Reds set for pain at the Lane

  • By: Ben Coley and Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: December 15 2013, 15:18 GMT

Our Ben Coley and Andy Schooler have teamed up to preview Sunday's three matches in the Premier League from a betting perspective.

Sandro: Impressive in the Tottenham midfield of late
Sandro: Impressive in the Tottenham midfield of late

Andy fancies Tottenham against a Liverpool side yet to convince away from Anfield.

Meanwhile, Ben is convinced Norwich are a big price to see off Swansea, while he's also keen on opposing out-of-sorts Manchester United.

Here's their match-by-match guide to the day's action:

Aston Villa v Manchester United (1330 GMT)

Manchester United bid to avoid a third consecutive Premier League defeat after first Everton then Newcastle deservedly took all three points from their trips to Old Trafford. United have lost three in a row before, but not since 2001 in the Premier League and only three times in the competition's history. In United's favour is an exceptional record at Villa Park, but they had similar records at home to Newcastle and Everton and it's quite obvious that as far as this particular team goes, history isn't worth a great deal in the here and now. That being said, the nature of this sport is that both the bog standard and the brilliant are overplayed and we shouldn't forget that, prior to those defeats, United had gone 12 unbeaten. Perhaps they'll enjoy playing away from Old Trafford, where the atmosphere is tense; they've only lost twice on the road compared to three times on home soil. If that's the case then they may well take advantage of an Aston Villa side who were beaten by Fulham last week and are without the rapidly improving Fabian Delph in midfield. However, to me the hosts look overpriced at 4/1 and should be backed, albeit to small stakes. Villa are notoriously difficult to predict but that shouldn't worry us when taking these sorts of prices, especially as they've already upset the odds against both Manchester City and Arsenal. Throw in a somewhat unfortunate 2-1 defeat at Chelsea and a 3-2 win at Southampton and it seems that Paul Lambert's side have really upped the ante when faced with a seemingly difficult task. United can take some comfort from their midweek Champions League victory but they still looked unconvincing and they were arguably fortunate to get draws at both Cardiff and Tottenham before their home struggles. At the prices this is a simple decision.

Verdict: Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 1 (BC)

Opta stats:

Aston Villa are the only team in the league this season to have not dropped any points from a match in which they have been leading.

Wayne Rooney has scored eight goals in his last 10 Barclays Premier League games against Villa, but they have all come in braces.

If United lose this match it would be just the fourth time in the Premier League where have lost three in a row (Nov 1996, May 2001 & Dec 2001).

Norwich v Swansea (1330)

It's hard to know how much of an impact Swansea's European adventures have had on their Premier League form. Clearly, they've so far failed to match last season's heights but while they have lost a couple of games which came after a Europa League fixture, those were at the hands of Manchester City and Southampton and both away from home. It's important to note that they've also won at Crystal Palace and it's perhaps that result which is the more relevant on the back of their midweek defeat to St Gallen. That being said, Swansea did endure something of a nightmare journey to Switzerland and could remain without Michel Vorm and, crucially, Leon Britton for this trip to Carrow Road. Norwich have come under some criticism lately but mostly for rolling over when faced with a top-grade side. Heavy defeats to Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United threatened to heap pressure on Chris Hughton, but they've generally been competitive at a realistic level. That includes last week's 2-0 win at West Brom as well as victories over admittedly poor Crystal Palace and West Ham sides, results which help to make the case for them being decent value at 15/8 here. Norwich can boast three wins and a draw from four Premier League meetings with Swansea, a record few sides can match, and with the visitors not at their best, hit by injuries and beaten in midweek I make Norwich marginal favourites. The layers don't, so there's the bet. Those looking for extra ammunition could do worse than 7/2 about Gary Hooper scoring Norwich's first goal - he's done so in three of his last four starts - while Leroy Fer increasingly looks a threat and can be backed at near 5/1 to score at any time. For me, though, Norwich make a great deal of appeal. My decision has to be made now but for those wanting a further edge, wait until the team news and go in with a decent bet if Britton does miss out.

Verdict: Norwich 2 Swansea 0 (BC)

Opta stats:

Gary Hooper has scored in each of Norwich's last two Premier League home games.

Norwich are looking to win three successive Premier League home games for the first time since five in a row last season, a run that ended on December 15 (exactly one year ago).

Swansea forward Michu scored three goals in two games against Norwich last season.

Tottenham v Liverpool (1600)

Liverpool may sit second in the table prior to the weekend but it's no thanks to their away form which has brought just two wins from seven games thus far. Only Sunderland and Aston Villa have been beaten on the road with no win yet over a top-10 side away from Anfield. In fact, of the current top 10, only Machester Untied have been beaten (home or away) and I'm not the only one who would suggest that's not the achievement it once was. Last time out on their travels, Brendan Rodgers' side lost 3-1 at Hull and since then they've lost Steven Gerrard to injury. He joins Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines - both will be sorely missed. Of course, they do still have Luis Suarez and after a run of 15 goals in 10 games, I wouldn't put anyone off backing him at odds-against. He's also 6/1 to bag two - something he's managed in five of the seven matches in which he's found the target. However, given the Reds' suspect away form, it's Spurs I am keen on here. They've shown more attacking promise in recent weeks and were certainly prepared to go toe-to-toe here against Manchester United a few weeks ago. If they do the same against a Liverpool side which has struggled defensively in away games - they've kept just one away clean sheet and that came back in August - it can reap dividends. Andre Villas-Boas will hope Roberto Soldado's midweek hat-trick will kick-start his career in England and while he's not a certain starter, he'll be a better option for his treble. It is in midfield where I like Spurs the most. They can take full advantage of the absence of Gerrard by dominating this area. Sandro is showing what a big miss he was last season, while Mousa Dembele is also impressing. There are plenty of other options, from Andros Townsend out wide to Christian Eriksen's pass-picking in the centre. Everton got the better of Liverpool in the middle of the park last month and Hull also got into them at the KC. Spurs have also dominated this fixture in recent years - winning the last six against Liverpool at the Lane - so my only decision is whether to back Spurs to win at 6/4 or use the safety net of draw no bet and get 5/6. I'll go with the latter.

Verdict: Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1 (AS)

Opta stats:

Tottenham have won the last six matches in all competitions when Liverpool have visited White Hart Lane.

Liverpool have fired in more shots on target than any other team in the top flight this season (97).

Spurs have only once had more points after 15 games of a Premier League season than they have this season (27 - most was 34 in 2011-12).

  • The matches at Aston Villa and Tottenham are being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.

  • Posted at 1250 GMT on 13/12/2013.

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