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  • Chris Sobey

Football


After a hectic, exciting and at times controversial week of Champions League action there’s no rest for the Premier League and EFL Championship teams, who both have busy schedules to contend with this weekend and of course there’s the prestigious second round of the FA Cup, where the remaining none league teams may get the chance of a lifetime and draw an lucrative away tie at one of the big Premier League clubs if they can win today or replay’s.

Tonight’s action kicks-off with an interesting live Premier League tie that kicks-off at 8pm and is between two of last seasons promoted teams eleventh paced Wolves and second bottom Cardiff City. On recent form Cardiff just edge it as after a superb start to their 2018/2019 campaign, Wolves have hit the wall somewhat as they’ve lost four of their last five in the league, drawing the other, and they were particularly toothless against Huddersfield last time out losing 2-0.

In terms of league home and away form this season Wolves just edge it as they’ve won two, drawn two, lost two and they’ve only conceded five goals during this run, but scoring has also been an issue this season with just seven goals in their six league home games. After failing to win their first four league home games there are signs Cardiff are starting to acclimatize to the league and two wins from their last three home games against Fulham and Brighton is evidence of this. Whatever the result this is a huge game for both teams in terms of their league survival and three points for Cardiff, who are eight points behind their rivals.

Cardiff need to make sure they stay solid and resolute at the back as they’ve conceded more goals than they’ve scored this season but manager Warnock has been working his players hard in this area and its improving, as the first time England call up for central defender Dunk. The result is a tough one to call, I don’t see a high scoring affair given both teams lack of goals so far this season and there’s nothing that really stands out from a betting perspective for me on this occasion.

The third round FA Cup action also starts tonight and the lowly none league Solihull Moors will need to raise their game to the level of visitors League One Blackpool at Damson Park tonight and can take heart from home ground advantage and the fact they’ve only lost one of their last ten home games.

On Saturday in the Premier League most of the games are between bottom half and/or mid table teams due to the big clubs playing Sunday. Two struggling teams, fifth from bottom Crystal Palace and fourth from bottom Burnley, clash at Selhurst park today and with two of the worst scoring records home and away respectively this season goals are likely to a premium and from a betting perspective Under 2.5 Goals is an obvious choice, but if you’re looking for better value you could consider the Match Doubles of Palace Win & Under 3.5 Goals, or a Draw and Under 3.5 Goals.

A resurgent fourth from bottom Huddersfield, who moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season after their impressive 2-0 win against Wolves at Molineux on Sunday, face an even tougher test against eight place Brighton tomorrow. Home advantage should give the Terriers a slight advantage as Brighton won only one of their seven league away games this season, losing six. They convincingly won the last two corresponding league fixtures against Huddersfield and there more than capable of continuing that run today, but only if they get their tactics spot on, and more importantly take the limited number of goal scoring chances that come their way.

Tenth place Leicester City are back at the King Power Stadium tomorrow and face Watford, who are one place above them in ninth, and are facing a mini crisis as they’ve failed to win their last three league games. Historically, Leicester have a strong record at home against Watford in all league games going back 20 years winning ten and drawing two and I expect they will continue that dominant record tomorrow.

Leaders Manchester City showed their fighting spirit in the Champions League mid-week coming from behind twice to scrape a 2-2 draw at Lyon, which was good enough to secure them as a group-winners and the knockout stages. However, with a growing injury list of key players their metal and squad are going to be tested to the full over the next couple of months. They continue to be dominant at home in the league winning all their seven games so far, but they haven’t faced any real quality opposition so far and tomorrow’s game against eighth place Bournemouth won’t fill them with fear as they won the last three corresponding Premier League encounters all by four goals.

Bournemouth are a more accomplished outfit this time round, which their league position confirms, but they’re still some way short of the Citizens quality and the visitors aim is surely going to be a damage limitation exercise. From a betting perspective the best strategy could be finding the best value around a City win and goals and/or goals scorers. Newcastle Utd are on a role at present and will be full of confidence after winning their last three league games. The Hammers continue to be inconsistent and are dropping further down the table as a result. If tomorrow’s games go the same way as recent corresponding encounters the Magpies should be good enough to come away with a narrow win.

The final Premier league game of the day is the traditional tea-time kick-off and today’s clash is between two struggling teams, third from bottom Southampton and seventh place Manchester United, who disappointed again, this time mid-week in the Champions League only managing a 1-0 win against Young Boys at Old Trafford. However, Southampton are in even worse dire straits so far this season and are still to record a win in the league at St Mary’s, drawing four and losing twice. United should continue their dominant record in this corresponding league fixture and record a narrow win, however, they don’t inspire any inspiration from a betting perspective.

There’s also plenty of EFL Championship and FA Cup third round action to get stuck in to over the weekend and while there’s no FA Cup games that excite me, the Championship match of the day has to be the tea-time kick-off between two of the leagues best teams, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa at the Riverside. If Boro win they could go top if leaders Norwich and second place Leeds lose or draw, which is a big incentive for Tony Pulis’s improving team and after Villa’s exhausting 5-5 midweek draw in the league, this could be the perfect time for Boro to take advantage and pick up another valuable three points.

Selections:

Leicester City Win vs Watford (13/10)

Newcastle United Win & Under 3.5 Goals vs West Ham (21/10)


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