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.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010




Fleetwood are a team that I have returned to time and time again in recent seasons, they are a club with massive ambition and starting with a poor stadium and average crowds of just 135 six short years ago, they have now developed into a major player in the Conference, where they are seen by others as one of the big three spenders alongside Luton and Crawley. Investment has been made not just in the playing staff, more of that later, but also in ground developement with the stadium now ready for League football and in the pitch itself, which they spent £250,000 on last season, as a sixth tier side, that is incredible financial clout and belief in what they are trying to achieve.

They have a lot of experience amongst the playing staff, with the squad for the last game having over 2,000 league games between them, Thorpe and Alan Wright whom you might remember from his Aston Villa days account for almost half of those and man for man, this is a squad that in terms of depth, is as strong as any in the Conference. Boss Micky Mellon has clearly bought into the dream, leaving a secure job with Burnley to become the first full time manager in Town's history, he has overseen almost non stop success in his two years in charge and with his team unbeaten in eight , up to third in the table and not having seen anything to scare him so far this season, will see anything less than another promotion push as failure.

They are extremely well organised, as you would expect from a team with so much experience, especially at the back and on the road only leaders Crawley have a stronger record. They have only lost twice this season, to Luton who few teams can live with on a going day and whom they met early on, when they were still coming to terms with life at this level and Southport whom they have history with after coming up together, I am prepared to forgive those two mini blips.

Having dropped two points to struggling Histon at the weekend, when they were reduced to ten men, they are determined to get back on track tonight, in a difficult looking trip to resurgent Wrexham, however, I understand that a recent upturn in results for the welsh club have simply papered over the cracks, supporters are far from happy with boss Dean Saunders naive tactics and his days may still be numbered. The home side have ridden their luck in several recent games and look fragile at the back with only Tamworth having conceded more in the top half of the table.It is a long time since the Racecourse Ground was a difficult place to visit and with several home players carrying knocks and little rest time from the weekend, I am very pleased to take Town with the handicap start.

Fleetwood + 0.25 1.83



I discussed City in some detail at the weekend (se below), they beat Rochdale with a little more ease than the 1-0 scoreline might suggest and I see no reason for them to be such a big price this evening. They travel up the M5 for which by their standards is a fairly short trip to Hereford, to face a team totally devoid of confidence, one who are without a win in ten starts, during which they have a 3-23 goal difference and have slumped to the foot of Division 2, some 40 league places below City. United sacked coach Simon Davey and his assistant yesterday, so are rudderless too for the time being, not sure if it is best to have no one at the helm, or someone who has no idea what direction you are going in, but both are far from ideal.

City are a team in great heart at present, the loss at Bournemouth was, as I thought, no more than a minor blip and they travel in confident mood and with boss Paul Tisdale claiming that he will rotate no more than one or two of his squad as he wants to do well in a competition he believes they can win. Even if he does bring in a couple, with five strikers pressing for starts and options in other areas, he will only be introducing hungry players looking to push their way into a winning team so I do not see that as in anyway a negative. As previously mentioned City have very high fitness levels, so are as well suited by playing twice per week as any lower level team.

Exeter City -0.5 2.16


City are returning to their home ground, where they remain unbeaten, after three consecutive away starts, things ran away from them at Bournemouth in midweek, but they remain very upbeat after collecting four points from the other two games and I simply think that was one match on the road too many. They have not had a great deal of luck recently and draws at Dagenham, where they led for well over an hour and at home to highflying Peterborough, could easily have seen another four points in the bag, which would put them second in the table. Boss Paul Tisdale ( anyone that wears a cravat to a football game outside of Italy has to be of strong character !) told BBC Radio Devon that spirits remain very high and that he feels the team have benefitted from a couple of free days this week, he has Nardiello and O'Flynn back today, which doubles his impressive offensive options and City are a side with goals in them, with the five registered strikers having some 600 career goals between them, most at a higher level . They play a very aggressive yet attractive, high tempo style at St James Park, where visiting sides are given very little peace or time on the ball, they have high levels of fitness, one of the few who can match Rochdale in this aspect and create a lot of pressure in the final 15-20 minutes of games. City are unbeaten here and Dale likewise on the road, however, having seen the visitors at Southampton and extended highlights of their midweek win over Huddersfield Town, I feel that they match up better against the more cultured footballing teams and less well with those that adapt a more in your face approach. Exeter are a combination of the two styles and I take them to beat a Rochdale side who did a lot of work against Town in what was a flattering 3-0 scoreline and who will not relish returning to a venue where they have a dire record. Looking at chances created, Dale have only managed more than Tranmere and on the road seem happy to sit back and let the opponents make the running, looking for a goal on the break, I do not see this approach working against a City side who can match their work rate.

Good Luck.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Portugal Superliga


Porto are 100% this season domestically, with six wins out of six and have only conceded in the home game with Braga. With the extended break coming up after this evening's fixture and champions Benfica having finally found some form and moving up into second, the visitors have vowed not to ease off and intend to extend their lead at the top of the table back to nine points. Considering how things have gone, they must be very pleased with their off season business when they appear to have upped the overall quality of the squad, despite selling Meireles and Alves and also turning a 7m euro profit in the process. New boss Luís André Pina Cabral Villas-Boas has waited a long time for this opportunity , although he is only 33 yo and never having played to any great level, he has worked with Jose Mourinho as an assistant for almost his whole career and is now looking to make his name at the club they both started their journey. If he has learned anything from the "special one", it will be to make the most of your television opportunities and with mainly low level games taking place tonight and the eyes of europe watching, I expect him to be looking to impress.

Porto have an incredible record in this fixture and have not lost to Guimaraes since Methuselah was last in short trousers, winning on their last seven visits, the last three by a 12-2 goal difference. They always have large travelling support making the short circa 50km journey north and it is amongst their favourite away days. Chance for the Porto players and Villas-Boas to enhance their growing reputations and I expect them to win with a degree of comfort.

Porto -0.75 ball 1.81 .

Good Luck.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


I do not have any time to write proper match previews today (family commitments) or discuss the events of yesterday, including Brentford's fine win, but am sure to do that later in the week. Two selections only for me today in any case, one in Spain, which I will pass for purposes of the blog and another in the EPL, which I have touched on below. Bit risky in terms of the handicap and the home team's form, but I feel this is a massive game for Liverpool in relation to their season and they owe everyone, especially their fans, a performance......


Pool have to win this one, they dropped into the bottom three yesterday and without another home game for three weeks and the Merseyside derby up next, to go into the international break without a victory here would be an absolute disaster. On the slightly brighter side, a win would take them into the top ten and they will have captain and tailisman Steven Gerrrard back today after being rested in midweek, under the current circumstances it is impossible to over emphasise how important he and his goals are to Liverpool and I expect them to win with a degree of comfort this afternoon. Blackpool have pledged to attack, after paying the price for ditching their normally gung-ho approach at Stamford Bridge recently, where they were four down at the break and only Chelsea's mercy saved them from a frightful thumping. The Seasiders have conceded 18 in their last six and things have gone from bad to worse for them in games where they have conceded first. That opening goal will be key here too, if Pool can get their noses in front a confidence boosting three goal win is on the cards.

Liverpool -1.75 goals 2.23

Good Luck.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


I am hoping with fingers crossed that we will see the real Brentford today, forget the Cup, time for some league points ! The Bees will be without a couple of key players, including striker Charlie MacDonald, but do have a number of options upfront and many supporters have felt more of them should have been used in recent weeks, so they will get their wish today ! Anyway, London derby at Griffin Park bathed in sunshine, what more could you wish for ? How about three points !!!

I do like goals in the match at the Hawthors and am even tempted by the 6-1 on offer for five or more goals. As I discussed with some of you pre season, Bolton are much changed under Owen Coyle and play a far more open style, so their should be no lack of entertainment today, between two teams who like to play on the front foot. Wanderers previous three away games have seen 11 goals scored and with Albion buoyed by their incredible win at the Emirates, surely they will fear no one and be looking to make hay whilst the sun shines, with tougher times ahead. 0-0 it is then !

WBA - Bolton "over" 3 goals 2.47
0.5 units WBA-Bolton "over" 4.5 goals 6.0 + .... up to 7.0 in places

Good Luck.



City are returning to their home ground, where they remain unbeaten, after three consecutive away starts, things ran away from them at Bournemouth in midweek, but they remain very upbeat after collecting four points from the other two games and I simply think that was one match on the road too many. They have not had a great deal of luck recently and draws at Dagenham, where they led for well over an hour and at home to highflying Peterborough, could easily have seen another four points in the bag, which would put them second in the table. Boss Paul Tisdale ( anyone that wears a cravat to a football game outside of Italy has to be of strong character !) told BBC Radio Devon that spirits remain very high and that he feels the team have benefitted from a couple of free days this week, he has Nardiello and O'Flynn back today, which doubles his impressive offensive options and City are a side with goals in them, with the five registered strikers having some 600 career goals between them, most at a higher level . They play a very aggressive yet attractive, high tempo style at St James Park, where visiting sides are given very little peace or time on the ball, they have high levels of fitness, one of the few who can match Rochdale in this aspect and create a lot of pressure in the final 15-20 minutes of games. City are unbeaten here and Dale likewise on the road, however, having seen the visitors at Southampton and extended highlights of their midweek win over Huddersfield Town, I feel that they match up better against the more cultured footballing teams and less well with those that adapt a more in your face approach. Exeter are a combination of the two styles and I take them to beat a Rochdale side who did a lot of work against Town in what was a flattering 3-0 scoreline and who will not relish returning to a venue where they have a dire record. Looking at chances created, Dale have only managed more than Tranmere and on the road seem happy to sit back and let the opponents make the running, looking for a goal on the break, I do not see this approach working against a City side who can match their work rate.

Exeter -0.25 1.99

Good Luck.



Daggenham have raised their game twice in the last seven days earning points in consecutive 2-2 draws in "derby" matches against Colchester and Charlton, in terms of where the Daggers were a couple of years ago and the shoestring budget they operate on, these were massive results against "glamour" teams. I do not see them being able to get "up" again for the third time inside a week,against another team with promotion ambitions and a very hungry one at that, after throwing away three points at home to Plymouth in midweek, courtesy of a trio of soft goals. Previous to that Swindon were unbeaten in five, winning four and keeping the same number of cleansheets, when we note that those came against Southampton (twice), Huddersfield and Carlisle, three teams who will have a big say in the promotion picture, those stats look all the more impressive. Visiting boss Danny Wilson read the riot act to his team after the Argyle game and his side will be far more focused today and hopefully back to their miserly defensive ways. Dagenham have only one cleansheet in eleven starts and rode their luck at times in that one, they have conceded two or more in seven of the others and look a little short of Division 1 quality, having probably come too far too soon, selling players along the way, which was always going to catch up with them eventually. A goal or two either way last post season, could have seen two divisions difference between the two clubs and now that Town are over the disappointment of missing out on promotion, they look the obvious bet off level ball.

Swindon level ball 1.99

Good Luck.

Friday, October 01, 2010



We have discussed and opposed Evian twice in recent weeks and it has worked out well, at the risk of going to the well once too often, I have to take them on again. They have less recovery time having played on monday night in front of the television cameras, which is a big deal for a club their size and little will have been left in the tank. They are still without seven players ( Gousse, Barbosa, Bugnet, Durand, Farina, Roufoss and Sagbo), at least five of whom would probably have started, that gives them severely restricted options at a time they would surely like to rotate the squad. They are without a win in three and conceded five at Dijon and three at National club Guingamp in recent road starts, coming to a strong home side in Clermont, who are 6-3-1 in their last ten here, scoring 16 goals in the process, they look set for another very long evening.

Clermont -0.25 2.01


Dijon are another team we have been "following" recently, they have certainly found some goals, having notched in each of their last seven starts, scoring 12 in total, those are heady stats in this most low scoring of leagues and more look on the cards tonight. Troyes have also scored in each of their last six, 11 in total and when we ally these to the h2h record, which has seen the last six meetings all produce at least two goals, with both on the scoresheet in five of those, it is hard not to see both scoring at least once this evening and minimal downside with this "over" bet between two teams far happier on the front foot.

"over" 2.25 goals 2.05

Good Luck.

LIGUE 2 ......


This is considered a derby by both clubs, with just 60km seperating the two and as always will again be a very keenly fought affair. This was always going to be a difficult season for both after each (arguably) overachieved last year, Angers started this camapign in similar fashion but their form has nosedived and they are without a win in four starts. Laval's game is based around a very solid defence, one which has earned them an incredible 23 draws from 46 Ligue 2 starts. They tried to get a little more expansive at the start of 2010-11, but that didn't really work out and they have reverted to the tried and tested formula which has served them so well, have again tightened up at the back, are unbeaten in three posting consecutive clean sheets including away at highflying and attack minded Boulogne. Angers have been a bit free and easy at home where they have yet to win and I see no reason for them to be so short against a team that is always very difficult to break down.

Laval + 0.5 1.91

Good Luck.

FRIDAY ......

I have quite a few posts planned for what looks a promising weekend, so please try to check back on a regular basis over the next couple of days. Despite the evidence of recent blog posts screaming to the contrary, I have been in pretty solid form recently, especially in the last seven days. It is just that every time I post on here at the moment, it is the "kiss of death".

That is going to happen on occasion as I am only ever posting a small sample of my total output . Anyway, I am determined to get this particular monkey off my back over the weekend, or bring you all down with me by trying !

Back later.