Bournemouth should start favourites in local Derby

December 17th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

The good run continued last week with Newcastle winning comfortably and Sheffield Wednesday scoring in time added on at Reading to land the Both Teams To Score wager. As I mentioned seven days ago, Newcastle are over their blip and should go clear in the Championship. Their visit to Burton looks more straightforward than Brighton’s task at Birmingham.

WEST HAM may be over the worst of their problems and battled on to account for Burnley after holding Liverpool to a draw. They can make it seven points from nine when Hull are the visitors on Saturday. I just cannot see how Hull will garner enough points to stay up and they will soon be under strong pressure from a team which has the fans believing again.

The other Saturday Premier League games are tricky and I wouldn’t include Chelsea at Palace in any accumulator bets. The Blues scored only once against Sunderland and this may well turn into a feisty affair against opposition which is rather better than many suppose, although any silly mistakes at the back are likely to be swiftly punished. I believe Palace can take something from this match.

Middlesbrough score very few but are a better all-round side than Swansea, who look in serious danger of the drop. I do not hold with speculation about any manager’s future but in Swansea’s case I feel there will be another change if things look desperate at the turn of the year. They may achieve a low-scoring draw here but the likelihood is that Boro will need only one goal to beat them. No bet.

Briefly, leaving Newcastle to get on with it at Burton, the two possibilities in the Championship look to be Leeds to account for Brentford and SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY to beat Rotherham. The Owls look promotion contenders again and may win their second local derby inside five days after accounting for Barnsley. Leeds are responding to Garry Monk’s coaching and Brentford will find this harder than the away game at Bristol City in midweek. Even so, we need to see Leeds keep the run going before wading in and I just prefer Wednesday.

BOURNEMOUTH will be odds against when taking on Southampton on Sunday but look clear favourites on current form. Claude Puel has belatedly realised the nature of the task at St Mary’s because the Saints are terribly short of fire-power. Although I never thought of Charlie Austin as a long-term solution, he is out now anyway and Jay Rodriguez, a pale shadow of his former self, and Shane Long do not score. Also, the build-up is sometimes painfully slow. In theory there are far too many talented players around for real trouble to develop but if you can’t score there must be a threat.

Bournemouth, by contrast, score freely and look a very happy, well-adjusted team under Eddie Howe. While Southampton have Fonte and Van Dijk they may always keep a clean sheet but the fact is that, on current form, the Cherries may need only one to beat them.

Tottenham should beat Burnley all right but it will be tougher than the last two home games. Burnley’s away record is dire but they may just wriggle out of danger in the end. As things stand – and the January window can change this, of course – I think they have better survival prospects than Hull and Swansea. If I were looking for a banker bet at very short odds, I’d go with Pompey to beat Hartlepool ahead of Spurs to crush Burnley.

WEST HAM 25 units at 4/5 to beat Hull
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 40 UNITS AT 8/15 to beat Rotherham
BOURNEMOUTH 15 units at 7/4 to beat Southampton.

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