WATFORD - CHARLTON ATHLETIC
I hope that Watford can recover from a poor run and get back into the promotion hunt, for the sake of our long term bet, if nothing else. However, at present, they look below the standard required and to my eyes, WBA and Charlton look superior to the rest. Palace have a lot of potential, but are an extremely young team and due a blip soon.
The home side have hardly improved their chances by selling Marlon King to Fulham, they have not won at Vicarage Road since early October and meet a Charlton side close to their best. They trounced Blackpool last week and look to have goals all over the pitch, they rested a handful of players at WBA in a midweek cup tie and were very unfortunate not to win in any case.Few teams would rest players and take the game to the league leaders at the Hawthorns. Iwelumo,Thomas, Semedo, Powell and Fortune, all return to the squad and this team have only lost 3 on the road, where their abundant pace is a huge advantage, all season. I do not see them adding to that tally this evening.
5 points Charlton +1/2 ball 1.70.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE - SOUTHAMPTON
Something of a fire sale has gone on at Plymouth, with the sales of Hayles, Ebanks-Blake and Goslin, the cream of the Argyle crop. It is hard to see them doing much in the remainder of the season and a mid table finish at best, seems the limit of their ambitions.They have just one win in 5 strats and that was rather fortunate, with a last minute winner against QPR. There home form is not the best, which is strange as clubs have to travel so far, to this most westerly ground, with just 5 wins all season, only Crystal Palace of the top 17 sides in the Championship, have fewer.
Saints are a talented bunch of individuals and still have an eye on the playoffs, defensively they are much stronger now and are finally capable of hanging on to a lead.
5 points Southampton +1/4 ball 1.90 asian line.
MANSFIELD TOWN - DARLINGTON
Town have a huge cup tie next week against Middlesbrough, a match that locals are describing as their biggest in the last 20 years ! This is Boro boys !
They would be better concentrating on their precarious league position, but that is easier said than done and no one, will want to miss out on the "big match". Today, they are without two key defenders and two vital strikers are also rated very doubtful. It is hard to see them scoring too many today, they have failed to register any in 3 of their last 6 and meet the division's meanest defence this afternoon.
Darlington have conceded just 15 this season, including 5 in one away game, which means that in the other 11 road matches, 7 of which they won, only 4 were allowed. This big spending club will go third in the table with a win and are desperate to get out of this division.
5 points Darlington -1/4 ball 1.82 asian line.
BLUE SQUARE PREMIERSHIP
ALDERSHOT- FOREST GREEN ROVERS
The 25/1 pre-season about Aldershot winning the title, which I did suggest was big, is something only available in dreams now and they are looking to protect a 7 point lead at the top of the table, with two "big" clubs breathing down their neck.
I favour them to get the points this afternoon against a FGR side, that has gone off the boil.They have just a single win in six starts, that being one of divisional whipping boys, Droylsden's, two wins this season. Infact,they conceded 7 goals in two games with the basement club in this sequence, 13 in total. In Stuart Fleetwood, they have the country's leading marksman, but he has been the subject of several recent,big money bids from league clubs and would not be human, if he was not more concerned with those.
5 points Aldershot -3/4 ball 2.07 asian line.
FRANCE LIGUE 1
LORIENT - PARIS ST GERMAIN
PSG did us a big favour in midweek and now that Paul le Guen has finally got his team performing at home, I see no let up on the road, where they are as good as anyone. A quick look at the table, will tell you that this is a mid table battle, but these are two teams with vastly different ambitions, for the second half of the season.
Lorient's only aim is survival and are still well aware that they could be dragged into the relegation dogfight. PSG only have eyes upwards and are still looking to claim a european spot, they have a decent run of fixtures ahead and victory today, would really mean that this particular juggernaut was on the move. They will be witout the suspended Mario Yepes for the visit to the Stade du Moustoir, but played 85 minutes and scored 3 goals without reply, after his expulsion in midweek. They already have 7 goals this week and I expect them to add to that tally this evening.
6 points PSG +1/4 ball 1.74 asian line.