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

It is a pity, with things going so well on the racing front, that the last two weekends have yielded nothing on the football field. Then again, there was a period of several weeks last winter when the football paid all the bills, so I suppose ‘swings and roundabouts’ applies.

For the second time, I must force myself to come away from ‘both teams to score’ bets, although one could argue that Bournemouth hardly did themselves any favours by having a man sent off in the 1-0 defeat at West Ham. As for Bristol City 0 Newcastke 1, the old adage applies: ‘never send good money after bad’, though I admit I feel much the same about the City v Aston Villa game on Saturday. However, I shall stand back and let that type of bet go..

Tottenham v Liverpool is a fascinating encounter at this early stage of the season. They would be my two against the field for the title and I still believe Spurs are capable of heading the table early on because their squad, and indeed their style, is settled while their main rivals are still feeling their way to a degree. Of course, the Manchester clubs will prove dangerous as the campaign progresses but there were times last season when Tottenham looked the real deal and the fact that Pochettino has signed a long-term contract says plenty. Presumably Daniel Levy will leave him alone, which has not always been the case with previous managers. I think Spurs may beat Liverpool but it’s a close call.

Southampton fans will welcome the arrival of Lille winger Sofiane Boufal, if it happens, because there are doubts about fire-power up front. The word is that Jay Rodriguez may go out on loan to give him more minutes on the pitch while Claude Puel decides on the most effective striking partnership. Everyone said Charlie Austin was a snip at £4m but he seldom started for Koeman, even before picking up another injury. He is fit again now but only came on late against Manchester United.

Sunderland have even more problems with a worrying injury list in the opening weeks. Only a very late equaliser denied them victory at St Mary’s last season but it was 8-0 the time before and they will probably be under pressure for long periods. The Saints did not convince me at old Trafford but Puel deserves time to sort things out and may receive a welcome boost here.

Otherwise it looks a tricky day. Bradford look good against Oldham, while Wigan may prove too strong for QPR, who have not given their supporters anything to cheer about for a long time. Even so, I shall rely on Newcastle to beat Brighton and make it two wins from four matches. As I mentioned last week, those who have taken a short price about Rafa Benitez’s team winning the Championship (as I have) do not need to keep backing them on a weekly basis. However, there were signs at Bristol City, where Jack Colback looked capable of running the show, that better times are just around the corner and they are the team to double up with Southampton.

Recommendation: 25 units win double SOUTHAMPTON and NEWCASTLE