Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Trends to continue with goals looking certain at Villa Park

Mike believes Villa Park is destined to see goals on Saturday afternoon
Mike believes Villa Park is destined to see goals on Saturday afternoon

Relegation is the theme once again on Saturday afternoon as Aston Villa, Burnley, QPR, and Sunderland all strive for points in their fight for Premier League survival, and regular columnist Mike Norman has previewed the games featuring those four teams as well as the mid-table clash between Swansea and Stoke...

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Premier League Betting: Four key tactical battles to look out for this weekend

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Aston Villa 2.915/8 v Everton 2.89/5; The Draw 3.412/5

Villa v Everton has been one of my favourite fixtures in recent years simply because it was a fixture that always used to produce goals, regardless of when the two sides met and the form they were in at the time.

From April 2008, when the sides played out a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, 11 of their next 12 meetings resulted in both teams getting on the scoresheet, nine of those matches went over the 2.5 goals mark, but incredibly - and this is your killer stat of the day - all of those nine games that went over 2.5 goals also went over 3.5 goals.

So as you can imagine, backing Over 3.5 Goals in this fixture has been a wager that almost selected itself. The only problem is that the last two meetings between these two sides have ended 3-0 and 2-1... grrrr!

But undeterred I'm going in again. Everton are in fine form at present, winning six and drawing one of their last eight, while Villa have been revitalised under Tim Sherwood - an attacking side that now finds the back of the net with regularity.

With Sherwood's men in desperate need for the points and the Toffees now having an incentive for the remainder of the season (to finish in the top 10 after a relatively poor campaign) then this game is perfectly set-up for another goalfest.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.9
(best bet)

Liverpool 1.384/11 v QPR 10.09/1; The Draw 5.49/2

I fully appreciate that QPR need to win this game and therefore they'll take chances and go for goals, which could mean plenty of opportunities for Liverpool at the other end, who, let's face it, are a much better side despite their recent patchy form.

But I just can't ignore the price about Under 2.5 Goals even though my head is telling me that this will be an open affair with plenty of chances at either end.

I'm happy to go with my gut instinct though and wager that we'll see no more than two goals at Anfield on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' men haven't scored more than two goals in a game for 15 outings now and they are clearly low on confidence after registering blanks against West Brom and Hull in the last seven days. They are still without Daniel Sturridge, and if Philippe Coutinho is just slightly below par then the Reds generally struggle for goals.

QPR are no better than a Newcastle, a Hull, or a West Brom however so Liverpool ought to be good enough to prevent the Hoops from getting on the scoresheet more than once, just like they did recently against the three sides mentioned, so everything considered I believe Under 2.5 Goals is slightly over-priced here.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.47/5

Sunderland 4.47/2 v Southampton 2.0621/20; The Draw 3.412/5

The only surprising aspect about Sunderland's 1-1 draw at Stoke last Saturday was that goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon wasn't substituted after 60 seconds and replaced by the team bus!

I Tweeted after the Black Cats' very early goal that I fully expected them to win 0-1 as that's what they are best at doing, defending a lead when under intense pressure. Their problem has been getting a lead to defend. They didn't quite manage to hold on at the Britannia Stadium of course, but it needed another spectacular goal from Charlie Adam to deny Dick Advocaat's men all three points.

Unfortunately for Sunderland, with results going against them elsewhere, the draw meant they fell into the relegation zone and their survival chances now look very remote.

As I've been saying all season, I just can't see where the goals are going to come from for Sunderland, and that's especially relevant on Saturday as they host the team with the best defensive record in the Premier League. The game looks destined to be a low-scoring affair.

The Black Cats have scored just four league goals at the Stadium of Light in 2015, while Southampton have conceded more than one goal in a game just once in their last 11 away matches. There's always a chance that the Saints might win convincingly of course, but they're not in the same form as they were earlier in the campaign and I'm happy to invest that we witness no more than a single goal.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 1.5 Goals @ 2.962/1

Swansea 2.3211/8 v Stoke 3.613/5; The Draw 3.412/5

Credit must be given to both Swansea and Stoke - it seems like an age that they've had very little to play for yet they keep putting in utterly professional performances and regularly churn out results.

Garry Monk's men have taken 10 points from their last five matches, a tally that has taken them to their highest ever points haul in the Premier League. They now have their sights set firmly on beating their highest league finish of ninth - they currently sit eighth, three points ahead of Saturday's opponents.

Mark Hughes' men were slightly disappointing at home to Sunderland last week but they'd won five of their previous eight league matches to consolidate their mid-table position, and they'll certainly go to the Liberty Stadium and make life difficult for the Swans.

In fact I'm finding this game extremely tough to call, there's very little between them when it comes to ability, recent form, and league positions and both teams seem fully motivated to finish as high up the table as they possibly can.

One possible angle is that all of Stoke's last five matches have resulted in both teams getting on the scoresheet while three of Swansea's last four have gone the same way. I can see exactly the same happening in a game where 'top-eight' bragging rights are almost at stake.

Recommended Bet
Back Both Team to Score @ 2.0421/20

West Ham 2.265/4 v Burnley 3.711/4; The Draw 3.55/2

This is effectively last chance saloon for Burnley, fail to beat a West Ham side that are there for the taking and I really can't see Sean Dyche's men surviving.

The Clarets are on an awful run of form however, just one win in their last 14 outings, but the big worry is that the goals have completely dried up. Burnley have managed to find the back of the net just once in over 720 minutes of Premier League football.

The saving grace for Burnley fans is that West Ham are in a similar run of form, if not in the same predicament. But at least the Lancashire version of the claret and blues have something to play for, and that just might swing this game in their favour.

The Hammers have won just one of their last 13 league and cup games and look to me like they've gave up on the season. They'll go into the game with good intent of course but if Burnley can get that first goal - a big ask in itself - then I just fancy that their need and desire might just get them across the line and give them a fighting chance of beating the drop.

Recommended Bet
Back Burnley to Win @ 3.711/4

You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 189 pts
Returned: 214.77 pts
P/L: + 25.77 pts

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

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