We are back for Soccer Saturday in the new year and on to another round of club football, frisking the fixtures for good opportunities to start of the year in a profitable manner.
West Ham travel away to St. James Park to take on a Newcastle side who are struggling for form losing 4 out of their last 5 games, but might feel a little buoyed by the result in mid-week against Manchester United drawing 3-3.
The Hammers came back from 1 goal behind led by their inspirational playmaker Dimitri Payet to win the game 3-1 with him contributing a goal and an assist last time around. Andy Caroll is out along with Sakho; they can rely on the likes of Valencia, Antonio, Jelavic along with Payet to help them string around results on the offensive end. The Hammers defensively have improved over the last 10 games, that has seen them not lose in any of those games, with 5 clean sheets and 5 victories during that span. They will expect to find an attacking Newcastle side today, but they have a lot of injuries to contend with which should give the Hammers a bit of an advantage coming into this game.
Newcastle have been struggling, and I won’t be surprised of Steve Mclaren does not last the season. They have failed to win any of their last 7 games, with just 2 points during that run and that too against sides like Watford, West Brom, Aston Villa who are all sides in the bottom half of the table. The problem for Newcastle has been on the goal scoring front. While Mitrovic has threatened on a few occasions, his consistency has been something that has been lacking and preventing them from delivering consistent performances. Newcastle have several injuries starting from goalkeeper Krul to defenders like Williamson, Haidara, Taylor and their defensive midfielder Anita.
This game might be an exciting one for the neutrals as both teams have scored 3 goals in mid-week and the turn around time of just 3 days between these fixtures. I like the form and style of play that West Ham has, and back them on the Draw No Bet market to push on for a victory with some insurance.
Leicester City have managed to deliver some good results and maintain pace with Arsenal at the top of the table, with just goal difference separating the 2 sides. They have played well through out the season, just losing 2 games all campaign. While Leicester have just managed 2 victories in their 5 games, they have ensured not to lose games and that helps build momentum and confidence especially heading into the back half of the season. Vardy and Mahrez have delivered almost consistently through the season, but have tapered off in the last few games. Leicester’s defence has improved dramatically since Christmas with 3 clean sheets on the trot which has helped them not lose games.
Aston Villa have been struggling for results but pulled off a shock victory in mid-week against Crystal Palace and honestly had cost me money in that encounter. They pulled of a major upset, but in frankness it was against a Palace team who had been struggling to score. That victory was Villa’s 2nd victory all season, so I real think it had a bit of luck to do with it and I do not expect them to continue with that sort of performance again. Leicester will want to keep it tight and with Villa keep chopping and changing their forwards, I don’t see how they will be able to score.
I am backing Leicester to take a win, with a little bit of insurance on the Asian Handicap market.