As long as the snow holds off we should have fourty-four Premiership and Football League matches on this weekend. That’s a lot of games to choose from so there should be lots of earning potential. Last Saturday and Sunday went pretty much to the formbook so the ‘law of averages’ dictates this weekend could throw up some devilishly-surprising score lines.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE:
Manchester United v Portsmouth should probably be renamed Wayne Rooney v Portsmouth. Apparently after watching some of the Scouser’s latest performances, Fabio Capello has been seen on numerous occasions in the Vatican; passers-by have heard him whispering to himself, virtually silently but for the clear words Metatarsal and Rooney. His nine goals in Man Utd’s last eleven matches have shown Rooney’s critics that he really can be a consistent goal threat. Pompey on the other hand are in trouble. In recent matches against Man City and Fulham they haven’t looked bad, they just haven’t look good enough. Their current eleven is a Championship first XI. Man Utd should comfortably win this. (HOME WIN)
In the North East Sunderland face a Wigan side who last played on Tuesday night, losing at home to Notts County (of League 2) 0-2. Wigan did have a number of chances to score but there can be no excuse for their early FA Cup exit. On Saturday the Lactics will surely start new signing Victor Moses up front. The ex-Crystal Palace forward is being hotly tipped to shine in the Premiership so it will be interesting to see if Steve Bruce pays him special attention tactically. Sunderland meanwhile have not won in eleven matches and seem to struggle to score more than one goal per game. Despite this, at the Stadium of Light the Black Cats have only lost twice all season and I think they will scrape to a 2-1 victory here. (HOME WIN)
I really fancy a draw at Anfield this weekend in the Merseyside derby. Everton were hurt at the start of the season when ‘Pool beat them 0-2 and they will want to show the kind of form at Anfield which has seen them rise steadily in to the top half of the Premiership table in recent weeks. Odds of around 5/2 are being offered for a draw and I would seriously consider adding this on to either a Double or a Treble bet. Elsewhere in the Premiership we have some bottom-half battles ahead of us this weekend – Stoke v Blackburn and Bolton v Fulham will not be pretty on the eye. Valid arguments could be found for backing any of these four teams to win so I will leave that one to you my learned readers!
Bramall Lane is host to Sheffield United v Derby County on Saturday. The Rams are an odd team; Nigel Clough’s men have struggled to consistently pick up points this season but they will be hoping to kick-on from last weekend’s derby victory over the in-form Nottingham Forest and use it as a springboard for better results going in to last third of the season. Sheffield United have conceded six goals in their last two games and if you would like a definiton of ‘shambolic defending’ watch the highlights of their 3-0 loss at Vicarage Road last Saturday. Before their away match ten days ago at West Brom, the Blades had won seven of their last eleven matches in the Championship and I think they will return to winning ways on Saturday. (HOME WIN)
Nottingham Forest should have too much for Sheffield Wedneday at the City. I don’t see it as an absolute banker though, after last weekend’s 0-1 loss to Derby it will be interesting to see how Billy Davies’ men perform; we all know they have been on a great run of late but the mark of a very good team is the ability to follow a loss with a win.
My money is on Brentford to beat Gillingham on Saturday. Brentford have only lost twice at home all season and the Gills are the only team in League One not to have won a single game on their travels. Recent loan signings Lionel Ainsworth and John Akinde should give the Bees a real presence up front. (HOME WIN)
Swindon Town v Charlton Athletic is definitely the tie of the day in this division and I am not going to look past Swindon. The Robins have scored twenty goals in their last ten league matches and their last match at the County Ground was a 3-0 drubbing of Leeds United. Charlton manager Phil Parkinson will not be happy at his teams disappointing start to 2010 and Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against a ten-man Walsall does nothing to suggest to me that his team can win on Saturday. (HOME WIN)
Norwich City travel to The Den for what will be a really hard-fought match. Millwall have only lost once at home but the Canaries are flying of late. A draw is a decent prediction. Stockport have only won once at Edgeley Park all season and they face MK Dons on Saturday, a side who – away from home – either win or lose; their away record so far is won six, drawn one, lost seven. The Dons are favourites here but I won’t be betting on them to win – you simply never know what you are going to get from a Paul Ince XI.
League Two should be relatively easy to predict correctly this weekend. I have HOME wins down for Rochdale, Bournemouth and Hereford and an AWAY win down for Rotherham.
Every weekend I suggest a little flutter. This week my tip is a Treble:
LIVERPOOL TO DRAW + ROCHDALE + MANCHESTER UNITED. EXPECT ODDS OF AROUND 13/2 FOR THIS TREBLE TO COME IN – A PRETTY GOOD RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT.
HAVE A FUN and LUCKY WEEKEND.
By Ross A. Fox