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Why February Football Games can be Decisive

Why February Football Games can be Decisive

February football games can set sides on paths which shape their destiny. A run towards a title or cup; a European place; the end of a dream; the beginning of the end of top-flight hopes. With two-thirds of the season gone, the focus of sports betting now really intensifies.


Everton vs Crystal Palace

Much of the focus will be on Big Sam Allardyce as the club he left last summer to retire from football visits the club which persuaded him to re-emerge from that retirement. This Goodison Park clash could be deemed a tale of two wingers. Wilfried Zaha , the man driving Palace’s belief, and Theo Walcott, the new arrival at Everton whose early career promise bore many similarities. It should not be dull as both teams need points.

Stoke City vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton’s first league win since Christmas – a 3-1 triumph over West Ham last weekend – have lifted the club immensely. Not only did it complete a league double over the Hammers, but it also hauled them level on both points and goal difference with the East Londoners. While they have some breathing space, Stoke do not. New boss Paul Lambert knows victory is imperative now they have slipped back into the bottom three.

Swansea City vs Burnley

Even the most hardened football supporter must have felt some sympathy for Swansea. To lose two key players for the remainder of the season is bad enough. But to lose Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony three days after the transfer window has closed seems cruel. How they react against the Clarets, fresh from a superb draw with the champions-elect Man City, may shape the remainder of their campaign.

West Ham United vs Watford FC

If history has taught us anything then David Moyes’ tenure at West Ham will likely only last until the end of the season. For when fans voice their disapproval of a club’s board – as Hammers fans are doing – then it is normally the manager who pays the price. Their collapse at Brighton last time out did not help. Watford arrive on cloud nine after their crushing defeat of reigning champions Chelsea in new boss Javi Garcia’s first home match in charge.


Manchester City vs Leicester City

City have been given a four-day break by coach Pep Guardiola this week. This makes the prospect of facing a revitalised and refreshed outfit must be a daunting prospect for Claude Puel’s Leicester. Particularly, they can’t help but be affected by the continued absence and disillusionment of Algerian international Riyad Mahrez. His self-imposed strike – after a deadline day move to City failed to materialise – will do nothing for morale.

Huddersfield Town vs Bournemouth

Five successive defeats have left Huddersfield in the drop zone for the first time this season. That David Wagner’s side won in the FA Cup in midweek, however, could just be the fillip they need. This is the first of seven matches (out of eight) against opponents in or around them so the importance is clear. Bournemouth arrive on the crest of a wave after impressive victories over Chelsea and Stoke.

Newcastle United  vs Manchester United

Any clash between Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho is worth watching. The Toon Army may be limited in quality but they have plenty of spirit. A trip to St James’ Park will be a test for Jose Mourinho’s improving United.


Southampton vs Liverpool

Liverpool had every reason to feel aggrieved at conceding a last-gasp equaliser to Spurs. Yet there was no excuse for club record signing Virgil van Dijk accusing opponents of diving when clearly they did not. His frustration, perhaps with a nod to his own performance, was unedifying. He will need a cool head as he makes his first return to Southampton, just over a month after departing the south coast. Can the Saints, with a run of one win in 13 league games, really spring a surprise against opponents who have shocked them before?


Chelsea vs West Bromwich Albion

West Brom captain Gareth McAuley last weekend said his side required ‘guts, determination and bravery’. Four points adrift at the foot of the table, they also need victories. The reigning champions do too after their capitulation at Watford left boss Antonio Conte under real pressure and the club under threat of missing out on a top-four berth.






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James Davis
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