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  1. Away the lads – Four possible away wins to consider

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    I was reading about an electrician in his 30s who won £74,844 last Saturday which has inspired me to pick four matches for this weekend in which an away win looks likely.

    The Scarborough-based punter (who wishes to remain anonymous) placed a £5 bet on six matches on Coral’s Winning Ways coupon on Saturday, waking up to a £74,844 win.

    Well, I’m not ambitious enough to predict six games, so won’t be winning anyone enough to buy a holiday home in Spain – but maybe a set of new pans for the kitchen or an interesting water feature for the garden isn't out of the question!

    Brentford v AFC Bournemouth

    The Bees seem to have been destabilised in recent matches by speculation over the future of ...
  2. FA Cup Saturday fourfold

    With many of the favored teams already knocked out of the world's greatest cup competition, half of the weekend's FA Cup 5th round ties being spread across Saturday afternoon presents an intriguing prospect for a rewarding fourfold.

    West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United

    Despite being a cup game, it's likely each team's differing league ambitions will have a major influence on this tie. While the visitors sit comfortably in the higher reaches of the top division, Baggies minds are firmly fixed on the essential Premier League survival.

    Albion will be encouraged by a New Year's Day draw in East London when manager-in-waiting Tony Pulis looked on from the Upton Park stands.

    However, as the Hammers can boast a 2-1 league win at The Hawthorns as recently as two months ago ...
  3. West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United – East meets West in the FA Cup

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    My hypothetical blogger’s FA Cup baton didn’t stay long in the hands of Birmingham City as they immediately handed it over to local rivals West Bromwich Albion in the last round of the competition.

    The draw, made by Gary Lineker live on the BBC’s One Show, set up a meeting of the West Midlands club and their East London Premier League rivals West Ham United.



    Both clubs have had success in the FA Cup, in the case of the Baggies you have to go back to 1968 for their last triumph, when a Jeff Astle goal three minutes into extra time saw off Everton.

    Albion had previously lifted the trophy in 1888, 1892, 1931 and 1954. Their most recent victory ...

    Updated 12th February 2015 at 08:47 AM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  4. Home comforts - This weekend's football picks

    By Steve Sands (AFS contributor)

    After a few attempts at trying to pick teams that either would or wouldn't score a goal in a particular match, I've gone back to basics this week to find a few teams who look set for a home win.

    It might be a bit ambitious trying to choose seven, but I can always perm less games into an accumulator to improve the chances of landing the punt.

    Manchester City v Hull City
    Not rocket science this one with a team looking to win the Premier League entertaining the struggling Tigers, who have failed to score in their last four games.

    Brighton & Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest
    A win at Derby suggested better times ahead for Forest but that result is surrounded by six defeats, including a ...
  5. Progress versus tradition in football

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    Without embracing change in the game, we wouldn’t have floodlights, improved medical care for players, all-seater modern stadiums and more recently, goal-line technology.

    But the question has to be are some things sacrosanct, and so should never change? Or put another way, what things can a club’s owner alter without alienating the fans and causing resentment?

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    The big story of the year so far on this subject has been the decision made by Cardiff City to revert back to their traditional blue shirts for home games following months of protests from disgruntled fans.

    The club changed their branding from blue to red in 2012 with owner Vincent Tan believing ...

    Updated 31st January 2015 at 07:23 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    History
  6. Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion – a West Midlands FA Cup showdown

    I originally handed my special FA Cup bloggers baton to Tooting and Mitcham United. My unscientific choice was simply because the name struck a chord with me from the 1970s sitcom Citizen Smith starring Robert Lindsay.

    Tooting’s FA Cup journey had begun back in August last year with a 0-0 draw at home to Three Bridges FC, followed by a 4-1 win in the replay.

    Tooting stormed through the next round against Bishop's Stortford at the second attempt, before losing out to East Thurrock United in the competitions Third Qualifying round.

    East Thurrock had grabbed my hypothetical baton and proceeded to sprint past Bath City, giving them a 7-1 thrashing in the process.

    Hartlepool United then briefly took over ownership by knocking out the Essex ...

    Updated 18th January 2015 at 04:19 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
  7. Clean sheet success – four more to ponder

    Last week’s predictions were a long awaited triumph as all four landed safely.

    I’d highlighted four games in which I believed that one or both of the teams would fail to find the net.

    I said that Chelsea would score and win the game but would shut out Newcastle United at the other end, which the Blues did in securing a 2-0 victory.

    I expected Villa to live up to their new nickname of Aston Villa Nil, and they duly obliged by going down 1-0 at Leicester City.

    In the Championship, Nottingham Forest’s poor run of form saw them fire blanks again as they lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

    Lastly, I called the Southend United versus Plymouth Argyle game to be a tight and cagey affair, which it certainly was as the teams ...

    Updated 14th January 2015 at 03:39 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Betting , Competitions , Premier League , Football League
  8. Holding on for a zero – a goal shy treble

    Six minutes from glory. That’s how close I came to nailing my pre-Christmas treble prediction.

    I’ve been dabbling in the ‘Both teams to score?’ market. It's a bet where you simply have to answer yes or no to the question will both of the teams in a particular game score, or will one or both of them fail to find the net?

    I have focused on trying to find the games where one or both teams won’t score, the ideal option for fans of teams unable to hit a barn door with a banjo or whatever the expression is!

    My first selection was Aston Villa v Sunderland and both teams obliged by playing out a 0-0 draw at Villa Park. To quote an old football cliché, neither side would have scored if they were still playing now.

    Second up was Bury v Mansfield ...

    Updated 8th January 2015 at 08:41 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , Premier League , Football League
  9. Everton's struggles - what's going wrong?

    by illarterate
    At the halfway point of the Premier League season one statistic stands out more than most - Everton's 33 goals conceded. Despite coming close to knocking Arsenal out of the top four last season, and being tipped by experts, pundits and betting news sources, such as Blue Square, to finish high up the table again this year, Everton’s defence is causing Roberto
    Martinez some real headaches. Without significant improvement, they will struggle to make the top ten by May.

    Worst Ever Start
    To contextualise Everton's defensive woes, it is worth highlighting the fact that they currently have the joint second worst defence in the league (along with bottom club Leicester). Only Harry Redknapp's QPR have been more generous at the back. This time last season ...
  10. A FA Cup classic - Blues hold off brave Blyth

    By Steve Sands (AFS Contributor)

    It must have been a half time team talk of Churchill like proportions delivered by Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett to his troops at Blyth Spartans on Saturday.

    With his side trailing 2-0 to FA Cup giant killers Blyth at the break, Rowett sent the Blues out inspired for the second period. Birmingham stormed back to progress through to the Fourth Round of the competition with a 3-2 victory over the plucky Spartans.

    In many ways, the turnaround mirrored Birmingham’s season. Back in October when the former Burton Albion boss was appointed at St Andrews, the West Midlands side were next to bottom of the table with just 11 points from their first 14 games.

    Rowett was given the opportunity at the Championship ...

    Updated 4th January 2015 at 02:44 PM by Veritas

    Categories
    Competitions , FA Cup
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