So we’ve got that international break out of the way now and it’s time to return to football that is a little bit more reliable (he says, don’t quote me on that!). We’ve got a full fixture list across the board to sink our teeth into this weekend so I’ve picked out 5 teams that I think can bag 3 points.
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West Ham v Crystal Palace
European football could well be on the cards for The Hammers in their new stadium next year, especially if they can continue the kind of form we saw in the weeks before the international break.
Bilic’s side side in 5th place but are only a point behind United in 4th and only 5 points off a Champions League spot. That’s mainly due to a run which has seen them lose just twice in their last 15 games. Here at home they’re unbeaten in 12 games, winning the last 3 of those to nil scorelines and it’s hard to see past another 3 points this weekend.
The visitors are Crystal Palace who are slipping ominously towards the bottom 3 and could yet be dragged into the relegation scrap. 7 points clear of the drop with no win in 13 Premier League games including 4 losses in their last 5 mean Palace have bombed down the table after their promising start.
Given the polar opposite form of the two sides and West Ham’s 1-3 win over their London counterparts earlier this season, I have to take The Hammers to pick up 3 points here.
West Ham to win at EVENS with BetVictor
Rotherham v Leeds
Rotherham may well sit only 2 points clear of the drop, but under Neil Warnock they have seen a resurgence that simply has to be admired and I’m jumping on that wagon this weekend.
The Millers sit 20th in the league, but 3rd in the form table following a run of 5 without loss of which 4 have seen Warnock’s men pick up maximum points. And these weren’t against weak sides, lets bear that in mind. 4 of those 5 games were against sides in the top 8 in the league!
They host a Leeds side who have had a difficult season but their recent spell of 3 straight wins was halted in some style last time out as they fell to a 1-4 home loss to Huddersfield.
Rotherham have beaten Leeds in their last 2 meetings here at the New York Stadium and although I really fancy them to pick up 3 points, I’m going to be slightly cautious and back the Draw No Bet, knowing that this leg of the acca will be a void if the game ends all square.
Rotherham Draw No Bet at 4/6 with BetVictor
Rochdale v Doncaster
You’d be a fool not to look at the price of Rochdale this weekend against the most out of form side in the football league and think that it’s not worth taking and I was exactly the same.
Rochdale’s playoff hopes took a little bit of a hit last weekend in a 1-0 loss to Wigan, but let’s be honest that is far from a shameful result against a side who are obviously going places. Before that loss they’d won 6 of their previous 7 and here at home they’ve won 4 on the bounce now scoring 10 whilst conceding just once.
Doncaster are the visitors to Spotland this weekend and as much as it amazes me to see Donny sitting in a relegation spot in League One, I really don’t see how they get out of this predicament. They’re not only 4 points from safety, they’re without a win in 14 league games and have lost their last 7 in a row; how in hell do you turn that form around?
Sometimes I look at teams like Doncaster and think that the tide will turn eventually, but I just don’t see it happening this weekend so I’m taking the Rochdale win.
Rochdale to win at 10/11 with BetVictor
Hartlepool v Mansfield
Jeff Stelling must be over the moon with Hartlepool’s form at the moment, dragging them away from yet another relegation battle and pretty much guaranteeing their safety in League Two for another year.
Pool now sit 17th in the league and are 14 points clear of the drop following a run of 6 games without loss, winning 4 of those. But the real impressive stat from a Hartlepool point of view is that their usually leaky defence has conceded just 2 goals in that 6 game run, coming into their meeting with Mansfield having kept 4 clean sheets in a row.
Mansfield will be disheartened after their draw with league leaders Northampton last week given that they made an impressive start and led 2-0. It was arguably the red card which was their downfall and Jamie McGuire will miss Saturday’s trip to the North East given his dismissal last weekend.
The visitors are without a win in 6, the hosts are without a loss in 6, but again, I’ll be playing the line of caution and taking the Draw No Bet option here knowing that both sides are capable of playing out the occasional 0-0.
Hartelpool Draw No Bet at 20/23 with BetVictor
Tranmere v Welling
I’m not sure that after last weekend’s results that anyone wants to actually win the National League as 5 of the top 6 failed to pick up 3 points last Saturday. The exception to that was Tranmere and I’m banking on them continuing their great form this weekend.
Automatic promotion is pretty much off the table now for Tranmere, but they haven’t guaranteed themselves a playoff spot yet so they need to keep winning games. Back-to-back wins and 1 loss in their last 10 games though mean they are one of the form sides going into the final stages and this weekend they host a struggling Welling side at Prenton Park.
Welling won their first league game since October last weekend picking up 3 points against Woking but although confidence may be high after that win, I really don’t see them securing another 3 points. They’re 8 points adrift of safety in The National League and it will take a miracle for them to survive from here. Having collected 11 points from a possible 60 on their travels this season, I don’t see the miracle starting at Tranmere on Saturday afternoon, or at all for that matter.
Tranmere to win at 1/3 with BetVictor
The 5-fold Acca pays a healthy 15/1 with BetVictor