Only 3 predictions correct last week, I most definitely need to up my game.
Squads are being rotated and injuries are starting to build for many teams but the fixtures are still coming at a rapid rate.
Burnley v Newcastle Utd
Saint Maximin is a big loss for Newcastle, he has been their player of the year so far this season. After getting his 1st goal last week he should be building on that rather than sitting out a month. Set pieces will be the key in this match as the delivery from Shelvey & Brady for their respective big men will no doubt decide this match, it wouldn’t surprise if no goals come from open play. I cannot see Dyche being in charge of Burnley this time next year, personally the Newcastle job is perfect for him and Bruce is surely a stop gap. I would jump before being pushed at Burnley, as like half of the Premier League if a couple of key players leave or are injured the team can struggle.
Verdict – Newcastle win
Sheff Utd v Aston Villa
This is a interesting battle between 2 promoted sides, Utd have massively punched above their weight and Villa are still trying to discover their identity after a big summer spend up. Despite all the cash spent Grealish & McGinn are the men that make Villa tick, the energy battle between Lundstram and McGinn on Saturday is so intriguing. The winner of that one will give his sides skill players the edge in vital attacking areas, unfortunately Utd’s endeavour 1st skill 2nd approach could cost them this game. Playing a side who knows them so well from the last few years will be an issue for The Blades, arrogant longstanding Premier League teams have underestimated them and been caught out by their workrate. The battering ram Wesley may not get much joy from the bruising Utd defenders but lads like Trezeuet & El Ghazi will benefit.
Verdict -Aston Villa win
Notts Forest v Sheff Wed
This match up still reminds me of the early Premier League years when these teams lined up playing for places in the top 10, now they are sniffing in around the play off places and maybe a return to where their fans consider the rightful home for them. Two very competitive teams but in the end will not be promoted due to the lack of depth the squads have. Currently they are 2 of the form sides only losing 1 in 5 and extremely hard to beat, that’s why the result has to be a draw. If Steven Fletcher can keep his goal scoring form up then it could be a fantastic away day for The Owls.
Verdict – Draw
Peterborough v Bolton Wanderers
Goals, goals and more goals are on the menu for this match, The Posh have the most potent attack in the division and will feel confident they can break past the Bolton backline who will sit back and take away any space behind them from the pacy Peterborough frontmen. That’s a great tactic but Marcus Maddison holds the keys to unlock any defence within League 1 or the Championship.
Verdict – Over 3.5 goals
Carlisle v Grimsby
This game is bigger for Carlisle, they have played 2 more than the Mariners and sit on the same points. If Grimsby win they will be waving goodbye and even a push towards the play off spots. Still a massive ask though, as I write this as their form has been horrendous lately and Carlisle can boast they have beaten Forest Green this week in the Cup. Grimsby have not scored since 9th of November, they will probably be happy with no goals till the last min and performing a smash ‘n grab. The youthful strike pairing of McKirdy & Olumola should see Carlisle through, both these lads will be looking for moves in January and this is the perfect time to present yourself in the shop window.
Verdict – Carlisle win
Northampton v Forest Green
Tasty top of the table clash bar their last result The Cobblers have been playing well since the start of November. Green have the better squad and have shared the goals around the team but if they are to continue to push for promotion they either need a player like Jack Aitchison to step up more or invest in Jan.
Verdict – Forest Green win
Hearts v St Johnstone
Purely picked this match due to Hearts new manager Daniel Stendel, this is a really good appointment for the Edinburgh side. Very unlucky to lose his job at Barnsley as he led them to promotion and the club is set up to be a League 1 top boy but Championship straggler. Fully expect Hearts to invest in Jan and pull away from their current position.
Verdict – Hearts win
Real Sociedad v Barcelona
Hard to ever back against Barca when playing domestically but I always feel away from home they are vulnerable and even more so after they’ve played in midweek. Martin Odegaard is finally fulfilling his potential and for sure Madrid will look to break his loan deal and sell him before he can leave when his contract expires. Sociedad are experienced at the back and youthful going forward, I cannot see them winning but will cause plenty of issues for Barca and with the home support could take a draw.
Verdict – Draw
As always keep an eye out for these games while keeping tabs on your own team and if you fancy a flutter the above give you odds of 5752.35/1!