Burnley v Boro looks tight

December 26th, 2016 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

It is a measure of how crazy football has become that Alan Pardew, deemed a failure at Crystal Palace, walks away heavy of heart but in receipt of a pay-off which would be life changing to the vast majority of people.

Personally, I think he would have turned things around. He was a good manager at Southampton, signing Rickie Lambert and Jose Fonte straightaway, and Newcastle but has always spoken his mind. Indeed, at St Mary’s the implacable Nicola Cortese, hell-bent on turning the Saints into a south coast superpower with someone else’s money, fired him after a 4-0 win at Bristol Rovers. It was probably a mistake to question the football knowledge of Palace’s American backers but ‘Pards’ has always gone his own way. Like Sam Allardyce, he will not be out of work for long, though he may have to drop down a division.

We showed a solid profit last week, though West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday did not impress when scraping 1-0 home wins. Southampton surprised me at Bournemouth, who looked a little leg weary. I can tell you that Jay Rodriguez had not come within a country mile of the tremendous strike which settled matters but he has worked tirelessly sinnce a career-threatening cruciate injury and the sport will wish him well.

Briefly, as this update is written on Christmas Day (I hope you are enjoying a well-earned break), I think there are three matches to look at on Boxing Day from a punting point of view. I’d be prepared to back ASTON VILLA, steadily improving now, in the home game against Burton, while SHEFFIELD UNITED really should go up this time around and can possibly go joint top in League One with a solid win over bottom-placed Oldham. The prices will not be much better than 1 to 2 in either case and, just this once, I’d be inclined to go for the double.

Middlesbrough will survive in the Premier League without capturing the imagination and I was quite taken by their organisational skills at St Mary’s, where they never looked dangerous but conceded only once. I believe Burnley will avoid the drop, as well, though not by much – I’m assuming there are no transfer window miracles at Hull or Swansea – and people are right to conclude their home form is all important. They need to win this but Boro have a solid back four and will crowd the midfield area, leaving one up, almost certainly Negredo. It looks 0-0 or 1-1 to me and I’d be happy with the draw ar around 13/5.

ASTON VILLA to beat Burton and SHEFFIELD UNITED to beat Oldham, 40 units win double.
Burnley v Middlesbrough, 15 units THE DRAW at 13/5

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