Let’s cut a long story short: last week we were undone by the curse of the cup.
It’s a sad state of affairs that these days many clubs seem to be disinterested in the FA Cup, and that is often reflected in weaker sides being fielded and unpredictable results occurring – bad news for the humble punter.
The Football Association needs to take some of the blame: scheduling the third round of the country’s most prestigious cup competition shortly after many teams have played four games in the space of ten days is only going to lead to disinterest and dissatisfaction. One thing we do know: we won’t be getting our hands burned again next year.
The good news is that it’s back to a full league programme across Europe this weekend, so let’s get stuck in with this week’s football accumulator tips.
- Newcastle United vs Swansea City: Under 2.5 Goals (8/13)
- Cheltenham Town vs Accrington Stanley: Cheltenham/Draw Double Chance (21/50)
- Chesterfield vs Luton Town: Luton to Win (11/20)
- Nice vs Amiens: Nice to Win (4/6)
- Augsburg vs Hamburg: Augbsurg Draw No Bet (4/11)
- Acca Odds: 7.08/1
Newcastle United vs Swansea City: Under 2.5 Goals
Some fixtures just have low-scoring scrap written all over them, and that is certainly the case here.
We would anticipate that Newcastle will win this match – they have certainly improved of late, but the stats tell us that of their six league victories this term only three have witnessed a trio of goals or more. Furthermore, five of their last six league outings have gone under the 2.5 goal line, and in total 7/11 at St James’ Park this term have also failed to breached the 2.5 mark.
Swansea need know introduction: they are the Premier League’s lowest scorers this term, and have netted one or less in 19 of their 22 league outings to date. Ouch!
Cheltenham Town vs Accrington Stanley: Cheltenham/Draw Double Chance
Fans of Expected Goals will know that Cheltenham are, according to the data, a top six team in League 2, and while the table doesn’t suggest as such we have to back the hosts in a positive capacity here.
The Robins are an unpredictable side at the best of times, but the fact they have lost just one of their last six home games at least gives us some confidence. They also slammed a decent-enough Colchester side 4-1 last time out.
Accrington enjoyed a low-key festive period with postponements letting them put their feet up, and their 4-0 win over a hapless Chesterfield side was as predictable as the day is long. Their away form in November December – W0 D1 L3 GF1 GA7 – is far more revealing.
Chesterfield vs Luton Town: Luton to Win
We’ve mentioned Chesterfield there and, yep, they really are awful. The Spireites have lost five of their last six matches, and in that time scored just a single goal (conceding 13).
That could well mean that Luton will need to score just once to win this match: a side containing the likes of Danny Hylton, James Collins and Luke Berry has no problems on that front.
The Hatters are nowhere near as prolific on the road as they are on home soil, but we’re willing to put our faith in a side that has bagged 62 goals in just 26 games this term.
Nice vs Amiens: Nice to Win
Over to France now where we’re backing flat-track bullies Nice to do the business against lowly Amiens.
After a bungling start to the campaign, the hosts are just starting to find their feet again with four wins and a draw in their last five Ligue 1 starts. Those victories have come against sides in the bottom-half of the table, but that confirms what we have already alluded to: Nice get the job done against the division’s weaker sides.
It’s slightly unfair to lump Amiens in that bracket, but they have lost four on the trot now against some pretty ordinary outfits. Their away form this term – W2 D2 L6, with just five goals scored – is equally hard to ignore.
Augsburg vs Hamburg: Augsburg Draw No Bet
It’s easy to get carried away by Expected Goals data, but even so that metric suggested that Augsburg were the sixth best team in the Bundesliga for the six matches played prior to the Christmas break.
In the real world they lost just one of their last five (W2 D2 L1), and most importantly they found a regular path to goal: netting eleven times in those five outings.
Hamburg find themselves bottom but one in the Bundesliga table, and their cause has not been aided by an away return of W1 D1 L6. The fact they have lost by two or more goals in 50% of their matches on the road should set alarm bells ringing.