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David’s Friday Pick 8 Preview

Friday Pick 8

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Once again I will try to hit that magical 8 from 8 correct selections for this coming weekend. Plenty of exciting matches to look ahead to with featured games covering the Championship, Premier League, and La Liga. My Syndicate offers the chance to join in the fun with low stakes, which hopefully means that if it all goes wrong, it hasn’t cost any of us a lot of money. So here goes with this weekend’s preview.

Cardiff vs Wolves

This weekend kicks-off with the first ever Premier League meeting of Cardiff and Wolves in a game in which the home side will be looking for a 3rd home win from their last 4 games at the Cardiff City Stadium. After halting a run of 6 straight Premier League defeats, Cardiff claimed their first 3 points of the season with a win over Fulham, but since then their last 4 fixtures have produced a win and 3 losses, although it does seem as though they are starting to perform better at home. Visitors Wolves have certainly hit a bit of a slump in form, having collected just a single point from the last 15 available.So far they seemed to have performed very well against the top teams, drawing with Everton, Man City, Man Utd, & Arsenal, but then coming up short with losses against Watford, Brighton & Huddersfield. Cardiff’s slightly improving home form suggests to me that this is a game in which they will avoid defeat.

Selection: Home / Draw

Rayo Vallecano vs Eibar

Second bottom Rayo host mid-table Eibar still searching for their first home win of the season and at first glance this should be a comfortable away win. However, although the home side have already lost 8 league games, apart from heavy defeats by Alaves, Sevilla, and Valencia, their other defeats have been very closely contested games, losing by one goal against Atletico, Barcelona, Getafe and Leganes. Visitors Eibar have won 2 out of 3 of their last league games including last weekend’s 3-0 humbling of Real Madrid, but their away form so far has only produced a single 3 point haul, and it is their patchy form on the road that sees me looking towards the draw. However, La Liga has been very unpredictable this season, so I will cover all 3 options.

Selection: Home / Draw / Away

Sheffield Utd vs Leeds

The early kick-off in the Championship will certainly be a very feisty affair where 5th placed United entertain 2nd in the table Leeds with both team knowing that a win could possibly take them to the top of the league – even if only for a few hours. Both teams have 10 league wins, and both teams have scored 32 league goals,but it is Leeds who are 2 points better off after a recent run of just one defeat from their last 6 games. The home team won both league games by the same 2-1 scoreline last season, and they have not lost to Leeds at Brammall Lane in their last 7 meetings, – 5 wins, 2 draws – current form would point to a Leeds victory, but form usually goes out of the window in such games, and I expect the home side to continue with their good record at home against Leeds, and extend that unbeaten run to 8 games.

Selection: Home / Draw

Crystal Palace vs Burnley

The first Premier League fixture of the Pick 8 sees Palace entertain Burnley still looking for their first home league win of the season, and still searching for their first league goals at Selhurst from open play. They will certainly have gained confidence from their last performance at Old Trafford last time out, and in their last 2 games at home, against Arsenal, and Spurs, they played pretty well. This game is certainly winnable for Palace, and they will be strong favourites to beat an out of sorts Burnley side who are on a run of 6 games without a win. A single Bakary Sako goal was the difference in the corresponding fixture last season, and a similar scoreline in this game is what I would be looking at.

Selection: Home

Newcastle vs West Ham

These two teams are locked together on 12 points just about halfway in the table with both teams having won 3 Premier League games each. Since losing narrowly to both Man United, and Brighton, Newcastle’s fortunes have changed for the better and they will entertain their London rivals looking for a 4th successive Premier League victory. West Ham are very unpredictable and their form away from the London Stadium has yielded just one league victory, with that win at Everton also being the only time that they have scored more than once in a game on their travels. On current form – based on the last 4 games – only Man City have a better record than Newcastle, and having won the last 3 meetings between the teams at St.James’, I expect a narrow Newcastle win.

Selection: Home

Huddersfield vs Brighton

Improving Huddersfield – unbeaten in 3 – welcome Brighton to the John Smith’s Stadium looking to continue their recent upturn in form. Seven points from the last nine available have boosted the home side’s efforts to haul themselves up the table, and for the first time since February – some 25 games ago – they scored more than 1 goal in a game in their recent win at Wolves. Meanwhile Brighton had their 3 match winning run ended with defeat at Everton, and have only taken one point from their last 3 games. Almost exactly a year ago a Steve Mounie double won the game for the home side, but Brighton have conceded just 6 goals in 6 games and could well take something from the game.

Selection: Home / Draw

Southampton vs Man Utd

There is every chance that this game could see the end of Mark Hughes reign as Southampton manager, as the team who are currently joint bottom of the Premier League host a Manchester United side who , even though they are having an indifferent run in the league, should still be way too good for the struggling Saints. Without a home win so far this season, you have to go back to April for Southampton’s last Premier League home win, when 2 Dusan Tadic goals were enough to beat Bournemouth, and since winning their only league game away at Crystal Palace, the Saints are currently on a run of 9 games without a victory. United progressed in the Champions League in midweek, but are currently 7 points adrift of 4th place, and along with Everton, they are, – with 20 goals – the lowest scoring team in the top 8 sides in the league. United have been beaten 3 times away from Old Trafford in the league so far this season, conceding 3 goals in each of those games at Brighton, Man City, and West Ham, however Southampton have only scored 4 goals in their last 8 Premier League games, and I can’t see past a United win.

Selection: Away

Middlesbrough vs Aston Villa

If we are still in the hunt for 8 from 8 our fingers will be crossed for the home side to continue their recent good unbeaten run. At home Tony Pulis’ side have lost just once, when Nottingham Forest took all 3 points from the Riverside. In 19 league games this season, ‘Boro have kept 11 clean sheets and have the best defensive record in the Championship, and currently sit in 3rd place, seven points ahead of Villa. The visitors score a lot, and concede a lot – as was evident on Wednesday in the 5-5 draw with Forest – and although their 36 goals scored is the 2nd best in the league, they have conceded 20 more goals than Middlesbrough! The away team have failed to score in only one of their 19 Championship games so far, and have scored 14 goals in their last 4 games, with Tammy Abraham finding the net 6 times. The corresponding fixture last season saw Villa snatch a 1-0 win, and they also won the play-off 1st leg by the same scoreline, and in fact Villa are unbeaten at the Riverside in their last 6 games. High scoring Villa, against strong defending Middlesbrough, this is really to close to call, but I will just side with the home side not to lose.

Selection: Home / Draw

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