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Monday, 21 January, 2019

New boss Allardyce can get off to a winning start at Everton

The former Premier League star shares his thoughts

Everton beat West Ham 4-0 on Wednesday
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What’s your best bet for the weekend?
Everton at home to Huddersfield. Sam Allardyce must have been delighted by what he saw against West Ham and having taken care of one out-of-form side, he can turn his attention to another. Sam is fortunate that there is nothing much to change. If Everton go at Huddersfield in the same way Arsenal did, they could fall apart. 

Which favourites look most vulnerable?
Stoke are poor favourites against anyone, including Swansea. I saw them against Liverpool and they were awful. There’s just nothing about them apart from glimpses from Xherdan Shaqiri. Stoke don’t seem to know if they want to play hard-ball or pretty and the upshot is not much of either. Swansea can stop them.

What’s your fancy for Arsenal v Manchester United?
Arsenal. Jose Mourinho goes very timid in these big games, especially when they are away, and I can see that backfiring. Arsenal are buoyant and they’ll go for United early. If they get in front and United have to change the way they play, the Gunners can fill their boots. If Watford can pick their way through United’s defences, be sure Arsenal can.

Will Sam Allardyce or Alan Pardew make a bigger impact at their new club?
Allardyce. The potential at Everton is massive. It may sound daft given their start, but with a new stadium coming, these are exciting times to be a Toffee. That 4-0 thumping of West Ham was a game-changer and Everton can start looking up. Pardew’s targets are going to be more modest at West Brom but he can keep them up.

Where will Burnley finish this season?
Mid-division. They certainly won’t be in the top six for long. There’s no point comparing them to Leicester because the Foxes, even though their title triumph was a shock, at least had a couple of matchwinners in their team. Burnley don’t. The Clarets are based on clean sheets but they can’t keep getting them.

What’s your best bet for the midweek Champions League games?
Porto look ludicrously short at home to Monaco. I’m well aware of the permutations – Porto need to win and Monaco can’t qualify. But Monaco are a good side with a lot of classy players, who will still want to sign off professionally. The home team could well get anxious if they don’t get off to a flyer.

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The potential at Everton is massive. It may sound daft given their start, but with a new stadium coming, these are exciting times to be a Toffee
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