The Easter weekend schedule is always one of the most exciting periods of the football calendar and this year has been no different – just look at Friday’s phenomenal result at Molineux.
With teams fighting desperately for points the level of drama has been increased in all divisions. Here are three matches from Sunday and Monday that we think will be full of action at both ends of the pitch.
Everton V Manchester United (Sunday)
Both teams to score odds – 4/7
In Sunday’s showdown, David Moyes returns to former club Everton for the first time and could put an end to their Champions League dream.
Manchester United have endured a torrid first year after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, but that doesn’t alter the fact that their away form is the best of any Premier League side.
The lack of fear factor has damaged United’s form at home, but on the road it tends to work to their advantage. Opposing teams believe they can beat the champions, which leads them to play on the front foot – more often then not, the counter-attacking ability of the Red Devils will prevail.
Everton’s defence will feel a little vulnerable after conceding three against Crystal Palace; even without the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, the visitors should be able to take advantage.
Nevertheless, the Toffees will be confident of getting a result and have a fantastic chance of getting on the scoreboard. Roberto Martinez’s men have been scoring two goals per game (34 in 17) at Goodison Park, including three against Arsenal and a total of 10 in their last four home fixtures.
The Toffees have scored in every home match of 2014 and should be confident of extending that run here. Meanwhile, the visitors will be in high spirits and manager Moyes is bound to demand a strong performance against his former club.
A short price, but it has a great chance of winning.
Ipswich V Bournemouth (Monday)
Both teams to score odds – 8/11
The Championship encounter at Portman Road should be a recipe for goals as free-scoring Bournemouth face an Ipswich side who are playing superbly at home.
Mick McCarthy’s men are aiming for the play-offs and if they do claim a top six spot it will be largely down to their impressive form at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys have taken 17 points from the last available 24 at home, additionally finding the net in 15 of the last 16 encounters at home.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth’s loss to Sheffield Wednesday has left Eddie Howe’s men with virtually no chance of reaching the play-offs. A top six finish isn’t mathematically impossible just yet, but the Cherries know that their dream of Premier League football will probably have to wait for at least another twelve months.
Nevertheless, six straight BTTS winners is a huge source of optimism for this selection and the Cherries have become a favourite for punters on this coupon in recent weeks.
December’s reverse fixture ended 1-1, a repeat of that scoreline would suit us just fine.
Notts County V Crawley Town (Monday)
Both teams to score odds – 8/11
At Meadow Lane, Notts County desperately need a win against Crawley if they are going to retain their League One status and Shaun Derry’s men must go for goals in their bid for survival.
The Magpies have actually won their last three at home, despite conceding in two of those matches, and have now found the target in eight straight matches. Equally pleasing is the fact they’ve only kept one clean sheet in that period.
Crawley have won three straight matches to climb into the top half, which signal a vast improvement since the appointment of John Gregory halfway through the season.
However, despite that progression, the Red Devils have still only won four matches on the road – conceding 28 times in 21 matches. A 2-0 win at MK Dons in their last away game was the first clean sheet on their travels since August, which will give Notts County fans reason to be optimistic.
Nevertheless, the visitors will be confident after three straight wins and should have enough to claim at least a share of the spoils. A tough game to predict, but we expect both teams to score.