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Saturday, 28 September 2013

Weekend Football Picks 2013 (September 28-30)

It's the final weekend of September and the season does feel like it's in full gear now with the Champions League kicked off and the Premier League getting close to settling down.

So far, so good is the analysis of the picks this month, although another solid weekend will at least give me the chance to erase what happened in August when a terrible last two weeks left the picks in disarray.

I have written down a few thoughts from last weekend's football which can be read here.

Also, you can read the latest 'United Corner' covering up to the Liverpool game and devoted solely from the perspective of the Manchester United fan in me- that can be read here.

Aston Villa v Manchester City Pick: Manchester City have another big game coming up against Bayern Munich this week in the Champions League, but they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball in this one and 'waste' the result they got in the Manchester derby by dropping points here.

I do expect changes from the side that won the derby last Sunday as Manuel Pellegrini will want to keep his squad fresh, but I don't think we will see a much weakened team as there is a lot of depth, expectedly, at City.

This is the kind of game that Manchester City have to win if they are serious about winning the Premier League title, especially considering Aston Villa have lost to 6 of the top 7 at home last season and have already been beaten by Liverpool at Villa Park.

Villa's game is much more suited to playing away from home where they can lull teams onto them and then use their pace on the counter, but Gabby Agbonlahor is carrying a knock and the dangerous Christian Benteke has been ruled out until next month.

It only took a special goal from Wayne Rooney to stop Manchester City's run of clean sheets last weekend and I think they can get back to that and win this game with a clean sheet which is offered at a nice price by Coral. With Vincent Kompany back, City have looked more composed at the back and they have kept clean sheets in their last 3 against Aston Villa, including back to back games at Villa Park.

Fulham v Cardiff City Pick: I am sure both managers will enter this game with a real belief that they can win the match and just ease some of the anxiety felt by the supporters, even at this early stage of the new season.

Fulham are probably the more desperate to win after their side was booed off following the 1-1 draw with West Brom in their most recent League game here, while there were chants directed at the manager Martin Jol.

I am convinced there are goals in the Fulham side and the return of Dimitar Berbatov makes them more dangerous going forward, while the win over Everton in the League Cup will be a real mental boost for the players.

They hadn't won a home game since April 1st before Tuesday night so that will help the players in this one and I am not sure Cardiff are going to have enough to keep the home side from winning this.

It will likely be close, but I expect Fulham to pick up the three points and hold off Cardiff in this one.

Manchester United v West Brom Pick: I am expecting Manchester United to continue trying to get back to basics in this game and that means defending much better than they did last Sunday.

At home, United have kept clean sheets in 3 of their 4 games in all competitions this season and I think the absence of Shane Long will aid them on that front this week. After the defeat last weekend, David Moyes will have full focus on this game so I don't expect players to be rested for the Champions League game on Wednesday night.

I will be the first to admit that United haven't looked imperious too often this season, but I am expecting West Brom to try and make this difficult for them and I am not sure what kind of ambition they will show.

West Brom have failed to score in 4 of their last 5 Premier League visits to Old Trafford, while they failed to do the same at any of the other sides that finished in the top four last season. It took a late United goal to win this game 2-0 last season and while I do expect a home win by a couple of goals, I believe the 'Win to Nil' option is the better pick.

Stoke City v Norwich City Pick: I was hoping to find Stoke City at a slightly higher price this weekend, but the layers must have been as impressed as I have been with their performances to open this season.

The results have also been good for Stoke and they have the physicality mixed with some strong passing displays that gives them a different feel to when Tony Pulis was in charge at the Brittania Stadium.

However, Stoke are not one of these sides that are going to blow anyone away so Norwich City will certainly feel they have a chance of picking up a result here. My only concern is that the away side have looked a little devoid of ideas in attacking positions and merely lumping the ball into the box from wide areas should be dealt with by both Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth.

I would imagine Mark Hughes has been working on set pieces through the week after conceding 3 goals in that manner at Arsenal and if they get that right, it is hard to see Norwich troubling the scoreboard. Norwich struggled to create chances against ten man Hull City in a recent away game and I do believe Stoke will win this game.

Everton v Newcastle United Pick: These two sides have been involved in some high scoring games in recent years and I do think that is the way to go in this game. Everton are the more likely winners of the match, but they are far too short against a Newcastle United team that have goals in the side and who are as capable of surprising for the win as they are in getting thumped.

The last 5 fixtures between these teams have produced 17 goals, while 5 of the last 6 at Goodison Park have seen at least 3 goals scored.

Roberto Martinez' Everton may have two clean sheets at home, but that hides the fact that there have been chances at both ends in their home games and I expect there will be more chances in this one.

At 1.92, goals look the call.

MY PICKS: Manchester City Win to Nil @ 2.88 Coral (2 Units)
Fulham @ 2.15 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Manchester United Win to Nil @ 2.35 Coral (2 Units)
Stoke City @ 2.05 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Everton-Newcastle United Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

September Update10-8, + 7.40 Units (29 Units Staked, + 25.52% Yield)

August Final13-26, - 12.13 Units (54 Units Staked, - 22.46% Yield)

Season 2012/13+ 4.42 Units (415 Units Staked, + 1.07% Yield)

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