Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Back United to beat Villa without conceding

Mike expects United's defence to stand firm against Aston Villa
Mike expects United's defence to stand firm against Aston Villa

Mike Norman has landed an impressive 13 winners from his last 16 selections in his regular look at the Premier League's non-televised games, and with five more matches kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm on Saturday afternoon our man is confident of bagging more profit...

"It's also worth remembering that prior to Villa's four goals at Sunderland Sherwood's men (or Paul Lambert's if you prefer) had scored only four away league goals all season and they'd registered blanks in their previous six matches on the road."

Recommended Bet
Back Man Utd Win to Nil @ 2.01/1

Everton 2.89/5 v Southampton 2.942/1; The Draw 3.39/4

Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.75/7 in this game, and while those odds are rarely my cup of tea in the Overs/Unders market, a few months ago I might have suggested them being on the generous side in this fixture; Southampton were keeping clean sheets for fun and Everton were very lacklustre.

Circumstances are slightly different now. Roberto Martinez's men have had a disappointing season but they have nothing to play for and recent games suggest they are getting back to where they were last term - except they're struggling to keep clean sheets (just one in their last 10 outings).

The Toffees have conceded 16 times in those last 10 games but at the other end they've scored 18 meaning for that period their games have averaged 3.4 goals per match.

The Saints have been involved in some low-scoring games of late and presumably that's why 'Unders' is trading so short here, but Ronald Koeman's men need to keep winning to realise their dreams of playing in Europe and that should allow this game to be an open affair. Witnessing at least three goals looks a bit over-priced to me.

Recommended Bet
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.3811/8

Leicester 2.427/5 v West Ham 3.259/4; The Draw 3.55/2

You've got to think that the Foxes are dining out very close to the last chance saloon and that failure to take three points from this game will mean they'll almost certainly be drinking in it come next weekend.

The market rates them favourites to take the three points however, and that's slightly surprising given that they are without a win in nine league games and face a side in the top half of the table here.

But West Ham haven't been in great form either, requiring a last-ditch winner against Sunderland to prevent themselves from going nine games without a win. You sense a little bit of unrest amongst the Hammers, and not for the first time Sam Allardyce's position is being questioned. You can easily see West Ham's season ending completely the opposite to how brilliantly it started.

So even though I'm not at all confident about the outcome of this game I have to side with Nigel Pearson's men. They've scored two at Everton and three at Tottenham in recent weeks suggesting that they have a bit of fight left in them, and against a Hammers side slightly against the ropes I can see Leicester pinching a crucial win.

Recommended Bet
Back Leicester to Win @ 2.427/5

Man Utd 1.321/3 v Aston Villa 12.5; The Draw 6.05/1

With Villa scoring four in their last away game - albeit against a poor Sunderland side - it's understandable that United to win this game without conceding can be backed at even money, but as I said before Villa lost to Swansea I'd like to see more evidence that Tim Sherwood's men have turned the corner before backing them to score regularly.

I appreciate Sherwood is naturally an attack-minded manager, the type who will go for the win and risk losing, rather than settle for a draw, but you can't just tell a team of players who have struggled for goals to regularly go and find the back of the net.

I can see Villa struggling in this game, and although United haven't been visually impressive for the most part of 2015 so far, that certainly can't be true of their last few performances. Louis van Gaal's men were excellent in beating Spurs and Liverpool and I envisage them continuing in that form.

Despite United's perceived defensive struggles the fact remains they still haven't conceded more than once in a league game at Old Trafford since the opening day of the season, and they've defeated the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool without conceding in that time.

It's also worth remembering that prior to Villa's four goals at Sunderland Sherwood's men (or Paul Lambert's if you prefer) had scored only four away league goals all season and they'd registered blanks in their previous six matches on the road.

Recommended Bet
Back Man Utd Win to Nil @ 2.01/1
(best bet)

Swansea 2.01/1 v Hull 4.67/2; The Draw 3.55/2

I fully expected to see Swansea available to back at around 1.84/5 to win this game so being able to back them at even money is extremely acceptable.

True, Garry Monk's men can be a tad inconsistent but their overall ability - as sitting eighth in the table would suggest - is far superior to that of Hull, and when you can beat the likes of Arsenal, Everton, and Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium then you really ought to be strong favourites to beat a side struggling at the bottom end of the table.

Steve Bruce's men have won just two of their last 11 matches, those victories coming against struggling Villa and QPR so there really isn't anything to shout home about regarding their recent form. Basically when they face a decent side, especially away from home, they more times than not end up losing.

The Tigers have scored just once on their travels in their last six away games, that coming at Man City when they probably gave themselves a 'free shot' and played with less pressure than usual. There will be pressure on Bruce's men to get something out of this game and I'm backing them to fail the test.

Recommended Bet
Back Swansea to Win @ 2.01/1

West Brom 1.84/5 v QPR 5.59/2; The Draw 3.814/5

I'll keep this one short and sweet because I see no reason not to back a West Brom Win to Nil here - available to back at the generous price of 3.211/5.

The fact is Tony Pulis has turned the Baggies into a clean sheet machine and on home soil his men have become incredibly difficult to beat. Since Pulis' arrival West Brom have won six of their seven games at the Hawthorns, all victories being achieved without conceding a single goal, the last four of those wins coming against clubs in the top half of the Premier League - a tremendous effort.

Like Leicester and Hull, QPR are in a huge relegation fight and now is the time for them to stand up and be counted. But as I've alluded to already in a different sense, you can't suddenly just start playing well and get results simply because you need to.

The Hoops have been dreadful on the road this term, and although they've been scoring regularly on their travels of late I don't expect Chris Ramsey's men to pull up many trees in this match.

Recommended Bet
Back West Brom Win to Nil @ 3.211/5

You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73

Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 165 pts
Returned: 188.72 pts
P/L: + 23.72 pts

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

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