Premier League football returns after the International break with Chelsea taking a ten-point lead into the weekend fixtures. They welcome a resurgent Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge with both sides coming into the game on the back of three wins in a row. Tottenham in second face a tough trip to Burnley, who have been strong at home all season, whilst third-placed Man City don’t play until Sunday when they travel to sixth-placed Arsenal. The Merseyside derby gets the Saturday fixtures underway with Liverpool in fourth welcoming Everton in seventh to Anfield. Elsewhere, Man United host West Brom looking to close the gap on the top four.
Despite no win in three, Newcastle remain top of the Championship going into their home fixture with relegation threatened Wigan. They’ll be keen to get back to winning ways and stay ahead of second-placed Brighton who themselves welcome a side in the relegation zone, in the shape of Blackburn who have drawn their last four games. Huddersfield in third welcome Burton Albion who sit one place above the drop zone, whilst game of the day sees Leeds in fourth go to fifth-placed Reading. Sheffield Wednesday are hanging on to the last play-off place, but face a tough trip to Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, so Fulham can keep up the pursuit of a top-six finish with a win a bottom side Rotherham.
Sheffield United’s midweek win over Millwall has seen them go seven-points clear at the top of League One, but they do not have a league fixture until next week, so Bolton in second can close the gap by beating second-bottom Chesterfield at home. Fleetwood in third welcome relegation threatened Swindon, whilst Scunthorpe in fourth go to seventh-placed Millwall. Bradford in fifth host mid-table Walsall, and Southend in sixth welcome Oldham Athletic looking for a fourth win in a row.
Plymouth’s win at League Two leaders Doncaster last week cut the gap between the two promotion favourites to just three-points going into the weekend fixtures. Doncaster will look to bounce back with a win at Grimsby Town, whilst Plymouth in second will hope to keep the pressure on by beating Accrington at home. Portsmouth are clear in third now ahead of their long trip to Hartlepool, whilst Stevenage in fourth host Barnet. Four wins in their last five games has seen Blackpool jump up to fifth-place, and they go to Kenilworth Road to face sixth-placed Luton. Exeter sit in the final play-off place but face a tough trip to Mansfield in ninth who are one of three sides within a win of stealing that play-off spot. Carlisle, in eighth and free fall, go to Yeovil, whilst Colchester in tenth travel to Notts County.
Here are our tips for Saturday’s football.
HOME WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE – LUCKY 63:
- CHELSEA – PL
- BRIGHTON – C
- PRESTON NE – C
- BRADFORD CITY – L1
- BRISTOL ROVERS – L1
- STEVENAGE – L2
Chelsea and Crystal Palace meet at Stamford Bridge with both sides looking for a fourth win in a row. Palace will arrive with confidence and can pose Chelsea problems. However, we see the Blues being too and winning this, but we do see both sides scoring.
Brighton will be looking for maximum points when they face Blackburn at home, but both sides need the points for very different reasons. Rovers have certainly become more of a goal threat and can score against the Seagulls, but we see the home side be too good to win this.
Preston are excellent at home and can win again against inconsistent Nottingham Forest. The visitors are still very much under the threat of relegation, whilst Preston still have a play-off chance. We certainly see goals, but North End just edging this one.
Bradford can beat visiting Walsall to maintain their spot in the play-off places. Walsall will arrive with little to play for, so that freedom should make for an entertaining game. We’re backing both sides to score in this, but Bradford netting all three-points.
Bristol Rovers still have an outside chance of the play-offs, so really need to beat relegation threatened Shrewsbury. Both sides need the points so it should make for an attacking fixture and we see both sides scoring. However, Rovers have an impressive home record and notch another win against a Shrews side without a win in four.
Stevenage can win at home again to keep up their push for a play-off place when Barnet arrive. The visitors are inconsistent but certainly carry a goal threat, whilst Stevenage have been very good at home lately. We’re backing them to win, but see a high-scoring game.
OVER 2.5 GOALS – ACCA:
- Leicester City v Stoke City – PL
- Brentford v Bristol City – C
- Rotherham v Fulham – C
- Port Vale v AFC Wimbledon – L1
- Rochdale v Northampton – L1
- Hartlepool v Portsmouth – L2
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE – ACCA:
- Aston Villa v Norwich – C
- Wolves v Cardiff – C
- Peterborough v Charlton – L1
- Cheltenham v Morecambe – L2
- Luton v Blackpool – L2
- Mansfield v Exeter – L2
- Notts County v Colchester – L2