Stoke City V Manchester United – Betting Preview

Britannia Stadium – New Year’s Day, Thursday 1st January at 12.45 live on Sky Sports 1

The first game of 2015 sees Louis Van Gaal getting his ‘Stoke on a cold day’ initiation, as he takes his resurgent Manchester United team to face United legend Mark Hughes’s Stoke City.

For the first time this season Stoke managed to register back to back victories in the Premier League and both came with clean sheets, which will no doubt please Mark Hughes who has seen their usually water tight defence, concede too many sloppy goals so far this season.

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While Stoke were winning back to back games, Manchester United were left frustrated by Spurs at White Hart Lane after giving one of their best performances in midfield and defence, it was the free scoring attack which faltered in North London. Although, man of the match Hugo Lloris duly took the credit for keeping the match goalless.

United do remain undefeated, a run which now covers their last nine games since losing the Derby against Manchester City back at the start of November. So, both teams should be confident of taking something from this New Year’s Day encounter at the Britannia.

The historical stats for this match up are very much opposed to the recent stats, which makes it difficult to take a view on this game with 100% confidence. United have a fantastic record against the Potters, with 11 wins from 13 meetings between the two but they only have two away wins so far this season.

Stoke haven’t been as solid at home as in previous years but the only side above them in the table to win at the Britannia so far, was Chelsea a couple of weeks ago. Also, their only Premier League victory over United came at home last season.

Based on this seasons form, it seems a tough ask for Man Utd to take all three points away at an on form Stoke side. Conversely, it would still be a shock to see Mark Hughes’ side beat his former employers and the draw does seem like a touch of value.

Our recommendation is to back Stoke +0.5 at 1.93 because they are capable of claiming their first point of 2015.



Newcastle United V Everton – Betting Preview

St James’ Park – Sunday 28th December at 16:15 live on Sky Sports 1

Newcastle against Everton is a clash of two mid table teams, which according to most of their fans is below par for their lofty expectations but in reality is probably just about right. Although, the difference between the bottom of the top half and those who escape relegation is never really that much. Newcastle currently lie in 10th place but they are only six points ahead of 16th place Queens Park Rangers and should they lose to Everton, the Toffee’s could well be the ones who replace them in the top half of the table.

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These sides have struggled to find any good consistent form so far this season and both have only one win each from their last five Premier League matches. With that in mind, it seems likely that both sides would be happy enough to take a draw on Sunday and try to pick up wins against less talented opponents. Alan Pardew came close to being sacked earlier this season but the board stuck by him and the players repaid him by going on a great run of 6 wins in 8 games. But since the last of those six wins, a hugely impressive 2-1 win against Chelsea, the Magpies have completely fallen apart losing three games in row.

Under Roberto Martinez, Everton have been playing some fast, attacking and attractive football which has resulted in 27 goals scored but also a worryingly high 28 goals conceded. Perhaps even more concerning for the Toffee’s is the fact that they have only scored two or more goals in a game twice in their last nine matches. If they continue to leak goals at the same rate, their season could quickly turn into a relegation battle but they do have the fire power to turn things around and Martinez knows how to fight a relegation battle.

Pardew and his Newcastle team need to get back to winning ways soon or once again the boo boys will be out in force and calling for changes to be made, such is the fickle way football seems to work in this day and age. Their record against Everton is not good, having lost the last three and not won in five against the Toffee’s but their games against Everton have seen plenty of goals so backing Over 2.5 Goals at 2.10 looks a great value bet in this one.

As mentioned earlier a draw would not be bad result for either team based on current form but Newcastle have perhaps been a little unlucky in their previous two defeats and with the backing of the Toon Army behind them, our recommendation is Newcastle 0 (draw no bet) at 2.10.