I have previewed five matches for subscribers across two newsletters today, we discussed the same number
You can part of all five previews below, it will give you some idea of what subscribers get for the huge sum they pay ( circa 19 euros for around 30 full previews per week !). Details of the full service can be found on the clubgowi website subscriptions page.
Sunday September 8th
MLS, Brazil and NFL(low profile) in the follow up newsletter, which will be at the later time of 15.00 UK.
Irish Premier League: Dundalk-Drogheda United
Two inform teams, both are unbeaten in eight, but the United sequence includes five draws and their seven wins this campaign have come against teams with an average league placing of 9.14 ( 12 team league) and they have beaten only one top 7 team.
Dundalk will have been watching St Patrick's road draw with Limerick last night with interest, as they can now move level on points with the leaders with the win this afternoon, their unbeaten run is a far better (7-1-0) and in their last ten starts, they have beaten the other top five teams, so very difficult to pick holes in their form.
We spoke about the pair ahead of the early season meeting in Drogheda ...
Dundalk make the short 20 mile trip south to face neighbours Drogheda United in the second Louth derby of the season, the two rivals shared four goals in the first and in the last meeting here at Hunky Dorys Park, United edged home by the odd goal in five. Goals seem similarly on the cards tonight, with the hosts in rich goalscoring form, having scored 13 in their last four starts in all competitions and playing a very open style.
The visitors arrive in fourth place in the league, five points adrift of third spot and European football, but with tonight's game in hand , so all three points would be hugely valuable. They feel that the ten day break has helped them greatly, they had played four matches inside 11 days previously and defender Mark Rossiter said “The break did us good but we’ve prepared well during that time off. We’ve had some good results recently in the FAI Cup and in Sligo but each one is another game to us. We were still very disappointed with that defeat to UCD but that happens. It’s football and no games are easy, especially the derby up next! They have been going well and anything can happen in a match like that. We have a big week ahead of us now going into the break and we’ll do all that we can to pick up maximum points starting in Drogheda."
They will certainly take great heart from their form on the road this season, where they have collected 18 of their 27 points, won six times and only conceded four goals,however, tonight they will be without a trio of suspended players in captain and midfielder Stephen O’Donnell ( 10 apps-1 goal), ever present right back John Sullivan (15-0) and versatile wide midfielder Darren Meenan (14-0). Midfielder/centre back Chris Shields is again set to miss out injured, he made 26 starts last season , would feature if fit and Dundalk are short of options across the middle. O'Donnell has missed five games this season, including the reverse fixture and all have gone "over", unlike 7 of the 10 where he has played.
The previous meeting was a wide open affair and Drogheda probably felt hard done by, they led 2-0 and had already missed a couple of chances to increase that, including hitting the woodwork, before Dundalk scored two inside a minute to tie things up in the second half and going close to completing the come back, after Drogs were reduced to ten men late. This is considered by many as one of the most competitive derbies in Ireland and this seems sure to have the usual edge. The hosts are without a pair of suspended players themselves in midfielder David Cassidy (14-0) and goalkeeper Gabriel Sava ( 19 goals conceded in 13 appearances....... replacement Michael Schlingermann has conceded five in his last 150 minutes between the sticks), both of whom were sent off against Bray. Club captain and central defender Derek Prendergast (10-0 .... nine conceded in the five matches he has missed) and fringe midfielder Eric Foley (10-1) are both injured. This will mean that Alan Byrne and Alan McNally will play in central defence, this combination has struggled and Drogs have conceded seven goals in the three matches that McNally has started, all of which came against teams in the bottom four of the table.
Dundalk won that 1-0 and their home form has ..... rest of the preview is only available to subscribers to the daily newsletter service.
WTA : Serena Williams- Victoria Azarenka
Serena leads the h2h 12-3, but Azarenka leads 2-1 this year, winning both hardcourt meetings, which both came in long three set meetings, albeit in fairly low key tournaments. They have met twice here in New York, Williams winning 6-1 7-6 in 2011 in a third round match up and 7-5 in a third set decider in last year's final. The US player has yet to drop a set and has won eight of her 12 sets by either 6-0 or 6-1 which is incredible, regardless of opponent and she appears to crave every point at present as though it was oxygen. However, I was hugely disappointed by Li Na in the semi final, she claimed to have been very nervous afterwards, but I am unsure why that was the case, what I do know is that despite winning 0 & 3, Williams hit more ....... rest of the preview is only available to subscribers to the daily newsletter service.
Brazil Serie A: Cruzeiro- Flamengo
Copy and paste time ! As we discussed both these teams in midweek, Flamengo ahead of their home win over Vitoria ...These two are in pretty bad shape and goals have been hard to come by for both. The visitors are 1-1-6 on the road, have not scored in their last three and will probably be focusing on winning their home match with Atletico-MG at the weekend, by which time, new coach Ney Franco, who was appointed on Monday afternoon and who has yet to take charge of a training session, will have started to get his thoughts across.
Hosts are only three points outside the drop zone and with two of the clubs immediately below them playing each other this evening and Flamengo facing a trip to league leaders Cruzeiro at the weekend, failure to win this could quickly see them in big trouble. They have had a very tough sequence of matches, facing Cruizero twice ( Cup), Gremi and Corinthians in their last four starts and they will surely welcome the "lesser" level of competition. The home team get striker Hernane (11-3-4) back from suspension, but lose Marcelo Moreno (12-2-1) and centreback Marcos González (13-0-0) to international call ups.
Moreno and González are still on international duty and Flamengo have two far "easier" matches next week to focus on, in my opinion. Centre back Chicão (9-1-0) picked up an injury against Vitoria and misses out, defensive midfielder Víctor Cáceres (7-1-0) and left back João Paulo (15-1-1) are again major doubts and might be saved for, in many ways, more important fixtures ahead and certainly matches it will be easier to get a result from.
We also spoke about the hosts before their facile 3-1 road win at Bahia.... Hosts have failed to score in three of their last four home starts, or in their last two meetings here with Cruzeiro, who have scored 12 in their last three league starts and can open up a 4 point + lead at the top of the table with the win. They arrive without suspended forward Dagoberto (6-1-2) but he has only made one start all season and is far from a key absence. We spoke about ahead of and backed them four weeks ago, when they travelled to face Criciúma...."Vistors have named a very attacking squad and taken six strikers with them in a 21 man travelling group, easy to see why they have scored 23 goals already. They are without a defensive midfielder of their own in Nílton (11-3-0), but they have options and look in so much better shape than the hosts. They lost their last road game 1-0 at Fluminenese, I watched that and was impressed with Gremio who looked very classy going forward and on another day, would have been three up inside 30 minutes and if they half as many chances this evening, will win with a degree of comfort." They won that 2-1 and have not looked back since and offensively, look the best team in Brazil this season and could easily have 40 points on board already. We spoke recently about how the stronger teams were heavily favoured by the quick turnaround fixtures and if they are really up for it( a draw would be a good result, but they are not really equipped to play for a point), they should win. Hosts are without Rafael Miranda (12-0-0) in the holding role which is a big loss against such a potent attacking force.
There is slim to no chance that.... rest of the preview is only available to subscribers to the daily newsletter service.
Cruzeiro: Fábio, Rafael,Ceará , Mayke,Bruno Rodrigo, Dedé , Léo, Egídio, Leandro Guerreiro, Lucas Silva, Nilton, Souza, Alisson, Everton Ribeiro, Júlio Baptista , Ricardo Goulart, Borges, Dagoberto, Lucca, Vinícius Araújo , Willian.
MLS : San Jose Earthquakes- Philadelphia Union
This is all about the hosts for me, but I will start with Union, whom we discussed ahead of their 0-0 home draw with Montreal Impact last week.... "facing a Union team coming off a 5-1 licking at New England and missing a very key player and forced into a defensive reshuffle, or two. Amobi Okugo (26-3-2) is suspended, the central defender has played every minute of every MLS match this season (sent off in stoppage time last week), Union were 0-1-6 without him last season. Also carrying knocks are full back Ramon Gaddis and midfielder Keon Daniel, if Gaddis misses out too, they will look like something of a lost cause against this potent Impact offence and it will be a tough call regardless."
They drew that 0-0, Impact set up for a point and got what they came for ! Today Union are still without Okugo and Michael Lahoud is away on international duty, but he is very much on the fringe of first team action, but now, no wins in eight without Okugo.
Hosts are effectively six points off the playoff places and are running out of games fast, however, they have won five in a row at home and if they could take maximum points today and next week at home to a direct post season rival, they will at least extend their campaign into the final month of regular season action. We discussed them in detail ahead of their 1-0 win over Eastern leading Sporting Kansas City here last month when I wrote ....
This is massive for Earthquakes, a win will keep them in contention for a top five finish ahead of trips to FC Dallas and LA Galaxy before the end of the month. They realistically need to win at least two of these next three and it is obviously going to be easier to claim one here at their Buck Shaw Stadium, where they are a solid 7-4-1 and have won four in a row. To do so, they are going to have to stop the supply of crosses into the box, with SKC hugely dangerous in this area, the visitors have scored seven times from open play crosses, another three from corners and scored nine headed goals. Hosts will be helped in that regard tonight with their "new" central defensive pairing of Victor Bernardez and Clarence Goodson, who, after two starts together (one cleansheet) should be developing an understanding. When Bernandez plays they have lost 6-18, 4-6 without him. The duo kept Chivas out (not hard to do) and offensively prolific Vancouver at bay on the road for an hour and will get an even tougher test this evening, but have already shown that this is a solid looking partnership in the making.
It is offensively that most of the talk has been about Earthquakes, last year they averaged 2.12 goals per game through the regular seasom, this year just 1.04. They have been hard hit by injury/suspensions and have rarely be able to field Alan Gordon (14-3-2 this season, 23-13-7 last) and Steven Lenhart (13-2-1 /26-10-4) along with Chris Wondolowski (19-7-2 / 32-27-5) together, with one or other out at any given time. Marvin Chavez ( ten assists last year , none this) has also made a limited contribution. Likewise left winger Shea Salinas who can produce a killer ball, has been out of form for much of this campaign. However, he has now started to produce and all three of the forward players saw some game time in Vancouver and now is the time for them to come to the aid of the party ! Gordon and Leinhart have played less than half of the regular season minutes, so should have plenty to give in the closing weeks and we can expect to see more of the old Earthquakes, last year, over the final nine matches of the season, this offensive trio had an incredible 15 goals and 10 assists between them, we can keep an eye on them in the closing weeks this time round.
Unfortunately for them, they are without Victor Bernardez and Marvin Chavez ( see both above) tonight, with the pair on international duty and the situation was further compounded by ...... rest of the preview is only available to subscribers to the daily newsletter service.
NFL: Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
This is the most emotional home game for Saints since they returned to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina and that ended eventually in a famous, especially for us, 25-1 Superbowl win... happy days !
I am not sure they can show enough defensive improvement to go that far this time round, but improve they definitely will, when you reach rock bottom, the only way is up. Saints had one of ..... rest of the preview is only available to subscribers to the daily newsletter service.
Next newsletter at 10.00 UK time Monday.
BTW we have some very big news in store over the coming weeks and I am hopeful that I can give you an early heads up about it all over the next seven days, so look out for that.