Saturday Select includes matches from the Premier League right down to the Conference Premier division. This week’s #23 edition of our English Football League preview puts five key fixtures under the microscope. Check out which fixtures are on the football betting hitlist this time around.
Aston Villa v Chelsea
Aston Villa can’t score goals. They have gone over 10 hours of football without netting and have not won in 8 league matches. They have lost their last 3 league games on the bounce and their only wins in 2015 have come against Championship sides Blackpool and Bournemouth. A 5-0 loss against Arsenal in their last outing doesn’t bode well for this Saturday’s match against a Chelsea team that has scored 8 more goals than the Gunners so far this season.
Jose Mourinho has never won in five visits to Villa Park but that surely looks all set to change. Chelsea have been notably weaker away from Stamford Bridge than at home. However that has mainly been a defensive problem and they won’t have too much to worry about in Villa. In attack they have been potent notching up 27 goals giving them the best away attack in the league bar none. Influential playmaker Cesc Fabregas looks set to return to the starting line-up whilst new signing Juan Cuadrado will be looking to impress if he gets handed his blue’s debut.
Man City v Hull
Man City need to win because they can’t afford to drop any more points against the lower teams if they are bridgethe 5 point deficit to league leaders Chelsea. After being held by Everton, taking a loss against Arsenal and then being dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Middlesbrough, the Citizens bounced back well against Chelsea in a game that ended 1-1 but will desperately want to register a first win in 5 matches.
Hull are really struggling this season and have been dragged in to the relegation zone after a dismal run of 6 losses in 8 league matches. The Tigers have been lacking fight in recent weeks. They haven’t even managed to score a goal in their last four games whilst things haven’t been going well at the other end other; they’ve shipped 9 goals in that same period. A trip to title chasing City is not what they need right now although if they do somehow earn any type of result it could have a galvanising effect on their season.
Middlesbrough v Charlton
Middlesbrough are one of the real in-form sides in the Championship. They are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions and have won six of those 8. Their form at the Riverside Stadium looks even more impressive. They are unbeaten in their last 11 home games and last lost at the Riverside Stadium way back in August 2014.
They take on Charlton who are on a 12 game winless streak including all competitions and have been plummeting down the table. Their last league win came on 8 November 2014. The Addicks have not been doing well away from The Valley of late either. In their last four on the road they have failed to score a goal.
Derby v Bolton
Derby have been very consistent of late. They are second in the league only on goal difference and have the opportunity to hit the top. The Rams have been in scintillating form having won 7 of their last 8 games in all competitions. They have demonstrated an almost watertight defence keeping 7 clean sheets and conceding a total of just 2 goals in those 8 matches.
Bolton’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better since Neil Lennon arrived at the club as manager. However they put a lot of effort into their FA Cup replay with Liverpool and battled on valiantly with 10 men until the final moments when they were unlocked. They now face the difficult task of picking themselves up but Derby will not be an easy place to go and do that.
Northampton v Morecambe
Chris Wilder has his men on a role. The Cobblers could stitch a few teams up could and make a late surge for the playoffs if they maintain the winning momentum that they have built up in recent weeks. They are only 7 points off despite having languished in the bottom half of the table for most of the season. They have notched up four consecutive victories banging in 11 goals whilst conceding just 1 goal in that time.
Morecambe are one of the teams that they could stitch up and it would certainly help if they beat them this weekend. Morecambe have flirted with the playoff positions throughout the season without really ever occupying them. They have drawn their last 5 consecutive games and look as if they are treading water and look a team destined for mid-table mediocrity.