Tactical Preview: four Premier League matches to bet on this weekend

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Tactical Preview: four Premier League matches to bet on this weekend

Alex Keble

Based on the four most popular betting categories, Alex Keble uses tactical analysis to make some Premier League tips – and builds a tasty 19.35/1 accumulator.

Arsen v Utd

The Outsider

Arsenal vs Manchester United: United to win at 29/10 with Ladbrokes

Don’t be fooled by Arsenal’s upturn in results since moving to a 3-4-2-1 formation; Arsene Wenger’s side are just as disjointed – and disinterested – as they have been throughout the calendar year. Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics, designed to frustrate top-six sides by sitting deep and absorbing pressure, should easily stunt the Gunners, while Manchester United’s high-tempo forwards should terrorise the hosts’ sloppy back four.

Arsenal’s new formation has made them focus predominantly through the centre. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sporadically attempts to charge down the right, but by-and-large everything flows through the increasingly-absent Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Consequently, United’s attempts to narrow the pitch and cause congestion in central areas should prove fruitful. As the game wears on at 0-0, anxiety inside the Emirates will increase and the supporters’ frustration will begin to affect the players.

At the other end, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – both in superb form lately – will cause serious damage on the counter. Arsenal’s back three is full of holes, while their collective nervousness makes them particularly vulnerable to the speed of United’s young forwards. Along with Jesse Lingard, the visitors’ attack will spread panic and confusion in the Arsenal ranks; at both ends of the pitch Mourinho has the advantage. Back United to win at 29/10 with Ladbrokes.


bournmouth v man city

The Goal Fest

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace: Over 3.5 goals at 10/11 with Ladbrokes

Pep Guardiola and Sam Allardyce both have serious defensive issues at the moment which, coupled with Manchester City’s goalscoring prowess and Crystal Palace’s recent away wins at Liverpool and Chelsea, makes a high-scoring contest the most likely outcome at the Etihad.

Gabriel Jesus’ return has added creative dynamism in the final third just as things had begun to congeal, and assuming Pep abandons the narrow 3-4-1-2 shape used against Middlesbrough in favour of wing-focused attacks (a switch he made mid-match last weekend) then City should score several. Palace’s defence is seriously depleted at the moment, with Mamadou Sakho’s injury dramatically affecting their overall shape. Burnley practically walked the ball into the net during their 2-0 win last Saturday.

However, City must be wary of Palace’s counter-attacking threat; both Liverpool and Chelsea were recently shocked by the efficiency of Big Sam’s simple long-ball tactics: Palace launch the ball towards Christian Benteke at every opportunity, for Yohan Cabaye (in a far more advanced role than under Alan Pardew) to collect the second ball and feed Wilfried Zaha on the wing. City’s sloppy defending and Guardiola’s expansive, idealistic tactics make them particularly vulnerable to this old-fashioned British approach.

It seems very likely, then, that there will be goals at both ends, and at least four in total. Back over 3.5 goals at 10/11 with Ladbrokes.



The End-to-End Match

Swansea City vs Everton: BTTS at 4/6 with Ladbrokes

Having accrued 13 points from their last six home games and only failing to score at the Liberty Stadium four times this season, Swansea City will be competitive. Gylfi Sigurdsson is in fine form, while Tom Carroll’s crossing ability from the left (aided by Martin Olsson’s overlapping runs) has seen an upturn in Fernando Llorente’s goalscoring. On the counter-attack, the Swans should score at least once in this match.

What’s more, Tom Davies is defensively naïve, often getting caught too far away from the centre of the pitch, which could allow Sigurdsson to flourish through the middle. Everton have conceded ten goals in their last six league games.

But Everton will cause plenty of problems at the other end. Since Yannick Bolasie’s season-ending injury in December, the Toffees have predominantly attacked through the middle of the pitch. Swansea are highly vulnerable to this: their midfield trio of Carroll, Leon Britton, and Leroy Fer leave plenty of gaps to be exploited (they average a measly 2.9 interceptions per match combined), partly because neither Sigurdsson nor Jordan Ayew like to track back from the flanks. Over-stretched, the Swans’ midfield could be dominated by Ross Barkley.

Considering Romelu Lukaku has 20 league goals against teams outside the top eight this season, Everton will surely find the back of the net at least once. Back both teams to score at 4/6 with Ladbrokes.



The Goalscorer

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough: Hazard to score anytime at 8/11 with Ladbrokes

Desperate to win games as the season winds down, Middlesbrough are slowly abandoning their ultra-defensive mentality. It isn’t working, and Eden Hazard should be the key beneficiary.

Steve Agnew’s side have conceded eight goals in their last two away matches, with fellow strugglers Hull City and Bournemouth both netting four times. Boro will no doubt attempt to sit extremely deep and remain compact at Stamford Bridge – which will probably stop Diego Costa from rediscovering his goalscoring touch – but are unlikely to prevent the Blues from scoring plenty of goals.

Hazard, who will work his magic just outside the blockade, will be afforded many shooting chances as Boro retreat. The Belgian has four goals in his last three home league games; all the stats point towards him bagging another on Monday. Back Hazard to score any time at 8/11 with Ladbrokes.

The Accumulator

An acca using the above four bets is available at 20.43/1 with Ladbrokes. A £10 bet on United to win, Hazard to score any time, both Swansea and Everton to score, and over 3.5 goals in Man City v Palace, would win £214.34.