This is an important weekend in the season, several games could define the route that certain clubs are going to take, we’ll have a seperate article on the North London derby tomorrow along with the other Sunday games but for now we are looking at Saturdays games.
Chelsea v Bolton
Both of these clubs are facing serious problems at different ends of the table, they do have one common complaint though, n either side is as high as they expected to be at the start of the season.
Chelsea look to be seriously struggling, manager Andre Villas-Boas is not in control of the dressing room and even if he hangs onto his job I have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better.
Bolton, as far as I’m aware, are not looking to change manager, financial constraints mean they could not afford to pay Owen Coyle off and bring in a new man so Coyle keeps his job, whether it is by default we do not know.
The draw looks reasonable here, especially at the 6.00 on offer from Pinnacle. Personally I like the under 3 goals market at around evens, I won’t be placing a huge bet on it though as it is a bit speculative.
Newcastle v Wolves
With a rookie in charge and up against a side who had a bit of a mauling last time out in the league, Wolves look to be in trouble here.
Having said that the Wolves job was “not a job for a novice”, it’s somewhat of a surprise to see that it has gone to someone with no managerial experience whatsoever.
As one of those “grand old clubs”, I have a bit of a soft spot for Wolves and wouldn’t like to see them go down again but unless Terry Connor has a bit of a golden touch, I now can’t see it going any other way.
Newcastle are still chasing the dream of a Champions League place and with Tottenham, Arsenal, or both guaranteed to drop points this weekend, it gives them a chance to get back in the running.
No bet for me as the odds are too short.
QPR v Fulham
QPR’s spending spree hasn’t done them a lot of good so far, they still look to be in trouble and they really need to put together a run of wins to get themself safe.
Fulham on the other hand look as though they are continuing to gel as a side, manager Martin Jol seems to have got over his sides slow start to the season and has them playing good attacking football.
The odds are quite open on this one as either side could win it, I’m going to stick my neck out here and plump for Fulham, I like the look of this side and although it can still leak goals, they have the firepower to win matches, 2.88 at Pinnacle is good enough for me.
West Brom v Sunderland
This game should be an interesting one, West Brom are tough and organised but fairly rubbish at home and Sunderland are the form side of the whole division.
Martin O’Neills side have been in fantastic form since he took over and their win against Arsenal in the FA Cup was no more than they deserved, if they carry on like this they have a chance of a European spot at the end of the season.
West Brom are probably far enough away from the relegation zone to not have to worry about it too much, it would take an unusual collapse for a Hodgson side to go down int his position.
Odds for a Sunderland win are surprsingly high for a side in good form travelling to the Hawthornes, the odds above 3 available at several bookies looks too good to pass up, I’m going for an away win and will take a piece of that action myself.
Wigan v Aston Villa
If ever a gale looked good for a draw, this is it, I can’t see either side being brave enough to go out for the win, Wigan are pretty but toothless and Villa are tough to beat but lacking in ambition.
Aston Villa should be much higher in the table than they are, they have good players but it seems their manager is stifling any attacking instinct and looking to make sure they don’t lose any games instead of looking to actually win them.
I love Wigans approach but the reality is that a side with their budget has to rely on fantastic scouting to bring them in the good players and that will always have the vultures circling, already there is talk of Moses and Rodallega going elsewhere in the summer and if/when Wigan go down, I can see a few others joining them.
Manchester City v Blackburn
With Blackburn about to lose their best player, now is not a good time to be playing Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
Chris Samba looks to have his wish fulfilled as he nears a move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala (I can spell it but don’t ask me to say it!), with another big earner off the books, owners Venkys must be happy, I’m not sure Blackburn fans will be feeling the same as they look to a side that generally lacks leaders now.
Manchester City look as though they are letting Tevez back into the fold and that is a decision that could either make or break their season, if he knuckles down and plays to the best of his ability, Tevez is the kind of player you want in your side, too foten though, has the other, more petulant side of his personality been reported this season and he has spent the last few months avoiding the English winter and playing golf in Argentina.
I just don’t want to bet on this one, both clubs give me reason to despair of the way football is going so I’d prefer to stay out of it.