Monday, August 06, 2012


 In the Friday email sent out at 09.53 I previewed mainly Ligue 2 football, in addition to some useful basic stats, I put up three red type bets, one was a half stake loser, the other two won at odds of 2.04 and 1.92. I also "suggested" that Angers were big at 3.60 to score two or more, which they did inside 21 minutes and that unbeaten Team GB might struggle against the Canadians and they lost 2-0 !

The new UK domestic season is nearly upon us, the summer has been fantastic from a sporting and betting perspective and hopefully this will be an English football season to remember, but in terms of the daily email, it is just part of the service, albeit an important part.

You can read an explanation of how the service works and also nine day's worth of recent emails in full on this
LINK , including one complete week.  This has never been available to view before and is worth a look, especially the explanation, which should answer any question you ever had about the service.

Below is a copy of today's notes, if you read that and take a look at the other copies on the link, you will get some idea as to how the email service has evolved, it is now a tremendous product, it was good before, but is now invaluable, if you bet on a regular basis.

If you would like to receive these notes on a daily basis, then please send me an email at ....   and I will forward details.

Just Ligue 2 and Olympic football today, where we are firmly in the US camp, I do have some concerns about Team GB against Canada ( see below) and was tempted by the half time draw option in that game at circa 2.10, up to 2.20 for small money on the exchanges, but decided to pass in the end.

Two emails tomorrow, the first at 09.00 UK time will contain the now usual J-League notes for the morning action from Japan.

Last weekend saw the return of Ligue 2 action in France and I think it is worth starting today with some basic notes and stats, I posted ahead of those games .....

Below is a Ligue 2 table for the 20 matches played after Christmas last season, so, effectively in 2012. The first cloumn shows the sixteen matches until the end of April the second, the last four rounds. I feel the first gives a beter indication of each teams overall standard in the second half of the campiagn, the other is more distorted as some teams were hugely motivated and others had nothing, or little  to play for.

BASTIA ...................... 35 pts +6
MONACO .................. 33       +6
SEDAN....................... 29     +10
ARLES ....................... 28      +5
TROYES .................... 28      +10
CHATEAUROUX ...... 26      +1
TOURS........................ 26      +7
ISTRES....................... 25       +3
LE MANS.................... 24      +5
NANTES ...................  23      +3
REIMS........................  22     +10
LENS .........................  19     +7
LAVAL .......................  19     +1
CLERMONT..............  19      +5
GUINGAMP................  17    +10
ANGERS....................  16     +9
METZ .........................  14     +1
LE HAVRE.................  11     +9
AMIENS ....................  10     +1
BOULOGNE .............  10

Metz have yo-yoed between the top two flights over the last decade and their failure to win a match in the final month of last season was criminal and cost them a place in Ligue 2.

Clermont had promotion there for the taking, but played poorly under pressure, they failed to beat relegated teams Amiens and Boulogne in the closing weeks and only managed a final day win, once their promotion chance had flown and that came against a Laval side who had given up over the closing weeks.

Troyes, Reims and Bastia were promoted, the latter as worthy champions, they only really "tried" at home over the closing weeks, but you can make a strong case for Monaco ( who had a disastrous start to their season) and Sedan being almost as good as the other two promoted sides. But Monaco left themselves too much to do and Troyes and Reims made no mistakes.

Arles gretly improved form as the season wore on, definitely slipped under the radar, after winning just 3 of their first 15 starts, following relegation from Ligue 1 with a 3-11-24 record ( so just six wins in 53 matches), they lost only twice in their last 23, a lot of draws in that sequence, but still very tough to beat and over a full season that form would have seen them finish 5th.


Of the top four form teams from last season, Arles continued on their merry way last week with a come from behind win at Le Havre, Sedan who were missing a lot of key players lost on the road to Angers, the other two played each other and big spending Monaco gave their promotion/ title hopes a massive early boost with a 4-0 defeat of Tours.


We discussed above how difficult Arles are proving to beat nowadays, just two defeats in 24 and whilst there was a touch of smash and grab about the win in Le Havre last week, it was an impressive result none the less and they will be strengthened tonight by the return of centre-half Chaher Zarour and left-back Gael Germany . Zarour was, by Arles standards, a big summer signing from Dijon over the summer, he played a lot of Ligue 1 games last season and in Dijon's promotion season , his team lost just two of 17 in which he played all 90 minutes.

It was pretty much the same old story from RCL last week, they underachieved big time last season and somehow found a way to drop two points after racing into a very early lead over Le Mans, it was only Matchday 1 of course, but they defended poorly at times and looked vunerable aerially at the back.The pair met twice last season Arles winning 3-0 at home, a win which came before they had hit form and a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture, I watched that one, it was a very poor game, but Arles were rarely troubled and had, what looked a late winner disallowed for a marginal offside decision. Lens again look set to be without Zakarya Bergdich on the left hand side of defence, he has been at the Olympics with Morocco, he was a regular starter last season, but it might be significant that he didn't play in that heavy loss at Arles last year. RCL look like they should be suited to playing on the road, even at home sometimes they like to sit back, despite being roared forward by their very noisy supporters, but the results don't really bear that out and they have won just six of 38 away from home.1X game for me and as such,  I have no problem taking Arles just giving up a quarter ball. Arles -0.25 ball 2.0 asian line.

Arles-Avignon : Butelle, Yattara - Cantini, N'Diaye, Soro, Abdelhamid, Quintin, Cardy, Rocchi, Draman, Suarez, Sangaré, Dalé, Savanier, Mara, Plessis.
Lens : Atrous, Riou - Bonne, Démont, Saint-Ruf, Touré, Yahia, Baal, Coeff, Ducasse, Le Moigne, Nomenjanahary, Rogie, Valdivia, Leghait, Pollet.


We discussed Clermont last weekend when I wrote .... Big changes at Clermont, star player Romain Alessandrini ( 11 goals 4 assists last season and 11-7 in 2010-11 ) has left for Rennes and will be sorely missed. Coach Michel Der Zakarian has returned to Nantes, but I do not necessarily feel that is bad for Clermont, as they needed a change,because something was clearly wrong at the business end of last season. He has been replaced by Regis Brouard who made a big name for himself at amateurs Quevilly taking them into National and a cup semi final in 2010 and incredibly, the final last year. He will be very hungry to coach at this level, but it might take some time for him to get his ideas across, he has spent very little money yet, but did bring left winger Pierrick Capelle with him from Quevilly. However, pre season has not been ideal, they failed to score in their last two ( both on the road), including a 4-0 thumping at Auxerre. They drew 1-1 at newly promoted Niort who were missing a whole host of players, a match that was there for the taking, Clermont blew promotion last season and I doubt confidence is high at present, unless Brouard can wave his magic wand quickly and this is not a league he knows well, then it could be a long season for them. Clermont have won just five of their last 21 starts, which is incredible for a side who finished fifth and an indication of how much they have struggled in 2012.

Angers will probably be unchanged after a fine opening day win at Sedan, the goal came through new signings Richard Socrier and Alharbi El Jadeyaoui, who combined for the winner. Socrier is a veteran striker, but one who has scored plenty at this level, including 12 in Ajaccio's recent promotion season.  El Jadeyaoui is another with huge experience at this level, some 170 + games.Along with Claudiu Keseru  (six goals and five assists last season, ten and seven in 2010-11), that gives them a wealth of experience and not little talent up front. This is a team with a nice mixture of experience and youth right through the side and despite limited finances, they could be a surprise package this season. Malik Couturier is missing again in central defence, but they looked solid at the back without him last week and they look good getting a handicap start here. Angers +0.25 ball 2.04 asian line. The visitors have  a pretty good record here, scoring on 7 of their last 9 visits , at least two in their last four, including a 2-1 win here in April, given that and their offensive options, the circa 3.60 + for Angers to score two or more , available in a place or two, looks big.

Clermont : Farnolle, Fabre - Avinel, Esor, Fomen, Imorou, Saïss, Salze, Bayod, Capelle, Ekobo, Lacombe, Pinau, Sylla, Dembélé, Rivière.
Angers : Malicki, Letellier - Diallo, Zoro, Hénin, Fall, Boyer, Auriac, Diers, Manceau, El Jadeyaoui, Gomez, Ravet, Doré, Keseru, Socrier.


Home keeper Georgi Makaridze remains out, the Georgian stopper impressed in a struggling Le Mans side last season, he kept 5 clean sheets in thirteen 2012 starts, just 11 goals in total and four defeats in that sequence, a run which probably saved his team from relegation, it came anyway due to financial irregularities, but they weere subsequently re-instated and opened with that already discussed 2-2 draw at Lens. They started slowly and 18 yo replacement keeper Quentin Beunardeau must have been terrified, after conceding twice inside 14 minutes on his debut., he will play tonight. Also out is versatile fullback Jason Buallion and this is a small squad with limited options, especially wide at the back, albeit one which showed huge heart and fighting spirit last week.

Last week I wrote ...Dijon only lasted one season in Ligue 1, a couple of players got a taste for the high life and didn't want to perform at the lower level again, central midfield duo Younousse Sankhare and Bennard Kumordzi look on their way out now and neither is in the squad today, also injured is fellow midfielderThomas Guerbert and the very powerful trio will be sorely missed in the centre of the park.The club have a new president and new coach and this might be a season of transition for them and teams coming down have struggled in recent camapigns.

They somehow beat Guingamp 1-0 at home, but the visiting boss was at a loss as to how his team didn't score at least four, he was right to a degree, his team missed at least three one on one's , hit the woodwork and had much the better of a wide open game, there are six minutes of highlights on this link, which will give you some idea of how the match played out. Guingamp won the midfield battle and Dijon will again be without that same trio in the centre.

I think we will see goals tonight, Le Mans have a squad largely prepared for a lower level and short of options, Dijon have a touch of class, but are suspect at the back, especially down the right and made some frightful errors against a physical Guingamp side. 1.5 units "over" 2 goals 1.92 asian line.

Le Mans : Beunardeau, Viot - Cuffaut, Bamba, Adenon, Doumbia, Kassaï, Kanté, Zito, Derouard, Sanson, Sylla, Cissé, Belfort, Koura, Momi.
Dijon : Reynet, Tchagouni – Bamba, Varrault, Cissé, Paulle, Diabaté, Malouda, Baradji, Corgnet, Mollet, Paye, Berenguer, Caceres, Jovial, Koné, Thil.


Quarter finals in draw order:

Sweden - France
Brazil- Japan
USA- New Zealand
Team GB - Canada

I am hugely pleased with our outright bet on the US ( see below in blue type) and also how the draw has worked out, with the other four big players coming into the tournament all now in the opposite section. Only New Zealand and either Team GB or Canada now bar their route to the final, the host nation have impressed, but  might have limited home advantage for their quarter final in Coventry, the Canadians have already played there twice, I doubt that many of Team GB have ever been to the Ricoh Arena, as the Coventry City ladies team play at Nuneaton and I suspect this might be tough for the British girls .

 If I was to make any complaints about the US team's performance so far, it would have to be that they have been very wasteful in front of goal and coach Pia Sundhage is a bit slow to make changes and players like Amy Rodriguez have not been given enough game time. Aside from that opening 15 minutes against the French, no team has put them under too much pressure, I expect  them to be able to up their game once someone does, just like against Les Bleus and when they do, I think the goals will flow more easily, when they have less time to think about things and can act instinctively . I really cannot see anyone baring their way to the final and once there, it seems certain that whomever they face will have had two gruelling battles back to back.

Japan were surprise winners at last year's World Cup and have a decent draw here, but I strongly favour the US team to get revenge and claim a third straight Olympic crown. I like the mix of the American squad and they will be out for revenge, not sure how they failed to beat the Japanese in that final in Frankfurt, having had 27 attempts on goal, but I just do not see it happening again. They are 13-1-1 this year, the two games they failed to win were both against Japan, but they put all that right in Sweden last month beating the World Champions 4-1, with 19 attempts on goal , 11 on target. They have also seen off Brazil ( restricting the Marta less Samba girls to just one attempt on target) 3-0, Sweden twice by a combined goal difference of 7-1 and China 4-1, all in the last four months.

The US squad is hugely experienced, seven of the squad have over 100 caps and four well over 160 ! For at least four of the senior players this is going to be their swansong, a chance to finish on a high in their final major championship and a trio of gold medals is the perfect way to sign off. For them, that loss in Germany to Japan really hurt, the run to the final and especially that very brave win over Brazil where they came back from the dead with ten women, captured the public's imagination and they were being watched by the biggest audience in women's football history and it was the perfect opportunity to put their sport on the map, but at the end of the day, in the US, they only remember winners.

Amongst the rest of the squad are the next generation of players, hungry to emulate their team mates, players they have grown up idolising. What is key is that all of this squad want the Olympic experience, but they are stuck up in Scotland and the only way they are going to get down to London and the Olympic Village is to make the semis and more likely given their draw, the final. They also have perhaps a bigger agenda in terms of football in the US, this year saw the Women's Professional Soccer League fold in May due to a legal dispute, leaving many of the players without a club ( over half the squad), many others moved to semi-professional soccer, but the loss of the professional league was huge. The squad believe that out of potential US Olympic glory, a new professional women's soccer league will be reformed and that is a further massive incentive. Bonus out of all this turmoil is that it has given the squad a long time to recover from the rigors of this and last season and a massive amount of time together to gel and thrive, we saw the benefits of this from Zambia ( who had been together for months) at the ACN earlier in the year and with the US performances in Sweden last month.

In the game there against Japan, the USA controlled the tempo of the match with some fanatstic pressing and ball possession of the year, not something we always associate with them. The Japanese were forced into a lot of errors and the margin of victory could have been far greater, it was a terrific performance against an opponent who had troubled them previously and a sign that despite the age of some of the squad, they are still learning and improving. I have a little more to say about them, but will save those comments for the games ahead, especially the match up against the talented French team. I made the USA a maximum 2.50 to win gold and have to put them up as a confident 1.75 unit selection to win outright @ 3.0 + this is available pretty much across the board, there is a little 3.25 in a place or two.

Good Luck.

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