Newcastle look banker material

December 18th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

We enjoyed a clean sweep last week with Norwich and Everton both scoring and Hull and Bristol Rovers both winning to provide a 13/10 double. They were both made to work harder than I expected but winners are winners.

Like most people, I was surprised that Newcastle came from behind at Tottenham but there was no fluke about it and I was very impressed by their pace and power up front. Some prices hit you between the eyes and I have to say Steve McLaren’s side look very generously priced at 21/20 with Hills and Betfred to account for Aston Villa in the teatime game on Saturday. Whilst defeat here will not mean automatic relegation for the Midlands team they look very poor indeed and will face a huge task, notwithstanding the January transfer window. Recruiting new players, even supposing the money is made available, and getting them to gel in time to close a daunting gap is extremely difficult and you would have to wonder if Remi Garde has the necessary experience. The Premier League may not be the most technically proficient in the world but it is unquestionably the most competitive and there are no easy games. Villa’s supporters have come to accept the prospect of relegation and a fresh start; the team could hardly be meeting Newcastle at a worse time and this will be one of my strongest bets of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino looked quite stunned by Tottenham’s setback and there must be a chance he will have them up and running for the visit to his former club Southampton. It intrigues and pleases me that the pundits do not include the Saints in the list of clubs looking over their shoulder and I wonder how much they have seen of them in recent weeks. The big problem concerns the little matter of scoring goals and very soon Ronald Koeman will have to decide whether Tadic and Pelle are the answer or new faces need to be brought in. It’s one or the other, because there are NO goals from midfield and the build-up is sometimes painfully slow. That is not to say the manager has not achieved a great deal, of course, because his record in the face of all the departures of talented players is impressive, but these are slightly worrying times. I make Spurs favourites here but I think the Saints may score, which makes the ‘Both Teams’ market quite interesting.

Even if tickets were available, not many neutrals would be heading for the Stoke v Crystal Palace game, which will be hard and unrelenting. I cannot see many goals and anticipate a low-scoring draw. A small bet only, however.

I’m leaving Bristol City alone after the poor display at Derby, though I’d certainly expect QPR to score at Ashton Gate. Derby themselves are probably the best team in the Championship at present but would be happy with a draw at Ipswich, who are scoring freely. The Tractor Boys tend to flatter to deceive but they are going well at present and this is the year they have to make the play-offs at least. It should be an open contest with both goalkeepers busy.

NEWCASTLE 60 units at 21/20 to beat Aston Villa

Stoke v Crystal Palace 10 units THE DRAW at 23/10

Southampton v Tottenham 10 units Both Teams To Score

Ipswich v Derby 15 units Both Teams To Score