Another big weekend of football is nearly upon us. Time to start looking forward to getting to the game with your boys, going down the boozer with your mates, or even better going down the bookies with Gordon Betto!
There would have been some big winners if you’d followed his advice last week and I know a lot of you enjoyed the return on the Sunday draws, but what do we think will happen this week?
Wolves vs Liverpool 12:45 Sky Sports 2
Another chance for King Kenny to finally pick up his first win. The jury is still out on the kings return, as he hasn’t exactly set the world alight since he came back. Mick on the other hand, legend, hasn’t got a clue really – but he makes them tick. There are two key points to the team news that may have a big impact on the outcome:
Wolves: New signing Hammill will hope to start against his former club, and the winger has a point to prove.
Liverpool: Gerrard completes the last of his 3 match ban and won’t feature.
Betto says: Stock is down with Gerrard missing … but markets could rally with a bit of Kenny magic still in the air. Draw.
Arsenal vs Wigan 15:00 Live from the top step of the diving tower
Arsenal are having a funny January. There has been everything; upsets against lower opposition, quotes in the press about the qualities of the captain (misquotes allegedly), and pops at the honest diver Walcott. As for Wigan they need a win like Steve McClaren needs a career change. They are on a 9 game run without one – so if there was going to be a shock, then this could be the game, especially after the 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium.
Let’s check the team news:
Arsenal: Centre back shortage with Vermaelen and Squillaci out, whilst Fabianski has a shoulder complaint. Diaby could make a return and should be happy with a place on the bench.
Wigan: Moses, McCarthy, and Cleverley still out.
Betto’s banker: With wigan missing some top players I can’t see anything other than a home win.
Blackpool vs Sunderland 15:00 Live from crazy town
Ollie Ollie Ollie … nuts nuts nuts … it’s not only Darren Bent and Dzeko who will be feeling big this weekend in stature and price tag, there’s the £46million man Dave Adam … I mean Charlie Adam, who will surely be thinking about being on the cover of the next FIFA game on the Xbox. Sunderland are having a big week and elephant man Brucie will be wanting a reaction to show that his team are more than Darren Bent. But with some injuries and a trip to the fortress of Bloomfield he may only be coming back with a stick of rock.
Let’s check who’s struggling and who’s bubbling:
Blackpool: Harewood still not quite ready for Blackpool, but otherwise a clean bill.
Sunderland: A few injuries with Cattermole, Campbell, Turner, and Mensah all out.
Betto says: Two outspoken managers, but who will have the last word … you would think this has a draw written all over it, but Blackpool are the hot stock. Home win.
Everton vs West Ham 15:00 Where’s my Pie … naar gone??
Things couldn’t be happier for the hammers, great manager, flying in the league, and a hot as you like ‘vice chair’ … or not. With Grant retaining his job because O’Neill said no, Da Costa being charged with sexual assault, Behrami probably on his way, and Karen Brady still resembling a slapped arse in a wig, West Ham must be miserable. Everton are quietly getting their act together. Pienaar has gone, but this team has never been about individuals. But can West Ham get something at Goodison?
Let’s have a look at the teams:
West Ham: Bailed Da Costa is injured for West Ham along with Jacobsen, Hitzslperger, and Ilunga. Obinna is suspended.
Everton: With Cahill still away on international duty and Saha facing a late fitness test, Beckford and Anichebe should continue upfront.
Betto says: West Ham down in the dumps … has to be a home win.
Fulham vs Stoke 15:00 Stoke fans to hit Fez club in Putney … comedy genius!
There will be no love-loss between the two managers who enjoy having a pop at each other. Spicy. Things at the Cottage seem too quiet at the moment. They need players, but nothing is happening – well other than rumours of Paul ‘treadmill’ Konchesky returning. Stoke on the other hand have gone all ‘liveo’, the fans must be loving it, and Carew ducks in just before the deadline and should feature. It will be raining throw-in’s no doubt.
The rest of the team news:
Fulham: Schwarzer still away on international duty so Stockdale starts again. Long term absentee Zamora is still out, but Andy Johnson should start.
Stoke: Fuller may not feature after a bid from Sunderland has been accepted, so Carew could start. Gudjohnsen and Higginbotham are injured.
Betto’s Bet: Fulham playing well at home … but Stoke should win two on the bounce. Away win for the bold among you, draw for the lily-livered.
Man Utd vs Birmingham 15:00 I just can’t do it captain … I don’t have the power
Bad news for Birmingham this week. They won’t be signing Sir Robbie of Keane and solid performer Dann is injured for the rest of the season. No new faces at United, just a link to a £25m bid for the ‘Spanish Gary Neville’ … Sergio Ramos. United weren’t that good at Spurs, but I think Birmingham could take a pasting here. Saying that, it was 1-1 at St Andrew’s.
Let’s check the team news:
ManUtd: O’Shea is likely to come in for the suspended Rafael.
Birmingham: Dann is out for Birmingham. Jerome and Larsson return, but has Larsson got his mind on the game or a transfer?
Betto says: banker, home win.
Newcastle vs Tottenham 15:00 Battle on the Tyne
It’s been a bit quiet up on Tyneside of late, not much going in, and not much going out … probably the opposite of Jordan now she is single again. It looks like Pardew has been stamping his mark on the boys. Spurs have picked up Pienaar this week, sticking two fingers up at Chelsea, but they are struggling to find a balance upfront. Defoe must be ready to bag and this could be the game. Won or lost in midfield and with Nolan battling a throat infection and Tiote serving the last of a 3 match ban, Spurs could over run Newcastle.
Plenty Missing in Action for this one:
Newcastle: Carroll, Gosling, Taylor, Campbell, Ben Arfa and Ryan Taylor all out.
Spurs: Huddlestone and King still out for Spurs.
Betto says: Spurs haven’t always fared well up there, but that was before Van der Vaart. Away win.