Hammers value to sink Swans
Ben Linfoot previews Sunday's matches in the Barclays Premier League and he's siding with Newcastle, West Ham and Spurs.
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The Tyne-Wear derby hasn't been too kind to Newcastle in recent years but that can all change on Sunday. The Magpies have won just one of their last five against Sunderland but their local rivals go into Sunday's game on the back of a terrible start to the season, one point from eight games seeing them sit below even Crystal Palace in the standings. Paolo Di Canio has departed with Gus Poyet drafted in, but his task was underlined in his first game in charge - a 4-0 defeat at Swansea. Newcastle have been inconsistent but the pick of their form is a league above Sunderland's. Their second half display at Goodison and their wins at Villa and Cardiff is away form that will be good enough to take all three points from the Stadium of Light, while their home draw against Liverpool last week, achieved despite playing 50 minutes with 10 men, was highly creditable. The Reds tore apart Sunderland only weeks before struggling to break down 10-man Newcastle and on that form line alone Newcastle look a good bet on Sunday. 13/8 seems fair - Newcastle have scored twice in each of their last six games - and a similar goal return this weekend should be enough to seal the three points.
Verdict: Sunderland 1 Newcastle 3
Sunderland have won just one of their previous 11 Tyne-Wear home derbies against Newcastle in the Barclays Premier League (D5 L5).
Newcastle have scored in all 11 of their previous Barclays Premier League away games versus Sunderland.
There have been five red cards given in the last six Premier League derbies between these two sides.
This fixture finished goalless last season and were Vincent Kompany to play - and at the time of writing he's a possible to return - then the 14/1 about 'no goalscorer' is worth considering. As you would expect from a Jose Mourinho side, things have been tight when Chelsea have faced the better teams this season. It was 0-0 at Manchester United, 1-0 to Everton at Goodison and 1-1 away at Spurs. Few chances and fewer goals. Last year's 0-0 was Rafael Benitez's first game in charge and against a cautious Roberto Mancini outfit the winger-less sides cancelled each other out. However, expect Sunday's clash to be more expansive, as Manuel Pellegrini isn't cut from the same cloth as Mancini when it comes to his approach on the road. City have been scoring plenty, even in defeat, with 31 goals in 12 at an average of 2.6 per game an impressive return. On top of this Chelsea have been conceding - against Norwich and Villa and Cardiff and Basel - which rules out the speculative 'no goalscorer' punt despite reservations this could be tight. There's also Mourinho's unbeaten home league record with Chelsea to consider - 64 and counting - though given 60 of those came in his first stint it's a stat I wouldn't pay too much attention to. Recent form is much more relevant and City have conceded 13 goals this campaign, including nine in their last five matches which explains why both teams to score is 4/7. It's not worth backing, but an indication of where both defences are at and goals are expected here. If forced to I would go against the grain and go under 2.5 at odds-against given both teams would probably settle for a tight draw. But in all honesty, there are better games to have a bet in on Sunday and the big one is one to watch.
Verdict: Chelsea 1 Man City 1
Jose Mourinho is unbeaten in 64 Barclays Premier League home games as manager of Chelsea (W50 D14).
Manchester City have lost as many away games (5) as they have won (5) in the Barclays Premier League in 2013.
Chelsea have scored more goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games this season than any other side (5).
Swansea have lost two and won two on a Sunday when backing up from a Thursday night Europa League game, winning at Palace and West Brom while losing at Spurs and Southampton. This is their first Sunday home game of the season and they are backing up from a Thursday night home game too - albeit one they were unimpressive in following a 1-1 draw with Kuban. There's no solid evidence to suggest Swansea are struggling with their schedule but nonetheless, when the opposition are fresher I think it's a factor worth considering. West Ham have already pounced on a tired Europa League team this season when they beat Tottenham 3-0 at White Hart Lane and at 9/2 they make some appeal despite their inconsistencies. The Hammers have got goals in them and they have been extremely tight on the road, conceding just once in their four away matches so far. With the Michu and Wilfried Bony partnership not quite working for the Swans as yet they have the look of a side who are just struggling to match the fluency they showed last season. Considering all the above and the fact that West Ham are just two points behind Michael Laudrup's side in the standings, it would be reasonable to expect the Hammers would be shorter than 9/2. At that price they are worth chancing.
Verdict: Swansea 1 West Ham 2
Swansea City will be looking to win successive Barclays Premier League games for the first time since December 1 2012.
West Ham have not won back-to-back Barclays Premier League away games since December 2007.
The last three competitive meetings between Swansea and West Ham have seen the home side win whilst keeping a clean sheet.
In Spurs' 14 competitive games this season the bet 'both teams to score', usually an odds-on chance every week, has landed once. Perhaps it is a freak coincidence, but you could also argue there is a valid reason behind the statistic and that reason, in a nutshell, could be that Spurs are very good at not conceding goals. This is partly due to good defending, but mostly due to their domination of possession (in their eight league games so far they have had the ball 59% of the time). Hull have had the ball 41% of the time in their games and these averages are likely to drift further apart following Sunday's clash. Without the ball, Hull haven't been hurting their opposition too much. They've scored just three in their last four and, other than when they won 3-2 at Newcastle, they've scored just the once in their three other away league fixtures. The Tigers lost 2-0 at Chelsea and Manchester City and the league table suggests Spurs' early-season form has been on a par with those two clubs. I would expect a similar scoreline on Sunday as Spurs haven't won a league game by more than two, while Hull haven't been embarrassed by anyone despite a tough run of fixtures. Coral go 11/8 that Spurs win to nil, a bet that has landed during every Spurs win this season (in all competitions), and that price is fair.
Verdict: Spurs 2 Hull 0
Hull City have used fewer players than any other Premier League side in 2013-14 so far (17).
Hull are the only side yet to score the first goal of the game away from home in the Premier League this season.
Tottenham have taken 81 long throws in the Premier League this season; 24 more than any other side.
Andre Villas-Boas - a staunch advocate of a high defensive line - has seen his Tottenham side catch their opponents offside more often than any other Premier League side this season (33).