Queens Park Rangers has a terrific opportunity to bank three priceless English Premier League points when its hosts West Ham in a cross-city derby at Loftus Road on Saturday.
Three points covers the English Premier League’s bottom five teams and Queens Park Rangers need to win its two remaining home matches because its away assignments are against fellow relegation candidate Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City. Thankfully for Queens Park Rangers, West Ham is in considerably worse shape than its 10th position suggests.
It is a mighty good job that West Ham kicked off the English Premier League in fine fashion because, if the Hammers had not accumulated a bucketload of points in the first half of the season, they would be in as much trouble as Queens Park Rangers towards the foot of the ladder. West Ham has beaten just Leicester at home, Hull at home, Sunderland at home and English League One champion Bristol City away in its last 22 games across all competitions. One has to go all the way back to December 7th for the last time that West Ham beat a side ranked above 16th in the English Premier League.
Several bookmakers, including PaddyPower and Totesport, are offering odds of +140 about a Queens Park Rangers win over West Ham – those odds indicate that the bookmakers in question rate the Super Hoops as inferior to the Hammers when one makes an allowance for the venue. One cannot agree with that assessment given the current form of the London rivals and, therefore, Queens Park Rangers rates as the best bet on the English Premier League coupon. One thinks that Queens Park Rangers should be trading at odds around the +120 mark given all the factors at play.
It is incorrect to say that mid-table English Premier League teams have nothing for which to play because every rung on the ladder is worth millions in prize money. Therefore, one has no worries about nominating ninth-placed Stoke at odds of -105 with many bookmakers, including Bwin and WilliamHill, to defeat Sunderland on Saturday.
Stoke found sufficient motivation to beat Southampton 2-1 last time out and the Saints were hoping to continue their march towards one of the English Premier League’s UEFA Europa League spots. Stoke has won three of its last four English Premier League home matches and hosts a Sunderland side that has managed to concede four goals in two of its last three top-flight home games despite having everything for which to play. Similar to West Ham, Sunderland’s form over a prolonged period is dreadful – the Black Cats have beaten only Burnley at home, Newcastle at home and two of the English Championship’s lesser lights – Leeds at home and Fulham away – in their 19 matches since Christmas Day.
Finally, one thinks that Arsenal is a fair price to get the better of Chelsea on Sunday because, while the Blues top the English Premier League ladder and are almost guaranteed to win the title, the Gunners are playing better right now.
Chelsea enjoys a 10-point English Premier League lead over Arsenal with both teams having six games to play. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s default position is to set up the Blues not to lose in such circumstances but one thinks that may play to the advantage of Arsenal, enabling the Gunners to dominate possession and have ample chances to score.
Several bookmakers, including Betfred and PaddyPower, are listing Arsenal at odds of +150 to win its ninth English Premier League match in a row – anything over the +130 mark would rate as an acceptable punting proposition.
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