Friday, December 02, 2011


In the Championship this evening, Crystal Palace host Derby County in match where they will kick off just about 38 hours after returning from Old Trafford , where they recorded a famous extra time victory over Manchester United. Regardless of the team United put out and they still fielded eight internationals, that was a very hard earned win for Palace, who did a lot of chasing and boss Dougie Freedman will have to rotate his own squad this evening. County lost again at home to Brighton on Tuesday night, but that 24 hours longer recovery time could still prove key, however, having documented Derby's problems ahead of that game I am loathe to pull the trigger on them tonight, despite the fact that it was an improved performance against B&H.

In Ligue 1, Olympique Marseille travel to Caen, ahead of a key Champions League match in Dortmund next midweek, however, in many ways this game is of equal importance and having beaten bitter rivals PSG 3-0 last week, they will not want to undo all that hard work, especially as those points, have got them firmly back in, at leas,t the hunt for CL spots for next season. There has been a clear upturn in performance for OM at least in the Ligue recently and they have targeted four very win-able games in the lead up to Christamas to get them back in the title race and come looking for all three points this evening. They have a good record here ( three wins and a draw in the last four) and this is a fixture which normally produces goals with the last eight h2h meetings averaging 3.88 . The visitors arrive without Remy and Morel, but Andre-Pierre Gignac has apologised to Didier Deschamps after a bust up between the pair and returns to the squad. But it is the return to form of Morgan Amalfitano, who really impressed against PSG and the return last week of Stephane Mbia that give them the energy and flair to dominate the centre of the park and with the hugely experienced Gregory Leca missing out for the hosts and that is a big loss, I expect OM to push on and win this. They have an incredible record with Mbia in the team, only losing three of 43 Ligue 1 starts and his is the first namee you should look for on the team sheet. Caen have already lost three home starts and conceded eight in their last four matches, more look on the cards this evening. Marseille -0.5 ball 2.05 +.

I have a trio of matches to discuss briefly in Ligue 2, leaders Clermont travel to Angers, where they have not won in eight visits (0-3-5), they seem sure to be a little jaded after their top of the table battle with Reims on Monday and it might be difficult to get "up" for another tough game so quickly afterwards, Angers have scored two or more in 6 of the last 7 h2h meetings and might need to do so again to get a result against a team who have got the winning habit. I have seen Angers "over" 1.5 goals at circa 2.60 and if that had been freely available, I would probably have put that up as a selection, especially with Clermont playmaker Alessandrini missing out, but it is not, so I will pass, interesting game though.

Regular readers know that I like ................. the rest of the notes and my main selections of the day,are not available to blog readers, sorry, I am hoping to be able to post a couple of match previews both tomorrow and sunday on here, so please check back.

Good Luck.

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