Archive for May, 2013

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Watford can consider themselves lucky to be playing the final against Crystal Palace, after barely qualifying in a highly contested double legged semifinals. Leicester won the second leg by 1-0, but the goals scored by Watford in the first leg in the seventh minute of overtime proved decisive. If they are to book a place for the Premier League, they will need to close the gaps existing in the defense, something easier said than done with three key players missing due to injuries.


Crystal Palace has just one player unfit to play, but replacing Glenn Murray is a tall order for a team who grew to depend on this striker. He is the top scorer and although coach Ian Holloway will send three strikers upfront, none of them has the same uncanny ability of scoring from impossible situations. In other news, Crystal Palace is an excellent defensive team and every goal they score weighs heavily in the balance as they are experts at preserving even the slightest advantage.

The head to head record suggests that the two teams are evenly matched, with both of them winning most points in front of their fans. The recent games were all high-scoring ones, with the most convincing victory for Crystal Palace being a 4-0 triumph in February 2012. They drew 5 of the last 10 games and ever since Glenn Murray was sidelined their offensive struggled to score, adding pressure on the defense.

By contrast, Watford is a more flamboyant team who appears to be more concerned about scoring one more goal than their opponents. Just one of the last 10 games ended in a draw but they had a hard time in keeping a clean sheet even in those matches that they’ve eventually won. The 3-5-2 ┬ástarting formation shouldn’t deceive punters, because despite the appearances, Watford will be the more aggressive team.

Several teams in the Championship division kept their dreams of promoting to the Premier League alive until the very last month, but only Crystal Palace and Watford are still in the race now. Leeds and Blackpool were among the favorites but they fell flat weeks ago, soon after the decisive match previewed at

Punters should realize that the value is with Crystal Palace tonight, and if they want to make this championship final more interesting, it is worth backing them. Given the fact that they are prone to push games into overtime and fancy the idea of a draw, the wisest bet would be the Moneyline wager or the Lift the Trophy bet at odds of 2.20 with most bookmakers.

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Someone unfamiliar with British football might think that this fixture between Liverpool and Everton is one not worth the attention. Some would go as far as to predict an easy win for the visitors, because technical analysis would suggest that they are the only ones who have something to fight for. They are only three points behind Tottenham, so they could theoretically lose their Europa League placement.


The remaining rounds are particularly difficult for Chelsea, not to mention they are involved in a battle on two fronts. Winning Europa League one year after capturing the Champions League trophy would be a remarkable performance and will somehow make it easier to accept the fact that they haven’t won the Premier League in years. Liverpool drew three consecutive games then won by 6 goals to none at, and this could be another argument for those eager to dismiss the hosts and back the visitors all the way.

While all of these are solid reasons, there are plenty of counter arguments and given the fact that the odds are firmly above evens there is also value in backing the hosts. Liverpool might be eight points behind Tottenham and have a snowflake’s chance in hell of clawing its way to the fifth-place, but the Reds will never give up. They’ve achieved more impressive things than that and unlike their opponents they will encounter less motivated and competitive opponents in the five rounds left.

The head to head record is impressive on many levels, as the two teams met 178 times in a century of rich history and Liverpool prevailed 70 times at home. The rivalry is every bit as strong as it was 100 years ago and the hosts will have all of their fans behind them during this highly emotional game. They will be playing against their city rivals and the hosts will not cut them any slack. There is no better way for football enthusiasts to end the weekend than by watching some of the best English teams in action, regardless of whom they choose to bet on to win the game.