Newcastle may pick up now

December 30th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Under normal circumstances I’d be very happy with the draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United last week and even thought it would be quite high-scoring (it was 2-2) but Southampton’s failure to beat Huddersfield knocked out the profit.

The Saints are best left alone now. I suspect all is not well behind the scenes and, although the money for Virgil Van Dijk will pay for a couple of strikers (we hope), I have no idea who will be picking them and bringing them to St Mary’s. The problems go back to last March/April and neither Claude Puel not Mauricio Pellegrino is wholly responsible. I expect a solid rearguard action against Manchester United tomorrow but the crucial game is Crystal Palace at home on Tuesday. I wouldn’t care to bet on that but Palace undoubtedly have the players to worry Southampton for pace.

NEWCASTLE are playing rather better than their recent record suggests and the victory at West Ham preceded a solid effort against Manchester City, even if a single goal defeat hardly indicated the gap in class. Rafa Benitez has his concerns about money available in the transfer window but whoever is in charge will surely do all in their power to keep him happy. Brighton have done well so far but this is a tricky one for them and the 6/5 about Newcastle in front of their own supporters is more than fair.

As I mentioned last week, SHEFFIELD UNITED have picked up again following a moderate run and followed the Villa draw with an easy home win. They need to take all three points against Bolton to be right back in the mix and should manage it, though 3/5 is skinny and I wouldn’t push the boat out.

The coming Championship team at the moment (outside the top two) is Fulham, and not before time. But they’ve given themselves a lot to do and, even if the 4-2 win at Cardiff was one of the results of the season, they need to do it again at Hull. I can’t make 17/10 value there.

Finally, we sometimes miss the obvious. Wolves and Bristol City have been outstanding for weeks and meet at Ashton Gate on Saturday evening. It looks a great contest and 5/2 about the draw would be fair enough. If I were saving I’d have a little on 0-1, but only to a few centimes.

NEWCASTLE 25 units at 6/5 to beat Brighton

SHEFFIELD UNITED 20 units at 3/5 to beat Bolton

Bristol City v Wolves 10 units THE DRAW at 5/2