Another cracking weekend of televised games to look froward to and it kicks off tonight with a Yorkshire derby between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
Sheffield Wednesday vs Leeds 7.45 Friday 28th September, Sky
Its been a decent, if not spectacular start to the season from Leeds and they are top and although the glory days of the 70’s arent quickly going to be rediscovered there is every reason to believe that manager Marcelo Bielsa is moulding a team that are both hard to beat and can score goals. Both Roofe and Hernandez look strong at the moment and young Jack Harrison on loan from Man City via New York looks an exciting prospect who is fitting in really well. They will need to be good to score goals because at the back Fredercio Venancio is a class defender and marshalls his troops well. It’s a big test away from home, especially after an unexpected loss last week but I get the feeling that Leeds have a bit of steel about them that the Steel city might not be able to handle, as 1st plays 10th.
Saturday 29th September
West Ham vs Man Utd – 12.30 BT Sport 1
The talk is all about United, Pogba and Mourinho and the pressure is extreme in the red part of Manchester. The question is can they rise above it and produce the quality football that they are capable of against a side who last week got a draw against the unbeaten Chelsea. It’s a fascinating contest for all sorts of reasons. West Ham desperately need a win. They cant really go on much more looking promising. They got a little bit lucky against Chelsea, who fortunately for the Hammers simply dont have a striker and ask so much of Hazard – who is brilliant btw. In my opinion Pogba at his best is the best midfielder in the world and the sooner both Lingard and Rashford get the chance to enjoy this guy the better. It could be in this match, if they can play for the team and if they can play without fear. That however is a lot of iffs and United look anything but a team, particularly with Lukaku missing so many obvious chances. I wanted to tip up West Ham and the draw but my gut feeling is that last weeks game took a lot out of West Ham and that we will look after this game and say – United – Crisis – what crisis? They wouldnt be this price without a bit of drama behind the scene. Mourinho – we believe.
Chelsea vs Liverpool 5.30pm BT Sport 1
What a fabulous game to go in to the evening on a day where it just gets better and better for the football fan. Let’s start with Chelsea. In every area but an out and out striker they match and in some cases better Liverpool. Morata and Giroud simply cant be as bad as they look currently but one of them just might click. There was signs the other day that Morata is closing in and Hazard is trying so hard to help him.
So this is my match up. Goalkeepers – nothing in it. Central defenders – Virgil Van Dijk has the edge over Antonio Rudiger (just). Midfield, Kante has the edge over Henderson, mostly in his incredible work rate. Attackers. Hazard is as good if not better than Mane and that’s saying something. Willian is a match for Salah, although he doesn’t score as many goals. That’s just some key match ups. Firmino is exceptional but if he doesnt get the supply then he may not be able to do the same damage.
It’s just a great match up and without an out and out in form striker for Chelsea I have to tip up Liverpool who seem too big a price for a team that are performing equally as well and will be really up for this game and revenge after midweeks defeat.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid 7.45 – some obscure channel called Eleven Sport 1 – who knew???
Love the battle of Madrid Derby’s, always lots of passion and feeling and mostly referees who let them play. I am going to tip up Atletico and I will epxlain why. Without Renaldo I simply dont think Benzema, Bale and Isco are the potent threat that they have been in the past. Renaldo regularly got kept quiet for 84 minutes and then got half a chance and scored. That’s what champions do. But he isn’t there now and these guys are good but not great. At the other end the annoying little gnome, Greisman is that good and he only needs a sniff of goal to score. In defence I also think Atletico have the edge with their newly found, no compromise, Uruguayan partnership of Godin and Giminez looking as tight as a ducks bottom in front of Oblak. I cant say the same about the aging legs of Ramos and I think there are goals here for Atletico. Given the home ground advantage the safe option is Atletico and the Draw.
Sunday 30th September
Cardiff vs Burnley 4.00pm Sky Sports
Not exactly a thriller this one The blues will be desperate for a point, any point and a draw would be a great result. In theory if there was a match they could get a draw it would be this one. Sean Dyche loves his defence and Burnley are built to do just that. They dont have the fearsome strike power of a top 6 team so they dont hold the same threat to Cardiff that Arsenal posed last weekend for instance, so that may help. Alternatively, Bobby Reid up front for Cardiff though is hardly Mo Salah is he? I dont see either defence under too much pressure and only a mistake will settle the tie so let’s bet that concentration for both teams is high and it ends up a goaless draw. It’s a decent price.
Monday 1st October
Bourneouth vs Crystal Palace. 8.00pm Sky Sports
Any game that involves the Eagles is such a tough one for us here because we are such big fans of their fans, who are just brilliant. We also love watching Zaha play and are really pleased he looks set to line up in this fixture. For the home team both Steve Cook and Nathan Ake look comfortable in defence and Callum Wilson is learning his craft up front. Eddie has them playing good football and as a team. I just think there is a lot more to come from Crystal Palace and their squad is very deep. Jeremy Schlupp is playing very well, Van Arnholt looks creative, Andros Townsend is terrific and they havent really used Jordan Ayew yet, who really has got some speed and zip and I havent even mentioned that magician that is the most tackled man in the premier league, Wilfrid Zaha. If you think you know where this is going, you are right, after their 3-0 win the other night confidence will be high. Palace at a huge and almost disrespectful price, win.
Note : All prices advised are correct at the date/time of publishing.