Swansea need to bounce back after Europa disappointment
Swansea and Spurs had mixed fortunes in the Europa League last Thursday, but managers Garry Monk and Tim Sherwood will be looking for the same positive reaction in important Premier League games on Sunday.
Swansea, who take on Crystal Palace in yet another relegation six-pointer in south Wales, did themselves great credit in their European campaign, both under Michael Laudrup and Monk and it is fair to say that Napoli were hanging on in the closing minutes until they broke away to settle the tie in added time.
But there is no time for Swansea to feel sorry for themselves. Palace probably didn’t expect to get anything against Manchester United last weekend, but will be optimistic about grabbing at least a draw against a side just two points above them in the Premier League as they continue their unlikely climb away from the drop zone. This might well end with honours even (13/5).
The Eagles are still far from safe, according to Coral, who have them joint third with Sunderland on their relegation list at 13/8 behind Cardiff (2/7) and Fulham (1/3), while Swansea (12/1) are still in no position to rest easily.
Cardiff now visit Spurs and the Bluebirds must be worried about another thrashing following their capitulation at home to Hull last Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would appear to have some firepower at his disposal in the shape of Campbell, Jones, Berget, Zaha and Bellamy, but they’re just not clicking at the moment and it’s all beginning to look a bit dire.
Spurs (4/11) should be cock-a-hoop after coming from behind to knock out Dnipro in midweek and Emmanuel Adebayor, in particular, will be rubbing his hands in anticipation of yet more White Hart Lane goals to salute.
It would be a shame if Cardiff just faded away after contributing so much to the Premier League early in the season (when they beat Manchester City), but this looks fairly straightforward for Tottenham as they continue their quest to secure a Champions League place (4/1).
There will be no love lost when Aston Villa play Norwich in Sunday’s live televised game. Vital points are at stake (they are separated just by goal difference in 13th and 14th place), but relations between the two clubs have been pretty sour since Paul Lambert left the Canaries in 2012.
Villa, without a win in their last four Premier League games after losing out to an added time winner at Newcastle last Sunday, have struggled to score at home, apart from edging a 4-3 thriller against West Brom.
Norwich, who eased their worries a little when beating Spurs at Carrow Road last weekend, have also had trouble finding the net on their travels, so don’t expect a goal-fest at Villa Park; it’s more likely to be a damp squib. The draw (23/10) looks good, maybe 1-1 (11/2) or even 0-0 (8/1).