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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Premier League fun has stopped for Huddersfield

A fit Jack Wilshere would be one of the first names in my England team
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What's your best bet of the weekend?
Swansea to beat Huddersfield. Euphoria over that opening-day romp at Palace has quickly been forgotten in Huddersfield – and anyway the form of Palace since then puts Town's 3-0 win at Selhurst into some sort of context. They've stopped scoring goals, looked terrible defensively against Spurs and while Swansea are no Tottenham, they are good enough to win this one.

Who are the most vulnerable favourites
Southampton at home to Newcastle. I'm not sure a side who don't score goals should ever be backed at odds-on, especially when the opposition are half decent. Saints' record in front of goal, especially at home where they haven't scored in eight of their past nine league outings, smacks of a team with real confidence issues. Newcastle are going well enough to deny Southampton the win.

Where's the value for the big clash at Anfield?
I'd struggle to back Liverpool at the moment, yet we know they are masters at pulling it out against the better opponents. Then again, Klopp is up against in Mourinho, the master of not losing the massive matches. Right now, United are flying, Liverpool are struggling. Having said all that, I’m expecting something competitive and tight and would err towards the draw. With a little bit of no goalscorer as well.

Which player who is not an England regular should be in the World Cup finals squad?
One of the really worrying areas for England has to be in midfield where there is such a shortage of top-class quality. One player who can pick a pass, run for ever and has bags of skill and strength is Jack Wilshere – if he's fit. And if he is fit he's one of the first names on the team sheet, never mind in the 23. It's Wilshere over the likes of Jordan Henderson or Fabian Delph every time for me.

Who are your early fancies to win the World Cup in Russia?
How you get to a finals doesn't matter. When Lionel Messi is turning it on in Russia next summer, no one will be caring how much of a struggle it was for Argentina simply making the World Cup. If Messi's firing, Argentina are a massive runner while I also believe that this France side is on the verge of peaking. Having said that, Germany are still the team they've all got to beat.

Give us a winner on matchday three of the Champions League?
I'm going to stick with Leipzig at a nice price at home to Porto. The loss at Besiktas was a real wake-up call for the Germans, who were quite simply caught in the headlights in the first half in Istanbul. At home, however, they are an entirely different proposition and I fancy them to chalk up their first group win against a Porto side who also lost to Besiktas.

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They've stopped scoring goals and looked terrible defensively against Spurs
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