Walsall may be worth watching from now on

May 1st, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Last week was one of those ‘in-between’ affairs where bookmakers don’t mind you thinking that things could so easily have been different because it means you’re more than likely to play again.

No real damage was done because Leicester beat Swansea but Palace never recovered from an early setback against WBA, who are virtually safe now. The galling result was Stoke’s 2-1 victory over Southampton because that looked a draw from start to nearly finish and I know because I was there.

This is a tremendous weekend for Premier League devotees. Arsene Wenger has yet to beat Jose Mourinho and I doubt that it will happen at the Emirates. Chelsea are nearly champions; they field much the same team every week and are VERY hard to beat. They can inch closer with a draw here and I doubt there will be many goals.

One wishes Burnley well but it’s hard to see a team staying up when they can’t score goals. They absolutely have to beat Leicester and I think perhaps they may squeeze home but so much depends on Danny Ings rediscovering his goalscoring tough. Hull are in serious danger now and I’d go for CRYSTAL PALACE to beat them. Palace are a big, powerful side and, if they get ahead, I just can’t see that Hull have the strikers to peg them back.

I seldom disagree strongly with bookmakers’ prices but Southampton are not even-money chances to beat Tottenham in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. The Saints are a smashing side who have surprised and delighted several thousand devotees but they so not score enough goals. Personally, I doubt that Pelle or Tadic will be part of Ronald Koeman’s plans next term and there will be some key signings, but we shall see.

Tottenham have dropped off the pace a little but look very dangerous going forward and I think Mauricio Pochettino has got a lot of things right  –  maybe in time for next season. Anyway, the prices at St Mary’s are wrong and Spurs are a remarkably generous 3/1 with Boylesports, though I admit you’ll have to accept something closer to 5/2 if you haven’t got an account.

QPR are improving, all too late perhaps, but they have people who can score goals and I’d give then the edge against West Ham, whose players probably know that Sam Allardyce is on his way.

Bristol City won the JP Cup comfortably enough but I was quite taken by Walsall in the final and I think there is steady improvement underway at the Bescot Stadium. They led 2-0 and 3-2 at Swindon in midweek and, although forced to share the spoils in the end, can again show to advantage against Oldham this weekend.

Of course, there is absolutely nothing at stake but the Saddlers will want to finish well and set themselves up for next season, when they will be one of my long-range forecasts at a very big price for promotion.

I imagine Barnet will do enough against Gateshead to take the automatic promotion spot from the Conference Premier and I shall try to see both legs if Bristol Rovers end up playing Eastleigh in the play-offs  –  where I live now against where I just about lived all those years ago  –  me and Benny Hill. Rovers should hammer Alfreton but it won’t help if Barnet (unconvincing of late) do the business against Gateshead. (If you’re in that worrying position where you need something at a very short price to feel better, a) don’t do it; but b) if you do, Rovers a better bet than Barnet.)


CRYSTAL PALACE 15 units at 21/20 (Hill’s) to beat Hull

QPR 20 units at 7/5 (Betfred) to beat West Ham

WALSALL 20 units at 11/10 to beat Oldham