Don't be fooled by Swansea change
Dale Tempest considers how managerial change will affect Swansea and picks out his best Premier League bets.
- Related Content
Former professional footballer Dale Tempest has turned bookie - he's now Sky Bet's public relations director.
A 16-year career saw him play for the likes of Fulham, Huddersfield and Colchester so he knows exactly how the game is played and these days he's very much got his finger on the pulse of the markets as both a punter and a bookie.
His regular Friday column explores the mindset of players and bookies and highlights the best bets for the weekend's action. Here's his take on this weekend's Premier League action with Swansea's managerial change failing to convince him.
Fans are always of the opinion that a change of manager is what's needed when things go wrong but the cold facts over the years suggest things don't change.
This season it's been a mixed bag. At Sunderland and Crystal Palace a change of manager was the best thing you could do and results have improved accordingly. But if you are a Fulham or Cardiff fan you'd have to say the jury is still out and at West Brom it's a similar situation.
Swansea, where Garry Monk has replaced Michael Laudrup, is a fascinating situation. Their home performances started going bad after winning the League Cup last season and more recently they've had just one win in 10 and that came via two deflected goals against Fulham. They've become a team who have forgotten that the game is decided not by how much possession but by scoring some goals.
You often hear the theory that players want to impress a new manager but my experience as a player was that players carry on. Good managers buy players who run the dressing room. Alex Ferguson was brilliant at doing that. They are the personalities. Where these don't exist - and the problem is there aren't many around - you often get cliques; foreign players, local players etc. There's been plenty of talk about that at Swansea.
It's not been a problem at Palace, it would seem. Tony Pulis has been a genius in getting the players working together. They still have the weakest squad in the Premier League by a long, long way on paper, but they've had 11 committed individuals buying into his ideas and when you get that you will get good results. They were about 1/20 to get relegated at one stage. Now they could well survive.
This weekend Swansea face Cardiff and, given what I've said, I feel they are way too short at 8/11.
Indeed, many of the home teams look too skinny to me this weekend. I couldn't back Villa against West Ham at 21/20 with their home record. Similarly Palace are too short at 6/4 for a team that doesn't score enough goals.
Sunderland may be in form but again look way too short once again up against a competitive Hull side. Even Tottenham at 11/10 v Everton look the wrong price.
So what to back? I do like Southampton at home against Stoke. The Potters are the worst away team in the Premier League and Saints, now with all their main stars back from injury and the troublesome Dani Osvaldo packed off to Juventus, look a team to follow between now and the end of the season. I'll happily back them on the handicaps to win by more than one goal.
Looking at the prices for Saturday's early kick-off you wouldn't think Arsenal are eight points clear of Liverpool, have not been beaten in six trips to Anfield and have lost just once in their 13 meetings against the Reds. You can argue that this is the best Gunners side for many years and at the prices you have to have a bet on them. Liverpool's home form has been brilliant this year but Arsenal have shown a maturity in games against the other top teams and I really don't see them losing the game. For the ambitious, the Gunners at 13/2 to win to nil is worth considering. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have started 11 games together this season and Arsenal are the only team to stop them scoring.
Newcastle's problems go from bad to worse with Cheick Tiote now picking up a hamstring injury. They have only lost one of their last four trips to Stamford Bridge but Chelsea look one of the bankers of the weekend to me. One word of caution is that Chelsea are rubbish at covering big handicaps. They tend to do enough in games and no more. I'm more interested in Chelsea to win to nil at 5/6. They've only conceded one in their last six games, while the Toon have failed to score in five of their last six.