Everton’s English Premier League home record is so good that the Toffees warrant trading at odds of 1.62 with BetVictor, to beat a Stoke side that has lost its defensive toughness.
Roberto Martinez has stepped into the Everton hot seat that Manchester United manager David Moyes vacated and the former Wigan boss has the Toffees firmly in contention for one of the English Premier League’s spots in next season’s UEFA competitions. No top-flight team has lost fewer games this season than Everton and Chelsea fans are not the only ones scratching their heads as to why Romelo Lukaku is starring on loan at Goodison Park instead of playing for his parent club at Stamford Bridge. Lukaku scored twice in 10 minutes to help Everton to draw 3-3 with Liverpool last week and he was outstanding for West Bromwich throughout last term.
Since Chelsea defeated Everton at Goodison Park in December 2012, the Toffees have not lost any of their subsequent 15 English Premier League home matches, winning 10 of them. If one reviews Everton’s last 30 top-flight home games, one finds that the Toffees have 19 wins, 10 draws and only one loss to their credit. Goodison Park is a genuine fortress.
Stoke’s English Premier League results on the road are very different to those of Everton at home. Stoke has earned just four points from its six top-flight away matches this season and, if one goes back to the beginning of 2012, the Potters have four wins, 12 draws and 20 losses on the road in the elite division. What is particularly concerning for Stoke supporters is that, while the Potters are playing sexier football under Mark Hughes than the dirge that they served up under Tony Pulis, they have gone soft and that is a big problem away from the confines of the Britannia Stadium.
Former Stoke manager Pulis takes charge of Crystal Palace for the first time when the Eagles face Norwich in an English Premier League relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road. The game of huge significance at the foot of the ladder is made for a bet on under two and a half goals, an option that is available at odds of 1.83 with Ladbrokes, given the circumstances surrounding it.
Pulis has breezed into Selhurst Park and said that he can keep Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. One can expect Crystal Palace to adopt the disciplined, direct and frequently physical approach that has been the trademark of Pulis-coached teams throughout his career, with the boss setting up the Eagles to be hard to break down and beat, starting with their massive match away to Norwich.
Norwich and Crystal Palace have scored a total of 17 English Premier League goals this term and neither side is averaging more than one goal per game. Factor in the desperation that Norwich will feel to take three points from its home match versus Crystal Palace and the passion and power with which the Eagles are likely to tackle the Canaries and one has a game that may be heavy on tension but light on goals.
Dropping into England’s lower leagues and Blackpool is very strangely priced at odds of 2.25 with BetVictor to get the better of a Sheffield Wednesday team that has not won away from Hillsborough since beating Millwall 2-1 no fewer than 13 road matches ago. Maybe BetVictor knows something that no-one else does but Blackpool, 18 places above Sheffield Wednesday on the English Championship ladder, ought to be odds on to win their fifth home league game this season.
Leicester had won eight consecutive home matches across all competitions before losing 0-2 to Nottingham Forest but that was a local derby game and it may pay to put a line through that result. Leicester welcomes Millwall to the King Power Stadium and BetVictor is offering odds of 1.67 that the Foxes, right in the think of the English Championship title race, defeat a Millwall side that has won only one of its nine away matches in the various tournaments this term.
English League One struggler Sheffield United is showing no signs of improving under Nigel Clough and still bookmakers are underrating Leyton Orient so back the Os at odds of 1.91 with Paddy Power, while English League Two high flier Southend represents excellent value at odds of 2.00 with Bet365, to stretch its winning sequences across competitions to six games by beating out-of-form Cheltenham by the Essex seaside.