SUPER SUNDAY football is back in December and I hope that some bankable picks can do the business this weekend.
England Premier League
West Ham v Arsenal – Over 2.5 goals @ 1.75 (Betfair) – 2.5 points
West Ham and Arsenal face off in this important London Derby where, West Ham are in 5th spot, one point behind Southampton and will take on Arsenal who are in 6th spot one point behind the Hammers as they battle for that 4th Champions League.
West Ham come off a disappointing loss to Chelsea where they failed to step up to the challenge against them but face another tough London derby against the Gunners but this time they have home ground advantage. The Hammers fans are known to be one of the most passionate around, and their support will be instrumental in helping them get a result here. Alex Song and Diafra Sakho didn’t start against Chelsea so both of them will be well rested to make their appearance in this game. Song in particular is someone that Allardyce will turn to, as he knows the style that Arsenal plays, and will be extremely key to ensure that play is broken up to let the Hammers counter attack.
Arsenal escaped a lucky 2-1 victory over QPR on Friday, but showed defensively how vulnerable they can be if a good team goes after them on the counter attack and body strength and height which West Ham will definitely provide. On the offensive end, its purely the form of Sanchez who has been keeping them alive in games with his goal scoring performance but also assists. Other than him Santi Cazorla has been extremely creative and his ambidextrous kicking helps the team in different situations. Giroud will be suspended, which should see Oxlade-Chamberlain come in to the lineup along with Sanchez and Welbeck up front which will give the Gunners come good pace with which to attack the Hammers.
Both these teams have always played exciting counters with Arsenal winning all of their last 5 games with at least 3 goals being scored; and I expect that this game will be a goal fest especially with teams feeling the exhaustion with only 1 day of rest.
Tottenham v Man Utd – Both Teams to Score @ 1.60 (Ladbrokes) – 4 points
Tottenham and Man Utd both came of victories on Boxing Day, but the unique feature is that both teams conceded goals against their opponents Leicester and Newcastle; and with fatigue that will set in after the Boxing Day games I am expecting both teams to find the back of the net.
Man United have gotten back to a rhythm after an early season flops and have been undefeated in their last 8 games, and also had 6 game winning streak in that run. Their performance have been good due to an excellent team effort where they have all shared the scoring load between all the players. United also showed against Newcastle how fluid the motions can be with Rooney, Mata, Falcao and RVP as the 4 of them combined in some way or the other for all of United’s 3 goals then. Defensively United are shaky especially on the road. They have conceded away from home goals in their last 6 games, and 5 out of their last 7 games; and showcases the defensive issues that LVG is facing as he doesn’t have a fully fit squad on the defensive end to choose from.
Tottenham are improving as a team and that is due to the performance of Harry Kane. They are now on a 3 game winning streak and he has scored in all 3 of this games, which has been instrumental in their success. Christian Erkisen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela have all been providing good support whether creating assists or even scoring goals and their attacking play has given Kane the right support offensively. They have been poor defensively with a number of injuries; with a back 4 that has rotated a lot and is expected to be rotated again in this game. Another problem that they have is not having a stable defensive midfield anchor who will back up the defense as well as break up play.
The last 5 games between the 2 sides have seen a lot of goals for both sides and with the current scoring form of both teams and poor defensive form, I expect both teams to score should be a guaranteed winner.
QPR AH-0.25 to beat Crystal Palace @ 2.10 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
QPR come into this game at home where they have generally been extremely strong and their performances have been better than they have been on the road. Charlie Austin in particular has been outstanding form and is the highest scoring Englishman in the premier League with 12 goals all campaign. Out of which he has scored 10 goals in his 9 last 9 games and scored in all of their last 5 home games. QPR has secured all their 17 points at home with 5 wins which is tied for 7th best in the league with Arsenal. Last time around they played Arsenal and despite losing 2-1; there were very ominous signs that they could have easily stolen a point at the Emirates; but were desperately unlucky with some poor late finishing.
Crystal Palace are coming into this game after their manage Neil Warnock has been sacked; which will be the 2nd manager that they have lost in just 4 months time. Confidence in the team has been low with just 3 points from their last 6 games, and now managerless makes it difficult to see who can take them out of relegation zone as they sit in 18th spot in the table. The biggest issue for Palace is finding a reliable goal scorer to help put the ball away as their top scorer has been Jedinak who has knocked in 5 goals and out of which 3 were penalties. Frazier Campbell and Dwight Gayle are fighting for just a solitary spot since Palace only field one striker. They were beaten out of the park by Southampton when they were leading 3-0; until they stole a consolation goal late on late on in the game.
This game looks strong for QPR to do the business on paper as they badly need the points at home, since that is the only place they can get them, and a win here will put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone and I expect an organized QPR team to secure the victory.
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