Big weekend coming up with huge matches at St. Andrews, the Emirates Stadium, Elland Road and Pride Park.
I’m not one to back down from a challenge though, so let’s have a shifty…
At Turf Moor the 17.15 Saturday kick-off is Burnley v Chelsea. It has been a big week for both of these clubs. At the Reebok Stadium, Burnley lost 1-0 and as a result, slipped three places and are now lying in the relegation zone. On Wednesday night Chelsea looked simply unstoppable in beating a Birmingham team who had gone fifteen matches unbeaten, 3 – 0. Frank Lampard controlled the match like a puppeteer and Joe Cole showed exactly why there should be a seat booked in his name when England fly out to South Africa in six months time. It might surprise you to find out that Burnley have only lost once at home this season. Their recent form has been awful however, they have not won since 31st October and Brian Laws’ first signings since taking over – Frederic Nimani, Leon Cort and Nicky Weaver – don’t exactly set pulses racing. Chelsea to win. (AWAY WIN)
Manchester City v Portsmouth at 13.30 on Sunday afternoon has home win written all over it in big bold capital letters. It will truly be a battle of Rich v Poor. Manchester City are now reported as being the richest club in the World whilst Portsmouth are struggling to pay their players’ wages each month. Don’t expect Portsmouth to dine out at Eastlands like the poor man at the rich Sheikh’s dinner table though – Portsmouth are dreadful away from home. Since the first week in November, Pompey have only picked up two points on their travels. (HOME WIN)
Bolton looked good in their recent two games against Arsenal and a win in midweek will do wonders for the Trotters’ confidence. I would not recommend betting for a Bolton win but they could well sneak away from Anfield with a low-score draw. Almost on a daily basis journalists are writing about West Ham’s lack of firepower up front and they have struggled to win matches all season. The Hammers come up against Blackburn on Saturday, a team who have already lost eight away matches this year. If West Ham can score early they may just be able to hold on and pick up three much-needed points. I fancy the home side to just have too much for Blackburn.
It is a really evenly-matched round of fixtures this week in the Championship, a league that throws up screwball results even on a good day!
It’s been an awful week for Crystal Palace who face Peterborough this weekend. Palace were placed into administration on Tuesday and were subsequently docked ten points. Neil Warnock may not be everybody’s choice of cuppa but his relatively small squad have been playing brilliantly as of late. With the administrators in it is only a matter of days before the exodus of Eagles players begins; for players like Victor Moses, Saturday’s match could be their last in a red and blue shirt and they will want to go out with a bang. Peterborough could be lambs to the slaughter here. Posh go into the match with an away record this season of won none, drawn four, lost nine. Palace to win, big. (HOME WIN)
After putting six past Bristol City last weekend, Cardiff City are worth backing for Saturday’s tie against Doncaster Rovers. Doncaster have struggled away from home against the Championship’s best sides this season and I cannot see them beating Cardiff this weekend. A hard-fought home win is the call. Home wins are also predicted in Middlesborough and West Bromwich this weekend.
At Carrow Road, in-form Norwich City play Hartlepool. Norwich have picked up thirty-five points from a possible fourty-two at home this season – Hartlepool have gained twelve from a possible fourty-two away from home. Additionally, three of the Canaries’ strikers already have fifty-four goals between them. Hartlepool are going to struggle to suppress a Norwich team which has now won its last ten home matches. (HOME WIN)
Southampton will face bottom-of-the-table Stockport on Saturday and will expect no less than a home win. The Saints are unbeaten this year and in their last home match they beat Roy Keane’s Ipswich 2-1 in the FA Cup Third Round. Stockport have not won away since 12th October; don’t expect this poor run of results to come to an end this weekend. (HOME WIN)
Stadium MK plays host to MK Dons v Exeter in two days time. Paul Ince’s Dons have had a decidedly mixed season so far, their form peaks and dips at regular intervals. Against the division’s weaker sides however they tend to score a lot of goals at home. At St. James Park MK Dons won 2-1 and in the FA Cup the two sides met at Stadium MK with the Dons running out 4-3 winners. Exeter are a side who pick up the great proportion of their points at home and have found life hard on the road in League One; they have conceded four at Huddersfield, three at Norwich and three at Walsall. A win for MK Dons could well see them rise in to the play-off places. Exeter have got some talented players but I have this one down as a home win. (HOME WIN)
You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned Charlton and Leeds. If you would like to know why check out both team’s previous five results. If those results don’t put you off investing your money in them this weekend you have a much bigger pair than I do!
This division could see some seriously left-field results this weekend. I will be backing Rotherham to beat Macclesfield, Notts County to beat Barnet, Aldershot to hammer Grimsby Town and Cheltenham to have too much for Darlington. Approach any League Two bet this weekend with extreme caution however, Saturday’s round of fixtures is tight, tight like a tiger. Next weekend we will have a more in-depth analysis.
This weekend’s tip:
CHELSEA + MAN CITY + CRYSTAL PALACE + CARDIFF + MIDDLESBOROUGH + NORWICH + MK DONS +SOUTHAMPTON + ALDERSHOT + CHELTENHAM. 10 matches = big odds. NINE OF THESE TEAMS ARE PLAYING AT HOME AND ALL ARE FAVOURITES TO WIN THEIR RESPECTIVE MATCHES.
THANKS FOR READING,
HAVE A RELAXING, WARM AND LUCKY WEEKEND.
By Ross A. Fox