Newcastle and Norwich worth modest investments

January 27th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

It took Cardiff a long time to break down Burton last weekend but finally Rickie Lambert came on, hit the wall with his free-kick and the ball dropped invitingly for the only goal. It kept our splendid run going and 10/11 was available to 40 units.

There is nothing so appealing this time around. The FA Cup should see several big clubs go through but the odds make little or no appeal. Also, commitment still worries me. In Crystal Palace’s position, is a flat-out effort against Manchester City worthwhile if it means either a significant injury or a replay? I think Sam Allardyce will keep Palace up and, quite apart from Hull, Swansea and Sunderland, I think they may have more to offer than Watford while there remains a large, black question mark over Leicester, who were very poor at St Mary’s last week. Palace may well go out of the Cup but then start their revival.

The commitment thing is a slight worry where NEWCASTLE are concerned, as well, although some will say that they and Brighton are far enough ahead in the Championship to make promotion highly likely. The Magpies have clicked back into gear, the rumour persists that Andros Townsend will return to St James’s and I still make them good things for the title. They can account for Oxford on Saturday but 8/11 away from home is skinny enough and only a small bet is advised.

I wouldn’t touch Southampton v Arsenal but the visitors may have the edge. Saints’ 1-0 win at Liverpool came via the best defensive display I have seen in 60 years of supporting the club but Claude Puel will have to shuffle the pack again with the away game at Swansea next Tuesday making it four games in nine days. Arsenal will soon be resuming their European campaign, of course, and will not want a replay. They will want to ease through with an unfamiliar line-up but they had no game in midweek and I suspect Arsene Wenger has a few more cards to play than Puel has.

Gianfranco Zola is one football’s nice guys, as everyone knows, and he has another, rather sudden opportunity, at Birmingham. It isn’t working so far and NORWICH may prove too strong in the Championship match at Carrow Road, I have no idea what the Canaries were up to with an ultra-defensive line-up against Southampton but they paid the price with a last-minute goal. Then they played much better against Wolves and a follow-up is on the cards, though they have limited prospects of a prompt return to the top flight.

NEWCASTLE 20 units at 8/11 to beat Oxford

NORWICH 20 units at 3 to 4 to beat Birmingham

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