The Colossus Verdict – Game By Game Tips
By Andy Maynard
There are two massive clashes at the top and bottom of the Premier League on Sunday in this week’s £10,000,000 Colossus jackpot.
First up is the relegation six-pointer between Sunderland and Cardiff at the Stadium of Light, that’s followed by the potential title decider between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield.
You can play with 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 stakes. Here are my selections and the stats to back them up!
Fulham v Hull (Saturday, 3pm)
Fulham’s fight for survival continues this weekend at The Cottage where they face Hull City who, mathematically, can still be relegated.
The Cottagers lost 3-1 at Tottenham on Saturday but luckily for them the five teams above failed to gain maximum points, including Hull.
Fulham are two adrift of safety with just three games to go – two of those matches are at home and they have an easier run-in than the likes of Cardiff and Norwich.
Hull, meanwhile, could still go down although it looks very unlikely as they hold a six point gap between themselves in 14th and Cardiff in 18th with a game in hand as well.
Steve Bruce’s side have lost three of their last four matches including the last two on the road – both of which were by a single goal margin.
Seven of Fulham’s nine victories in the Premier League this season have been by one goal including their last two at home (both 1-0).
Felix Magath’s men will be desperate for three points here whereas Hull have four more matches to secure a point which will probably be enough to secure top flight football for another season.
My selections for this game are 2-1, 2-0 and 1-0 home wins.
2-1, 2-0, 1-0
Man Utd v Norwich (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Ryan Giggs begins his stint as Manchester United interim boss this weekend against Norwich following the sacking of David Moyes on Tuesday morning.
The 40-year-old has been put in temporary charge until the end of the season and it will be interesting to see the reaction from the United players on Saturday.
The Red Devils are still in the hunt for sixth which will see them play Europa League football next season and even though it’s known to cause problems domestically for Premier League teams, anything other than European football would be a disaster given the size of the club.
United have a game in hand over Tottenham who are six points above them in the table and with three home matches left to play against sides all in the bottom half of the table it’s a chance for Giggs to help the team end the season with some consistency.
Their opponents, Norwich, are in freefall having lost their last four games which has left them just two points above the relegation zone.
The Canaries have recently gone through a managerial change of their own after sacking Chris Hughton and bringing in youth coach Neil Adams, but the transition has not created the change in fortunes they would have wanted with Adams losing his first two games in charge.
Their away record against teams in the top half of the table does nothing to inspire confidence either – the Carrow Road outfit have lost seven of their eight games on the road against teams currently in the top 10.
I’m going for 2-0, 3-0 and 3-1 wins for the home side.
2-0, 3-0, 3-1
Sunderland v Cardiff (Sunday, 12pm)
Sunderland and Cardiff meet at the Stadium of Light on Sunday in a massive relegation six-pointer.
The Black Cats are rooted to the foot of the Premier League with 29 points but they have a game in hand over the three clubs above them including Cardiff.
Three points separate Sunderland and Norwich who are 17th – the Bluebirds are in 18th on 30 points.
Neither team will want to give away any points here so expect a tight, nervy game.
Gus Poyet’s men have the worst home record in the division with just three wins all season, while Cardiff have the second worst away record winning just twice on the road.
Both teams are unbeaten in two matches though coming into this fixture with Sunderland becoming the first side to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, while Cardiff could only settle for a point at home to Stoke in their previous game.
Seven of Sunderland’s 10 home league defeats this season have been by a single goal and six of Cardiff’s seven wins in total have been by one goal.
There won’t be much between the two teams here so I’m going for 1-0 and 2-1 wins for either team.
2-1, 1-0, 0-1, 1-2
Liverpool v Chelsea (Sunday, 2.05pm)
Liverpool have the chance to edge closer to the Premier League title on Sunday when they face Chelsea at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ men hold a five-point lead over the Blues with just three games remaining. Man City are a further point behind in third but they have a game in hand over the pair.
If Jose Mourinho’s men were to beat the Reds then it would blow the title race wide open again for the final two matches but anything other than three points and Liverpool will be on the brink of winning their first league title in 24 years.
Chelsea will have to attack and they’ll need to improve upon their recent goalscoring record which has seen them score just once in their last three away matches.
Liverpool are grinding out wins of late with four of their last five victories coming by a single goal.
Five of Chelsea’s six defeats in the league this season have been by one goal as well so with this in mind I’m going for a 2-1 home win as my only selection here.
Crystal Palace v Man City (Sunday, 4.10pm)
With Man City playing after Liverpool and Chelsea this weekend they’ll be hoping to take advantage in their match against Crystal Palace should the Reds slipup.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have a game in hand over the duo above them but just two wins in their last five matches has seen them slip down to third, six points behind leaders Liverpool.
The 2-2 draw with Sunderland could prove to be the crucial turning point in the race for the title but City did bounce back with all three points in the 3-1 win against West Brom which means Brendan Rodgers’ men can’t mathematically win the title this weekend.
They can expect another tough fixture here and although Palace’s five-game winning streak has taken them up to 11th, Tony Pulis will surely not allow any complacency from his players.
Pulis has done a fantastic job of guiding the Eagles to safety since he took over at Selhurst Park and one if the main success factors has been how he’s shored up the defence.
They’ve kept clean sheets in four of their last five matches so I can’t see a rout from the visitors.
Instead I’m going for a battling 1-0 win for City to keep the title race alive… for another week at least.
Villarreal v Barcelona (Sunday, 8pm)
The penultimate game in this week’s Colossus is in Spain where Barcelona, who are in a similar position to Man City chasing the title, face Villarreal.
Barca are four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games remaining but they’ve been uninspiring of late on their travels losing two of their last four by a 1-0 scoreline against teams in the bottom half of the table.
Villarreal tend to keep it tight at home – they’ve only lost three in the league on their patch this term and have conceded more than one goal just once in their last eight at home.
El Submarino Amarillo are seventh in La Liga and have already held Atletico, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao (1st, 3rd and 4th) to 1-1 draws at home this season.
Barca were held to a 0-0 draw on their last visit and have only won by more than a single goal margin once in their last six head-to-heads here.
I’m going for a 1-1 draw as my only selection here.
Arsenal v Newcastle (Monday, 8pm)
The final match on this week’s Colossus comes at the Emirates where Arsenal host Newcastle.
The Gunners are still chasing the final Champions League spot and are currently one point ahead of fifth place Everton.
After just two wins in nine which cost them the title, Arsene Wenger’s men have bounced back with two straight victories as they look to clinch another season in Europe’s elite competition.
It’s worth remembering that Arsenal are stull unbeaten at home since the opening day of the season.
Monday’s opponents Newcastle have been on a terrible run of form losing their last five matches overall including their last three on the road.
Alan Pardew’s men have scored just twice in their last seven games as they’ve slipped down to ninth.
Arsenal have scored nine goals in their last two home games against the Magpies and I can’t see past another easy victory for them here.
I’m going for a 3-1 home win.
Good luck to everyone following.