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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Midweek Football Picks (January 1-2)


The festive period was a tough time to get a real read on games as managers made changes and tiredness effected some squads a lot more than others. It was a tough couple of rounds to end the month which meant a small loss was made, but it has been a productive season so far so there aren't too many reasons to complain, if any at all.


Manchester City v Stoke City Pick: I know Stoke City have statistically got one of the best defences in Europe (or they did have before conceding three to Southampton at the weekend), but I think those goals conceded to the Saints may have burst their bubble somewhat.

Manchester City have not been the free-scoring side of twelve months ago, but they may just have turned a corner with the four goals they got at Norwich City. City have also not been the all-conquering side at the Etihad Stadium that they were a season ago, but they have usually been too good for Stoke and I think they will likely win this game by a couple of goals at the least.


Tottenham Hotspur v Reading Pick: Tottenham Hotspur have been a lot better away from home than they have been at White Hart Lane and the absence of Gareth Bale will not help matters in this one. However, they are facing a Reading team that has struggled on their own travels and I think Spurs are going to win this game.

The home side have also picked up a couple of clean sheets in recent home games and Reading have really struggled for goals away from home. With Spurs also conceding just 1 goal in their last 4 Premier League games and Reading failing to score in 4 straight away games, the Spurs win to nil looks the best angle on this game.



West Ham United v Norwich City Pick: Both of these sides have just hit a bad patch of form as they meet one another and the three points will be vital for both to ensure they keep a nice buffer between themselves and the relegation trouble brewing below them.

Both sides seem to have similar issues in recent weeks- both look capable of scoring goals but have also struggled defensively and I will look for that to be the case when they meet at Upton Park. Neither team will be that happy with a draw and I see one of them winning this game 2-1 so taking the chance of there being goals in this one looks the best call.


Wigan Athletic v Manchester United Pick: Many Manchester United fans point to the 4-4 draw with Everton last season as the one that ultimately cost us the title, but I think Rene Meulensteen is more correct in suggesting the defeat at Wigan Athletic was the more damaging result.

I expect United to be on high alert as they come back to the DW Stadium for the first time since then and I think there is a chance that United are going to start picking up more clean sheets going forward. They earned one at the weekend against West Brom and the return of Nemanja Vidic does make United that much more solid.

They have conceded just 2 goals against Wigan in 11 previous games against them and I think everyone knows what to expect from Roberto Martinez' side in this one- they will try and pass the ball and I think they will create some chances, but I fancy United to join Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal and become the latest side to win here with a clean sheet to boot.


Southampton v Arsenal Pick: I was struggling to find any real angle with this game except that I liked Arsenal to win it and so I will take the away side in this one.

We saw what Arsenal did to a tired Newcastle United side on Saturday and I think they may be getting Southampton at the right time following their efforts in a 3-3 draw with Stoke City when they were mentally worked over at the end of the game while trying to hang on to the three points.

With only a couple of rest days, there is every chance they will be feeling worn out and Arsenal certainly have the players that can punish them, particularly as they had an extended break during the festive period that other teams did not enjoy.

There are goals in the Arsenal side and I think they will be too strong for Southampton when it is all said and done.


Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers Pick: Rafa Benitez has definitely helped Chelsea improve defensively in recent games and they have actually picked up clean sheets in 3 of their last 4 games at Stamford Bridge.

I fancy them to get another one in this game in a winning effort as Queens Park Rangers looked like a side that definitely needs some new faces to freshen up their squad if they are to survive in the Premier League this season.

They barely created a chance against Liverpool and I think it may be more of the same in this one. At the prices, the Chelsea win to nil looks like the right call.


Liverpool v Sunderland Pick: Sunderland have shown some tough recent form which gives me enough belief that the prices on Liverpool are far too short in this one. Martin O'Neill has got his side playing a little better in recent weeks and have begun moving up the table.

Liverpool had a terrible home record throughout 2012 and they just shouldn't be as short as they are, even though they have won 3 of their last 4 at Anfield in the Premier League. However, the exception in that time was that shocking 1-3 loss to Aston Villa and I just don't think they should be trusted.

With the prices being as low as they are, it means Sunderland are given a 1.5 head start on the Asian Handicap and I'll look to them to make this a tight, tough contest for Liverpool and not to get beaten comfortably.


MY PICKS: Manchester City - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur Win to Nil @ 2.30 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
West Ham United-Norwich City Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Manchester United Win to Nil @ 3.50 Coral (1 Unit)
Arsenal @ 1.75 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Chelsea Win to Nil @ 2.00 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Sunderland + 1.5 Asian Handicap (1 Unit)



December Final17-24-1, - 0.83 Units (53 Units Staked, - 0.02 % Yield)
November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Season 2012/13: + 18.84 Units (203 Units Staked, + 9.28 % Yield)

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