Liam Smith gives his tips on a selection of games from the Premier League, Championship, and Leagues One and Two.
Arsenal v Liverpool – over 2.5 goals
Arsenal have been in fine form in recent weeks, and sit within touching distance of second-placed Manchester City. Liverpool will be looking to bounce back after suffering a disappointing defeat at the hands of an in-form Manchester United team before the break. Both sides will be coming into this game looking to secure their place in the top four, with goals from the likes of Mario Balotelli or Olivier Giroud. With Reds captain Steven Gerrard suspended, I see Liverpool losing the game, but they will not go down without a fight and there’s guaranteed to be goals.
Best odds: 7/10 (bet365).
Swansea v Hull – 3-1 win for Swansea
Swansea are having a successful season under boss Garry Monk, while Hull sit uncomfortably close to the relegation zone, looking nothing like the team they were at this point last season. The hosts are hoping to climb closer to Europa League football, and to finish as high as possible to keep their fans smiling. Although Hull will be fighting for their lives, I believe Swansea are too strong, and will dominate in every department this weekend. The game should be entertaining, but I can’t see the visitors causing much of an upset here.
Best odds: 20/1 (bet365). £20 for every £1 you put on.
Preston v Rochdale – Joe Garner to be first goalscorer
Preston are looking likely to join Bristol City in promotion to the Championship this season, following some very good results in recent weeks. Joe Garner has been a special player this season and is top scorer of League One. Simon Grayson’s men are looking to climb away from third-placed Swindon, but both teams will be up for this game. Rochdale are in some fine form themselves, but Garner should have a little too much for Keith Hill’s hard-working side.
Best odds: 7/2 (Coral).
Fulham v Brentford – Fulham win
Fulham have had a mixed season and are looking to finish as high as possible in order to prepare for a hopefully more successful season next year. Meanwhile, Brentford are still in the hunt for the play-offs, and have one foot in the door already. The hosts appear to have more quality than their opponents, but don’t perform on a regular basis under Kit Symons. However, I believe Fulham will pull off a brilliant performance to take all three points away from a strong Bees team.
Best odds: 2/1 (MatchBox).
Newport v Hartlepool – Hartlepool to win by 2 goals
Ronnie Moore has met with some huge acclaim in recent weeks for overseeing Hartlepool’s great escape from the League Two relegation zone. A few weeks ago, they sat 10 points adrift from safety, but have put together a run of great performances to sit just above Tranmere. Newport are more comfortable in a play-off spot, but they have struggled against lowly rivals in the league this season, so I can see Hartlepool winning to take another step towards survival.
Best odds: 25/1 (BetVictor). You will receive £25 for every £1 you put on.
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