TACKLING THE £1,600,000+ FREEPLAY6
Welcome to another Pick 6 Millionaire, packed full of excellent Premier League fare, with a classic Serie A tussle thrown in.
If you want a chance at the lottery-sized jackpot, remember to stake at least £2 per line. Good luck!
Leicester v Crystal Palace
The bubble has well and truly burst at the King Power Stadium and Claudio Ranieri is unlikely to have expected the same to happen so quickly after winning the title.
Fortunately for the Italian, he dampened expectations within minutes of lifting the trophy aloft, but a failure really to get lift-off is starting to become a problem.
A Palace side smarting from a home loss to West Ham won’t be an easy opponent to turn over either.
In fact, anyone thinking this is a home banker should think again. The visitor’s fortunes have picked up since the capture of Christian Benteke and we can expect a large majority of their attacking intent to come via the big front man.
It does make the Eagles slightly one-dimensional but has served them well to this point bar last weekend’s reverse.
Goals should be expected here with neither defence really up to the standard needed to at least mount a sustained challenge for the European places.
ANY OTHER DRAW is my first selection this week.
West Ham v Sunderland
A much-needed, and unexpected, win last time out for the Hammers might finally given them belated confidence to kick-start their campaign.
The London Stadium has become a millstone around their necks and a failure to beat the league’s bottom club will send some fans into meltdown.
As the old saying goes ‘there’s always someone else worse off than you’ and that just so happens to be David Moyes’ Black Cats.
Frankly, the manager has done nothing remotely positive since taking the reins at the Stadium of Light and even this early into the season, the Wearsiders look odds-on to go down.
The visitors can at least point to a fighting spirit at this point, but too many more reverses and that confidence will begin to ebb away.
I can’t see them getting a victory here but West Ham’s eventual 2-1 win will be hard fought, well-earned and not pretty at times.
If it’s football as art that you’re looking for, east London isn’t for you.
Hull v Stoke
To say that the battering Hull took at the hands of Bournemouth was a surprise is an understatement.
Mike Phelan’s side aren’t enjoying the best start but to lose in such a manner will have been a real wake up call.
Something that Mark Hughes has already had. Stoke were European contenders last season, but are in relegation form thus far in 2016/17.
The little things that are pored over on the training ground just aren’t working, and the longer it goes on, the associated lack of confidence could be terminal for either side’s chances of staying in the division.
It’s fair to suggest that this one is likely to be a mix of good old-fashioned ‘up and at ’em’ fare, alongside moments of sublime skill. Both Hull and Stoke have purveyors of both within their ranks, but neither still have enough about them at this stage to grind out a win.
My selection is 1-1 here.
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AC Milan v Juventus
It’s scary to see Juventus streaking away in Serie A again, already five points clear and cruising.
The loss of some big names over the last couple of summers seems to have galvanized them, with the form of Dybala and Higuain of particular concern to any opposition.
Milan are clawing their way to somewhere approaching their best, but it’s a long, hard road with lots of bumps along the way.
Sixth position is just about right for them at the moment but the Rossoneri need to tighten up at the back if they want to make in-roads into the top three. A +2 goal difference is the worst in the top six.
They’ve seemingly had no problem in scoring goals but shipping them has been their Achilles Heel.
Unlikely they’ll get too much of a look in attacking wise against one of European football’s most formidable units.
I’m plumping for a 0-2 away victory here.
Man City v Southampton
Although Man City have a potentially draining Champions League encounter in Barcelona during midweek, Pep Guardiola won’t be looking for excuses against a sprightly Southampton side.
What he will expect, as a bare minimum, is 100 percent commitment and intensity.
The likelihood of rotation is high with an eye on getting back to winning ways and maintaining the status quo at the top of the Premier League table.
The hosts don’t want to be too cavalier because as Celtic showed, they can be punished, however the Saints are still a team in transition and are unlikely to offer too much for the leaders to be concerned about.
Midfield triangles, high pressing and overlapping wing-backs will all be a feature of an all-action City display.
A 3-0 home victory at a canter.
Chelsea v Man Utd
One of the classics of the modern era, when Manchester United come to Stamford Bridge, you’re almost certainly guaranteed entertainment.
Most of it would come via Jose Mourinho, who’ll find it odd sitting in the opposition dugout at a place he called home for so long.
The Special One is sure to be afforded the most hospitable welcome but once the whistle goes, friendship will go out of the window. We can be assured that the wily Portuguese will try every trick in the book to get a result in west London.
The locals loved it when he was on their side, but how quickly will the masses turn on their former manager when the histrionics inevitably begin?
That shouldn’t take away from what will be served up on the pitch. A real chess match in all areas, with both clubs not yet quite hitting the heights that they’d like.
It’s where they are next May that counts of course so although a win is important for bragging rights, the title won’t be won with three points – which is good because both teams will have to be satisfied with cancelling each other out in an entertaining but goalless 0-0 draw.