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uptownaces.gif’s Week 35 Premier League Predictions

With the 2011/2012 Barclays Premier League season entering its final furlongs this weekend, looks at the best ways to cash in on all the footballing drama

Arsenal v Chelsea
Chelsea impressive 1-0 victory over Barcelona will come as both a blessing and a curse in this fixture, as although the players will be on a season-best high, manager Robert Di Matteo will be forced to rotate to keep his squad fresh. That may well mean Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard drop out of the starting line-up – two players who have caused the Gunners endless problems in recent years – and that will embolden the home side who know that a win will more-or-less secure them Champions League football – and what better way to secure it than a classic 1-0 to the Arsenal?

Bet: Arsenal to Win 1-0 @ 15/2

Aston Villa v Sunderland
With Aston Villa being one of the lowest-scoring teams in the division this season and Sunderland having drawn blanks in their last three games, it looks highly unlikely that this tie will send tremors of excitement around the football word. Aston Villa desperately need a win if they don’t want to be sucked into the relegation dogfight and with the Black Cats seemingly already off on their summer holidays, this could be a great opportunity to do so. However, having said that the Villains have only won one game in their last 10 at home, so betting the under 1.5 goals market looks a better shout.

Bet: Under 1.5 Goals @ 21/10

Blackburn v Norwich
After having briefly made it look like he was ready to pull off one of the most remarkable escapes in Premier League history, Steve Kean’s Blackburn Rovers side are now on a run of five straight defeats and have been well and truly pulled back into the mire. The Rovers boss has set his side a task of taking seven points from their final four games and this will no doubt be one of the ties that he will have earmarked as a three-pointer, but Paul Lambert will expect a response from his team after they fell apart against Manchester City last week and they certainly won’t make it easy for Blackburn.

Bet: Both Teams to Score @ 4/7

Bolton v Swansea
A run of four games in the space of two weeks will be absolutely pivotal for Bolton’s hopes of survival and Owen Coyle will now that a win against Swansea will be absolutely paramount here. It seems that teams are starting to figure out how to play against the Swans and as an astute tactician Coyle will no doubt have taken note of this and will have a game plan drawn up already. The problem for the Trotters remains that there is a clear lack of goals in the squad, but when they’ve needed a big performance this season more often than not Martin Petrov has been the man.

Bet: Petrov to Score Anytime @ 4/1

Fulham v Wigan
Wigan’s sensational run of form continues to surpass all expectations, but having earned wins against Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal in recent game weeks it could actually be a less conspicuous trip to Craven Cottage where they drop points. Fulham have been fairly free-scoring at home this season, with the vast majority of Clint Dempsey’s 16 goals coming at the Cottage. This doesn’t bode well for Roberto Martinez as the American has an uncanny knack for scoring against the Latics with six goals in his last nine games against them and he’ll look to continue that here.

Bet: Clint Dempsey to Score First @ 5/1

Newcastle v Stoke
On paper, there isn’t a more nailed-on home win in the entire Premier League this weekend. Alan Pardew’s Newcastle side are on a great run of five straight victories, while Stoke’s form has been abject on the road all season and though it will therefore be pretty tricky to massage the odds in this one, a bit of a half-time/full-time tickle on the Magpies looks decent value. When you consider that the home side – and in particular, Papiss Cisse – have scored in the first half in four of their last five fixtures, it looks likely they’ll come out of the blocks quickly here as the chase for Europe intensifies.

Bet: Newcastle HT/FT @ 17/10

QPR v Tottenham
Although many pundits have talked about Spurs having the best run-in of any top four-chasing team, it’s hard to look past the fact that only rock-bottom Wolves are in a worse run of form than the ailing North London side. As with any London derby, they won’t have it easy in this one and given the fact that QPR have been bouncing at home and have taken the scalps of both Liverpool and Arsenal in recent weeks, this certainly won’t be a foregone conclusion. The return of Djibril Cisse will come as a timely boost for Mark Hughes’ side and he just might be instrumental in another vital home win.

Bet: QPR to Win 2-1 @ 15/2

Man Utd v Everton
Manchester United’s imperious run of league form was stopped in its tracks by Wigan in a game that some suggested might derail the Red Devils’ surge toward the Premier League title. A resounding victory over Aston Villa last week served to ease the doubt somewhat and the Old Trafford side should be good for a win here against Everton. The table-toppers score an average of nearly three goals a game at home in the league, while the Toffees’ away form is fairly average, although they don’t concede too many on their travels. A narrow United win is therefore on the cards.

Bet: Manchester United to win 1-0 @ 7/1

Liverpool v West Brom
West Brom currently sit near the bottom of a group of teams who could all finish anywhere between about 8th and fourteenth place, while Liverpool, currently in 8th themselves, are masters of inconsistency. That said, they are unbeaten in three league and cup fixtures, including an FA Cup semi-final win over local rivals Everton, so they are on a relative high at the moment. West Brom generally see off the league’s lesser lights but find life much more difficult against the bigger hitters. A difficult one to call, but Liverpool do tend to score in most of their games, so top scorer Luis Suarez is worthy of support to net at any time.

Bet: Luis Suarez to score at any time @ 11/10

Wolves v Man City
No side in the Premier League have conceded more at home this season than Wolves, while Man City are the top flight’s second-highest away goalscorers. City will probably win, but there won’t be much value in backing an outright victory for Roberto Mancini’s men, while a correct score punt is a bit of a guessing game here – City could strike five or six if they hit their stride – so a slightly more leftfield bet is required. Wolves will be looking to raise their game in front of their suffering home faithful and could therefore grab a goal themselves, even if it isn’t enough to claim any points, so both teams to score is the selection here.

Bet: Both teams to score @ 20/21
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