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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Weekend Football Picks 2013 (October 5-6)

The last weekend was one of the toughest ones I have had this season and really hurt the September total, although at least the profit/loss moved back in the right direction. The Champions League games this week also saw a few surprise results come through and now we have the final domestic weekend before the latest round of international fixtures.

Manchester City v Everton Pick: It's become a little murkier to predict this game after the way Manchester City played on Wednesday and there could be a slight hangover to overcome, especially with the early kick off.

However, Manchester City have been playing very well at home and I think it will be tough for Everton to impose their passing game in the manner that Roberto Martinez demands. The absence of Gareth Barry is also a big loss for the way the Spaniard sets up his team and Manchester City should find room to exploit through the middle of the park.

The layers aren't taking any chances with any of the prices for this game, except they are offering a big looking 2.20 on Manchester City winning this by at least 2 goals. City have been dominant at home in domestic games and will create chances, particularly against an Everton team that has conceded a fair few goals to open the season.

I am expecting a reaction from the home team and will back them on the Asian Handicap to overcome what had been a nemesis of theirs in recent seasons.

Cardiff City v Newcastle United Pick: This is one of those games that both Malky Mackay and Alan Pardew would have circled ahead of the international break as one their respective teams can win.

Cardiff City have struggled for goals at times this season, failing to score in their last 2 home games in the Premier League, but they will create chances against this defence that Newcastle United will likely start.

It will be a case of whether they can take those chances if they want to get something out of the game as Newcastle United have shown their own ability to create chances with the talent they have. They have scored twice in their last couple of games away from home, but the amount they have conceded shows that Pardew hasn't found the balance between attack and defence.

I would be surprised if there aren't goals in this one and I'll back over 2.5 goals in this game.

Hull City v Aston Villa Pick: Aston Villa remain a team that look far more comfortable playing away from home than they do at Villa Park, although don't let Manchester City fans hear you say that after last weekend.

To be fair, any team that will come on to Villa will play to the latter's strengths as it allows Paul Lambert's men to use their pace on the counter attack and we saw some of those attributes last week. Gabby Agbonlahor's return to the side is a help, but Villa are still missing Christian Benteke and Hull City are well organised and will make life tough for them at the KC Stadium.

Hull will miss Robbie Brady which hurts their attacking chances, and it has to be said that the Tigers haven't had a lot of goals in them in their home games where the onus is on them to get forward.

This does have the feeling of being a tight game and I think both managers will be happy with 11 and 10 points respectively that they will move on to if they earn a point in this one. With less than a fifth of the season played, both Hull and Villa will see that as a strong platform to build upon this winter as they look to get to the 40 point mark that signals safety in the Division in most seasons and I can see this being a low-scoring draw.

Sunderland v Manchester United Pick: This is an important game for both teams as neither will be full of confidence following recent results in the Premier League, but both Sunderland and Manchester United will look at this game as a vital way to improve morale into the international break.

The Stadium of Light has proved to be almost a home away from home for Manchester United, but they have rarely won here with a wide margin. In fact, their last 5 games here has resulted in Manchester United winning 4 by a minimum margin while the other has resulted in a goalless draw.

David Moyes will not be setting his team up with a goal of winning this game by a large margin- it is clear that Manchester United need three points and they will be happy if that comes by the slimmest of margins.

Even at Shakhtar Donetsk, we saw United slip back and defend what they had once they took the lead. I can see something similar happening in this game if United are leading with twenty minutes to play and the bottom line of the win is far more important than the performance.

Of course the concern for Sunderland is the amount of goals they have conceded of late so they may be focusing on getting better in that aspect during the week. I do fancy United to win this one, but I will pick them to do so by a one goal margin.

Levante v Real Madrid Pick: This has not been an easy away fixture for Real Madrid in recent seasons and I think this has the making of another tight game, especially with Levante being quite solid at home so far.

However, they haven't faced the attacking talent on show in this one and I do expect Real Madrid will be able to win their second game in a row at the Cuitat de Valencia, although they may have to do it the hard way as they have in both away wins in the League this season.

I know Real Madrid are capable of making this look a foolish pick whenever they hit their 'A' game, but I will back the away side to win by one goal exactly. They are still getting into their stride and while Real Madrid can't afford to drop more points, I think Levante can be competitive enough to keep this close and do have every chance of nicking something from the game.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United Pick: I have been torn between two picks for this game between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United as both look like being potential winners.

The lack of goals in the West Ham United team in recent games along with Tottenham's defensive strength should allow the home side to win this one with another clean sheet as they go into the international break with a lot of confidence behind them for a big season.

I do think Andre Villas-Boas is setting his side up to be tough to break down and while West Ham have players like Kevin Nolan who can always pop up with a goal, I expect Spurs to win this one with another clean sheet earned against West Ham.

West Brom v Arsenal Pick: The arrival of Mesut Ozil has given Arsenal another crease to their attacking play, but I do still need to be convinced about how far this team can go considering they have played 3 clubs that currently occupy the bottom 6 of the Premier League.

However, I can see them extending their winning run in this game as West Brom haven't been at their best at home and also have a poor record against Arsenal here in recent seasons.

It's hard to imagine West Brom preventing this Arsenal team from scoring here, but the Gunners have also conceded goals at home after such a solid performance defensively in away games last season. Arsenal haven't kept a clean sheet in their last 5 away games in all competitions so there is a real chance West Brom can extend that, although I still fancy the away side to score.

Arsenal have scored at least 2 goals in 4 straight League games here and I will take a Paddy Power market on this week.

Atletico Madrid v Celta Vigo Pick: Diego Simieone continues to get the best out of his Atletico Madrid team that sold Falcao in the summer and they may just be the biggest threat to Barcelona in the Spanish title race.

They should be too strong for Celta Vigo in this game, although the early Sunday kick off isn't always the best for the big sides. Even with that in mind, the quality in the Atletico team looks to be too much for Celta and they have scored plenty of goals so far this season.

Celta won't be under-estimated considering their win at Real Betis, but they have lost a bit of form and confidence since that impressive win and it is a big ask for them to prevent Atletico increasing their 100% record in the League.

However, it wouldn't be a surprise if Celta scored considering they have 4 away goals already this season and Atletico have only kept 1 clean sheet here in 7 games here in all competitions. The fact that Almeria and Osasuna have scored here suggests Celta can and I will back Atletico to win a game where both teams score.

MY PICKS: Manchester City - 1 Asian Handicap @ 2.25 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Cardiff City-Newcastle United Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Hull City-Aston Villa Draw @ 3.33 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Manchester United to Win by One Goal @ 3.60 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Real Madrid to Win by One Goal @ 3.40 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Tottenham Hotspur Win to Nil @ 2.45 Coral (1 Unit)
Arsenal Win and 3 or 4 Total Goals in Match @ 3.75 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Atletico Madrid to Win and Both Teams to Score @ 3.10 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

October Update: 3-4-1, - 2.15 Units (12 Units Staked, - 17.92% Yield)

September Final13-12, + 1.24 Units (39 Units Staked, + 3.18% Yield)
August Final13-26, - 12.13 Units (54 Units Staked, - 22.46% Yield)

Season 2013/1426-38, - 10.89 Units (93 Units Staked, - 11.71% Yield)
Season 2012/13+ 4.42 Units (415 Units Staked, + 1.07% Yield)

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