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Gambling magazine's Week 26 Premier League Predictions

24/2/2012
This month’s Premier League Predictions have something of a managerial feel as we take a look at the under-fire bosses looking to save their season and the sought-after coaches who currently seem to be doing everything right.

Chelsea v Bolton
Make no mistake about it – these are troubled times for Chelsea. Devoid of leadership and seemingly caught up in a rift between manager and senior players, the Blues have now not won in their last five games and the strain is really beginning to show. While the visit of lowly Bolton wouldn’t under normal circumstances provide the sternest of tests, lumping money on Chelsea at short odds looks like betting suicide and a speculative punt on an upset is worth a gamble.

Bet: Bolton/Draw No Bet @ 9/1

Newcastle v Wolves
While plenty of column inches have been devoted to the managerial problems at Chelsea, it’s fair to say that Wolves’ search for a new boss has now descended into the realms of farce. For a side that recently got turned over by their local rivals, the whole mess won’t help their confidence at all and they’ll travel to Newcastle on a serious low. The home side, meanwhile, have no such problems and with their squad now up to full strength, expect to see some familiar names on the scoresheet.

Bet: Demba Ba To Score First @ 3/1

QPR v Fulham
Although things looked good in the immediate aftermath of Mark Hughes’ appointment at QPR, the London side have since struggled and have lost some key matches to their relegation rivals. With that in mind, Hughes’ team will probably not be looking forward to facing a Fulham side who will be motivated by the way he left them last year, and though the Cottagers do not travel particularly well away from home, the visitors look more than capable of getting something out of this game.

Bet: QPR & Fulham To Draw 1-1 @ 6/1

West Brom v Sunderland
West Brom are having one of those seasons where it is really hard to know what to expect from them from one game to the next. Having recently thumped Wolves 5-1 on their travels, Hodgson’s side have shown glimpses of the attacking flair that will surely keep them up, but strangely their home form has been utterly woeful. Sunderland, meanwhile, have really looked the part under new manager Martin O’Neill and their forwards will relish the chance to get at a shaky West Brom.

Bet: Stephane Sessegnon To Score First @ 7/1

Wigan v Aston Villa
Having won few friends since arriving at Aston Villa, Alex McLeish’s side are slowly but surely getting sucked into the relegation battle. It says a lot that their hosts this weekend, rock-bottom Wigan, have virtually identical form in their last ten fixtures and if either side wants to be in with a shot of stopping the rot they’ll need to put in a big performance here. With Villa likely set up to hit Wigan on the counter, the hosts will be on the front foot for much of the game and Victor Moses could profit.

Bet: Victor Moses To Score Anytime @ 3/1

Man City v Blackburn
There could hardly be a bigger statistical mismatch than the one provided by this fixture. City have won 12 of 12 home league games this season, scoring 37 and conceding just six, while Blackburn have accumulated only nine points from a possible 36 on their travels. Funnily enough the clubs’ recent form is very similar, with both registering two wins, two defeats and a draw from their last five league games, so it’s perhaps not the worst time for Rovers to meet City. Expect Steve Kean’s men to put up a fight but to ultimately come up short.

Bet: Half Time/Full Time: Draw/Manchester City @ 4/1

Arsenal v Tottenham
Arsenal have generally been strong at the Emirates this year, with their home defensive record one of the best in the league. They score an average of two goals a game at home as well, although Tottenham have only conceded one in their last five league and cup fixtures, and just five in their last 10. Both sides suffered poor FA Cup results last weekend although Spurs’ draw with Stevenage can probably be seen as more of a minor blip than Arsenal’s defeat to Sunderland. This game means so much to both teams, both in terms of the rivalry between the clubs and their respective league positions, and it will probably be a close one, but Arsenal’s home advantage should just about prove decisive.

Bet: Arsenal to win 2-1 @ 9/1

Norwich v Man Utd An FA Cup upset aside, Norwich have been in good form in the league since the turn of the year, meaning the Canaries have built on their impressive start to the campaign to currently sit eighth in the table. Paul Lambert’s men aren’t free-scoring at home but they don’t concede a great amount either, while United find the net regularly both home and away. The Red Devils have only lost once on the road in the league this campaign, conceding less than a goal a game on their travels, and for that reason they can be backed to win to nil against the Canaries.

Bet: Manchester United to win to nil @ 8/5

Stoke v Swansea
Few would have expected Swansea to be sitting above Stoke in the table at this point in the season but the fact that they are, albeit on goal difference, shows just how far above expectations the Swans are currently performing, although Stoke’s league campaign to date must be considered at least slightly disappointing. The Potters’ excellent home form of last campaign has deserted them somewhat, although the 16 points they’ve picked up at the Britannia this year is still more impressive than Swansea’s nine points collected away from the Liberty Stadium. This is therefore a tough one to call, so let’s instead plump for a man in form, Swansea striker Danny Graham, to net his fourth goal in three league games.

Bet: Danny Graham to score at anytime @ 11/4
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