Well it almost happened last weekend, as I nearly made it a full house,but unfortunately Man United’s continued poor form let us down and it was just a consolation prize of 7 from 8. So hoping to go one better this weekend, here are my selections that start on Friday with games in France, Spain, and England.
Just 2 points separate these teams ahead of their meeting at the Stadium Municipal where hosts Toulouse will be hoping to rediscover the form that led to them winning 3 games on the spin after they recovered from an opening day defeat at Marseille. After that first day reversal, Alain Casanova’s side went on to record successive wins against Bordeaux,Nimes, and Guincamp, but since that last victory, they have have failed to win, drawing 3 and losing 1. Former Leeds and Bournemouth striker Max Gradel is currently top scorer, and he will be hoping to build on his reasonable start to of 3 goals from 7 appearances. Visitors Nice also have 3 wins to their credit, although they made an indifferent start losing their opening 3 games, with only striker Ignatius Ganago’ s strike against Caen to show for their efforts. However, Patrick Viera’s team seem to be going in the right direction, winning 3 of their last 5 games and although comfortably beaten by PSG last time out, they were not completely overrun by the best team in France and I can see them not losing this one.
Selection: Draw / Away
After winning their opening game of the season against Leganes, Bilbao have not won another La Liga game so far, but they have got very creditable draws at home to Real Madrid, and most recently, away at Barcelona where the Catalan side equalised with only 6 minutes to go. Their only defeat this season came at home against Villarreal – also the only game in which they have failed to score in – but home form is a bit of a problem for them with only 3 home La Liga wins from their last 11. Visitors Sociedad were unbeaten against Bilbao last season, and both of their league wins this season have been on the road, but they do concede goals on a regular basis as they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 La Liga games. There is little between the teams in the table at present and my selection is for Bilbao to win by a narrow margin.
The first of 4 games from the Premier League in this weeks Pick 8 takes place at the Amex where the home side will be aiming to end a run of 5 Premier League games without a win as they welcome West Ham. Brighton’s only win so far came against Manchester United which at the time was regarded as being something of an achievement, but the way that Man United’s form has dipped of late, maybe it was just a normality. Brighton have a perfect record over West Ham in the Premier League, they have only met twice and Brighton have won both, 3-0, and 3-1 with striker Glenn Murray amongst the goals in both games. West Ham are much improved from those games, and seem to be finally finding the right permutations of players and positions. This game could go either way and will be one of two that I will cover all three outcomes.
Selection: Home / Draw / Away
This is one of the games of the day in the Championship as leaders Leeds will aim to bounce back from their surprise defeat they suffered against Birmingham in their last league game at Elland Road. Previous to that loss, Leeds had only been beaten once at home in the league, and they will be strongly fancied to collect 3 more points against a Brentford side who have yet to win a league game away from home so far and are currently on a run of 4 games without a win. Had this game been at home, Brentford would certainly have been good value, but their current away form suggests a tough task lies ahead for them in this one. Both teams to score, and a Leeds win would be my selection.
The first of 3 Premier League games on this weekend’s Pick 8 sees 13th placed Palace still seeking both a home win, and a home goal as they play their 4th league game of the campaign at Selhurst Park against last seasons Championship winners Wolves. Palace last won a home Premier League game against West Brom on the final game of last season, and with their next 2 home games being fixtures against Arsenal, and Tottenham, a win here is almost vital. Promoted Wolves have adapted exceptionally well to their return to the top flight and they go into this game on a run of 6 unbeaten in all competitions, with Manchester United’s Fred, being the only player to find the net against them in their last 4 league games. I expect them to remain unbeaten here, with a draw the likely option.
Selection: Draw / Away
The home side won the corresponding fixture last season with goals from Vardy, and Gray, and in the 5 meetings between the teams in the Premier League at the King Power, the home side have only lost once. Everton are hard to predict lately although they do score more often than not,and they have only failed to score twice in their last 17 Premier League games, and just once – against Arsenal – this season. My preference here would be for a narrow home win with both teams scoring.
If ever a game looked likely to end in a draw, then it is this one as the teams are locked together on 13 points and 5 of the last 6 meetings have ended in draws. However, this season the majority of Bournemouth’s points have been collected at home, with their only points on the road coming in the win at West Ham. Following Watford’s unbeaten start to their season, they are now 3 games without a win, and despite losing at Arsenal in their last game – the only time they have failed to score in 9 competitive games this season – they probably deserved to get something from the game. Only a 90th minute equaliser from Jermaine Defoe prevented Watford from doing the ‘double’ over Bournemouth last season, and I think the home side will be good enough to return to winning ways in a close run game.
If we are still in the running to make it 8 from 8, then all our hopes will be pinned on one team winning in this Lancashire derby. Once again the teams are locked together on the same – 15 – points, with Blackburn being ahead thanks to a slightly better goal difference. Striker Bradley Dack has scored 5 of Blackburn’s 14 league goals and will be one player the Bolton defence will be wary of. There has only been one drawn game between these teams in the last 14 matches, and hopefully, one team can collect the 3 points. On current form, based on the last 4 league games, the stats would seem to favour a Blackburn win – 2 draws, 1 win, 1 loss, as against Bolton’s 1 win, 2 defeats, and 1 draw, but in any event, here’s hoping that the game is not drawn.
Selection: Home / Away