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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Reading can ride out rough start to Championship season by beating Bolton

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds should win again

Reading midfielder Liam Kelly
1 of 1

EFL
3pm Saturday

Reading v Bolton
It's been a rough start to the Sky Bet Championship campaign for Reading but odds-against quotes at home to Bolton are worth taking.

Manager Paul Clement must be a man under pressure.

His side limped to safety last term and this season has seen defeats to Derby and Nottingham Forest before victory over Birmingham in a League Cup tie when the opposition made 11 changes.

That result barely counts; this match does and Clement can get the points his Royals have deserved from decent performances against Derby and Forest when the narrow losses were harsh.

Centre-back Liam Moore, reportedly the subject of a £10m bid from Brighton, has been integrated back into the side after he was denied a Premier League move and the defensive unit looks better set-up than was the case towards the end of last season.

Reading probably would have beaten Derby had goalkeeper Vito Mannone not made a crucial individual error when the Royals led 1-0 and it's mainly a case of adding the finishing touches.

Recent recruit Sam Baldock is a proven EFL goalscorer who was unable to make the step up to the top flight and if he continues to get chances the former Brighton man will start taking them.

The prices suggest there is next to nothing between Reading and Bolton without home advantage, yet it was only two weeks ago that the hosts were 4-1 for relegation and Wanderers 5-4.

Bolton have collected four points and beaten West Brom, but it's possible too much has been read into their excellent start.

Recommendation
Reading
1pt 11-10 bet365, Betfred

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Leeds v Rotherham
A sleeping giant has been awoken as Leeds supporters walk in Marcelo Bielsa's wonderland.

United have been promoted to Championship title favourites following demolition jobs of Stoke and Derby in which Bielsa's pressing machine bamboozled opponents who were not used to that level of coaching.

Who knows if it will last. Bielsa teams have fallen off a cliff previously as energy levels dip but right now, in August and with only three matches down in all competitions, Leeds are looking outstanding in all departments.

Seven goals scored and two conceded against two opponents supposed to be considered promotion rivals is some going and newly promoted Rotherham could be walking into Helland Road.

The Millers were hammered 5-1 on their last away trip, a chastening experience at Brentford where the Bees enjoyed 70 per cent possession, and Rotherham had to withstand plenty of pressure to nick a 1-0 win at the death against Ipswich last week.

Limited Ipswich had 63 per cent of the ball and won the corner count 12-0 but failed to make the most of it whereas Leeds have the men in the final third to do just that.

If the hosts get in front and with full-backs Luke Ayling and Barry Douglas relentlessly bombing forward there could be some mileage in taking Leeds to cover the one-goal Asian handicap.

Recommendation
Leeds -1 on Asian handicap
2pts 9-13 188Bet

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Read Mark Langdon's Chelsea v Arsenal preview


Hull v Blackburn
Rotherham are expected to find life tough in the second division but a fellow side promoted from League One could have more joy on the road and Blackburn are fancied to outperform their odds at Hull.

Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer was described as man of the match by his own manager Neil Harris after the goalie kept Blackburn at bay in last week's 0-0 draw, the second frustrating league result for Tony Mowbray's men following a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Ipswich.

Somebody was going to get a hiding and League Two Carlisle were the unlucky outfit on Tuesday in the EFL Cup. It was 2-0 after six minutes and 4-0 at the break as Rovers eventually won 5-1.

With confidence restored and Bradley Dack oozing class, Blackburn can land back-to-back successes.

Hull scored a whopping 70 goals last season but conceded the same amount and most of their forward threats left in the summer so it could be a tricky campaign for Nigel Adkins' side.

Recommendation
Blackburn draw no bet
1pt 5-4 general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com

Plays of the day

Banker
Barnsley 4-6
AFC Wimbledon have started the season well but this is a tough trip to Oakwell. Barnsley have battered Oxford and Bradford, winning the shots on target count 19-4.

Blowout
Monaco 11-20 
There's an obvious talent gap between Monaco and opponents Lille, although perhaps not as much as the odds suggest. Across two seasons Lille have now won four of their last five matches.

Treble
Leeds 4-9, Barnsley 8-13, Marseille 10-13 188Bet

Both teams to score
Games at Leicester 10-11, Millwall 4-5, Sheff Utd 8-11 Betfair

Thought for the day

La Liga has signed a deal to start taking their matches abroad, starting from next season. The initial plan is to stage one match either in USA or Canada and no doubt the rest of Europe will look on wondering whether to launch copycat models around the world.

However, rather than innovative it should be seen as a sign of desperation, perhaps even more desperate than the link-up with the Saudi Arabian national team last season which saw their players dumped on teams in the top two divisions without much warning.

Despite the successes of Spanish clubs in Europe last season - Real Madrid won the Champions League and Atletico the Europa League - La Liga chiefs are fully aware the tide is turning against them.

Maybe not this season, nor the one after but Lionel Messi will be 32 at the end of the campaign and can't go on forever. Meanwhile, Neymar left La Liga last summer and Cristiano Ronaldo followed this year to Paris St-Germain and Juventus respectively. 

Most of the top managers have also departed and Spain's reign as top dogs could soon be over.


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United have been promoted to title favourites following demolition jobs of Stoke and Derby with Bielsa's pressing machine bamboozling opponents
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