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

The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Weekend Football Picks 2015 (November 7-8)

It has been a really busy week for me which means I haven't been able to find consistent time to have the weekly recap or even any Champions League/Europa League Picks.

It was just one of those weeks when time seemed to disappear all too quickly.

Anyway, I will have the picks for this weekend Premier League games below.

Leicester City v Watford Pick: This looks the kind of game that both Leicester City and Watford will look at as one they could easily win this weekend despite the difference in the Premier League table.

It might look like these teams are in very different positions on paper, but Watford have earned just six points fewer than Leicester City. That is mainly down to an impressive away form where they are undefeated in 3 games on their travels and Watford have won 2 of those games including an impressive 0-2 win at Stoke City last time out.

They have some pace in the forward positions which will give them the chance to attack a Leicester City defence that has been vulnerable for much of the season. However, The Foxes did earn a clean sheet in their last game at home and Leicester City have been playing well enough to manage to overcome any of their defensive problems in other games which was highlighted again in a 2-3 win at West Brom last weekend.

Again it is thanks to the pace that Leicester City have in the forward areas that makes them so dangerous and it is Jamie Vardy who is the form player in the Premier League.

It won't be an easy game for either side as I can see both teams scoring and there being some chances at either end of the pitch. It will come down to which of the teams is a little more clinical when the chances are presented and I think that is where Leicester City can end Watford's recent run of form away from home in the Premier League.

Leicester City have won 5 of their last 8 home games against Watford in all competitions and they have lost just a single one of those games. After some difficult moments I am looking for Leicester City to win this game.

Manchester United v West Brom Pick: The last couple of weeks have been very difficult for Louis Van Gaal and I think the Dutchman might have been feeling the pressure when seeing the relief on his face as Manchester United scored against CSKA Moscow. Once again the defensive side of the game was very much in control for large parts by Manchester United, but they lacked ideas in the forward areas and the fans at Old Trafford have begun to have enough.

Some of the baffling tactical decisions and the insistence that Wayne Rooney is almost undroppable have both frustrated and irritated the fans. Rooney might have got the vital goal against CSKA Moscow during the week, but his overall contribution is not what the fans expect, especially as he seems to be keeping Anthony Martial out of his preferred position in the team.

The victory over CSKA Moscow was a vital one for Manchester United and they can build upon that in the Premier League where they look to stay on the coattails of both Manchester City and Arsenal. A poor month has seen the side slip to 4 points behind both of those teams and failing to beat West Brom would be a huge blow to what looked like genuine title ambitions a little over a month ago.

Louis Van Gaal has to know what to expect from West Brom and Tony Pulis who will look to make his team very difficult to beat. While the goals have flowed at The Hawthornes where West Brom are expected to attack, their five away Premier League games have produced just five goals in total. It can't be ignored that West Brom have won three of those games by the same 0-1 scoreline, but they have failed to score in the other two games.

West Brom have actually won their last 2 visits to Old Trafford so the home fans in attendance can't be expecting Manchester United to run over them. However, I think the win over CSKA Moscow will offer the home team a boost and I will expect them to use their defensive shape to contain West Brom for long enough before finding a winner.

It could be another tight and nervous game for Manchester United, but they can win this with a clean sheet.

West Ham United v Everton Pick: Out of all the games that are going to be played this weekend, you would have to say this is either the first or second that could produce a really entertaining game for the fans who are at the ground. Upton Park has really been behind the Slaven Bilic approach to things at West Ham United, although they continue to show a little more vulnerabilities at home than they have in the majority of their away games.

West Ham United will look to get on the front foot and attack an Everton team that has conceded a fair few goals of late and miss influential Phil Jagielka to organise the team. The likes of Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet will create chances against Everton and West Ham United have shown they have goals in the team as they have scored at least twice in their last four games at home.

Prior to the 2-0 defeat at Watford last week, West Ham United had scored at least two goals in eight consecutive Premier League and so this is clearly a side that will be able to create chances in this one. Everton are trying to avoid conceding at least two goals for the fourth League game in a row, although they will be confident having smashed Sunderland 6-2 last weekend.

Goals had been something of a problem for Everton prior to that game against Sunderland, but this is a team with creativity that should be doing more. Any squad that contains the likes of Ross Barkley, Aaron Lennon, Arouna Kone, Kevin Miralles and Romelu Lukaku should be able to provide more of a consistent threat in front of goal and that is what Roberto Martinez will be demanding to follow the six goals scored against Sunderland.

Earlier in the season Everton had been better defensively, but had a hard time scoring goals away from home. However that has been replaced with three away games producing at least three goals in the game and this is a fixture that has historically produced goals.

Seven of the last nine at Upton Park between West Ham United and Everton have seen at least three goals shared by the teams and that could be the case again on Saturday.

Aston Villa v Manchester City Pick: You have to believe that Remi Garde will have an impact as the new manager of Aston Villa, but the board have to hope that comes quickly if their club is going to avoid being cut off at the bottom of the Premier League. Garde might not have taken charge officially in the game last Monday, but he would have found out the size of his task to save Aston Villa in their 3-1 loss at Tottenham Hotspur.

Now he will look to try and end their losing run at seven straight Premier League games, but face a Manchester City team that have to be feeling in very good mood after a 1-3 win at Sevilla in the Champions League during the week. Only a missed penalty in injury time prevented Manchester City making it two straight 3-1 wins to head into this game, but they have won 7 of their last 8 games in all competitions.

One factor that Aston Villa will look to is that they have rarely been blown out at home, and all four of their losses at Villa Park in the Premier League have come by a single goal margin. They might see a Manchester City team without David Silva and Sergio Aguero and fancy their chances, but Aston Villa have to improve at both ends of the field.

There is no consistency in attack and Aston Villa don't look like a team that will score a lot of goals, but they also make too many mistakes at the back. That will be exploited by Manchester City if Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony continue showing the form they have been in recent games.

Manchester City have won 6 of their 8 away games in all competitions this season and it has to be noted that they have won 5 of those games by at least two goals. With the confidence of the Champions League success over Sevilla behind them which puts them on the brink of not only qualifying for the Second Round, but also winning the Group, I think Manchester City will look to go into the international break still in front in the Premier League.

That means going to Villa Park and picking up the three points and I like them to spoil Remi Garde's home debut as manager with a win by a couple of goals.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Pick: The North London derby looks to be the perfect way to round of this weekend's Premier League as domestic football is once again put on the shelf for two weeks to allow for the internationals to be played. Both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have some big aims this season and will be heading into the game on Sunday in contrasting moods.

The Gunners were hammered in Bayern Munich on Wednesday as their Champions League hopes were left hanging by a thread. On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur can thank a special goal from Moussa Dembele which allowed them to beat Anderlecht 2-1 and continue their fine form since losing to the Belgian team in the Europa League last month.

Since that defeat in Belgium, Spurs have won their last three games in a row in all competitions which includes a 1-5 win at Bournemouth in their last away game in the Premier League. However, that result ended a run of three away games without a win in all competitions and there has to be some trepidation in visiting Arsenal where the home team have been rampant.

Injuries are a concern for Arsenal fans, but Laurent Koscielny is still hopeful he can come in a strengthen a defence that was all over the shop in their loss in Munich. Arsene Wenger does have a number of injuries in the midfield to deal with, but he still can call upon the likes of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez who can give the Tottenham Hotspur defence plenty of things to think about.

I would be surprised if the fixture doesn't produce goals and Arsenal might have the mental edge having won a Capital One Cup game at White Hart Lane already this season. Arsenal certainly still look the better team and I think their price is attractive to win the game and likely boosted by the injury crisis and the loss to Bayern Munich.

They have had more time to prepare for this game which has to be taken into consideration. I also think the key players in midfield are still available for Arsenal and that can help them come through this match and win it by a narrow margin.

MY PICKS: Leicester City @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Manchester United Win to Nil @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
West Ham United-Everton Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Manchester City - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Arsenal @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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