The Premier League swings back in to action with plenty of fascinating games this weekend. Something probably has to give at the Etihad Stadium as the Premier League's two unbeaten teams go head to head - Manchester City v Newcastle. Not many people will give Newcastle any chance on Saturday and Sky Bet have them chalked up as a 9/1 shot.
City (2/7) have been brilliant at home, winning five out of five, scoring 16 goals in the process and they've conceded just two. Man City are unbeaten in the last nine meetings with Newcastle (won seven), winning each of the last three. The Geordies' only win at City in the last 27 years was 1-0 at Maine Road in September 2000 - Alan Shearer with the only goal for Sir Bobby Robson's side.
I think it's dangerous to under-estimate this Newcastle team, who impressed me enormously at Stoke and Alan Pardew is sure to have a plan and the team will be very well organised. I'm sure punters who back City at 2/7 and include them in their accumulators will have to endure a fright or two.
I think it's dangerous to under-estimate this Newcastle team, who impressed me enormously at Stoke and Alan Pardew is sure to have a plan and the team will be very well organised.
Quotes of the week
Swansea (6/1) are also a big price to beat Manchester United (4/9) in the first meeting between these two in any competition for 28 years, since United won 2-1 in a top flight game at Old Trafford in May 1983. This is a Swansea team who have been the League's surprise package at the Liberty Stadium, where they are unbeaten and have conceded only one goal. They don't score many either (eight in five home games) and with Sir Alex's current emphasis on keeping clean sheets, I'm going to have a small bet on no goalscorer at 12/1.
United have never won at Swansea - eight visits, six defeats.
This week I'll be at Stamford Bridge for Super Sunday (coverage starts at 3.30pm on Sky Sports HD1 and in Sky 3D) as Chelsea (4/5) meet Liverpool (16/5). Incredibly this is their 29th meeting in the last seven years. They know each other well and the last ten PL meetings have produced just 15 goals.
The signs are good for Liverpool, who have done the double over Chelsea in two of the last three seasons and have lost just two of the last nine PL meetings, winning five. Liverpool have also kept five clean sheets in the last seven of those meetings.
Then the team will stay in London on Sunday night as the Monday Night Football returns with Tottenham (1/2) against Aston Villa (5/1)
Villa are looking for their 50th League win against Spurs. Tottenham won both games last season - Villa's only win at White Hart Lane in the last 11 years was 2-1 in Sept 2008 - ironically Darren Bent scored for Tottenham that day. I hope you can join Gary Neville and me on Sky Sports HD1 from 7pm on Monday for a very busy show.
Tottenham won for us at Fulham two weeks ago at 5/4 to make it six winning 'bets of the week' from the last eight selections. This week I fancy Blackburn (15/8) to win at Wigan (6/4). Rovers seem to have had no luck this season at all. They have still managed to draw their last two away games at QPR and Norwich, and were particularly unlucky at Carrow Road. That luck surely has to change. Blackburn have won seven of the 12 PL meetings with Wigan, who are having a rough run having lost their last eight Premier League games. Blackburn look a decent shout at 15/8 and are my bet of the week.
This is such an exciting time of year with big races every Saturday and top class horses re-appearing left right and centre. This weekend has an all-star cast at Haydock and Ascot. The headline act is Long Run against Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase. Master Minded is the star of the show at Ascot, though it will take a leap of faith from punters to back him after his poor reappearance at Aintree.
My big fancy this weekend is Highland Valley in the fixed brush hurdle race at Haydock. This is a giant horse with a big future and Emma Lavelle has laid him out for this race.