This week will be the week the treble lands and pays for the Saturday night take away and beers or a night out on the razzle dazzle. Or that’s the aim anyway.
It is also the week when Richard Scudamore will make you believe real football is back, the English Premier League. We all know that is not true but his ego will tell you different. With eight leagues to choose from it should be easy to find those winners, so less of the waffling and on with the selections….
Roberto Martinez’s first game for Everton sees the Toffees travel to Carrow Road. An influx of arrivals in Norfolk has seen the home side waiting with great anticipation for the new season, while the away side remain nervous about whether they can keep hold of their star players.
Both teams have been in the market for strikers with Gary Hooper and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel joining Chris Hughton’s men and Arouna Kone joining Nikica Jelavic and Victor Anichebe on Merseyside.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Everton react to the change in manager, and in particular their team selections and tactics they use. Martinez has always been one for attractive football , yet Wigan Athletic did concede a lot of goals. I fully expect the trend to continue at Carrow Road.
Leighton Baines will continue to act as an attacking left back and it will be interesting to see if Coleman is given the same free reign on the right as the Englishman. Kevin Mirallas is another player I expect to blossom under Martinez and if he is played on the right, this could give plenty of space for Norwich City to attack and take advantage of.
Sebastian Bassong is also an injury doubt for the home side, and if Everton do attack at will that could see the floodgates open for The Toffees. In addition, there have been over 2.5 goals scored in six of Norwich’s last seven games in the Premier League.
I would be very tempted to have a bet on the Everton win, but with over 2.5 goals scored in six of Norwich’s last seven Premier League games and Everton failing to win their last eight away matches in the Premier League, over 2.5 goals seems to be the best bet. Norwich have also scored at least two goals in their last four home matches against Everton in all competitions.
In the Championship this week there is the small matter of a Yorkshire derby contested at lunch time to try and beat those heading to the pub and resorting to violence.
Since Ken Bates left Leeds United on the turn of the 2013/14 season there has been a level of optimism around Elland Road. After an opening day victory over Brighton & Hove Albion and a cup win, they gained a credible draw away to Leicester City.
However, it has been the complete opposite for Sheffield Wednesday. They have been poor in all three games, including a Cup loss to Rotherham United at Hillsborough. Dave Jones is making his usual excuses and unless they add players to their squad, it could be another season of disappointment for the sleeping giant. Talks of Mandaric looking to sell the club certainly won’t help.
Goals are a common theme in their teams opening fixtures. Leeds United have won both their games 2-1 at home, while Wednesday have lost all their games this season 2-1.
I saw Sheffield Wednesday play a friendly in Portugal against Hull City, and while it was only a run out, I was not impressed.
This team will concede goals. Chris Kirkland is one of the best goalkeepers in the division, but the defence is very poor, inexperienced and lacks leadership. In fact the whole team does.
Despite their defensive frailties, Sheffield Wednesday are more than capable of scoring goals and they have scored at least one goal in each game this season. Pacy winger Michail Antonio in particular is a threat as he bursts towards goal and has a powerful shot, so problems can be caused by the opposition.
Brian McDermott on the other hand has plenty of firepower to unlock the Sheffield Wednesday defence. Ross McCormack, Noel Hunt and Luke Varney are all capable of scoring goals at this level. If you add to the fact there have been more than 2.5 goals in five of Leeds United’s last six home games in the League and at least two goals in their last four home matches against Sheffield Wednesday in all competitions. I believe odds against for over 2.5 goals is a knocking bet.
Over 2.5 goals: 11/10 – BetVictor
My last selection this week will see my first trip to Scotland where the in-form Dons take on the league Champions Celtic at Pittodrie.
Neil Lennon’s men take to the road once again after jetting off to Dublin last week for a victory over Liverpool in a friendly. Competitive football returns on Saturday before a trip to Kazakhstan in midweek for a Champions League Qualifier.
Despite the distractions of Europe a price of around even money looks a decent bet. The stand out statistic is that Celtic have won ten of their last 11 games against Aberdeen in all competitions. The Hoops will want to impress Neil Lennon to try and cement a place in the side before the European football beckons.
Aberdeen are in good form with two wins from two in the Scottish Premier League, but they have conceded in each game. Ex-Celtic man Niall McGinn has started the season well with two goals last week in his side’s 3-1 win away to Motherwell, adding to his 21 goals last season. However, influential midfielder Barry Robson’s injury for Aberdeen is a big loss for the home side.
Even without Gary Hooper, Celtic will score goals. With plenty of creativity in midfield, I expect Stokes to be able to put Aberdeen to the sword. The Irishman has scored 11 goals against the home side in 15 appearances.
Impressively in the last 36 league matches, Celtic have won an incredible 29 and losing just three. Judged on the statistics and the team lineups, I can’t turn down the even money on offer for a Celtic victory.