Off the back of a perfect weekend last time out, there are only 4 Premier League games over Saturday and Sunday this time round, with the remaining 6 taking place during the week. I will post those tips on Monday.
Here are this week’s Premiership Tips:
Wigan Athletic vs West Bromwich Albion
Manchester United ended West Brom’s Premier League best 3-game winning streak last weekend, but Roy Hodgson’s side have every reason to remain confident in their trip to the DW Stadium on Saturday.
West Brom go into this fixture with just that defeat at Old Trafford as their only loss in their last four away games as only United and Manchester City have taken more points on their travels than West Brom through 28 games of the season.
Despite only keeping 1 clean sheet in their away games this season, West Brom’s defence has been relatively stern. Tottenham, Stoke, Fulham and Wolves were held to just 1 goal in recent weeks, and facing a strike force of Hugo Rodallega (2 goals) and Victor Moses (3 goals) should give the Baggies defence belief they can record another clean sheet this weekend.
Peter Odemwingie is a doubt with a calf injury heading into this match, as he was against Manchester United last weekend when he played 90 minutes. The Nigerian has 9 Premier Leauge goals so far this season; 6 of those coming on the road. Hodgson can also turn to Shane Long, who has 6 league goals in his debut season at the Hawthorns, although hasn’t played 90 minutes in the Premier League since New Year’s day. Marc-Antoine Fortune has been Odemwingie’s strike partner in 2012, with the front man’s ability to hold up the ball and bring team mates into play being his strength.
Wigan have looked shaky at the back all season and lack much fire power going forward. This goes some way to explaining why they are bottom of the Premier League heading into this week’s fixtures. A victory would guarantee they remain outside the relegation zone come end of play on Saturday, but a victory I do not see coming.
Wolves vs Manchester United
The Premier League is the only trophy Sir Alex Ferguson can add to his cabinet in 2012 following Manchester United’s exit from the Europa League on Thursday night. Outplayed in both legs by Athletic Club of Bilbao, the Red Devils don’t need to fear Wolves attempting to pass the ball around them on Sunday.
Manchester United have won 7 of their last 8 in the Premier League which sees them lead the title race by 1 point heading into this week’s fixtures. A victory would leave Manchester City 4 points behind before they host Chelsea on Wednesday night; surely only adding more pressure to Roberto Mancini’s side who were dumped out of the same European competition by Sporting Club minutes ago.
It would be fair to say Wolves have shown little or no fight under Terry Connor in their last two games which have seen their side on the wrong end of a 5-0 thumping at Fulham before being booed off at the end of both halves in a 2-0 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
It’s 14 goals shipped in their last 4 games for a side who decided to sack Mick McCarthy and replace him with his inexperienced assistant. Probably not the best time for Terry Connor to be facing an in-form Manchester United side.
Wayne Rooney scored all 3 of Manchester United’s goals in their 5-3 Europa League defeat and the England star has 7 in his last 4 Premier League games. No surprise to see that he is odds-on favourite to score anytime in this match.
Whether it be Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck or Dimitar Berbatov who start up front for this game, we are expecting goals from the visitors against a shaky Wolves defence. The home side have put little pressure on the ball this season, which if they do so on Sunday will please the likes of Nani and Ashley Young who are also set to be a threat.
Wolves pulled off one of the shocks of the season when they won this fixture 2-1 under McCarthy last season. There’s no chance of that happening on Sunday. Manchester United will end the day 4 points clear of the Premier League.