Sunday, September 25, 2011

SUNDAY ............

Only four rounds into the season, we already have a massive relegation battle at the foot of La Liga, with Sporting Gijon entertaining Racing Santander. Two home draws give the visitors a two point lead over the pointless hosts, who, with a visit from Barcelona and trip to Sevilla up next, simply have to get off the mark today. Their home form has kept them in the top flight in each of the last three seasons and it will require a similar effort this time round if they are to survive and that means finding 7-8 wins at the El MolinĂ³n stadium from somewhere and they will not come much easier than this.

Both teams have suffered an identical 4-0 defeat at Atletico in the last seven days and whilst Racing might argue that they steadied the ship with a 0-0 draw at home to Real Madrid, two games in four days against the two big Madrid clubs in which they enjoyed less than 30% possession is sure to leave them low on energy coming here, especially as they are short on numbers, mainly in midfield, where they lack any real creative threat. They have conceded ten in their last three road starts and it is hard to see them keeping even this struggling Gijon side out for too long. Home coach Manuel Preciado has pretty much a full squad to choose from, he claims the spirit in the club is still good and there can be no excuses if they do not win tonight, they have created a decent number of chances in their two home starts so far and I expect them to do enough to win ,what is sure to be a nervous encounter.Sporting Gijon -0.5 2.04 + asian line

In the NFL, I have two games to discuss.

The New York Jets play the first of three consecutive road games, but with the Ravens and Patriots the next two games, they will see a visit to the West Coast to face the Oakland Raiders as far and away the easier fixture of the three and if they can go to Baltimore with a 3-0 record, it will take a lot of pressure off the rest of the road trip. They will have to manage it without center Nick Mangold, who will be replaced by rookie Colin Baxter, this is a very big loss, but has already been factored into the spread and we would have been asked to give up more points IMO if Mangold had played. The Jets are 16-7 on the road under coach Rex Ryan and will arguably be fresher that the Raiders who travelled to NY State and back last week to face Buffalo, following only five and a half day's of preparation, having played on Monday on Gameday 1, that is a gruelling start. They might have ran out of steam there, they certainly blew a big lead with the Bills scoring a touchdown on all five second half drives, which is about as bad / good as it gets. The run has been good for the Raiders so far, but the Jets pride themselves on been able to stop teams running ( they have allowed only one 100yd game in 25 starts) and if they do that today, there can be only one winner IMO. Jets have won two without getting their own running game going, but with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield that will not carry on indefinitely and with Oakland ranked 27th in stopping the run in the opening two games and having given up a huge 316 yards on the ground the last time the two met ( Jets 38-0), they are as likely to catch fire today as at anytime. Jets all the way for me. New York Jets -3 points Pinnacle Sports 2.05.

First crunch game for XXXX XX XXXX rest of the email is for registered readers.

Good Luck.

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