Sam Hendry with the best of the weekend’s football bets
Crystal Palace can take a step towards likely Premier League survival with a win over Brighton at Selhurst Park.
After their horrendous start to the season, Palace fans would probably have accepted lying three points above the relegation zone with five games to play and with the kindest fixture list of those around them, Roy Hodgson can be confident of keeping his side up.
Palace have won only one of their last ten, but that statistic does not match up with the quality of their performances and they would have picked up more points if it weren’t for a string of last minute goals against them and narrow defeats to the league’s top six.
Brighton need just one more win to realistically secure survival and they will not be easy to break down, but home advantage should be enough and my bet is Palace to win by exactly one goal.
Manchester City’s disastrous week could get worse when they head to Wembley to take on Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening
Having walked the league in such dominant fashion all year, Pep Guardiola’s season is ending in slightly anti-climactic fashion following their shock derby defeat and Champions League humiliation at the hands of Liverpool.
After a slow start while they adapted to their new surroundings, Spurs have grown stronger as the season has gone on and they still have an outside chance of matching their second placed finish of last year.
A fourth defeat in a row for this City side would have been unthinkable only a month ago, yet they come here looking more than a touch fragile.
Without the distractions of European competition, a fresh Spurs side could prove too strong for them here, a home win with both teams to score is the bet.
If results on Saturday go against them, then West Brom’s inevitable relegation could be confirmed with defeat when they travel to take on Manchester United on Sunday.
Confidence will be sky high in the Old Trafford dressing room after last week’s remarkable second half comeback at the Etihad, and they will be eager to end their campaign on a high to send a message to their rivals ahead of next season.
West Brom have shown little resistance to their inevitable fall against the league’s weaker sides, and so it’s hard to envisage them troubling a side who have only conceded one goal at home to teams in the bottom half – and that came in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle in November.
Romelu Lukaku missed out on the scoresheet last week, but he could be the one to down his former side here.
This is the type of fixture the Belgian thrives in and I’ll be backing him to net a double while it might also be worth having a small bet on him landing the hat-trick.