Weekend Preview 28/04/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal (Sunday 4.30pm)
Sky Sports 1
Potential salvation awaits Arsenal on Sunday afternoon at White Hart Lane, because they are still in the race for the top four and could put an end to Tottenham’s title challenge with victory at the same time. Coming out of a bruising encounter at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night, Pochettino’s men are now without Dembele and will probably still be missing Rose, which weakens them a fair bit. Arsenal had a similarly tough time against Leicester on the same evening but also got a narrow win, although it also came at a cost with Koscielny picking up a knock to his knee.

With Mustafi already out this would be a significant enough event to move the line, which is already -0.75 in favour of the hosts, pointing to the fact that the market isn’t convinced Arsenal’s captain will recover. For Tottenham this is as much about their psychology as anything, but there does seem to be something a bit different about them in that respect these days. We think a home win would be the perfect miserable end to a miserable league campaign for Wenger’s team, but despite all the signals telling us it will happen, this is still Spurs…

Suggestion: Tottenham Hotspur -0.5 @ 1.89

Spanish Primera Division
Espanyol vs. Barcelona (Saturday 7.45pm)
Sky Sports 2
Barcelona put a cat amongst the pigeons with their win in one of the best Clasicos of recent times last weekend and followed it up with a thumping 7-1 home win over Osasuna in midweek. They have the head-to-head advantage over Real Madrid in the title race, but crucially Zidane’s men still have a game in hand. This all adds up to mean that Enrique has to go out and win all four of his remaining games, starting with the Catalan Derby.

Espanyol are enjoying one of the best campaigns they’ve had in a while under the guidance of Sanchez Flores, but haven’t won this fixture since 2009. Neymar is back for the visitors and the hosts are in relatively good health overall, meaning team news favours Barca but isn’t completely tilted in one direction. Still, a money line of -2 on the handicap is completely understandable and the evens goal line of 3.5 is typically well pitched, though we think that in a derby of this magnitude the opportunity is to back the underdog.

Suggestion: Espanyol +2.25 @ 1.80

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid vs. Valencia (Saturday 3.15pm)
Bet365
The task for Real is even more straightforward than it is for Barcelona: if they take 13 points from the last 15 available then they are champions. However, unlike Barca the capital side also need to balance their Champions League aspirations, with the first leg of their semi-final with Atletico coming up quickly on Tuesday evening. That points to the hosts easing off if in a comfortable position here, which they should be able to get to against a Valencia side who are stranded in mid-table.

Zidane is likely to change things around heavily once again after a thumping 6-2 win at La Coruna using a shadow side, while anything less than three points is completely out of the question. We’re pretty certain Real will win, but the line is even more aggressive than Barcelona’s at -2.5, while the goal line is unsurprisingly up at 4.5. This one is tough.

Suggestion: N/A

English Premier League
Manchester United vs. Swansea City (Sunday 12pm)
BT Sport 1
Mourinho would have been much the happier of the two managers after Thursday’s Manchester Derby, with United coming away with a 0-0 from the Etihad Stadium to stay firmly in the top four race. Even after admitting that winning the Europa League is their priority they have kept an excellent unbeaten run afloat, but a trip to Celta Vigo is on the horizon after this game. Swansea’s task is clear, as even though they won last weekend they are still two points away from safety. They’re at the stage where even a draw is a relatively poor result in the context of the relegation battle, so it should make for a very interesting game. Playing immediately before City, United have to go for the win.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.89 

English Premier League
Middlesbrough vs. Manchester City (Sunday 2.05pm)
No TV
Guardiola’s men are in the potentially awkward position of following their top four rivals and neighbours, but crucially they play before Arsenal and Liverpool so can apply some pressure to others around themselves. They are sure to be hurting after failing to find a way through against United on Thursday night, while Middlesbrough will be on a mini-high after beating local rivals Sunderland on Wednesday evening to keep a small flicker of survival hope burning. We’ll back City to end that rather emphatically this coming Sunday, though, as we haven’t rated Middlesbrough all season and don’t plan on changing now.

Suggestion: Manchester City -1.5 @ 1.84 and Over 3 @ 1.82

Ones to Follow

Italian Serie A
Roma vs. Lazio (Sunday 11.30am)
BT Sport 3
The Rome derby means more to the visitors than the hosts, with Lazio still in pursuit of the third and final Champions League spot in Serie A. Roma look fairly comfortable in second but need to stay professional, while they will be seeking revenge for their Coppa Italia defeat too.

Suggestion: Under 3.25 @ 1.93

Italian Serie A
Internazionale vs. Napoli (Sunday 7.45pm)
BT Sport 2
A couple of months ago this game looked like it could mean so much more at this late stage, but Inter have gone on a horrendous run of five games without a win to fall completely out of contention for the top three. Napoli still have work to do, however.

Suggestion: Napoli DNB @ 1.73

English Championship
Leeds United vs. Norwich City (Saturday 3pm)
No TV
This looks like a must-win game for Leeds, who are three points behind Fulham with an inferior goal difference and only two games left to play. They cannot afford to do anything other than go for it, with the assumption that Fulham will take maximum points at home to Brentford.

Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.96

English Championship
Fulham vs. Brentford (Saturday 3pm)
No TV
Brentford are better at home than when going away, but they are in a pressure-free situation and looking to finish in an excellent eighth place in the table. Fulham, meanwhile, are only recently into the top six and could start to waver now that they are the ones being chased.

Suggestion: Fulham -1 @ 1.81

English Championship
Ipswich Town vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday 3pm)
No TV
McCarthy’s side play their last home game of the season and can still have a big say in the play-off race, with Wednesday currently fifth but still within grasp of Leeds in seventh. We think they have enough about them to get on a draw based on their Newcastle performance.

Suggestion: Ipswich +0.5 @ 1.88

*Odds accurate at time of writing

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