Thomas Rooney is back with his three essential bets for this weekend, with Chelsea v Arsenal and Real Madrid v Barcelona to look forward to.

It should definitely be an enjoyable couple of days. We’ve reached what many describe as the ‘business end’ of the campaign and there’s can’t afford to lose games all over the shop.

Not least at Chelsea and Real Madrid. You’d argue that if Arsenal and Barcelona fail to pick up anything – they are out of their respective title race. It’s a pivotal, pivotal (nearly said it again, thought better of it) weekend.

Then comes my team – Norwich City. I feel rather nauseous at the idea of Saturday’s home game with Sunderland. It’s a must-win, no two ways about it. Lose – we’re probably going down. Ugh.

Anyway, on with the tips…

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to score

I’ve been very impressed with The Ox since his return from injury and he has a goal in him this weekend. A certainty for England’s World Cup squad, he’s one of the bright young talents.

Arsenal’s rather dodgy injury situation – Ozil, Ramsey and Wilshere are all out – actually suites the former Southampton man too. He can operate centrally and really make an impact on the game.

There’s absolutely no fear there either and he will drive forward all game long for the Gunners. At 11/2 with Ladbrokes, he’s certainly worth backing for an anytime goal.

Under 2.5 goals Norwich v Sunderland

I promised myself I wouldn’t touch this game. I’m too emotionally involved. One thing for certain though, surely, is that it won’t be a classic. Not in terms of goals scored anyway.

Norwich are actually unbeaten in six games at Carrow Road and have only conceded twice in this sequence. It’s only four goals for the Canaries too though and both wins have been 1-0.

These two drew 0-0 earlier in the season too and given how important it is for both sides, it’s certainly worth sticking a few quid on under 2.5 goals. Stan James over 4/6.

Lionel Messi to score anytime

El Clasico time on Sunday! It’s one of the biggest in a few years too, with both firmly locked in as far as the title race is concerned. Barcelona go seven points adrift if they lose this one.

They’ve performed admirably under pressure in recent years though and one man has been at the centre of that – Lionel Messi. With a long list of famous El Clasico moments, he’s one to watch as ever.

Backing Messi to score isn’t normally a worthwhile bet, but Paddy Power are offering a rather tempting 5/6, as well as money back on selected other markets if he finds the back of the net!

Enjoy the weekend folks!

Thomas Rooney – Editor Footballtips.com

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