Premier League Betting Preview: Top 5 Weekend Bets

The biggest game of the Premier League weekend by far takes place at White Hart Lane where Champions League qualification-chasing Tottenham and Arsenal do battle in an eagerly-anticipated North London derby which will surely have massive ramifications for both teams not only this season but the next.

So where else to start today’s preview but at the DW Stadium where Wigan will take on Liverpool this evening.  Luis Suarez must be backed to hit the onion bag, champing at the bit as he must be having had over a week’s rest, and facing a defence whom before the Latics’ admirable victory over Reading last weekend had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous six league matches of 2013.

I like the look of Suarez to score tonight, and I also like the look of goals at the Liberty Stadium today for the Swansea-Newcastle game.  The injury-enforced absence of vital Magpies custodians Tim Krul and Fabrizio Coloccini casts a veneer of uncertainty over the Newcastle defence which the newly crowned Capital One Cup winners can exploit, whilst at the other end Swansea are themselves missing a defensive stalwart in Chico Flores and it remains to be seen whether they will become another victim of the defensive lax-itis that seems to befall teams in the aftermath of winning the League Cup over past seasons.

Lost amongst all the rightful praise and incorrect over-fawning of Gareth Bale’s decisive contribution to Spurs’ win over West Ham on Monday was the fact that the Hammers applied themselves very well against the third-place team and as Sam Allardyce rightly pointed out, if the mercurial Welshman had not been on the pitch then the Boleyn club would have surely collected three points so good was their performance.

If they can maintain that level against Stoke today then Allardyce will surely be in celebratory mood come 5pm.  He has in Andy Carroll a weapon that can give Stoke’s burly defenders sonething to think about, and if Carlton Cole comes in for the injured Kevin Nolan then that could spell double trouble for the free-falling Potters.

The Manchester United juggernaut rumbles on and regardless of the fact that Los Merenges loom large on the week’s horizon, Sir Alex and co will ensure that all focus remains on beating Norwich today, and beat the Canaries well they should do.

Vengeance may also play a part today as Norwich were the last team to inflict a league defeat on the Red Devils way back in mid-November.  The Norfolk club havent scored an away league in a couple of months, during which time United have improved defensively by an immeasurable amount.

Lastly, Southampton must be a decent shout at home to QPR and further cement the Pochettino revolution against a former Saints manager, with whom he shares a birthday.  One assumes the Argentinian incumbent will be enjoying his cake a little more than his counterpart Harry Redknapp this evening.



1) Wigan vs. Liverpool Luis Suarez Anytime Goalscorer 6/5 Boylesports
2) Swansea vs. Newcastle Over 2.5 Goals 5/6 Boylesports
3) West Ham to beat Stoke 12/5 Coral
4) Manchester United to beat Norwich to nil 5/4 BetVictor
5) Southampton to beat QPR 3/4 Coral


Written by Emelie Okeke

Follow Emelie on Twitter @Emelie_Okeke

Please like O-Posts on Facebook

You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts

Arsenal: Who can plug the gap in front of the Gunners’ defence?

Gilberto Silva: Is there anyone around suitable enough to replace this man?
Gilberto Silva: Is there anyone around suitable enough to replace this man?

Gilberto Silva: Is there anyone around suitable enough to replace this man?

If you ask an Arsenal fan what position in the team needs strengthening, there’s a very good chance they will say defensive midfield.

For a number of reasons, first of all, we haven’t had a ‘proper’ holding midfielder - someone who does nothing but sit and cover the back 4, then keeps the ball and plays it simple - since Gilberto Silva in my opinion. Mikel Arteta is who occupies this role at the moment and has done a decent enough job there.

Now, while I rate Arteta highly and would say he was our best player last season behind you know who, I don’t think he’s quite suited for this role.


Here are some reasons why:

1) When Arsenal are being hit on the counter (often), he doesn’t have the pace to get back and do much about it.

2) His strength can prove a problem at times. While Arteta is no push over, when he comes up against big, physical presences in midfield, he struggles to get a grip on the game.

3) I think Arteta’s main strengths (passing, reading the game, creating) would be better utilised further forward. He would do very well linking up with the likes of Cazorla to create.

For me, a top class defensive midfielder must be a number of things.


These are:

1) Strong. They must be able to battle and take control of the midfield no matter who they’re up against.

2) Intelligent. They must be able to read the game well and have good positioning to cover their defence as well as stay disciplined for the good of the team.

3) Quick/mobile. Covering ground is an important part of playing this position and if they can’t get back to protect their defence, then they’re not doing their job.

4) Have solid passing. At the base of the midfield, the ball MUST be kept, any slack pass will be pounced upon so the defensive midfielder must be able to keep the ball.

5) Tackle/intercept well. The main part of a defensive midfielder’s job is to win the ball to protect their defence. If they can’t win the ball, then that’s a problem.


Here are 5 players who I believe would do very good job as Arsenal’s holding midfielder:


1) Fernando Reges of FC Porto

At 25 this guy has both experience on his side and is on the right side of his prime years. He has been at Porto since 2007 and has won the Portugese League three times, as well as the Europa League.

He also has plenty of Champions League experience and is the perfect ‘foil’ for players such as Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez to do what they do best, attack.


2) Etienne Capoue of Toulouse

A tall, physical player who a lot of Arsenal fans think is exactly what we need. At 24 he is young, so still has plenty of improving to do. He is also versatile and is able to play at centre back effectively. Being 6ft 2, he is a physical presence who can dominate a midfield.

He also has 5 caps for France and will no doubt pick up more in the future.


3) Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton

Despite just signing a contract extension at his current club until 2017, an offer from a top club would surely turn his head. Schneiderlin has been at Southampton since 2008 and has been part of their side which has risen through the leagues.

In my opinion, he is amongst the most underrated players in the league. He currently tops the charts for both tackles and interceptions in the Premier League and has held Southampton’s midfield together at times.

Not only can he defend, though, he also chips in with goals, shown by his opener v Newcastle last Sunday.


4) Victor Wanyama of Celtic

With not long left on his current contract, now would be the perfect time to move for Wanyama. This guy is everything a defensive midfielder needs to be. Tall, strong, versatile, young, does his job well and is a threat in the air.

He has been pivotal and so impressive throughout Celtic’s Champions League campaign, typified when he scored the opening goal during their fantastic win over Barcelona.


5) Maxime Gonalons of Lyon

Another French defensive midfielder and he has arguably been the best of the lot this season. He is currently the captain of Lyon who sit 2nd in Ligue 1 behind PSG. For a 23 year-old to captain a big club like Lyon, you must be talented. He has 6 caps for his country and continues to produce good performances week in, week out.

In my opinion, he is the ideal candidate. Not only can he defend but is also a very neat passer of the ball and at 6ft 2, is a danger in the opposition’s box. Proved by his header against Spurs in the Europa League.

If it was up to me, i would go for Fernando. Mainly for his experience and intelligence of the game. He knows the role he plays so well and is everything Arsenal are currently missing in their midfield.

Who would you pick?


Written by Charlie Smith

Follow Charlie on Twitter @csmithafc

Please like O-Posts on Facebook

You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts