This weekend’s predictions are all weather permitting. If this snow continues to fall the only thing worth watching on the box over the next few days will be Ski Sunday. Because of the weather here is a big tip – don’t place your bets until the last minute on Saturday. If you bet on the result of a match and that game subsequently gets postponed, the match will be voided off your bet slip!!
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE:
At the Emirates Stadium it’s Arsenal v Everton. The Toffees drew four times in the League in December and at times they are looking decidedly shaky at the back with Leighton Baines and Lucas Neil still playing out of position at centre-back. Arsenal on the other hand had a December to remember. Without Cesc Fabregas available, Arsene Wenger has looked to Aaron Ramsay to plug the gap in central midfield and boy has he delivered – the young Welshman has now scored in his last two matches. (HOME WIN)
Birmingham v Manchester United should be a keenly-contested duel. Birmingham have been described by just about every TV pundit as the ‘in-form’ team of the Premiership in the past two weeks but have only scored two goals in their last four matches. If they struggled to break down Nottingham Forest’s back four last Saturday, expect them to come up against a brick wall in the form of Manchester United’s rear guard. I can only imagine that Sir Alex Ferguson is still boiling about United’s defeat to Leeds United on Saturday. The XI that start for Man Utd at St. Andrews will go out with clear instructions from Ferguson to be at their very best and that could well be too much for Birmingham, even at home, to cope with. (AWAY WIN)
The KC Stadium welcomes Carlo Ancelloti for the lunch time kick off on Saturday. Hull v Chelsea is 19th v 1st in the Premiership. Hull are without a win in their past seven games and have not looked good against the best teams in the league this season – they conceded six against Liverpool, five against Tottenham, and three to both Arsenal and Man Utd. Chelsea have won two on the trot now and Ancelloti will be extremely eager to make this three. In December, Chelsea won three and drew three in the League, three solid points away at teams like Hull is a must for his Blues team if they are to continue to top the Premiership. This match could be tighter than some might think, but Chelsea should just have too much. (AWAY WIN)
Manager-less Burnley may struggle against a well-settled Stoke City team who have scored three in both of their previous two matches. Stoke may be worth a punt here, the last time Burnley won in the Premiership was the 31st October.
Of all of the rounds of fixtures this season, this weekend’s batch of Championship games is by far the hardest to call. Ten matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday afternoon and seemingly, anybody could beat anybody. Any Championship-related betting must be carried out with extreme caution!
Crystal Palace v Bristol City should not see any team walk over the other one, but Palace have to be favourites – they have looked brilliant of late. Neil Warnock’s men have looked so impressive that if they can keep hold of Victor Moses, Darren Ambrose and Neil Danns until the end of the season, a play-off spot place could be well within grasp. Tight match here but if any team is going to win, it should be Palace.
At the Riverside Stadium, Middlesborough in 11th play sixth-placed Swansea City. The Swans have only won two of their last seven games and face a long trip to the North East. ‘Boro have been so inconsistent this season, Gordon Strachan must be more than a little frustrated. There are signs though that Middlesborough on their day can beat anybody and players like Adam Johnson, Gary O’Neil and Julio Arca are match-winners at Championship level. Paolo Sousa and Swansea have not looked good lately. Middlesborough home win is the call.
League One will be totally at the mercy of the weather conditions this weekend. At the time of writing (Thursday morning), eight matches have already been postponed including those at Valley Parade, the Memorial Stadium and the Withdean Stadium. Expect more postponements to be announced as Saturday draws nearer.
More scouts will be at Elland Road on Saturday to watch Leeds United v Wycombe Wanderers. This will surely be Jermaine Beckford’s last match in a Leeds shirt and he will want to go out with a bang. Midfielder Robert Snodgrass has looked like the man with the golden touch lately and his form for Leeds in recent weeks has turned heads – Championship sides may also make a cheeky bid to sign him in the next three weeks. This match is 1st v 24th in the league. Leeds have a +32 goal difference, Wycombe’s is -26. I predict a riot. (HOME WIN)
At Carrow Road, in-form Norwich City face Exeter. Exeter have found points hard to come by on the road this season – they have only picked up 8 points from a possible 36 away from home. Norwich have won their last three matches and are undefeated in their previous seven. The Canaries’ Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan and Chris Martin have scored 46 goals between them this season so far. Exeter are up against it this weekend. (HOME WIN)
Unfortunately it looks like there will not be much football being played by League Two teams this weekend because of the snow and ice. I’ll be doing a full analysis of League Two next week, when hopefully, the weather will have cleared up and the league can resume properly. Briefly, if any football is played this weekend, expect these results:
Bury v Darlington – home win
Shrewsbury v Barnet – home win
Notts County v Macclesfield – home win
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. HOPEFULLY WE WILL SEE AT LEAST HALF OF SATURDAY’S FIXTURE CARD GO AHEAD DESPITE THIS DISMAL WEATHER!! IF MATCHES DO GO AHEAD ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, EXPECT A TIGHT WEEKEND. THERE COULD BE DRAWS A-PLENTY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP, SO IF YOU PLAY THE FOOTBALL POOLS THE TRADITIONAL WAY, HEAD STRAIGHT THERE TO PLACE YOUR DRAW-BETS.
REMEMBER, PLACE YOUR BETS BETWEEN 12 AND 2 ON SATURDAY JUST TO BE SURE ALL OF THE MATCHES YOU HAVE BET ON ARE GOING TO BE PLAYED.
Every week I suggest a little flutter. This week my tip is an accumulated list of results:
ARSENAL + MANCHESTER UNITED + CHELSEA + MIDDLESBOROUGH + LEEDS + NORWICH. AT MIDDAY ON 7TH JANUARY, A £100 STAKE AT PADDYPOWER.COM WOULD EARN A RETURN OF £1130.77.
HAVE A RELAXING, WARM AND LUCKY WEEKEND.
By Ross A. Fox