SOCCER SATURDAY and the Premier League is back after 10 days now, and I look to try and take some good value in some games today.
England Premier League
Man Utd v Sunderland – Over 10 corners @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Man Utd entertain Sunderland at home and after dropping their last game against Swansea City will be right up for this game against Sunderland and will be hoping to put the pressure in order to deliver strong results in front of their fans. Louis Van Gaal so a major difference in his teams play in the 2nd half of the game once he had both Young and Valencia in the Wing-Back positions, and I expect him to start with the 2 of them this time around to try and create more opportunities for Falcao, Rooney and Fellaini in the box by crossing balls from the wings. Valencia alone creates around 3-4 corner opportunities per game with his strong running on the right wing and that has contribute to United averaging around 5-6 corners per game every outing.
Sunderland are under pressure away from home against a strong United outfit, and the first objective for them is to clear the ball by any means necessary even if it means conceding the corners. Sunderlands defense has been awful this season, so clearance can by the most important thing for a team conceding 1.5 goals per game on average. Sunderland also have some good players who can create chance for them like Alvarez, Johnson and Larsson who will always be looking to take advantage of the width they might get from the Man Utd Wing back positions to try and put balls in the box for Defoem, Graham or Fletcher.
Over 10 corners should definitely be the way to go on this game.
Derby to beat Fulham @ 2.00 (Bet365) – 2 points
Derby travel to Fulham in the hope of maintaining their 2 points lead over Middlesbrough in the Championship to try and secure promotion to the Premier League with around 13 games to go now. They have got the advantage tonight of play a weak Fulham side who have yet to pick up win in February losing 4 and drawing 2 games.
Derby while were unlucky to lose in the FA Cup this month have lost just 1 other Championship game in 2015 and will be hoping to continue that good run of form heading into this game against a poor Fulham side. The addition of Darren Bent to the side in the winter window has seen him manage 5 goals in 7 games so far, and has helped the strike force of Martin, Russell, Ward and Dawkins to help them build on their momentum of being the joint top scorers in the league with Bournemouth. Defensively they are the second best in the league conceding 33 goals in 33 games but because of their goal scoring ability, they haven’t had any issues in delivering strong performances and victories.
Fulham are in dire straights at this time, after getting relegated from the Premier League, they then let go of manager Felix Magath back in October and now under interim manager Kit Symons until end of the season. They have had a poor season so far seeing them just 5 points ahead of the relegation zone, and since January have only won 2 games in the Championship while losing 5 and drawing 2. Goal scoring hasn’t been too much of an issue for them until February came along. Rodallega, McCormack have 10 goals each and will be relied on to deliver anything for them if they are to win.
Form is extremely important when it comes to the Championship and if that is to look at, Derby looks the team to grab all 3 points tonight.
Spain La Liga
Barcelona Over 2.5 goals v Granada @ 1.72 (Bet365) – 3 points
Barcelona come into this game after scoring 2 goals against Manchester City, so what makes us thing that they won’t net thrice against a struggling Granada side that 19th in La Liga. The Catalans will be extremely interested to win this game convincingly to temporarily come to within 1 point of Real Madrid to make them feel the pressure when they face a decent Villareal outfit tomorrow.
Messi, Neymar and Suarez are a handful for many teams and with their next fixture being the Copa Del Rey in mid-week on Wednesday, Luis Enrique will probably rest one of the big 3 and would want to sow up the match in the first half itself in order to give some of their bigger stars a rest in order to prepare for that away fixture against Villareal. Barcelona were on a 11 match winning streak, until they got beaten by Malaga next week; and Barcelona will feel that they need to deliver a solid performance to get back their league form.
Granada have been struggling and haven’t picked up a victory in February with 2 losses and 2 draws, but have 4 key players missing through suspension including Insua, Arabi, Colunga and Carlos while Piti and Marreh are out through injuries to make it a tough situation for them. They will feel confident knowing that they beat Barcelona 1-0 last year, but since then Barca took some revenge by smashing them 6-0 at the Camp Nou back in September.
Barcelona should pick up a victory, but I expect them to knock in quite a few goals in order to secure the win tonight.
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