FOOTBALL LEAGUE WEEKENDER

A NEW LOOK AT THE COMING WEEKEND’S FOOTBALL

Of course betting is a mug’s game, we all know that. Even those that make a living from gambling know deep down that they are attempting to play God in an all-but-certain and ever-changing Universe of Sport.

But putting a few pounds on the football results at a weekend is fun. And there is no doubt that it can be extremely profitable.

Every week from now on, Football Shorts will be having a little look at the Football League’s Saturday and Sunday fixtures.

By looking at previous form, past results and player injuries/suspensions, we can perhaps try and make some slightly educated predictions. We are mugs yes, we could spend our four/five pounds a week on better things – but if we are going to try and guess which football teams will win and which ones will lose for pleasure, then we may as well give it a bit of thought first and try and get it right!!

So then:

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE:

Good bets –

At Eastlands it’s Man City v Stoke. Stoke haven’t been overly impressive of late and you have to go back five matches since their last victory over a month ago. Up in Manchester it’s been a dramatic past couple of weeks. Mark Hughes out, Roberto Mancini in. The Manchester City players are going to want to prove a serious point this weekend, the January transfer window opens in less than a week; Blues players have 6 days to convince the Italian that they are worth keeping. (Home win)

Sunderland v Everton at the Stadium of Light is a match between two teams who on their day can both look very good, and beat anybody. Everton have been very poor of late however, in their home match against Birmingham (1-1) last week, they showed a disappointing inability to find the back of the net despite having most of the possession. Sunderland are massivley boosted by the return of Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana and England U21 star Lee Cattermole. Sunderland have been at their best this year when these two have been fit and playing together. I fancy the Black Cats for this one. Australian Lucas Neil started at Centre-back last week – position he has never regularly played throughout his career – and could struggle against the physical Kenwyne Jones and pacy Darren Bent. (Home win)

Outside bets –

It’s a real tough weekend to call for teams in the Barclays Premiership. Two of the most in-form teams in the league meet at St. Andrews at Birmingham face Chelsea. Roger Johnson and Scott Dann have formed a most impressive combination at the heart of the Birmingham defence and will be happy that Chelsea will be without Didier Drogba. A home win is not out of the question here.

CHAMPIONSHIP:

 The Hawthorns sees West Brom face Peterborough. Although Posh picked up a fantastic win last weekend against Watford, it really is hard to see past Brom this season, at Championship level, they look strong. The match will pit 2nd against 23rd. West Brom have had a dodgy December- 2 draws and 1 loss – but they should have too much for Peterborough here. (Home win)

Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle was a dour affair when these two teams met at St. James Park earlier in the season. The Geordies ran out 1-0 winners, but the winning margin should have been bigger. Brian Laws was sacked last week and Wednesday are still without a manager. They haven’t won since the 17th October and have lost their last five matches (three of these have been at home). Newcastle have 49 points already this season and look somewhat invincible at the moment. Hillsborough may witness a spanking tomorrow. (Away win)

I am predicting a home win tomorrow at Teeside when Middlesborough play Scunthorpe. The Iron have  been on the receiving hands of some big losses this year and Gordon Strachan will be demanding his Boro team kick start their season tomorrow afternoon. The Teesiders will want to get last weekend’s derby day loss to Newcastle out of their system and if Adam Johnson can recover from a hamstring injury in time, then Scunthorpe may be lambs to the slaughter. (Home win)

A home win should be the call for Cardiff v Plymouth. Cardiff lie in 4th, Plymouth are the foot of the league in 24th. Cardiff have been excellent lately whilst their opponents have lost their last 4. (Home win)

LEAGUE 1:

At Elland Road it is hard it is difficult to see past the home side. Leeds United v Hartlepool could be tight, the away side are good on their day. But with Jermaine Beckford in the starting line up, Leeds should just have too much. Their may be some scouts at Elland Road tomorrow to watch the want-away forward just before next month’s transfer window and he will want to get on the scoresheet. (Home win)

Southampton play Exeter at St. Mary’s tomorrow and Alan Pardew’s men are favourites. Exeter have suprised a few teams in League 1 since being promoted to the division last summer but Southampton have not lost for seven weeks now and are rising up the table FAST! (Southampton)

decent bets – Charlton should be good for their money at home to Swindon tomorrow and should have just enough. MK Dons face bottom of the league Stockport and although there can occasionally be some strange results at stadium MK, the Dons will surely be too much for their struggling opposition.

LEAGUE 2 GAMES ARE IN DANGER OF BEING CALLED OFF TOMORROW DUE TO THE POOR WEATHER, SO WE CAN START CONSIDERING THE THIRD DIVISION NEXT WEEK I THINK.

I am by no means an expert, in fact I can be a bit of an idiot, but I like to think I know my football! So, as a sort ofspeculative conclusion to my weekly looks at the Weekend’s football league action, I will be suggesting a flutter!

This week’s flutter:

NEWCASTLE + CARDIFF + WEST BROM + LEEDS + MK DONS + SOUTHAMPTON.  RIGHT NOW ON PADDY POWER.COM, AT 4.34 ON FRIDAY 25TH DECEMBER, A £10 STAKE WOULD WIN £104.39.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT, A GREAT DAY OF BOXING DAY FOOTBALL TO ENJOY WHILST YOU LAP UP THE TURKEY LEFT-OVERS!

HAVE A RELAXING, AND LUCKY WEEKEND!

Football Shorts (p.s. if you have any comments or predictions about this weekend’s football, let’s get talking and leave a comment below. The more people we have thinking about football and trying to predict correctly, the better off we all will be!!!)

By Ross A. Fox

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