Before I pass you over to Stuart for the weekend football preview I just need to mention the excellent money back offer that Bet 365 are doing on the Grand National.
This is for existing customers so you should have had a mail about it.
Basically what they are doing is giving back half your total stake on eachway bets on the National, they are also paying 5 places.
Frankly you could make a bet and lay off both the win and place part and get your £125 refunded, which is a nice profit. But added to that if lay off at Betfair with 4 places paid out and your horse finishes 5th you will land a whopping profit. – Bet 365
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But whatever you do your Grand National bet should be placed with Bet 365, as they are best price guarantee, 5 places and half stake back.
A Preview of this Weekends Action
This seasons exciting chase to win the Premier League title was thrown wide open once more last weekend as Chelsea went down to a shock loss to struggling Crystal Palace. It was a memorable win for Tony Pulis and his men and thoroughly deserved on the day.
With Manchester City and Arsenal drawing their contest it was left to Liverpool to capitalise on their rivals woes and boy did they do that well. They brushed aside the challenge of Tottenham Hotspur with disdain beating them comprehensively by four goals.
Brendan Rogers will be delighted to see his side now sit proudly atop the league and know that it is his team’s title to lose. If the Reds can win all their remaining games (including the massive match against Manchester City) then they will be champions.
Tomorrow Man City kick off the festivities in the early game when they take on Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. This is a game they will surely dominate and convincingly win.
Now Southampton are safe from relegation their season seems to be meandering along and faced with a rampant City side desperate for a win I can’t see they will be able to raise their game sufficiently to take any points back down south with them. City themselves have proved they are only human in recent weeks but I still can’t see anything resulting except for a 2 or 3 goal victory for the home side.
Chelsea also face what on paper would appear to be a simple home tie against a Stoke side also now relieved to be away from the relegation dogfight. However, as last week’s loss showed you can never count any chickens in this league and although the Blues should respond well and thump Stoke by three or four goals you just never know.
But I have to go with the logical thoughts in my head and say that I expect Chelsea to respond well to Jose’s anger last weekend which was further exacerbated during the midweek loss to Paris St Germain and punish Stoke.
If as expected Chelsea regain the league’s top spot it will mean Liverpool will have to wait until Sunday to get back to number one. They play away at a rejuvenated West Ham in late afternoon and with Suarez and Sturridge in such cracking form they will enjoy their task of getting the three points on offer.
Any questions that may have been raised about Liverpool’s ability to maintain a title challenge all the way to the end of the season have surely been answered now. Of course they can! And very well too. Their form lately has been superb and although this year’s Premier League has been full of surprise results I expect the traffic to be one way in this match and the reds to regain their place at the top.
The most interesting match this weekend will probably prove to be the encounter between fourth and fifth place sides Arsenal and Everton. All season the Gunners have been shoe-ins for a guaranteed Champions League spot but with their results faltering lately and Roberto Martinez and his Everton side proving to have a ruthless efficiency about them the gap has narrowed.
It is now just four points and the toffeemen have a game in hand. If they can beat Arsenal then they will be in the box seat as far as the Champions League qualification is concerned.
Arsene Wenger must impress upon his men the importance of this match. They have for most of this season looked like genuine title challengers – and that’s something we haven’t said about Arsenal for a long time. For them to fall down at the end of the season and not even qualify for the Champions League would be a disaster for the Gunners but they must wake up soon and get back on track. This match is vital in both sides quest for Europe and we will see which set of players possess the largest cohones at the end of the ninety minutes.
As always there are two big relegation battles this weekend. Firstly, Cardiff take on the spirited Crystal Palace knowing that a win doesn’t even guarantee them a place outside the relegation spots. The Bluebirds are three points away from West Brom in 17th place but their goal difference is so appalling that they will still be in the bottom three come the end of the weekend.
However, they must start to get some points on the board immediately if they are to remain in the Premier League for next season. Games are running out now and the sides immediately above them are picking up points – albeit slowly.
Cardiff picked up a great point themselves last weekend when they drew with rivals West Brom. Incredibly when the Baggies went ahead 3-2 in the dying moments of the game Cardiff still managed to get a goal to grab a point. It produced a fantastic sporting snapshot as both managers (Pepe Mel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) just enjoyed the moment of the battle as the sixth goal went in and smiled at each other with both relief and frustration in equal measures.
Two sides that could easily be dragged into the bottom three places if they perform badly as the season ends are Norwich and West Brom. They play each other tomorrow and the winner will feel that if they can claim all three points they will breathe easier as the last few games unravel.
Norwich particularly must capitalise on what they will term an easier game to get some points on the board. Their final four games are against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Not an easy run in for any side least of all one that is battling relegation. If they are to escape the drop they must get some points in this match and in their next one against Fulham it could be their final points of the season.
My top tips this week come courtesy of the Manchester clubs. I just can’t see anything but a convincing win for City against Southampton and at 1/3 there won’t be a great return but one that is very likely to put some extra funds in your bank account.
Less assured but given their recent return to form is a win for the red side of Manchester. More important than United’s matchday form is the form of their opponents Newcastle which is woeful at present. The Red Devils are evens for the win and this seems generous from the bookies.
If you fancy a more outlandish punt then why not consider a win for Stoke City at Stamford Bridge? It is unlikely but after last weekend’s win for Crystal Palace against Jose Mourinho’s men then best odds of 14/1 for a two horsed match could put a smile on your face for a small outlay.
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Aintree 2.00 Baltimore Rock – eachway bet – 8/1 Sky Bet (Money back if the fav wins)