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United Corner- Manchester United, New Season, Increased Expectations (August 11th)

United Corner- Manchester United, New Season, Increased Expectations (August 11th 2017) If you were going to grade the 2016/17 season...

Monday, 2 January 2017

Midweek Football Picks 2017 (January 2-4)

The quick turnaround in the fixtures this week means I will concentrate on the Premier League games to be played and the picks can be found below for the latest round of fixtures to be played.


Manchester City v Burnley Pick: There are plenty of question marks about Pep Guardiola as Manchester City have struggled over the last couple of months for consistent results and performances. I was one who thought he might be surprised by the intensity of the English Premier League compared to where he had managed before, but Guardiola does need at least a couple of seasons to mould the squad from the one that Manuel Pellegrini left behind.

The loss to Liverpool hurt Manchester City and they can't really afford to finish outside of the top four of the Premier League table and miss the chance to play in the Champions League. However this game certainly gives them a really good chance to bounce back even if Burnley have had back to back confidence boosting wins to move into mid-table.

Burnley also surprised Manchester City two seasons ago by coming from 2-0 down to earn a draw at The Etihad Stadium, but this is a team that has struggled for goals away from home. The Manchester City defence is far from watertight, but I would expect them to dominate the ball and limit the opportunities the away side have.

Keeping clean sheets has been a problem for Manchester City that Guardiola needs to resolve, but I would expect the home team to earn one in this game. They did that against Watford in a home win a few weeks ago and Burnley haven't shown the same ability to score goals away from home as they have at Turf Moor.

The price is perhaps a little shorter than I anticipated, but one that can still be backed as I look for Manchester City to win this game with a clean sheet behind them.


Sunderland v Liverpool Pick: David Moyes could not hide his disgust in the way his Sunderland team played in the loss to Burnley on Saturday and this club looks doomed barring a miracle or heavy investment in the January transfer window. They have at least played better at home with 3 wins from their last 4 games at The Stadium of Light, but those have come against teams in the bottom half of the table.

On the other hand Sunderland have lost heavily against Everton and Arsenal here and then were a little unfortunate in the defeat to Chelsea. However injuries are piling up and their only real hope is that Liverpool are perhaps lacking some energy having kicked off in the late Saturday afternoon slot.

That was a concern for Jurgen Klopp when the fixtures for television were selected a few weeks ago, but he has to be feeling better with 4 wins in a row for his club. Liverpool have played well for the most part too and they have an attacking edge that is going to give Sunderland a lot of problems in this one.

Liverpool have won on three previous visits here and I think it would be a big surprise if they don't make it four in a row considering how Sunderland have played over the last week. They have been conceding too many goals and Liverpool have the players in the final third to expose the vulnerabilities.

The last two wins for Liverpool here have ended 0-1 but I think they win by a little wider margin and I will back the away side to cover the Asian Handicap. They won 0-3 at Middlesbrough a couple of weeks ago and I think Liverpool win this game by at least a two goal margin.


West Ham United v Manchester United Pick: All credit has to be given to Jose Mourinho who made the attacking and risky substitutions that neither David Moyes nor Louis Van Gaal would have made as manager of Manchester United if they had been in the dugout at 0-1 against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

It paid off for Mourinho as Manchester United won 2-1 and there is clearly some confidence being developed at Old Trafford with 12 games unbeaten and 6 wins in a row behind them. A Premier League game against Liverpool looms large in two weeks time, but Manchester United have three games prior to that and won't want to drop momentum before heading into that game.

This is a tough test for them against a West Ham United team who have shown improvement in recent games. The Hammers are playing better at The London Stadium and they have won 2 in a row here since being embarrassed by Arsenal.

However the performance against Hull City was far from up to the standard expected and a similar level to that might see Manchester United running rampant here. There are goals in the away side who have scored at least twice in 4 of their last 5 away games but Manchester United are slightly short for me to win this one.

I do think Manchester United will need to score at least twice to beat West Ham United who have scored in their last 7 home games in all competitions. That leads me to backing at least three goals to be scored knowing Manchester United could reach this total themselves if they produce their very best in front of goal and this is a fixture that generally does produce at least three goals.


Bournemouth v Arsenal Pick: This feels like it is a big month for Arsenal if they have genuine belief they can win the Premier League table with the fixtures scheduled ahead. Games at Bournemouth are not easy, but teams who want to be Champions have to win here and I think Arsenal can do that during the week.

The Gunners have a run of 4 winnable fixtures ahead of their League game against Chelsea early next month and will expect they can close the 9 point gap to The Blues who are leading the table. In that same time Chelsea have to play at Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool so this is a big month ahead for Arsene Wenger who has insisted Arsenal are capable of winning the title again under his watch.

I do have to say that this is the kind of game that would have tripped up Arsenal in the past, but I also believe Bournemouth are the kind of open football team that will struggle against the top clubs. The 4-3 win over Liverpool is an exception to prove the rule because Bournemouth were down and out in that game at 1-3 and Liverpool looking likely to score a fourth.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have all beaten Bournemouth this season and Arsenal have the kind of talent that will enjoy the spaces they are likely to be given. Bournemouth are a threat going the other way, but Arsenal are unlikely to blow a third away game in a row where they lead 0-1 and I think they close the show if they get in front.

Taking their chances will be key and not letting Bournemouth hang around as Liverpool ultimately did, but this is a team that were beaten by Sunderland and Southampton in recent games at The Vitality Stadium. I expect Arsenal will have too much on the day and I will back them to win at a decent price.


Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea Pick: The 'Battle of Stamford Bridge' at the end of the 2015/16 season will be a memorable game for both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea players and fans and there won't be any love lost even meeting this early in the season. It won't be lost on Tottenham Hotspur how much joy Chelsea had in stopping them win the title and I think this will be a game that many of the players have looked forward to.

The key for Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino is to take some of the emotion out of the game in fear of losing players to sending offs in what is a very important game for both clubs. A win for Tottenham Hotspur will reignite the Premier League title race, but a win for Chelsea might have a number of people giving The Blues the title already.

I am not sure what I think of Chelsea.

I still believe they are a team that is not as strong as the 13 game winning run would suggest as they have rode their luck on a number of occasions in that time. They are now facing an in-form Tottenham Hotspur team who have been very good at White Hart Lane and scoring goals for fun and I do have a gut feeling the home team will pull the victory.

However they won't have it all of their own way as Tottenham Hotspur have not looked as secure defensively and I can see Chelsea posing a few problems of their own. While the teams have solid defensive stats from their home/away games respectively over the course of the season, I think this might be one that features at least three goals with both teams scoring at least once.

The layers are not sure this will be an open game, but I think they can match the three goals they shared out at Stamford Bridge with a gut feeling telling me that Tottenham Hotspur can be on the right side of the split this time.

MY PICKS: Manchester City Win to Nil @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Liverpool - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.98 Bet Victor (2 Units)
West Ham United-Manchester United Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Arsenal @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tottenham Hotspur-Chelsea Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Bet365 (2 Units)

December Final38-40, - 7.93 Units (153 Units Staked, - 5.18% Yield)
November Final40-38-3, + 5.76 Units (159 Units Staked, + 3.62% 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 2016/17180-185-8, + 2.77 Units (708 Units Staked, + 0% 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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