Weekend Top Bet Tips (1st & 2nd April)
The International Break is over, and the last stretch of the season begins this weekend. Manchester City and Liverpool will lock horns at the Etihad in a must-win game for both sides while Chelsea welcomes a very resilient Aston Villa side to the Stamford bridge. We talk about these and more but, before that, you can head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have.
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Manchester City v Liverpool
The international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Liverpool, and for Manchester City, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. A pair of 1–0 losses for Jürgen Klopp’s side saw them knocked out of the Champions League while also halting their surge up the Premier League table. Meanwhile, for Manchester City, 7-0 and 6–0 wins in the Champions League and FA Cup had them looking as dangerous as they’ve ever been under Pep Guardiola. Liverpool will hope the break would have enabled them to shake off the poor form, while for City, they’ll hope the break wasn’t a momentum killer.
The Cityzens have enjoyed a good record at home against Liverpool in the Premier League. The 4-1 loss in 2015 while Manuel Pellegrini was still in charge is their only home loss to Liverpool in 13 games (W7, D5). This time, Pep Guardiola knows they cannot afford to drop points given Arsenal’s impeccable form. Though Man City have played a game less than the Gunners, they trail the North Londoners by 8 points, and anything besides a win could see that margin grow to double figures. Man City haven’t won four league games in a row this season – a hurdle they must get over this weekend. Their inability to string together over three wins in the league is a reason they’ve found it tough to keep up with Arsenal, but in Erling Haaland, they believe they have the man to turn things around. Haaland scored eight goals in the aforementioned pair of wins right before the break. The Norwegian had taken his season tally to 42 goals – a new Man City record – but he missed both EURO qualifiers with a groin injury. We expect him to be fit enough for this game and to be a handful for the Reds.
Jürgen Klopp’s side comes into this game as heavy underdogs. Though they unleashed their fiery attack on Manchester United about three weeks ago, they’ve failed to score in two games now. In their previous three meetings so far this season, the Reds have won two, but they lost the EFL Round of 16 tie on this ground in December. Having won the first league game between them (at Anfield), they’ll be looking to complete a league double over Man City for only the second time in 17 seasons, previously doing so in Klopp’s debut season back in 2015/16. Liverpool’s answer to Erling Haaland will undoubtedly be Mo Salah. The Egyptian forward has scored 10 goals against Man City since joining the Reds in 2018 and has already scored against them in each of their three meetings this season. Two goals against Malawi in the AFCON qualifiers over the break must have done his confidence a lot of good as they head to what should be the game of the weekend.
Manchester City Form: W-W-W-W-W
Liverpool Form: D-W-W-L-L
Liverpool’s struggles away from home is, perhaps, the biggest worry in what has been a poor season by their standard. They’ve picked up just 12 points in 13 league games on the road, compared to 30 at Anfield. The 18-point difference between home and away games is the biggest margin in the Premier League this season.
- King’s Combo: Manchester City to win, Over 2.5 goals & Both Teams to score @3.10
- King’s Combo: Haaland to score & Man City to win @2.30
- Over 9.5 corners @1.82
Chelsea v Aston Villa
A clash between the 10th and 11th teams in the league wouldn’t ordinarily promise much, but this is the Premier League and this tie could have a few twists in store for us. Since Unai Emery took over the Aston Villa job in early November, there has been a lot of changes in the club which could see them have a strong finish to their league campaign. Since being named manager, only Arsenal (38), Manchester City (32), Manchester United (27) and Brentford (27) have picked up more Premier League points than Aston Villa (26). Perhaps more impressively, is the fact that Aston Villa have scored in each of their 16 games since Emery took over. One of the key factors to this fine run is English center-forward, Ollie Watkins. After a slow start in the first half of the season, the 27-year-old has been exceptional since the World Cup, especially in recent weeks when his 6 goals and 1 assist in his last 8 league appearances has the Villans dreaming of a European finish.
Graham Potter’s reverted to old habits in their draw against Everton following a string of positives results and the fans understandably voiced their frustration after the final whistle. Twice the Blues went ahead and twice they let Everton come back. The game saw their hopes for a European spot take a further hit and the club knows well that anything but 3 points this weekend could end that dream. Though their last game produced 4 goals, Stamford Bridge has featured a league-low 26 goals this season, and we could be in for our usual low-scoring affair, so, it is advisable we lean towards the under on goals scored.
Chelsea Form: L-W-W-W-D
Aston Villa Form: L-W-W-D-W
Aston Villa’s 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge back in 2011 is their only league win against the Blues in their last 17 attempts (D4, L12). Since that victory, they’ve lost 6 of their next 7 on that ground.
- Under 3.5 goals @1.34
- Aston Villa to score @1.57
- King’s Combo: Havertz and Watkins to both score @9.60
Elche v Barcelona
Barcelona’s very late win in El Clásico saw them open up a 12-point lead in LaLiga, and with 12 games to go, the league title is almost certain to return to Camp Nou for the first time since the 2018/19 season. This weekend, they’ll travel to the Manuel Martinez Valero stadium to face bottom of the table Elche, a team who are 14 points off safety and who are certain to be relegated in May, just as Barcelona are certain to win the league title.
Elche haven’t beaten Barcelona in 20 league meetings (D4, L16) and have lost each of their last 7 meetings to the Catalan giants. Though they’ve picked up 4 points from a possible 9 in their last 3 league games – a vast improvement on the 5 picked up in their previous 12 games – it’s hard to see them causing an upset. They’ve scored the fewest number of goals in the league (19 in 26 games) and conceded the most (51), whereas Barcelona have scored the second-most (49) and conceded the fewest (9) – a historic low at this stage of the season for a Spanish top-tier team. Although a midweek game in the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid may see Xavi Hernández rest a few key players, Barcelona are likely to have enough quality to see off Elche.
Elche Form: L-L-W-D-L
Barcelona Form: L-W-W-W-W
Barcelona have won 11 of their last 13 away LaLiga games (L2) this season and have failed to score in just one of them. Their last draw away from home in the league came almost a year ago – a goalless draw at Getafe at the end of last season. It is also worth noting that Elche have a knack for picking up bookings this season. Three of their players (Gonzalo Verdu, Jose Angel Carmona and Pedro and Bigas) have each received 2 red cards while Gerard Gumbau and Jose Angel Carmona have each received 9 yellow cards.
- King’s Combo: Lewandowski to score & Barcelona to win @1.85
- Over 2.5 goals @1.67
- Barcelona to score two in a row (yes) @1.55
- Over 3.5 bookings for Elche @2.77
Real Madrid v Real Valladolid
With the league title all but mathematically out of his reach, and with a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of the Copa del Rey, there’s a high chance of Carlo Ancelotti fielding a slightly weaker lineup in this game, as he prioritizes the midweek fixture against Barcelona. While this would ordinarily be good news for any side visiting the Santiago Bernabéu, relegation-battling Valladolid don’t have enough quality to take advantage of this. Their 14 league losses this season and -18 goal difference are the second-worst, only behind bottom-of-the-table Elche. Their attack, which has produced just 20 goals in 26 games, is also the second-worst after Elche, something we find it hard to associate with a team owned by De Lima Ronaldo, arguably the greatest striker the beautiful game has ever seen.
Real Madrid has found it easy to find the back of the net against Valladolid at the Bernabéu. They’ve only failed to score once in their 45 home games against the visitors and have scored 113 goals in that stretch, an average of 2.5 goals per game. Though Valladolid looked decent just before the break, with them picking up 4 points from 4 away games – an improvement on 4 points in 11 away games before that – Real Madrid’s superior head-to-head record in this tie should be more than enough to see them through.
Real Madrid Form: L-D-W-W-L
Real Valladolid Form: L-L-W-D-L
Real Valladolid have not won an away LaLiga game at Real Madrid since May 2000 – almost 23 years ago. Since then, they’ve lost 10 and drawn 2 of their 12 meetings.
Newcastle United v Manchester United
The Red Devils travel to St. James Park to face Newcastle for the 3rd time this season, but this time, they’ll have to do so without star midfielder Casemiro, who is serving the 2nd of a 4-game suspension. Erik ten Hag’s side looked jaded the last time they played (in the FA Cup) and they needed an epic meltdown by opponents, Fulham to seal a win. The international break couldn’t have come at a better time for them; Marcus Rashford, Fred, Varane, Wan-Bissaka and David de Gea got much needed rest, while Luke Shaw, who was sent off against Italy, also got time off against Ukraine. The most positive news for United, however, were the potential replacements for Casemiro who covered themselves in glory. Marcel Sabitzer grabbed a brace and an assist in Austria’s 4-1 win over Azerbaijan while Scott McTominay grabbed a pair of braces of his own in the 3-0 and 2–0 wins over Cyprus and Spain, respectively. Having failed to score in their last two Premier League games, this will be a huge positive for Erik ten Hag to see his players finding their form in front of goal which should reduce Marcus Rashford’s workload.
For Newcastle, they finally seemed to have found their rhythm after a shaky start to 2023, thanks to record signing Alexander Isak finding his scoring boot. Since the New Year, Eddie Howe’s side have picked up the 12th most points in the league – a huge drop from the first half of the season when they picked up the 3rd most points (33), only behind Arsenal (40) and Man City (35). With Miguel Almiron’s goals drying up and injuries to a few key midfielders, the Magpies suffered a dip in form but Isak’s 3 goals in two wins over Wolves and Nottingham Forest has seen them steady the ship. Against a Manchester United side against whom they have lost the most Premier League game at home (14), they’ll need to be in top form to get anything.
Newcastle United Form: L-L-L-W-W
Manchester United Form: L-W-D-W-W
Though the last two Premier League meetings between these two sides have ended in a draw, the Magpies are without a league win against Manchester United in 6 games (D2, L4). The Magpies have also developed a knack for scoring late goals with their last 3 league wins featuring goals in the 89th, 79th and 90th minutes – something worth monitoring.
- Double Chance: Man Utd to win or draw @1.53
- Both teams to score @1.69
- Over 9.5 corners @1.58
- Highest Scoring Half for Newcastle (2nd Half) @2.57
PSG v Lyon
Both of PSG’s superstars in attack couldn’t have wished for a better international break. Kylian Mbappé began his tenure as captain of the French team with 2 goals and 2 wins in the EURO Qualifiers while Lionel Messi’s 4 goals in two games (which included a first half hat-trick against Curaçao) saw him cross the 100-goal mark in international football making him only the third player to do so after Ali Daei and Cristiano Ronaldo. Back to PSG, they will have to figure out a way to maintain the grip on the Ligue 1 title and avoid what would be an epic collapse.
The reigning French Champions have lost just once in their last 14 home league games to Lyon (W11, D2) and are favorites for this clash but their multiple injuries (which has been felt by their defense the most) raises some concerns. In their 2-0 loss to Rennes just before the break, their 3-man back line comprised Juan Bernat (a back-up left back), Danilo Pereira (a midfielder) and 17-year-old El Chadaille Bitshiabu. With none of their senior center backs expected to be back for this clash, PSG could be forced to field a very weak defense line once again and Lyon could capitalize on that. PSG have also lost 4 of their 12 Ligue 1 matches since the World Cup break, more than the entire 2022 calendar year when they lost just thrice in 35 games.
Lyon have struggled to turn draws into wins this season and this is one reason why they’re stuck in mid-table with 10 games to go. While they’ve lost just once in 9 league games, they’ve drawn 4 of those including each of their last 3 games. Their one silver lining in what has been a poor season is veteran striker, Alexandre Lacazette. The 31-year-old has 17 league goals this season and has only been outscored by Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappé, both of whom have 19 goals. Against what we expect to be a makeshift PSG defense, manager Laurent Blanc will hope for a “smash and grab” win just like Rennes did 2 weeks ago.
PSG Form: W-W-L-W-L
Lyon Form: W-W-D-D-D
PSG have won 10 of their last 15 Ligue 1 matches against Lyon (D1, L4), averaging 2.1 goals per game in that stretch (32 goals). At home, they’ve lost just once in 14 games to Lyon in the league (W11, D2) – a 0-1 loss in December 2020.
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