Premier League 3pm Kick-Offs: Villa look good value to heap more woe on Baggies

Christian Benteke is looking sharper with every game
Christian Benteke is looking sharper with every game

There are six Premier League games kicking off at the traditional time of 3pm for Mike Norman to get his teeth stuck into on Saturday, and here our man provides brief previews and recommended bets for each one...

"I was amazed to see Villa trading at 3.953/1, as Opta point out they are unbeaten in five league games now, winning their last two, while West Brom have failed to win any of their last five, scoring just once in the process."

Back Aston Villa @ 3.953/1 to beat West Brom

Burnley 5.49/2 v Southampton 1.84/5; The Draw 3.7511/4

It's three defeats on the spin now for Southampton, and while those defeats have come at the hands of good clubs - Man City, Arsenal, and Man Utd - it can sometimes be difficult to break a poor run of form.

It's not as if Arsenal were in sparkling form, while United performed quite badly but still got the win. And before those three defeats Southampton failed to beat a very out of form (at the time) Aston Villa side.

So perhaps the Saints have just gone off the boil slightly, and if that's the case then they are worth opposing at Turf Moor.

Burnley have found some form of late, winning back-to-back Premier League games and drawing another two. True, they lost last week at QPR but Sean Dyche's men have been strong at home in recent weeks, and while I'm not brave enough to back them to win I'm happy to get the draw on my side by laying Southampton at odds-on.

Recommended Bet
Lay Southampton @ 1.814/5

Chelsea 1.192/11 v Hull 20.019/1; The Draw 8.415/2

If ever we're going to get a Chelsea Win to Nil bet landed then surely this is the time.

Regular readers will know that I've recommended this wager a few times already this season - against the likes of Burnley, QPR, and Crystal Palace for example - only for the Blues to concede on their way to winning.

I changed strategy a few weeks ago and yes, you guessed it, Chelsea won to nil three times in four games, recording four clean sheets on the spin. Jose Mourinho's men bounced back from their first defeat of the season by comfortably beating Sporting Lisbon in midweek, and I see them winning just as easily against the Tigers, but hopefully without conceding.

Steve Bruce's men are in poor form; they've gone eight Premier League games without a win while they've scored just two goals in their last seven matches, failing to score against the likes of Burnley and West Brom in that time.

Recommended Bet
Back Chelsea Win to Nil @ 1.75/7

Crystal Palace 2.6813/8 v Stoke 3.02/1; The Draw 3.39/4

Last season it was Aston Villa, this season it's Stoke - the club that provides a perfect example of how difficult it is to be confident about wagering in the Premier League.

Already this term the Potters have lost at home to Aston Villa, Burnley, Leicester, and away to Sunderland, yet quite surprisingly they've won at Manchester City, at Tottenham, and last week they turned over Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium.

If you'd have predicted all of the above at the start of the season you would have received a knock on the door from some men in white coats. But why buck the trend? For whatever reason Mark Hughes' men are performing well against the better sides, but extremely badly against the clubs towards the bottom of the table.

Crystal Palace are 15th in the table but they're in decent form, beating Liverpool at Selhurst Park two home games ago before drawing away at Swansea and Tottenham. Back the Eagles to win.

Recommended Bet
Back Crystal Palace to Win @ 2.6813/8

Leicester 7.613/2 v Man City 1.511/2; The Draw 5.85/1

I'm not sure what's less encouraging, losing games or losing games after you keep taking the lead. At least in the latter situation you're scoring goals even if you can't stop conceding at the other end.

The Foxes have now led in each of their last three Premier League games before conceding eight goals in total and ending up with three defeats. They host in-form Manchester City on Saturday and I have a feeling Leicester's recent trend won't continue - this time they'll just lose without taking the lead.

City are on a high right now, Man City that is, while Nigel Pearson's men are rock bottom of the table having taken just two points from the last 30 available. It's impossible to envisage them getting anything from the visit of Manuel Pellegrini's men.

The Citizens have won six on the spin, including vital Champions League victories over Bayern Munich and Roma. They could welcome back Vincent Kompany, David Silva, and Yaya Toure for the trip to the King Power Stadium, and that spells danger for the home side. Back Pellegrini's men to have this wrapped up by half-time.

Recommended Bet
Back Man City HT/Man City FT @ 2.3411/8

Sunderland 2.8615/8 v West Ham 2.747/4; The Draw 3.45

Gus Poyet could be forgiven for looking at West Ham's attack on Saturday and thinking to himself that's the difference between where his side are in the table and where the Hammers are.

My biggest fear for Sunderland ahead of this season was the Black Cats ability in attack; they have Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham, but seemingly that's it. And even then, those two have scored only six goals between them this term while the rest of the team have chipped in with just six goals between them.

Poyet's men have scored just two goals in their last five matches, and from their last eight games they've failed to find the back of the net five times.

Compare that with the happy Hammers. Sam Allardyce's men are the third highest scorers in the Premier League thanks in large to the efforts of Diafro Sakho (seven league goals). But even Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate, Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll are chipping in with goals (nine between them), while midfielders Stewart Downing and Morgan Amalfitano have scored a few each this term also.

When you're struggling to split two sides sometimes the simple answer is to look at the strengths of each team's attack. West Ham's is far better right now, and while Sunderland have demonstrated some excellent organisation in recent games, if there is to be a winner here then I'd have to go for the away side.

Recommended Bet
Back West Ham to Win @ 2.747/4

West Brom 2.166/5 v Aston Villa 3.953/1; The Draw 3.412/5

I was amazed to see Villa trading at 3.953/1, as Opta point out they are unbeaten in five league games now, winning their last two, while West Brom have failed to win any of their last five, scoring just once in the process.

Admittedly Villa themselves were in dire form not long ago but they look a completely different team now that Christian Benteke is fit and playing regularly, and there's a chance that Ron Vlaar and Fabian Delph could be back in contention for a starting place at the Hawthorns also.

Paul Lambert's men have also got a decent record against the Baggies in these midlands clashes, losing just two of the last 16 Premier League meetings.

A local derby can often produce strange results, but if anything that means these two sides should be more closely matched in the betting. The fact that Villa are almost twice the price of the hosts despite being by far the most in-form side seems just wrong to me and I'm happy to back the away team to make it three straight league wins.

Recommended Bet
Back Aston Villa to Win @ 3.953/1
(best bet)

Premier League 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 76 pts
Returned: 73.05 pts
P/L: - 2.95 pts

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

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