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Palmerstonblues’ Pick 8 Preview

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This weekend’s Colossus Bets Pick 8 starts with 3 games on Friday night, one of which is a very tasty looking Yorkshire derby that sees league leaders, Leeds travel the short distance to Sheffield, and in another big Friday night clash, one of the Championship’s pre-season title favourites, Aston Villa visit Bristol City, and the Pick 8 will be completed when Chelsea host Liverpool in the game of the weekend.

Still chasing the ‘perfect 8’, here goes with my selections for this weekend.

Sheffield Wednesday vs Leeds

League leaders Leeds suffered an unexpected home defeat last weekend as Birmingham were the proverbial ‘coupon busters’ winning the game – their first of the season – thanks to two first half strikes from Che Adams. This was Leeds’ first loss at Elland Road since March, when on that occasion they were beaten by Sheffield Wednesday, and Wednesday had the better of the games last season as they won both league games. Having taken 13 points from their first 15, Leeds have stuttered slightly in their recent games,and only have 5 points from the last 12 available. Hosts, Wednesday have had a very mixed start, and their form is hard to assess, and although they are unbeaten in the league at home in 4 games so far, and are pretty decent at home, I think Leeds will be good enough to avoid defeat.

Selection: Draw / Away

Bristol City vs Aston Villa

Ashton Gate should be packed out for the visit of Villa as two of the Championship’s most attacking teams lock horns in a game that should produce goals, and could go either way. Having started slowly, 2 points from 9, City then found some good form as they won their next 4 league games on the spin, but their last 2 games have both been defeats, although they were probably a bit unfortunate to lose last time out at Wigan. The teams are separated by just a single point, with the home team having that slight advantage. Villa have only recorded one win from their last 7 Championship games, a run that also includes 3 draws, and 3 defeats, gaining just 6 points from the 21 available which leaves manager, Steve Bruce under pressure from some quarters. The teams have only met 4 times in the Championship with Bristol City remaining unbeaten in both home games, and that is a stat I expect will continue.

Selection: Home / Draw

St.Etienne vs Monaco

Monaco have made a poor start to the new Ligue 1 season and currently find themselves in the bottom 3 with just one win – an opening day 3-1 win at Nantes – and 3 draws making up their 6 point total. During their most recent game, a single goal home defeat against Angers, they failed to register a single shot on target and to date they have scored just 8 goals in 7 league games.By contrast, St.Etienne have started very well and have lost just once this season going down to Champions elect PSG, They have won their last two games, against Caen, and away at Toulouse, and will be hoping that a third successive win can maintain their decent start to the season. Monaco won both league games last season, but current form would point to a narrow home win.

Selection: Home

West Ham vs Man United

The early kick-off in the Premier League sees Man United visit the London Stadium where hosts West Ham, are still looking for their first home win of the season. The Hammers have only scored once at home in the Premier League so far this campaign and that was a penalty scored against Bournemouth. This will be United’s 3rd visit to the London Stadium, and they have yet to lose. The continued disruption behind the scenes seems to appear on a daily basis, but footballing wise, even with all their so called problems, United should be good enough to win this one. The visitors have an excellent Premier League record against West Ham with only 2 defeats from the last 20 meetings, which also includes 13 victories and I expect United to claim the win in this game.

Selection: Away

Arsenal vs Watford

After losing their opening 2 games, Arsenal seem to have steadied the ship and have now won their last 6 consecutive games across all competitions, and that includes 4 Premier League wins. Since failing to score in their opening day loss against Manchester City, Arsenal have scored at least 2 goals in their subsequent 7 games and I expect that they will continue this good form over Watford. Last season, both teams won the home fixture,and the season before, both teams won the away fixture, and overall league games between the two are pretty close, however, despite Watford’s good start, I think Arsenal will secure the win here. After a very good start which produced a 4 game winning start to their league campaign, Watford’s recent run has not produced another win since, and although they have scored in every game they have played this season, I think they will leave the Emirates empty handed.

Selection: Home

Huddersfield vs Tottenham

I think this will be most people’s banker choice as Spurs visit Huddersfield with the home team still chasing their first win of the season. Along with Cardiff, the hosts have conceded the most league goals – 14 – and it is very hard to see them keeping a clean sheet against Spurs. In fact, Huddersfield have only kept 2 clean sheets in their last 10 Premier League outings, and added to their poor scoring record, just 6 goals in their last 16 Premier League games, it all points to a comfortable Spurs win. With the Champions League game against Barcelona looming, Spurs may rest a few players, but they should still be good enough to win.

Selection: Away

Everton vs Fulham

The home team are on a run of 4 league games without a win with their only league win so far coming against Southampton on the 2nd weekend of the season, however Everton’s record against Fulham at home in the Premier League/Premiership is outstanding. The teams have met on 13 previous occasions in the format at Goodison, and Everton have won all 13, and I expect them to make it 14 with yet another victory against their visitors from London. You have to go back to January 1975 to find Fulham’s last win at Everton, that was when they won an FA Cup tie. This looks to be a solid home win.

Selection: Home

Chelsea vs Liverpool

The last leg of this particular Pick 8 comes at Stamford Bridge where the game of the weekend sees Liverpool put their 100% perfect start on the line against so far unbeaten Chelsea. Although the teams met as recently as Wednesday in the Carabao Cup, both teams fielded weakened teams, and both line-ups will be significantly changed for this clash. Only Rachid Ghezzal and Erik Lamela, have scored against Liverpool this season, and the only first half goal conceded by the Reds this season was scored by Thomas Meunier for PSG in the Champions League tie at Anfield. The home team have also started well and would have matched Liverpool’s perfect start had they managed to take one of the many chances they created against West Ham last weekend, but as it was Chelsea failed to score for the first time on league business under Maurizio Sarri. League games between the two at Stamford Bridge seldom produce draws, and although my preference would be for Liverpool to continue their excellent opening to the season, this game is the hardest for me to call and so I will have to cover all outcomes.

Selection: Home / Draw / Away

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