Saturday Premier League Tipsheet: Foxes a good bet to see off struggling Canaries

Claudio Ranieri gave his Leicester side a week off so they should be raring to go against Norwich
Claudio Ranieri gave his Leicester side a week off so they should be raring to go against Norwich

With the Capital One Cup final taking place on Sunday afternoon there's just four Premier League games kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm on Saturday, and our man Mike Norman has briefly previewed them all...


"Alex Neil's men have lost six and drawn just one of their last seven matches, conceding an alarming 21 goals in the process. They lost 2-0 at bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa in their last away game, trailing at the interval, and I'm backing a repeat of the outcome here against superb Leicester."

Back Leicester HT/Leicester FT @ 2.47/5 v Norwich

Leicester 1.558/15 v Norwich 7.06/1; The Draw 4.67/2

I'm in total agreement that Leicester should be advantaged by having only the Premier League to focus on and this weekend could go a long way to backing-up that belief.

While Arsenal were chasing Barcelona for 90 minute in midweek, Tottenham were going to Italy and back for two Europa League games, and Man City were flying to Kiev, the Foxes will have been having leisurely training sessions and working on a game-plan to beat Norwich on Saturday. And all this after Claudio Ranieri gave his players a week off immediately following the defeat to Arsenal.

Man City have a tough cup final on Sunday, meaning they'll fall a game behind in the Premier League, and Arsenal have a potentially tough trip to Old Trafford. Tottenham have a winnable game at home to Swansea but there's no doubting in my mind who is the fresher team right now. And it's the team two points clear at the top of the table.

Leicester have just recorded back-to-back home games against decent sides Stoke and Liverpool, both without conceding, and they look a good bet to take all three points at home to Norwich on Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries are in dire form and are starting to look like relegation certainties to me, simply because they can't stop conceding goals.

Alex Neil's men have lost six and drawn just one of their last seven matches, conceding an alarming 21 goals in the process. They lost 2-0 at bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa in their last away game, trailing at the interval, and I'm backing a repeat of the outcome here against superb Leicester.

Recommended Bet
Back Leicester HT/Leicester FT @ 2.47/5
(best bet)


Southampton 2.962/1 v Chelsea 2.77/4; The Draw 3.412/5

I'm slightly surprised that Chelsea are favourites to win this game. True, they've been much improved since Gus Hiddink took over and more importantly they are playing with smiles on their faces again, and the likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas are playing great also.

But on Saturday the Blues face a Southampton side in superb form, and you just wonder how much priority Hiddink is putting on these Premier League games with crucial FA Cup and Champions League ties ahead.

True, those cup games are a fortnight away so there's no reason why they shouldn't be playing to their maximum in this match, but I'm very wary that Chelsea have effectively little to play for in the Premier League, and that might - and I admit it's just a slight concern - have an influence on how they perform.

But even a fully flowing Chelsea side wouldn't be a good bet to beat this Southampton side at the moment. Ronald Koeman's men are up to sixth after taking 16 points from the last 18 available, and the stand-out statistic from those last six league games is that the Saints haven't conceded a single goal.

My gut instinct is to fancy the home side, but Chelsea are playing well enough to protect this unbeaten record under Hiddink so I will back the draw, but it's a very tough game to call.

Recommended Bet
Back The Draw @ 3.412/5


Stoke 1.75/7 v Aston Villa 6.411/2; The Draw 3.9

Stoke did this column a huge favour last time by landing the best bet selection at odds of 4.1 away to Bournemouth and I see no reason why Mark Hughes' men won't follow up that victory with another three points in this game.

The Potters hadn't been in the greatest form leading up to the game against the Cherries, but as I said a fortnight ago it felt like they'd lost a bit of focus with the Capital One Cup semi-final very much a priority at the time.

Hughes' men appear to have put that heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool behind them now and their focus is very much back on the Premier League, and put simply, they have way too much ability for hapless Villa.

Remi Garde's men were just about starting to put a run together that suggested they might drag themselves out of the mess they find themselves in, but a shuddering 6-0 home loss to Liverpool exposed them for what they are - a very poor side who look all at sea defensively against a decent team.

It was also Villa's home form that was just about keeping them in with a chance of survival; away from home they've been really poor, losing to the likes of Sunderland and Norwich, and rarely getting on the scoresheet.

Stoke look a good bet at 1.75/7 but I will take a chance on them winning without conceding given that Villa just don't seem to have a decent striker in their team, and their midfield hardly chip in with goals either away from home.

Recommended Bet
Back Stoke to Win to Nil @ 2.77/4


Watford 2.447/5 v Bournemouth 3.3512/5; The Draw 3.412/5

Another typically difficult game to call in the Premier League but I believe a home win is reasonably priced and is worth chancing.

What Watford have done well this season - and they've done a lot of things well - is perform to expectations against the sides they were fancied to beat or take points off. As Andrew Atherley points out in his excellent stats preview, the Hornets have taken an average of 2.38 points per game against lowly sides, and that has them fourth in the Premier League for that statistic.

Watford's three home games against clubs in the bottom six currently have so far produced three wins, and sitting ninth in the table Quique Flores' men are under no pressure whatsoever, and that's in complete contrast to Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe's men are just four points above the drop zone following back-to-back home defeats in the league, and with games against Southampton (6th), Spurs (2nd), Man City (4th), Liverpool (8th), and fast improving Chelsea being five of their next eight matches you feel that this game, and the ones against Villa and Swansea, are going to be huge.

The pressure might just start to tell on the Cherries and I fancy they'll soon be dragged into a relegation battle that will go right down to the wire, especially if they lose to Watford on Saturday which I'll be wagering they will.

Recommended Bet
Back Watford to Win @ 2.447/5


***


*You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73


**For individual match previews of every single Premier League game visit our dedicated Premier League section here on Betting.Betfair.


Premier League 2015/16 Season P/L

Staked: 166 pts
Returned: 178.12 pts
P/L: +12.12 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

**2014/15 P/L = +35.3 pts from 215 staked (ROI = 16.42%)

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