This weekends Football Forcast

Last updated : 10 December 2004 By Ian Weston
A fairly low key week last time out with the odd let down, but with 4 out of
7 winners and a modest 13% profit every little helps.

So, another week, and another trek through the murky depths of British
Football. Most of the talk this week is about Arsenal V Chelsea, but its one
that is probably best avoided.

With high fliers dominating this weeks picks, its away we go, or atleast for
the first tip anyway.


SHEFFIELD UTD 5/6 Away v Rotherham

Its down to Sheff Utd to get us underway this week as they continue their
impressive progress up into the League Championship playoff slots. While
stumbling to three consecutive home draws with Wolves, Watford and
Gillingham, their away form has been much more impressive having taken 12
points from their last 5 away outings. Conversely, Rotherham have become
detatched at the foot of the Division, and are now 11 points from safety
having landed just a solitary win from their 22 games. It will be no walk in
the park for Utd, but having edged out far stronger sides in recent weeks,
and looking for the chance to cement their credentials as playoff
contenders, they should have little trouble in closing out a 1 or 2 goal

NEWCASTLE UTD 4/7 Home v Portsmouth

On paper an unattractive prospect, but Newcastle's performance for 60
minutes against a Chelsea side currently in a different class suggests they
are ready to reignite their drive for European Qualification. Further, the
return of Alan Shearer will see a mouthwatering attack of Kluivert, Shearer
and Bellamy line up against a Portsmouth side who struggled to see off
flagging WBA last week, requiring two late goals. Two wins in a row for
Pompey, but still managerless and with the electric Yakubu out and Saturday
should see that run come to an end.

MAN UTD 8/15 Away v Fulham

Staying in the Premiership, and looking to the Monday night game as Fulham
entertain Man Utd. A punt on this one looks a little unsteady as Fulham are
one of the enigmas of the Premiership, perhaps best illustrated by their 4-1
success at St James Park followed by a 2-0 home loss to Blackburn, both in
November. However, their recent 4-1 home loss to Chelsea, as well as a 3-0
reverse at home to Arsenal suggests that while they can grind out results
against most of the Premiership sides, they struggle to even compete against
the very best, and a bouyant United, fully rested after fielding a reserve
side against Fenerbache(with the exception of C. Ronaldo) are likely to
continue their first class league form.


A couple of doubles this week, which should come up without too much


GRETNA 1/9 Home v Elgin
STRANRAER 2/7 Home v Queens Park

Of course, very little value here, with the combined odds giving just under
4/9, but these two teams are very unlikely to be upset on Saturday. Both
riding high at the summit of their respective leagues, Gretna comfortably
beat Elgin only last Saturday, and are coming into the game on the back of
11 straight league wins, averaging nearly five goals a game at home.

Stranraer's recent dip in form can be attributed to their away performances,
while they are still unbeaten at home. Not only that, but Queens spoilt a
decent run of results with a 0-0 home draw with East Stirling, followed up
by a home defeat to strugglers East Fife last weekend. The division between
them should prove too much.

WIGAN 1/3 Home v Gillingham
HARTLEPOOL 4/9 Home v Stockport 4/9

Again, not much value, but the combined odds do work out to just below

Wigan, still riding high at the top of the Coca Cola Championship, look like
they have overcome their recent bad patch with a resounding 5-0 win over
Preston last week, and punters will do well to make some money before
another good run translates itself into very unattractive odds. Gillingham
lost their last two away games 3:1 and 4:1 to Cardiff and Crewe
respectively, and neither possesses anything like the potential of the Wigan
side, and so a home win should be on the cards.

Hartlepools status as the best home side in the English 2nd division
shouldnt come under too much scrutiny on Saturday. Stockport, rooted to the
foot of the division, have become detatched from the rest of the league, and
averaging less than one goal a game are unlikely to trouble Hartlepools
unbeaten home record.


UDINESE 5/4 Away v Atalanta

Only trailing Juve and Milan in Serie A, Udinese go into this game having
won four straight away games. Although prone to struggle against the big
reputation sides in Italy, Udinese have had little trouble seeing off much
of the mid to lower table opposition this season, and Atalanta's failure to
win in 14 attempts this season is unlikely to change on Saturday night. If
you are really brave, try Atalanta 0 - 1 Udinese, seemingly the nerazzuri's
favourite scoreline this season, at 7/1.

Cheerio till next time. All abuse and bank managers letters to

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