SOCCER Saturday is back in December, and I really need to have a good weekend in order to turn this minor blip in form around.
England Premier League
Arsenal to beat Stoke City @ 2.00 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Arsenal look like a team who is slowly gathering momentum and it can be no surprise that this is a result of the return of Koscielny to at the back to partner Mertersacker.
Arsenal are coming into this game on the back of a 3 match unbeaten run after beating Dortmund, West Brom and Southampton and were desperately unlucky to lose to both Manchester United and Swansea City. Now that they have a lot of their players back fit, its time for them to start firing. Against a taller Stoke City outfit, the front 3 of Welbeck, Sanchez and Giroud should be a perfect match for them. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Rosicky, Campbell can provide the ample support of the bench, should their performances required to turn the game if its still stall mate.
Stoke City have been less than impressive and their biggest problem has shown to be on the defensive end as was seen from poor losses against Man Utd, Liverpool and Burnley. They have won just 1 of their last 5 games, which was a lucky 2-1 win against Tottenham, and missing out a few key players in Huth, Moses, Sidwell, Odemwinigie will also not contribute to confidence. Playing at home also hasn’t even helped them as they have failed to pick up a win in their last 3 with 2 losses and a draw.
I expect Arsenal to put in a solid attacking performance and overcome this bogey that they have had against Stoke City. Man City ended their bogey and Sunderland, and if Arsenal needs to make progress in the table, they need to learn a lesson or 2 from their Manchester rivals and break their bogey today.
Man City v Everton – Over 3 Asian Goal Line @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Last season’s game between Manchester City and Everton was one of the best games of the season with a 3-2 win against Everton and tonight’s encounter against Manchester City must be something of similar excitement that both sets of fans will be looking forward to watch.
Manchester City has been in great form especially on the goal scoring front with them netting 15 goals in their last 6 games with truly open and inspirational football, with 5 out of those 6 games saw them also conceding so all of those 6 games had 3 goals or more. Sergio Aguero has led the line with a lot of goals so far this campaign, with 5 goals in his last 3 games alone and he has been the inspiration behind their turn in form. That has helped them to lose just 1 games in the last 7 games (against CSKA Moscow). Additionally for Man City Jovetic and Toure have been in good form with Dzeko and Silva expected to return to the lineup today at some point.
Everton have been extremely exhausted with their run of fixtures seeing them play 4 games in 16 days and will need some extra bit of energy to make it through this game, but would have 5 days rest before their next encounter. Everton are travelling to a tough Man City game, but will be a bit confident knowing that they have scored a goal in each one of their 7 away trips including against Man Utd, Tottenham and Liverpool which will bode some confidence for them. Lukaku has been in great nick recently and has been ably supported from other players like Mirallas, McGeady, Naismith, Etoo as well as some goals from defenders Jagielka, Coleman and Baines to also help them find the back of the net.
I expect this game to be a good goal scoring affair, and either City will run riot and win this 3-0 or more, or Everton to find a goal to put pressure on City to run after a winner.
Cardiff to beat Rotherham @ 1.90 (Bet365) – 3 points
Cardiff AH-1 to beat Rotherham @ 2.64 (Bet365) – 1.5 points
Cardiff City are on a run of some decent form winning 2 straight but more importantly have won their last 5 home games. Under new manager Russel Slade they have managed to improve their form recently. Cardiff have a strong attacking strength with players who have played in the Premier League including Le Fondre, Jones, Wittingham and Macheda who all have scored goals in the games. They boast a talented bunch of lads who are poised to play in the Premier League if Cardiff don’t get promoted this campaign including the likes of Morisson, Gunnarson, Pilkington, Eikrem among the few.
Rotherham are sitting 1 point above the relegation zone and have failed to pick up a victory in any of their last 7 games. Their form saw them only score 1 game during that duration, and it seems unlikely that they know where their next goal is going to come from. Rotherham away from home are extremely poor and snatched a win only against a poor struggling Leeds side (which was a shocking win also); and I can’t see them being able to over-turn Cardiff.
Cardiff have scored 12 in this 5 game winning home run; and I expect them to continue this form.
Another bet, which I am backing is Cardiff Over 1.5 goals at 1.90.
PSV AH-2 to beat Dodrecht @ 1.95 (Bet365) – 4 points
PSV Eindhoven are in absolutely cracking form and travel to this game away from home after a good 9 days rest coming into this battle against a poor Dordrecht side who have won just 1 game away from home and conceded a massive 37 goals in 14 games.
PSV have a super talented bunch of players who have been scoring goals netting 34 goals in 13 games, an average of 3 per game. Players like Depay, de Jong, Narsingh, Locadia, Wijnaldum and Maher who have scored a bulk of those goals, and will be ready to run riot in this game against Dodrecht who have conceded 14 goals in 4 games against the chasing pack of Willem II, Feyenoord, Twente and Ajax.
Dodrecht have been extremely poor sitting rock bottom, and I don’t think there is anything for them to look forward to other than relegation, as their goal difference is -32. PSV had won 2-0 away from home and 4-0 at home, and taking this Asian Handicap is good, I expect them to push at worst; but they should be able to seal this game especially after being well rested and ready to fire.
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