English Football: 1st September 2012

England Premier League hits Matchday 3 now, and we have a few picks to look at including from the Championship.

England Premier League

Swansea AH-0.25 to beat Sunderland @ 1.86 (Betfair) – 2 points
Swansea have been in great form so far this season under new manager Michael Laudrup, and he has made the team look as elegant as Barcelona playing with a similar kit to Real Madrid last night and winning in the style that would make both teams proud. Cesc Fabregas actually tweeted on the great style of play that they have played so far. Swansea have scored 8 goals in their last 2 games, and failed to concede a single goal, and despite selling of Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair, they have still managed to hold on and sign a few decent players such as Michu, De Guzman, Chico, Ki Sung-yueng, Kyle Bartley and Pablo Hernandez. Laudrup has taken his knowledge of Spanish football to take out some of the decent signings into his team and expect a similar style of football as La Liga in their play. Swansea forwards Chico, Danny Graham, Nathan Dyer have been in particularly good form, including in the Capital One Cup in midweek winning 3 -1, and at home taking on Sunderland should be strong where it has always been a fortress. Last season Swansea had beaten Man City, Arsenal, Fulham, Bolton, Stoke Blackburn, and Liverpool while drawing an additional 7 games dropping only 4, which shows you the strength at home.

Sunderland have only played 2 games this season, the first game which was a scoreless draw against Arsenal, who were still settling in with their new players, and the next was against lowly Morecambe in the Capital One Cup. While Sunderland failed to concede in both those games, they haven’t received a challenging performance in either of those 2 games, and going away to Swansea will be a good challenge. Martin O’Neill has put in some good efforts in the transfer markets signing Adam Johnson, Steven Fletcher, Saha, Cueller, & Danny Rose, while getting Richardson, Turner, Elmohammady, Gyan McCartney and Gordon.

The team definitely looks stronger than last time but with unable to settle so soon plus the team not being challenged yet, I don’t think they are ready this week yet to grab the win and will be backing Swansea today.

Everton DNB to beat West Brom @ 1.75 (Ladbrokes) – 2 points
West Brom have begun life under Steve Clarke on good form especially after the 3-0 win against Liverpool on the first weekend, and have continued to progress with another late equalizer to draw against Tottenham which will make today’s game against Everton equally testing. West Brom have even come through a good game in mid-week in the Capital One Cup despite going down once and drawing once, they came back to win the game. They however have a few injuries to contend with ahead of this game with Odemwingie and Dean Thomas not playing in this game. Against Tottenham, West Broms defense was under the quash as Tottenham took double the no. of shots and more corners than the Baggies and the defenders Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell and Reid will be under pressure to ensure to keep things tight at the back against a strong Everton team.

Everton head back to the midlands after the Villa game, have been in cracking form to take on the Baggies. With their team winning 2 games in a row in the league with some superb performances, as well as a solid mid-week Capital One Cup performance, it gives them great confidence coming into this game. The new signing Mirallas had netted twice in mid-week, and squad players such as Gueye and Anichebe scoring, they have firepower in depth. The front 4 of Everton including Fellaini, Naismith, Pienaar and Jelavic are extremely strong, hard work, quick and understand their play in order to play some great attacking performances. When we look at the defensive end Everton have been quite solid, held Man United to a scoreless performance and a good effort against Villa, will boost their confidence to push on to ensure the backline is tight.

Everton is worth backing on the Draw No Bet considering their recent form.

England Championship

Sheffield Wednesday AH-0.25 to beat Crystal Palace @ 2.00 (Pinnacle) – 2 points
Sheffield Wednesday have been in cracking form in the league so far, winning 2 games and drawing the other, that has pushed them to 2nd in the table, and taking on the bottom of the table Crystal Palace, will definitely look to grab another victory today. Sheffield Wednesday have been quite solid in their performance so far this season, winning 4 out of their last 5 games, and with the last game being a Capital One Cup against a decent Fulham side in mid-week will definitely bring a lot of confidence to the team looking to this away fixture. They have looked in great goal scoring touch with 8 goals in their 3 games so far and players such as Jermaine Jackson, Miguel Angel Llera, Reda Johnson netting 2 each and Rodri and O’Grady already netting once each, give them a variety of options in the scoring department. Wednesday need to be solid at the back which has been their weak point so far this season, especially since Palace have scored in every game this season so far.

Palace have been struggling on the defensive end, leaking 9 goals in 3 games, and have been truly outscored by their opponents in all the games this campaign so far. Manager Dougie Freedman has strengthened his squad during the week by signing players like Damien Delaney, Yannick Bolasie, Andre Moritz and Darcy Blake. With a lot of new players expected to make their debut, it will be a question of how long it will take these players to get adjusted and work well together.

With the lack of confidence in the Palace dressing room, and it being sky high at Sheffield Wednesday, plus all the new players for Palace, I think Sheffield Wednesday should just nick this game.

Blackpool AH+0.25 to beat Leicester City @ 2.00 (Ladbrokes) – 2 points
Blackpool have been among the top sides in the Championship after winning all their 3 games, and are surprisingly set to be underdogs in this game against Leicester City who are coming on the back of 3 defeats. Blackpool midfielder Tom Ince has been in absolutely cracking form netting 4 goals and grabbing 4 assists in the 3 games played so far, and will be looking to build on this form to help his side win this away game today. Additionally, there is great support up front in the likes of Kevin Philips, Matt Philips, Barry Ferguson & Nouha Dicko who have all chipped in contributions for this teams stand out performances this season.

Leicester City have been struggling in recent weeks. After their early Capital One Cup win, and 1st round win in the Championship, they have lost their next 3 games including in the Capital One Cup 2nd round against lowly Burton Albion at home. That game could hurt their confidence as they had a number of first team players who were part of the squad including; Kasper Schmeichel, Ritchie De Laet, Paul Konchesky, Sean St. Ledger, Zak Whitbread and Marko Futacs.

After Blackpools explosive start, you can’t not back them in this game, and I definitely think its worth a punt.