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Weekend Football Review

Today we have a preview of the weekends football action and Premier League football tips from Tipster Warehouse…

A Preview of this Weekends Action

As the Premier League enters its final phase one thing we did find out last weekend was that Arsenal don’t have the necessary mental strength to maintain a challenge for the whole season.

Their loss to Chelsea last Saturday was not just psychologically damaging but emphatically destructive. Yes there were dreadful mistakes made by the officials but that can’t paper over the cracks that have appeared in Arsene Wenger’s squad.

If he is to repeat and improve upon this superb attempt at the title next season then there can have been no clearer message delivered by Chelsea – you need a greater strength in depth and MUST add quality to your squad in the summer.

The money is there for Wenger and he needs to use it wisely and buy 2 or 3 world class players.

So, now the title chase has narrowed down to just three, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. Theoretically Arsenal can catch up the six point gap but in the form that they are in I just can’t see any of the top three dropping many points.

This weekend Jose Mourinho takes his men on the short journey across London to face a Crystal Palace side still fighting bravely against relegation. With the Blues in imperious form at the moment I can see no other result other than a comprehensive victory for the league leaders.

Manchester City, although in third place are sitting pretty. They are just three points behind Chelsea but have two games in hand and this weekend’s game at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal could prove vital to their efforts to take the title.

The Gunners are a wounded beast after the defeat to Chelsea and a lack lustre display against Swansea in midweek. Will they be able to rouse themselves enough to ward off Everton’s challenge to their fourth place in the league?

I’m not so sure they will since the Citizens like Chelsea are in fantastic form. Their last five games has seen them score 11 and concede no goals at all. The form of Champions, surely?

This remains the most interesting game of the weekend – Arsenal have the ability to damage City’s challenge but do they possess the self belief? I see a narrow win for City but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Gunners snatch a draw.

Brendan Rogers and his Liverpool side must wait until Sunday to resume their challenge. I have to admit I suspected that their attempt at the title would have faltered by now – like Arsenal – but they continue to steam roller sides and score with delightful aplomb.

They play a Tottenham side who have performed very poorly against the top sides this season and will no doubt remember the 5 goal drubbing at the hands of Liverpool at White Hart Lane back in December.

The Reds have now won seven league games on the bounce and with the Lilywhites form very much Jekyll and Hyde I expect a home win and wouldn’t be surprised to see Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris getting a severe back ache after picking the ball out of the net several times.

It has to be said that I never thought I would be commenting on a Manchester United side that had lost six times at Old Trafford in one season and that those defeats would have been so comprehensive.

Last weekend David Moyes and his men lost in the Manchester derby by another three goal margin and one does have to wonder just how much longer the owners of the club will keep faith with their choice of manager.

Of course when Sir Alex took control of the Red Devils his first few months were poor. He was it is rumoured on the verge of the sack more than once but came through and I’d bet those in charge were glad they game him the time to get it right. However, the two United’s we are looking at are quite different.

Sir Alex’s first players were not world class – David Moyes’s are or at least were last season. Their total dominance over everyone last season was remarkable in that the same set of players this season seem so hapless.

They get the chance to resurrect their season tomorrow against Aston Villa and even though a Champions League place is probably out of reach I fear for Moyes’s position should they be unable to qualify for any form of European football next season.

As for their opponents Aston Villa, one would do well to be aware that they are not going to be a pushover. They have already this season defeated Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City and it wouldn’t surprise me if they added Manchester United to that list.

Once more as seems to be the case every week we see a couple of six point games at the foot of the table. Swansea have been in freefall of late and they need to get a win under their belt and get it quickly.

This weekend they play Norwich and if any side can emerge a winner then the three points gained could prove vital come the end of the season. A draw is the likely result given the lack of a cutting edge on display from both sides at the moment but this will do neither of them any favours.

Fortune as they say favours the brave and at this stage of the season some of these clubs facing relegation must start to play some good attacking football and try to force results rather than retreating into their shells and hoping a point will be enough for them.

The other relegation six pointer is at the Hawthorns as West Brom take on fellow strugglers Cardiff. A loss for Cardiff could prove terminal as they have in recent weeks begun to drift away from the pack at the bottom.

Although they are only three points from fourth bottom Crystal Palace they have played more games and with opportunities to win points becoming few and far between now they must start to win some games.

A loss this weekend and a win for their opponents West Brom will stretch the gap to six points and with a vastly inferior goal difference and having played one more game it could be curtains for the club from South Wales.

Top Tips

Once again there seems to be some easy money to be taken from the bookies this weekend as I expect both Chelsea (4/9) and Liverpool (5/11) to win and win comprehensively but for a slightly better return on your stake why not cash in on some more Moyes misery as I’d go for an away win for the Villans at Old Trafford at generous odds of 15/2.

If Villa do win it might be worth a quick punt on David Moyes to be the next manager to get the sack at 8/1.

To find out more about Tipster Warehouse and to get more free tips Click Here.

Today's Selection

4.15 Newcastle – Robbie – 10/1 Boylesports

I Thought I Saw a Pussy Cat

Today we have a preview of the weekends football action and Premier League football tips from Tipster Warehouse…

Weekend Football Preview

The race for the Premier League crown was thrown wide open again last weekend as Chelsea surprisingly lost to Aston Villa 1-0. The Villans were good value for their win and although Jose Mourinho was unlucky to lose Willian to a farcical second yellow card he can have no complaints at the straight red shown to Ramires.

Jose likes to mask his side’s poor performances – rare as they are – by always deflecting the blame to a third party but neutrals will have seen that his side failed to turn up until it was too late in this game. Fortunately this is this Premier League and his team get the chance to rectify that this weekend as they face one of their main challengers to the title, Arsenal.

This Saturday really is crunch time for the Gunners as they travel the short distance to Stamford Bridge. A loss for Arsene Wenger will psychologically damage them far more than the loss of points.

With only a handful of games left to play Arsenal, if they are to be champions, need to snatch all three points from this game and put themselves in a position to win the title.

If Chelsea do win then they will effectively chalk off one of their main rivals from the run in. A draw is the likely scenario for this one I fear as both sides will probably realise the importance of the match and this may stifle any free flowing attacking football.

Chelsea remain in the box seat with points on the board but all three chasing teams can and I expect will help to make this the most exciting four way title run in for many a year.

Unusually for a Premier League so dependent on Sky TV schedules we witness all four top clubs playing on a Saturday this weekend. Both Liverpool and Manchester City face what on paper would seem to be easy matches, three points Sir, thank you very much.

Luis Suarez and his Reds travel to second bottom club Cardiff who despite a change of manager seem to be doomed. The Bluebirds (playing in red) have competed well at times this season but in the end it’s a sad but true reality that the big money clubs will always over the long term succeed.

That said this league is so exciting because of its pure competitiveness. However, form wise the reds are on fire at the moment and all the sensible money will be on an away win and several goals racked up to Messrs Sturridge and Suarez along the way.

The Citizens of Manchester enjoy an easy afternoon as bottom club Fulham visit the Etihad.

Felix Magath may have notched up his first win since taking charge – a narrow 1-0 victory over Newcastle last weekend but that can’t hide the fact that it was their first three points in ten games and they travel to the most exciting team in the land at the moment.

The goals may have temporarily dried up for City of late with only three in their last four games but this must surely be a blip. I expect them to re-light their fires very soon and this will be the ideal opportunity for them to bang in a few goals. I see them winning by three or four goals and continuing to breathe down Jose Mourinho’s neck.

With both Cardiff and Fulham looking increasing likely to be relegated this season unless they can re-invigorate their season immediately the last relegation place will be decided by one of seven clubs.

I would guess that 40 points is the cut off point for safety and with eight of nine games left for most clubs I see Stoke City on 34 points now clear of danger. They should pick up 6 points in their last 8 matches.

Below them and any side with a run of bad form can be dragged down. Sunderland currently occupy the danger spot but with their recent cup exploits have acquired two to three games in hand on those around them.

This Saturday they travel to one of their nearest relegation rivals Norwich City. A win for Gus Poyet and his team of battlers will put them one point behind the Canaries with three games in hand. Surely if they can get into this position it will be harder for them to fall into the Championship than see their way into next seasons Premier League?

Of the other teams faced with the drop Swansea and Crystal Palace travel to awkward places where they will do well to pick up any points – Everton and Newcastle respectively.

West Ham play a resurgent Manchester United fresh from a fine win in midweek. However, you never quite know what side the red devils will put out in the Premier League- their trouncing at Old Trafford at the hands of fierce rivals Liverpool last week will have hurt them badly.

How will they respond? I expect they will in turn hurt the Hammers chances of staying up with a resounding win.

The last Saturday match pits rivals for the drop Hull against West Brom. Baggies boss Pepe Mel was so pleased last week to pick up his first win since taking the reins after a fine away victory in Swansea.

His advisers may need to explain the English language a little to him though since his claim in his post match interview to have “pleasured all of his fans” was perhaps a surprise to some who were expecting to be just watching a football match!

The Sunday televised games seem on paper to fall a little flat this weekend as firstly Tottenham play Southampton in their race to hang on to a fifth place spot in the renowned Europa League and mid table clubs Aston Villa and Stoke battle it out to pull away from any slight chance of relegation.

With both clubs on 34 points surely the winner here will now consider their place in the Premier League safe for another season. The loser will have to wait a few games to make their position safe.

Top Tips

If you’re feeling particularly lucky this weekend you could go for a double with Cardiff and Fulham both winning. A £1 bet would return £144 with Cardiff at 8/1 and Fulham 18/1 but if you’re a tad more realistic then wins for Liverpool at 5/11 and Man City at 1/6 may put a few more pounds in your bank at the end of the games.

There are also some generous odds to be had on an away win for Arsenal at 7/2 which given Chelsea’s blip last week could be interesting but my top tip this week is a away win for Sunderland at Norwich. This is an eminently winnable match for the Black Cats and you can still pick up odds of 11/4 on this.

To find out more about Tipster Warehouse and to get more free tips Click Here.

Today's Selection Courtesy of Racing Gold (£1 trial available)

3.35 Lingfield – Picansort – win bet – 4/1 Paddy Power, Bet Victor

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Weekend Football Preview

Unusually for top club football in England this weekend we see a combination of both FA Cup and Premier League football.

With only eight clubs left in the FA Cup we’re very firmly getting into the business end of the competition and if results fall a certain way then it could well turn out to be another year of the underdog.

Last season we witnessed Wigan managed by the likeable Spaniard Roberto Martinez walk away victorious after a 1-0 win over Manchester City. Funnily enough both sides are lining up against each other once more – this time in the quarter finals.

Wigan are now a Championship side but they will still fancy their chances in a one off encounter and can point to last years final as a motivation to progress in the Cup. Of course the smart money will all be on City but you just never know.

Martinez and Wigan parted company after their historic win last season but his love for the Cup remains strong and his new side Everton are in the last eight. They face a tricky away tie at this seasons surprise side Arsenal. Arsene Wenger will be only too aware that it has been far too many years since his side picked up any silverware and this could turn out to be his best chance at achieving that this season.

I expect him to field a strong team and instruct his gunners to go out onto the pitch with all guns blazing. If the Toffeemen can withstand the assault in the first half then they may hold out for a draw or even sneak a win in the latter parts of the game.

But for me I think the determination and desire of not only the Arsenal players but also all their fans cheering them on will spur them onto a place in the semi finals. I expect the gunners to win by 2 clear goals.

The remaining ties pit some of the lesser fancied sides left in the competition and they will be delighted to see that their chances of reaching a Wembley final have been improved enormously after watching the demise of top sides such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in previous rounds. It’s League 1 plays Championship in the Sheffield United and Charlton match up.

After an horrendous start to the season the Blades have finally woken up and have in the past eight matches put all to the sword with eight straight wins. This has not only propelled them up their table but also seen them march into the quarter finals of the Cup. It’s a fair bet that none of their current fans were around to witness their last victory in the FA Cup when they defeated Cardiff 1-0 in the Final of 1925.

With so few clubs left in the hat there is now a very real chance of emulating that – they can but dream. Charlton have also struggled with their league campaign this season and will like United view this as a great chance to make their mark on World football. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of these two play in Europe next season?

The last tie sees Premier League teams who may be more focussed on retaining their status in the top division than concentrating on the romance of the Cup, Hull and Sunderland. As Wigan showed last year it is possible to progress in the Cup whilst struggling at the foot of the Premier League but as history shows they ultimately succumbed to relegation.

It could be that their Chairmen are secretly harbouring thoughts that it may not be a bad thing to exit the competition at this stage. After all sadly for history the money is all in retaining your place in the top league and not chasing glory. Sunderland are fresh from their valiant loss last weekend against Manchester City in the Capital 1 Cup Final at Wembley and now they have a taste for the high life they may be more inspired to repeat that excellent experience.

However, with Steve Bruce at the helm of Hull a man who has enjoyed huge success with the FA Cup in his time with Manchester United working his magic on his Tigers they could take advantage of playing at home and claw their way into the last four. Personally I hope that the Tigers along with ex Stevenage winger the “White Pele” George Boyd make it through.

Away from the FA Cup and back in the Premier League current leaders Chelsea will be hoping to take full advantage of being the only top four side to play this weekend for points. They play Tottenham in what could prove to be a tricky game.

Tottenham’s form is very much hit and miss at the moment but they could spring a surprise and hold the blues to a draw, I just can’t see them taking all three points away from Stamford Bridge. With this seasons title chase being so very tight that could be two very important points dropped for Chelsea. Elsewhere, Manchester United simply must beat West Bromwich Albion if they are to stand any chance of finishing in the top four and getting into the Champions League.

They are now 12 points adrift of that fourth spot and if they drop many more points at this stage of the season they will surely leave themselves with far too much to do as qualification draws to a close.

To not qualify for the Champions League will be a total disaster for the Red Devils and could lead to a huge overhaul of the club in the summer. If the players realise this now then it may inspire them to play like we all know they can but at the moment they seem just a tad lack lustre in their approach. I can see the Baggies bagging all three points tomorrow.

It’s a real relegation six pointer in deepest Wales as Cardiff play Fulham. Both clubs are playing poorly and prop up the league as they start to fall away from the other clubs around them.

This is a must win game but who will come away with the points? The loser could well be sealing their own fate this weekend. I know there’s still a long way to go but if you fall six or seven points away from safety with only nine games to go then it would take a herculean effort to drag yourself away from the bottom three.

The last two games feature sides that could easily be facing relegation woes come the end of the season and will be mightily relived if they pick up three points tomorrow. Crystal Palace take on a Southampton side who have done enough in the early part of the season to retain their status for another year. With this in mind I think that the Eagles will have more desire about them and emerge with a win.

Norwich and Stoke are in a similar position in the nether regions of the table. Both will view this game as one they can and should win. Thirty seven points was enough to see a side safe last season and if Stoke win tomorrow then they will be on thirty three points.

With nine matches left they may well view a win against a fellow struggler as job done for the season. Both managers will be keen to impress upon their players the importance of wins against sides that are viewed as their contemporaries.

Top Tips

My double tip for this week features an obvious win for Manchester City (best odds of 1/6) and a more risky victory for a Sheffield United side playing a team one division higher in Charlton Athletic (at 13/10).

City are a side that just don’t know how to lose at the moment and United’s eight wins on the bounce means their confidence will be sky high.

Racing Selection

Sandown 3.40 Spencer Lea – win bet – 3/1 Bet 365

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