent and Ciaran Clark on the sidelines.
The lack of key players has resulted in a poor run of results, and although they did manage to win their last game at home against Fulham it is their only victory in the last 8 games.
An on-song Chelsea will surely prove too hot to handle, and Didier Drogba could be the one who fires them on the way to victory.
He has scored in each of his last four appearances in all competitions against Villa, and he looks worth a punt at 5.5 with bet365 and Betfred to score first.
However even better value surely has to be the 2.3 on offer with bet365 for him to net anytime.
Newcastle United v Liverpool: the Andy Carroll (no)show
Liverpool are a top priced 2.5 with Paddy Power to beat Newcastle at St James’ on Sunday (1.30pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1), and given their current form many will be surprised to see them installed as favourites.
The Reds are currently sitting eight points behind their rivals following five defeats in six Premier League outings.
It is horrendous run, and the performance when they folded tamely at home to Wigan last weekend was described by some Anfield regulars as the worst display of the season.
That victory for the Latics meant that Liverpool have bagged just 8 points from a possible 33 recently – and that is simply not good enough for a side with so much quality.
However they will surely want to put things right and silence their critics, and at their best, they are a match for any side in the PL.
Many have been quick to forget that they have managed to beat Man United and Man City in cup competitions plus Arsenal and Chelsea on the road in the league itself.
Those wins show that they have the ability to beat anyone when on-song, and they seem to play better against the top clubs rather than those in the bottom half of the top flight.
So there is every chance that a totally different Liverpool will turn on Tyneside and I for one will be taking the 2.5 on offer with Paddy’s.
Andy Carroll is a 9 chance with bet365 to score first on his return to his former stomping ground, but Suarez makes far more appeal to break the deadlock at 7 with Betfred.
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United: Fergie Time
Ewood Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for United in recent years as far as victories go, but bookmakers make them 1.4 shots to beat Blackburn and in their current form it would take a brave man to back against them not securing all three points.
Rovers recorded a shock 3-2 win against United at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve, but currently sit just three points clear of the relegation zone following their loss to Bolton Wanderers last week.
But they have won three and lost just one of their last five games at home, while United are aiming for their first win at Ewood Park since October 2008.
However, this looks a great opportunity for United to put that record straight given their current mood.
The Red Devils have lost just one of their last 16 away games in the PL, and come into the game on the back of six successive victories.
They have taken 28 points from the last 30 available in an impressive run which has put them top of the league and three points clear of arch rivals City – and Sir Alex knows what is required to hold onto that position.
He is sure to have instilled into his players the importance of the remaining 8 games on the run-in, and I don’t think that they will let him down here.
Wayne Rooney is in terrific form at present and has scored four goals in his last five outings against Blackburn.
He has netted 17 times in the last 17 games in all competitions, and is not surprisingly favourite to score first at 3.6 with Paddy Power.
However those odds look very skinny, and Chicharito and Welbeck look better value at 5 and 6 respectively with Boylesports.
Whoever scores first, I expect United to win this with a bit to spare.