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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Weekend Football Picks (January 19-21)

Thanks to work and all of the tennis taking place at the Australian Open, I have neglected making my picks from the football taking place this weekend. I also decided to wait on the weather conditions to see what kind of conditions the players will be taking to on the fields up and down the country this weekend.

The Premier League fixtures have survived the freezing conditions, although the West Brom-Aston Villa game came close to falling away, although I am still interested to see what happens with the two London games that are on TV on Sunday.

I remember a couple of years ago having a United game at Stamford Bridge being called off due to snow affecting the surrounding area, although on that occasion there were some conspiracy theories as to why the game was called off considering there seemed to be nothing wrong with the area on match day.

Anyway, it has been a quiet January so far for the picks with nothing to get too excited or disappointed about and hopefully it will pick up in the final couple of weeks of the month.


Liverpool v Norwich City Pick: Understandably, there is no love lost between myself and Liverpool football club, but I do believe they are capable of turning over Norwich City with room to spare in this game.

Liverpool had a terrible 2012 at Anfield, but there have been some real signs of recovery here as they have beaten the likes of Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Sunderland here comfortably in the last couple of months and they have demolished Norwich in a couple of back to back games, albeit both of those coming at Carrow Road.

Chris Hughton has made Norwich a tough team to play, but these players clearly don't like going against Liverpool and they have been on a hard run of form which could see them fall to a fairly routine loss.


Manchester City v Fulham Pick: Manchester City have obviously been working on some of their defensive issues from the early part of this season and they have recorded 3 clean sheets in a row at the Etihad Stadium since their 2-3 loss to Manchester United in early December.

I feel they will be able to grab another against a Fulham side that have always been a little light going forward on their travels. Dimitar Berbatov may be extra motivated as a former United player, but you have to think City, even without Yaya Toure, are going to have enough going forward and in defence to win this one without conceding.


West Ham United v Queens Park Rangers Pick: Queens Park Rangers have put together a couple of gutsy away performances to win at Chelsea in the Premier League and at West Brom in the FA Cup and it is clear that Harry Redknapp is demanding more defensive concentration from his side.

However, there is a different pressure when visiting West Ham United as this would be one of those games that is circled as one from which QPR need points if they are to survive in the top flight this season and that kind of expectation can make it tougher for players, especially mentally.

West Ham put in a tough performance in the FA Cup at Old Trafford during the week, and also managed to rest some of their bigger names in that contest. Injuries are still a concern for Sam Allardyce, but the side will be expected to push forward at Upton Park and that should lead to chances for both teams.

I do respect that Rangers have been a tougher team to beat on their travels in recent away outings, but I do think both sides will be looking to get forward and win this game and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we see at least 3 goals in the game.


Chelsea v Arsenal Pick: If you support Manchester United, you must be enjoying Rafa Benitez continuing to fumble the ball, this time at Chelsea. The home fans are not happy with a run which has seen them lose 2 of their last 3 at Stamford Bridge and failure to beat Southampton from 2-0 up here during the week would have hurt all the more.

However, I think we will see a better performance from them today against an Arsenal team they have done better against than many would initially think- Chelsea did lose here 3-5 last season, but they had previously won back to back home Premier League games against them and also recorded a 1-2 win at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season.

I also don't have enough faith in this Arsenal team having the experience when they come up against the best teams in the League, especially away from home. They have been pretty solid away from home if you look at the record, but the Gunners have been pretty easily outplayed at Manchester United, Everton and Southampton this season and you have to think Chelsea can cause problems.

There are vulnerabilities at the back that can be exposed though, so I do like the look of goals in the game. I'll have a small interest in Chelsea to beat the weather and Arsenal in a game that has at least 3 goals scored.


Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United Pick: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the philosophies of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United? For me, it is two attacking teams that like to play with width and get men forward in search of goals.

Over the years, these two teams have provided a number of high-scoring games and I can see both beating the weather and providing another today.

Recent results show a number of times these sides get involved in high-scoring, entertaining affairs, including a couple of 1-3 wins for United at White Hart Lane in the last 3 visits. Earlier this season, Spurs broke their voodoo at Old Trafford by winning 2-3, their first win at that Stadium since 1989.

Both sides have been involved in high-scoring games at home and away respectively in recent games too, while I am not buying the 'Andre Villas-Boas will be cautious' theory either. While Villas-Boas is not everyone's cup of tea and can overthink things, in his three games managing against Manchester United, there have been 4, 6 and 5 goals scored in the game so the 3.00 being dangled on at least 4 goals needs a small look in my opinion.


Southampton v Everton Pick: No one can really know how the Southampton players are going to react to the way that Nigel Adkins was sacked as manager on Friday, particularly as many of them would have worked with him through the last couple of promotions into the Premier League. Will they come out and feel sorry for what has happened and bring up a limp performance, or will they rally together and get a result for their former manager?

Hearing a new voice will also mean new requests for what is expected of the players and that could lead to a tough game against Everton, although they look a little short at slightly odds against.

Everton continue to keep pace with the sides chasing Champions League places, but they will need to win this game to keep the pressure on after a 0-0 home draw with Swansea last time out. The side are very good going forward, but they have shown some vulnerabilities at the back too.

I do expect chances for both sides and, with a bit of composure, the over 2.5 goals should be in play.


MY PICKS: Liverpool - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Manchester City Win to Nil @ 2.10 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
West Ham United-Queens Park Rangers Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals to be scored (The Total Result) @ 2.65 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Tottenham Hotspur-Manchester United Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.00 William Hill (1 Unit)
Southampton-Everton Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)



January Update5-7, + 1.32 Units (15 Units Staked, + 0.88% Yield)

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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