Saturday, January 28, 2012
SATURDAY ..... PLENTY OF EARLY ACTION .....
FA CUP : QPR - CHELSEA
West London derby with added spice from the league meeting and the Ferdinand- Terry saga, which is still ongoing. Rangers won that earlier meeting 1-0, Blues played 50 minutes with nine men, yet still dominated most of the play and chances.
Chelsea's title challenge hit the rails that day and has never really got back on track.
They are fourth in the EPL and will be looking to move up to third before the end of the season, but 14 points adrift of Manchester City, their title hopes have realistically gone. Therefore, I think they will be eager to win today, not just for a little revenge, but to progress in a domestic competition. However, what they will not want is a replay on February 8th, that would come immediately after their meeting with Manchester United and would mean 4 games inside 13 days, directly before their Champions League trip to Naples.
Rangers defeat of Wigan last week has given them some minimal breathing space over the bottom three, but they are still five points adrift of WBA and remain one of five teams seemingly set to battle until the end of May, to avoid three relegation spots. They will likewise want to avoid a replay, which would be sandwiched between six pointers with both Wolves and Blackburn Rovers. Therefore , we can look for both teams to get this decided today.
This is an early kick off and as such, will surely suit the visitors more, being their seventh lunchtime kickoff of the campaign. QPR have played three "early" games and lost all of them, without scoring a goal. We have discussed before about how footballers are very much creatures of habit and do not like to change their match day schedule, particularly sleeping and eating regimes. Chelsea are far more used to this disruption, infact for them it is normal and 12.00 is very early for UK games to start. Think we will see Chelsea really up for this today and I expect them to win comfortably. 1.5 units Chelsea -1 ball 1.94 + asian line.
LEAGUE 2 : HEREFORD UNITED - SHREWSBURY TOWN
Yet another derby game here and quite a passionate one.
The Shrews have had the better of recent meetings under boss Graham Turner, who was in the hot seat at United for 15 years and knows the hosts as well as any man ( or woman ) alive ! They won 2-0 here in April and in the reverse fixture this season 3-1 and neither scoreline flattered them.
Despite this knowledge, Turner is taking nothing for granted and watched the Bulls personally in a 2-1 loss at home to Bristol Rovers recently, the latest in a series of dire home performances. They have not won here in seven starts since October, losing five and conceding 15 goals in the process. Turner remarked that Hereford play a very aggressive, physical game, not dissimilar to Southend United, whom Shrewsbury saw off last week, despite playing with ten men for an hour. That was very impressive and if the Bulls are a poor mans Southend, the visitors should be able to repeat that showing today.
Anyway, few surprises for Town who sit four points off an automatic promotion spot, but seven clear of eighth, so basically "freerolling" for that top 3 place, for any poker players out there . With little to lose and no need to settle for a point, especially with matches against highflying rivals Torquay, Swindon and Crawley next month.
Striker Marvin Morgan is suspended, but despite having three other options up front, Turner has still decided to add some cover, bringing in Romaine Sawyer on loan from WBA, this is a clear indication of the resources Town have and their determination to take no chances and get into the top three this time round, having missed out narrowly in recent seasons. 1,300 away supporters snapped up their full allocation of tickets and many more are expected to make it into the home ends, this should see them make up around 50% of the attendance and makes a huge difference in such a tiny stadium/ crowd, I expect them to go home happy. I would prefer the straight win, but that is circa 2.10, so the asian line quote offers better value... 1.5 units Shrewsbury Town -0.25 ball 1.88 asian line.