BOXING DAY turned out to be a Christmas cracker with 19.4 points profit on the day although I was served up a big slice of luck with Jay O’Shea converting a penalty for The Shakers deep into injury time for two of the selections to land.
That was a gift more gratefully received than Mrs Hull’s “I love dogging” mug and car sticker set. Honestly, you just can’t please some people.
In total I had 7 bets and even though 5 of those were winners it’s still a few too many for me and I’ll be boxing clever and hoping less is more on a much smaller card.
Southampton v West Ham (7.45pm)
As much as fitness, technique and basic ability matter in sports, don’t ever underestimate the impact psychology can have either for or against teams and individuals.
The new manager effect is way to common to be a coincidence and is a perfect illustration of psychology changing mindsets in football. The exact same group of players can appear transformed overnight way before any tactical or fitness regimes are put in place!
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Southampton have been the latest in a long line of similar stories and the brilliantly named Austrian Ralph Hasenhuttl’s recent appointment has seemingly turned Mark Hughes’ turnips into a very capable side who have found the net 3 times in both of their most recent games against Huddersfield and Arsenal respectively.
Aside from that psychological impact, Hasenhuttl has been working (much like Klopp did) on general running, stamina and speed training and that has shown in both of the last two matches and ought to be even more prominent against The Hammers this evening.
West Ham are another attractive proposition for a goal and have failed only twice all season to score on the road having hit 2 and 3 against Fulham and Newcastle on their last successive away days – they do however have a few attacking options stifled by the probable absence of Arnautovic, Balbuena and The Little Pea himself and for that reason the betting focus swings over to the Saints for me.