Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Dons have now put in three pretty dire performances, conceding 10 goals and failing to collect a point. However, unlike any other team in this position, they will probably have benefitted from a break and the 17 days since their last start, has enabled them to get Baldock, Chadwick, Leven and O'Hanlon fit and all four will return today. Only one of those losses was here at Stadium MK, where the very big pitch suits the home team, something we have discussed before and I am prepared to write off that 4-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday as the visitors were on fire at the time and actually scored from the only four chances they created and with a much stronger line up today, I feel that the real Dons might put in an appearance. Visitors have only played twice in the last six weeks or so, losing both and looking lost without McQuoid, who has left to join Millwall, this was something we talked about before their match with Notts County and I feel that the Cherries are going to have a tough few weeks of adjustment. Bad feeling left from the first game, when Dons felt agrieved by the referee who showed seven yellow and one red card, most to the DonS in a fiery encounter, big match for the home side, who sit both four points off the playoffs and also the drop zone, with a nice sequence of fixtures after this, next eight are all against bottom half teams, including four of the bottom five, this is a chance to get their season back on track.

MK Dons -0.25 2.23


Hammers did us a favour on Boxing Day, coming back from a goal down to put three past Fulham, however, they were pinned back for the first 30 minutes and could easily have been 2-3 down by that time. They do have goals in them now that most of the squad is fit and have scored 12 in their last six, with 5 from 6 at home ending "over". With Everton seemingly far happier on the road, having scored in their last seven away starts and being unbeaten in seven and scoring 2 or more in four of those, including in a famous win at Eastlands and only coming up short in trips to Chelsea andTottenham, which both ended 1-1, goals are surely on the cards today. Toffees have a fine recent record here scoring 2+ on their last four visits to Upton Park and given the Hammers defensive frailities, a repeat is in the offering, especially with Arteta and Pienaar now available.

"Over" 2.5 goals 2.11

Everton to score "over" 1.5 goals 2.25 + ... up to 2.375 on offer

Good Luck.

Monday, December 27, 2010




Big and really only game of the day, with a massive worldwide television audience waiting to see some fireworks. The visitors have traditionally dominated this match up, winning the last five meetings and losing just twice in 18 matches. I suspect we might see a return to the real Chelsea today, Terry and Essien should now be very close to full fitness after recently returning from injury, Frank Lampard makes his long awaited return today and Didier Drogba, despite missing a penalty at Spurs as time expired, has scored in his last two league starts and is clearly returning to his imperious best. The Ivory Coast superstar loves to play against the Gunners, scoring 13 goals in 11 starts and two substitute apperances against the North London club and with that penalty miss troubling him for the last 15 days, he is sure to be very hungry to make amends this afternoon. Unlike many other big name EPL players he is one that tends to turn it on for the big games and I will take him to add to that impressive record in a game where we are likely to see goals , hosts have just one clean sheet in 8 starts, Chelsea one in 11 and with two or more in 6 from 7 outings against Arsenal. With goals on the cards, he is the most likely contributor.

Didier Drogba to score at anytime.... 2.70 + .... 2.80 on the exchanges at present and up to 3.0 in a place.

Good Luck.

Saturday, December 18, 2010



We have talked before about Birmingham and that their impressive looking home record is a little misleading, they have dodged any number of bullets at St Andrews, especially recently, when they collected four points from games against Tottenham and Chelsea, both of which they could/should have lost by at least two goals. They have conceded in 4 of their last 5 starts here, the only clean sheet coming in that Chelsea fixture when the visitors created some 30 attempts on goal. So, I do not think they are quite as strong as their basic record suggests, but what cannot be disputed is that they have great heart and will battle for the full 90 minutes.

Newcastle made a fine start under new boss Alan Pardew, putting three past Liverpool and I suspect that his team will not yet completely abandon their attacking principles on the road, a policy that has seen them earn a couple of famous wins ( Arsenal and Chelsea in the cup), yet get hammered in trips to Bolton and WBA, it is very much a case of feast or famine for the Magpies. Away from home they have scored in their last 7 starts and conceded 14 in six, home and away they are "over" in 11 from 14. I feel goals are on the cards again today and expect both teams to contribute, that is normally the case when these two meet, both scoring in the last four meetings and two of the last four match ups here have ended 2-2, which is my idea of the scoreline today. Tough holiday programme ahead for both, so neither will want to leave empty handed and preferably with all three points.

"over" 2.5 goals 2.17

Good luck.

Monday, December 13, 2010




Should Arsene Wenger feel the need to further motivate his troops this evening, he only needs to post Patrice Evra's ill advised comments that Arsenal were not a threat and no more than a "training centre", to the dressing room wall. I think that at least subconsiously, he and United as a whole are worried about the increased threat this season from both Arsenal and City and such comments can only serve to fire up the visitors.

It is true that Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 or on the road at Old Trafford since 2006, but only Ipswich and then West Ham or Birmingham stand between the London club and a Carling Cup win, which is nice to have on standby and can claim five away wins already this season, including a 3-0 thumping of the other Manchester club, which stands testament to this being a far more robust and perhaps mentally stronger Arsenal team and one more likely to challenge for the title. They have tended to go into these crunch games under pressure in recent seasons, but that is not really the case this time round in my opinion, they sit top of the table, with a trophy awaiting and can forget about europe for a month or two. In Samir Nasri they have a developing superstar who has thrilled the EPL in the last 12 months and a largely injury free Gunners are going to get stronger not only season by season, or month to month, but week by week.

United, aside from a capitulation by a Blackburn side they always defeat, have laboured through their last eight fixtures and do not look the force of old, there has been a virus at OT in the last week and at least a couple of first teamers have been affected, not quite sure of the extent of that, but it is hardly a positive. I sense a big night for Arsenal and with United having already drawn 47% of all EPL fixtures, I am happy to get a half goal handicap start.

Arsenal +0.5 2.0 .

Good Luck.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FRIDAY ..............



I fancy that this will develop into a very tight encounter between two evenly matched teams. Hosts have had the better of the campaign so far, but I saw and was impressed by Millwall earlier in the season, immediately after which they went on the skids a bit, however, boss Kenny Jackett knows how to compete at this level and got busy in the transfer market and with signings like Puncheon, Andrew, McQuoid, Lisbie and Shittu has added to his options with a mixture of talent, youth and experience. The Lions are now three starts unbeaten, collecting seven points and a hat-trick of clean sheets in the process. The first four named newbies give Millwall an increased offensive threat and with the evergreen Neil Harris on the sidelines and top striker Steve Morison back amongst the goals with a brace last time out, his first in five outings, I really feel that the Lions are a team to keep on the right side of in the coming months. I like Morison a lot, his work ethic is fantastic and he will get goals at any level and having some classy providers around him will only help his tally in the weeks to come. Jackett spent a largely successful three years at Swansea and will be ultra keen to get a result tonight as he was not entirely fairly treated towards the end of his reign in south Wales.

Hosts play some very nice stuff, but often take a very long time to get from box to box, playing one sideways pass too many in the process.They do have a big incentive tonight, in that three points would take them above their biggest rival Cardiff and up into second spot. However,City have looked a little fragile defensively recently and dodged plenty of bullets at Ipswich last weekend and Millwall poise much more of a goalscoring threat than Roy Keane's men, they have seemed happier on the road at times and even with Gary Monk returning to the centre of defence tonight, which will give them a more solid look at the back, I can still see these two teams cancelling each other out. I was very close to opting for the draw selection, especially as these two have played nine evening games between them this season without a win under floodlights, but just feel that if anyone is going to steal the points, that it might be the visitors with their more direct style, so, Millwall plus the handicap.

Millwall +0.75 1.98

Good Luck.

Saturday, December 04, 2010




I rate Tottenham much the superior of these two and make them my strongest bet of the day. To my eyes Birmingham have regressed quite a lot this season and in recent starts at St Andrews they have been riding their luck big time and their "strong" home record is something of a misnomer. In their last four outings at home they have beaten Chelsea and Aston Villa, depite being outplayed in both and losing the attempts on goal count by a combined 41-6 (!) and drawing with both West Ham, who dominated the first half and should have been four up at the break and third tier Brentford, needing an injury time equaliser to take the match into extra time. They had failed to score in three of their four home starts prior to that and are clearly not the force on home soil they were last season. The Villa game was played Wednesday, whilst Spurs have had a very rare free midweek and been able to focus fully on this fixture, hosts are a hard working team, who rely on their fitness to put opponents under pressure, so to my mind, the recovery time here is key. Big game for Spurs who are scoring for fun ( 12 in their last 4) and face massive rivals Chelsea next week in a crunch fixture, they are desperate for the three points today and should collect them.

Tottenham -0.25 1.82 .

Good Luck.

Monday, November 29, 2010



These two local rivals were busy ahead of the loan deadline day, with City bringing in Chris Kirkland and Roman Bendnar and Forest adding Aaron Ramsey and Marcus Tudgay, four eyecatching signings which have got the locals buzzing and even with the distraction in Spain, plenty of eyes will be focused on this match, with both clubs looking to push for a playoff spot. Forest, sitting just three points off the pace are the better equipped of the two and if they could just clear up the injury room a little, they would be amongst the favourites for a post season place. We have talked before about how visiting boss Billy Davies normally improves his teams through the course of the season, making full use of his scouts and the video room, to learn as much as possible about opponents and in his six seasons as a Championship coach, he has the best record by far from November to January.

His Forest team went four months unbeaten at this stage last season and are again yet to lose this month, including a fine win at highflying Cardiff last time out. Very interesting stat here in that of the 16 goals that they have conceded this season, 12 have come in the first half, just four after, giving that City are the division's low opening half scorers, this might be the ideal match up for Forest who come on strong after the break, when they have a 8-8-2 record.
This is a good indication of ability with the other best second half teams being QPR ( league leaders), Cardiff (2nd) and Norwich (5th), as you might expect, the better teams get stronger later in the game and if Forest can keep this tight early, then they should have enough about them to go on and win this, or at least claim a draw and this is another game where I cannot agree with the oddsmakers. Ramsey and Tudgay will give them an extra touch of class and give Davies options for tonight, Earnshaw is rated 50-50, but he loves these games and I believe he will play some part and Nathan Tyson the forgotten front man at Forest , is also ready to stake his claim after missing out at Cardiff.

Nottingham Forest +1/2 ball 1.85 .

Good Luck.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Leeds got themselves a hard earned point in a game of very few chances yesterday, neither keeper had a single save to make in the first half, although it did open up a little after the break. Reading were the better of the two and given their problems ahead of the game, which were outlined yesterday, this bodes very well for them in the coming months, especially when their treatment room has cleared a little. Having said all that, United have also tightened up considerably and they are certainly not the same team defensively who conceded ten at home to Cardiff City and Preston North End ( !!) and can also look forward to an exciting 2011.

Talking of Cardiff, I have just watched extended highlights of their top of the table clash with QPR, in a match that was full of quality and a fine advert for Championship football. City boss Dave Jones was livid after his side were denied just about as clear a penalty as you will ever see, when Jay Boothroyd was clearly tripped in the box and the defender left his foot there for several seconds ! It was impossible for anyone, let alone referee Kevin Friend, who was within touching distance, to have missed it and with just minutes to play, it would most likely have earned the visitors a point. Rangers were worthy of the win though and now have a five point lead over City, but more importantly, with their goal difference, effectively a nine point advantage over third placed Swansea, so a fantastic weekend for Neil Warnock and his troops. Still saw the hard to please Warnock complaining to match officials about something at the final whistle, when in reality, he should have been busy adding Mr Friend to his Christmas Card list !

Good Luck.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Really busy day for me today, so I am just posting the one preview on the blog, therefore, no need to check back later. I am hugely involved in the golf from Dubai, as those of you who got the midweek email know and we have a very exciting weekend in prospect with that. I have a ticket for a match today which is sold out and am 50-50 about whether I can use it or not, which is frustrating, but business first !

Weather is bad in the UK, lots of snow around and those that missed out still have frozen and icy conditions to contend with. Pitches are never really a problem at the bigger clubs, but games can still be in doubt with surrounding areas deemed "unsafe", we are still in the dark ages when it comes to winter in this country !


Huge day in the Championship, with a couple of massive match ups, two of which I am very interested in....


I really do not agree with the odds in this one, where the home side look terribly short to me. Don't get me wrong, I like the Royals and do not think that they will be too far away from the top six come May, but they are not in the best shape physically at the moment. I got a report from training yesterday and a whole host of players were only doing minimal work and are clearly carrying knocks and also heard from a seperate source that only 15 of what is/was a large squad are fully fit. Mick Mills is suspended and with Ingimarsson already out and Harte one of those doubtful, they are going to have to reshuffle the back line. In midfield, players like Tabb with his tireless industry and Kebe who has unbelievable pace, will be less effective carrying knocks, as I understand it, at least one, maybe both will be risked, with home boss Brian Mc Dermott having so few options.

Leeds come here in very good form and seem to have got away from their up and down start to the campaign, settling into a higher and more reliable level of performance. They are on a 5 match unbeaten run and feel that they should have won all five of those having led in the Hull and Norwich games too. The draw at Carrow Road last week was a very good performance with coach Simon Grayson calling the opening 45 minutes as good as anything they have produced in his time at the club. He is happy with the squad and choose not to get active ahead of the loan transfer window, although he did extend the deal for Andy O'Brien until into the new year. O'Brien's arrival coincided with the upturn in results and the vastly experienced defender is said to be very good value both on and off the pitch and a very positive influence on the training pitch and in the dressing room. United, as always, sold their full allocation of 4,300 tickets for today and will definitely make the most noise in what can be a quiet stadium at times, the support has been fantastic and I read that several of the players stood outside Norwich last week listening to their fans still singing in the stadium long after the match had finished and were very moved and motivated by the experience. United are a big club, they deserve to be in the top flight and it is not impossible that they could manage it this season. I see them in the better shape ot the two clubs today, they might get the chance, given the home side's problems to boss the midfield and will definitely get opportunities to score, United have registered 121 attempts on target this season, second highest in the division and have hit the woodwork 13 times, with no other club in double figures, so still room for improvement, getting a half goal start is an unexpected bonus in my opinion.

Leeds United + 0.5 1.98 + .

Good Luck.

Friday, November 26, 2010

FRIDAY ......

Just in case you are wondering, I am still alive guys !

Been incredibly busy this week, am on my way to watch a training session at a local club at the moment and it is VERY cold. The weather is set to play havoc with the games in the UK this weekend, more of that tomorrow, when I will definitely post a preview or two on here, Jack Frost permitting.

It also looks set to play a part in mainland europe this evening, having said that, I have only really looked at the Ligue 2 games in France, where I have three selections, but some of the matches there will be played in sub zero conditions, with the wind chill factor making it seem much colder . Time for some of those soft, overpaid footballers to earn their money, said he heading out of the door wearing seven layers of clothing !

Good Luck.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I sent all my notes today (some 1800 words) to many readers of the blog and for those that have already ploughed through it and written to advise me accordingly, yes, I know that Swindon play at the County Ground ! Do not know what I was thinking and it should be burned into my memory as it was at the County Ground that I was punched for the first and only time (touch wood) inside a football stadium .............. aah happy days !

These are not selections, more thinking out loud, but following on from the stats below, which were written more as an aid for those of you who like betting "in running". The following half time quotes did stand out a little....

Frankfurt -0.25 2.33

Schalke - Bremen "over" 1.25 goals 2.17

Hannover level ball 2.20

Motherwell -0.25 2.21

fun to follow these, but purely "paper trading" for me atm.

Good Luck.


We are roughly a third of the way through most of the major leagues and I thought about time for a "stat update". Going to look at the Bundesliga and SPL here and
might cover some other leagues in the next couple of days.

SPL : Motherwell are the strongest first half team, with an 8-3-2 record in the opening 45 minutes, incredibly Rangers are 5-3-5 at the break, meaning that they have been losing in as many games as they have led, unsurprisingly they have managed to turn most of those around, with five wins from losing positions, but there is a clear case for waiting for the game to unfold a little before jumping on the league leaders. Celtic have won the most games in the second period (ten) and are a perfect six from six going in level at the break. Inverness CT are another side strong after their cuppa and are 5-0-0 when ahead at half time, better than both the big two in that regard and this is not a side you want to chase the game against.

BUNDESLIGA: Some stunners here worthy of note. Frankfurt are 6-6-0 at half time and yet to go into the break trailing, unlike Hamburg, who have yet to lead with a 0-9-3 record. Fairly incredibly given how well they have started their season, Mainz have only led at the half in one of their 12 starts, you might think that would make them the strongest in the second period, but that honour goes to leaders Dortmund who have won nine second period's. Borussia are a bit of a machine once they hit their stride and are a perfect 10-0-0 when either drawing or leading at the break, so, if you want to beat them, best to get in front early.

BMG supporters have seen most second half goals, 34 in total, Bremen fans the most early doors, with 21 in the opening 45 minutes. Beware backing Kaiserslautern when leading, the Bundesliga newcomers have lost a massive 14 points from winning positions and need to learn how to close out matches fast. Now this is a very odd one, Bayern, Schalke and Bremen three of the big 4-5 clubs in Germany have each gone in level at the break in five matches, that's 15 games and have gone on to win .......... precisely none between them ! Bayern only scoring one goal in their five games.

Good Luck.




Going to start at Loftus Road, where highflying QPR entertain basement club Preston North End. Rangers remain unbetaen, but have been riding their luck a little recently with draws in six of their last seven starts, a couple of which they could, perhaps should have lost. The confidence level, which was through the roof 5-6 weeks ago, has dropped and boss Neil Warnock, who is never happy for too long, has been complaining about the size of his "small" squad, considering the resources at his disposal, he has little to moan about, but he will definitely be getting busy leading up to the transfer window. Hosts will be without Shaun Derry and Bradley Orr today, both of whom are suspended and I suspect that the highly aggressive Derry will be missed in midfield, especially given the business that visiting boss Darren Ferguson has done this week. He has been busy in the loan market, bringing in three players, Danny Pugh and Michael Tonge from Stoke City are two competitive midfielders, comfortable on the ball, with lots of experience at this level and above. This is what Preston, who have been very hard hit by injury all season, have been screaming out for, along with someone to shore up the left side of defence, come in Ritchie De Laet, who also joined from Manchester United, the 21yo Belgian international can play anywhere in the back four and was actively being chased by Leicester City, but Sir Alex preferred to let him join his son and stay in the North West, it is good to have contacts !

PNE have tended to perform with more freedom away from Deepdale this season, where there is less pressure from the fans, who have been quick to show their displeasure this season, they have won at Coventry and Leeds (scoring six !) and scored three and completely outplayed Burnley for 80 minutes, before somehow finding a way, against all odds, to lose a seven goal thriller. They have some talent in their ranks and can turn it on at times, the new additions will give them a greater combative edge and given Rangers inability to finish teams off at present, I like the visitors getting a full goal start.

Preston North End + 1 ball 2.19 .

Good Luck.

Friday, November 19, 2010




I am keen on the straight draw in this game, it is not a bet I do too often, but do have a high strike rate with it and, of course, the odds are normally very attractive.These two clubs are polar opposites, Hertha are "big time charlies" at this level, they should never have been relegated last season, which was a major fall from grace after 13 seasons in the top flight, with the previous decade spent almost entirely in the top ten, with five top five placings. They play in the massive Olympiastadion, which holds almost 75,000 and the city desperately needs a team in the top division and the Bundesliga needs a side from the capital, so everything is geared up towards them making a speedy return. Much of the blame for relegation, rightly or wrongly, fell on the shoulders of coach Friedhelm Funkel, he was replaced in the summer with Markus Babbel, a big name looking to get his own career back on track, after things didn't work out for him at Stuttgart. He was given a massive playing budget, said to be circa 34m euros, with a remit to get promotion at any cost, this is/was the envy of all other clubs at this level and Babbel has used it well, Hertha are top of the table having lost just once in twelve starts, winning nine. That sole defeat came on the road at Paderborn last time out and whilst they got straight back on track with a 2-0 home defeat of Bochum on Monday, they will be wary away from home this evening, where, despite a fine 3-1-1 road record, they have only scored 5 goals, one per game on average. With a potential home six pointer with Duisburg a promotion rival next week, their priority tonight will be to avoid defeat and a point would see them extend their advantage over Duisburg to six points.

Osnabruck are also newcomers to the division, but did it the other way round, following promotion from 3.Liga last season, they did that on the back of a fantastic home record and it is again their record at their homely 16,000 capacity Osnatel stadium, which will decide their fate. They are 3-1-2 there this season and with a tough trip to strong home team Frankfurt next week, will be despearte not to lose this evening and for them even a single point will give them a cushion over the drop zone at least for 24 hours. However, one key point is that this match will be played under floodlights, which is when the home team and their noisy, passionate supporters really come alive. They have not lost a home fixture under lights for almost six years and are 3-1-0 here in night games this year, with a 9-3 goal difference, their two defeats coming in afternoon starts. They will also come into this game having had 56 hours more recovery time than Hertha and at this stage of the campaign, as we head towards the mid way point, that can be very valuable.

These friday fixtures have also tended to be close this season, last ten weeks ( 30 matches) have seen just 7 away wins, with 19 games ending "under" and only three producing more than three goals. Hertha have the quality, but given Osnabruck's record under floodlights and with both teams probably "happy" with a point and massive odds available for a stalemate, I have to make that my fairly confident selection.

Draw 3.60 + .... 3.75 + on the exchanges.

Good Luck.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Not much time today, so briefly ....


The Ajax squad also looks a lot stronger today, with the return of El Hamdaoui and van der Wiel and it is time for the Amsterdam giants to push on domestically. They have been struggling for goals recently and conceding far too freely, with just one clean sheet in eight Eredivisie starts, but a 3-0 cup win in midweek, albeit against weak opponents, has given them something to build on and even against a strong home side today, I think we will see them going all out for the win to close the gap on the top two.

Three points would see them trail PSV by the same margin and with the team from Eindhoven coming to the Amsterday Arena next weekend, that is a mighty incentive. Ajax got a mighty wake up call with the home loss to Den Haag last week and with most of the team away on international call up after today, the importance of today's game has become crystal clear.Luis Suarez finally ended his goal drought in midweek and I feel we might see him follow up in a stadium where the visitors tend to do well and there are often goals.

Ajax have lost just one of six h2h meetings, three of those have produced five or more goals (six twice), including a 4-2 win here last season, when the Uruguay international scored a brace and El Hamdaoui scored for the hosts. I can see something similar today and will split my double unit stakes between Ajax and for it to rain goals.

Ajax -0.5 2.19

0.7 units "over" 4.5 goals 4.80 + ... 5.0 in places
0.3 units "over" 5.5 goals 9.0

Good Luck.

Saturday, November 13, 2010




Saints travel North in very confident mood and now that boss Nigel Adkins has his team firing on all cylinders, the "best squad in the division" is closing in on a top two spot and promotion back to the Championship. Adkins has got the fitness levels at the club, which we have discussed previously up to near where he wants them and this combined with the exceptional talent he has at his disposal, has seen the results flow, with six wins from seven starts. Level of expectation is now so high that Adkins was critical of his side after a recent 4-0 win, saying that they have to pass the ball better !

In Lee Barnard and Rickie Lambert he has two top line strikers at this level, Lambert, along with Jose Fonte was rested in midweek and both will be eager to play today, but this is a team full of potential match winners, 17 yo Alex Chamberlain seems sure to go down the Bale and Walcott route, players like Dickson, Jaidi and Puncheon are fringe players atm, who would walk into anyother League 1 team, but two things have been key to the recent upturn in fortune. The loan signing of ultra dependable Richard Chaplow, whose deal has been extended to the end of the year and the return from injury of Adam Lallana, who makes them tick and is WAY too good to play in the third tier, he will be playing his football at a higher level next season, either with or without Saints.

Forget the league table, this is the best team in Division 1 and they like the pitch at Carlisle where the playing surface suits their style of football, weather has been bad in the UK, but forecast is dry and sunny for Brunton Park today, with not too much wind, so I am seeing few problems. I understand via an Adkins interview that training has gone unbelievably well this week and with a 4-1 utter demolition of United at Wembley in April at the hands of Saints still playing on the home team's mind, I can only see this going one way.

Southampton -0.25 2.02

Good Luck.

Friday, November 12, 2010

FRIDAY ......



Few would have picked this out as a promotion "six pointer" a few weeks ago, at that time, Evian had seemingly lost their way after a very strong start Ligue 2 life following promotion last season and Le Mans were struggling, especially on home soil, where they went four opening games without a win, but with both sides unbeaten in seven starts and lying in second and fourth spot respectively, that is exactly what this has become.

For the visitors, this season has gone about as well as they could have hoped, pretty sure that they would have seen a lower mid table finish as great success and if they had not been so hard hit by injury a month or so into the season and thereafter unable to rotate the squad too much, they could even have a few more points on board. There have been a few blips along the way, like the 5-1 thumping at Dijon, but basically they have performed with great credit, not feared anyone and especially on the road, where they have scored in their last ten starts, taken the game to their opponents, a very rare event in Ligue 2. They have both scored and conceded in 7 of their last 9 outings and away from home, their games have averaged 3.14 goals, over a goal per game above the division average. They are very unlikely to sit back tonight and with two attack minded inform teams there seem sure to be goals.

Young home coach Arnaud Cormier has a very talented crop of players at his disposal, with a perfect mixture of youth and experience, they are looking to book a speedy return to Ligue 1 after relegation last season and after a sluggish start, they are starting to crank up through the gears and show their quality. They will be looking to take all three points this evening, which might well see them go top and with a break for the cup next week, that is a big incentive. Their is some real quality (for Ligue 2) here, including Frederic Thomas who has 300 starts in midfield under his belt, most at the highest level and two international strikers at opposite ends of their career. Ronald Lamah is a very promising 22yo who already has a handful of appearances for Belgium and alongside him is 33yo Thorstein Helstad, who has just earned a recall to his national team, after a couple of MOTM performances for his club. Helstad made his name at Brann, with 89 goals in 147 appearances, is vastly experienced and a real handful.

Le Mans were a bit unlucky to be relegated last year, after yo-yoing between the top two divisions in the early part of the millenium, they looked to have established themselves in the top flight, with four fairly eventless seasons, before losing their way after Christmas and a coaching merry go round, with four changes at the top, did not help. Now they have some stability at the helm and it is paying off. I expect them to go up, probably as champions and see them as likely winners tonight, but much prefer the "over" option, with both teams likely to score.

"over" 2.25 goals 2.12

Good Luck.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010



I suspect both teams could do without involvement in this competition, with promotion from their respective leagues a priority. Home boss was furious that his team drew their FA Cup tie at the weekend, with the implication that they needed a replay like another hole in their head. Normally a Yorkshire derby against a bigger club would be something to look forward to for the Millers, but this time round, I believe they just want the match out of the way and to be able to concentrate on the weekend league fixture.Town have promised to field their strongest possible side throughout the competition and try to win it for their supporters who would welcome a trip to Wembley. Boss Lee Clark has just had his 100th match in charge and his away win rate of 40% is the highest in modern times for the Terriers and his team clearly know how to win on the road. He has a big squad at his disposal, far more options than his United counterpart, who will surely be loooking to get through this unscathed. Visitors will have Joe Garner and Lee Croft, who were cup-tied at the weekend, fresh and available this evening, they have dominated previous meeetings between the two clubs winning on their last five trips to South Yorkshire, including in this competition last season, when they raced into a very early 2-0 lead and coasted home. I have to take the better team, especially being fairly certain that they are the more motivated of the two clubs, playing in wet and windy conditions in a wide open stadium, this should be the deciding factor.

Huddersfield -0.5 2.28

Good Luck.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A TALE OF TWO ROBERTO'S ............


Albion showed terrific commitment despite being reduced to nine men at Blackpool on monday, created enough chances to have got back into the game and are hardly likely to sit back this afternoon, on home soil, with all eleven players. That is simply not their way and boss Roberto Di Matteo (who always looks as though he has just told himself a joke) doesn't have a negative bone in his body. His team have gone for broke at the Emirates, Old Trafford and away from home two goals down with nine players, they are unbeaten at home and created a huge number of chances against Bolton, Birmingham, Fulham and Tottenham, all of which were very "open" encounters. Their offensive options will be increased today with the return of Peter Odemwingie, who has missed the last three games, but has a goal every two games in his EPL starts. It is hard to say how much the exertions of Monday will have taken out of them, they did an awful lot of running in dreadful conditions, but have had almost a full week to recover and City arrive here on the back of a trip to Poland on Thursday, so I think that just about balances out.

I have discussed City's defensive woes, especially through the centre, several times in recent weeks and little has changed, if anything, the situation has got worse with another three goals conceded in Poznan, which will have done little for their confidence at the back. Offensively they have plenty about them of course and might be able to call upon returning Carlos Tevez but he seems likely to start on the bench at best. In terms of their season this is a massive game for them, defeat will leave them stranded in 4th spot, probably six points behind all of the top three and potentially eleven points adrift of Chelsea. That might cost Roberto Mancini his job, especially amid speculation that he cannot control his players.

I feel that at least offensively we might see City at their best today, I can see Johnson and Silva getting just a little more time on the ball today and plenty of chances will be created at both ends of the pitch. At present City need two goals minimum to claim the points, both teams should /will score and "over" for me looks the best value and at 1.95 yesterday, I made that a double stake bet. I also see value in the visitors at 2.0 giving up a quarter ball, they will be as motivated for this as any game so far this campaign, as it could effectively end their EPL season and for Albion, arguably their match at West Ham in midweek is more important, or will be come May 22nd. City do have the small matter of the Manchester derby on wednesday, but they will surely want to go into that with a confidence boosting win and not staring down the barrel of a 5th straight loss.

"over" 2.5 goals 1.95 ........... 1.90 +

Manchester City -0.25 2.0

Good Luck.

Saturday, November 06, 2010



Stockport County - Peterborough United

This is a bit from the school of the blindingly obvious, but I feel the last thing that County need right now is a visit from free scoring Posh. Hosts have not scored in four and conceded ten in their last two, normally professional teams bounce back with a very committed display after one thumping, especially when it came on home soil to a relegation favourite, so to repeat the scoreline the very next week, albeit having played 82 minutes with ten men, means that something is very wrong. You would have expected damage limitation at least, they were never at the races and allowed Morecambe 25 attempts on goal, most on target. County are a team used to losing, having tasted defeat 31 times last season and those memories are flooding back after recent results. Just three wins at EdgeleyPark in 38 league outings (ouch !) and confidence is going to need to be dragged up off the floor after last week.

Boro got their league campaign back on track with a 3-1 win at Walsall in midweek and will not want to let the momentum drop today, they are League 1 high scorers averaging well over two per game and it is not inconceivable that these two could be three divisions apart next season. Captain Grant McCann will return today, I expect even if they rotate a little, the visitors to play with freedom and without fear, exactly the opposite of County, who will be fearful taking to the pitch and looking for somewhere to hide if falling behind.

Peterborough United -0.75 1.97

Good Luck.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010



Not a huge amount of love between these two teams, with a lot of Brentford fans living in the M3 "corridor" and therefore, easy travel between the two clubs and "local" bragging rights up for grabs.Both teams are coming off strange results at the weekend, Cherries apparently played really well at home to Colchester, their play from box to box was as good as anything they have produced all season, but no luck in front of goal and they lost 2-1. Opposite for the Bees, who as strange as this might sound, were played off the park by Exeter at times, yet won 4-2, had a "goal" disallowed and missed two penalties, football is a funny old game !

Expect the visitors, who will have large travelling support behind them to come out all guns blazing for three points, there are normally goals in all their games, with 14 of their last 15, including the last ten, all producing two or more, in the league 10 of 14 starts have gone "over". My beloved Bees have opened up recently, with the last five all producing three or more at an average of 3.8, they have conceded three at Griffin Park to both Rochdale and Oldham and Bournemouth have far more offensive threat than either of those two.

Brentford though are finally playing with a degree of confidence, coming within a whisker of beating EPL side Birmingham last midweek and on the back of four road goals at the weekend, they will certainly fancy their chances against the visiting backline, who have only one fully fit central defender in Jason Pearce, he is likely to be partnered with someone less than 100% or playing out of position, neither of which is ideal against confident, in form, strikers. Neither side looks capable of keeping a cleansheet at present and at big odds, "over" looks the best value in the game.

"over" 2.5 goals 2.13


Hosts are running away with Division 1 at the moment, little has gone wrong for them and they have an eight point lead over the chasing pack. However, they are probably no better than a handful of other teams in a very competitive league and I expect the early pace setters to hit "the wall" very soon. Their better performances have come away from the Withdean, which is a temporary stadium, built for athletics with almost no atmosphere. Given Brighton's recent success, teams have come with one intention, that is to shut up shop and try and frustrate the home team and that has worked to a degree with Albion usually labouring to a success by the minimum margin. City had their pride hurt at the weekend, see above, but played much better than the result would suggest, they are well organised under Paul Tisdale and alongside Bournemouth (1-1) are probably the best team Brighton have yet faced on home soil.

Home boss Gus Poyet have spent every home post match interview berating their opponent's negative approach, it is clear that his team prefer it when teams bring the game to them. In 22 home league games since he took charge almost exactly a year ago, his team have covered the one goal line on just four occasions at home and two of those came at the end of last season facing sides already mentally on holiday. I expect a very motivated City team to take to the field tonight and they have the potential to register the surprise result of the evening and getting a one goal handicap start, I have to take them.

Exeter City + 1 ball 2.04

Good Luck.

Sunday, October 31, 2010



Hosts have struggled on home soil this season, putting up by far their stronger performances on the road, that was until last weekend when they finally got the monkey off their back with a 3-0 win over St Mirren at Tynecastle. That was a very professional display with the Jam Tarts coasting home after racing into a 3-0 lead, big boost to the whole club and especially hat-trick scorer Rudi Skacel. They have had a free week to prepare for this, with no cup distraction in midweek and also to bask in the glow of that win, which will have done wonders for their confidence. They also have a massive incentive to follow up today, as Motherwell's surprise slip up yesterday means that three points this afternoon will take Hearts up to third place in the SPL. That win over Saints was their second consecutive victory and cleansheet, in addition to which, in their previous outing they had led Glasgow Rangers for well over an hour before conceding two late goals, the second coming in the 94th minute, so they are clearly in great shape.

Killie are now five games without a win and have conceded two goals or more in each of those and are bound to be a little drained after the latest of those,a 2-0 home loss to Rangers in the cup in midweek. They were facing a youthful Gers side and had plenty of chances of their own, but did an awful lot of chasing in what was ultimately a fruitless ( no good verses jam tarts) cause and that is bound to have left it's mark, either physicallyand/ or mentally, it is easy to believe that everything is against you after a while and the Rangers goal certainly seemed to have an invisible shield protecting it.

Hearts have a very solid look about them now, keeper Marian Kello and newly returned captain Marius Zaliukas are two very big rocks around which the defence is built, Jim Jeffries has improved the mood and team spirit at Tynecastle out of all recognition, after previously drifting like a rudderless ship with Casba Laszlo at the helm, they are a club on the up and I do expect them to claim third spot in the SPL this season.

Hearts -0.75 ball 1.94 Sbobet.

Good Luck.


Very strange and fun day yesterday, so many goals and red cards in the Football League, goals I like, just hope that we are not going to go down the spanish/ brazilian route with regard to red cards.

Leeds won very comfortably, but drifted almost a full quarter ball pre kick off, what was that all about !!! It was a bit worrying, especially as I had to get involved again at level ball, but all worked out well in the end.

What else ? The Nani goal..... oh my goodness ! Brentford scoring four on the road whilst missing two penalties ! Bees are within four points of the playoffs after propping up the rest of the division on October 9th, outplayed Birmingham for 91 minutes in midweek and once again look the superstars we all know them to be !!

Manchester City should already be shopping for some defenders, I have been trying to tell Mancini for weeks, maybe he will listen now ! Say what you like about Mick McCarthy and plenty of people, including me, do, he has a pretty good eye for lower league talent, signing David Ewards and Kevin Foley from Luton and Matt Jarvis from Gillingham for around a total of £1.5 m. Jarvis is a player who makes you sit on the edge of your seat every time he receives the ball and even Fabio must have noticed him by now ! Wolves can really be fun to watch at times, they will get thumped on occasion, City could have been two up early yesterday, but surely they would be better off going down fighting and playing to their strengths, support at Molineux is fantastic too, bit like Griffin Park for a night game !

Amazing day yesterday, another 4-3 (Reading) scoreline and the games at Exeter, Oldham, Tranmere and Accrington all came within a whisker of following suit. If this is the future for Football League games, there will be few complaints. Actually goals across the board are not up that much, only about 2% over the same stage last season, this means ......... think I will save this for another day.

Back later.

Saturday, October 30, 2010



Leeds arrive here on the back of a thumping from Cardiff on monday night, but that game turned on a defensive error and a follow up offside goal early in the second half and I do not believe for one moment that, despite probably being the best team in the Championship, that City are four goals better than United. The first goal came courtesy of a mix up between Alex Bruce who was standing in as central defender and Kasper Schmeichel who was returning between the sticks, the middle of defence has been a huge problem for coach Simon Grayson in recent weeks and he has been busy this week signing vastly experienced Bolton defender Andy O'Brien, who with 500 + games under his belt, most of them at this level and above, will bring a much needed cool head to the back line. Leeds will be desperate to get back on track and into the playoff race, if they can elliminate these errors at the back, I feel sure they have the firepower at the other end of the pitch to get them into contention for a post season spot. They will have summer signing Billy Painter finally available today and he might be able to convert some of the many chances being created, United have actually been denied by the woodwork on a league high 12 occasions this season and are due a change of luck infront of goal.

Hosts arrive on the back of two fine road wins, but are less happy at Glanford Park where they have not won in over two months and have conceded 11 goals in the five starts since then. Visitors have the much stronger squad and I don't doubt that Grayson has been reading the riot act this week, the squad will be warned that no one's place is safe, O'Brien will definitely not be the only incoming player and Grayson wielded the axe on several backroom staff this week, expect a very concentrated performance from the away team.

Leeds United -0.25 2.28

Good Luck.
That is all I am posting on the blog today, however, I have sent many of you an email with all my news for this afternoon, so please check your inbox.

Friday, October 29, 2010

FRIDAY ..............



Grenoble are looking increasingly fragile, they have failed to regroup after relegation last season and rather than coming to terms with life in Ligue 2 they look to be hell bent on fast tracking to National. They have won just three times this season and were "lucky" in all three to one degree or another, no draws , they lost the other nine, just as they have 34 or 68% of their last 50 league starts. Even their defence, previously fairly reliable, is a complete shambles, keeping one recent clean sheet against a poor Metz team and conceding two or more in five of their last six outings, losing each, with such a powder puff offense, averaging exactly half a goal per game, they are always going to lose conceding two. There is a lot of inexperience in the squad and that will not help you in a second relegation battle inside two seasons, they are without Taider and Cianci tonight, who are said to be big losses, when you see that they are aged 18 and 21 (just) respectively, you realise the extent of these problems.

Ajaccio had lost just once in 11 outings before going down to a very strong Montpellier side in midweek, the Corsican side rotated their squad and rested one or two key players for this fixture, where victory would put them very much in the promotion picture. Two teams at very different ends of the confidence scale and as we all know, so much sport is played between the ears. Visitors off level ball.

Ajaccio level ball 2.08


I did think that we were about to see a resurgence from Metz a couple of weeks ago, when they had a chance to build on a win over Dijon, but now know that victory said more about their opponent's inept display that day, which we have covered in a couple of recent posts (see here) than an upturn in fortune for Les Grenats. The visitors have simply lost the winning habit, collecting three points just twice in 15 starts, they are carrying the burden of missing out on promotion in each of the last two campaigns and the break up of a successful squad, having lost Cisse and Mendy in the last two transfer windows.

Clermont have only lost to in form Le Mans in six outings, scoring ten goals in the other five and are starting to eye up another big run at the promotion spots, just like they started at around this time last season. They have already put this poor travelling Metz side to the sword here twice in 2010, winning 3-1 in the cup in July and 2-0 at the end of last season, a hat-trick looks on the cards.

Clermont -0.5 2.17.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CARLING CUP ..........


Swans fans are travelling in huge numbers tonight, with 4,500 supporters already having bought tickets and more expected to travel. They are seemingly going intent on not just supporting their team, but making their feelings known to former boss Roberto Martinez, who has been branded Judas by the Jack Army. That is plainly ridiculous and they would be better served getting on their knees and thanking him for what he achieved at the Liberty Stadium. However, this is going to make for a very uncomfortable evening for the spaniard and in what is likely to be a half full stadium, visiting fans might even be in the majority and every insult/ cheer/ jeer will be heard. Hosts have lost to lower league opposition three times in the last four seasons in the Carling Cup and sitting just one point outside the drop zone and facing road trips to Fulham and Blackburn, the two teams immediately below them in the EPL in the next fortnight, the competition will surely once again be given very low priority.
Swans are in great shape, unbeaten in five, have not conceded in 365 minutes and arrive on the back of consecutive road wins at Reading and Watford, two of the Championship high flyers. They are cuurently third in the table and looking to put some pressure on the top two, QPR and their biggest rival Cardiff, under any other circumstances they might take things easy themselves this evening, but given their support , the desire to keep the momentum going and the Martinez "situation", that is not an option and they will be very motivated ,I have to take them getting a handicap start.

Swansea +0.25 2.06


Wolves have other priorities, only off the bottom of the EPL on goal difference. United will rotate and play the youngsters who will be out to catch Sir Alex's eye and also progress in a competition they expect to win. Darron Gibson looks likely to start and the 23 yo midfielder who likes to shoot on sight, seems ceratin to get plenty of chances to add to the two goals he got against Spurs last season and one at Scunthorpe in the last round, making three in four competition starts for the Reds. With Rooney out and Hernandez likely to be rested, he looks as likely to produce the goods as anyone except maybe Michael Owen and the odds on "our" man are far more generous than for the former england "superstar".

Darron Gibson to score at anytime 4.0 + .... up to 4.50 available.

Good Luck.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

IS 4-3 THE NEW 1-0 ?

In a season full of wild scorelines, yesterday saw Preston North End, Charlton, Chesterfield and Wycombe all win by the incresingly common score of 4-3. Last week both Hereford and Bury did likewise ,there is plenty of entertainment for your money at the lower levels and with this correct score currently available ( but possibly not for long) at circa 150-1 maybe some money to be made.

Good Luck.


Manchester City - Arsenal

Think that we will see these two go for it this afternoon. City have been miserly in the EPL with regard to goals conceded but have allowed at least one in 5 from 6 starts in all competitions and gave up an awful lot of chances in the matches against Lech Poznan and Blackpool, they were also run ragged for 15-20 minutes by Juventus . Therefore, I believe that their defensive record is a little misleading, they have ridden their luck at times and doubts still remain about their back four, at least when their opponents have the ball, going forward they look excellent. Of course, at the other end of the pitch they are on fire, Tevez is scoring for fun, Johnson and Silva are a joy to watch and even Adebayor, who is a lazy so and so and rarely breaks into a sweat comes into the match with a hat-trick in midweek and will be looking to start against his former employers. I doubt that he and Jo together could produce enough energy to run a light bulb, whereas you could run the National Grid off Carlos Tevez !

Adebayor's celebration after scoring in City's 4-2 win in this fixture last season still rankles with the Gunners, as does his tackle on Van Persie and Mancini might decide to start him on the bench, even so, his mere presence is likely to fire up the visiting players and supporters. Arsenal seem likely to score, something they have done in 19 of their last 20 starts, only coming up short against their nemesis, Chelsea. They will be without the suspended Jack Wilshere, but have Cesc Fabregas back in the fold and you know that they will take the game to City, it is only when they play the team from SW6 that they go into their shell. All in all this will be fun, two teams far happier on the front foot, yet both looking suspect in central defence, a bit of added spice regarding the Togolese "superstar" and each a bit more steely than we normally give them credit for. The EPL championship is still up for grabs, the winner will become a major player for the title, goals look on the cards, sit back and enjoy !

"over" 2.5 goals 2.0 +

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

SERIE A ....

I have spent much of this week looking at Serie A highlights from earlier in the season. This was a league I intended to give low priority this season, but watched the Juventus game at the weekend and was very impressed, they were "only" playing Lecce, but could not have looked more solid in every position and I am convinced that Luigi DelNeri has spent wisely and has a side that can once again challenge for major honours. They had previously drawn on the road with Manchester City (where they first alerted my radar) and Inter Milan, they changed formation in each of those and showed they have the variety of styles to adapt and play against any opponent.

DelNeri was brave with the squad in the off season, unloaded Camoranesi and Trezequet and bringing in some real quality signings. Marinez, Bonucci, Storari and Quagliarella were added for circa 42m euros, but the star of stars is clearly Milos Krasic who at 15m euros looks the bargain of the summer from CSKA. The silky skilled 25yo is entering his peak years and this is a player that Juve can build a team around. Rinaudo, Traore, Aquilani, Motta, Lanzafame and Pepe have also joined on loan for the season, with a view to permanent transfers if things go well. Plenty of talent there and I think we are at the beginning of a flower just about to bloom.

At the weekend they go to Bologna against whom they have an awesome record, being unbeaten in 19 meetings and winning the last five on the road. I am very keen on this bet, as the home side look very leaky, conceding a league high 12 times already and seemingly incapable of keeping a clean sheet.

Juve to beat Bologna -0.5 1.85 ** double stakes**

Good Luck.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Just a very short message, no bet today on the blog . I do have one selection for the Europa League but it relates to a team who "blew me away" when I saw them at the weekend and I intend following them for the next week or two, so cannot post that on an open forum.

Recent days have gone incredibly well, last four blog selections have won at average odds of 2.42 + and personally, I was 4 from four on Tuesday ( 2.33, 2.02, 2.05, 2.08), so, back on track and I intend to build on this over the weekend, so please check back.

Good Luck.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010




Both teams arrive here on the back of very poor performances on Friday night. Dijon were so dire in the heavy loss to Metz that all players were called to the training ground for 7 am on saturday morning, obviously the coaching staff had a point to prove, but I am unsure how wise that was the day after a road trip, albeit a fairly short one and with another match so soon afterwards, it certainly cuts down on recovery time. As I discussed last week Dijon had been riding their luck in earlier games too and I think that was a result waiting to happen. They are very short of numbers at the moment, especially at the back where they are missing their starting goalkeeper and other key defensive units, leaving them very vunerable through the spine of the team. They are five starts without a cleansheet now and it seems very likely that they will need to score a couple to get a result of any kind this evening.

Vannes were almost as bad at home to Chateauroux and will not take much joy from going back on the road, where they are six starts without a cleansheet. However, they will have strikers Loic Loval and Yohan Riviere both back tonight and that gives them a far more potent look up front. I expect both to score and to look for all three points, there could be some tired legs on the pitch with a second game in three days, imediately following an extended break, which is unusual in this league and the match should get stretched in the second period, "over" for me.

"over" 2.25 goals 2.08

Good Luck.

Monday, October 18, 2010



These televised monday night games are almost always very keenly contested affairs, rarely decided by more than the odd goal. In 2010 to date, there have been 21 fixtures, with eleven producing draws, seven home wins and 14, or 66.67% of games going "under".

Therefore, based on those stats an average "margin or tax free" monday game would be priced roughly 3.00- 1.91- 7.00, compared to a normal Ligue 2 fixture over the same period of 2.33- 2.88- 4.46. Of course, the second is a far bigger sample of games (294) but it gives a clear indication of just how tight these games are, played more in the manner of a cup tie.

Looking at tonight's fixture, these are two clubs with very different histories. Boulogne are a tiny club who are still basking in the glow of their one and only season in the top flight and they are eager to make an immediate return to the "big show". Nantes are big time charlies and one of the most successful clubs in the history of french football with eight Ligue 1 titles, one within the last decade. For the home side, even Ligue 2 is considered success of sorts after many years in the doldrums, Nantes and their supporters consider this hard times and they are probably feeling a little sorry for themselves having to slum it at this "lowly" level.

Problem is that most other Ligue 2 clubs also see Nantes as a big club and tend to raise their game against them, especially when the television cameras are in town. As the glamour club of the division, Nantes are regularly picked for these high profile matches and they must be getting sick and tired of it, they have appeared in ten ( !!!) in the last 12 months alone, winning just one, losing six, with a 5-16 goal difference. This season they have lost just three times and two of those have come on Monday night, this is a sequence they have to break if they are to avoid a third consecutive season in "hell". Pretty sure that they will be looking to shut up shop tonight, hopefully get a point and then make the most of a good looking run of fixtures in the next 5-6 weeks, when they will be expecting to close in on a top three place.

Boulogne are currently unbeaten, but have won only twice in ten starts, drawing an incredible eight times, with goals being in very short supply at both ends of the pitch. Given that record, the likely approach of the visitors and the stats of these monday night games, the stalemate looks the logical call and is very attractively priced at circa 3.20.

draw 3.15 + exchanges....... currently 3.20 for small stakes.

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 16, 2010



I am very keen on Rovers in a local derby they traditionally do well in. The visitors are very much an established Championship side now and at worst should be upper mid table/ playoff fringes, come the end of the season, recent results have not been great, but performances have continued to be good and the ball has simply not run for them in the last month. They created 19 attempts at Coventry, outplaying City for long periods before losing to a late goal, they also went to Loftus Road and rather than sit back took their very attractive passing game to QPR and again outplayed the league leaders for almost an hour, restricting the home side to only two attempts on target from open play. Last two home starts have resulted in draws against Leeds and Forest and again could have been so much better, with Rovers creating the stronger chances.

They now make the short journey to face a near neighbour and will be looking to get back on track, especially with a very tough sequence of fixtures coming up. They have no new injuries, have sold out their allocation of away tickets, so their fans will be making a lot of noise in the tiny Glanford Park stadium and have hungry key striker Billy Sharp straining at the bit to score at the ground where he made his name. United have conceded 13 goals in the last month, a sequence in which they have played four home games without recording a win. On a very limited budget, survival is their only realistic hope in a very competitive division and I feel they will need luck to avoid the drop.

Doncaster -0.25 2.28


We discussed recently what an open style Bolton play under Owen Coyle, they are far more easy on the ear, but despite being beaten only once (at the Emirates) they have yet to really get the just reward their play deserves, with far too many games ending in stalemate. They are struggling to keep a cleansheet, something they have not done since the opening day of the campaign and this is leaving them needing a goal or two just to claim a point, last two home starts have ended 2-2 and a third might well be on the cards today. I certainly expect both to score, something which has happened in the last two h2h meetings at the Reebok, especially given the visitors very similar record, they only have one cleansheet in nine outings in all competitions and like the Trotters have are far more adventurous nowadays. Both have strikers Elmander and Jones who have refound their touch and I have to take the "over" which is attractively priced. By the way if betting in running, Stoke have the best EPL second half record collecting 16 points after the break, they have also collected the most points from losing positions. Bolton half time / draw full time is priced @ 15.0 + and I would not put anyone off that for small stakes, but goals for me.

"over" 2.5 goals 2.13


United will be out all guns blazing for the three points and to put some pressure on Chelsea, who have an early evening kick off at Villa Park. They have yet to really fire on the road, but remain 100% here in the EPL scoring three against each of West Ham, Newcastle and Liverpool. United will be hoping that unlike most visitors to Old Trafford that Albion will continue their slightly gung-ho approach which has seen them concede 8 goals in two previous starts against top 3 teams, it worked fantastically well at the Emirates, where they landed a famous 3-2 victory, less well at Stamford Bridge where they lost 6-0. I do not see any shocks here today and think the second of those results is more likely than the first. The visitors have ridden their luck at times and do both concede and create a lot of chances, that approach will serve them well against the lesser lights, but United are forwarned after the Arsenal result and I do not see lightning striking again.
Manchester United -1.75 goals 2.07

Good Luck.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Ligue 2

As a starting point for today's round of matches it is likely that we will see more goals in general. French football has tried it's best to get away from people's perception of it as a boring low scoring league, I know for a fact that there was a kind of directive from the FA for clubs to try and play a more open style in the televised fixtures a couple of years back and the overall trend since then has been upwards, with the average per game up in each of the last two seasons. Looking a little more deeply there is often a rise in goals immediately before an after an inforced break.

Leading up to Christmas last season, the final round before the winter break saw an average of 3.125 goals per game, with the restart producing 2.6, totals way above the season mean of 2.33. This makes sense to me, much like at the end of the season clubs want to send supporters away with good positive mental memories and expectation, and then to announce the restart with a bang, players will also be keen to get on holiday and maybe a little tired, then rusty upon their return. I will definitely be returning to this line of thought in December.

The International mini break is kind of microcosm of this, we saw 17 of the 20 Ligue 2 teams scoring after the last round of Euro 2012 games, again with a 2.6 average and in the last set of fixtures an incredible 18 of 20 on the scoresheet, producing 3.4 per game, I say incredible because in a league where we have had a late and stuttering start to the campaign, the average for the season is only 2.16.

As I say, this is only a starting point for looking at today's fixtures, but it is a good one and I think it is a fair assumption that we will see more goals and entertainment than normal. Weather forecast is good in most of France, temperatures mild for the time of year, almost no rain, crowds should be up too, looking for a football fix in ideal conditions.

I have four selections today and can post two mini previews on here, should be "active" tomorrow, so please check back then......


At the risk of going to the well once too often ( Le Havre are 100% at home and I think we have sided with them in three) I have to stick with the home team. Le Havre have proved incredibly solid at their Jules-Deschaseaux home, where they have won an amazing 32 of their last 51 Ligue 2 starts, or an eyepopping 63%, that is the best record by far in recent years at this level and makes this a very difficult venue to come to. Hosts get stronger as the game wears on and have salvaged any number of points here as the clock is running down, all in all, not a team to rush to oppose on home soil. Sedan have started the season strongly and currently occupy one of the promotion spots, however, there is always an "however", I have yet to be fully convinced by them on the road, they did manage a facile win at Angers, but that was the start of les scoïstes fall from grace and they only collected one point from their next four starts, not much of a fillip to the formline. Sedan have conceded seven in their other three road starts and with HAC rarely coming up short in the goals department, I think the visitors will be in for a long evening. Rivierez and Francois out for the hosts, but this is more than offset by Fauvergue and Valdivia's absence for Sedan. Home win.

Le Havre -0.25 2.05


Hosts are certainly overdue a win on home soil, but this is starting to become a bit of a mental problem for them and they could not even hold on to a two goal lead over Dijon here last time out, so I am looking at the "over" option. Nine of their last ten home starts have produced two or more goals, during which they have managed just a single cleansheet. Clermont's last 13 starts have all produced at least two goals and all 11 outings this season have averaged 3.91 goals, with six totalling at least four. This is traditionally a high scoring fixture, the two played out a very open pre season friendly in which both scored and something similar is on the cards tonight, especially with Clermont having big defensive problems. Huge attacking potential in the Le Mans squad and they will come good at some stage, but "overs" for me until they get the monkey off their back.

"Over" 2.25 goals 1.99 .

Good Luck.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WEDNESDAY ....... CONTROL ..........

I have spent several hours this morning looking back at my main selections for the last calender month, there were 26 in total of which 13 were winners, so no damage done, level stakes would have seen me finish just about even. That is a low strike rate for me, but something about which I have no control over.

Results are outside my field of influence , if a striker is going to round the keeper and shoot wide of an empty net, the keeper drop a ball he would catch 999 times out of 1000, or the referee disallow a "good" goal, there is nothing I can do about it. This is gambling, anything can happen and there is no point in me, or you for that matter, beating ourselves up over this, which is something we cannot affect.

However, what we can do is give ourselves the very best chance to win, if I could look at all 26 matches and say to myself that they were all perfect bets, then job done.

Having looked in detail, I am unhappy with four selections ( and one of those traded 26 clicks shorter at kick off !), that is not so bad I guess, 86% of the picks were solid in my opinion and with that rate, I would normally expect to hit nearer 60% with those extra 2.6 winners making all the difference. Of course, there is still room for improvement and now I am giving myself a hard time over those four bets instead of the 13 losers, so maybe not too much has changed, but at least I am focused on something I can improve upon.

Take the time to look through all your bets, however painful that might be at times, be honest, how many were "good" picks ? Soundly reasoned, good value selections that you would bet again if the match could be instantly replayed, we can always look to improve and if we are mainly on the right track pre kickoff , results will always follow, if not this month, then next.

By the way, I was very happy with the Portugal selection yesterday !

Good Luck.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


After venting my frustrations about the scheduling of the Euro 2012 qualification games, I feel a bit of a fraud discussing the matches today, where I have three selections, two of which are double stake bets, but what the heck !

I will just touch on one briefly, which is the match in Reykjavik , where Iceland bottom of Group H and without a point, host Portugal who are looking to continue to get their camapign back on track and build on a comfortable win over Denmark on friday evening. That was the debut of new boss Paulo Bento, he replaced former Manchester United number two Carlos Queiroz who paid the price for a poor sequence of results and performances. Bento will be very hungry to keep his 100% record and wants to do so with a touch of class and playing the right way, he definitely has the personnel to do so and at times his squad can be almost unplayable, but we see those days all too infrequently and the new coach knows they have to be very focused tonight.

Iceland appear to have sacrificed this game, with all fit and eligible players being allowed to join and play for the U21 team in their playoff game in Scotland last night. That might sound crazy but is understandable, when you consider that the full national team have never qualified for a major tournament and have won just 4 of their last 32 group games, beating only Malta, Montenegro and Northern Ireland for whom they are a bogey side, twice. Along the way they have conceded a mountain of goals and more look on the cards tonight. The squad looks decidedly second rate and a far cry from the promising group of players a decade or more ago who looked set to make their mark on the european stage, but flattered only to deceive. Away win.

Portugal -1.25 goals 1.96 asian line.

Good Luck.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Whilst cravat sales in the Bees Superstore ( trade discriptions would have a field day with that name by the way) might never take off, I could see black, red and white versions of Tisdale's hat being big sellers, especially with Christmas just around the corner.

Good Luck.

MONDAY .....

I positively hate these international breaks, which effectively ruin the domestic programmes for two weeks, thankfully that will be it until March, but it has made a mockery of the first couple of months of the season. The Spanish and Italian league's started in late August and some seven weeks later, will have completed just six rounds. The world champions have also played friendly games in Mexico and Argentina, with one domestic round inbetween, which is about as greedy as it gets, with the Spanish FA chasing the dollar with little consideration for either their players ,who had very little off season, or their clubs.

This past weekend also saw the postponement of second flight football in England, Germany and France and that all seems a step too far . Italy and Spain managed to play at that level and I see no reason why everyone else cannot follow suit. In Brazil it requires a national disaster for any of the top flight games to be postponed and three of the top five teams in Serie A are playing three times in a seven day period, whilst the national team plays two friendlies.

By the way, their 22 man squad which beat Iran 3-0 on Thursday and is now in England, where they will face Ukraine tonight, doesn't contain a single player older than 27. Daniel Alves is the old man of the party and only reached that milestone in May, they are clearly looking to build a team that will grow and mature for 2014............ Fabio and the clueless buggers at the FA please take note !

One step forward one step back for my beloved Bees who remain rooted at the foot of Division 1 after losing 3-1 to Oldham Athletic at my second home, Griffin Park, on saturday. I do not know what to say about this really, Brentford have looked good on the very odd occasion this season, like in the first half against Charlton just seven days earlier when they could have been four up at the break and in the end were holding on for the three points ! They play without any consistency, not just from match to match either, but half to half !

This is something for you "in running" guys, Brentford have played 16 matches this season and scored ONE second half goal, none in their last eleven starts. So, one goal in 12 hours of second half football, goodness knows what they are doing in that 15 minute break, but it sure ain't working !

Pressure is now mounting on boss Andy Scott and so fickle is the beautiful game, that "the promising young coach", who was being tipped for any non EPL job that became available last season, is now clinging on by his fingertips. I already told you earlier in the campaign that the rumour was that "owner"and benefactor Matthew Benham, who is one of the biggest and most successful gamblers in europe and used to winning, always wanting a higher profile coach at the helm and his patience must now be wearing very thin. The Bees are operating on a significantly higher playing budget nowadays and the truth is that this has not been reflected in league results. People do strange things under pressure and some of Scott's recent decisions are very hard to comprehend. The fans have never really loved Scott, who is a little more aloof than they are used to at what is a small, tight knit club and for him to publicly announce with 35 games to go, that Brentford are in a relegation fight (however honest that might be) has further alienated supporters who had high hopes for this season.
If Scott "leaves" my own choice as replacement would be Paul Tisdale, but only if the blog and GQ favourite promised to wear his cravat to every game, sales of which in the club shop would almost reach double figures ! Anyway, watch this space !

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 09, 2010



Gateshead - Tamworth

I opposed Gateshead in midweek, but favour them today back on home soil and facing a Tamworth side who have lost their way in recent outings. The visitors are without a win in five, conceding 12, at least two in each, including in their last two against struggling Soutport and Barrow, the last named had drawn blank in their previous four outings, before having the pleasure of visiting the Lambs.

The Heed paid heavily for trying to sit on a 1-0 lead at Kidderminster on Tuesday, putting themseleves under intense pressure for over an hour, although they did have a couple of chances to finish the game off, a more enterprising approach might have completed the job and I expect them to be more ruthless today. They have been strong here, losing only to highflying Fleetwood and keeping five clean sheets from seven starts, including in their last three against Grimsby, Luton and Mansfield, all top seven sides. This is a massive weekend for them with the club being the centre of attention for two days on Radio Newcastle, including four hours off uninterupted match coverage from the International Stadium. A big opportunity to raise their profile in the region with no EPL or Championship fixtures and doubtless a few Newcastle fans will find their way along to get a football fix of some kind.

Coach Ian Bogie added to his options with the signing of Shane Clarke in midweek, the 22yo played 33 times for Lincoln City last season and almost joined Rushden in the off season. He took part in a hastily arranged friendly game on Thursday looking to get some match practice along with a couple of trialists and scored a fine goal in a 4-1 win. With three of their next four on the road and including trips to Fleetwood and Wimbledon, which is about as tough as it gets at Conference level, so it will be all guns blazing for maximum points this afternoon.

Gateshead -0.25 1.94

Division 1

MK Dons- Dagenham & Redbridge

Daggers are unbeaten in four and showed great heart in coming from behind in each. They will have benefitted from a free week, as fatigue was a concern for me going into last week's game with Swindon. However, they put in a strong performance, with Damian Scannell taking the headlines, making the Division 1 team of the week and running the Robins ragged, he will surely relish the cahnce of meeting some tired home defenders.

No midweek rest for the Dons, who were forced to field several players carrying knocks in the JPT and have had few options this season, facing a lengthy injury list almost from matchday 1 and are now without a win in six. They do have Baldock, MacKenzie and Gleeson ready to return, but the club are loathe to rush them back too soon and I expect a place on the bench for at least two is the best they can hope for, so maybe another week before we see a return of the real Dons.

The two clubs have met here once already, in an early season cup tie, the Daggers took the lead that night and were on top for over half the game before MK edged it by the odd goal in three. Plenty of encouragement for the visitors from that, as they entered the game still grappling to come to terms with life at the higher level and chose to rest several key players. They certainly know more now and definitely create the greater number of chances, their total of 132 attempts on goal is 53 more than the Dons have managed, with only Tranmere offering fewer and the home side might be forced to wait just a little longer for that elusive victory.

Dagenham +0.75 ball 1.77

Good Luck.