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"Hodgson still doesn't know his best team or his best system"
Upcoming Football Tips
Thursday, 3rd January 2013
Steve's tips for the upcoming Premier League games will appear here on Thursday but in the meantime you can check out what he tipped up for last weekend's FA Cup matches....
It's the FA Cup 3rd round this weekend and we have five live games to pick the bones out of. A word of caution when betting on the FA Cup, try and wait to see what teams are selected before placing your bets, as there's the likelihood that manager's will make changes. Otherwise you're essentially backing blind and you only have to look at the mess Rafa Benitez made of his team selection on Wednesday when Chelsea lost at home to QPR, so it's best to hold off and see what happens when the teams are announced.
Brighton v Newcastle (Saturday 5th January 2013)
First up on Saturday lunchtime is Newcastle's trip to Brighton in the live early kick-off. I watched Brighton recently against Millwall and they set up with three centre half's and three sitting midfielders. Needless to say they didn't have a shot on target until Gus Poyet made a change and then they looked like a good side. Albion seem to play better away from home so I suspect they have difficulty breaking teams down who come to defend deep at the AMEX. In theory you'd think this won't be an issue for Saturday's visit from a Premier League club, but it's difficult to know what to say about Newcastle at the moment. It's no surprise to see Alan Pardew's side not living up to the levels they set last season, but nine defeats in their last twelve games is quite alarming. They're missing some influential players and I'm not sure the ones Pardew has brought in are quite good enough. This has the makings of a really good cup game in front of a full stadium. I think there'll be goals and I'm going for a 2-2 draw at odds of 14/1 with Coral.
West Ham v Man Utd (Saturday 5th January 2013)
The second of Saturday's live games is West Ham v Man Utd at Upton Park in the evening kick-off. It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see an upset here, especially if Sir Alex Ferguson plays around with his team too much. West Ham are doing really well this season sitting in 11th place in the Premier League. If you think about all the plaudits Stoke and Swansea are getting, West Ham are just three points behind those two with a game in hand and let's not forget this is their first season back in the top flight. There's so many permutations as to how this one could go, but I'm just siding with United given how in-form their strikers are at the moment. Sir Alex could rest Robin Van Persie and still have enough firepower with the Javier Hernandez. This is another one that should be a good game and I'm going to plumb for a United win at odds of 7/10, whilst the correct score of 2-1 appeals at 7/1 with Paddy Power.
Swansea v Arsenal (Sunday 6th January 2013)
Swansea v Arsenal kicks off Sunday's live double header, with the Gunners no doubt keen to avenge their recent 2-0 defeat at home to Michael Laudrup's side. To be honest this doesn't really appeal to me as a betting prospect and I don't like betting on Arsenal games full stop as a rule. Arsene Wenger's side have made a habit of winning the games they're not expected to and losing those they are favourites to win. It'll be interesting to see if Laudrup picks a side with next Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final in mind, whilst Arsenal will have to improve on their performance at Southampton on New Year's Day. Like I said, I'm not keen on this match from a betting perspective but at a push I'll go for a 1-1 draw at 13/2 with William Hill.
Match Result Tip: Draw @ 5/2 with Bet Victor.
Correct Score Tip: 1-1 draw @ 13/2 with William Hill.
Mansfield v Liverpool (Sunday 6th January 2013)
Non league Mansfield host Liverpool in Sunday's second live game and this is what the FA Cup is all about. It's taken a long time, but I reckon Brendan Rodgers has fallen on his best system now playing two wingers up with Luis Suarez. With Stuart Downing and Raheem Sterling supplying the ammo for the Uruguayan, Liverpool's performances have improved immensely, although it will be interesting to see where new signing Daniel Sturridge fits in! Last year's beaten finalists are short odds to progress to the fourth round as you'd expect and if Rodgers plays a strong side I can see Liverpool winning this one easily 3-0 at odds of 7/1 with Coral.
Match Result Tip: Liverpool win @ 1/4 with William Hill.
Correct Score Tip: Liverpool win 3-0 @ 7/1 with Coral.
Cheltenham v Everton (Monday 7th January 2013)
Finally, Cheltenham host Everton on Monday night, a game I'm going to and very much looking forward to covering. Cheltenham are doing alright under manager Mark Yates and currently sit fourth in League Two. The Robins have their hands full with the visit of Everton however, who had a massive win at Newcastle on Wednesday night. David Moyes will fancy his teams' chances of going deep into this competition and having already gone out to lower league opposition this season in the League Cup, I don't expect him to make the same mistake twice on Monday. I think he'll line up with a strong Everton side and I can see them winning this one 2-0 at odds of 11/2 with William Hill.
Match Result Tip: Everton win @ 4/11 with Bet Victor.
Correct Score Tip: Everton win 2-0 @ 11/2 with William Hill.
Steve Claridge's Weekend Treble
Derby to beat Tranmere (4/5), Nottingham Forest to beat Oldham (8/13) and Tottenham to beat Coventry (2/11). A treble pays just under 5/2, with a £25 bet returning a profit of £60 with bookmaker Paddy Power.
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