Saturday Select includes some choice selections that are worth considering for this Saturday’s fixtures however you are looking to bet on the games this weekend. With Premier League to Conference selections, check out which fixtures are on the hitlist.
Chelsea v Newcastle
The title race is well and truly on; Chelsea are level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after previously being on top for a good while. The Blues cannot afford many more slip ups. Chelsea have played 9 and won 9 at Stamford Bridge this season in the league and will want to maintain their 100% home record this weekend; they will be confident of doing just that.
Newcastle will try to take confidence from the fact are one of only two teams to have taken all three points off Chelsea this season. They did so with a 2-1 win at St James Park back in early December. However, Newcastle were on a good run of form then and Papiss Cisse was the hero of that day scoring a brace. They are not in great from now and are without Papiss Cisse who is at the African Cup of Nations tournament alongside Chieck Tiote.
Newcastle are still without a manager after Alan Pardew who headed back down south to take the vacant hotseat at Crystal Palace. They have only picked up one win in their last 8 league matches and in their last two games under the stewardship of caretaker boss John Carver, the magpies have drawn with Burnley and lost to Leicester both relegation candidates. Those results won’t exactly help Carver’s bid to land the job full time and don’t bode well for a trip to West London.
Sheff Utd v Preston
Nigel Clough has certainly had his team up for the cup this season. The Blades have knocked out a roster of Premier League clubs in cup competitions over recent seasons including Southampton, West Ham United and a 3-0 demolition job of QPR this term.
However the Blades could be in danger of missing the Playoff cut this season. Despite sitting in sixth position in the League One table at the moment, they are eleven points behind MK Dons who are in fourth spot. It looks likely they will be fighting for one of two available playoff spots with a very large number of clubs. The league is so tight in the middle that 15th placed Doncaster Rovers are only three points behind them so sixth position doesn’t count for a lot at the moment. They have no wins in their last six league matches.
Preston meanwhile, have not lost in their last six matches and sit third in the table just three points off joint leaders Bristol City and Swindon Town. They have made key signings recently including Jermaine Beckford and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who are both very dangerous at this level when fit. Preston also have a good away record; the second best in the division with 7 wins form 12.
Bristol City v Notts County
Ashton Gate has been something of a fortress; Bristol City have won 8 and lost just once in 11 matches at home this season. They are in great form having notched up seven wins in their last nine in all competitions.
Notts County meanwhile have very good away form and pose a serious threat. They have only lost once away from home this season in 11 games having won five and drawn five on the road. This is in no small part down to some good defending; they’ve conceded only 8 away goals and have kept five clean sheets.
They will be a very hard test for Bristol City who will be keen to renew their acquaintance with the familiar top spot. Something has to give… or does it? A draw wouldn’t be surprising but not many teams will be beating Bristol City this season let alone at Ashton Gate.
Burton v Mansfield
Burton sit second in the League Two table and potentially have the opportunity to go top as they are just one point off leaders Wycombe. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink seems to be continuing the good work started by Gary Rowett this season. The Brewers have lost just once in their last eight games and have picked up five wins in that same period. These wins include victories over Wycombe, Luton and Shrewsbury who are all promotion rivals and occupying three of the top four spots in the league table.
Mansfield are languishing down in 19th spot. They have only picked up one win in their last seven matches. They have been busy adding new signings already with the arrival of the January transfer window but the five players still have to gel into the team. Burton Albion have won 9 of 12 at the Pirelli whilst Mansfield have won just twice in 12 on the road.