Weblog: The football punter

Sleepy sides may struggle to rise to the occasion

ON Tuesday and Wednesday we had the cream of Europe - and Arsenal - fighting it out in the Champions League, while on Thursday we had wall-to-wall coverage of the Europa League which shows the appetite for football is greater than ever before.

Good luck to anyone who managed to sit through Qarabag versus St Etienne with a smile on their face and I can only see Stoke’s trip to QPR being as dismal viewing on Saturday.

The Premier League is hardly starting with a bang at Loftus Road this weekend and when you throw in the fact these early kick-offs are rarely the best of games anyway the smart money is surely on the draw.

Just put yourselves in the football boots for a second. What shape are you in to provide entertainment on a Saturday lunchtime? Sure, the players get £50,000 a week but eating pasta for breakfast is never the right way to start a day.

Look at the results of the early Premier League matches this season and it’s clear the value is in the draw before we even get to the fact QPR and Stoke are both fairly rubbish.

It started with Manchester United 1 Swansea 2 before Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 0; Burnley 0 Manchester United 0 and last week saw Arsenal 2 Manchester City 2.

On the basis of the four-match trends this game is a certainty to finish in a draw.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew would probably prefer it if Newcastle against Hull started at 8am to avoid the restless natives who are sure to give the Toon boss plenty of stick on Saturday.

That should mean home advantage is wiped out but I can’t bring myself to back the Tigers.

Instead it will be the team who mauled Newcastle last week - Southampton - who will be my other selection.

Saints are playing some sexy football at the moment and look a nice price at Swansea.

Either way, it is 1-100 to be a better watch than the 90 minutes at Loftus Road.

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Match in Focus

16:00 Su 21Sep SS1

Man City v Chelsea

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Man City have not led at half-time in any of their last 19 league meetings with Chelsea
Expert verdict
Jose Mourinho outwitted the eventual champions last season and Chelsea have the ability to do it again. They have scored nine goals in their two away games and Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have settled in brilliantly. The Blues have far more potency in attack than last season but still possess the steel required to keep a check on City’s creative players.