FOOTBALL TRADER BEN CLEMINSON BRINGS YOU THE BEST OF THIS WEEKEND’S FOOTBALL BETS
TOTTENHAM vs MANCHESTER UNITED
SUNDAY – 4.10PM SKY SPORTS
AFTER the destruction derby against Arsenal, Tottenham must pick themselves up off the floor pretty sharpish – or else face the prospect of undoing much of the good work that has taken them to the verge of a title challenge.
Any remaining hope of winning the league has gone, but a good result against Manchester United at home on Sunday and they will be back on track; a bad one and they will be nervously looking over their shoulders to Arsenal and Chelsea.
There is no real let-up with the fixture list in the next few weeks, though, with trips to Everton and Chelsea, as well as a tricky home tie against Stoke.
Apart from their most recent performance, there are a number of other worrying factors to consider for Harry Redknapp. His side is beginning to appear over-worked and the timing of this week’s England friendly has been far from helpful.
Scott Parker, the man who led his country on Wednesday, has been one of the main reasons for Spurs’ great form, but he will sit this clash out after being sent off against Arsenal. Meanwhile, there are injury concerns over Kyle Walker and Rafael van der Vaart.
Then there’s Spurs’ record against the Red Devils. A brace from Willem Korsten helped them on their way the last time they bagged three points from this fixture, all the way back in May 2001, while the most recent victory at Old Trafford was a week before Christmas Day – in 1989. More recently United have won five of the past six league meetings between the sides.
A draw, at 23/10 with Coral, is arguably Tottenham’s best hope of taking something, but I think the visitors can keep up the pressure on their neighbours at the top of the pile. Take the 8/5 with betting concierge service Bet Butler for an away win. For a limited time only, those who qualify to join Bet Butler’s exclusive VIP club will get their first deposit matched up to £1000. Check out www.betbutler.co.uk for more details.
Only two clean sheets in eight league outings shows Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are more prone to conceding at the moment, but more often than not, they have the power to outscore opponents. They have won thanks to a 2-1 scoreline three times in five games. A repeat is worth a look at 9/1 with Coral, who are refunding bets if a team wins from a losing position.
LIVERPOOL vs ARSENAL
TOMORROW – 12.45PM SKY SPORTS
LIVERPOOL'S long wait for a trophy is now finally over following Sunday’s Carling Cup win, but Kenny Dalglish’s side were far from impressive against Cardiff and they will be facing a rejuvenated Arsenal outfit tomorrow.
The Gunners were looking in trouble against Tottenham, going 2-0 down in the opening half, before producing a barnstorming comeback to win 5-2. Arsene Wenger has an incredible knack of turning things around when his team have their backs to the wall and that win could be a timely confidence booster.
However, it’s been their away form that has been the problem since the turn of the year, losing at Swansea and Fulham, and drawing against Bolton. That said, Arsenal’s last away league game was a win at the Stadium Of Light and I just get the feeling that the Gunners may end the season with a flourish.
Liverpool haven’t quite given up on claiming fourth spot, but it’s going to be very tough for Dalgish’s men. They have a game in hand on their rivals, but are still seven points behind Arsenal in seventh place.
The big worry for Anfield fans is the prospect of a Carling Cup hangover after last weekend’s emotional penalty shootout win. That game could well have left its mark and it’s enough to put me off the home side at a best-priced 21/20 with Bet Butler.
I was tempted to back the draw at around 13/5, as eight of the 12 league games at Anfield have been stalemates, but I just think the value lies with Arsenal at 3/1 with Bet Butler to inflict Liverpool’s first home defeat of the season.
There have been plenty of goals in recent contests between these two, with only one of the last 17 producing less than two. Neither side is particularly solid at the back so the advice is to buy total goals at 2.9 with Sporting Index.
NEWCASTLE vs SUNDERLAND
SUNDAY – 12.00PM ESPN
FORM often goes out of the window in a derby game and both sides will be hoping that rings true in Sunday’s battle at the Sports Direct Arena.
After their 5-0 defeat at Tottenham, Newcastle surrendered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Wolves at home. Although, that is at least a point more than Sunderland managed in a 2-1 loss at home to Arsenal and 4-0 walloping at West Brom.
Being hosts, the Magpies start as favourites, at 23/20 with Bet Butler, as they aim to complete the double over their great rivals for the first time since the 2005/06 campaign. Alan Pardew’s charges enjoyed a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in August and can also fondly recall last season’s 5-1 home win in this fixture.
However, although Sunderland have only a single victory to look back on from the last 14 encounters with Newcastle, they’ve enjoyed the end of season bragging rights for the past three years after finishing higher in the table.
That run will most likely end this season, with Martin O’Neill arriving too late to help the Black Cats catch the Magpies. But he’s very clearly worked his magic in a short time on Wearside and his troops won’t be found wanting for motivation.
On Sunday, I think there’s every chance the teams will cancel each other out. In the past three seasons there has been a 1-1 draw and there’s a good chance we could see another here. Back the stalemate at 27/10 with Bet Butler, the 1-1 correct score at 6/1 with Coral and sell total goals at 2.5 with Sporting Index.