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Five Talking Points

February 2nd, 2015

1. Mersey rivals to serve up a treat

Everton's first win in nine games sets them up nicely for next Saturday's Merseyside derby against a Liverpool side who have recovered well from a pre-Christmas slump. With Daniel Sturridge back for Brendan Rodgers' side, this Goodison Park clash is well-timed, with both teams receiving a welcome boost. The last two meetings here have ended 2-2 and 3-3 and it's all set up to be another thriller - odds of 12/5 with Coral about there being Over 3.5 Goals looks attractive.

2. Villa woes set to continue

Aston Villa set an unwanted club record on Sunday when they failed to score for the sixth successive League game, although defeats for five of their relegation rivals lessened the impact of their 5-0 thrashing Arsenal. With confidence so low, the last thing they need is a visit from Chelsea, who are just 10/11 to win 'to nil' at Villa Park. With Burnley playing West Brom and QPR and Leicester both having home games, Villa's price of 11/4 for relegation with Paddy Power is unlikely to last.

3. Tiger hits new low

As Rory McIlroy was setting himself a platform to win the Dubai Desert Classic by three shots at the weekend, Tiger Woods was hitting a new low in Phoenix, where his round of 82 was his worst ever on the PGA Tour. He has now tied for last in his last two events. Just a couple of years ago it would be unthinkable that Woods would start a season price at 6/1 to win any of the four majors, but that's what BetVictor are offering for the man who has more major titles than missed cuts to his name. He is an eight-time winner at this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, but BetVictor are offering evens that he makes the cut - there was a time when he wasn't much bigger to win the whole event.

4. Super League promises close contest

Last year's regular Super League season ended with five teams separated by just three points, so it's no surprise to see four teams tightly packed at the top of the betting for this year's competition, which begins with Wigan's trip to Widnes on Thursday. Wigan, last year's beaten Grand Finalists, are the 3/1 favourites for the Super League XX title, with champions St Helens next up at 7/2 and Warrington a 4/1 shot. Huddersfield, who finished just a single point off the league in 2014, are a 16/1 chance with BetVictor.

5. Hope for Djokovic in Grand Slam bid

After claiming the Australian Open title on Sunday with a superb performance against Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic is a 9/1 shot with Sky Bet to complete a clean sweep of the 2015 Grand Slam events. To do so he must break Rafael Nadal's Grip on Roland Garros, where the Spaniard has won nine of the last 10 French Open titles. There is hope for Djokovic, who has been runner-up in two of the last three years. The Serb lost his first nine clay-court meetings with Nadal, but has since won four of nine. Nadal's continued fitness concerns also make him vulnerable and he has four months to get into top shape.

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