WE FINALLY HAVE CLUB FOOTBALL AGAIN That’s it for 2016, no more International football. I’m pretty glad of that fact, while it is great to see your country in action and all, we just aren’t treated to the same amount or quality of football as you are with club football. Now we are back and there is no more International breaks until March. Some excellent games to look forward to on the return, so let’s see the best bets for the weekend.

Man United v Arsenal

12.30 Saturday It has to be said that this has been a very disappointing season for Man United thus far. There was so much optimism when bringing in Mourinho, and of course this optimism grew so much when they signed the likes of Ibrahimovic and of course Pogba, but it hasn’t worked out brilliantly yet. It is early days yet, but what must be very concerning for Mourinho is his team’s performances in their big games. They managed a draw against Liverpool but that was hardly an inspiring performance, and they were demolished in Stamford Bridge. Next up is Arsenal which present a unique challenge for Mourinho’s side.

Despite the form they have been in, this is Mourinho against Wenger, the biggest managerial rivalry we have in the league right now. Mourinho has an excellent record against Wenger, never losing against him in the Premier League. He always approaches these matchups the same way. He will choose a physical side, they try and intimidate and bully the Arsenal players. This weekend will be no different, even without Ibrahimovic in the side. If anything it may give the side an added dimension. If they were to play with Rashford and Martial up front they will have an abundance of pace, with plenty of size sitting behind them with the likes of Pogba, Fellaini and their defence.

I don’t think Arsenal have been as good as their results would suggest lately. They can be got at for sure, we could even see that with a dreadful Sunderland team. If you allow Arsenal to play the game they want they will destroy you, but quite like City if you get up on them they can often struggle. This is exactly what Man United will do tomorrow and I feel Arsenal will really struggle especially away from home where I’m not fully convinced by them. Because of the way the season has been going so far this year you can get Man United at a very good price for the win. Against any of the other big teams I would be avoiding backing Man United, but you can’t ignore Mourinho’s success against his bitter rival.

Back Man United at 2.6.

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Southampton v Liverpool

3.00pm Saturday I’m really looking forward to this game. Actually, I’m really looking forward to all games lately, how could you not? They have been an absolute pleasure to watch this season. They are playing in an exciting attacking style under Klopp with players like Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana really standing out all year. They come up against a very well drilled Southampton side which should make for a very interesting encounter.

Even playing away from home you have to fancy Liverpool to get the job done here. I am currently backing them in every game because they really have been the team of the moment. Not only getting results, but easily being the better team in each of their games. And looking at their stats, they are even better away from home compared to Anfield which is scary for all opposition as Anfield is always a very tough place to go. Liverpool will have enough in their armory to grab a goal here, they have so much talent going forward.

Southampton may struggle to score against this Liverpool defence without Shane Long in the side. Charlie Austin is a real danger in front of goal, probably a more natural finisher than Long but he doesn’t have the pace to drag defenders out of position. He very much relies on others to create opportunities for him to finish, Long would be much more involved in the build up play and Southampton will miss that considering the fact they probably won’t see much of the ball. With the form Liverpool have been in this season, it is hard to go against them unless they begin to show signs of regression. There certainly have been no signs so far.

Back Liverpool at 2.12.

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Middlesbrough v Chelsea

4.00pm Sunday This weekend for most of the games I think you need to look at how hard a team will be to beat. There is so many short odds teams this weekend that it was difficult to pick a third game, but in this one we have a good bet. Middlesbrough will make it very difficult for Chelsea on Sunday, they are a very dogged team with good discipline and will be hard to break down. On top of this, Hazard and Costa both emerged as injury doubts during the international break, which could be a hug loss if either or both were to miss the game.

Middlesbrough will pack the midfield with five players, and play Negredo up front most likely. They will be limited in the amount of chances they will be able to create with Chelsea seeing most of the ball so they will have to make the most of anything they can get. Chelsea have been very good defensively since switching to a back three, but I’m still convinced somebody will figure out how to really break them down. It won’t be Middlesbrough, but if they can provide Negredo with enough support up front they may even be able to snag a draw.

The pressure will be on Chelsea in this one. They will have to do a lot of attacking against an organised defence, and it could just open up a couple of chances at the other end of the pitch. It is expecting a lot of them to get something from the game, but I feel that they can put in a very good performance and really put it up to the away side. I definitely think they will make Chelsea work hard for the win, and they’ll be able to keep the score to a minimum. I’m not convinced enough to lay Chelsea, but looking at the handicap here is a good bet.

Back Middlesbrough +1 at 1.92

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