Christmas is the hardest time to Play Away. Jesus, even Ryan Giggs was too busy over the festive period to Play Away all of the time, and what with everything going on (the family commitments, the long-planned engagements, the lack of spare time) these next couple of weeks aren’t the best time to be doing our thing.
But the games are coming thick and fast and we are nothing if not resourceful, so why everybody else is busy, we are still dedicated to Playing Away over the Twelve Days of Christmas. You’ll thank us for it one day.
Below are the best away bets in this Saturday’s Premier League fixtures, and using your free £20 bet you can back any one of them in a single, or all three in a treble that pays £198 in returns.
Arsenal to beat Wigan Athletic @ 7/10
OK, you can call me a hypocrite if you want (I’ve been called much worse when I’ve been Playing Away, believe me) and it goes against everything I normally say, write and shout at passers by about, but I am actually going to tip up an away win at odds-on, and what’s more, the team I’m tipping up is Arsenal.
It might be all the mulled wine going to my head, because normally this is not something I would do (I’ve said that before) but I think the Gunners are going to see off Wigan at the DW Stadium.
Now backing Arsenal is a perilous business, especially at odds-on, and especially away from home, but I get the feeling that Wigan are on the slide and for once, the Latics at a fairly big price doesn’t appeal. Roberto Martinez’s side have lost six of their last seven to fall into the drop zone and have kept just two clean sheets all season.
Performances are poor, and I think they are tailor made for Arsenal, with their wide open defence vulnerable to counter-attack. So in what might be for the first time this season, I’ll be getting on Arsenal at short odds on the road.
Manchester United to beat Swansea City @ 31/50
This is another odds-on shot, but there is no reason for us to think that Manchester United won’t go to the Liberty Stadium and beat Swansea City and as such the 31/50 is fine by us.
United are six points clear at the top of the Premier League because of their attacking prowess, and they have the tools to outgun Swansea, who seem to have lost their way slightly of late. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have scored 43 goals, ten more than anybody else, and have hit 21 in nine games the road.
Seven of those have ended up with victories, and the 21 points they have won on their travels puts United top of the away league table and they won’t be fearing the trip to south Wales.
The Swans are sitting pretty in 10th place and in no danger of relegation, as well as gearing up for a League Cup semi-final against Chelsea. But they have lost two of the last three (the other being a laboured win over Championship Middlesbrough) and have failed to win six of their nine home games. United, who have won ten of their last 11 league games, should be too strong against a team they beat twice last year without conceding.
Queens Park Rangers to beat Newcastle @ 13/5
This is far from odds-on, but at the price on offer (and bearing in mind the other fixtures don’t really look like they have many away results in them) I think it is worth having a go at the 13/5 that Queens Park Rangers pick up the points at struggling Newcastle.
The Toon are in the middle of a dreadful run and there seems to be nothing Alan Pardew can do about it. Newcastle have won just one of their last 11 in all competitions, and have lost six of their last seven in the league to fall to just two points above the relegation zone.
Their only win in that sequence was against ten-man Wigan, and I want to be against them at all times at the moment. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have entertained the idea of putting up QPR, but now they have rid themselves of Mark Hughes and replaced him with a far better manager, I am tempted by that price. Harry Redknapp is still unbeaten as Rangers boss, drawing three before finally breaking the Rs’ duck by beating Fulham last time out, and it is worth getting on them to secure back-to-back wins against a Newcastle side desperately low on confidence.