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  • Chris Sobey

Football


This weekend’s domestic football action kicks-off tonight with the live EFL Championship game between rock bottom Ipswich, who last won in April and are already five points adrift, and fifth pace promotion chasing West Brom at Portman Road. Ipswich are the draw specialist at Portman Road, drawing six of their eight league home games this season that the majority of came against top-half form teams, and their two defeats came against Middlesbrough and QPR recently.

There is one positive for the Tractor Boys, which is they have a good record against the Baggies at Portman Road winning four of their seven previous encounters, including two of the last three, but these did come between 1998 and 2010.

If you’re interested in having a bet on this game the draw is obviously an attractive option based on the number of draws Ipswich recorded at the league at home this season and the Baggies inconsistent away form. Also, sometimes the top teams struggle when facing relegation threatened opposition, especially at this level with the margins being so small, and while the draw it is tempting, I’m sensing an upset here and putting my faith in Ipswich and the Match Double result Ipswich Win and & Under 3.5 Goals.

There’s no early kick-off in the Premier League tomorrow but there are six 3pm and the live team-time kick-off to wet the appetite. From the 3pm kick-offs there’s a few games of interest from a betting perspective. Cardiff have lost heavily to all the top-half of the table teams they played away from home this season and their task won’t get any easier today against eighth place Everton, who lost only one of their six league home games this season, winning the other five scoring twelve goals and conceding only six in the process. Cardiff have not won away in the league so far this season, losing four and drawing one, and they conceded eleven and only managed to score twice during this period.

If current form continues, I see Everton recording their fifth league home win tomorrow and in search of betting value I think the Match Double markets Everton Win & BTTS or Everton Win and Over 3.5 goals should go close to returning a nice profit. There’s a big relegation six-pointer clash tomorrow between rock bottom Fulham and fourth from bottom Southampton at Craven Cottage tomorrow and with only three points separating them a win and three points will be a huge boost for either team in their fight against relegation.

Fulham became the first Premier League club to sack their manager this season and they expediently replaced him with Italian legend Claudio Ranieri, who famously lead Leicester City to Premier League glory. Prior to this Southampton would have been of interest from a betting perspective, but I’m going to opt for Ranieri to inspire his troops today, outwit the visitors and record their second home win of the season.

Manchester United are currently facing a potential first-team injury crisis with doubts over Pogba, Martial, Lukaku, Rashford and Shaw for tomorrow’s clash against fifth from bottom Palace, who also have a growing injury crisis the highest profile being former United player Zaha. Palace don’t have a great record without Zaha or against United at Old Trafford in the league losing the last six and they won five by two or more clear goals. If United aren’t missing most players mentioned above, I expect a similar result to previous corresponding encounters but as this is an unknown factor the match does not appeal from a betting perspective.

Second place Liverpool travel to seventh placed Watford and if last season’s 3-3 six goal thriller at Vicarage Road is anything to go by, we could be in for another highly entertaining goal-fest. Watford’s league success has surprised many pundits this season and at home they’ve been solid winning four of their six games but have experienced a blip at times losing against Man Utd 1-2 and their heaviest defeat so far this season against Bournemouth 0-4.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the league away from home so far this season winning four and drawing twice and the two draws came against top-six teams Arsenal 1-1 and Chelsea 1-1. However, recently they’ve struggled on their travels with just one win in their last five, which came against lowly Huddersfield 0-1, they drew 1-1 with Chelsea and their two defeats came in the Champions League 2-0 away at Red Star Belgrade and Napoli 1-0.

The Reds can’t task heart from their record against Watford at Vicarage Road winning four of their six matches there, but on the downside their star attacking line-up has failed to fire in their last five away games, netting only three times and conceding five. If Liverpool are going to emerge from their recent away slump with a convincing win today it will do a lot to alleviate this pressure and more importantly keep the pressure on leaders City. However, if they are going to achieve this, they need star men Salah, Mane and Firminho to be firing on all cylinders and their supporting attacking players to make some major contributions as this Watford team are talented enough and more than capable of making this a very close match on current form.

If you are looking for a betting angle on this match past corresponding fixtures suggest a Liverpool win and the goals will flow, however, the Reds recent poor away from and lack of goals is enough to put me off backing Liverpool and goals until I see improvement on the road. Instead I’m going to side with Watford from a scoring perspective and suggest their top-scoring in from attacking forward Pereyra (13/5) could extend his season tally to six within the 90 minutes today.

Reigning Premier League champions and current leaders Manchester City are also on their travels tomorrow and visit London to play West Ham at the magnificent London stadium. Both teams have growing injury lists affecting their first teams but City are obviously better equipped to cope due to their copious riches. The Hammers have steadily improved under the stewardship of new manager and former City manager Pellegrino, they now reside around mid-table but have witnessed a downturn again only winning one of their last six games overall.

City are unbeaten in the league so far this season winning ten and drawing twice, both their draws came away from home in the league and against Wolves and Liverpool 1-1 and they’ve ominously started to hit top form again. To put this in to perspective, they’ve scored 27 goals and only conceded two during this period. Corresponding league fixtures over the last decade have for the majority produced a minimum of three goals per match, six produced four or more goals and City won on seven occasions.

It’s hard to see City losing a game of this nature, especially as the Hammers could be missing a handful of influential first team players, and there could be plenty of goals again, however, City haven’t been as prolific scorers away from home so far in the league this season, which is enough to deter me from suggesting a Match Double of Man City Win and Over 3.5 Goals. Instead I’m going to suggest a couple of potential great value bets that involves goals, but I’m focussing on individual players and the Anytime Goal scorer market.

New signing Mahrez(2/1) is their top scorer away from home this season with five goals and will surely get chances to extend his tally tomorrow. If you are looking for a bigger return City defender Laporte (10/1) has popped up with some important goals this season, he’s always a threat from set pieces and a natural goal scorer for a defender, if some decent chances come his way.

The final Saturday Premier League game is the live tea-time kick-off and it’s a heavyweight, blockbuster London Derby clash between fourth place Spurs and third place Chelsea at Wembley. There’s only a point separating them in the league and a win would be a huge boost for either team, both in terms of the title race and bragging rights. Spurs won two and lost two of their four league home games this season and both defeats came against leaders City and second place Liverpool. Chelsea won four and drew one of their five league away games this season, but all the opposition are currently in the bottom half of the table, and four are in the bottom six.

Selections:

Fulham Win vs. Southampton (17/10)

Everton Win & BTTS vs. Cardiff (12/5)

West Ham vs. Manchester City – Anytime goal scorer – Mahrez (2/1)


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