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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Weekend Football Picks 2016 (October 29-31)

This has been a poor month for the football picks with too many late goals hurting the picks and effectively sending those picks going backwards.

Last week it was West Brom scoring late after taking a battering from Liverpool to prevent a two goal loss, during the week it was Chelsea scoring with the last kick of the game to score the third goal of that game with West Ham United. Just those two picks alone, which are far from the only late goals that have gone against me in October, would have seen this month in a much stronger position and I am disappointed by that.

This weekend is now an important one to make sure October doesn't end with negative momentum to take into November and the host of matches that are due to be played. It is also a big one for a number of teams in their domestic Leagues as they try and get some points on the board and start moving towards a really busy time in the English calendar.

There is one more international break coming up at the end of next weekend's games and then it is a clear run for a few months where all of the competitions begin to take shape.

Sunderland v Arsenal PickThis has become a really big game for David Moyes if his plan is to have a long-term future as Sunderland manager because another defeat would surely put his position under the microscope. It has been a really poor start for Moyes but some of that is down to the misfortune that has hurt his Sunderland team.

A late goal cost Sunderland a point at West Ham United last weekend and they also have blown a 2-0 home lead over Crystal Palace in what turned out to be an eventual 2-3 defeat. That has to have knocked the confidence of the manager and the players who have now failed to score in any of their last 3 games in all competitions.

Things won't have been helped by Moyes' comments about the standard of the squad at his disposal and this looks a bad game for Sunderland to be facing on Saturday afternoon.

Arsenal are looking to bounce back from two points dropped against Middlesbrough at home last week and you have to think there will be a response to that game. They have played well away from home with plenty of goals in the side making life difficult for opponents and it is hard to see how Sunderland will stay with them if they get behind.

A lack of goals for the home team coupled with the quality in the Arsenal squad would mean it is a surprise if The Gunners aren't winning this game this weekend. I expect a better performance than the one they produced last week as Arsenal go into a big week which ends with the home game against Tottenham Hotspur. I think Arsenal begin the week with a fairly comfortable afternoon in the North East and I will back them to cover the Asian Handicap.

Manchester United v Burnley PickWednesday night and the win over Manchester City, regardless of the quality of the starting line up Pep Guardiola picked, was a big moment for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. Coming out of a difficult four game run with a couple of wins under their belt and a draw at Anfield is not a bad return, but of course the focus was always going to be on the collapse at Stamford Bridge.

Conceding after less than a minute is played is absolutely the worst way Manchester United could have started that game and it was always going to be a difficult afternoon from that point. The scoreline most definitely flattered Chelsea with a couple of counter attack goals as Manchester United got closer to perhaps making a game of things.

Jose Mourinho has admitted he wanted a Premier League game immediately after the defeat at Stamford Bridge and I think this could be a difficult afternoon for Burnley. Manchester United have played well at Old Trafford for the most part this season and they created enough chances in the last Premier League game here against Stoke City to win two games.

It also can't be ignored the difficulty that Burnley have had setting up effectively away from home. They have been beaten comfortably by Chelsea, Leicester City and Southampton already and Burnley have seemed to have fallen apart when the first goal has been conceded as they have struggled with the balance between attack and defence at that point.

Burnley have gotten further and further into games before conceding, but that hasn't stopped them allowing three goals in each away game they have played in the Premier League. If Burnley get to that position at Old Trafford I think they are going to struggle to get near the Asian Handicap.

Backing Manchester United to win by at least two goals will return half the stake and the other will be a winner. But it is easy to see Manchester United match the results Chelsea and Leicester City have earned in this one for the full payout too.

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City Pick: The suggestions are that Harry Kane will be back in the Tottenham Hotspur squad next Sunday when they play in the North London derby and recent games have suggested that Tottenham Hotspur have missed Kane. They scored at Liverpool during the week, but Tottenham Hotspur had back to back goalless draws with Bayer Leverkusen and Bournemouth prior to that in which they looked to be missing that final piece up front.

They are back at White Hart Lane for the first time since beating Manchester City in the Premier League and Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping that sparks their form. This is a big week ahead for Tottenham Hotspur who face Leicester City and Arsenal in the League around a big Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen and I can see them getting off to a positive start.

Being at home is one factor, but the fact they are playing Leicester City who have been conceding goals at an alarming rate on their travels has to give Tottenham Hotspur confidence. There are some suggesting Claudio Ranieri should rest players for the Champions League game in Denmark on Wednesday, but I can't see that happening.

For starters that game is on Wednesday so plenty of rest time before then, the second factor is that Leicester City have put themselves in a really strong position in the Champions League Group and can afford not to win that game. I don't think Leicester City ever play to lose, but earning three points in the Premier League is definitely more important for them and I can see The Foxes being dangerous when Tottenham Hotspur push forward.

Tottenham Hotspur don't concede too many goals at White Hart Lane, but Leicester City have created chances away from home and I can see at least three goals being shared out by these teams. I do think Leicester City are underachieving at the moment, but can start building momentum with the fixtures they have coming up although that might have to wait another week and I think goals might be the order of the day.

West Brom v Manchester City Pick: Tony Pulis has been rewarded for his work at The Hawthornes by having his contract extended as manager which has also put to rest those rumours that he has been unhappy at West Brom. Pulis does exactly what is says on the tin and that is to keep teams in the Premier League which seems to be the limit of West Brom's ambitions at this moment in time.

The last couple of games has seen West Brom draw with Tottenham Hotspur here and narrowly lose to Liverpool at Anfield, but Pulis can thank Ben Foster for two big performances in keeping the score down. It is another test for Foster when Manchester City come to town looking to snap a 6 game run without a win.

Pep Guardiola has been given something of a pass for the Manchester City results of late and another failure to win will give them no momentum to take into the Barcelona game during the week. Kevin De Bruyne could return having missed the Manchester derby in the English Football League Cup Fourth Round during the week, while the continued deployment of Sergio Aguero on the bench is a big surprise.

You still have to think Manchester City have enough quality to see off West Brom although the concern is the way they have continued to make mistakes defensively. Giving West Brom something to hold onto will make life very difficult for Manchester City because the home team are going to defend deep and in large numbers to keep the away team at bay.

Barring another masterclass from Foster, I think West Brom are going to struggle here. Manchester City have looked threatening enough going forward and the chances created by Tottenham Hotspur here a couple of weeks ago are unlikely to be missed by Manchester City at the same rate as Tottenham Hotspur did.

I think it is a matter of time before Manchester City click again and I think that might happen here as West Brom let them have the possession and build the pressure and I will back Manchester City to cover the Asian Handicap.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool PickThe closest Liverpool have come to winning a top flight title since 1990 has to have been the 2013/14 season and it is the 3-3 draw at Selhurst Park which is the game where most focus when they talk about how Liverpool blew the opportunity to win the title. Liverpool led 0-3 that day before being pegged back, but both Tony Pulis and Brendan Rodgers manage elsewhere these days.

Now it is Alan Pardew and Jurgen Klopp who will be leading their teams into battle in the second live offering on Saturday in the Premier League.

This looks like it could be an entertaining game as both Crystal Palace and Liverpool will feel they can get plenty of joy in the final third in this game and the right passes in that area should lead to chances and goals.

Christian Benteke should be fired up for Crystal Palace as he will feel he owes them a performance having missed a penalty in the last game at Selhurst Park and also playing against the club who felt he was surplus to requirements this summer.

Crystal Palace will need their forward players at their best against a Liverpool team that have scored plenty of goals in recent weeks and this looks like a game that will produce goals. Recent history suggests the same with both League games between them ending with at least three goals scored last season.

The last 5 games at Selhurst Park have also seen at least three goals shared out and Liverpool have shown they can be as good going forward as they are vulnerable at the back. With the goalkeeper struggling from crosses, Crystal Palace have the quality from set pieces and with their wide play to give him problems and it is also difficult to see how Liverpool will fail to score having scored at least twice in their last 3 away games.

The odds are tempting enough and I will back at least three goals to be shared out by these teams on Saturday afternoon.

It's been a busier week than usual for me with things coming up in the evenings when I usually put these threads together. That means I've simply added the Sunday and Monday Picks below without a full break of the game.

MY PICKS: Arsenal - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Manchester United - 1.75 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Bet365 (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur-Leicester City Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.85 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Manchester City - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.12 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Crystal Palace-Liverpool Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Everton-West Ham United Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.75 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Southampton-Chelsea Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.15 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Stoke City @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)

October Update25-37-2, - 21.09 Units (123 Units Staked, - 17.15% Yield)

September Final43-28-1, + 35.17 Units (133 Units Staked, + 26.44% Yield)
August Final31-38-2, - 9 Units (124 Units Staked, - 7.26% Yield)
Season 2016/1773-66-3, + 26.17 Units (257 Units Staked, + 10.18% Yield)

Season 2015/16133-174-2, + 0.89 Units (669 Units Staked, + 0% 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)

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