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Thursday, 02 March 2017 11:07

Terry Talks - Squeaky Bum Time

Terry Talks

"Squeaky Bum Time" - Terry Paine talks all thing EPL and shares his best bets in the latest eddition of Terry Talks - brought to you by World Sports Betting

 

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This is the time of the Premier League season when things start to get tense…..or, as Sir Alex Ferguson once called it “Squeaky Bum Time”. The top half dozen have a glint in their eye as they look to finishing high enough to qualify for European competition…..and a very select few they may still be holding out hopes of snatching the title. However, that looks unlikely since Chelsea have almost got that prize wrapped up.

At the bottom the tension is probably even more intense as media pundits start make their predictions about which teams will disappear into the black hole of the Championship. Based on past records, any team failing to reach the magical 40 points mark is theoretically in danger. Realistically that means the bottom seven, which takes in Bournemouth, Swansea, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace, Leicester, Hull and Sunderland are all having nervous twitches!

My gut feeling is that the current bottom three are in the greatest danger. As far as the others are concerned, Palace will be buoyed up by the win they snatched against Middlesbrough on Saturday and their players and fans will begin to believe the legendary Sam Allardyce escape record will remain intact. We’ll know more when we see how they fare in their next two games – away at West Bromwich Albion and at home to Watford. Swansea appear to be benefitting from the appointment of Paul Clement as manager at the beginning of January and have had a better look about them. This year they’ve beaten Crystal Palace and Liverpool, both away, and Leicester at home. Three wins in six weeks isn’t much if you’re at the top of the League but if you’re down among the dead men at the bottom, it could be survival form.

I feel Middlesbrough will have to score more goals if they are to avoid the dreaded drop. Which brings us to the bottom three who seem to be playing each other in the next couple of weeks.  Sunderland look desperately fragile defensively and apart from Defoe they don’t have any real goal scoring threat. Their next two games are at home to Manchester City and away against a Burnley side with an excellent home record.  Meanwhile, Hull can play a key role in the survival hopes of both Leicester, who they play away, and Swansea who they have at home. Two six pointers in a row.

This brings me to the situation at Leicester and the brutal sacking of Claudio Ranieri, last season’s Messiah who staggered the football world by winning the League with his unfancied team. Sacking him was a dreadfully harsh way for his dream to end. Sadly though, that’s what football has become nowadays. The trouble is that after Leicester’s stunning win over Liverpool immediately after Ranieri’s sacking the Board are probably reasoning that although it was very harsh on their part it was in the best interests of the Club. Other Clubs may be encouraged to take similar action. So, the football roundabout continues!

Now it is first and foremost big business and secondly a sport. Every player and manager in the Premier League is incredibly well paid and one thing football has in common with big business is that people involved stand or fall by results. If a major corporation is badly run and suffers heavy losses then the CEO and other senior staff usually get the sack. It’s the same now in football.  The massive salaries can only be maintained if a club is in the Premier League, so great is the financial cost of relegation. Therefore success in terms of points won is the only thing that matters.

The other area where the two worlds are similar is that those who are fired usually depart with a massive financial compensation. There can’t be very many jobs though where you are well rewarded for failing!

I must say that I was greatly encouraged by the EFL Final at Wembley. It was a terrific match and everyone was treated to an excellently, highly entertaining game which reinforced  the arguments that Cup football has something magical about it and must be both preserved and encouraged. Many of the top clubs field weakened sides in the early rounds. In my view this is an insult to the competition and something should be done to ensure clubs field their strongest teams available.

Certainly Manchester United and Southampton played their best teams and both managers deserve credit for their game plans and the style they adopted. It was exhilarating to watch and, as Jose Mourinho admitted, “Southampton played a beautiful game and did not deserve to lose. I understand how disappointed their manager (Claude Puel) must be”.  His point was emphasised by a perfectly good goal by Manola Gabbiadini being disallowed, totally wrongly, by an assistant referee’s flag, when the Italian was clearly behind s defender when he put Cedric’s cross into the net. Then later on Oriol Romeu hit a post when two inches to the left it would have been 2-2.

It was a fascinating game and Zlatan Ibrahimovic demonstrated what a great striker he is. But I can’t help thinking that had Virgil van Dyke, Southampton’s injured centre back rated as perhaps the best in the League, been fit to play and so mark the Swedish goal machine, it may have been a different story.

 

If you are looking to have a punt this weekend, here are my five best bets:

  • Man United to beat Bournmouth  – Bet now
  • West brom to beat Crystal Palace – Bet now
  • Tottenham to beat Everton – Bet now
  • Man City to beat Sunderland – Bet now
  • Brighton to beat Nottingham Forest – Bet now

 

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