Hughes to Spark More Trouble for Van Gaal


Obtaining value is the key to successful long-term punting and one cannot fathom why Stoke is trading at odds of +500 with Betfair to defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 24th round of English Premier League games.

One’s English Premier League collateral form analysis says that Stoke is superior to Manchester United in spite of the Potters being four points and four rungs underneath the Red Devils on the ladder. Stoke enjoys a 10-2-7 English Premier League collateral form lead over Manchester United and the Boxing Day reverse fixture resulted in a 2-0 home win for the Potters in which the Mark Hughes-coached team put the match to bed in the first 26 minutes. Stoke has rebounded from failing to win any of its first seven English Premier League games and the Potters, provided that their exciting attackers remain healthy, look set for a top-10 finish.

It would appear that Manchester United’s power brokers have decided to stand by Louis van Gaal even though, while he has performed more creditably than David Moyes, he has not come close to returning the glory days to Old Trafford. Like Guus Hiddink, Van Gaal is yesterday’s man and Manchester United fans must be furious that Pep Guardiola has chosen to join Manchester City – one thinks that the award-winning manager would have walked on broken glass to succeed Alex Ferguson had the timing of Fergie’s exit been more to his liking.

One’s opinion is that Stoke’s chance of beating Manchester United in Tuesday’s English Premier League game is roughly double that of its available odds. One thinks that Stoke is a legitimate 3.00 odds chance to complete an English Premier League double over a distinctly average Manchester United side that has a significantly poorer record against the division’s top teams than the Potters do. Manchester United trails Stoke 2-1-5 according to one’s English Premier League collateral form analysis based on the leading nine sides.

West Ham’s English Premier League collateral form edge over Aston Villa is the greatest that any team enjoys in the 24th round of matches and, therefore, the Hammers are one’s most attractive odds-on selection at -110 .

It should be not come as a huge surprise to anyone that West Ham’s English Premier League collateral form advantage over Aston Villa is 13-3-3 – including a favourable 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Boxing Day – given that the Hammers are sixth on the ladder and the Villans are anchored to the bottom having failed to defeat any side ranked higher than 11th.

The only rational explanation for bookmakers offering close to even money about West Ham defeating Aston Villa is that they are willing to take on the Hammers because their home numbers of 4-5-2 are worse than their away numbers of 5-4-3. But Aston Villa is one of the worst English Premier League teams in the tournament’s history and one thinks that West Ham’s home advantage is one of the division’s biggest because the Boleyn Ground is an atmospheric arena.

One could argue that Leicester is a few rolls over the odds to beat Liverpool on Tuesday but the pressure of leading the English Premier League has the potential to stymie the Foxes in the coming weeks because, remarkably, they have a live chance of winning the title now that they lead Arsenal and Manchester City by three points. So, for one’s third English Premier League pick, one is going to side with Tottenham at odds of -110 with Bet365 to win at Norwich on Tuesday to stay in the championship race.

Tottenham’s English Premier League collateral form lead over Norwich is 13-4-2 and the Boxing Day clash between the teams resulted in a 3-0 victory for Spurs. Tottenham is the form side of the English Premier League whereas Norwich has to deal with losing 4-5 at home to Liverpool last time out after leading the Reds 3-1 with 54 minutes expired.

Finally, here are one’s English Premier League collateral form figures for every one of Round 24’s games. An asterisk signifies that the side enjoys a head-to-head advantage.

West Ham 13*-3-3 versus Aston Villa
Leicester 10-4-5* versus Liverpool
Sunderland 5-1-13* versus Manchester City
Arsenal 11-2-6* versus Southampton
Norwich 2-4-13* versus Tottenham
Crystal Palace 11*-2-6 versus Bournemouth
Manchester United 7-2-10* versus Stoke
West Bromwich 8-2-9* versus Swansea
Watford 11*-3-5 versus Chelsea
Everton 13*-0-6 versus Newcastle

Tips Summary

Stoke to beat Man Utd
2nd February 20.00 GMT
Odds: +500

West Ham to beat Aston Villa
2nd February 19:45 GMT
Odds: -110

Spurs to beat Norwich
2nd February 19:45 GMT
Odds: -110

aston villa
Manchester United
Pep Guardiola
West Ham

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