Everton, Spurs and Saints make a tempting 11/2 treble
Roberto Martinez’s affirmation is gradually materialising. A secret that has been kept all season, yet brought to light recently by chairman Bill Kenwright in a press conference.
“Tell them what you told me” Kenwright said, turning to Martinez.
The following statement was barely audible, filled with humility and almost sheepish. Almost.
“I said I could get you Champions League football.”
Currently 11/8 to finish in the top four with Coral, it seems Martinez is starting to make a believer out of everyone.
Everton travel to Sunderland with an air and a deserved swagger of a team that steamrollered Arsenal in their last match, despite a touch of schadenfreude. Mikel Arteta’s own goal against his former club threw Toffees fans into raptures. This is now a side with a ruthless streak.
Romelu Lukaku, will be key to victory as always. He also scored against the Gunners, and has 14 goals this term. The Belgian is 5/1 with Coral to net first.
Perhaps quite generous. Scoring is now a way of life at Everton, and Lukaku is the main protagonist. Martinez’s style is swashbuckling, befitting his Catalonian roots, and sense of responsibility for elegant football. The Black Cats, by contrast are a team clawing ferociously on the relegation trapdoor as they battle for Premier League survival.
Their football has been patchy and lacks a visible, tangible identity. Gus Poyet took over from a side low on confidence, all with an axe to grind with former boss Paolo di Canio. The Capital One Cup final appearance papered over fractious cracks in a team that have since become glaring holes.
Poyet told the media this week: “We need a miracle to stay up,”
Note the difference in the messages both managers are conveying to their players. Martinez believes his team can finish in the top four. Poyet says his team need to win four matches to stay up.
“I am very honest and I know where I am. It doesn’t matter if it was five minutes ago or if you asked me on Friday,”
“I am realistic, when you look at the table and the games that we have got left about how many we need to win.
“I think we need a miracle. We need something unique, a shock because if not I cannot see it coming,” he added.
With a daunting run-in, they are odds-on at 1/5 to go down with Coral.
Spurs, who brushed Sunderland aside last time out, travel to relegation-threatened West Brom this weekend. Encouragingly, striker Emmanuel Adebayor has never lost against the midlands outfit, and added two more to his tally against the Black Cats.
He is 8/1 to at least equal that at the Baggies, and on current form it’s hard to ignore. With 13 goals this season, it has been Tim Sherwood’s injection of faith in him that has made the difference. The forward gave an almost defiant display of loyalty to Sherwood in his goal celebration after reports emerged the Spurs caretaker manager wouldn’t be at the helm of the club for the next campaign. Adebayor’s salute was affectionately reciprocated, and it couldn’t have been any more a public statement to chairman Daniel Levy.
West Brom are floundering. New head coach Pepe Mel has done nothing to prove that he is better than his predecessor. They clinched a vital win against Norwich at Carrow Road and results like these, against teams around them could prove to be the difference by the end of the season.
Just three points above the drop zone, they are 8/1 with Coral to go down.
Southampton meanwhile, are a team in the ascendency making up the third leg of this special’s tripod. Although striker Jay Rodriguez has been ruled out for six months, boss Mauricio Pochettino has ready-made replacements, with talented youngster Sam Gallagher waiting in the wings. He is 5/1 to score first at St Mary’s against a Cardiff team who are firmly embedded in the bottom three.
In Rickie Lambert, the Saints have an assist machine. He has created 10 goals for teammates this season, to add to 11 strikes for himself in the league.
Against a Bluebirds defence that has leaked 12 goals, in the last three matches, the Scouse striker is expected to be a handful, and is 16/1 to hit a hat-trick.