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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

English Football Weekend Picks (October 22nd-23rd)

I didn't get a chance to put down a few thoughts from the action last weekend in the Premier League, so I will begin this weeks picks post with a few points that I thought could be interesting moving forward:

1) Arsenal are over-reliant on an injury-prone Robin Van Persie: Robin Van Persie is a really good player, and would be in the elite of World Football if it was not for a career where injuries have played a big part.

In the past, Arsenal have managed to still perform when Van Persie has periods of injury, but I fear for them if something like that happens this season.

The Dutch International was in special form against Sunderland on Sunday, scoring 2 goals to win the game for the home side, and he has been on a tear for the Gunners throughout 2011. I just feel Arsenal cannot begin to perform without him as he dragged them through to another 3 points on Sunday and I think this side would really struggle to get near to a top 6 finish if Van Persie does take his usual 2 months of injury related absences.

If I was an Arsenal fan, I would pray every day that RVP manages to get through the season unscathed.

2) Wigan's luck may be running out: Wigan have always found a way to survive in the Premier League since joining the top flight, including a couple of occasions where they won on the last day to avoid relegation. However, it just looks like their luck may be running out if the 1-3 home defeat to Bolton is anything to go by.

The defending was terrible against a team that had lost 6 Premier League games on the bounce, while they did not create enough chances against the worst defence in the League.

The absence of Charles N'Zogbia is telling (I also feel N'Zogbia is missing being a big fish in a small pond as he has struggled at Aston Villa), and there just doesn't seem to be enough goals in the side.

The next 5 games are crucial for Roberto Martinez and he must look to get at least 7 points from the games at Newcastle, home to Fulham, at Wolves, home to Blackburn and at Sunderland as their Christmas schedule sees them meet Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United and Wigan could be cut off a little too far for any last day heroics.

3) The pressure on Steve Bruce is really building: Another defeat for Sunderland leaves the side in 17th position in the Premier League and I am not sure how much more time Steve Bruce is going to get to turn things around.

They have struggled for goals, while the performances have hardly set pulses racing at the Stadium of Light as the fans' frustrations are beginning to boil over.

Sunderland play at Bolton on Saturday and I would hazard a guess that a defeat may see Bruce out of a job before the end of the month.

4) Chelsea continue to quietly go about their business: Chelsea earned a 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday evening, even after struggling to get going for the majority of the first half and they have quietly moved just 1 point behind Manchester United.

With the two Manchester clubs meeting on Sunday, Chelsea could begin their game against QPR later that afternoon knowing a win could see them move just 1 point off the lead.

Andre Villa-Boas doesn't seek the attention of the press, but his team are playing some very good attacking football when they get going, although the defence has been a little vulnerable, and I think they are going to be there or thereabouts come May.

5) Patrice Evra-Luis Suarez incident: It would be hard to talk about last week without mentioning this unsavoury incident that allegedly occurred on the day the FA's 'Kick It Out' campaign started a new period.

I don't know what happened because I am neither Luis Suarez nor Patrice Evra, but I have a feeling this story has some length of time to go before it is resolved.

After watching that 'Dispatches' programme on Channel 4 recently, I wonder if either of these players picks up an 'injury' that sees them missing a large chunk of the season...

6) Scrapping relegation from the Premier League: Wow, I have seen some dumb ideas recently that will kill the integrity of the game, beginning with the suggestion TV rights should be sold on an individual club basis and the latest being the idea that relegation should be removed from the Premier League.

I don't understand how these 'foreign owners' expect this to work, and I feel they are worrying about lining their pockets rather than having an effective League ladder that has worked for 120 years.

The franchise system just would not work in this country and would ruin football as a spectacle- imagine no more last day drama where a team escapes relegation by the skin of their teeth, the joy those fans get when that happens, and no more fairytale stories for the likes of Blackpool.

It is the stupidest idea I have heard for some time, and one that cannot ever be allowed to pass.

Below you can find my picks from the weekend football and, as always, I will update Twitter whenever I lock in new picks:

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12114-Bolton-Wanderers-v-Sunderland.htm)

Liverpool v Norwich City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12115-Liverpool-v-Norwich-City.htm)

Manchester United v Manchester City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12118-Manchester-United-v-Manchester-City.htm)

QPR v Chelsea Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12121-QPR-v-Chelsea.htm)

Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12125-Blackburn-Rovers-v-Tottenham-Hotspur.htm)

Arsenal v Stoke City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12127-Arsenal-v-Stoke-City.htm)

Wolves v Swansea Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12131-Wolves-v-Swansea.htm)

Fulham v Everton Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12133-Fulham-v-Everton.htm)

Cardiff City v Barnsley Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12134-Cardiff-City-v-Barnsley.htm)

Ipswich Town v Crystal Palace Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12148-Ipswich-Town-v-Crystal-Palace.htm)

Leicester City v Millwall Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12150-Leicester-City-v-Millwall.htm)

MY PICKS: Bolton Wanderers-Sunderland Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Liverpool-Norwich City Both Teams to Score @ 2.20 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Manchester United-Manchester City Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.80 Paddy Power (3 Units)
Chelsea - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Robin Van Persie to score first @ 4.50 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Wolves-Swansea Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fulham @ 2.4 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Cardiff City-Barnsley Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Ipswich Town-Crystal Palace Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Leicester City - 0.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

October Update: 9-15, - 5.93 Units

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