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West Ham defeated one of its English Premier League colour cousins, Burnley, in the previous round but one thinks that the Hammers will end up on the losing side when they visit the division’s other claret and blues, Aston Villa.
It took a Mark Noble penalty kick for West Ham to get the better of 10-man Burnley at the Boleyn Ground last weekend. West Ham had 22 shots in the second half against Burnley – the most that any English Premier League side has managed during a second half this season – but it was unable to extend its lead over an undermanned cellar dweller.
Aston Villa may be only 14th on the English Premier League ladder but West Ham has not beaten a team position higher than that since defeating Swansea 3-1 at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday 7 December. Five months is a long time between drinks and, while West Ham accrued three points from its English Premier League home match versus Burnley, the Hammers did not convince anyone that they are on fire.
Tim Sherwood has turned around Aston Villa’s fortunes since he breezed into Villa Park with an attitude every bit as positive as Paul Lambert’s attitude was negative. What is remarkable is that Aston Villa is not safe from relegation yet because the Villans are two points above the English Premier League drop zone. Aston Villa are one of the form sides near the bottom of the English Premier League ladder and, while it has the joker of a last-day home game against Burnley up its sleeve, one expects the Villans to be secure in its top-flight position before the final round kicks off.
Coral and Totesport have chalked up odds of +100 about Aston Villa beating West Ham on Saturday and that is one’s idea of the best English Premier League bet – one was expecting to see the Villans trading as odds-on favourites.
Either Manchester City or Arsenal is highly likely to finish runner-up to English Premier League title winner Chelsea and the matches in which the Citizens and the Gunners are the home teams are the other games in which one is interested.
The English Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers has the ingredients to be high scoring – both sides are among the division’s top four entertainers. Twenty of Manchester City’s 35 English Premier League games have gone over two and a half goals, including nine of its home matches. Queens Park Rangers is even more fun to watch because 21 of its 35 English Premier League games have gone over two and a half goals, including 13 of its 17 away matches. A draw is not going to be of much use to either Manchester City or Queens Park Rangers in light of their respective positions on the English Premier League ladder, therefore one is expecting a wide-open game at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in which there is non-stop action.
Ladbrokes is offering odds of -250 about Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers combining to go over two and a half goals for the second time in the English Premier League – their reverse fixture at Loftus Road ended in a 2-2 draw.
Finally, Arsenal’s English Premier League form is the pick of division and one fancies that it will avenge its reverse fixture loss to Swansea when the team lock horns at the Emirates Stadium in Monday’s final match of the round.
Arsenal has dropped only two points from its last 10 English Premier League games and that was its 0-0 home draw versus a Chelsea side that parked the bus. Swansea has won four of its last seven English Premier League matches but the Swans have not been beating the division’s top guns – indeed, they have lost 0-1 at home to Liverpool and 2-3 at Tottenham on their last two assignments against higher ranked teams.
Man City v QPR Over 2.5 goals
10th May 13:30 GMT
Where to Bet: Ladbrokes
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