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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Weekend Football Picks 2014 (May 17-18)

The last major piece of silverware to be decided in England is the FA Cup and the Final between Arsenal and Hull City will be back in the more traditional setting of coming at the end of the League season.

I was never a fan of sticking the Cup Final a week before the end of the season as the prestige of the competition took another blow with that decision, although I do wish they had stuck to the regular 3pm kick off instead of this 5pm one they have for the weekend (spare a thought for the Hull City fans who might actually be heading home after the game).

It might have worked out a lot better for the FA Cup Final if it had been set for the 3pm kick off slot because this game is going up against the final La Liga games of the season with the Barcelona versus Atletico Madrid match kicking off at the same time. Personally I would watch the FA Cup Final, for as long as it is competitive, over the La Liga game, but I have a feeling there will be plenty of neutrals who might not do the same thing.

Of course the game at the Nou Camp is essentially a 'Final' between the top two teams in the Spanish top flight, although one that can be won by Atletico Madrid as long as they avoid defeat. There will be a real confidence they can do that ahead of the big Champions League Final against their city rivals Real Madrid next weekend, but I believe that both of those games are going to end up being linked.

If Atletico were to lose the La Liga title this weekend after virtually having two hands on the trophy two weeks ago, I would fear for their chances of winning in Lisbon. However, win the title this weekend and the momentum would certainly be behind the side considering how off the boil Real Madrid have been following the win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League Semi Finals.

It was a good week for the picks that have improved the numbers from May and the season in general as both League One Play Off Semi Final second legs were won by the home team. That has set up two good Play Off Finals next weekend with the League Two Final being set by Saturday afternoon.

With the season winding down, there might only be a few picks left for May before the World Cup post will be created in the first week of June in preparation for the tournament that kicks off on June 12th.

Arsenal v Hull City FA Cup Final Pick: If games and Finals went the way they should on paper, Wigan Athletic would never have beaten Manchester City last season and that alone should keep Arsenal fans from counting their chickens before their eggs have hatched.

For the second year in a row, the FA Cup Final looks a mismatch on paper, but Arsenal are accustomed to failing to produce in a big moment when the team is expected to win and the memories of the League Cup Final loss to Birmingham City will still be fresh in the minds of the fans going to Wembley Stadium.

Arsenal were expected to waltz through Birmingham and I get a similar feeling that they are expecting something of the same in this one, but the tension of not winning a trophy for almost a decade will play its part. As much as players tell the media they don't listen to such statistics, the Arsenal players would have to be machines to not realise the importance of winning this game.

That will bring tension into the match, although the side will also feel they have a mental edge having dismissed Hull City twice already this season. Hull are also missing the likes of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long and I am not convinced they will have enough of a goal threat to really cause Arsenal problems through the ninety minutes.

Hull City's biggest impact is likely to come from set pieces, but they haven't scored in either game against the Gunners and I think Arsenal are going to snap their run of nine years without a trophy. Backing Arsenal to win to nil in normal time looks the call for the game.

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid Pick: The maths for this game are very simple- if Barcelona win, the win the La Liga title, but if they fail to pick up the three points, it will be their opponents Atletico Madrid who will pick up the trophy on Saturday at the Nou Camp.

They may be back in the title race, but Barcelona haven't looked like a team that is on the same page in in the last few months and I think they are going to struggle to break down Diego Simeone's team.

It is the sixth time that Atletico and Barcelona will be meeting this season and four of the last five games have ended in draws with the sole exception coming in the Champions League Semi Final that was won by Atletico Madrid in the Vicente Calderon.

My gut feeling is that Atletico are going to make themselves hard enough to beat to earn the requisite result to win the title, although this game is likely to be a draw if they are to win the League.

MY PICKS: Arsenal Win to Nil @ 2.30 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Barcelona-Atletico Madrid Draw @ 3.80 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

May Update11-12, + 4.80 Units (42 Units Staked, + 11.43% Yield)

April Final16-17, + 2.33 Units (58 Units Staked, + 4.02% Yield)
March Final26-22, + 13.94 Units (83 Units Staked, + 16.80% Yield)
February Final12-28, - 16.74 Units (61 Units Staked, - 27.44% Yield)
January Final17-24, - 3.18 Units (62 Units Staked, - 5.13% Yield)
December Final19-16-2, + 13.34 Units (66 Units Staked, + 20.21% Yield)
November Final17-19-1, + 0.50 Units (56 Units Staked, + 0.09% Yield)
October Final20-16-1, + 12.94 Units (51 Units Staked, + 25.37% 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 2013/14152-170-3, + 12.24 Units (530 Units Staked, + 2.31% Yield)
Season 2012/13+ 4.42 Units (415 Units Staked, + 1.07% Yield)

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