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Swansea to overcome Hull in Premier League relegation battle

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Swansea manager Paul Clement celebrates wildly against Burnley
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Hull v Swansea Saturday 3pm 
Paul Clement was charging down the touchline after Swansea beat Burnley last week and he could once again be dancing with delight after a crucial trip to Premier League relegation rivals Hull.

"It's very important not to lose" was the message from Clement as he looks to at least maintain the six-point buffer between the clubs and that should be within Swansea's compass.

With that in mind a bet on the Swans on the Asian handicap is advised where a small profit will be made if the Welsh club avoid defeat.

Clement has received plenty of plaudits and rightly so with Swansea winning four of their last six Premier League matches, but as is often the case, new managers can benefit from results randomness.

Colleague Nick Goff argued in the Racing Post in January that Swansea were better than their league position suggested despite being on their third manager of the campaign and said their luck would soon turn.

Sure enough it has, the players have clearly bought into the new boss's ideas and even their last two defeats, to Manchester City and Chelsea, were good efforts.

Fernando Llorente has scored five times in his last six matches, Gylfi Sigurdsson is a class act backed up by former Tottenham teammate Tom Carroll and although the winner arrived late, Swansea fully merited their 3-2 success against Burnley.

Hull have improved themselves under Marco Silva and the raft of January arrivals to compensate for the loss of Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore have given the Tigers a much different look.

Andrea Ranocchia, Kamil Grosicki and Lazar Markovic are just three of those looking to make an impact on English football but Hull have won only five Premier League matches this season.

Two of those came on the first couple of weekends of the season, including a smash-and-grab triumph at the Liberty Stadium. One came against a Southampton side who played in the Europa League on the Thursday, while the other two were counter-attacking efforts against wide-open Bournemouth and Liverpool.

Swansea will be more respectful and Hull may not be equipped to force the issue in a game Silva will probably have marked down as one Hull must win if they are to survive.

Recommendation
Swansea +0.25 on Asian handicap
1pt 4-5 188Bet

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Nancy v Lille Saturday 7pm
Those hoping to use the weekend football to build a hefty Cheltenham war chest for next week's festival could be better off looking outside of the Sky Bet Football League with few prices appearing to be out of line.

There is not a great deal to get excited about across Europe either but Nancy being favourites to win is nearly always worth taking a second look and Lille may be a value punt with the draw no bet.

Nancy have won one of their last ten matches, a run which includes seven losses in normal time and an extra-time exit at lower league CA Bastia in the French Cup.

Just 18 goals have been scored in 28 league matches and only Metz average fewer shots. Metz are also stopping 17th-placed Nancy from being bottom of the shots on target ratio and total shot ratio tables.

Nancy's home advantage is worth plenty as they play on a synthetic surface and five of their seven victories this term have come at the Stade Marcel Picot.

However, Nancy have not scored in their last three home games and registered only six shots on target.

They play a Lille side in a false position and a team containing Vincent Enyeama, Anwar El Ghazi, Rony Lopes and Portugal's Euro 2016 hero Eder should not be involved in this relegation scrap.

Lille are only two points above Nancy in the table but with Marcelo Bielsa signed up for next season there is hope of a bright future and they have spent all week preparing for this trip on a plastic pitch.

Recommendation
Lille draw no bet
1pt Evs general

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Genoa v Sampdoria Saturday 7.45pm 
Home advantage is non-existent in most Italian derbies with clubs sharing the stadium and the support split behind each goal.

That is certainly the case in the Derby della Lanterna where the nominal home side has won only one of the last eight and Genoa have lost each of the last three as "hosts".

With that in mind it is surprising to see Genoa as favourites. They have won once in 12 matches - thanks to late goals in a 2-0 win at lowly Empoli - whereas Sampdoria are looking good.

Samp, unbeaten in six, have won at Milan and beaten Roma in this fine spell and are marginally overpriced on a difficult day where bargain bets are hard to find.

Recommendation
Sampdoria draw no bet
1pt Evs Paddy Power

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Plays of the day

Banker
Monaco 1-2
The free-scoring Ligue 1 leaders have won 14 of their last 15 home matches with the one blip coming against Lyon in a game where Monaco were reduced to ten men during the first half.

Blowout
Charlton 5-4
A last-gasp success over out-of-form Scunthorpe on Tuesday cannot be seen as a definite sign that Charlton are worthy of backing to beat Walsall. The Saddlers have lost only two of their last 11 games.

Accumulator
Monaco 1-2, Barcelona 2-9, Liverpool 1-4, Roma 4-9,
Betway, Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Bournemouth 3-5, Exeter 7-10, Luton 13-15, 188Bet

Hotshot
Cedric Bakambu 7-1 bet365
The speedy Villarreal forward has scored in two of his last three games and is set for a strong finish after a season wrecked by fitness problems. Opponents Celta Vigo may have both eyes on next week's massive Europa League trip to Krasnodar.


Thought for the week

Barcelona scored their mind-boggling sixth goal in the fifth and final minute of injury time to overcome Paris St-Germain on Wednesday but how referees come to the conclusion of time added on remains a mystery to most football observers.

Play until the bigger team scores is a rule that it feels like some arbiters stick by, although it should not be open to debate. Play 30 minutes each half, stop the watch every time the ball goes dead and have a stadium clock so it is clear to all what is going on.

Referees have enough on their plates with players cheating in all manner of different ways from diving to stamping on the head of opponents to making contact look worse than it actually is, so take the clock out of their control for a fairer way of keeping time.

During the Manchester City v Monaco first leg the Spanish referee added on three minutes in total (none first half, three second) from a game that produced ten yellow cards, eight goals and six substitutions as well as a penalty.

There was one minute 57 seconds between the spot-kick being awarded and Radamel Falcao striking the ball (yes I was sad enough to check) so how only three minutes was added on at the end is a mystery only ref Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz can solve.

Hull may not be equipped to force the issue in a game Silva will probably have marked down as must-win if Hull are to survive
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