Premier League Betting Preview: This Weekend’s Top 5 Bets

This weekend we’re back to a full complement of Premier League fixtures as there is no FA Cup action to contend with, and it could be a pivotal weekend for both ends of the table as Manchester City would have had a tricky fixture away to Europe-chasing wounded animals Everton earlier in the day in the lunchtime match, while in the evening clash champions-elect Manchester United take on the relegation-threatened and managerless Reading, with the Royals fully knowing the task ahead of them in light of the crucial six-pointer between fellow basement dwellers Aston Villa and QPR in the pick of the 3pm games.

The first tip comes from the Liberty Stadium however, where the newly-crowned Capital One Cup winners look a tad over-priced to claim their third successive league victory over Arsenal today.  I would suggest the quoted match odds represent an over-reaction of sorts to the Gunners’ admittedly impressive yet ultimately fruitless 2-0 midweek win at Bayern Munich, coupled with an away win being seen as necessary to maintain real hope amongst Arsene Wenger’s men of trips to opposition of Bayern’s ilk next season.

The Swans will not be easy pickings by any stretch however, and Michael Laudrup has been keen to stress there remains lots to play for despite safety assured and a cup win under their belt.  Besides, having the pressure off should only encourage even more champagne football from Michu, De Guzman and the like.

Next up, I see no reason why Luis Suarez cannot continue his impressive goalscoring form at a notoriously porous Southampton at St. Mary this afternoon, while former Saints boss Harry Redknapp will be as pumped for a QPR win today at Aston Villa as he was for his current team to beat his old employers a couple of weeks ago.  Redknapp always gets dogs abuse at Villa Park and he’ll use the home fans’ bile as an incentive to rile his players to extend their recent purple patch.  Expect the Hoops to come away from Birmingham this evening with at least a point.

Redknapp’s old protegè from the South Coast and more recently North London was unavailable for Tottenham’s torturous yet ultimately successful trip to the San Siro on Thursday, but Gareth Bale will return from his European ban to give his team-mates a badly-needed boost after successive bashings by Liverpool and Inter Milan.

Spurs looked out on their feet, in particular at the back, towards the end of Thursday’s Europa League marathon and a significantly fresher Fulham have the quality in Bryan Ruiz and former Lilywhite Dimitar Berbatov to capitalise on a tired defence and find the net.  A well-rested Bale may have the last laugh, however.



1) Swansea to beat Arsenal 23/10 PINNACLEBET
2) Southampton vs. Liverpool Suarez Anytime Goalscorer Evens BOYLESPORTS
3) QPR +0.5 Handicap vs. Aston Villa 4/6 Ladbrokes
4) Tottenham vs. Fulham Both Teams to Score 17/20 BetVictor
5) Tottenham vs. Fulham Gareth Bale Last Goalscorer 3/1 EVERYWHERE!


Written by Emelie Okeke

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The Premier League’s Most Passionate Fans and Supporters

Football is a sport with some of the most passionate fans in the world. Unlike most other sports, football has the ability to change people, and can turn even the most quiet and pleasant person into a loud, aggressive fan who will do anything for their team to win.

It has by far one of the biggest followings in the world, and whether they’re watching from the side of the pitch or from their living rooms, every football fan can get carried away.

In no particular order, here are some of the teams with the most passionate and dedicated fans.


Manchester United

Many people might accuse Manchester United fans of being “glory supporters”, as if you’re going to pick a team to support, you might as well pick the team that’s always winning.

However, Manchester United is one of the most supported teams in the world, and is the third most popular team on Facebook. Even when the Red Devils have suffered in a match, the fans stay loyal and cheer them on even louder, come rain or shine.

Manchester United also receives a lot of attention from those who are not fans, with the “I Hate Man United” Facebook page having attracted just over 388,000 fans. It seems that fan or not, everyone has something to say about this team.



Chelsea fans are some of the most enthusiastic fans around, with a wide following of people of every age. Whether their team has won or lost, the Chelsea fans will provide their players with unconditional support, surrounding them in a sea of blue flags and cheering them on loudly at every game.



Swansea City

Being the only Welsh team to have played in the Premier League, Swansea City have made their fans proud. Although they have experienced a mixture of encouraging highs and disappointing lows, their fans have always remained loyal to them.


The team is now becoming incredibly successful, and has the chance for more success in future, thanks to the constant support and encouragement from their passionate fans.



Liverpool is clearly not lacking in support, as when the team, are playing at home, their games receive one of the highest attendance rates in Europe, and when they’re playing overseas, which they have done time and time again, their fans follow and support them in all their games, encouraging them to perform well every time.

Not only are Liverpool fans dedicated to their team, but they are also strong believers in enjoying the sport without resorting to violence or hostility, as they showed in a game against Swansea when they gave the opposing team a moving standing ovation for a well played game.


Manchester City

What makes Manchester City fans so loyal is the fact that they are so often overshadowed by their neighbour and rival, Manchester United.

It’s not easy to stay positive when you’re never quite in the limelight, and often forgotten in favour of your enemy, but Manchester City fans manage to give their team the loyal support they need no matter what happens, and they were rewarded in 2011 when they beat Manchester United with a 6-1 win.


Although Manchester City has been spending a lot of money in the recent years, this money has clearly been put to good use, and most of the existing fans are long-timers.


West Ham

Fans of West Ham are as passionate as they come, and although their games do not see the same numbers as other clubs in the Premier League, the West Ham fans make up for it with unfaltering enthusiasm, cheering their team on through thick and thin.


Although West Ham fans are often known for their hooliganism and illegal activity, the majority of them are just there to have a good time and support their team, and they are one of the most loyal fan bases in the UK.


Newcastle United

Newcastle United is one of the most powerful clubs in Northern English football, and has one of the most devoted fan bases. And it’s not just the fans who encourage them with their support.

Owner of the club, Mike Ashley, is well known for ditching his director’s box and standing amongst the fans in his black and white clothes, showing his support for and pride in his players.

Newcastle has a rivalry with Sunderland which has been in existence for over 100 years, and if you happen to see the Tyne-Wear derby when the two teams meet, prepare to see the fans really let loose.



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Manchester United vs Reading: Match Preview

The Royals come into this match on the back of 5 consecutive losses, which has grossly blighted all the good work they put in two months ago.

Their excellent recovery and ability to come from behind in more games than one saw dismissed manager, Brian McDermott named Manager of the Month of January and his last card, Adam Le Fondre pick up the player’s gong. Anton Zingarevich, youthful owner and CEO of Reading FC fired Brian McDermott after the Royals’ 2-1 loss at home to fellow relegation strugglers, Aston Villa.

It was the last straw for the Russian multi-millionaire who wouldn’t want a quick return to the lower division of English football. Reading’s poor run has seen them caught up by QPR who were 7 points adrift of safety four weeks ago. Both are now level on 23 points and this spells enormous danger. It is a situation the club and its supporters dreaded, but one they have to come to terms with and fight until the last game to ensure safety and a place among the big wigs next season.

Manchester United cannot afford to slip up at all in the title run in. Handing the title to noisy neighbours Manchester City last season still bites them till this day. That will serve as a timely reminder and motivation to go all out and hoist the 20th crown which they so badly crave.

After throwing away a 2-goal lead to Chelsea last Sunday in the F.A Cup Quarter-Final, they have surely given themselves more work to do in the coming months as they chase a domestic double. The pain of exiting the Champions League is still fresh and evident.

Sir Alex Ferguson will want nothing less than an outright win this evening when the Royals come to town. Perhaps more worrying is the form of main threat, Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman looks dazed and out of sorts at the moment. One goal in his last nine is testament to the fact that his killer instinct has largely waned.

Wayne Rooney and Chicharito scored v Chelsea last weekend and Danny Welbeck refuses to add to a paltry total of 2 goals scored all season. It is something that will give Sir Alex a headache coming into this game especially if we consider the drama that played out at the Madejski last November.

Michael Carrick continues to dominate in midfield and is expected to start this evening. The Englishman is in the form of his life and has been for much of the season. To crown it all, his assists ratio has stocked up in recent matches and all round play is a joy to watch. Carrick that is. Believe the hype. It is deserved.

Like Norwich, Reading have to be wary of the lustiness and hunger of Champions-elect, Manchester United. The 4-0 demolition of the Canaries was a clear statement of intent that a repeat of last season’s capitulation is only in the imagination of the deluded. The determination and unbridled quest to retain the EPL crown is one that has rarely been seen in any of Fergie’s assemblages.

Cancer survivor, Eamonn Dolan is no stranger to adversity. Cheating death is the greatest battle you can ever win and he has achieved that once. What then is the prospect of beating the drop? A small fry compared to the cancerous situation he made past. He seems to be the right man to lead the Royals to a 9-game survival fight which starts at the Theatre of Dreams this evening.

The Irishman who took over the reins (in caretaker capacity) from the bald Brian, faces a daunting task today in Manchester. Only one team in domestic football has managed to topple the red army at home all season. Spurs did the unthinkable five months ago. Reading can if all things work in their favour and everything goes against Manchester United including a heavy thunderstorm.

Adam Le Fondre could not do much when both teams met 26 days ago in the F.A Cup. He poses a huge threat when he is on song. Eamonn can rely on him to deliver the goods.

Wayne Rooney has been under the spotlight since SAF dropped him for the all important match v Real Madrid. He however came back last Sunday to score his 196th goal and go within 53 of Sir Bobby Charlton’s all time scoring record for the Red Devils.

Rumours that he is leaving have been undermined by Sir Bobby and Sir Alex. The latter has authoritatively affirmed that his star contributor is staying put and a new contract will be discussed when the time is right. The seemingly concerned and disillusioned Wayne can turn the Royals inside out just to pass on a message to SAF and the coaching staff that he hasn’t lost it.

Probable Lineups

MANCHESTER UNITED: DDG, Rafa/Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Anderson/Scholes, Young, Giggs, Wazza (Rooney), RVP

READING: Taylor, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Leigertwood, Akpan, McAnuff, McCleary, Robson-Kanu, LE FONDRE

Robin Van Persie is again expected to lead the line despite his poor record in front of goal since January. His strike partner is most assuredly Wayne Rooney. Paul Scholes hasn’t played for a long time and should be in contention for a place in the starting eleven.

The other positions virtually pick themselves except Fergie decides to rest either Rafa or Evra who he described as worn out after playing regularly for the last two or three months. He might also rest Rio Ferdinand, who was surprisingly (not for football reasons) selected by Roy Hodgson for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, and bring back captain Nemanja Vidic into the starting 11.

Antonio Valencia has been a disappointment in the last 12 weeks. Giggs in his place will not be a shock. It might be 1001 appearances for the Welsh evergreen legend.

For Reading, Nigeria’s Hope Akpan has been excellent for them despite their many losses. Adam Le Fondre might be chosen ahead of Pavel and co to lead the line with Robson-Kanu and the MACs (McCleary and McAnuff) supporting him.

The Royals need something more than supernatural to emerge victorious today. Hopefully for them, it won’t be the belting others have received when they visit.


Written by Ohiskaka Eboreime

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