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Weekend Football Picks and Fantasy Football 2020 (February 8-17)

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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Weekend Football Picks 2015 (October 31-November 2)

The next domestic League campaign is played over this weekend, but first you can read a few thoughts I had from the last week's games here.

Chelsea v Liverpool PickIf the rumours are to be believed, Chelsea will dispense of Jose Mourinho as manager if Chelsea are beaten in this Premier League game on Saturday. There are allegations that he has lost the dressing room and that Mourinho is desperate to want out of Stamford Bridge, but I don't quite think the performances on the field have suggested the players have given up on their manager.

It would be easy for them to roll over, but bad luck has played a real part in their last couple of losses as well as some frankly stupid decisions made by their players. Nemanja Matic was rash in being sent off at Upton Park last weekend in an eventual 2-1 loss to West Ham United, while the lottery of penalties was almost certainly going to go against Mourinho at Stoke City during the week.

The other issue is that Chelsea have been forced to go on their travels in recent games and they are a much better team at Stamford Bridge where they have won 3 of their last 4 games. I don't think Liverpool have the pace to exploit them in the same manner as Southampton did in the exception at Stamford Bridge and I think Chelsea have a very good chance of winning this game.

As hard as Liverpool have been to beat, they haven't scored enough goals to win too many games and could be missing both Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke again. That's a lot of goals that are potentially missing for Jurgen Klopp and they will do well to keep Chelsea out for ninety minutes which is what it might take to earn a result here.

To be fair to Liverpool though, they have defended well enough to think one goal might be enough to get something from this game and Chelsea have looked vulnerable defensively. However, those vulnerabilities have been highlighted away from home and Chelsea have clean sheets in 3 of their last 4 here so I think the home team has to be backed to deliver three points for their beleaguered manager.

At odds against, it is a fair price in backing Chelsea against a Liverpool team missing some key players this weekend including Jordan Henderson.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United PickIt has been a difficult couple of weeks for Manchester United fans who are still demanding to see more proaction from their team in a bid to win games. Possession is what Louis Van Gaal demands, but too often it has been slow and tepid which is easy to defend.

You have to feel some sympathy though as Manchester United have looked the better team in their last couple of games than both Manchester City and Middlesbrough, particularly in the second half, but they have missed the limited chances that have come their way. There were always going to be openings against a Championship team like Middlesbrough, but Van Gaal's suggestion they 'got lucky' ignores the multiple chances the away side had to win the game in normal time too.

They won't get away with that kind of defending in the Premier League especially not against a Crystal Palace team that has pace to burn in the forward areas and who will be comfortable playing without the ball. It will suit Alan Pardew to almost play this like an away game, but Crystal Palace have had their confidence rocked by three consecutive losses too.

Both teams have the capability of creating chances in this one and I think the recent Manchester United performances have inflated the chance of seeing goals in this one. On a better day, Manchester United's goalless draw with Middlesbrough would have produced a few goals and I think a restored Manchester United starting eleven can create opportunities at Selhurst Park.

Defensively United have still looked a little shaky and it is some big saves from David De Gea that has kept them from conceding too many goals of late. This Crystal Palace team do usually give the top teams a run for their money and will create chances against them too and the odds against quote of there being at least three goals looks too big.

I won't be surprised if both teams get at least one goal in this game and neither will be looking to settle for that if there is a chance to win this match which should result in a decent day's entertainment for the fans in attendance.

Manchester City v Norwich City PickComing off the Manchester derby, I was sure that Manchester City might have a difficult time against Crystal Palace in the Capital One Cup, but couldn't have been more wrong. Manuel Pellegrini had the chance to blood some of his younger players alongside some more experienced heads and that resulted in a convincing 5-1 win and keeps up Manchester City's tremendous home form.

Goals haven't been a problem for Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium even in the absence of David Silva and Sergio Aguero and that doesn't bode well for Norwich City who have conceded plenty on their travels. Both of Norwich City's away losses in the Premier League have come by wide margins and this is a team that might be lacking confidence having failed to win any of their last 5 games in all competitions and losing 3 straight Premier League games.

One benefit for Norwich City could be the big Champions League game Manchester City have to play during the week, but I am not sure that is enough for them to slow down this team. Kevin De Bruyne has fitted in seamlessly to the Manchester City squad and has begun to become a more and more influential player for them in the final third, while Wilfried Bony's confidence will have been given a boost from his goal over Crystal Palace.

It's hard to see how Norwich City will contain a team that is looking to push on in the Premier League and who have banged in eighteen goals in four home games. This looks a tough day in the office for the away side making the long trip across the country and I think Manchester City will become the third team to beat Norwich City on their travels in the Premier League and the third by at least a two goal margin.

Watford v West Ham United PickWest Ham United have a very fine recent history of visiting Vicarage Road having won 9 of their last 13 visits to this ground including last time out. However, that game was four seasons ago and things have changed for both clubs in that time starting with the fact that this is a Premier League fixture and not a Championship fixture like last time.

No one can deny how impressive the West Ham United season has been to this point with wins over three of the top four from last season and also Liverpool. Their wins away from home at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have been mighty impressive, but this weekend feels different.

Slaven Bilic's team have already failed to beat Sunderland, Norwich City and Bournemouth this season, all teams that occupy places in the bottom six, and I do wonder if they can deal with the different aspect of facing a team they will expect to beat. It is 'easy' to go to grounds like Anfield and The Etihad Stadium with 'nothing to lose' and being able to produce big performances, but West Han United haven't been as good when they've been expected to get forward and win games.

That has particularly been the case at Upton Park, but I think this weekend they can show there is more to their team than just being able to surprise the big teams on their day. West Ham United do have goals in the side and that has to be a big concern for Watford who have scored just one goal at home all season and not been as effective in front of their own fans as they have on their travels.

Defensively they have been sound, but Watford haven't kept a clean sheet in their last couple of home games and that will be a concern when facing a team like West Ham United. The Hammers have scored at least twice in every away game they have played this season in the Premier League and reaching that tally would surely be enough to win the game.

Out of principle I think West Ham United need to be given a small interest in this match as they are the underdog in a fixture where they seem to hold the edge. They have more goals, have been more effective as away team while Watford have struggled at home, and West Ham United should have plenty of confidence having beaten Chelsea last weekend.

My one concern is that West Ham United have failed to win games following the victories over Manchester City and Arsenal, but they did after winning at Liverpool and can back up the Chelsea win. Either way, West Ham United shouldn't be the underdog in this fixture and I will have a small interest they win this game.

West Brom v Leicester City PickThere is no doubt that West Brom are looking to get back to basics by becoming a very difficult side to beat and doing just enough to earn the three points. The last two games they have rode their luck at times and I am not sure they will have the same benefit on Saturday when high-scoring and high-octane Leicester City come to town.

It also has to be remembered that West Brom haven't shown the same toughness at home as they have on their travels and this is a team that is vulnerable to the speed and directness that Leicester City will look to attack with.

The Leicester City away games remain full of goals and I can see them forcing West Brom into a match that Tony Pulis might not necessarily want. He has to have his side going forward being at home and that space will be crucial for Leicester City to exploit and perhaps go on and win this game.

That won't be easy because West Brom will have their chances to score too, but I do think the chance of there being at least three goals shared looks under-estimated by some margin by the layers. A Tony Pulis coached West Brom team conceded three times to Leicester City last season and both teams will have their opportunities to score in this one.

Outside of the win over Sunderland, West Brom's four other home League games are averaging over three goals per game and three of their five home games have featured at least three goals. With The Foxes scoring plenty themselves, the odds against quote for goals looks a little too big.

MY PICKS: Chelsea @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Crystal Palace-Manchester United Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.25 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Manchester City - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
West Ham United @ 3.00 Coral (1 Unit)
West Brom-Leicester City Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.15 Bet Victor (2 Units)

October Update16-25, - 8.81 Units (70.50 Units Staked, - 12.50% Yield)
September Final29-30-3, + 4.18 Units (117.5 Units Staked, + 3.58% Yield)
August Final16-31-1, - 24.34 Units (94 Units Staked, - 25.89% Yield)

Season 2015/1616-31-1, - 24.34 Units (94 Units Staked, - 25.89% Yield)
Season 2014/15159-208-5, - 20.22 Units (647 Units Staked, - 3.13% Yield)
Season 2013/14164-185-3, + 15.84 Units (577 Units Staked, + 2.75% Yield)

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


  1. Man you are terrible at picking teams ...I should bet against your picks .I will win more