Wednesday, December 30, 2009
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 30TH
Back on track yesterday with three winners from three selections, most of you were fortunate to miss out on some late news I got for a non-league game, which was completely wrong, sometimes you can know too much !
I did look long and hard at the Rangers-Dundee United SPL game, the pitch is playable, but there could still be a problem with safety issues around the stadium. However, of bigger concern to me is the Old Firm game on Sunday, it is difficult not to see that being a major distraction to the Rangers players. Having said that, this is a match that nearly always produces goals, 12 of the last 14 have been "over" with seven producing four or more goals. The Gers could hardly be in better shape either, scoring 19 in five starts, including a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture just 15 days ago. They will be bouyant after a fine 4-1 come from behind win at third placed Hibernian over the weekend and would love to face Celtic with a seven point lead. United are now managerless after Craig Levein left to take up the national job and they could collapse, without a steadying influence on the bench if falling behind, but there are simply too many imponderables here.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
MANCHESTER UNITED - WIGAN ATHLETIC
Wigan do not match up well with their local rivals and have lost all ten meetings in the top flight , with a 30-4 goal difference, which equates to an average winning margin of 2.6 goals per game. Hopes were raised that things would be different under new boss Roberto Martinez, when United came a calling back in August and Wigan started well enough and were strongly in contention at the break, with the match scoreless. It took almost an hour before United make the breakthrough, but normal service was resumed with five unanswered goals and Athletic must travel tonight in great trepidation.The visitors last seven away matches have all been "over", with an average of 4.57 goals and they have scored in 11 of their last 12 starts.
This is a big game for United, three points would see them move to within two of Chelsea and put further pressure on the London side who will miss several key players to the ACN for the next month. They finally had a recognised backline with Evra, Vidic, Brown and Rafael on the pitch at the KC Stadium, but Hull still had plenty of joy and could have scored two,maybe three goals in a very open encounter. Of course this United side have goals in them, but defensively , they look a pale shadow of the side that has dominated the english game for 15 years. They have ridden their luck at times and have scored or conceded three or more goals in six of their last eight outings. CSKA Moscow and Fulham have both scored three times against United in the last two months and Portsmouth, Hull and Tottenham, could easily have followed suit, they certainly had enough chances to do so. The problem is deeper than simply who plays in the back 4 and will take longer to resolve.
Expect United to go all out for this and a 3-4 goal margin would certain help their goal difference, but given their defensive woes and the fact that Wigan do not simply sit back on the road, I much prefer the "over" option.
7 points "over" 3 goals 2.13 asian line.
Monday, December 28, 2009
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR- WEST HAM UNITED
Hammers still looking fairly toothless upfront and have a dire record in this fixture, scoring just one injury time goal in five visits here, Spurs have not lost in eight meetings home and away, winning six and keeping five cleansheets. They set out to keep things tight at Fulham on Saturday and will be far more adventurous today, with Defoe and Modric set to return to the starting line up. Each time Happy Harry's men have failed to score this season, they have bounced back with at least two goals in their next outing and a similar tally looks on the cards today, with West Ham without a win on the road since matchday one.
7.5 points Tottenham -1 ball 1.81 asian line.
BARNSLEY - MIDDLESBOROUGH
Boro finally got their first home win for Gordon Strachan at the weekend and will be looking to follow that up in a difficult looking trip to Oakwell. I am keen to oppose Barnsley as although they are in very solid form, they have to make major changes to their back line, on loan defenders Ryan Shotton and Carl Dickinson have signed extentions to their loan deals, but the paperwork will not be completed until the New Year, meaning they will be unavailable today. The pair have been key in the Tykes upturn in fortune and have started each of the last 13 Championship fixtures, this is a major upheaval and a chance for Boro to get at the home defence and back into the promotion race. Some 4-5,000 Boro fans are making the trip south.
5.5 points Middlesborough -1/4 ball 2.13 asian line.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST - COVENTRY CITY
Hard to see too many goals in this local derby, these two have only conceded nine between them in 12 starts and whilst Forest have been on fire recently, they finally drew blank at Watford and City were buoyed by a third straight win and a second clean sheet, in a competent 1-0 defeat of Doncaster. I know that home boss Billy Davies, who prepares as thoroughly as any manager in the Football League hates these festive fixtures, as they come too fast for him to do his usual homework and he feels at a disadvantage, having dropped two points on saturday, I do not think he will be oozing confidence just 48 hours later. These are traditionally very close games and getting a full goal handicap start looks too good to pass.
6 points Coventry +1 ball 1.85 asian line.
SCUNTHORPE - WEST BROMWICH ALBION
I expect to see a more lively performance from Albion right from the off today. they have been sluggish in a couple of first half performances recently, most notably against QPR and Peterbrough, only coming to life after the break. This is a big game for them, not only would three points see them close to within five of Newcastle, but would more importantly enable them to maintain at least a two point lead on the pack and especially Nottingham Forest , who are their next opponents in the Championship. Scunny played almost the entire game on Saturday with ten men and did an awful lot of work, just to keep the scoreline respectable, another game against one of the top two teams outside the top flight just 48 hours later is far from ideal.
7 points West Brom -3/4 ball 1.98 asian line.
MILLWALL - BRISTOL ROVERS
Not much between these two in the league table, with both just outside the playoff zone, but I am certain that Millwall are the better team and will be the one making another post season push. They will be very pleased to get back to the New Den, where they are 7-3-1 after very tough road games at Charlton and Norwich, where they played well despite conceding six goals, they actually restricted the home sides to a total of just 16 attempts on goal and on another day, would have collected something from both games. Millwall have far more options today with the return of Jack Smith and Dave Martin from suspension and at times, can be unplayable at home. With a trip to Carlisle up next , followed by Southampton, you will see that this comes in the middle of a very tough run of games for the 'Wall and they have definitely targetted these points, against a side they have beaten on four of their previous five visits.
6.5 points Millwall -3/4 ball 2.20 asian line.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS- BRIGHTON
I discussed Brighton very recently, when we backed them to get a point at Swindon, they were more than a little unfortunate that day and boss Gus Poyet is still fumimg after a penalty they were denied, they also missed two clear late chances to equalise. It is obvious they are playing better than results might suggest and a 0-0 draw with Orient on saturday, at least steadied the ship and having played the final quarter with ten men, they might even view that as a point earned.
This is already a relegation six pointer, with these two clubs six and three points respectively adrift of safety. They shared eight goals here in the FA Cup, with Brighton taking the replay 2-0, so they will travel without fear to a team which has conceded 29 times in 14 starts and were left disconsolate after a 4-0 loss at Yeovil on Saturday. Man for man I see a clear advantage in the visitors.
7 points Brighton level ball 2.08 asian line.
BLUE SQUARE PREMIER
SALISBURY - OXFORD UNITED
Oxford were devastated that their Boxing day game was called off, they had trained on Christmas Day and were really up for the match in front of a huge crowd. Boss Chris Wilder would really like to tick this one off his CV as United lost here 2-1 a year ago in his first match in charge, they concede two early goals and afterwards Wilder admitted he had made selection errors. He has not made too many since then as just four further defeats in 12 months (incredible) testifies. His side will be well up for this, facing a team in financial crisis. The administrators are running City, they have lost 5 from six and their last four home starts, they lost heavily at FGR on Boxing day and because of injury and suspension and lack of options,only had three players on the bench , including a coach and a couple of youth players, one of whom played. I have to make United my strongest bet of the day.
8 points Oxford United -1/2 ball 1.77 asian line.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
BIRMINGHAM CITY - CHELSEA
City have been in terrific form and whilst the winning run came to an end at Goodison Park, they at least returned home with a point. Having said that, the home side had a lot of chances to put the match to bed and on another day would have scored three or four. Birmingham base their game around a solid defence, but are probably not as dour as many consider, especially at St Andrews, actually three of their last six starts here and 7 from 12 overall have ended "over" and I suspect that we will see goals today.
Chelsea are over in 12 from 15 , with nine of those producing four or more, the Blues scoring at least three on eight occasions. Defensively they have lost their way a little since hammering Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates, maybe subconsiously they stepped off the gas that day thinking the title was their's for the taking and now, after a poor showing at Upton Park, it is time to show their true worth and get back to winning ways.Three points today would be very valuable, with the three clubs below them in the table not playing until tomorrow, it would enable them to open up a seven point lead at the top of the EPL and I do not see them sitting on a one goal lead, if and when it comes, after blowing several recently.
City do not have the options other sides have and whilst it is great to keep an unchanged team, several are carrying knocks and have not had a rest for many weeks. They started to look a little jaded at Everton and I feel they could be in for a very long afternoon.
6.5 points "over" 2.5 goals 2.11 asian line.
CARLISLE UNITED - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
I like the level ball quote on Carlisle here. They have been creating plenty of chances all season, something we have touched upon several times and now the results are flowing, with nine wins in 13 starts, a sequence in which they have lost just two times. In that run they have beaten Norwich (3-1), MK Dons (4-3) and Charlton (3-1), despite the Dons recent defensive woes, very few teams (none !) will score ten goals against these three and it is clear that United enjoy playing and raise their game against the better League 2 sides. Town definitely fall into that category, but are proving inconsistent, winning just one in five and conceded 12 times in that series.However, on a going day they are capable of passing teams off the pitch at this level and it is impossible to see them not in playoff contention at least come the end of the regular season.
Having said that, this is right up Carlisle's street, a big team visiting on Boxing Day and a huge crowd expected at Brunton Park, which is always a difficult place to go. United have a great record in this fixture and a 4-1-0 h2h record in five meeting here, including a 3-0 win on the same day last season. I was very impressed that United had cleared their training pitch of a lot of snow earlier in the week, so that the players could prepare in similar conditions to what they will face today, many clubs simply wouldn't have bothered. This will be tough, but I have to favour the home side, at rewarding odds.
6 points Carlisle level ball 2.19 asian line.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Make the most of it, enjoy yourselves and have a happy and peaceful time.
On a personal note, all I asked from Santa was six points for the Bees and the loan of Wojciech Szczęsny to be extended, already got the latter now it is fingers crossed for the two wins. Back on Boxing Day with a couple of match previews.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
LE MANS - MONACO
Consecutive home wins over Valenciennes and Grenoble looked to have heralded a major upturn in fortune for Le Mans, but it was back to normal and the drop zone with a 3-0 loss at Lille last time out and the visitors were lucky to score nil ! They were three down inside 30 minutes, by which time the home side had also missed a penalty and the scoreline could have been totally humiliating had Lille chosen to keep their foot on the gas. Looking at those earlier home wins, it is also easy to make holes in the form lines, as both visiting teams enjoyed the greater number of chances and possession 14-8 / 57% and 18-14 / 55% respectively and Grenoble are holding up the rest of Ligue 1.
Monaco arrive here on the back of two home games which saw them collect four points against strong teams in Rennes and Lyon, they played very well in the latter and were unlucky not to record a second straight win. They arrive here in 12th place, but things are so tight this season that they are only four points off fourth spot, with a game in hand. So three points tonight would be extremely valuable to both teams. The vistors have a terrific record in this series, losing just once in ten home and away starts and conceded just one goal in five meetings here, I expect a cautious opening from both, but the class of the ambitious visitors, who took great confidence from their performance on sunday, to come out on top.
6 points Monaco +1/4 ball asian line.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Losers are an unavoidable occupational hazard and I do not normally dwell on them too long any more, but I was very unhappy with a couple of recent bets and have revised my approach slightly and actually dropped a couple of leagues from my portfolio. I wrote a little to subscribers about these this morning, my comments related to suspicious betting patterns in two european leagues, allied to what I have seen with my own eyes, which I was very uncomfortable with . Whilst much of this is guesswork, I am confident in my own mind that it is better to look elsewhere for winners. So, probably these were "cheap" losers in the long run.
Not much let up in the weather, I live in the south east of England and have had a 200 mm covering of snow in my garden for 4-5 days, which is almost unheard of, it normally clears the next day. Hard to say how this will affect the Boxing Day fixtures at the moment, the snow is not really a problem for groundsmen who can simple shovel it off, but they can do little about the ice around the stadiums, which caused the postponement of the Wigan game tonight. At present it is too cold for this to clear and unlike in other countries, we are not set up to handle these extremes of weather. No post delivered ,or refuse collected for four days........... Oh, to be in England, Now that December's there !
Anyway, plenty of matches to choose from this week, so I am sure that we will find something to bet on !
Sunday, December 20, 2009
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS - BURNLEY
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy took a very brave step in midweek, resting all ten outfield players from the team which earned a shock 1-0 win at Tottenham, prefering to pick his battles and save his "star" players for this game, rather than have them chasing shadows at Old Trafford in midweek. Personally, I do not see anything wrong with the policy, but if I was a supporter who had paid £42 for a ticket at OT and goodness knows how much else to get there, on a very cold evening, I might view things differently. Only time will tell, but it certainly raises the interest in today's game and increases the pressure on the returning players today.
Despite Burnley putting out their strongest side at home to Arsenal in midweek, they will also have targetted this as three win-able road points and those would certainly be most welcome. Owen Coyle's attack minded tactics have not worked away from Turf Moor and a point at Manchester City is all they have to show from eight away starts and even in that game they conceded three times. Their refusal to shut up shop regardless of how the game is going has seen 27 goals conceded on the road and we could add to that tally with four against two struggling lower level teams in the Carling Cup, so Burnley home and away are two very different teams. However, Coyle is not prepared to ditch his principles and his side will try to get at Wolves today, they were very unlucky to lose 2-0 at Pompey on their last away start and on another day could have won that by a couple of goals. Having said that, the south coast side also missed a penalty and the five goals conceded previously at Upton Park, to a West Ham side in freefall, make it clear that anyone can and will score against them. Two sides both looking for three points , with the visitors totally incapable of keeping a clean sheet and the hosts having conceded in every EPL game at Molineux, I am certain that we will see goals today and whilst i would like to see McCarthy's decision rewarded, the "over" looks the better option to me.
7 points "over" 2.5 goals 2.04 asian line.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
DERBY COUNTY- DONCASTER ROVERS
Derby have made defensive duties a priority recently and have not conceded in their last two starts. Donny arrive with four clean sheets in five starts and are a team that like to keep possession and make it difficult for their opponents to break them down. At this time of year last season, Rovers recorded nine consecutive" unders", with six clean sheets and eight containing one or fewer goals, the nine starts averging just 0.78 goals.County might be expected to adopt a more adventurous approach in front of their own fans, but I do not think so, with both first choice centre backs missing, they will surely be looking to give the backline as much protection as possible. Think we will see a caution first approach from both today and another low scoring encounter. Last season's game here ended 0-1 with few real clear cut chances.
6 points "under" 2.25 goals 2.02 asian line.
EXETER CITY - SOUTHEND
I like Southend, they are at least a top 8 team in my opinion and played really well in several games recently, without any luck at all.It looked like more of the same recently, when, after dominating and missing a number of chances, they went 2-0 down to Hartlepool last time out, having not scored in 319 minutes things looked very bleak indeed. However, they kept playing really nice football, found one goal, then a second and a third and in the end, could have even added one or two more. That win has really restore confidence and sitting just eight points off the playoffs a big run in early 2010 is on the cards.The board dug deep and allowed the team to make the long journey west yesterday, so they will be fully fresh today , meeting a City side who have lost three in a row, without scoring and who play a footballing style, which will suit the visitors, who are capable of out passing most teams at this level.
7.5 points Southend +1/4 ball 1.80 asian line .
SWINDON TOWN- BRIGHTON
Player for player, I do not see too much between these two sides. In three away starts under Gus Poyet, Brighton have won at Exeter and Southampton, playing very well in the latter and got thumped at Norwich, when they simply didn't show up. They have had a very tough sequence of games recently, with Leeds, Charlton and Colchester the last three visitors to the Withdean and they will welcome an "easier" run of games over the holiday season. They outplayed Colchester for the last hour , after conceding two early goals, but could not find an equaliser last time out and will probably be better suited by facing Town, than the pure "up and at em" style of the U's, who in purely physical terms, are probably the biggest side in Ligue 1. Early goals have been a recurring theme in recent losses, if they can address this problem and keep things tight for 15-20 minutes, they can get a result here.Hosts can hardly be considered prolific in front of goal, only three times scoring twice in 11 home starts, averaging 1.18 goals per start.
6 points Brighton +1/2 ball 1.88 asian line.
Friday, December 18, 2009
FRIDAY DECEMBER 18TH
I have to leave the three English games today, the weather in the UK is very bad, at least from a sporting point of view, with freezing temperatures and a huge amount of snow, my daughters, who have been given an extra day off school, view things a little differently. There will surely be plenty of pitch inspections in the next couple of days and a lot of matches are sure to be in trouble, especially in the lower leagues.
Anyway, more about that tomorrow, for now, I will stick with two games from mainland Europe.
DUISBURG- ALEMANNIA AACHEN
Hosts are in terrific form at the moment, they are on a seven match unbeaten run, five of which they have won and goals are definitely proving easy to come by, as the two draws, both ended 2-2. Duisburg are not just getting results, but performing at a high level, I watched the wins over Paderborn and Furth and they were dominant in both and worthy of a bigger margin of victory. I expect them to be very motivated this evening, this is a club with promotion in their sights and they know that three points will take them up two places and into third spot, at least for 24 hours. with the two teams directly above them both facing difficult road games at the weekend, they would have every chance of holding that position over the winter break, which is a tremendous incentive.
Aachen are an archetypal mid table side, they are a little short of promotion quality and lack experience, too good to go down, they are exactly where they should be in the table and seem booked for a 8th-14th placed finish, almost regardless of results, if that makes any kind of sense, which it probably doesn't ! They have a poor record in this series, collecting just one point from six visits, in a fixture that usually produces goals, an average of 4.0 in that sequence of games. Hosts to win another free scoring game.
6 points Duisburg -1/2 ball 2.06 asian line.
STRASBOURG - GUINGAMP
Terrible season for Strasbourg after narrowly missing out on promotion last season, when they fell just one point short. Consecutive home wins over fellow relegation candidates Istres and Basita have merely papered over the holes and this is a club in turmoil on and off the pitch. The coach knows his days are numbered and a big name replacement is already lined to take over during the mini winter break. To that end, it might be easier to do the deal after a home disappointment, rather than a third win in a row, in front of home fans, but maybe that is the cynic in me talking.
Very long injury / suspension list for the hosts, with Bellaid, Fauvergue and Gargarov the latest unavailable, the last two named provide all the creative quality in the team and in their absence, it is hard to see where the goals are going to come from. Guingamp are better than their current 12th place suggests and arrive here on the back of consecutive road wins at Nantes and Chateauroux ,a third is definitely on the cards.
6.5 points Guingamp +1/4 ball 1.97 asian line.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
JOHNSTONE'S PAINT TROPHY
SOUTHAMPTON - NORWICH CITY
This is something of a strange match up between two of Division 1's better teams, infact, Leeds aside, Saints are the best team I have seen at this level this season, they knock the ball around well, do not panic when things go against them, use the full width of the pitch, have a coach who is unafraid to make changes and in Rickie Lambert, a striker way too good for this division and at the very peak of his game at present .
Things are not only going well on the pitch, but the quiet investment and long term plans of owner Markus Liebherr are starting to come together off the pitch too, with Saints training ground at Staplewood, set to be the redeveloped and become the envy of many EPL clubs. On the field, they are on fire, winning 12 from 15 , scoring three or more goals in nine of those, notching two or more in 14 from 16 starts, including a 2-2 draw when these two met here in the league last month, the home side led twice in that game and perhaps did enough to earn all three points.
The reason I called this a strange game is, whilst this competition now has value to both clubs, a two legged area final with one or both games televised, followed by a potential decider with Leeds United at what would be a sold out Wembley stadium is a real money earner in prospect , but promotion has to be a priority and both teams have massive games on saturday. Saints travel to face Leeds and City host fellow high flyers Huddersfield, games that will be at the back of their minds, maybe in City's case the forefront.
After all, they are not playing in front of their own fans tonight and had a gruelling 3-3 draw at Yeovil over the weekend, a match which involved two injury time goals, a 500 mile round trip and ten plus hours on a coach. After a brief recovery time, they face another 200 miles on the road and a 4-5 hour trip south to Hampshire. They also picked up a number of knocks in what was quite a physical game at Huish Park, which I have just finished watching brief highlights of and boss Paul Lambert will not be taking any chances with the Huddersfield game on the horizon, to say nothing of the busy holiday programme.
BTW, I accept that footballers get used to the endless travel, but some twenty hours on a bus in a 4-5 day period is tough for any sportsman, especially when several are carrying knocks and with Saints having been at home on saturday and probably back in their own homes by 18.30, it gives them far more quality prep/recovery time and a big advantage going into this game IMO. Home boss Alan Pardew will want to keep the momentum going, especially as the discussions over transfer window investment have doubtless already begun with Herr Liebherr.
Just saw some quotes from City boss Lambert : "My main priority is the league. I won't make a secret of that," he told reporters this morning. "I can't play lads who aren't fully recovered from the Saturday. I just have to see who's fit and who's not.
"I've got to balance it out, we haven't got a big enough squad to go week in, week out. As I've said before if there are lads carrying knocks then I've got to watch their welfare and protect some of them from playing a lot of games."
6.5 points Southampton -1/4 ball 1.84 asian line.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I recorded a very small profit on the week for subscribers, nothing to write home about, but it was the eleventh winning week from thirteen and it keeps us ahead of the game entering a period where I traditionally do well. The festive season means that the UK games come thick and fast and it offers an opportunity to stay ahead of the oddsmakers, who are often stretched at this time of year.
Brentford put out a side to stifle mighty Leeds, the tactics worked perfectly and whilst the Bees created very little (nothing) ,I cannot believe that anyone at Griffin Park is too unhappy with a point, which could prove very valuable come the end of the season, although I an hoping it will be one of many collected before then !
No bets for me today, but the rest of the midweek looks busy, so I will do my best to post a couple on the blog in the next couple of days.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE - BURY
Here we have two sides looking to get into Division 1. Daggers started their season very well, especially after losing half their team in the summer and all credit must be given to coach John Still for building another competitive side in double quick time, on very limited resources. However, I feel that they have overachieved massively and it looks likely that Still will again be forced to rethink things, with at least another two players set to leave in the transfer window. The prospect of moving up a level and possibly doubling or trebling you salary is a massive incentive for players at this level and also a terrific distraction and I do not think it is a coincidence that D&R have underperformed in recent starts.
Bury missed out on promotion last year on goal difference, actually they were a single goal short on claiming an automatic spot, which, over the course of a 46 game season is a difficult pill to swallow and it was hardly a surprise that they took time to get going this season, especially given an horrendous injury list. However, they are back on track now and lie just outside the playoff spots and boss Alan Knill is definitely targeting a top three place this time round. His side were unbeaten in eleven, before losing 3-0 at in form Morecambe, it says a lot about the spirit at Gigg Lane, that they immediately bounced back with a 2-0 defeat of Barnet last time out. I would not read too much into the loss against the Shrimpers, as Bury had chances to take the lead before the match turned on a dubious penalty award and I am certain that the defeat had benefit of type, if only as a wake up call. On loan striker Daniel Nardiello returns to his parent club after this game and is determined to leave with a win and by adding to his four goals in five starts, he is a player with a touch of class and a little too good for this level.
Knill made keeping a cleansheet a priority last week and his side restricted Barnet to two off target attempts in 90 minutes, with Wayne Brown not making a single save in the Shakers goal. A similar professional approach is on the cards in East London, in a stadium they have done well at in recent trips south, recording a fine 3-1 win here last season at a time when the Daggers were second in the table and the division's top scorers. I do not expect the classier visitors to go home empty handed and am keen on them with a handicap start.
7 points Bury +1/4 ball 1.90 asian line.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR- WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Spurs have played well in the last month, scoring 14 goals in four starts and collecting 8 points, that should really have been a clean sweep and four wins, but they threw two points away in each of their last two starts at Goodison and Villa Park, matches in which they were clearly superior. Having blown a two goal lead at Everton, I am certain that they will want to put this one beyond doubt asap, especially with fellow top 4 hopefuls Manchester City coming to town in midweek.
I think that Happy Harry's men will run away with this and of course the oddsmakers agree and have priced the match up accordingly, having said that, I still see a little value in the "over" market. Spurs have to continually juggle their back line and have conceded more goals than any other side in the top eleven in the EPL, infact, they have only allowed two fewer than Pompey who are holding up the rest of the division.
Wolves have a very tough holiday period starting today and meet four top seven teams in their next five starts, including visits to White Hart Lane, Anfield and Old Trafford, having conceded four to both Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks, it is hard not to be a little fearful for the "Old Gold". Doubtless Mick McCarthy will send his team out to keep things tight, but they are without a clean sheet since the opening days of the season and if / when they go behind, they will have to open up and that is when Spurs will get the space, especially from wide positions which Wolves have had problems with all season, Lennon could have a field day.
Massive boost to the home side with Luka Modric playing 70 minutes of a training ground game on tuesday, he will return to the squad shortly which will further increase the competition for starting places, as his will be the first name on the team sheet.
6 points "over" 3 goals 1.95 asian line.
Huge day today, Leeds United come to the big city, not to face Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs or West Ham as they have done so many times in the past, but the mighty Bees. The prospect of Brentford playing United in anything other than a cup competition was inconceivable even just a handful of years ago. I accept that this says more about the visitors fall from grace than it does about a phoenix like rise from the ashes for my beloved club, but that doesn't make it any less of an event !
United are going to win League 1 this season and good luck to them, they are the best team and biggest club outside the top two divisions, although Norwich are fast improving, but the only title holding champions on the pitch today will be the Bees. I would settle for a point, but a famous win would live long in the memory and be something to savour.
Now to more mundane things, I have four match previews for today and will post at least two of them on the blog, one very shortly, so please check back.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
DONCASTER ROVERS- SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Yorkshire derby between two teams at vastly different ends of the confidence scale at the moment. Wednesday are nosediving, they are without a win in seven starts, or a goal in almost 350 minutes and have put in several really inept performances recently, the players are in fragile shape and once they concede, any remaining confidence in their own abillity snaps. Visiting coach Brian Laws is under intense pressure and I doubt this is helping the players much.
Laws will change things around tonight, but the problems go much deeper than that, some supporters and Owls fans are a loyal bunch, have even voiced the opinion that it might be better to lose tonight, as that might force the board to take action. To be fair to the Simon Cowell lookalike, he has been operating under severe financial restraints and his team are better than recent results would suggest, but atm, they are in a mess.
Hosts arrrive bouyed by a fine 3-0 win at Crystal Palace at the weekend and are a very tough side to break down especially at the Keepmoat Stadium, where they play really nice "keep ball" football and have already taken seven points and kept three cleansheets from three top Championship sides in QPR, Cardiff and Swansea. Not many teams will achieve that treble this campaign and gives some idea of how solid they are on home soil. In the last 12 months, Donny have lost just six of 21 home Championship fixtures, four of those came towards the end of last season when safety was already assured and facing three promotion chasing sides and one battling to stave off relegation. So, really just two defeats from 17 starts in what could be termed competitive fixtures.
Wednesday remain a big team in Yorkshire and Doncaster will be out for a famous win, to follow up their 1-0 victory in this fixture last season, a result they dined out on for several weeks afterwards. Visitors have won just five times on the road in the last 14 months, that's 28 Championship starts and I do not see them adding to that tally this evening.
6 points Doncaster -1/4 ball 1.85 asian line.
Monday, December 07, 2009
That was my tenth winning week from the last twelve, during which I have given 154 selections, with 87 of them winning, a 56.49% strike rate, which produced almost 142 points profit, with a ROI of circa 13%. Nearly all suggested bets are on the asian market, so quotes are widely available, unlike similar services which put up prices only on offer with one company and which have almost certainly long since gone ,so these are really excellent returns and as good as you will find anywhere on the internet.
Results have been very solid for 26 months on the subscription service (724 pts profit) and for closing in on four years here on the blog. However, all good things have to come to an end sometime and I will not be producing the daily newsletter/email after the end of this month. I have written some 1.4 million words of original content over the last couple of years, which equates to some 13-15 full length novels, that is a bit of a grind for even the most prolific of authors, so I am looking at implementing some changes .
I will definitely continue to write on the blog and might actually be posting more betting previews in the future, without such a restrictive other arrangement.
However, I am also looking to advise someone, or possibly a small group on a more one to one basis. This would only be of interest to very serious gamblers and whilst not cheap, would provide a unique and value for money service. I have already spoken to several individuals along these lines, but would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with any other interested parties in the next week or two, before making a final decision. All (serious) enquiries by email to .........
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I am very pleased with my previews at the moment, results since adopting my approach slightly have been fantastic and the benefits are clear for all to see. With regard to the actual content of the write ups, they are as well written IMO as any other betting previews on the internet and each usually contains some information that is pertinent to future contests and not just the match in question.
Today I looked at just two matches, both from mainland Europe and with such limited choice, have had no option but to keep these solely for subscribers, so you are on your own for the time being ! The midweek games look extremely promising at this early stage so please check back through the week.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
If we disregard the Saints points deduction for one minute, the league table would show very little difference between these two clubs, but IMO and in the view of most people who watch football at this level, the visitors are the FAR superior side. Walsall have done extremely well and find themselves on the playoff fringe, but to my eyes they have overachieved big time. The Saddlers are bottom of the attempts on goal league table and have created a massive 102 fewer than Southampton, who average 5.36 shots at goal per game more. Further inspection of the Walsall results will tell you that they have struggled against the better teams in the division and picked up seven of their eight wins against teams in the bottom eleven of the table, with an average league placing of 19.71. Regardless of what the league table might currently say, the classy Saints are definitely a top half team at the very least and a playoff push remains a possibilty for them.
Regardless of what happens this season, the future at St Mary's looks much rosier under "new" owner Markus Liebherr and 2010 can only go one way. The visitors score for fun, with at least a goal in each of their last 17 starts, they are slowly getting things right at the other end of the pitch and will be tremendously buoyed by a first cleansheet in 15 matches last time out. The very experienced David Connolly returns to the squad today, which gives them further options and I think Saints will be heading back down south with three points in the bag.
6 points Southampton to win 2.40 general quote.
WEST HAM UNITED- MANCHESTER UNITED
Historically this has been a high scoring fixture and for the footballing purist, one of the most keenly anticipated fixtures of the season. The goals have dried up a little in recent years, but a return to the "good old days" is firmly on the cards this afternoon in East London. Upton Park has seen more goals this season than anyother stadium in the EPL and many have been in the Hammers own net, they have conceded 13 in their last 6 starts here, at an average of 2.17 per game. It is difficult to see the well rested visiting senior players, who have had a couple of free days recently with Sir Alex giving youth a chance, not having a similar level of success.
West Ham are "over" in their eleven starts, with seven of those producing four or more and they are without a single cleansheet in twelve outings, I doubt we will see one today and expect both teams to score. Man U would be my idea of the winners, they can ill afford to lose any further ground to Chelsea and three points here would put pressure on the Blues, who have a difficult early evening start at Manchester City, however, I feel the "over" offers slightly better value and this is a bet we have done well with at the Boleyn Ground this campaign.
6 points "over" 2.75 goals 2.06 asian line.
EPL OVER 21.75 GOALS ALL SATURDAY GAMES
The average EPL game is averaging 3.04 goals this season and I am keen on seven of todays fixtures producing at least this number today and am very confident of this "over" bet. Already discussed the West Ham fixture and the games at the Emirates, Villa Park, Fratton Park and City of Manchester Stadium absolutely scream goals to me. The match at Molineux is one where both will surely target all three points and could also develop into a shootout, Wolves have had little luck in front of goal recently and are due a change of luck. We need an average of 2.75 to make a profit on this bet, I fully expect one and maybe two to register five, which means we have plenty of leeway with this bet and can still romp home with the odd shortfall.
8 points "over" 1.94 asian line.
I am not a big fan of garden gnomes, but OMG how cute is this little fella ? Standing there all proud in his Brentford strip.
That takes care of all the Christmas gifts for this year !
Going to post a couple of match previews on the blog later today, possibly three, so please check back a little later.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
FC KOBENHAVN- CFR CLUJ
Bit surprised and pleased by the odds here, where I feel the oddsmakers have underestimated the Romanian side, who will be eager to impress new Italian boss, Andrea Mandolini, who has only been at the helm since the middle of last month, overseeing just two games. This will be his first ever european tie, despite coaching nine clubs in his homeland, so something of a big occasion for him. CFR dominated the second half of the reverse fixture, which they eventually won 2-0, their only win of the group stage, but the winning margin could have been greater and they have had little luck in their other games, when in each, they have been on top for extended periods .They will be boosted by the return to the squad of striker Yssouf Kone, who had terrific success at Rosenborg, averaging better than a goal a game there and he might well be further inspired by a return to Scandinavia, providing he goes easy on the red wine !
Both teams need a win to really keep their chances of progression alive and this could get quite stretched after a cautious opening, but I feel the key factor here is FCK's fixture at the weekend, when they travel to face league leaders Odense, in an absolutely vital game. OB lead Super Ligaen by four points and this will be the last match before the winter break, FCK just cannot afford to lose that and sit at home for almost three months dwelling on a seven point gap at the top of the table. I feel that they will be looking to win tonight with the minimum of effort and if they do fall behind, I am not certain how much chasing they will be prepared to do.
Player for player, I rate Cluj the slightly better side, they made a mistake with the appointment of their last coach who was only in charge for a few months, defensively they were struggling under him and already there has been noticable improvement in this department, I am reliably informed, since Mandorlini took over. They are definitely taking this game seriously and I just cannot get away from the thought that FCK might have other priorities.
6 points Cluj +3/4 ball 1.90 asian line.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Therefore, I will wait until tomorrow, when I am sure that we can find something to make it three from three on the week.
Huge win for Brentford last night, the three points give them a little breathing space over the bottom four and they travel north at the weekend to face a Tranmere side, who are starting to get their act together, in very good spirits after arguably, their best performance of the season. The Bees will be looking for three points there, as they have a very difficult set of fixtures over the holiday season.
Bit of sour grapes from Colchester United boss Aidy Boothroyd last night, who "complained" that "Brentford were running round like they had won the World Cup at the end" and " it will be a interesting fixture back at our place." Not quite sure what he meant by that, but given the size of the United team (they are all giants), the mainly diminutive Bees had better be on their guard come February 23rd !
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
TUESDAY DECEMBER 1ST
Preston served us well yesterday and in the NFL, New Orleans defeated a big Superbowl rival with ease and remain perfect at 11-0, I have not seen a better "football" team this season and providing Drew Brees, who threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns against the Patriots, stays fit, I feel they are going all the way. Certainly those of you who took the 25-1 advised have a terrific bet and plenty of excitement to look forward to in the next couple of months.
Quite a lot of matches to choose from today, but just the two bets from me and nothing too earth shattering as both are fairly short priced selections, but I still believe that they are good value quotes. Next email will be sent tomorrow morning.
ENGLAND DIVISION 1
OLDHAM ATHLETIC- LEEDS UNITED
Despite only drawing 1-1 with non league Kettering on Sunday, Leeds impressed me, their attitude was spot on and they kept pressing in very difficult conditions. They created a LOT of chances, 25 in total, 13 on target, enjoyed 61% possession (it looked like more !) and their heads didn't drop when they fell behind, infact, they stepped up a gear. Simon Grayson has done a terrific job in his year in charge at Elland Road and they look what the league table says they are, head and shoulders above the rest of Division 1.
Offensively they have a surplus of riches and these players get all the plaudits, but the defence looks extremely solid too and has conceded only eight times in 17 league outings. When teams are on a great run, you can tell a lot about their make up, when they eventually lose and it says everything about Leeds, that since losing their only league game of the season at Millwall, they have gone four from four with a 12-0 goal difference. Team spirit is very high as you might expect and the equaliser on Sunday was greeted by all the team as though it was the goal that took them back to the Championship, I like teams that celebrate en masse and enjoy their goals.
Oldham have not won at Ice Station Zebra, otherwise known as Boundary Park in just over two months, this is the coldest ground in the country and I will not hear any argument over that as I still have the frost bite scars to prove it ! Athletic have had to dwell on a dire performance in a 3-0 defeat at Walsall for seven days and remember, my beloved Bees had "softened up" the Saddlers a couple of days earlier ! The hosts will be without the suspended Lee Hills in defence, but will have on loan striker Paul Heffernan, a player I have plenty of time for at this level, available to make his debut.
Grayson has no new problems and has added to his already very strong squad by signing winger Hogan Ephraim and goalkeeper Chris Martin, on loan from QPR and Liverpool respectively. No sitting on his laurels for the Elland Road caesar, who is constantly looking to improve and keep his players on their toes.
The two met here in the cup earlier this month and United ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and I expect something similar this evening. United have a big derby game with local rivals and fellow promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town on Saturday lunchtime, a team who have given them problems recently and Leeds will want tonight's points in the bag, ahead of that crunch game. The visitors are averaging 15.58 attempts on goal per game, which dwarfs the Lactics 9.38 and a six shot plus advantage for an away side "always" results in a road win and if these are not famous last words, I do not know what is !!!!
6.5 points Leeds United -1/2 ball 1.85 asian line.