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 weekend fixtures Sat 23rd December 2006.
|Sat 12:45||Fulham v West Ham|
|Oh, what a difference a manager makes! Curbs goes to Upton Park and the playing staff decide to fight for their places; lo and behold, they grind out an invaluable victory at home against the mighty Manchester United. Not only that, but providence chooses that Pardew's most disgruntled disciple, Reo-Coker, grabs the winner. Fate could not have played a bigger hand but can they turn things around away from home in such a short timeframe; the Hammers know anything but straight defeats on the road and as long as Fulham can pull themselves together, the points should be theirs. Fulham have not been as convincing at the Cottage as they were last season but you underestimate them at your downfall, and as tough a fixture as United was at home, this is still an equally tough one on the road. Fulham should just edge it.|
|Home Win 2-1|
|Sat 3:00||Arsenal v Blackburn|
|Who would have thought Arsene Wenger's calm demeanour could have deserted him so many times before the season is even midway; there may be the remotest possibility that things aren't going Wenger's way, but the repercussions should be felt in the dressing room and not on the touchline. Soap box over, but Arsenal still remain undefeated at the Emirates so what's all the fuss about? Wenger is bordering on becoming another tinkerman and he needs to stamp out the excessive confidence; results breed confidence, nothing else! Blackburn pay a visit to the Emirates after an improved awayday at Reading, but Rovers are still in the relegation mix and need some results in the bag! Only 2 wins on the road gives them little hope against Arsenal and if they are to improve they need scorers other than the front two to notch a few. Can't see Blackburn getting anything but Arsenal seem to be shooting themselves in the foot of late, anything could happen!|
|Home Win 2-0|
|Aston Villa v Man Utd|
|Martin O'Neill will be eager to tread in West Ham's shoes after the Hammers put a severe dent in United's away record and title winning aspirations. There's no doubt that United were the better side but too many squandered opportunities, from probably too far out, made it a day for the claret and blue. If only the claret and blue of Villa can replicate Curbishley's first management hand at Upton Park, all will be well amongst the Villa and the Chelsea. The redeeming factor is that Villa endured their 2nd successive home defeat, firstly Man City then Bolton, and though they applied the pressure they failed to register a result. The Villa have performed well for O'Neill but the January transfer window looms large and there will be changes. United have dropped just 5 points on their travels and are unlikely to make the same mistake as they did at Upton Park. The Fergie hairdryer will have been on full blow dry and the Villa are likely to be under the cosh.|
|Away Win 1-2|
|Liverpool v Watford|
|Watford are undoubtedly the spoiling masters of the Premiership but they are finding out that they need just a little bit more than that to survive. Only 2 points in their last 6 away games is just not enough, and whilst they showed endeavour at St James Park they still came away on the wrong end of a result. They're still rock bottom and are likely to remain there come Christmas when their doom will be sealed; a visit to Anfield is never the most generous of places, especially considering Liverpool's current run of home form. Liverpool have only dropped 4 points at home and conceded just 3 goals at Anfield in 9 games; Bellamy is keen to replicate his away form at home and with Benitez closer to his select starting eleven, the Reds could run riot. Boothroyd hasn't much of a hope for this one, and may be more determined to keep the score down rather than demoralise his troops for the rest of the festive season.|
|Home Win 3-0|
|Man City v Bolton|
|There are signs that City's early season home form is starting to wane, especially after their first home defeat against Spurs; a side not renowned for their prowess on the road. To be fair, City are struggling a little this season and have been relying on home form, but with just 8 goals at Eastlands they could find Bolton hard work. The Trotters are flying high in 5th place and are still well in contact with both Arsenal and Liverpool; the Champions League must be high on Sam's agenda and after seeing Spurs walk away from City with 3 points last weekend, he will want his lads to have gone and given their best. This one is unlikely to be pretty and either could snatch it, but a share of the spoils looks to be justified.|
|Middlesbrough v Charlton|
|After Boro's inconsistent showing so far this season, they have the opportunity to make amends at the expense of a Charlton side dithering with the all too real prospects of relegation. Charlton can savour 4 straight defeats on the road, and taking into account the home battering in the League Cup by league two side Wycombe, Les Reed will be a lucky man to still be in place by the time they kick off at the Riverside; Charlton have some serious problems to address, and most could have been resolved by getting the right man in charge in the first place. Boro at least think they have the right man but Southgate is on a huge learning curve and deserves a bit of leeway. Boro are flirting with the relegation candidates but now Viduka is back, they should have enough to send Charlton packing.|
|Home Win 2-0|
|Newcastle v Tottenham|
|Newcastle are slowly getting players back from injury and have done well in the circumstances to improve on their awful start. Prior to a month ago, their form at St James Park had been indifferent but 3 successive home wins in the Premiership has put paid to most thoughts of relegation; they may not be out of the woods yet but any sort of comfort zone is welcome. Despite losing to Chelsea in the Carling Cup by the odd goal, they gave a good account of themselves and forced Chelsea into bringing on their big guns. Spurs travel to the north east this weekend in the hope of following up their first away win of the season at Man City with another at St James Park. Spurs' result at Eastlands was a shock in itself and the thought of them doubling up at Newcastle is almost unthinkable. Although Spurs are improving as the season goes on, they have still lost 5 of 9 Premiership games on the road, scoring just 5 goals. Even Southend proved an immovable object for all of 125 minutes before Defoe's offside winner, and that was at the Lane. An edgy but thoroughly watchable encounter with the home side coming up trumps.|
|Home Win 2-1|
|Portsmouth v Sheffield Utd|
|Oh, where to start with 2 sides that are putting the pundits in their place. Portsmouth are maintaining their early season form and keeping tabs on the European places; now that the cream is starting to rise to the top they need to make sure they are still in the mix towards the end of the season. Pompey have lost just the once at Fratton Park and will need to concentrate for the full 90 minutes against a United side slowly climbing the table and straight off the back of 2 away victories. Warnock is stuffing the critics' words back down their throats and will be keen to continue doing so if the Blades are to avoid the dreaded drop. As admirable as United's performances have been, Fratton Park remains a tough place to go and I suspect Harry's boys will have the final say.|
|Home Win 2-1|
|Reading v Everton|
|Reading's last result at home came as a bit of shock after showing so much early season promise; by all accounts, the Royals were fairly poor in the second half and Blackburn deserved their victory. Reading have won 5 from 9 at the Madjeski but have conceded a massive 11 goals. Coppell's philosophy seems to have been to take the game to the opposition and that's exactly how David Moyes will want it; Everton are perfectly capable of soaking up the pressure and hitting Reading on the counter. The Toffees have just 1 win and 4 draws from their 9 away games but have only taken 2 points from their last six. As long as Andy Johnson can keep his feet, Everton could avoid any penalty controversy, but I'm sure they would welcome any sort of goal whatever the events leading up to it. This one could go either way so fence-sitting looks to be the preferable option.|
|Sat 5:15||Wigan v Chelsea|
|After United's slip up at Upton Park, Chelsea are slowly making up ground on the league leaders and now only 2 points separate them as the Premiership reaches the half way stage. Chelsea have dropped a whopping 8 points on the road this season, being beaten at Boro and Spurs, but on the whole you'd be a fool to bet against them. They travel to Wigan this weekend in search of another maximum against a home side that is slipping in and out of form. Wigan have lost more than they've won at the JJB and are on a run of 3 straight defeats at home, so the omens do not look good when they play host to Chelsea, a side that managed to rest players midweek and still progressed to the Carling Cup semi-final. The Blues will be keen to keep up the pressure on United and could even go top if they win here and United lose at Villa; another 3 points for Chelsea.|
|Away Win 0-2|