The biggest game of the Premier League weekend by far takes place at White Hart Lane where Champions League qualification-chasing Tottenham and Arsenal do battle in an eagerly-anticipated North London derby which will surely have massive ramifications for both teams not only this season but the next.
So where else to start today’s preview but at the DW Stadium where Wigan will take on Liverpool this evening. Luis Suarez must be backed to hit the onion bag, champing at the bit as he must be having had over a week’s rest, and facing a defence whom before the Latics’ admirable victory over Reading last weekend had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous six league matches of 2013.
I like the look of Suarez to score tonight, and I also like the look of goals at the Liberty Stadium today for the Swansea-Newcastle game. The injury-enforced absence of vital Magpies custodians Tim Krul and Fabrizio Coloccini casts a veneer of uncertainty over the Newcastle defence which the newly crowned Capital One Cup winners can exploit, whilst at the other end Swansea are themselves missing a defensive stalwart in Chico Flores and it remains to be seen whether they will become another victim of the defensive lax-itis that seems to befall teams in the aftermath of winning the League Cup over past seasons.
Lost amongst all the rightful praise and incorrect over-fawning of Gareth Bale’s decisive contribution to Spurs’ win over West Ham on Monday was the fact that the Hammers applied themselves very well against the third-place team and as Sam Allardyce rightly pointed out, if the mercurial Welshman had not been on the pitch then the Boleyn club would have surely collected three points so good was their performance.
If they can maintain that level against Stoke today then Allardyce will surely be in celebratory mood come 5pm. He has in Andy Carroll a weapon that can give Stoke’s burly defenders sonething to think about, and if Carlton Cole comes in for the injured Kevin Nolan then that could spell double trouble for the free-falling Potters.
The Manchester United juggernaut rumbles on and regardless of the fact that Los Merenges loom large on the week’s horizon, Sir Alex and co will ensure that all focus remains on beating Norwich today, and beat the Canaries well they should do.
Vengeance may also play a part today as Norwich were the last team to inflict a league defeat on the Red Devils way back in mid-November. The Norfolk club havent scored an away league in a couple of months, during which time United have improved defensively by an immeasurable amount.
Lastly, Southampton must be a decent shout at home to QPR and further cement the Pochettino revolution against a former Saints manager, with whom he shares a birthday. One assumes the Argentinian incumbent will be enjoying his cake a little more than his counterpart Harry Redknapp this evening.
TOP FIVE PREMIER LEAGUE BETS
1) Wigan vs. Liverpool Luis Suarez Anytime Goalscorer 6/5 Boylesports
2) Swansea vs. Newcastle Over 2.5 Goals 5/6 Boylesports
3) West Ham to beat Stoke 12/5 Coral
4) Manchester United to beat Norwich to nil 5/4 BetVictor
5) Southampton to beat QPR 3/4 Coral
Written by Emelie Okeke
Follow Emelie on Twitter @Emelie_Okeke
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