A major test for Newcastle

August 20th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

There were surprises on the football front right through last season but those prepared to play at short prices will have made Manchester United count against Southampton on Friday night. United looked a work in progress but that was only to be expected and they won comfortably enough with Paul Pogba looking a fine acquisition, as indeed he should for the money.

Southampton were neat enough and 2-0 was no disgrace but they could not afford to lose Romeu early on; with Wanyama gone, Romeu is a key figure in midfield. Also, quite apart from foolishly giving away a needless penalty, Clasie again looked ordinary and it’s hard to see what he can do that an academy youngster like Harrison Reed can’t. Where Southampton’s season is concerned, much will depend upon how quickly the management realises that nothing can be taken for granted. You cannot lose 11 genuine Premier League players over three summers and recruit slightly lower down the scale without feeling the strain.

Bookmakers’ advertisements often focus on accumulators these days. The shorter the prices, the more people new to betting will go for too many selections. This Saturday, for example, Liverpool 4/7 at Burnley and Tottenham generally worse than 1 to 2 at home to Palace will have people looking for two or three more to make up the bet, so they’ll be tempted by Chelsea at 8/11 in the away game at Watford. Of course, if they included United they’ve got one start but, in my experience, punters like the games happening at the same time or at least on the same day. With the cramped prices on offer, it’s very nearly a licence to print money where the layers are concerned.
This is one of the reasons why I dallied with Both Teams To Score last term and, although I couldn’t make it pay, I soon realised that you needed to be in the Championship rather than the Premier League.

I shall not be suggesting a bet of this nature all that often but Bristol City have started well and Newcastle are doing their best to make a short price for the title look fairly absurd. It isn’t, though, and Rafa Benitez, on a learning curve like everyone else at the club, will soon sort things out. City are responding well to Lee Johnson’s coaching and can score here, but I doubt that Newcastle will fail to do so.
That would be the main bet but, for those interested in a ‘televised’ investment, West Ham and Bournemouth shared  seven goals at Upton Park last year and the new ground may well see a few more on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams to Score:  Bristol City v Newcastle and West Ham v Bournemouth

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