This Weekends Football Forecasts - New to

Last updated : 03 December 2004 By Iain Weston
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Top Tips:

HEARTS 4/6 Home v Dunfermline

Hearts have shown good form recently, and are likely to be in bouyant mood
following a good showing against Rangers and their moreale boosting victory
in Basle. John Robertson looks likely to continue the good work of Craig
Levein, and following their unlucky penalty kick loss to Motherwell when
reduced to 10 men, will still be looking for a win to mark his return to
Tynecastle. Dunfermline have been far more competitive recently when
compared to their early season form, but still have a tendency to be edged
out of close games away from home. Hearts should prove to have the edge as
they look to reclaim third spot in the table.

SUNDERLAND 10/11 Home v West Ham

Good value this week on Sunderland, who have won six from their last seven,
while the London club's away form gives little indication that they will be
able to upset the odds on their long trip north. Since their 4-1 loss to
lowly Cardiff at the beginning of November West Ham have showed some
improvement, but promotion chasing Sunderland should still possess too much

Foreign Tip of the Week:
REAL MADRID 11/10 Away v Villareal (Sunday)

Over to Spain for this weeks foreign bet, with far longer odds on Real than
you can usually count on. Even accounting for their shaky start to the
season, Real have still climbed to second in the league and are likely to
stay in touch with the impressive Barcelona for much of the season.
Overlooking their loss to the table-toppers, Real's recent form has been
impressive, with thumping victories against Levante and Albacete. Villareal
have once again proven to be a decent home side this season, but coming off
three consecutive losses against a free scoring Madrid should see a Madrid

MAN U - 2/9 Home v Southampton
GRETNA - 1/4 Away v Elgin
CHELSEA - 4/9 Home v Newcastle United

Maybe stating the obvious with this weeks treble, but all three teams look
like stick ons this weekend. Chelsea have been scoring for fun of late, and
their 4-0 win over Charlton showed little evidence that the Premierships
best defence will be overly troubled by a Newcastle side with 1 win in their
last 5 games. Souness' honeymoon period looks well and truly over, and while
their performance against Everton last week showed improvement, chances will
be much harder to come by at Stamford Bridge.

There's little that needs to be said about a Gretna team which is blazing a
trail through the Third Division this season, but their average of over 5
goals a game from their last seven matches should see them safely past an
Elgin side which has only netted 9 times in their last 10 matches.

Finally, a resurgent Man Utd side should have too much firepower for a
struggling Southampton. Even with a slight upturn in fortunes, Wigley's
side, the worst away team in the Premiership, will struggle to push a United
defence which has only conceded one goal in their last 7 Premiership games.

A treble here gives odds of over 6/5, and should come up without too much

Bonkers bet:
HIBS - 17/2 Away v Celtic

And to finish this week, just for the clinically insane, try covering a Hibs
win for the match at Parkhead this Saturday. Celtic's recent SPL form has
been far from convincing, losing to Rangers and Aberdeen and drawing with
Dundee. Martin O"Neill's side is likely to have one eye on the vital clash
with AC Milan this week, while Hibs under Tony Mowbray have racked up a
number of impressive wins, and in Derek Riordan have a top class striker
with the ability to cause any defence no end of problems.


LIVINGSTON 5/4 Home v Dundee (Surely another Bonkers Bet!?)

All prices taken from William Hill. Odds may vary elsewhere.