Premiership football betting tips are given one of the following three ratings:
Banker, large stake, predicted outcome is more than likely.
Likely outcome, medium stake, worth a gamble.
Worth a flutter, small stake, be prudent and stick to matches where you can spot the value.
Below were the predicted outcomes for the midweek fixtures Mon 2nd to Wed 4th January 2006.
|Mon 12:00||West Brom v Aston Villa|
|Only 3 points separate these two in the wrong half of the table and sometimes form goes out of the window for these local derbies. Villa have only won 2 away games and have to go to a West Brom side that have only 1 defeat in their last 6 home games; they have the scalps of Arsenal and more recently Spurs. Villa may have got a draw on Saturday at home to Arsenal but it was against a Gunners side that didn't really compete; West Brom will give them far more food for thought and it's difficult to see them losing and they should continue their good home form.|
|Home Win 1-0|
|Mon 12:45||West Ham v Chelsea|
|West Ham's form has dipped over the Christmas period and the quick succession of games hasn't helped with injuries; unlike Chelsea they don't have the same strength in depth. West Ham have lost their last 3 home games on the bounce and it's unlikely that they can turn over a Chelsea side that have only 1 Premiership defeat this season, conceding only 3 away goals during that time. Cole will be fired up to show Mourinho that he can follow instructions and expect him to inspire Chelsea to another win.|
|Away Win 0-2|
|Mon 3:00||Birmingham v Wigan|
|Birmingham have 4 points from their last 2 home games but looking beyond that, the win against Fulham is their only home win of the current campaign. They did battle well at home against United and managed to come from behind twice to earn a point but they will miss Matthey Upson at the back. Their opponents, Wigan, may have slipped up at home to Blackburn but they should bounce back; for once their work rate was below par but Jewell should pick them up for this one. They already have 5 away wins from 9 games and the Blackburn result should not have dented their confidence. Wigan to give Bruce more problems.|
|Away Win 1-2|
|Bolton v Liverpool|
|Bolton have only a single home defeat this season but their form over the Christmas period has not been quite so convincing with a point away at Sunderland and a defeat at Old Trafford where in recent seasons they have enjoyed a degree of success. They host a Liverpool side who have better recent form than Chelsea and even when West Brom set out with 11 men behind the ball Liverpool still managed to sneak a crucial 1-0 win. If they are to remain as the closest challengers to Chelsea the pressure is on them to win week in week out and they now seem to have the system and players to achieve this i.e. a tight defence and a goal threat up front. Despite their recent success Benitez still looks like he will strengthen his squad during the January transfer window. Liverpool to maintain the pace behind Chelsea.|
|Away Win 0-1|
|Everton v Charlton|
|This is a game between 2 very poor sides and could go either way. If Sunderland's finishing had been better Everton would have suffered another heavy defeat but luck shined on them and they scored a winner in injury time despite being under the cosh for much of the second half. Everton have only 2 home wins this season and are finding it difficult to keep the ball out of the net at their own end and get it into the net at the other end. Charlton have also endured some heavy defeats of late and though they managed to beat the Hammers 2-0 on Saturday the level of the game was poor; only Darren Bent showed some sparkle. Charlton have yet to draw a game on the road and despite their 5 away wins from 8 games, these 2 sides should make hard work of things. A bore draw.|
|Fulham v Sunderland|
|Fulham have an injury crisis at the moment with key players from most positions unavailable; Bouba Diop and Collins could return but are still doubtful. Fulham may be in 15th place but their home form is reasonably good with only 2 defeats and none in the last 5. They face Sunderland who are dead certs to be relegated and are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership with 6 points. To be fair they have injury problems of their own with Bassila now in the treatment room, but they brought back Le Tallec for the game against Everton and he didn't fail to up the level of their performance; their problem is that they fail to take their chances and the Everton defeat could well have damaged their confidence irrecoverably. Fulham to win comfortably.|
|Home Win 2-0|
|Newcastle v Middlesbrough|
|Yet again injuries have hit Souness's side hard with both Owen and Given being added to the injury list and Dyer enuring yet another setback. They lacked ideas at Spurs despite their attacking potential and losing their talisman (Owen) could be a vital blow. Boro have been largely inconsistent this season and cannot be relied on for any result, home or away; they have only 2 away wins and have lost the last 4 successive away games. Though Newcastle have their problems they should be backed with home advantage.|
|Home Win 1-0|
|Mon 7:35||Blackburn v Portsmouth|
|Blackburn have had a great festive period with 2 wins at Boro followed by an emphatic 0-3 win at Wigan. Additionally they have won 5 of their 8 home games and seem to have rediscovered their zest for the competitive aspect of the game. The return of Dickov and Savage's kick up the backside have probably kickstarted this but if they keep playing this way they will be hard to beat. Portsmouth have enjoyed a mini revival at home under Harry Redknapp but there is still a lot of work for him to do; his priority will be to win the home games but away from home they lack confidence and have lost 7 from 10. They are close to getting out of the drop zone but this looks like being another defeat.|
|Home Win 2-0|
|Tues 8:00||Arsenal v Man Utd|
|This fixture is still probably one of the most eagerly awaited of the season but after Wenger's virtual admission that his side are out of the title race and their extremely poor performance at Villa Park, it doesn't seem to have the same appeal. On Saturday almost the whole Arsenal 11 looked way below what should be expected of them; there was no pace, no bite in midfield and no inspiration. Up against a United side who seem to be in fairly potent goal-scoring form, the Arsenal defence will also have to perform much better. Despite these hiccups Arsenal have only lost to Chelsea at home but United do have the best Premiership away form with 7 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat in 10 games. Assuming van Nistelrooy is available he should be fresh after sitting out the win at home to Bolton. Should be a tight affair but United could edge it.|
|Away Win 1-2|
|Wed 8:00||Man City v Tottenham|
|Who would believe it come the New Year that Spurs would be 2 places and 4 points above Arsenal and in a Champions League position; there is obviously still a long way to go but Spurs are starting to defy the recent traditions of having a soft centre. They have only 2 away defeats and travel to a Stuart Pearce inspired City side who have showed some inconsistency of late after good early season form; the one thing to note is that when they get on top of the opposition they usually score a few. City have 5 wins from 10 home games but it isn't quite enough to convince me that they'll win this one; a draw looks favourable.|