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iBet: Goals On The Cards In The North London Derby

Gareth Purnell

FA Cup, Nottingham Forest V West Ham, Sun, kick off 12pm
Lay over 3.5 goals

Arsenal v Tottenham, Sun, kick off  5.15pm (ITV)
Back over 2.5 goals at 8/11

Aston Villa V Sheffield United, Sat, kick off 3pm
Lay Aston Villa at 1.5

Sam Allardyce’s men have shipped a few goals lately but if we take away their four games against the current top four, West Ham have conceded only 17 goals in 16 games against top flight opposition. So apart from against top class forwards they know how to keep things tight, as you would have to if you have no forwards. And this looks like another game where defences could rule the roost.

Allardyce is extremely unlikely to go gung ho here, as it’s a potential banana skin. Forest are on a very good run, unbeaten in seven games and having only conceded twice in some 540 minutes of football. In the Championship only Blackburn, QPR and Burnley have a better home defensive record. West Ham are struggling alright, but away from home they have the best defensive record of the bottom eight. You can lay over 3.5 goals at around 3.8 and that looks a bet.

Arsene Wenger is short of strikers but North London derbies always seem to produce goals – indeed there have been 31 goals in the last six games between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at The Emirates. Perhaps just as importantly Tim Sherwood has Spurs playing on the front foot again. His first four league games in charge have seen them score nine times, more than they managed in their previous eight under Andre Villas Boas.

Tottenham are confident on the road having won 12 of 15 and they looked very good indeed against an admittedly powder puff Manchester United side at the weekend. The 3/1 available about an away win will tempt a few given that Arsenal are in the middle of an injury crisis and could play an under strength line-up here.

However, betting comparison site EasyOdds has a best price of 8/11 available about over 2.5 goals and that looks the way to go. Those looking for an upset might consider the game between Sheffield United and Aston Villa. The Midlanders have been awful at home and have only scored seven in their ten games at Villa Park, and only three in their last six.

Paul Lambert is on record as saying he ‘could do without’ the FA Cup as he strives to avoid another battle against relegation. He must be tempted to play a weakened side and if he does Sheffield United have a real chance as Villa have a small and inexperienced squad and very little strength in depth. The Blades had a bad start to their League One campaign but their 2-1 loss at Walsall last time out was their first defeat in nine games. I’m not sure Villa should be ½ to beat anyone given that they have a such a weak midfield which is unable to keep possession of the ball. Villa do have recent form of losing to lower division teams in the cups and in Sheffield, who can be backed at 7/1 to win in 90 minutes, they are playing as team that’s fourth in the League One form table. The home crowd is understandably turning against Villa and Lambert and they could be a speculative low risk lay at 1.5.


Advices

Despite signing a new contract Luis Suarez is 4/6 with William Hill to leave Liverpool in 2014. The bet may effectively be a wager on whether or not they make the top four in the Premier League and thus make it to the Champions League. If they don’t, it does seem very likely he will be off to one of Europe’s giants. Paddy Power makes Real Madrid 4/9 to be his next club with Bayern Munich 6/1 and Barcelona 12/1.

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