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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Nottingham Forest versus Brentford, Saturday, April 2

Nottingham Forest are hardly on the crest of a wave at the moment, having sacked manager Dougie Freedman earlier this month after losing five of the their six previous matches in the Championship and owner Fawaz Al Hasawi saying he would consider selling the club for the right price.

However, the Reds’ back four were impressive during the 1-1 draw with Hull City at the KC Stadium, only to fall victim to a deflected equaliser after 73 minutes and, despite managing just one shot on target, Paul Williams’ side showed plenty of endeavour during the 1-0 defeat by Derby County at the Pride Park Stadium last Saturday week.

Forest have won two and drawn one of their last six home games, while Brentford have won just one and lost five of their last six away games, including 3-0 defeats at Queens’ Park Rangers and Brighton and a 4-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. In fact, the Bees slumped to their seventh defeat in eight games when beaten 1-0 by 10-man Blackburn Rovers at Griffin Park on their last Championship outing and captain Jack Bidwell is, quite rightly, already worried about being drawn into a relegation battle.

Forest started brightly against both Hull City and Derby County and a similar high-tempo, high-pressing game may well be able to breach the Bees’ leaky defence early on and set the tone for the rest of the game. An entertaining, high-scoring encounter it probably won’t be, but let’s try Nottingham Forest/Nottingham Forest in the Half Time/Full Time market at 14/5 with Betvictor.

Selection: Half Time/Full Time Nottingham Forest/Nottingham Forest (14/5 with Betvictor)

Monday, 21 March 2016

Match Result & Both Teams To Score, Saturday, March 26

The international break provides us with an opportunity to delve a little further down the Football League for our selections and, with plenty of League 1 and League 2 action over the Easter period, we’ve tried to find some value in the Match Result & Both Teams To Score Markets.

In fact, the three League 1 fixtures that take place on Saturday, March 26 could provide the basis for a profitable wager. The fixtures in question are Burton Albion versus Oldham Athletic (10/3 with Coral), Bradford City versus Millwall (6/1 with Coral) and Chesterfield (4/1 with Coral) versus Fleetwood Town.

Top of the table Burton Albion versus Oldham Athletic, 22nd in the table, appeals as a home banker and probably rightly so, but the Latics have scored in 11 of their 18 away matches this season and have a goal difference of just -1 on their travels, compared with -13 at Boundary Park.

Bradford City have failed to score in just three of their 18 home fixtures this season, accumulating a total of 23 goals, while Millwall have the best goal-scoring record away from home in the division, failing to score just once in 18 games and accumulating a total of 33 goals. The Lions have an enviable away record an can just shade what is likely to be a tight encounter.

Despite being in 18th place, Chesterfield rank second in the division for goals scored and have scored in 13 of their home fixtures this season. Fleetwood Town have been less impressive away from home, scoring just 15 goals scored in 18 away fixtures and failing to score seven times, but only lost by the odd goal in the reverse fixture in November. They should be capable of bagging a goal against a Chesterfield defence that’s conceded more than a goal a game at home this season.

Selections: Burton Albion, Millwall, Chesterfield, Match Result & Both Teams To Score, 1-point Win Treble (150.55/1 with Coral)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Everton versus Arsenal, Saturday, March 19

Having lost three successive home games in all competitions for the first time in over 13 years, Arsenal face Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League in midweek before travelling to Goodison Park for their next Premier League fixture on Saturday. Of course, all things are possible, but the Gunners are 25/1 to turn around their 2-0 deficit with Barca, so the chances are that Arsene Wenger’s side will hardly be oozing confidence by the time Saturday lunchtime rolls around.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in a feisty F.A. Cup tie against his old club Chelsea at Goodison Park last Saturday to take his total for the season to 25 and, in current mood, the Arsenal back four will do well to contain the Belgian striker. The absence of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey is a definite disadvantage for the men in red-and-white and, with their season in danger of petering out to nothing, the Toffees may be playing them at just the right time. If confidence counts for anything, Everton and Lukaku look the way to go here, so let’s try the Belgian to score the opening goal at 9/2 with William Hill.

Selection: Romelu Lukaku to score first goal (9/2 with William Hill)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Manchester United Versus West Ham United, Sunday, March 13

West Ham United forced a no-score draw at Old Trafford in the Premier League in December and, while their recent away record in unenviable, they might just represent a shade of value for their return visit, in the sixth round of the FA Cup, on Sunday. The Red Devils’ latest 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns owed much to the dismissal of Juan Mata after 26 minutes but, even so, Baggies’ keeper Ben Foster didn’t need to make a single save. Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has said that winning the Europa League – in which United face Liverpool at Anfield on Thursday – is his priority this season so, with squad rotation likely, his opposite number Slaven Bilic must be fancying his chances of causing an upset.

Summer signings Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio have contributed 19 goals between them in all competitions and, while Bilic has said that qualification for the UEFA Champions League is ‘not realistic’ for his side this season, he presumably wouldn’t say no to some silverware to take to the former Olympic stadium next season. Antonio scored for his third consecutive game against Everton last weekend, so let’s hope he finds his shooting boots again at 9/2 with Bet365.

Selection: Michail Antonio Anytime Scorer (9/2 with Bet365)

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Arsenal versus Swansea City, Wednesday, March 2

After a 0-0 draw with Hull City in the F.A. Cup, a 2-0 defeat by Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League and a 3-2 defeat by Manchester United in the Premier League, Arsenal are hardly on the crest of a wave for the visit of Swansea City on Wednesday. However, only West Ham United and Chelsea have beaten the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League this season, so Arsene Wenger must be hoping his side can rekindle their title aspirations. They currently trail leaders Leicester City by five points.

Dogged though they were in their latest 2-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, Swansea City lie 16th in the Premier League table just three points above the relegation zone. Swans’ coach Alan Curtis believes that subsequent fixtures against Norwich, Bournemouth and Aston Villa will prove decisive and midfielder Jack Cork said, prior to last week’s defeat, that there was ‘no pressure’ on the Welsh outfit for their successive visits to London.

The Gunners strolled to a 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium on Halloween and, while there was no doubting the Swans’ commitment against Tottenham, another horror story may well be on the cards. Swansea have hardly been prolific scorers away from home this season, but found the net at White Hart Lane, Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium on their travels, so let’s try a correct score of 3-1 at 13/1 with BetVictor.

Selection: Arsenal to win 3-1 (13/1 with BetVictor)