Rafa Benitez can make things awkward on Anfield return
The Premier League legend answers the big questions
What’s your best bet for the weekend?
Watford against West Brom. The lights are going out at The Hawthorns where Alan Pardew looks to be on borrowed time and that can’t be helping anyone. Players are turning on each other and last week’s dismal defeat at home by Huddersfield may well have been the last straw. Watford have beaten Leicester, Chelsea and Everton at home since Christmas and are playing well.
Which favourites look the most vulnerable?
I’d be laying Liverpool at home to Newcastle. Rafa Benitez will leave no stone unturned in preparing for his return to Anfield and the Magpies are in good form, unbeaten in four. They throw too many points away but it means they are battling to survive and that gives them a chance. The Reds are awesome when firing, but they don’t win every week.
Where’s the value in Man City v Chelsea?
It’s hard to argue with City, who are looking to get the title wrapped up as soon as possible. To watch them at Arsenal just days after winning a cup final was a lesson in a winning mentality. There was never a hint of letting up because this is a team of winners. Chelsea are strong but you can’t see them holding out against the onslaught coming their way.
Which two clubs will be automatically promoted from the Sky Bet Championship?
I don’t see Wolves making a mess of this now. Yes, they have dropped a few points in recent weeks but a ten-point cushion over third place at this stage is a massive advantage. Cardiff have got themselves in the box seat for second but they’ve still got to go to Aston Villa, who I’d take to go up with their Midlands rivals.
Will Tottenham qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals?
Yes. I have no doubt they will. Unless Juventus score early, the Italian giants are going to have to take risks and that’s not when they are at their best. Even if Juve score early I’d still expect Tottenham to get an equaliser so the onus is on the Serie A side. Tottenham are proving they are a top-class European outfit and progress would confirm that notion.
What’s your best bet for the other midweek games?
Lay Paris Saint-Germain against Real Madrid. Overturning a 3-1 deficit against Real would be hard enough, but without Neymar it looks almost impossible. Real are back to full-strength and have only this title to defend with La Liga gone. Experience counts for a lot in Europe and Real have that in abundance, and I’d expect them to finish the job.
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