Villa and Wolves for West Midlands draw

March 9th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Football has its problems, the glut of money at the top end being a pretty fair starting point, but as long as it can surprise us we remain hooked. Even now I don’t know how Tottenham managed to lose to Juventus and I’m not even talking about the extraordinary turnaround in the Champions League second leg.

When they recovered from their disastrous start in Italy, scoring two away goals into the bargain, Spurs looked by far the better team. As for going one up at home, with the visitors briefly losing their cool, one can only speculate on how much was lost on ‘in running’ bets because people really do play at frighteningly short prices under those circumstances.

The wise old heads suddenly got a grip, two goals in three minutes followed and Juve played out time comfortably enough. Had Kane’s header been forced over the line they’d have been unfortunate because he was clearly offside (not given). The net result is that Tottenham, whose approach play and striking power often delights, may endure another season without a trophy, though there remains the FA Cup. It’s sad that this would mean relatively little to them, whereas it would mean the world to some of the other teams left in.

I think Spurs will finish above Chelsea and claim a Champions League place again. It cannot help Chelsea that Antonio Conte’s position is a matter of daily speculation in the press and, elegant though he often looks, Morata is no real substitute for the abrasive, irritating but thoroughly committed Diego Costa.

All of this is by way of saying that I wouldn’t back the Blues at 4/13 (Oddschecker) when they play Crystal Palace this weekend. There was a surprise in this fixture last term and it may well be close again. Palace looked very unfortunate against Manchester United (Hodgson wonderfully composed afterwards) but they retain the ability to score goals and Zaha will be back for the most important games. I’d be interested in a price about Palace with the draw at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle do not score many goals and I imagine Mauricio Pellegrino will set up Southampton to frustrate them at St James’s Park. Frankly, the bet here is probably a sell of Total Goals but I can see Newcastle attacking for long spells and breaking through eventually. If you can’t score it only takes one to beat you and that is why the home team are the only value win bet at a shade under 2/1.

The pace at the top of the Championship becomes ever more frenetic and Cardiff are making it pretty obvious that the two automatic promotion places will not necessarily go to West Midlands teams. Aston Villa and leaders Wolves meet at Villa park in the Saturday teatime televised game and I’d be with the draw there at 12/5 or 5/2 if you can find it.

NEWCASTLE 15 units at 15/8 to beat Southampton
Aston Villa v Wolves 10 units THE DRAW at 12/5
Crystal Palace to avoid defeat at Chelsea, best price to small stakes.