EVERTON vs TOTTENHAM
TOMORROW – 5.30PM ESPN
THE past few weeks were always going to be a severe test of Tottenham’s title credentials and, unfortunately for their fans, they have failed. The demoralising 5-2 defeat at Emirates Stadium was followed by last weekend’s 3-1 reverse against Manchester United.
Harry Redknapp described that loss as “soul destroying” as Spurs were the better side for long periods of the game. Their defence has become worryingly leaky in the past couple of games, though, and they conceded an early goal at home against Stevenage before going on to win 3-1 in the FA Cup replay on Wednesday night. Michael Dawson is out for the season after picking up an injury in that game which isn’t going to help.
Everton are in good form at the moment. Their last defeat was against Spurs in mid-January and they have won their past two league games at home against Chelsea and leaders Manchester City without conceding. Although they don’t have a whole lot to play for, they may just have their eye on Newcastle in sixth spot and they are normally worth following when they go on a run.
Goodison Park is never an easy place for opponents to visit, as Spurs found out when they lost here 2-1 last season. Their last win at the ground was back in 2007. The bookmakers unsurprisingly have Tottenham as favourites, but I’m happy to take them on at the 6/4 available with Coral. They still look likely to claim one of the Champions League places, but their injury list is mounting and the resurgent Arsenal are breathing down their necks. Spurs also haven’t won on their travels since a visit to Norwich just after Christmas.
A draw is perfectly conceivable, but I feel the value lies with Everton at 2/1 with betting concierge service Bet Butler. The Toffees have been strong at the back lately, registering clean sheets in their last three home games and I think they can keep Spurs at bay tomorrow. The 2-0 home win appeals at a big 14/1 with Coral.
Everton’s matches have generally been low scoring this term – only two of their last 18 across all competitions have produced more than two goals. Tottenham’s games, on the other hand, have been more exciting for the neutral, with 15 goals scored in the past three. I think the Toffees’ steely defence can boss this encounter and a sell of total goals at 2.4 with Sporting Index looks the correct call.
NORWICH vs WIGAN
SUNDAY – 4.00PM SKY SPORTS 1
NOT even local celeb Alan Partridge would have predicted at the start of the season that with 11 games to go Norwich would be sitting in 11th place in the table with an impressive 35 points. It’s been a fairytale for the Canaries who were playing in League One two seasons ago and much of the credit must go to manager Paul Lambert.
The Scot has spent very little money during his two-and-a-half year spell and the likes of Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington have done him proud this campaign. They were hugely unlucky to lose at home against Man United a fortnight ago and then performed credibly at Stoke last weekend, going down to a second half Matthew Etherington strike.
Tomorrow’s opponents Wigan are rooted to the bottom of the league and Roberto Martinez’s side are going to have to pull off another miracle act if they are to retain their top flight status. Things would be looking much worse for the Spaniard had his side not clinched a vital victory at Bolton last month, but five defeats from their last eight league games tells its own story.
Coral are a best-priced 10/11 about Norwich and that price seems fair enough to me. Wigan are fighting for their lives and will be going all out to pick up some much needed points, but they just don’t look good enough. Holt has been causing defences problems all season and he is worth backing at 5/1 with Bet Butler to score first.
I can see this being quite an open contest and it might be worth buying total goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index. Wigan’s defence could open up if they have to chase the game and that could result in carnage. Coral are also refunding bets if five or more goals are scored in live UK games this weekend.