The Christmas fixtures are well and truly kicking in now and it’s great to have so much football on at this time of year. There will be some tired legs out there in these mid-week fixtures and this truly is the time of year which will make or break a season for a football team and set the tone for the second half of the season.
There were some BIG upsets at the weekend and I can see another HUGE one mid-week…
Burnley v Stoke
I’m backing Burnley here, who come into this fixture off the back of a good win against a very good Watford side.
Stoke got absolutely smashed by Spurs at the weekend which will have completely battered their confidence.
If you compare the form of both sides, everything points towards Burnley too. The Claret and Blues have won three out of their last four and sit in a very nice seventh place, where as Stoke have only managed one win in their last five, losing three of those.
I usually do well when I’m tipping Burnley’s games, so get on them mid-week at 13/10.
Crystal Palace v Watford
Palace should have won at the weekend – what on earth was Benteke doing?!!! What a Muppet!! Other than that silly penalty miss, I thought The Eagles were unlucky and put in, what would have been, a winning performance.
Something else which has persuaded me to back Roy’s boys is that Watford have one of the worst records in the league for conceding goals on the road. When they come to Selhurst, they will be up against it.
Although Palace are bottom of the league, they’re unbeaten in their last five matches and I do believe they’re still on an upward curve, so I’ve got to back them against Watford.
Huddersfield v Chelsea
Chelsea are just too strong for Huddersfield – they’ll win this comfortably.
OK, they lost against West Ham on Saturday, but I don’t know how they didn’t score!
Chelsea won’t go two games without scoring, because they’re just too good and let’s have it right, Conte will have put a bullet up them after their loss to The Hammers.
The Terriers always give it a good go against the big teams in the league and it looks like they are eager to make the most of these fixtures, so I could see them scoring, but will they bag more than The Blues? I’m afraid not.
Back BTTS at 21/20, but Chelsea win this comfortably and are rightly 2/5 favourites.
Newcastle v Everton
After their appalling run, you wouldn’t believe that Everton are 10th in the league, would you? It just shows how competitive it is down there; when you win, and the teams around you lose, you can fly back up the table.
We all know what Big Sam is about. He’s always said that he starts off by sorting out the defence, which may not be the most exciting way of changing a team, but it obviously works as he’s been successful wherever he’s managed.
He has adapted his game over the years – it’s less ‘Crash-bang-wallop’ now a days, but there is still that emphasis on keeping it tight at the back, which some may argue is cave man football, but Big Sam would probably reply: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I said last week that if they get a result against Liverpool, Everton’s season will be given a big boost, so I think they’ll carry a nice bit of momentum into this fixture.
I do like Newcastle, and I think they’ll score against Everton, but The Toffees have the ‘Big Sam Factor’ now, where their players will be right at it and hoping to put a nice bit of form together.
Back Everton to win this at 11/5 and I fancy the big dog, Wayne Rooney, to score first which you can get at 6/1 with BetBright.
Southampton v Leicester
The Saints have been playing some great stuff recently and I’ve got a lot of respect for their new manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, who clearly wants to play football ‘the right way’.
The trouble with this side is that they can turn into a lightweight team from time-to-time and can be guilty of not finishing teams off when it counts.
When they played Arsenal on Sunday, they absolutely tormented them, playing some lovely, flowing football – they were brilliant. They’re one of those sides that tick along fairly quietly and sitting in eleventh position isn’t bad for them at all.
Other than Man City, Leicester are the only side to have won their last three games in the league, so form would point you towards The Foxes, but I still think Southampton can do a job on them.
Swansea v Manchester City
Sometimes these games can cause the favourites some unrest, especially under the flood lights and City will have tired legs from the weekend after their victory against Man United.
I’ve always said, Pep demands that his players make angles to make the pitch big and press high which is tough on players’ legs, so there will be a few changes to the side when City play Swansea.
You’ll notice he completely rested Aguero at the weekend as well, which just shows how deep their squad is.
Can they deal with the fatigue? Absolutely. I can guarantee you Aguero will start and they’ve got a lot of athletic lads in there who can deal with the Premier League, like Delph, Walker, de Bruyne and Fernandinho (to name a few). With all due respect, that’s why he got rid of Zabaletta and co, because they just don’t have the energy or stamina to maintain his style of play.
Swansea will be compact and try to make life difficult for Man City – but that’s what Man United tried to do – just not very well at all.
City are too good for Swansea and my mid-week Banker is a 1-3 win to Pep’s boys, which is 9/1 with BetBright.
Liverpool v West Brom
I’m not sure about Jurgen Klopp’s comments at the weekend – teams are allowed to sit in all game and be awarded a penalty when they do attack – I thought he came out with some very weird comments to be fair.
Saying that, we’ve got to be backing Liverpool here, as they simply have too much for Pardew’s side. Salah is just sensational and can cause teams all sorts of problems, then you’ve got the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Mane in the squad whose reputations speak for themselves.
The Baggies haven’t won in their last five, they’re one position away from the drop zone and play away to Liverpool who haven’t lost in their last five, I can only see a Liverpool win.
Manchester United v Bournemouth
People specifically talking about how bad Lukaku was at the weekend confuses me… HE DIDN’T GET ANY SERVICE!!
Ok, he messed up on the corners which allowed City to score, but all the balls played into him were over hit, long balls which had no conviction – United were just clearing the ball for ninety minutes!!!
Then you’ve got Jose Mourinho crying about a penalty… it wasn’t a penalty and even if it was, your team didn’t play well enough to win anyway!!
They didn’t even have the balls to put their foot on the pig skin and pass it around!! Quite frankly, I thought it was embarrassing – that was the worst Man United performance I’ve seen for a long time and they got heavily dealt with by City, who weren’t even that great on the day!!
They will want to bounce back here against Bournemouth, because the fans WILL NOT be happy. If I was a Utd supporter I’d sit back and be thinking “City are a different juggernaut to us now!”.
These players need to pull their fingers out and put on a show – Jose will be putting the pressure on these boys to perform. I think they’ll step up and win 3-0… they have to, for their own sake!
Spurs v Brighton
I don’t like to brag… but I called the Spurs game at the weekend didn’t I: COME ON THE BULLDOG!!!
Well done if you backed Son to score anytime at 13/10 – I wanted to be more adventurous with my score line, so I reigned it in and called it 3-1… I wish I’d stuck to my guns and gone gung-ho!
Spurs will score three in their mid-week game against Brighton. Off the back of a win like that against Stoke, it will kick a bit of momentum into the side. I bet these boys can’t wait to get their boots back on – I remember what it was like as a player and you just can’t wait for the next game to come around and to play in front of your own fans.
Kane got on the score sheet, Son looked absolutely immense going forward, Alli and Eriksen look like they’re coming back into form, so I can only believe it’s going to be a strong, comfortable win for Spurs under the lights at Wembley.
Back Dele Alli to score first in this one at decent odds of 9/2 with BetBright!
West Ham v Arsenal
It was a great result for West Ham at the weekend against Chelsea and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect it. Chelsea were always going to have a few decent chances, but they just didn’t capitalise on them.
This game against Arsenal will be different though, as Wenger’s side are a team who like to play nice football.
The Hammers do give it a good go against the better teams in the league and often slip up against the sides lower down, so…
I’m going to put my neck on the line here and back the Irons to get a result… my mid-week WILD CARD BET is a West Ham win!!
Arsenal weren’t firing on all cylinders against Southampton and if West Ham can numb them early doors like Charlie Austin did on Sunday, then we’ll have a chance in front of our own fans, under the floodlights, where we always seem to do well – weird, but that’s West Ham!
Back The Hammers at 4/1!! COME ON YOU IRONS!!!
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.