Connect in the back of the net

Right, we all have shopping to do, the weather’s atrocious, and you’re probably still recovering from that excuse of a ‘work Christmas party’, so let’s make this short, snappy and concise. Kind of.

Congratulations to QPR for deciding last weekend to win a game the one week where I dont back them to win a game. Now that the Hoops’ highly-re-numerated players have remembered how good getting on a Saturday can feel, I reckon they can get a head of steam behind them, with Harry Redknapp as the ringleader and Adel Taarabt the fruitcake in this West London tea party.

However it only seems that they win matches when I don’t back them, so let’s all pretend we’re backing Newcastle (QPR on the handicap really, but keep it hush hush).

Three points for the Rangers last week pushed beleaguered Reading down to rock bottom in the Premier League table, a spot that was consolidated on Monday night when Arsenal did to them what turkeys up and down the country will experience early next week.

The Royals can expect another roasting when they travel to the Etihad to face a Manchester City side who appear to have been jolted back into life by their chastening derby day experience. The Citizens can follow up their impressive dismantling of Newcastle from last week by dominating Reading in both halves.

Thanks must be sent out to the Racing Post to alerting me to the statistic that both teams have scored in Everton’s last twelve Premier League matches. This means two things 1) They can score against pretty much anyone 2) They can concede against pretty much anyone. With their leading goalscorer and attacking focal point Marouane Fellaini suspended, one suspects that one side of this double-sided guarantee could be broken this weekend.

West Ham’s robust defence kept an honourable clean sheet at the Hawthorns last week, and they have the armoury to hurt an Everton side for whom Tim Howard is having probably his worst season in goal since joining the club.

In the Saturday night match, Fulham travel to Liverpool, and are simply too big a price to defeat a side who are only one place above them in the table and have only been victorious five times at Anfield in the league for the whole of 2012. Dimitar Berbatov has an excellent scoring record against the Reds and may well just be a thorn in the Merseyside yet again this evening.

Travelling back down South to complete the tips quintet, and Sunderland are simply too big a price to ignore away to the Saints. Yes, they are only one place above Southampton, and have only one once away this season, but in Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon and - fitness permitting - Steven Fletcher, the Black Cats have the ability to really hurt lesser teams on the break.

With captain Adam Lallana out injured, and no momentum to speak of due to a fortnight without matches, it could well be a humbling day at St. Mary’s for the hosts.


Top Five Tips

1) Man City to win both halves against Reading 10/11 PADDY POWER

2) Liverpool vs. Fulham Dimitar Berbatov Anytime Goalscorer 3/1 BET365

3) Sunderland to beat Southampton 29/9 PINNACLEBET

4) West Ham to beat Everton to nil 4/1 LADBROKES

5) QPR +0.5 Asian Handicap 13/15 PINNACLEBET


Elsewhere in the Premier League this weekend, it should be a Successful Super Sunday for the big guns as Chelsea should enjoy three points against a young Aston Villa side that have performed admirably recently but for whom the matches may just be catching up, whilst Manchester United can outperform Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans can’t seem to impose themselves against strong opposition, as exhibited at White Hart Lane last week, while the league leaders have the big Serbian back the shore up their defence. Allied with a free-scoring front line, that could be an irresistible partnership.

Tottenham, with Gareth Bale back in tow, are getting there with Andre Villas-Boas. Just where they are getting to remains to be seen. A victory against Stoke, whose defence is as mean as they come, would help towards clearing up that mystery.

At the Hawthorns, two over-achievers meet and West Brom may well prevail against a Norwich side that may be missing captain Grant Holt, who is an injury doubt.

Ali Al-Habsi has always been prone to the odd rick, but tends to come good with a number of awe-inspiring saves per game to help out the dodgy defence residing in front of him. The problem for his club Wigan right now is that while the saves are still prevalent, the ricks are increasing, and with Wigan slipping into the relegation quicksand the last thing that Al-Habsi would have wanted is a shot-happy Arsenal side coming to town.

Theo Walcott, relishing his new centre-forward role, must be licking his lips in anticipation.


Written by Emelie Okeke

Follow him on Twitter @Emelie_Okeke

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