Saturday, December 26, 2009
BOXING DAY .............. THE TWO BLUES CLASH
BIRMINGHAM CITY - CHELSEA
City have been in terrific form and whilst the winning run came to an end at Goodison Park, they at least returned home with a point. Having said that, the home side had a lot of chances to put the match to bed and on another day would have scored three or four. Birmingham base their game around a solid defence, but are probably not as dour as many consider, especially at St Andrews, actually three of their last six starts here and 7 from 12 overall have ended "over" and I suspect that we will see goals today.
Chelsea are over in 12 from 15 , with nine of those producing four or more, the Blues scoring at least three on eight occasions. Defensively they have lost their way a little since hammering Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates, maybe subconsiously they stepped off the gas that day thinking the title was their's for the taking and now, after a poor showing at Upton Park, it is time to show their true worth and get back to winning ways.Three points today would be very valuable, with the three clubs below them in the table not playing until tomorrow, it would enable them to open up a seven point lead at the top of the EPL and I do not see them sitting on a one goal lead, if and when it comes, after blowing several recently.
City do not have the options other sides have and whilst it is great to keep an unchanged team, several are carrying knocks and have not had a rest for many weeks. They started to look a little jaded at Everton and I feel they could be in for a very long afternoon.
6.5 points "over" 2.5 goals 2.11 asian line.
CARLISLE UNITED - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
I like the level ball quote on Carlisle here. They have been creating plenty of chances all season, something we have touched upon several times and now the results are flowing, with nine wins in 13 starts, a sequence in which they have lost just two times. In that run they have beaten Norwich (3-1), MK Dons (4-3) and Charlton (3-1), despite the Dons recent defensive woes, very few teams (none !) will score ten goals against these three and it is clear that United enjoy playing and raise their game against the better League 2 sides. Town definitely fall into that category, but are proving inconsistent, winning just one in five and conceded 12 times in that series.However, on a going day they are capable of passing teams off the pitch at this level and it is impossible to see them not in playoff contention at least come the end of the regular season.
Having said that, this is right up Carlisle's street, a big team visiting on Boxing Day and a huge crowd expected at Brunton Park, which is always a difficult place to go. United have a great record in this fixture and a 4-1-0 h2h record in five meeting here, including a 3-0 win on the same day last season. I was very impressed that United had cleared their training pitch of a lot of snow earlier in the week, so that the players could prepare in similar conditions to what they will face today, many clubs simply wouldn't have bothered. This will be tough, but I have to favour the home side, at rewarding odds.
6 points Carlisle level ball 2.19 asian line.