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On Saturday Tony Pulis will coach against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park for the first time since he quit the Eagles on the eve of the English Premier League and one thinks that he will not enjoy his first visit to his old stomping ground.
Crystal Palace, now under the leadership of former Eagles winger Alan Pardew, is one of the English Premier League’s form teams, which is not an apt description for the West Bromwich side that is causing Pulis sleepless nights as it struggles to stay away from the dreaded relegation zone.
West Bromwich has lost to not one but two English Premier League strugglers in recent weeks and both defeats occurred at The Hawthorns and involved the Baggies conceding lots of goals. First, Queens Park Rangers – the English Premier League’s worst away team – walloped West Bromwich 4-1 at The Hawthorns. Second, the English Premier League’s bottom side, Leicester, came back from 0-1 and 1-2 to beat West Bromwich 3-2 and breathe new life into its fight against the drop.
Tony Pulis has decided that the way to get West Bromwich out of its English Premier League slump is to slam his players publicly, airing views that managers use keep behind closed doors. It will be interesting to see if Pulis gets the right response but one is not betting on it happening on Saturday.
Never did Newcastle and Pardew look like a good fit but the man who scored the goal that sent Crystal Palace to the 1990 English FA Cup final has looked right at home since he took over from Neil Warnock as Eagles boss. Crystal Palace has accrued 25 points from its 12 English Premier League games under Pardew, a points-to-games ratio that is better than every team other than Chelsea. Yes, Crystal Palace’s form under Pardew is that of a genuine championship contender.
888Sport are offering odds of 1/1 2.00 +100 1.00 1.00 -1.00 that Crystal Palace wins its fifth English Premier League match in a row by defeating West Bromwich. Not even the Pulis factor is sufficient to put one taking those odds.
BetVictor is listing odds of 13/20 1.65 -154 0.65 -1.54 0.65 about Saturday’s English Premier League game between Stoke and Southampton at the Britannia Stadium going under two and a half goals and that rates as the next best betting opportunity on the coupon.
Eighteen of Stoke’s 32 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including eight of its 15 home games. But those numbers are nothing compared to those of Southampton. Twenty-two of Southampton’s 32 English Premier League matches have gone under two and a half goals, including 11 of its 15 away games – both of those statistics are divisional highs. And the reverse English Premier League fixture resulted in a 1-0 win for Southampton in October.
Finally, one would not touch Liverpool with a 10-foot pole at its odds to beat Aston Villa in Sunday’s English FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium but Arsenal looks like a safe bet to get the better of Reading in the first tie 24 hours earlier. One has no concerns about backing Arsenal at odds of 29/100 1.29 -345 0.29 -3.45 0.29 with several bookmakers, including Coral and Totesport, to lead Reading at the end of normal time.
Arsenal is England’s form team having won each of its last eight matches across all competitions since it lost the plot at home to Monaco in the UEFA Champions League. Reading may claim that it has been distracted but its English FA Cup date with Arsenal but even that would not excuse its run of five English Championship games without a win. Arsenal has been making better sides than Reading look second rate in recent weeks and, provided that the Gunners do not produce a Monaco-like performance, they should beat the Royals easily.
Palace to beat West Brom
18th April 15:00 GMT
Odds: 1/1 2.00 +100 1.00 1.00 -1.00
Where to Bet: 888Sport
Stoke v Southampton Under 2.5 goals
18th April 15:00 GMT
Odds: 13/20 1.65 -154 0.65 -1.54 0.65
Where to Bet: BetVictor