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Weekend Football

by Ben, last updated 2005-08-25 00:28:33

This weekend's picks are

QPR 1X2
Man City -0.75
West Brom +0
Sunderland +0.25
Newcastle 1X2
see below for analysis and prices.

*Record so far this weekend, lost 3, won half, drawn half. Not a good week this one. Come on Newcastle!!

 Newcastle vs Manchester United

 Newcastle (6.5) Draw (3.75) Manchester United (1.67)

Newcastle are a team in that have started really badly. Two games this season, a 0-0 home draw to West Ham and a 2-0 away defeat to Bolton. Things are looking up for this home fixture though. They've just signed Albert Luque from Deportivo. Personally, I've never heard of him before but from what I've read he's world class.

Also Dyer and Emre are back from injury. Newcastle haven't got such a bad record at home. They've managed to keep 4 clean sheets in their last 6 home games. They kept Arsenal out for about 80 minutes at Highbury and most of that time was with 10 men. They knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup last year with a home win.

Man U have started the season well with 2 victories and 2 clean sheets. They cruised through their Champions League Qualifier with a 6-0 aggregate win over Debrecen. That's 4 clean sheets out of 4 for Van der Saar. Looking at the teams that they've played, you'd expect that. Everton and Villa aren't known for their good strikers and Debrecen, who are they? On paper they have an excellent strike force but there were many occasions last season when they didn't deliver. With all the shots that Man U had against Villa you'd have expected them to score more than the 1 goal.

I got 1.8 for Man U earlier in the week. With a new striker and players back from injury for Newcastle that price doesn't seem the bargain it was. The price has since dropped, allowing me to sell my bet at a small profit.

I am going to go for Newcastle Odds are 7.4 on Betfair which translate to 7.08 after commission is taken off. It's a big price for a home win - big enough for me to take a chance on it. I just hope this Luque lives up to his hype and ends the goal drought for Newcastle.



 Wigan vs Sunderland

  Wigan (2.2) Draw (3.3) Sunderland (3.5)

Last season these two teams came first and second in England's Championship League. Expectations of these two teams were low and so far they have lived up to this. Only 3 games in to the season and they are both heavily odds on to go down.

Wigan started the season brightly with a very narrow 1-0 loss to Chelsea. Even Mouriniho said that the home side deserved a point from that encounter. They played well and even had a chance to snatch all three points from Chelsea. They were, however, comprehensively beat last week by Charlton. The 1-0 scoreline there doesn't show how Charlton dominated. Wigan only had a single shot on target. They are another premiership side that lacks a decent strike force.

Sunderland's start to the season has been even worse than Wigan's. They lost their opener 3-1 to Charlton, then lost 1-0 to Liverpool and lost 2-1 to Man City mid week. They showed a much improved performance against Man City though. They battled throughout the second half and maybe should have got a point for their efforts.

I am going to go for Sunderland +0.25 on the Asian Handicap. Odds are 2.00 at Premierbet. They should be able to build on the midweek performance and get a point here at least. Last seasons corresponding fixture was won by Sunderland 1-0.


 West Brom vs Birmingham

 West Brom (2.38) Draw (3.25) Birmingham (3)

Birmingham were dreadful time midweek. They went down 3-0 to Middlesbrough. With Heskey injured they looked very weak up front. Birmingham sit near the bottom of the table with one point gained at Fulham on the first day. Heskey may be back for the match on Saturday. That'll help upfront but they still have problems at the back. They've conceded 5 in the last 2 games. Not a good statistic for them.

West Brom were hammered by Chelsea midweek. I'll not read too much in to that. The reigning champions were due to give someone a good beating sometime. It didn't help much Bryan Robson resting some of his first team. I can see his thinking behind it. They hadn't a prayer against Chelsea so why not rest player in preparation for this match?

Prior to that they had beaten Portsmouth 2-1 and drew 0-0 at Manchester City. Their form at the end of last season was exceptional. Bryan Robson has turned this team around very well. I will go for West Brom to win this match.

I was expecting the Asian Handicap to be -0.25 with odds of around evens. However bet365 are offering them with a 0 handicap. Odds are 1,75. Payout is less on this handicap but with this one you have full draw insurance.


 Man City vs Portsmouth.

 Man City (1.67) Draw (3.6) Portsmouth (6.2)

Portsmouth haven't been playing well recently. I am not just talking about the draw against a 10 man Aston Villa, the 2-1 beating by West Brom and the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham. Towards the end of last season their form deteriorated so much that at one stage it looked like they'd be dragged in to the relegation battle. If you can't beat a 10 man mid-table side at home then you have got problems.

Manchester City have proven that they can survive with out Wright Philips now. The great form at the end of last season has continued in to this one. A home draw, then two 2-1 away wins put them briefly at the top of the table. Admittedly Sunderland and Birmingham aren't the strongest teams but winning away from home is always tough in this league. On Saturday in front of a home crowd they should win this comfortably.

I've gone for Man City -0.75 on the Asian Handicap. Odds currently 1.9 at sportingbet


 QPR vs Sheff Wednesday

 QPR (1.83) Draw (3.4) Sheff Wednesday (4.5)

QPR and Sheffield Wednesday is the Friday night match on Sky. Both teams struggled mid-week in the Carling Cup.

QPR were knocked out by league 2 (two division below) team Northampton. QPR were 1-0 down when they had a man sent off. The final score was 3-0. Looking at the League form they haven't been doing too badly. Last week they lost away to Coventry 3-0 but before then they managed to end Sheffield United's winning start by beating them 2-1. The match before that they beat Ipswich 2-1 too.

Sheffield Wednesday needed extra time to beat league 2 team, Stockport County. Graham Coughlan, picked up an injury so is added to the clubs other injury problems. Most important is their star striker, Steven MacLean out of action. With out him they have really been struggling this season. They've drawn 2, lost 2 and only managed to score 2 goals in the league.

I've looked at the odds and I cannot resist the 1.83 William Hill is offering on the QPR win. I expect a comfortable win for QPR. They beat the better of the two Sheffield teams the other week and so seeing off Wednesday should be no problem at all.

Price update. Bet365 are offering 1.9 on QPR on the Asian Handicap. Pinnacle are offering an even better 1.95. They book Asian Handicaps to 102% but do charge for withdrawing small amounts (less than USD 1000). So take the bet365 price unless you bet really big.





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