Having correctly predicted Newcastle to go down against Chelsea last weekend, I am backing them to return to winning ways against struggling Aston Villa at the Sports Direct Arena. Also on the coupon are Manchester City, who are certainties to beat QPR at the Etihad Stadium, and Tottenham, who I am giving a second chance after their lame 1-1 draw at home to West Brom last Saturday prevented me from celebrating a tasty windfall.
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Manchester City to beat QPR @ 9/50
Nobody will ever forget the last time Manchester City faced Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad Stadium. Sergio Aguero’s heart-stopping winner deep into injury time handed Manchester City their first ever Premier League title win and nearly caused a premature end to Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler.
And, similarly, nobody will ever forget his iconic “Agueroooooooooooooooooo!!!” cry as the Argentine drilled home the decider, not least my QPR-supporting friend, who told me earlier this week that he still shudders when he hears the replays, believing as he did at the time that the goal had condemned his side to relegation.
Funnily enough, after the first game of the new season he was probably wishing they had been relegated, which would have prevented a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Swansea. Last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Norwich also owed more to luck than design.
City have scored two or more goals in all of their opening three fixtures this season and have hit three goals in each of their last three ties against QPR. Even without the injured Agueroooooooooo (sorry, force of habit), they should still overpower their struggling opponents.
Newcastle to beat Aston Villa @ 3/5
Paul Lambert took on a tough assignment when he left Norwich to join Villa in the summer and the early signs aren’t good for the former Livingston and Colchester boss.
Although the league is still in its very early stages, Aston Villa are bottom of the pile having lost both of their opening two games. What’s more, they haven’t picked up maximum points at Newcastle since April 2005 and they have only won twice in the Premier League in the whole of 2012.
Tuesday’s Capital One Cup win over Tranmere was their first victory in any competition since March 10th and they could hardly have picked a tougher ground to try to build on that performance.
Newcastle have lost just one home game since the turn of the year, and that was to Manchester City at the end of last season. They won a tough opener against Spurs at St James’ Park and Saturday’s defeat at Chelsea shouldn’t derail the Magpies too much – expect them to return to form with all three points.
Tottenham to beat Norwich @ 7/20
I backed Spurs to beat West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane last weekend and they let me down. Having correctly forecast wins for Man Utd and Chelsea, Andre Villas Boas’ side was the only one to fail me.
But everybody deserves a second chance, so this week Tottenham are going back on the coupon as they take on Chris Hughton’s Norwich at the Lane.
Norwich lost their opening away fixture of the season 5-0 at Fulham and don’t look strong enough defensively to repel the likes of Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gareth Bale.
Defoe, in particular, is looking in good shape following his strong start to the season with both England and Spurs, and I fancy the home side to help themselves to two or three in this one.
Norwich won at the Lane last season but repeating the trick could be a much harder assignment. Back Tottenham to redeem themselves in this one.
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