It’s a great weekend of TV action in the Premier League this Saturday and Sunday, with two local derbies and a top-of-the-table clash between Manchester City and Arsenal. Liverpool and Everton get things underway at Saturday lunchtime with a renewal of the Merseyside derby, while Southampton and Bournemouth face off at teatime in a fierce South Coast derby.
My colleagues here at SBO have already highlighted the value bet in the Liverpool-Everton clash, and the best bet in the Arsenal versus Manchester City tie, but the best wager for this tipster among the viewing fayre is in the relegation battle between Swansea and Middlesbrough.
Both sides have changed managers this season, but it’s been a very different story for the two Premier League strugglers. Swansea replaced Francesco Guidolin in October and brought in former USA boss Bob Bradley, but the American’s reign was short-lived. Bradley was given his marching orders in January after a run of seven defeats in eleven matches, and then Bayern Munich assistant Paul Clement was given the task of keeping the Welsh club in the top flight.
The common reaction to Middlesbrough’s sacking of Aitor Karanka was that the club had ‘left it too late’. A paradoxical view considering the same pundits regularly call on chairmen to give managers ‘more time’. However, rumours that he had lost the dressing room meant the writing was on the wall for the man who led Boro back to the Premier League, and Steve Agnew took temporary charge for the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Swansea v Middlesbrough
Swansea look a good bet at odds of +102 with Marathonbet to come out on top when they host the Teesiders on Sunday.
Steve Gibson – renowned as one of the best Chairmen in the game – has already intimated that Agnew may be given the job on a permanent basis, but no announcements have been made yet. Boro are 19th in the table at present, five points adrift of Sunday’s opponents and safety. Ironically, they haven’t won a Premier League game since beating Bradley’s Swansea 3-0 back in December, but a repeat does not look on the cards after four consecutive defeats in which they’ve found the net just once.
Swansea have lost the last two matches away at Bournemouth and Hull, but are on a thee-game winning streak at home after wins against Burnley, Leicester and Southampton. The goals haven’t exactly been flowing for the Swans, but no side in the division has scored less than Middlebrough’s paltry 20 goals in 28 games. It’s six defeats in seven road games for Boro, and you have to go back to August for their only away win of the season – against Sunderland.
This looks like an ideal opportunity for Swansea to pull further away from danger, and drive another nail into the Middlesbrough coffin.
Southampton v Bournemouth
Derbies are always fiestly encounters where form is perhaps of less consequence than in other matches, but Southampton have to be backed at -154 with BetVictor.
Bournemouth have lost 9 of 14 away games in the Premier League, and are also on a run of seven road defeats in the last nine games across all competitions. The two sides are locked together on 33 points in 10th and 11th in the table, which indicates that the Saints have failed to hit the heights of previous seasons.
That’s reflected in the inconsistency of their results – the last four games have seen them beat Sunderland and Watford in the league, while going down to defeats at the hands of Spurs (league) and Manchester united (EFL Cup final). However, Saints have won six of the last seven meetings between the sides, including a 3-1 away win at the Cherries back in December.
Liverpool v Everton
My esteemed colleague has highlighted the value that lies with Everton in this game, due to injuries and international commitments having a bigger effect on the Reds, but if you don’t fancy backing against Liverpool at Anfield both teams to score is another option.
The bet would have landed in four of Liverpool’s last five at home, and three of Everton’s last five away. The Toffees have crept up into 7th place under Ronald Koeman, level on points with Arsenal in 6th and just six points behind Liverpool in 4th. They are only a few good results away from being competitive in the race for Europe, and can more than hold their own against their deadly rivals.
Liverpool have been one of the most exciting sides in England since Jurgen Klopp brought his attacking brand of football to the Reds, but it will count for little without success to go with it. A top four place looked guaranteed earlier in the season, but inconsistency has struck and it’s just three wins in the last ten games for the charismatic German.
This derby is always an end-to-end game, and both sides are fancied to find the net at least once.
Swansea to beat Middlesbrough
Sunday 2nd April, 13:30 BST
Southampton to beat Bournemouth
Saturday 1st April, 17:30 BST
Liverpool v Everton – Both teams to score
Saturday 1st April, 12:30 BST
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