After a decent break for the World Cup qualifiers, domestic soccer returns this weekend. As teams look to determine their final position in the Premiership, we spoke to the Senior Football Trader at spread betting bookies Sporting Index for a rundown of the big games:
West Brom v Everton
We’ve got Everton as slight favourites to win this one, but their form over the last few games has not matched that of earlier in the season. West Brom, on the other hand, put four past Charlton in their last game and are really giving it a go – they played three at the front against Chelsea and nearly got something from that match. The players have taken to Robbo, and seem to playing harder for him than they did under Megson. I expect to see them go all-out for the win as they desparately need the three points. A draw is no good to their chances of avoiding relegation and if Earnshaw can come off the bench again and score, they may upset the visitors.
Southampton v Chelsea
This has the makings of a very good game. Southampton are closing the gap with Portsmouth and Fulham in the table, and have started scoring again which heaps pressure on the teams around them. The Saints would certainly be happy with a draw against Chelsea – which is not beyond the furthest realms of possibility – but the Blues don’t give away points and we predict they’ll win by a margin of 0.9 to 1.1 goals. Chelsea tend to really go at teams early in the match, then lessen the pressure, but I expect a controlled performance on Saturday. Clearly Peter Crouch is the key man for the home side, and we should see a few punters backing him to score.
Fulham v Portsmouth
This really is your classic six-pointer. We’ve priced up Fulham as favourites to win by 0.3 to 0.5 goals, and if they do beat Pompey they are practically out of the relegation battle. Portsmouth won the reverse fixture 4-3 last summer, and this game could really open up if someone goes behind early on. Matches like this can turn in to something akin to a cup tie, with some good attacking football. Unfortunately, the flipside is the prospect of a drab stalemate if it stays 0-0 for a while.
Referee Mark Clattenburg doesn’t usually show too many cards, but then produced eight yellows and a red in the Palace v Man Utd match. Our bookings market is priced at 42 to 46 points (10 points for a yellow card, 25 for a red) and should attract plenty of interest. On paper, Fulham should not be where they currently are in the Premiership. However, I’ve never subscribed to the notion that any team is too good to go down (except for the current Chelsea team!) so the importance of this match cannot be overstated.
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