Fulham look top six material – at last!

January 20th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

There was no real damage done last week, with West Brom’s victory over Brighton more or less covering Newcastle’s failure to account for Swansea. I feel that West Brom will pick up most of the vital points against their fellow-strugglers and gradually ease away from danger. This is another reason why I think Southampton could go; they are not managed by a man with Premier League experience, whereas most of the others are.

I see little value in the top section this weekend, unless you fancy a little 11/2 about Crystal Palace at Arsenal. The Gunners are all over the place at present, although it says much about the current state of the game that Manchester United would consider paying so much for a player who could move for nothing in the summer. Whether Arsenal will be able to attract top-class players at short notice remains to be seen and the way things stand it must also be doubtful that Arsene Wenger will see out the final year of the two-year deal he wanted so badly.

Against Bournemouth, Arsenal looked tired. That match underlined another facet of the English game at present. Bournemouth gave everything in a 2-1 win before quietly easing out of the FA Cup at Wigan, having made many changes. Sure, they had injuries but the simple truth is that here is a club which, until a couple of years ago, could not have imagined competing at this level in their wildest dreams. The Premier League is worth millions and millions, and Eddie Howe will not have needed reminding about priorities. Who gave Wigan 3 Bournemouth 0 a second thought once the outcome was known?

I’ve been impressed by Palace in recent weeks and Roy Hodgson has done a fine job. Arsenal will start favourites but are not genuine odds-on shots and the game is probably best left alone.

More and more, the two automatic promotion places in the Championship look to rest between Wolves, Derby and Aston Villa. Derby had the chances to beat Bristol City on Friday night and VILLA can take advantage by beating Barnsley, though it is hard to find better than 4/7.

FULHAM, no doubt regretting their very patchy start to the campaign, are playing some football now and can creep into the top six and a play-off place. I have a feeling they will hammer somebody soon; it may not be Burton but this is one of the very few occasions where I’d take 4/9.

As an old admirer of Paul Tisdale, who had relatively few chances in Southampton’s midfield in the Le Tissier days, I always look for Exeter’s results and they have kept on well in League Two. There was a time, when the canny Terry Cooper looked after them, that they won just about every match at home and couldn’t buy an away point.

That has changed but the trip to NOTTS COUNTY still looks daunting and the 10/11 about the home team is fair enough. County appeal as a team to make up the treble (they would certainly boost the profit) but they have less going for them that Villa or Fulham.

ASTON VILLA 25 units at 4/7 to beat Barnsley

FULHAM 30 units at 4/9 to beat Burton

NOTTS COUNTY 15 units at 10/11 to beat Exeter