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English EPL League. Saturday December 1. Kick-off 3pm.
THERE’S no fog of gloom on the Tyne after Newcastle reeled off three straight wins to climb four points clear of the danger zone.
Even Matt Ritchie’s miss of the season from two yards out in Monday night’s clash at Burnley didn’t end up costing them. And they’re looking to extend their four-game unbeaten run by nailing down another three points against the Hammers.
Despite having his hands tied behind his back in the transfer market by penny-pinching owner Mike Ashley, Rafa Benitez is now getting a tune out of a squad that is far from brimming with quality and wouldn’t lack out of place in the Championship.
The Spanish gaffer is a Magpies messiah and will be looking to devise a plan to outwit West Ham counterpart Manuel Pellegrini who splashed the cash in the summer but has little to show for it.
West Ham have the same 12-point haul as Newcastle after 13 games and have just one win in their last six matches.
They’ve been leaking goals too with their tally of one clean sheet this season the second-worst in the division behind Fulham.
The absence of injured playmakers Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini is a big blow. Marko Arnautovic, the Hammers’ best player this season, and Jack Wilshere are also doubts although former Toon cult hero Andy Carroll is set to turn out against his former club after making the bench last week.
West Ham have a poor record at St James’s Park, losing their last three visits, and another Newcastle win pays 29-20 at bet365 who make the safer option of the Magpies draw no bet 8-11.
Benitez’s side have kept just one clean sheet at home this season – a 1-0 win over Watford who had enough chances to rack up a cricket score – and the Hammers have netted in four of six away days so btts is decent value at 17-20 with bet365.
Newcastle are averaging 6.7 corners at home this season and the Hammers just 3.8 on their travels so try the Toon -1 flag-kick at 6-5 with bet365.
Europa League Group G. Thursday November 29. Kick-off 3.50pm. Live on BT Sport ESPN
GROUP G is still wide open but Rapid face a hazardous mission to Moscow with a squad decimated by injury.
The Austrians – who sit bottom and need a point to keep their qualification hopes alive – have half a team crocked and look set for more away-day misery.
Rapid have played four Europa League games on the road this season, including qualifiers, and lost them all while shipping a total of 12 goals.
All four of those losses featured over 2.5 match goals so same again looks likely at 4-6 with bet365. They’ve only failed to net in one, a 5-0 thumping at Villarreal, so another defeat with Rapid scoring is worth a look at 23-10 with bet365.
Spartak haven’t exactly been convincing either but with their Russian title hopes already torpedoed they can put their full focus on progress in Europe.
The Muscovites certainly know the way to goal at home – they drew 3-3 to Villarreal and edged a seven-goal thriller against Rangers last time out.
Big Russian defender Lorenzo Melgarejo is a real danger at set-pieces and got on the scoresheet in both home games so far. He’s 15-8 at bet365 to make it three on the spin by netting any time.
Chelsea v PAOK
Europa League Group L, Thursday, November 29, KO 8pm. Live on BT Sport
Chelsea were feeling sorry for themselves after losing 3-1 at Spurs at the weekend and the manager will be looking for a stromg performance against PAOK.
Maurizio Sarri has had a fairly trouble-free start to life at Stamford Bridge but questions were asked after that display at Wembley. And that followed a 0-0 home draw with Everton so he won’t want the form dip to continue.
The Blues have won all four matches in Europa League to qualify and need a point to clinch top spot in Group L.
Sarri has played strong teams throughout but will be without Eden Hazard who won’t be risked as he has an ankle injury.
Victor Moses is also sidelined and ahead of a packed schedule Sarri is likely to make many more changes against a Greek side who lost at home to Chelsea but got off the mark with a surprise victory at BATE Borisov.
Just to win Chelsea are just 2-7 and odds can boosted by taking Chelsea and under 2.5 match goals.
With many stars set to be rested Ruben Loftus-Cheek could take his chance again. He netted a hat-trick against Bate and is an industry-best 10-1 at bet365 to score first and 9-4 to net at any time.
Leicester face Southampton in the EFL Cup and there is six Championship matches as well as full cards in League One and League Two so plenty to look at.
It’s a week for the RFO and I’ve be studying stats and form before putting up tips.
The Super Single is Norwich who have been fantastic in recent weeks. They hammered Swansea 4-1 away at the weekend to make it 12 goals in three games – they also hit four against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday. Can make it four wins in a row at a Hull side who went down tamely at home to Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Champions League. Kick-Off: 8.00pm, Tuesday 27th November. Live on BT Sport ESPN.
SANTIAGO Solari’s reign as permanent boss at the Bernabéu got off to the worst possible start on Saturday when the mighty Real Madrid were humbled by lowly Eibar. The 3-0 defeat saw the current European Champions slip to 6th in La Liga, although the good news is that they’re still only five points off the top.
The Champions League may give Real a chance to escape their domestic woes but a trip to Rome is probably the last thing they need right now.
Both sides can secure qualification with a point and that would see Madrid finish ahead of Roma, if they both finish level on points, thanks to their head-to-head record. Madrid’s 3-0 win on Matchday 2 gives them the slight upper hand.
Roma failed to win on the road again at the weekend, falling to a 1-0 defeat at Udinese. They currently occupy 7th place in Serie A but unlike Real, they’re a long, long way away (18 points) from Juve who top the table.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s men can take some comfort from their home form however. They’re on a run of seven successive home wins in the Champions League and have lost just once at home in the league.
The draw is priced up at 13/5 with Hi bet365 and it would’nt be the biggest surprise given that it suits both teams. Alternatively you could look at an even number of goals at 17/20, which covers you for any kind of draw as well as the likes of 2-0, 3-1 etc either way.
Another interesting market available at bet365 is based around possession. When Real won at the Bernabeu they enjoyed 61% possession. 888 have the split set at 55.5% so there’s potentially quite a bit of margin there to play with. You can have 17/20 and if that’s your kind of thing it could be worth a look at.
Finally, goals! Over 2.5 goals have been scored in seven of the 11 previous meetings between these clubs and although Madrid are on a topsy-turvy run of form you wouldn’t back against them not scoring. They’ve failed to score in just one of their last 32 Champions League matches. Over 2.5 goals is just 1/2 which is a shocking price so instead, look for there to be a goal scored in last 15 minutes (75 mins or later) at 11/10.
On Monday the EPL League offering is Burnley v Newcastle. It’s bound to be tight but I fancy the visitors to take something away from Turf Moor. If I get a chance I’ll put up a preview.
We also have Real Sociedad v Celta Vigo in La Liga, Cagliari v Torino in Seria A and not much else so I might concentrate on the European games starting on Tuesday as we look ahead to a busy week.
The only match I’ve looked at is Benfica v Arouca in the Portuguese Cup and I’m assuming the home men put out a strong team after a disappointing start to the season.
They’ve been poor in the Champions League and sit fourth in the league and four points behind Porto so they can’t afford a slip here as this could be their best chance of a trophy.
They’ll be looking for a big win to restore confidence and should get it against a side who lie 13th in the second tier. Benfica have won eight and drawn one of the last 10 meetings between the sides and not surprisingly are a short-priced 1-6 with bet365 to win.
I’m going to take a chance on Benfica -2AH (stake back if they win by exactly two) at 19-20 with bet365 .An alternative is Benfica and over 2.5 match goals at a lesser price of 7-10 at sportingbet.
On Wednesday there are three more FA Cup replays – Bristol Rovers v Barnet, Hartlepool v Gillingham, Salford City v Shrewsbury. In Wales it’s Connah’s Quay at Newtown so not too much to look at.
Salford, second in the National League, could surprise Shrewsbury and the man the League One side will fear is Adam Rooney. I tipped the signing from Aberdeen to top score at the start of the season and his hat-trick against Aldershot last week took his tally to 16 in 21 games.
IT’s back to the Belgian Reserve league for me after both my trusted sides landed last Monday with 5-1 and 7-0 scorelines. I also have a goals double I fancy from the Nations League.
The visitors very rarely disappoint when it comes to match goals and they travel here in terrific form having won their previous 5 games, scoring 18 goals in the process. Been backing their matches for a good few seasons now and as I keep repeating, it’s a fantastic league for goals with both sides usually scoring at least once.
This is a cup game and from what I can see, Westerlo don’t play in the current league set-up. Kortrijk’s last 6 cup games have all seen over 3.5 goals and they’ve won 4 and drawn 1 of their last 5 meetings against Westerlo, scoring 18 goals.
Given how well Kortrijk are playing and the number of goals they are scoring, it’s hard to see past an away win. They don’t keep too many clean sheets though so wouldn’t be surprised to see both sides score with Kortrijk running out easy winners (4-7 to win the match which is reasonable).
Sticking to goals though with a team who have seen over 3.5 goals scored in over 82% of their matches in the last 12 months, which is incredible (28 over 3.5 – 6 under 3.5).
Nations League action tonight and with plenty still to play for we should see some open games with at least 2 goals being scored.
These two are fighting out to avoid relegation and with hosts winning the first tie, Slovakia know nothing but a win will do here tonight.
Ten of Slovakia’s last 12 games have all seen at least 2 goals and they come into this off the back of dishing out a 4-1 hammering to Ukraine.
Eleven of the Czech Republic’s last 13 at home have all seen at least two goals and with the head to head reading 10 of the last 11 seeing over 1.5 goals I fancy that to happen again tonight.
The Bulgarians need to better Norway’s result tonight to win the group having lost their opener with Norway 1-0.
They’ve been pretty impressive at home winning 9 of their last 11 which is terrific form at international level.
They play a Slovenia side who have nothing to play for having collected just 2 draws. Nine of their last 10 games have seen 2 or more goals and with Bulgaria needing the win, it should be an open match.