The Capital One Cup Final on Sunday is the weekend football highlight and brand ambassador Michael Owen suggests blue will be the colour at Wembley as Chelsea bid to avenge the Harry Kane inspired 5-3 defeat they suffered at the hands of Spurs in the Premier League at White Hart Lane last month.
Before the capital Cup Final we have some excellent Premier League games to dissect, however, including the small matter of the visit of Manchester City to Anfield earlier in the day. The action starts with another London derby at Upton Park.
West Ham v Crystal Palace
The Hammers have only won one of their last nine PL games but they were, arguably, unlucky not to take all three points at Spurs last weekend. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia looked back to their best at the Lane and were a real handful for the Spurs defence; they might be the difference between the sides.
Michael’s recommendation: West Ham to win at 21/20
Burnley v Swansea
Burnley have only won one of their last ten PL fixtures and with a trip to Anfield to come midweek you feel this is a must win game for the Clarets if they are to maintain their PL status at the end of the season. Swansea are looking to cement their place in the top half of the table and a point might suit Gay Monk more than Sean Dyche.
Michael’s recommendation: Draw at 23/10
Manchester United v Sunderland
United’s Champions League hopes took a knock at the Liberty Stadium last weekend and Louis van Gaal will be well aware this is a game they must take maximum points from. The Black Cats have only won one of their last 25 trips to Old Trafford but that was in the corresponding fixture last season. They are still not exactly firing on all cylinders but I take United to keep all three points.
Michael’s recommendation: United to win to nil at 23/20
Newcastle v Villa
Villa face a real struggle for PL survival and Tim Sherwood will have had a long hard week since Victor Moses’ last minute penalty gave Stoke all three points last weekend. I can’t see this being anything other than a tight, tense affair with chances and goals at a premium.
Michael’s recommendation: Both teams NOT to score at 31/40
Stoke City v Hull
The Potters have a good record against the Tigers losing just one of their last eleven games and Mark Hughes’ side have scored a 90th minute goal in three of their last four matches. Hull have only won one of their last 12 away games in the PL but Stoke have only kept one clean sheet in their last nine at the Britannia and I expect to see both sides find the back of the net at the weekend.
Michael’s recommendation: Both teams to score at 21/20
WBA v Southampton
The Baggies have improved under Tony Pulis losing only one of their last seven and keeping a clean sheet in four of the six PL matches under their new boss. The Saints are just about hanging on to their Champions League dream but a point is all I can see them taking away from the Hawthorns.
Michael’s recommendation: Game to finish 1-1 at 11/2
Liverpool v Manchester City
City had their European limitations, seemingly, exposed by Barcelona midweek although the game once again showcased the excellence of Sergio Aguero. City are without a win in 11 at Anfield and I think that trend will continue on Sunday.
Michael’s recommendation: Liverpool draw no bet at 21/20
Arsenal v Everton
The Gunners remain the archetypal flat-track bullies and I was very disappointed with their performance against a limited Monaco side in the Champions League on Wednesday. I shall be at the Emirates for BT Sport and expect to see an Arsenal win against an Everton side who have failed to hit last season’s PL heights although I don’t expect to see too many goals.
Michael’s recommendation: Under 2.5 goals at 11/10
Chelsea v Spurs
Jose Mourinho will have to do without Nemanja Matic for the Wembley showpiece but I still think they will have enough to win the first Major Trophy of the season. Eden Hazard is taken to light up Wembley for the Blues who won’t have things their own way against a Spurs side who have impressed me this season despite a below par performance against West Ham last weekend.
Michael’s recommendation: Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 12/5
Michael’s weekend wager: West Ham, Man United and Chelsea (90 mins) to all win at 4/1