Something for the weekend

  • By: Matt Briggs
  • Last Updated: April 7 2014, 12:16 BST

Matt Briggs picks out the early value on this weekend's coupon and fancies Stoke to maintain their fine home form.

Mark Hughes' Stoke can claim another home win
Mark Hughes' Stoke can claim another home win

Stoke City v Newcastle United

I'm not quite sure how Newcastle sit in ninth spot in the Premier League and on the evidence of their last few showings they will soon be gobbled up by next weekend's opponents Stoke, who look a real value punt.

The Potters have been solid at home this season with just two defeats from 16 home games and with eight wins you might have expected to see the hosts at the evens mark, so prices around 11/8 is well worth getting stuck into quickly.

They have won four of their last five at home and Arsenal were one of their victims in early March, a month which yielded an impressive 13 points. Chelsea and Manchester United have both been beaten at The Britannia and only Liverpool and Norwich have returned with all three points.

Mark Hughes has introduced a less direct style to his predecessor Tony Pulis and many, including myself, expected him to struggle, but he has managed to produce results with a shorter passing game - much to his credit.

Newcastle meanwhile, have had some horrendous results of late and boss Alan Pardew admitted his men are struggling for goals. They have only scored once in their last five games and their last three games have seen heavy defeats to Everton (3-0), Southampton (4-0) and Manchester United (4-0).

Striker Loic Remy has been a big miss for Pardew and they will be hoping he returns in time to face the Potters, but Stoke still look an attractive proposition at odds against on home soil.

Walsall v Bristol City

Walsall have only won seven of their 20 home games and odds-against about the hosts looks short against upwardly-mobile Bristol City.

City can be backed at 11/4 and with recent away wins at Orient and Peterborough on their record Steve Cotterill's men are worth chancing at The Bescot. Cotterill has turned things around and with just one defeat - away at Rotherham - in their last eight games they look on course to avoid the drop.

That looked unlikely a couple of months ago, but new boss Cotterill has got the Robins playing with confidence and the arrivals of Wade Elliott and Martin Paterson have added some Championship class. With that in mind they are more than capable of upsetting a Walsall side whose play-off dream is fading.

The Saddlers have won only two of their last eight home games and if Peterborough win in midweek the gap to the final play-off place will be eight points with just five games to go. That distance would be too far to bridge and the visitors' need for points might well be greater. A City win would see them reach the 50-point barrier and another giant step towards League One safety.

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