AFTER World Cup qualifying games the English Premier League goes into round 31 of 38. Today’s early game at 2.45 pm has struggling Sunderland against League leaders Manchester United. Sunderland has the worst record of all 20 clubs over the last seven games, with just three points out of a possible 21. Manchester United won this fixture 3-1 in the first round and that trend could be repeated today. At 5 pm, Arsenal take on Reading and the visitors look certain to be relegated this season. Arsenal are pushing strongly for a place in the Champions League next season and look the best bet of the weekend. Manchester City have no chance of winning the League, but should get maximum points at home today when they host Newcastle, who are only six points above the relegation zone. Southampton with 31 points are just above the danger zone and face a tough opponent when in-form Chelsea visit. Southampton have beaten Liverpool and Manchester City at home and after drawing 2-2 with Chelsea in London, I fancy this one to end up a draw. Mid-table Swansea host Spurs, who must win this game to maintain their Champions League spot, so I go for the visitors to win 2-1 in Wales. Aston Villa have fought themselves one above the relegation zone and I am expecting them to hold Liverpool to a draw in a tough call. The London derby has Fulham hosting QPR, who lost their crucial match against Aston Villa and only three points today would help them survive relegation. Fulham won their last London derby against Spurs, and are my warm choice this afternoon. West Ham play at home and look worth a small bet when they host West Brom. The final big relegation match will see Wigan at home to Norwich. After their last-minute win against Newcastle, Wigan must get maximum points today to avoid relegation and are my hot choice to beat struggling Norwich.
For rugby fans, you won’t have to worry if it is a wet Easter weekend because there are no less than five Super 15 fixtures today. The kick-off this morning is as early as 5.35 am, when the Hurricanes host the EP Kings. We have no history to go on, but the Kings have shown enough courage for me to recommend a small bet on them with a start in the handicap system. At 8.35 am, the Chiefs host the Blues and given the home team’s ability to score tries, they look a good bet to overcome their handicap, having won this fixture by 15 points last season. The Bulls away tour is turning out a nightmare and the Brumbies could add to their misery at 10.40 am this morning. The Bulls won this fixture by two points at Loftus last season, but a vastly improved Brumbies look a good bet today. At 5.05 pm, the Cheetahs will be looking for their fourth victory on the trot when they host the hapless Rebels. The Cheetahs are playing attacking rugby and should be good enough to overcome their handicap in Bloemfontein. The best game of the weekend kicks off at 7.10 pm, when the Stormers host the Crusaders. The Stormers have scored 71 points in their last two fixtures, but the Crusaders have scored an amazing 96 points in their last two victories. I predict the Crusaders by seven points tonight.