Weekend Football Tips: 24th & 25th April (Carabao Cup Final)
I drew a blank last weekend, but that has come on the back of a number of profitable sets of predictions over the last few weeks, so by the law of averages I suppose I was due a poorer week.
I’m keen to bounce back with this trio of games in the Premier League across Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday’s big Carabao Cup Final at Wembley.
It’s not just the action at Wembley which will be interesting this weekend. We have Liverpool taking on Newcastle at Anfield and there’s a massive London derby at the Millennium Stadium where West Ham welcome Chelsea.
Other games of note include Wolves taking on Burnley at Molineux with the away side seeking a win to keep themselves well clear of the drop zone and Man Utd make the short trip north to take on fierce rivals Leeds in what should be a cracking encounter between the two form teams in the Premier League over the last five games.
Then late on Sunday after the Carabao Cup Final, we have a crucial Midlands derby as Aston Villa take on West Brom with the away side hoping to try and close the gap on the teams above them in their quest to avoid relegation.
It promises to be a very interesting week of action and my tips for it are outlined below.
Football Betting Tips: Saturday 24th April
Few London derby games between these two teams have had as much at stake as this one. A win for either side would give them a huge boost in the race to finish in the top four, as well as inflicting a deep blow on one of their key rivals for that reward.
With the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham also closing in on those top four spots, it is a game neither side can afford to lose but I do think that a look at the data does suggest that it could be a positive time for Chelsea rather than the home side.
The Hammers have struggled this season against the ‘big six’ sides in the main, while Chelsea’s recent form, that disappointing midweek draw with Brighton apart, is pretty good. The visitors were also comfortable winners at Stamford Bridge.
I can see a close game and perhaps the score being 1-1 heading into the last few minutes but I am backing Chelsea to snatch the late win here.
Football Tips: Sunday 25th April
Arguably the two most in form teams in the country will meet at Elland Road this weekend, with Leeds hoping to get payback for their 6-2 mauling at the hands of Manchester United when the two teams met at Old Trafford earlier on in the season.
Scott McTominay scored twice inside the opening three minutes to hand the home side a fabulous start in what was an incredibly open game that featured 43 shots from both sides combined and in truth, the score could have been any number.
Leeds have not changed how they play since that game and it has served them well of late, with that win at Manchester City a real positive for Bielsa’s side. However, they face a United side that are possibly the best counter-attacking team in Europe at the moment and who I think have the quality to earn the result they want here.
Leeds will score I am sure, but I am backing United to get at least a couple, if not more in reply to claim the league double over their rivals.
Carabao Cup Final
A quick look at the history of Spurs v Manchester City in cup competitions does make good reading for Spurs fans. Not only have they knocked City out of the Football League Cup on each of the three previous occasions they have faced them, they also beat City to win the 1981 FA Cup Final.
City have won a couple of FA Cup ties between the teams, but Spurs have definitely had the better of cup fixtures between the two, but they head into this game with Jose Mourinho sacked in the week leading up to the game, Ryan Mason taking over on an interim basis, and with star striker Harry Kane a doubt due to another ankle injury.
City in contrast head into this tie on the back of a vital win away to Aston Villa in the Premier League which leaves them just three wins from securing the title. Pep Guardiola will certainly want to pick up this trophy, especially after Chelsea knocked them out of the FA Cup at the semifinal stage last weekend.
In truth, even with a fully fit Harry Kane, I’d still fancy City to win this trophy. Without Kane, or with him not being fully fit, while I can see Spurs grabbing a goal, my feeling is that City will win this game relatively comfortably by a 3-1 scoreline.
Even with Villa’s relatively poor run of form in recent games, albeit a run that has included games against Manchester City and Liverpool, Dean Smith will be delighted with how his team has performed this season after their struggles last season and he’d have happily accepted mid-table safety at the start of the campaign.
West Brom manager Sam Allardyce hasn’t had the same magical effect he has had on other relegation threatened teams he has taken over. The Baggies have had their moments, a draw at Anfield against Liverpool and a win at Stamford Bridge over 10-man Chelsea being the pick, but they remain well adrift in the relegation zone.
There’s more than local pride at stake in this game therefore and while I think Villa probably have little riding on the outcome of this game, they won’t want to finish the season poorly and lose a fourth game in five. West Brom will try to keep things tight and steal a goal and I can see them doing that.
As such, I think a draw, either 0-0 or 1-1, is the most likely outcome here.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.