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Monday, 19 December 2011

English Football Midweek Picks (December 20-22)

Due to the busy Christmas period, we have a full schedule of Premier League games beginning on Tuesday 20th December through to Thursday 22nd December.

We will then see another full round of games on Boxing Day and New Year's Eve before another set of midweek games in early January, all before the FA Cup begins.

This week, I have coupled up my picks page with the 'Things We Learned' from the last set of games. As usual, I will update my picks in staggered stages as I lock them in and will post links on Twitter as soon as some new games have been placed in the blog.

Things We Learned (December 18-19)
1) The 'Sack Race' is between Steve Kean and Owen Coyle: These two managers are the leading contenders in the 'next manager to leave their post' market and it is just fate that they will be facing one another on Tuesday night.

I think one of these men will be out of a job by Christmas Day as the pressure on both increases by the day, while the loser of the Blackburn Rovers-Bolton Wanderers game on Tuesday will already find themselves a little cut off from the safety zone.

I actually like Owen Coyle, but he has to take the blame for his sides terrible run of form stretching back to the FA Cup Semi Final defeat to Stoke City, while the failure to bring in suitable strikers to replace Johann Elmander and Daniel Sturridge is a mistake he could pay for.

Steve Kean has already lost the fans and it must surely be only a matter of time before he is removed from his post unless the Venky's are truly trying to ruin the club. I am astonished they signed Kean up to a new 2 year contract recently as he has never enjoyed a period of success and Blackburn are sinking faster than a stone.

2) Alex McLeish is another manager in need of a positive result: Yes, Aston Villa beat Bolton Wanderers last weekend, but their second consecutive surrender to one of the 'big' clubs at home has infuriated the fans.

McLeish is seen as a negative manager and that is something that is being used to beat him as results have not been impressive either. They now face Arsenal at home next in the League and it is going to be tough for Villa if they fall behind as early as they did against Liverpool at the weekend.

A former Birmingham manager who had little support when coming in during the Summer, McLeish could begin to feel the pressure unless results take a sharp upturn in fortunes.

3) QPR need some real reinforcements in the January Transfer Window: I thought QPR were going to be really up for getting amongst Manchester United on Sunday, but they almost allowed themselves to be rolled over and tickled.

It was a very disappointing performance and the 0-2 loss flattered them as United could have named the score with the amount of chances they created.

This is a worry for a QPR side slipping to just 3 points clear of the relegation zone and one that has won just 2 of their last 11 League games. They face a big game with Sunderland on Wednesday and a defeat there may have a few fans reaching for the boos.

There doesn't seem to be enough goals in the side, while I think they could do with a couple of Defenders and a holding Midfield player... If they cannot address the majority of these issues in January, they could find themselves in a real relegation scrap come May.

My picks and previews from the midweek round of games will follow:

Blackburn Rovers v Bolton Wanderers Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12718-Blackburn-Rovers-v-Bolton-Wanderers.htm)

Wolves v Norwich City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12720-Wolves-v-Norwich-City.htm)

Aston Villa v Arsenal Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12726-Aston-Villa-v-Arsenal.htm)

Manchester City v Stoke City Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12728-Manchester-City-v-Stoke-City.htm)

Fulham v Manchester United Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12730-Fulham-v-Manchester-United.htm)

QPR v Sunderland Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12732-QPR-v-Sunderland.htm)

Wigan v Liverpool Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12733-Wigan-v-Liverpool.htm)

Newcastle United v West Brom Pick and Preview (http://goonersguide.com/football-pick-12734-Newcastle-United-v-West-Brom.htm)

MY PICKS: Blackburn Rovers-Bolton Wanderers Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Steven Fletcher Score Anytime @ 2.88 Unibet (1 Unit)
Aston Villa-Arsenal Draw @ 3.75 Stan James (1 Unit)
Manchester City - 1.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Victor Chandler (4 Units)
Fulham-Manchester United Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
QPR-Sunderland Draw @ 3.40 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Liverpool Half time-Full time @ 2.40 Stan James (2 Units)
Newcastle United-West Brom Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 188Bet (2 Units)

December Update: 12-14, - 3.54 Units

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