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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Yaya can inspire City to South Coast win

Weekend football again after the midweek friendlies  & these are fixtures that make for a far better betting proposition than players running around halfheartedly & mass changes at half time. We're certainly hoping for better results than when watching the Ravens win the Super Bowl, or more accurately the 49ers lose it after a hopeless start to the game!

Southampton vs Manchester City

Southampton have been a much talked about team over the past few weeks after replacing Nigel Adkins with Spaniard Mauricio Pochettino & then putting up an impressive performance, although ultimately losing, when facing Man Utd at Old Trafford, they've got a tough game at St Mary's in the day's late kickoff when they take on Manchester City.

(City have got rid of Balotelli & have Yaya Toure back - winners on all fronts)

Both teams have been hard to beat recently with Southampton losing only 2 of their last 9 league games & City just twice all season but both have dropped points to drawn games with 6 from the Saints in that 9 game sequence & City have lost crucial momentum & ground on United with draws against QPR & Liverpool in their last two. There's good reason to think that City can get back to winning ways here though as Mancini can't afford to be cautious with wins all that matter now that they're 9 points behind the leaders & maybe their very best player, Yaya Toure, returning after Africa Cup of Nations duties.

Yaya is one of the finest midfielders in the world & can impose his will on nearly any side at will & could be coming up against Morgan Schneiderlin in this one in what looks a mismatch in favour of City man. Southampton have a few injury worries to key players with Adam Lallana a doubt & defenders Luke Shaw, Jose Fonte & Nathanial Clyne joining him. Record signing Gaston Ramires is another who may not play & with that list of injury worries it's looking like a bad time to face the current champions.

Pochettino hasn't yet eked out a win whilst in charge of Southampton & although they've looked far more resilient than when leaking goals at the start of the year we can't see anything other than a win for Manchester City & odds of 4/6 with BetVictor look fair. City have too many weapons & are able to break teams down through skill through the likes of David Silva & Sergio Aguero or through physical dominance from players like Yaya Toure & the underappreciated Edin Dzeko & they'll pounce on any defensive weakness.

Norwich City vs Fulham

Norwich against Fulham may not be the most glamorous tie of the season but this is an intriguing one & important for both as points have been thin on the ground for the two teams sat level in the table on 28 points. Norwich boss Chris Hughton also served 3 years as Jol's assistant whilst at Tottenham & the Canaries will be keen to gain revenge for a 5-0 drubbing on the opening day from their London opponents.

(Martin Jol is seeking a rare away Fulham win)

Norwich haven't won in their past 8 league games & haven't managed to score in 4 of those, with none of their players having managed more than 5 goals in all competitions & Grant Holt certainly hasn't looked so impressive as last year after failing to engineer a move away from Carrow Road. They're reasonable at the back but miss John Ruddy in goal (long term injury) & have injury concerns about usual starters Alex Tettey & Anthony Pilkington.

Fulham rarely pick up wins in away games & they've stuttered after a great start to the season when they won 5 of 9 but the signs have been a bit better in recent games with their only losses in their last 5 league games coming against the Manchester sides whilst gaining wins away at West Brom &  at home against West Ham. They showed a lot of resistance last week against Man Utd, going down 1-0 to a late Rooney goal & they may have star player Dimitar Berbatov back for this after injury. Jol will also have found a bit of time to work with his January loan signings, of whom Urby Emanuelson & Emmanuel Frimpong look like they could be useful. Frimpong will certainly add a much needed bit of bite to the Fulham midfield & that could prove the area that they can better their hosts in this one.

Backing Fulham on the road is usually a sure way to the poor house but there have been encouraging signs in recent games whilst Norwich's form has slumped & they look bereft of attacking ideas, take the Cottagers to win at nice odds of 23/10. Checking the team sheets is advised in this game as Fulham did have more players on international duty, we jut think they've got a bit more going for them than Norwich who seem to be lacking in quality & confidence.

Manchester City to beat Southampton at 4/6 (BetVictor)
Fulham to beat Norwich at 23/10 (BetVictor)

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