Blackburn v Tottenham
Where to start with Tottenham? Yes theyre doing very well this season but its near impossible to predict how theyre going to perform from one game to the next. This is a game Redknapp will have marked as winnable at the start of the season but following last weeks impressive performance against City theyre probably going to draw at Ewood Park. Blackburn have drawn four of their last five in domestic competitions and have certainly tightened things. Draw at 23/10 for me.
Arsenal v Hull
Arsenal were disappointing against Burnley and losing Fabregas could be significant over the next few games, especially without Rosicky to fill the gap. Hull are still woeful away from home and on the big Emirates pitch we should see Arsenal create plenty of chances. Will they be able to take them though as profligacy has been their biggest sin this season and Wenger doesnt exactly have a plethora of attacking options at the moment? Hull have lost just one of their last six so caution is advised. Ill still be backing the Gunners to take the points, with Arshavin to score first but this one isnt a gimme and the 18/1 for the away win catches the eye if nothing else.
Paddy Power: Hull City to draw 1-1 at Arsenal – 9/1
Aston Villa v Stoke
Unbeaten in seven in all competitions, four wins on the bounce including a well deserved victory at Old Trafford, Aston Villa are certainly making a convincing case for a top four spot. Solid at the back, industrious in the middle and threatening up front. Its difficult not to see a home win in this one. Stoke are a tough side away from home and have ground out some decent results but theyve only scored four times on their travels which isnt going to be sufficient here. Agbonlahor seems to have finally turned into a goalscoring forward and his pace will cause the Stoke backline problems, especially if they go one down and have to come out of their defensive shell. It may not be a landslide but it should be a home win all the same.
Paddy Power: Aston Villa to win 2-0 – 5/1
Fulham v Man United
Results dont always tell the whole story and despite their league position Man United are still yet convince. Wayne Rooney has been their only consistent performer all season and as usual is worth a bet in the goalscorer markets. Fulham are a very tough team at home and no matter how this game ends up it wont be yet another easy ride for the defending champions. Bobby Zamora is finally putting his talent to some use and his physicality will cause problems for Uniteds backline, hes certainly worth a bet at 9/1 to score first. United are always likely to defy their own form with a fortunate win but, as tempted as I am to take Fulham to win, I think this could end as a draw. 0-0 is 17/2.
Paddy Power: Manchester United to draw 0-0 at Fulham – 17/2
Man City v Sunderland
Surely Mark Hughes days are numbered at Manchester City. There doesnt seem to be any real definitive shape to his team and Im yet to be convinced he can cut it in the rarified air of the top four. The good news for him is that Sunderland look a different side away from home and not the good kind of different. This should be a home win but the draw paid out for me last weekend and having lost midweek confidence is unlikely to be high in the City squad, which is why Im taking a punt on Sunderland putting in a decent performance and going back to Wearside with a rare away point.
Paddy Power: Sunderland to draw 1-1 at Man City – 13/2
Portsmouth v Liverpool
Pompeys midweek goalscorer Piquionne believes Liverpool will be worried about playing at Fratton Park this week. Hes right but then the way things have been going lately the Liverpool players would be nervous playing FIFA on their PSPs. The win over Wigan didnt finish as comfortably as it should have but its a much needed win and another scoring run out for Torres is always a good thing. The Spaniard should be starting this game and for this reason alone I think the Reds will make it two wins in a row. PompeyÂ will do their best to make it tough but with Torres in the pitch Liverpool can keep plenty of players back whilst also stretching the Portsmouth backline. Itll be tight but Torres to inspire a Liverpool win for me.
Paddy Power: Torres to score two or more goals – 5/1
Everton v Birmingham
Alex McLeish’s side are the form team in the Premier League at the moment whilst Everton are regaining that grittiness which abandoned them at the start of the season. Injuries are still a big issue for David Moyes but hes uncovering some very promising youngsters who look capable of holding things together until the more established stars return. This should be an even, lively game with action at both ends and the draw is nicely priced at 5/2.
Paddy Power: Everton to win 2-1 – 13/2
West Ham v Chelsea
Exactly what has happened to Chelsea over the last few weeks is difficult to pinpoint. Petr Cech isnt the keeper he was and his nervousness seems to be spreading to the rest of the defence. Theyve now conceded 11 goals in their last five games and rumours have been circulating that Cech could be on his way out. We wait and see on that one. The Hammers havent exactly been water tight at the back themselves which suggests were going to see plenty of goals. 0-0 draw it is so. Chelsea should win but the derby factor and home advantage could be enough of a boost for West Ham to cause the league leaders some uncomfortable moments. The away win is the bet to make but with Chelsea being so jittery I might have a couple of cheeky bets on West Ham and the draw.
Paddy Power: West Ham to draw 2-2 with Chelsea – 16/1
By Rob Dore
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