Sunderland and Swansea offer slim value in relegation race
Losing Capital One Cup finalists Sunderland have failed to beat Crystal Palace in their last three attempts in all competitions, yet Coral make them even-money favourites for a win against the Eagles.
Swansea City, meanwhile, have never lost at home to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, so are odds-on to at 10/11 for victory, thus keeping Baggies head coach Pepe Mel still waiting to win.
Those two encounters are headline fixtures in the latest round of the scrap for top-flight survival.
Gus Poyet’s Black Cats (15/8 to be relegated) come into this match with fellow strugglers Palace (rated more likely by Coral at 13/8), having lost each of their last three in all competitions and conceding 10 goals in the process.
Two of those three games were against Manchester City and Arsenal, and the other was an FA Cup quarter-final at Hull City. Palace too have failed to win any of their previous three, but took a point at Swansea in their last away outing.
Odds of 12/5 on another draw here are tempting. Tony Pulis’ Eagles have been difficult to break down as he has got the defence well-drilled. If punters fancy Palace to take just their third away win of the Premier League season, take the 11/4 price.
Sunderland’s own backline will be strengthened by the return of veteran Wes Brown. Skipper John O’Shea has overcome illness and holding player Liam Bridcutt will also come back in after being cup tied for the last two.
Pulis, meanwhile, is missing top-scorer Marouane Chamakh, but has last season’s leading Championship marksman Glenn Murray fit again after a serious knee injury. Defender Danny Gabbidon has not travelled to Wearside, however.
At the Liberty Stadium, caretaker Garry Monk may hand Michu his Swansea comeback after three months out with an ankle injury. The Spain cap netted the opener in this fixture last term, so back him at 5/1 to do so again here.
Swans number one Michel Vorm will also return, but midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is out and winger Pablo Hernandez, who has often played in the hole under Monk, is a doubt. Monk’s men are 16/1 outsiders to go down.
West Brom (15/8 for relegation) are 3/1 shots to finally get a first top-flight win for Mel and in south Wales. He is without six first-team regulars for the trip, however. Nicolas Anelka is banned for his quenelle gesture, while club captain Chris Brunt, Billy Jones, Diego Lugano, Steven Reid and Claudio Yacob are all injured.
Stoke City entertain West Ham with both sides relatively safe from the relegation battle. This has draw written all over it, so odds of 11/5 are fine value.
Norwich, who are 9/4 to lose Premier League status, have a tough assignment at Southampton. So do odds-on pair Cardiff City and Fulham against top-half sides Everton and Newcastle United respectively.
Back Manager of the Month Sam Allardyce to hold the Potters for the best value in the bottom half.