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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Weekend Football Picks 2016 (November 26-27)

We head back into the domestic football action this weekend after the Champions League and Europa League took centre stage during the week.

The football is going to start coming thick and fast at this time of the season with two games a week something of a routine for many of the top clubs going right through to the first week of January.

After a really tough November I mentioned a couple of days ago that I simply wanted an end to the month where I could reduce some of the negative numbers and build some momentum to take into December and a busy month ahead.

It was much better than that this past week as I have got all the way back into the black with a 14-3-1 run in the Champions League and Europa League games. Hopefully I can keep that momentum going through this weekend and have a chance to put a positive November together which will give me more than a little positive mood to take into December and far exceed what I was expecting.

Burnley v Manchester City Pick: The Premier League opens at Turf Moor this weekend as Burnley look to bounce back from an embarrassing 4-0 loss at West Brom on Monday Night Football and maintain a solid record at home in the League. Burnley have lost 1 of their last 6 games at Turf Moor in the Premier League and even that loss to Arsenal came thanks to a last minute goal in what had been a competitive match before that.

Even better for Burnley is the fact they have won 3 of their last 4 League games here to keep clear of the bottom three, but it will be a big test to contain a Manchester City team that has found goals no problem in many away games this season. They are coming in off impressive League wins at West Brom and Crystal Palace while Manchester City moved through to the Champions League Second Round with a hard fought draw at Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

That game in Germany has to worry me in terms of how much energy Manchester City can produce in an early kick off against a local rival who are going to love to show up one of the big Premier League teams. Burnley will work hard and defend in numbers, but there is so much quality in the Manchester City team going forward that it is hard to expect them not to find a way to break down their hosts.

However the Manchester City defence have looked far from comfortable and Burnley have shown they can score goals at home having done so against the likes of Liverpool and Everton here in the League. Burnley didn't score against Arsenal, but had a couple of half chances in that one, while you can't ignore the fact that Manchester City have conceded goals at Swansea City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace on their travels.

It looks a big price to see both teams score in the early kick off as Burnley take advantage of any fatigue in the Manchester City squad and also are likely to be a danger from set pieces. I'd be stunned if Manchester City can't score here with their own quality and it looks a big price for both teams scoring in the early game.

Leicester City v Middlesbrough PickEarning their spot in the Second Round of the Champions League as winners of their Group has been a fantastic achievement for Leicester City although they weren't exactly in the most taxing of Groups. Claudio Ranieri will be hoping they can take that form into the Premier League where Leicester City have been far too inconsistent this season, although being back at home could be important.

They have mainly struggled away from home, but Leicester City have won half of their League games at the King Power Stadium and come into this one with 3 wins from their last 4 home games.

It will be a difficult test for Leicester City against a Middlesbrough team who have proven tough to beat in the Premier League but particularly away from home. Draws at Arsenal and Manchester City are impressive results and Middlesbrough might have got more at The Emirates Stadium with better composure in front of goal.

Goals have been a problem for them and it is the reason I believe Leicester City will get the better of Middlesbrough this weekend. The Foxes have only failed to score in 1 of their last 9 home games in all competitions and Leicester City have scored twice in 5 of those games. Getting to that number will be tough for Middlesbrough to peg back, but I also think there is a chance that Leicester City can secure the three points with a solitary strike.

They do have a good home record against Middlesbrough in recent years too and I will back Ranieri's team to find a way to break down a tough Boro team in this one.

Liverpool v Sunderland PickYou aren't going to become rich backing Liverpool at short odds to beat Sunderland this weekend as the layers are taking no chances with their pricing on the home side. Even the Asian Handicap needs Liverpool to win by at least three goals to have a chance of coming back a winner and it is hard to feel good about that at odds on.

I do think Liverpool are much better than Sunderland but David Moyes will have to try and get his side to dig in and prevent the home team being out of sight by half time. Wins in back to back Premier League games will give them confidence, but they haven't faced a team as good as Liverpool in recent away games and weathering the storm is going to be difficult.

As much as Moyes wants Sunderland to become harder to beat, The Black Cats have conceded in the first 20 minutes of 3 of their last 6 games in all competitions. That is a problem against a Liverpool side that plays with a very high tempo early in games which has given them the platform to put their wins together.

Prior to Manchester United's visit to Anfield I made a point that teams need to contain Liverpool for the first 30 minutes if they are going to beat this version of their team. Fast starts have been a feature of the Liverpool performance, but their style is difficult to maintain over 90 minutes and Sunderland have to stay with them early.

This is the sixth time Liverpool are playing a Premier League game at Anfield this season and they have scored twice in 4 of their previous 5 games here. The only points dropped is when Manchester United went in with a goalless draw at half time in their visit to Anfield, but Leicester City, Hull City, West Brom and Watford have almost been out of contention by half time.

I fear that might happen to a Sunderland team that have conceded early goals to Manchester City and Arsenal this season and backing Liverpool to score at least twice in the first half is a huge price. Liverpool have managed to do that in half of their Premier League games this season and in 4 of 5 at Anfield and that looks a big price being offered by Coral.

Sunderland will defend deep, but they are missing some key defenders in this one and it might be a long day for them which begins by struggling to contain Liverpool in the first half. Teams of a similar standard have been blown away by Liverpool early in games and I will back the home team to hit their numbers at Coral.

Swansea City v Crystal Palace Pick: Swansea City have made a recent change in the manager's office and the suggestion is that Crystal Palace may be looking for a new manager if they lose again this weekend. Alan Pardew has masked his performance as manager at Crystal Palace with a run to the FA Cup Final back in May and he was was moments from winning that competition, but the League form in 2016 has been remarkably poor.

This looks a good chance to turn the page and start putting in some wins and moving up the Premier League table. Swansea City may have drawn last weekend at Everton, but they haven't been very good at home where they are expected to get forward and attack.

I do think they can create chances against the Crystal Palace defence, but I also think the visitors have some quality attacking players who can expose the issues Swansea City have had at the back. Both teams have scored and conceded in huge numbers in recent weeks and an early goal could really open this one up.

Crystal Palace have conceded three times at Leicester City and Burnley in their last couple of away games, while Swansea City have conceded at least twice in 5 of their last 6 at home. I do think both teams will score once and the importance of both teams securing the three points may see both Swansea City and Crystal Palace take a few more risks than some think and lead to a fairly high-scoring game and one that might not be expected.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur PickIt looks like Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will be going into this London derby in contrasting forms and confidence and the layers tend to agree by placing the home team as a short favourite to win this game. On current form it is hard to argue with that as Chelsea have been scoring goals for fun, but also putting together plenty of clean sheets to move to the top of the Premier League.

Personally I can't back Chelsea at the prices considering Tottenham Hotspur are still unbeaten in the Premier League, but it is hard to see how the away team can pick themselves up after the disappointing end to the Champions League campaign. Defensive injuries and suspensions are a big concern and Hugo Lloris is going to need to produce a huge game to help Tottenham Hotspur avoid defeat.

Chelsea have been clinical in front of goal during their 6 game winning run in the League especially at Stamford Bridge where they have scored 12 goals in 3 games. Antonio Conte will feel his side can produce chances in this one and Tottenham Hotspur have not defended that well in recent games which is going to be an issue for them on Saturday.

I can see Chelsea definitely creating chances and scoring goals and I like the chances of seeing three goals combined at a bigger price than the home win. Despite the clean sheets, I do think Chelsea have given teams opportunities and Tottenham Hotspur have scored in their last 3 away games in all competitions which suggests they can play their part in this one.

The home team have been creating plenty themselves and Tottenham Hotspur's defending in recent games combined with Chelsea's scoring at Stamford Bridge might even see The Blues reach the three goal total on their own. 6 of the last 7 fixtures between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge have ended with three goals including the last 4 in a row and I will back goals in this one.

Tottenham Hotspur might have to attack to protect a defence missing half of the back four and I think the Chelsea run of clean sheets have been something of a mirage at times. Backing at least three goals should have every chance of coming in at a bigger price than backing Chelsea to win and that is my angle here.

Watford v Stoke City Pick: I was disappointed by some of the performances that Stoke City have produced this season but they have been better in recent weeks and should have got more out of their fixture with Bournemouth last weekend having missed a penalty. That came early in the second half and may have seen Stoke City turn around that game, and goals have been something of an issue for them despite some decent players in the final third.

They might have a little more success against a Watford team that are producing results with a new system in place but one that is not keeping too many clean sheets. Watford had a decent run of late but then conceded six at Liverpool and have only kept 1 clean sheet in their home games so far in the 2016/17 season.

I expect Stoke City to test them and the layers might be underestimating the chance of seeing goals in this one. That is because Watford are certainly capable of scoring goals and they have managed to do that in all but 2 League games this season. At Vicarage Road Watford have been more potent in front of goal with 3 of their last 4 games seeing the side score at least twice and this feels like a game where both teams will score and so seeing three goals is a distinct possibility.

It does have to be said that this is an early kick off on Sunday which can see players take their time getting the sleep out of the eyes and being able to produce some of their better football. Stoke City away games haven't been free flowing in terms of goals either, but I think Watford can drag them into a game and I will back at least three goals to be scored in this one.

Arsenal v Bournemouth PickGoing into November it was clear that Arsenal had three tough matches to open the month, but there might have been an expectation of getting more than three draws. Playing Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were all difficult games, but Arsenal fans won't be expecting a setback against Bournemouth in front of the television cameras on Sunday.

This does look a good game for Arsenal to get back to winning ways because Eddie Howe has a similar style of play but the home side have the extra quality. Unlike many teams that come to The Emirates Stadium, Bournemouth won't sit back in numbers but may allow Arsenal to play their football.

That is partly the reason Bournemouth have struggled when facing the best teams in the Premier League as they simply don't have the same level of performers as those teams. All credit to Howe for sticking to his principles as it is a reason that he is linked with big jobs like Arsenal and England which will potentially be in his future over the next eighteen months if Bournemouth continue taking steps forward as a club.

However those principles means it is hard for Bournemouth to contain the top clubs and I am not surprised they have suffered one-sided losses to Manchester United and Manchester City in the League this season. That style has also seen Bournemouth lose 8 of their 11 League defeats since August 2015 by at least two goals and I think they may have some issues containing Arsenal.

It is hard to ignore the fact that Arsenal have drawn 3 of their last 4 at The Emirates Stadium including against Middlesbrough, but I expect the home team to have more spaces to exploit this weekend. I will back them to cover the Asian Handicap knowing a narrow win will return half the stakes and I think Arsenal likely match their 2-0 wins over Bournemouth from both Premier League games last season.

Manchester United v West Ham United PickThe Thursday night win over Feyenoord was much needed for Manchester United as they finally turned a good performance into a good result. They are in the midst of a four game run at Old Trafford and Manchester United will look to keep the momentum going as we get set to enter a busy December.

West Ham United will become a familiar opponent over the next few days as they visit Manchester United in the Premier League and days later will return for an English Football League Cup Quarter Final. They will be hoping they can find their feet away from home as The Hammers continue to concede goals at an alarming rate on their travels and that will be an issue if Manchester United have started to find their eye in front of goal.

One concern has to be that Manchester United have won 1 of their last 4 Premier League games after coming out of the Europa League. However that did come after Match Day 4 when beating Swansea City 1-3 away from home after playing in Turkey and being home following a home game should mean the short turnaround is less of an issue.

Some will say Stoke City earned a 1-1 draw in that spot, but I've no idea how Manchester United didn't win that game and I like the home team to make it two wins in a row. They should be able to create chances against a West Ham United team who have conceded at least twice in all but one away game in the Premier League and who have lost 4 of 6 away Premier League games by at least two goals.

With Winston Reid missing it could be a bigger problem for West Ham United to contain this Manchester United team and ultimately I can see the home team pulling off a win by a couple of goals. You can't discount West Ham United being able to play their part with their attacking threat that has scored in all but one away game, but I think Manchester United prove too good before they have to do it all again in a few days time.

Aston Villa v Cardiff City PickBoth Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock have recently arrived as new managers at Aston Villa and Cardiff City respectively in a bid to revive the fortunes of clubs that have been underachieving. They have similarities in the starts made at their new clubs with both Aston Villa and Cardiff City beginning to earn positive results which will see them move away from the bottom three.

Aston Villa are slightly further along, but Bruce will be aware that his team need to show more in front of goal if they are going to put a long winning run together to shoot up the League table. They have scored in each of the 6 games Bruce has been in charge of, but Aston Villa have scored more than once only twice and that is a problem when facing a Cardiff City team that have scored in 5 of their last 6 games.

Backing both teams to score in this one is perhaps an appealing angle, but I have been impressed with most of the recent Aston Villa performances under their new manager. They should have beaten Brighton last week which would have given the players a huge boost of confidence and Cardiff City are still trying to find some consistent performances away from home.

The price on both teams to score is a good one, but at a very similar price you can back Aston Villa to win this game. I do think the home team have a slight edge and have just started turning in wins at Villa Park with 2 in a row. It will be tight and a Cardiff City goal is a problem, but I think Aston Villa will find the opportunities to score twice in this one and will pick up three more important points.

Brighton v Fulham PickIt wasn't the best Brighton performance of the season when they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, but that is not a bad result when not at your best. Generally they have been able to perform very well at home and Brighton are deservedly the favourites to win this game.

You don't want to dismiss Fulham easily considering they have lost just 1 away game in the League all season, but this might be the toughest away game they would have played outside of Aston Villa. Of course they were beaten at Villa Park and I do think Brighton can earn a narrow win in this one too.

It won't be an easy game and Brighton will have to weather some Fulham pressure but they have shown they can perform much better at home than they did against Aston Villa. I expect a response from that game and Chris Hughton hasn't overseen too many back to back disappointing performances at The Amex Stadium.

I expected Brighton to be shorter in the market than they are and I think they earn a narrow win over Fulham this weekend.

Derby County v Norwich City PickThere isn't the same expectation for goals in this game from the layers as I have had and I believe Derby County and Norwich City can combine for at least three goals shared out on Saturday. Earlier this season Derby County had been struggling for goals, but they have scored 8 in their last 3 League games and have scored at least twice in each game.

The defending has remained pretty solid, but Derby County are facing a Norwich City team who have scored in 7 of their last 8 away games in all competitions. It is hard to see how Norwich City will keep Derby County from scoring considering they have conceded at least twice in 4 of their last 6 away games in all competitions and their last 7 away games in the Championship have featured at least three goals each time.

This is a fixture that has produced goals in the recent past and I do think both teams will find their way to score in this one. Derby County have been scoring plenty themselves and could perhaps cover this number on their own, but I do think Norwich City will play their part in this game and help secure the three goals combined to bring home a winner.

Preston North End v Burton Albion PickIn a Division where teams can beat and be defeated by most others in the League, Preston North End might be one of the more inconsistent ones that can be hard to trust on a week by week basis. Their 4-1-4 record at Deepdale kind of highlights those issues, but this looks a good moment to back Preston North End.

They have not won either of their last 2 home games, but are facing a Burton Albion team who have lost 4 of their last 5 away games and have been conceding far too many goals on their travels in recent weeks.

A lack of goals hasn't helped Burton Albion either and they might just be struggling to reach the levels required on a weekly basis in the Championship. It is no surprise for a team that has had back to back promotions through the Divisions that they have hit a wall of sorts and I think Preston North End can take advantage.

Preston North End are shorter than Reading were a week ago, but I think The Royals were too big and this side are about the right price to win this game. I will back Preston North End to earn the three points this weekend.

Reading v Bristol City PickOne of the teams in the Championship in very strong form at the moment is Reading and I think they have every chance of keeping the momentum going. They have won 4 in a row in the League and that includes their last couple of games at the Majedski Stadium, while Reading are also facing a Bristol City team who have been struggling of late.

A team who have lost 3 of their last 4 overall and 3 of their last 4 away games has to have had some of the confidence sapped from them. That is where Bristol City find themselves going into the weekend and The Robins also have a poor record in Reading where they have lost 4 in a row.

It does feel like Reading are catching Bristol City at the right time with the away side hitting a poor patch of form and I think the price on the home win is very tempting.

I do think the Reading form is very good at the moment and I will back them to win this weekend to continue their rise up the League table. They should be full of confidence and they should arguably be much shorter a price than they are as they look to become the latest to get the better of Bristol City.

MY PICKS: Burnley-Manchester City Both Teams Score @ 2.00 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Leicester City @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Liverpool Over 1.5 First Half Goals @ 2.45 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Swansea City-Crystal Palace Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Watford-Stoke City Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Arsenal - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Manchester United - 1.25 Asian Handicap @ 2.09 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Aston Villa @ 1.85 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Brighton @ 1.95 Bet365 (2 Units)
Derby County-Norwich City Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.05 William Hill (2 Units)
Preston North End @ 2.15 William Hill (2 Units)
Reading @ 2.50 Bet Victor (2 Units)

November Update33-32-3, + 3.70 Units (133 Units Staked, + 2.78% Yield)

October Final29-41-2, - 21.23 Units (139 Units Staked, - 15.27% 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 2016/17102-107-5, + 4.94 Units (396 Units Staked, + 1.25% 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)

1 comment:

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