Expert football pundit and analyst Andy Gray was on the ball with an 11/1 double and 5/1 treble last weekend in the FA Cup. He’s joined The Paddy Power Blog to give his insight on the massive Premier League fixture list this Saturday.
Andy Gray’s weekend treble
Man United, Tottenham and Everton to win: 5/1
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QPR v Tottenham, 12.45pm, Sky Sports 1
This is a tough one for QPR. Harry Redknapp knows that if his team is to get out of trouble, somewhere soon he is going to have to win three out of four games just to get him behind the pack he’s chasing. Having won at Stamford Bridge he’d love to follow it up with a victory at home against his old club Tottenham.
This is a tough ask because this is a good Tottenham side. Andre-Villas Boas has changed his philosophy a little from 4-3-3 to a modified 4-4-2 playing Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor up front with the attacking wide-men of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. It’s working wonderfully well for them and what makes them a threat on Saturday is that QPR will try to take the game to them but Tottenham have great pace on the counter-attack. Lennon, Bale and Defoe can punish teams at any time even if Spurs are defending.
Harry would love to get one over on his old club but all he can do is use his knowledge of the players he knows and any weaknesses they have, hoping that his own players can utilise it and gain an advantage. Other than that there’s nothing he can do but trust the players he picks to get them a result and hope the crowd get right behind them. This Spurs team has won six away from White Hart Lane this season and should make it seven here at 5/6.
It’s not easy to win two games in the league back-to-back. Three is fantastic, four is really getting good and five means you’re a pretty good side. If Spurs can extend their run to five you’ll have to stand back and admire what Villas-Boas is achieving at the moment.
QPR will score but Spurs have enough fire-power to win the game. Both teams to score is 8/13 and Tottenham to win by exactly one goal is 13/5. You have to look at players that are hot and scoring goals so Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe are well-priced to score first at 6/1 and 9/2 respectively.
Stoke v Chelsea, 3pm, Setanta
Stoke have played 10 home games in the Premier League and are still unbeaten. They are the only team in the top-flight who haven’t lost a game at home. Even United and City have lost at home and the only team unbeaten at home after 10 games is Stoke and that’s a fantastic record to have.
But Chelsea, although they are struggling at home under Rafa Benitez, they have got a really good record away from the Bridge and their away form has been fantastic. This will be a tough game and it doesn’t scream goals. This might be a game where Rafa makes some changes. You could see Oscar, hazard and Mata coming out for players more powerful. Frank Lampard could start and Demba Ba should come in for Fernando Torres. They need power and height in their side when they’re playing against Stoke at the Britannia. It would be amazing if Rafa didn’t bring that in to his team.
This game will be a war of attrition for Chelsea at times. They’re going to have to cope with a lot of bombardment, the defenders and goalkeeper will be tested but if they stand up to that they’ve got enough themselves to get a goal. There won’t be many goals so under 2.5 is a good bet at 8/11 and Chelsea to win 1-0 at 11/2 is value.
Demba Ba looks eager to play and he could be the man to get the goal. The scorecast of Demba Ba and Chelsea 1-0 is a very interesting 20/1.
Aston Villa v Southampton, 3pm
Take your pick. Aston Villa are shell-shocked They conceded eight against Chelsea, four against Spurs and three against Wigan. Then you’re looking for your team to go out and get a positive result against a team in Division Two but you get battered. Goodness knows what the confidence levels are like at Villa Park at the moment. This is an opportunity for Southampton to get something so the draw is the best bet at 9/4.
Everton v Swansea, 3pm
If Swansea hadn’t won midweek and didn’t have another game on Wednesday against Arsenal and then another semi-final against Chelsea then they’d be good enough to get something at Goodison. But that’s a lot of fixtures and will take something out of them so Michael Laudrup will probably make a few changes and rest a few players. Everton might not be playing the strongest Swansea side and that’s why they can win at 4/7.
Fulham v Wigan, 3pm
Two teams that are not in great form and two teams that are desperate for three points. The only thing that separates them is home advantage and that rests with Fulham. It should be a narrow win for the Cottagers against Wigan at evens.
Norwich v Newcastle, 3pm
Norwich had a really poor Christmas and New Year losing all of their games although they did get a win in the FA Cup against Peterborough which will give them some confidence. They need to stop that run in the league though. Any other team and I’d fancy them to get a result against Norwich but Newcastle’s away from is abysmal and won’t get any better. Norwich will win at 6/5.
Reading v West Brom, 3pm
This is a tough one to call with two teams who had a few problems over Christmas and New Year. West Brom started with a couple of wins but finished with two defeats so they’re looking to turn things around. You can’t separate these teams so side with the draw at 9/4.
Sunderland v West Ham, 3pm
Martin O’Neill’s side are searching for a victory and their performances have been decent without their results echoing that. Sunderland can improve that though by beating West Ham at 5/4.