Monday, November 18, 2013

Subscriber newsletter for Sunday November 17th .... posted 18/11

This is a sample of a clubgowi newsletter, details of how the previews are set out can be viewed on the website , but in a nutshell, anything in blue type is a snippet from a previous preview, anything below the good luck" sign off is a related previous preview in full and figures after a player's name are (appearances/goals/assists).

Subscribers receive an average of ten newsletters per week, which contain circa 30 match/even previews, a long term subscription costs around 19 euros per week.

Sunday November 17th
Wins for Brentford, Preston North End and Chesterfield and losses for Bristol Rovers (half) and Luton Town made for a decent enough day, but as the last two both led, it was a little frustrating.

However, we know quite a bit more after yesterday and a little knowledge is always to be savoured. XXXX are starting to look the real deal in XXXX X and Brentford have won six in a row without playing well yet (apart from the second 45 minutes yesterday), in League 1 terms the Bees have almost limitless potential. I also got quite a bit out of the League 2 matches, especially the Rovers-Bury game and we will definitely be getting involved with both of those teams in the coming weeks.

Next newsletter is at the standard time of 10.00 UK on Monday.

Brazil Serie A:

There are plenty of motivational picks in Brazil today, which is a great starting point, especially if an opponent has other (or no) objectives, but that alone isn't enough and above everything else, the odds still have to offer value. Anyway, just four rounds left to play and plenty still to be decided at both ends of the table.

Fluminense-Sao Paulo

I briefly previewed Flu's home game with Nautico on Thursday ....

If you lose to Nautico you are really in trouble and this is a season defining game for defending champions Fluminense, who are incredibly, three points from safety and have 36 points less, than at the same stage last season.
Later in the same preview ....They (Nautico) lost that 1-0 and clubgowi team of the week, Criciuma have used it to launch their own survival run and have given themselves a little breathing space with those six points. Fluminense have to do likewise, we and they know that, unfortunately, so too do the oddsmakers and I am not sure being asked to give up 1.5 goals and only get circa 1.82 for our money is good business about a team who have not won in 9 ( scoring only five goals), or won a match by more than a single goal in 33 starts, regardless of opponent. They are also missing a couple of key defensive players including Edinho (30-0-0) in the holding role, but win they surely will, by whatever method necessary. Just one goal inside 59 minutes for Flu in 8 matches and at home they are 7-15 (goals scored/ conceded) in the first 50 minutes, 15-6 in the last 40, an amazing 6-0 between the 51st and 60th minute, on the road Nautico are 0-18 (!!!) between the 41st and 80th minute.

Fluminense did win 2-0 and again scored in that 51-60 minute period (now 7-0) which is worth watch if you are trading on this game. Those points have taken them out of the drop zone, but with this their penultimate home game and a relegation six pointer at Bahia on the final day of the season, they could do with the win again this evening. Criciuma showed how valuable one win, regardless of opponent , can become and they have ridden that wave of confidence picked up from the victory over Nautico, to collect nine points in the last week and Flu have to try to do something similar. They get all those short term missing back today including Edinho ( see above) and really ought to beat Sao Paulo.

The visitors got a win for supporters at home to Flamengo on Wednesday, which ended any relegation fears and now their focus is clearly on their Copa Sudamerica semi final first leg with Ponte Preta in midweek and any "domestic" energy, surely saved for home games. They are going to rest players today and you can see where the focus is with a quick look at the website, where it is all about how many tickets have been sold for midweek and the game today appears a bit of a distraction. Luís Fabiano (31-12-4 all comps) and defensive midfielder Denílson ( won 8 /13 when he plays an hour... just 6/21 when he doesn't) are both suspended. Flu should be ashamed of themselves if they do not win this,home win. 1.5 units Fluminense -0.75 ball 2.08 asian line/Ibramarket.


We spoke about Goias in midweek....

Hosts earned a point with ten men at Flamengo over the weekend which was good for us .....
"These two have met twice in the last 11 days in the Copa do Brasil, Flamengo won both by the same 2-1 scoreline, including here on Wednesday. That would have been the main target for Flamengo this season and now they will be looking towards the final, having put huge effort into those two games and also their big derby game with Fluminense which was sandwiched inbetween, I wonder how much they have left in the tank. Even if they are running around like spring lambs, I doubt they can match the intensity of Goias who are battling hard for a Copa Libertadores spot. The visitors remained in Rio after the midweek game and will be in better shape and with more options for this evening with midfielder Hugo (22-3-0), left back William Matheus (24-2-1) and young striker Leo Bonatini , who is starting to make a name for himself, being added to the squad from midweek. Top scorer Walter (24-10-5) has sat out the last two league games ( both wins) and was not risked in midweek, but did train the day before on Tuesday, so might be able to play some part this evening, but regardless of that, I have to go with Goias."

Whist satisfactory for us, the draw meant they remained in 5th place and with Vitoria closing to within two points in sixth, with a 3-0 road win at Ponte Preta, the race for top 4 and a Copa spot is hotting up. Goias only have two home games left after tonight and their road matches look very tough on paper, so they will be greedily eyeing up the points this evening. The decision not to rush back Walter (see above) on Saturday might serve them well this evening.

They beat Ponte Preta 2-0 and it was pretty easy, 2-0 up early, they could step off the gas, with today in mind.  Results elsewhere have meant that win tonight and they will move into the top three and have Copa Libertadores qualification in their own hands. They have few real problems for this match and face a Inter side who are not 100% safe from relegation, but still have two home games to play and the last is against a Ponte Preta side who are likely to already be relegated by the time they meet, so that is their ace in the hole. Also, today the visitors are missing a whole host of key players including Leandro Damião (19-4-5), Diego Forlan (13-5-2), central defender Juan (25-4-0), both right backs and several others.... you get the picture. They will go with the same side which lost at Atletico Mineiro in midweek with the addition of striker Rafael Moura ( who has only played 19 minutes of football in three months), which is hardly going to get supporters pulses racing. I have to take the hosts. 1.5 units Goias -0.5 ball 1.99 asian line/Ibramarket.

Portuguesa- Atletico Mineiro

Five matches without a win (four draws) have seen Portuguesa slip back dangerously close to the drop zone and they need a win to steady the ship. Their next two starts are on the road and after that, they finish with a home match against Copa chasing Gremio, so these are definitely the "easiest" remaining points on offer.

They are solid at home (8-6-3) and I suspect that Atletico are a good opponent, for reasons outlined ahead of the visitors last road game, a 0-0 draw at struggling Bahia....In my opinion the rest of 2013 for the visitors, is all about preparing for the World Club Cup next month, they have already quaified for next year's Copa Libertadores and any motivation for domestic games will surely be saved for home games, when they can entertain their own supporters. In truth, they have been pretty poor ( 2-5-9) on the road in any case, scoring a league low six goals, even Nautico have managed seven !Bahia are in trouble, six rounds to play, just two points ahead of the drop zone and facing two road games after this, they desperately need a win and fast. I am not interested in team news, hosts are without a couple of suspended players, but are fighting for their lives now. Atletico have a lengthy injury list which they will not want to add to and will surely be heavily rotating on a match by match basis.

Another blank on the road and as suggested, they got the midweek points at home, hard to see them putting in too much effort this evening. Portuguesa are missing a couple of players and the loss of top scorer Gilberto is very far from ideal, but it gives us a price and is offset by the visitors being without Marcos Rocha and Alecsandro who are suspended, Jo and keeper Victor on international duty and Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Leandro Donizete , Guilherme, Josué and Pierre to "injury". The last two named picked up a knock in training, the two midfielders are not in the first flush of youth and this sounds like just an excuse to rest them, I suspect only one team is fully committed to this and I doubt it is Atletico ! That doesn't mean they cannot win, just that I strongly favour the home side. 1.75 units Portuguesa -0.25 ball 2.0 asian line/Ibramarket.

NFL : Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

12 points is a lot to give up, but when you score freely and do not concede many like the Seahawks, that number starts to look an awful lot smaller ! I discussed Seattle on Thursday (notes are reproduced below) and they have been boosted this week with starting left tackle Russell Okung being activated from short-term injured reserve and wide receiver Percy Harvin looking set to make his debut. Okung is going to offer greater protection to Russell Wilson (see below) over the coming weeks and Harvin says he is ready to roll and is eager for some game time against his former team mates and very hungry to do well. Vikings big offensive weapon is of course Adrian Peterson, the League's number one running back and if there is a weakness in the Seahawks it is the run defense and they have looked suspect in this area, but coach Carroll has been determined to put this right and there were signs last week that the work was starting to pay off and they limited the Falcons to just 64 yards on the ground. AP had 182 yards when these two met here last season, but still the Seahawks won by ten points, the two teams have gone in largely different directions since and I do not see him racking up anything close to those numbers this evening ( famous last words !). Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder looks set to play after dislocating his shoulder just ten days ago, there is no sympathy in the NFL and the Hawks will be looking to get at him from the off, I suspect this will be all about the run for Minnesota and if Seattle slow that down, it will be very difficult for Ponder and his team.1.5 units Seattle Seahawks -12 points 1.96 Pinnacle Sports /Vegas Line.

NFL : Washington Redskins@ Philadelphia Eagles

Most of you know my thoughts on the Eagles and coach Chip Kelly and for those that don't, my preview of the opening day meeting between these two is reproduced below, right at the foot of this page, scroll all the way down below the midweek Super Bowl notes.

I do not want to add much, the Eagles are still a work in progress and have been unfortunate with the quarterback issues, but Nick Foles has the job by right now and Philly will be desperate to win and go into their bye week at the top of the NFC East, they already trail Dallas  (both are currently 5-5, Cowboys have a bye week) in terms of their h2h record. Philly are very explosive on offense and have recorded a NFL high 61 plays, which have gained 20 yards or more, to put this into perspective , the Seahawks are second with 45, of course, there is a downside to this, which is that the Eagles have also given up 43 of these plays, Seattle just 21. But the Philly +18 differential compares hugely favourable with the Redskins -6 and gives the Eagles a huge edge on game defining plays in this game.

Last week Philly rushed for over 200 yards against a strong Packers run defense, Redskins are ranked bottom five for most main defensive categories and it is impossible to see them restricting the Eagles on the ground, add in a few of those big aerial plays and we should see Kelly and his team win this by 7 points + and head into the break 6-5 and top of the division for at least a week. 1.5 units Philadelphia Eagles -4.5 points 1.95 Pinnacle Sports/Vegas Line.
Good Luck.

Super Bowl XLVIII (written 14/11)

This is going to be the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in cold weather and will favour teams that are used to playing end of season Championship games in such conditions, but the problem is that they have to get there first and I am looking for the most likely team to do that and will worry more about how the MetLife Stadium will suit them, once they have booked their place .

Looking at the outright market, I feel the Broncos are too short for me, given that they are still not even ranked number one in their own division yet and  have to play the Chiefs twice and the Patriots on the road. They probably have to win both match ups with Kansas ( the first is this weekend) just to secure the number one position and under the circumstances, I feel the circa 3.75 is on the skinny side.

Last year we were very keen on the 49ers and I still wake up in a cold sweat from time to time with first and goal from the eight yard line etched on my brain. They should have won, the only team that handed that SF defense a real spanking last season were the Seattle Seahawks in a late regular season game at Century Link Field (42-13). Seattle ended the regular season with five straight wins , scoring an incredible 150 points in a three game streak, within that sequence.

That was their first winning season under Pete Carroll, his third at the helm, in the first of those he made an unheard of circa 200 transactions and the Seahawks were always going to take a while to develop and become his team. It kind of happened on that day, against the 49ers, they then went and won on the road in Washington in the Wildcard game, keeping a Redskins team who had looked impressive under RG3, scoreless for three quarters. Next up they went to the number one ranked Atlanta Falcons and were 20 points down at the half, they scored 28 second half points and were ahead, before the Falcons kicked a field goal with 8 seconds remaining.

I think that was more about a lack of experience for the team and coach and I feel they will have learned a tremendous amout from that. They have had an easy schedule this season, but are 9-1 and look booked for the number one spot in the NFC, you can see how the playoffs would look "if the season ended today", on this link to the NFL website. That would ensure a week off in the post season and only playoff games at Century Link Field, widely regarded as the noisiest stadium in the NFL. They hold a three game edge currently over the 49ers and two over the New Orleans Saints, who play this weekend, not both can win ! If it is SF, that will almost certainly give Seattle, who are 12 point favourites to win this weekend a three game buffer over the field, if it is New Orleans, that will make it tough for the Niners to even make the post season and these three teams, along with Carolina, look the most likely contenders from the NFC. Seahawks get their bye week after this, playing the Saints and 49ers after that, before an easy looking finish including two home games to complete the regular season. There is a good chance they will be the number one ranked team and for them to enter the post season in good shape and maybe even to conserve a little energy over the last week or two.

They hit the ground running in 2013, even in pre season when they were 4-0 and in all of those and half of their regular season games (9 from 14 in total), they have kept their opponent to under 14 points. They look well balanced and quarterback Russell Wilson is the real deal, his numbers have been very impressive and were put up with his offensive line missing key players. The Seahawks blog wrote this about him earlier in the week...

"Wilson has the NFL’s fifth-highest passer rating (101.8) among qualifiers, trailing only the likes of Manning (121.0), Brees (108.9), Aaron Rodgers (108.0) and Philip Rivers (105.9) through Week 10. By record and statistically, Wilson is the best performer this season among the “big four” youngsters (Wilson, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick), and is tied for the league lead with four game-winning drives.
The raw numbers: Wilson has completed 163 of his 257 passing attempts for the league’s 10th-best completion percentage at 63.4. He has thrown 17 touchdowns to just six interceptions, and also has a score on the ground.
Wilson has run the ball more than any other quarterback, rushing 70 times (including 35 scrambles after dropping back to pass) for a total of 395 yards. That rushing yardage ranks Wilson 28th in the NFL, and he also is second in the league with 5.6 yards per rushing attempt — not just among quarterbacks, but everyone.
Meanwhile, with 330 rushing attempts, the Seahawks have run the ball more than any other team in the NFL through 10 weeks. They have kept it on the ground in 55.5 percent of their offensive snaps, meaning Wilson hasn’t even had the chance to accumulate statistics like Manning and Brees."

The whole franchise is hungry for success, they have a incredibly well balanced running and passing game and solid defense and are going to improve with three key players set to return to action in the next week or so and make a strong team, who have just exorcised that Falcons loss with a 33-10 win in the Georgia Dome, even stronger. I expect them to make the trip to an icy New Jersey in February . 1.75 units Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl 5.0 +... there is a little higher in places if you shop around.

NFL : Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins (written 09/09)

This is an incredibly interesting game. Redskins introduce a number of rookies in key areas and quarterback Robert Griffin III, who took the Skins from 5-11 in 2011, to 10-6 last season in his rookie year, returns to action after his ACL injury last January. RG3 has not taken a single snap in any game since then, which is over eight months and he starts havinf missed all of pre season, which is, if not kind of unheard of, very unusual. The injury/surgery to his right knee was similar to those which kept Tom Brady out of 2008 ( Brady started seriously dating Gisele Bundchen at this time, so did not waste his time !) and RG3 also missed his 2009 college season with his first such injury. Both underperformed slightly ( by their own very high standards) the first year back, but were better than ever the following season. So, possibly we can expect RG3 to be very rusty and short of match practice, to favour his knee slightly and to fall a little off his form of last season, at least for a week or two.

Skins will start with second-round draft pick David Amerson, at right cornerback and sixth-round pick Baccarri Rambo, at free safety. The speed of the Eagles and they are as quick as any team in the NFL, is going to give them a debut to remember and the pair will have their work cut out and the speed of play will also come from the tempo and pace that new Eagles coach Chip Kelly likes to play at.

It has taken Kelly a long time to make it to the NFL, but this is a hugely talented coach who did a stunning job at Oregon, not least in 2012 when he lost all-time leading rusher LaMichael James and starting quarterback Darron Thomas, with a career starting record of 23-3, who both left college early for the NFL, yet Kelly still led his team to their best ever year in school history. That got massive interest from the NFL and I understand that Kelly put in one of the most impressive interviews ever at the Eagles, who after he initially turned them down, returned with a $6.5 per year salary offer and begged him to take the job.

He is a coach that does things his own way and as one journalist described him, he is the first rock star football coach. Philadelphia are a changed club, more training and much of it unlike anything they have ever done before, they are looking to hit the ground running and surprise teams with plays that no one has seen and many things they have worked on all summer, were not used in pre season and opposing team's defensive coordinators are going to be in for a very hard time keeping pace. We did see "read option package plays", which give quarterback Michael Vick three different options, but that is just the tip of a big and very exciting iceberg.

I am a little pumped to see what the Eagles can do and have a whole lot of other information about what Kelly has been up to in training with his very innovative approach,but we can talk about that later in the season, what is important for now ,is that there has been no complaining about the extra sessions and NFL players do love to moan, so that is a hugely positive sign.

Eagles had a nightmare season in 2012, but started well and were 3-1 after their first month, which included wins over the Giants (defending) and Ravens (current Super Bowl champions), before losing their way completely and a similar flying start would not surprise me. I will take 1 unit Philadelphia Eagles to win 2.66 Pinnacle Sports... there is plenty of 2.65 around and 2.70+ on the exchanges for tiny liquidity, the +3.5 points on the spread were an option, but I just about prefer the straight win.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Yesterday's first newsletter ....

This was yesterday's clubgowi newsletter, sent to subscribers at 10.00 on Friday
morning, Monaco and Evian was 1-1 inside 30 minutes and Evian were available at odds against -0.5 ball, with 30 minutes remaining. Caen were ahead inside 12 minutes and 2-0 up at the half, the Arles match was abandoned and will be replayed this afternoon ( Saturday).

Friday November 8th
The follow up email is scheduled for 16.00 UK time today and covers the weekend J-League matches, same approach as recently there, which means we are looking for "in play" angles and the fixtures are once again scheduled for Sunday, which is a bit of a pain as far as I am concerned, but it does mean that the notes are not particularly time sensitive.

France Ligue 1: Monaco -Evian

I am keen on Evian as a team, because you kind of know what you are going to get, lots of heart and endeavour and high levels of fitness, ending their games on the front foot. They have won their last three starts in all competitions, scoring five goals, all after the break and coming from behind in two of those to snatch maximum points. We discussed them last weekend, ahead of their home match with Toulouse ....

I like goals here, Toulouse still have their negative reputation, but they have been far more adventurous on the road this season and four of their last five away games have gone "over" and they scored four on their last visit here. Etienne Didcot assisted for three of those and I doubt Evian will be too pleased to see that the creative midfielder returns from suspension this evening. Evian are very open in their style of play, especially here at the Stade Joseph Moynat, where they have scored and conceded in each of the last six, with 9 of 13 going "over". They remain without striker Kévin Bérigaud (10-6-0) but have won twice in the last week without him and he has only scored once in the last seven weeks, but obviously a loss nonetheless, they are also without right back Brice Dja Djedjé and keeper Bertrand Laquait (16 goals conceded in the last 9 matches he has missed). I like the "over" as I think both will score, but also favour the away win, given how Didcot toyed with Evian last year and he will be fresh and ready for a repeat and without their keeper ( who also missed that game) and starting right back

Evian won 2-1 and now sit in a "comfortable" 14th place, that might sound dangerously close to the bottom three, but they are actually 7 points above the drop zone and only 3 behind 5th placed Marseille. I feel they can relax a little, play their natural game and enjoy their trip to big spending Monaco and that they match up quite well, more of that later, but I will say that the up to 15.0 for the away win looks very tempting if you can find it. Team news is much the same injury wise, still no Laquait, Dja Djédjé or Bérigaud (see all three above) and central defender Cédric Cambon is suspended, but he would not have been a certain starter in any case, having said that, hard to see the visitors keeping a cleansheet.

However, it is not so difficult to see them ending the match the stronger, the Monaco backline has started to look a little weary, Ricardo Carvalho and Éric Abidal are not in the first flush of youth and Andrea Raggi has only seen out 90 minutes three times and is not the quickest player you will see. 65% of all Monaco's goals have come inside the opening 50 minutes and they are clearly starting matches faster than they are finishing, at home 67% of their goals have come before the break. They appeared to run out of steam at Sochaux and Lille recently and have not kept a cleansheet in six starts and I do not feel they will manage one this evening. Both teams to score at 2.10-2.25 looks very solid and I would make that a 1.5 unit stake, I would also be keen on trying to side with Evian in play entering the final third, especially if the hosts are one or two goals up at that time, it is not really in the Evian nature to give up and it is hard to make a case for this Monaco line up being stronger in terms of fitness, at that stage of the game.

AS Monaco:ROMA Flavio (n°30),ROMERO Sergio (n°16),SUBASIC Danijel (n°1),ABIDAL Eric (n°22),CARVALHO Ricardo (n°6),FABINHO (n°2 – Fabio Henrique Tavares),ISIMAT-MIRIN Nicolas (n°20),KURZAWA Layvin (n°3),RAGGI Andrea (n°24),TISSERAND Marcel (n°34),FERREIRA-CARRASCO Yannick (n°17),

KONDOGBIA Geoffrey (n°27),MOUTINHO Joao (n°8),OBBADI Mounir (n°19),OCAMPOS Lucas (n°11),RODRIGUEZ James (n°10),TOULALAN Jérémy (n°28),FALCAO Radamel (n°9),GERMAIN Valère (n°18),RIVIERE Emmanuel (n°29).

ETG FC : Hansen, Salamone, Ehret, Wass, Sabaly, Fofana, Angoula, Mensah, Mongongu, Tié Bi, Sorlin, Koné, Blanc, Nistor, Bertoglio, Barbosa, Sougou, Benezet, Ruben.

France Ligue 2:

This is going to surprise many of you, but I am not that keen on the Ligue 2 fixtures today, or at least in the odds offered and only want to share some brief notes on two matches ....


We discussed Brest on Monday...."Now they face a Brest team who have lost their last two home games, conceding five goals in the process , have only beaten CA Bastia and Istres ( the bottom two) here this season and who are missing striker Jonathan Ayité (5-2-0), midfielders Geoffrey Dernis (10-1-2) and Benoît Lesoimier (7-1-2), left back Wilfried Moimbé (9-0-0) and centre back Ismaël Traoré (9-0-0... conceded seven goals in the three games he has missed) all to injury. Midfielder Bruno Grougi  (9-2-0) and centre back Simon Falette (10-0-0) are both suspended. They look huge losses and five played in the win at Le Havre last week."

All credit to them, he said through gritted teeth,  for drawing with Troyes, especially as the equaliser came with only ten men on the pitch, but they did play circa 80 minutes a man short, have that much discussed and hard to overcome, Monday-Friday turnaround to deal with and are even more short handed today. Ayité, Dernis, Lesoimier,Moimbé, Traoré and Grougi (see all above), remain sidelined. Johan Martial who played central defence on Monday and striker and top scorer Nicolas Verdier (11-4-0) have now also picked up knocks and Alexandre Alphonse is suspended after his dismissal against Troyes. Alphonse and Vedier led the line there and they look incredibly short of options today. Simon Falette does return which is one plus amongst a sea of minuses. Officially , I will put 1.5 units Arles -0.75 ball 2.16 asian line/Ibramarket, but what I think could be really interesting here is the late "in play" option, Arles are a very strong 6-1( goals scored/conceded) at home in the second half, Brest are 1-4 on the road in the final 15 minutes and will surely be running on empty late tonight short of so many options and having played a gruelling match already this week. Odds for Arles entering the final 20 minutes or so should be very attractive and are worth a look.

Arles-Avignon : Butelle, Yattara - Cantini, Quintin, Fortes, Givet, Abdelhamid, N'Diaye, Cardy, Rodriguez, Ben Saada, Delclos, Plessis, Sangaré, Nabab, Dalé, Savanier, Nabab.

Brest : Thébaux, Hartock - Coulibaly, Mendy, Falette, Makonda, Chardonnet, Lejeune, Pandor, Auras, Perez, Ramaré, Guidileye, Rousseau, Lebacle, Khaled.


I still feel that the hosts are one of the stronger Ligue 2 teams, but they have lost their way recently losing three of their last four starts, all by the same 2-1 scoreline and now they desperately need a win to stay in touch with the top three. To give a little background info, here are my early season notes on them.....

"Caen came up six points short last season, it was a strange campaign ,they were strong enough at home in terms of wins, but lost five and needed to grind out a point at times, on the road, it was the reverse, just four losses, but too many (9) draws ! They did well for us on the odd occasion we backed them in away starts and it was hard to put a handle on what exactly went wrong, defensively only champions Monaco conceded fewer and they scored as many as promoted Guingamp. They lost key midfielder Laurent Agouazi( 21-2-2) for much of mid season and collected 1.81 points when he played, 1.39 without him, they missed the Algerian's experience in midfield and they have addressed this potential problem by signing Jérôme Rothen (28-3-9 for Bastia in Ligue 1, with six of those goals and assists coming on the road), he was hugely influential in Bastia's 201101 promotion campaign and looks very good business. Left winger Mathias Autret has joined on loan from Lorient and right winger Jonathan Kodjia from Reims, all four started in the impressive 3-1 defeat of another promotion contender in Dijon last week. Kodjia had an impressive season at struggling Amiens last season and has hit the ground running with a goal and assist last week and a brace of goals in the 2-0 midweek cup defeat of Metz."

Now they meet a struggling Istres, whom we have spoken about a LOT this season, the full preview from their home loss to Metz is reproduced below. The match is, of course, no less important to the visitors, who have only woeful CA Bastia below them in the table, but I think they are up against it today.

Both teams are missing key players, but I am less interested in those today than the stats, Caen are 6-1 ( goals scored/ conceded) at home in the first half (3-0 in the opening 15 minutes), Istres are 0-4 in the first 15 minutes on the road, so we can reasonably expect Caen to start the stronger and in the five home matches (all comps) they have won this season, they have led in four at the half, twice by 2-0.  They took six points off Istres last season scoring five unanswered goals and I favour them to win, but do not feel the -1 ball handicap odds offer any real value and I prefer them to take the lead sometime during the opening 45 minutes. They are a more attractive -0.5 ball 2.01+ to win the first half on asian lines and I have seen 2.05-2.10 elsewhere and I will put that up for 1.25 units.

Caen : Perquis, Bosmel - Calvé, Pierre, Appiah, Montaroup, Seube, Koita, Fajr, Autret, Duhamel, Mbone, Lemar, Kim, Nangis, Poyet, Kante .

Istres : Balijon, Lejeune - Chafik, Barrillon, Kehiha, Le Goff, Boulaya, Tardieu, Leroy (cap.), Diarra, Allart, Malfleury, Doumbia, Mas, Belmonte, Bosqui.

Good Luck.

Istres-Metz (written 01/11)

Just two wins this season for Istres and they face a tall order to add to that tally today against the league leaders. We have discussed the home team's problems several times .....Istres operate on a shoestring budget and have done wonders to stay in Ligue 2 for four seasons, they started 2012-13 well and were 3rd after 14 matches with 24 points (7-3-4) , just as well, as they only collected another 19 from 24 starts and managed to narrowly escape relegation. Their budget which was already skinny was clipped by about 11% heading into last season and with meagre crowds and limited backing, it is hard to see how things will be much better this time round. They have lost a number of key players including favourite son Nassim Akrour, but he was pushing 40 yo, which is too old to be leading the front line, also gone are midfielder Kévin Bru (31-2-5.... Istres did not win in the seven games he missed last season and failed to score in five), hugely experienced centre back Éric Chelle (25-1-0) and striker Yahia Cherif (32-5-0). On loan winger Ludovic Genest (29-3-2) who had three goals and an assist in those sole four wins in the last 24 games, has also left. As you might expect, new signings have been firmly low key and within those tight budgetary restraints, but they did show a little original thinking with the addition of two 20 year olds from the Fluminense B team.

Against some of the Ligue 2 better funded clubs, Istres are going into battle with a knife against a rifle, they might win the odd skirmish, but it will be very difficult to win the war and for them, finishing 17th would be a huge achievement.

Metz were promoted last season after one season in National and have obviously come back stronger , better as a group and with a playing budget to give them a good chance at this level and one I understand to be three times greater than that of Istres. Metz were in Ligue 1 as recently as 2007-08 and have actually spent five of the last ten seasons in the top flight, so their position at the top of the table should not really be viewed as a shock and only Lens are better supported, with Metz attracting home crowds, some 10,000 above the league average.

They have looked impressive this season and lost just one of their last ten starts, a 3-2 defeat at Lens (basic highlights), where they led and felt very hard done by. They are coming off a 1-0 win over Angers and whilst their opponent were below strength (see above), what I really liked about the victory was that it came on the back of that difficult to overcome Monday-Friday quick turnaround (they had beaten Brest 3-0 on the road just four days earlier). This is a team who have firmly got the winning habit and who are still improving, Diafra Sakho and Yeni N'Gbakoto are both still in their very early 20's, scored 30 goals between them last season and have another nine goals this time round, 18 of the first team squad are aged 23 or younger and this is a group who are only going to get better. I do have one word of caution, in that ten of last season's 20 wins came in the first 16 matches, so they could just be fast starters, but I do not think so and it was more a case of stepping off the gas last season as promotion was virtually assured with two months to play.1.75 units Metz -0.25 ball 2.08-2.11 asian line/Ibramarket.

Istres : Balijon, Lejeune - Bosqui, Barrillon (cap.), Kehiha, Le Goff, Ba, Tardieu, Leroy, Malfleury, Allart, Diarra, Doumbia, Mas, Boulaya, Matheus.

Metz : Carrasso, M’Fa - Bussmann, Inez, Milan, Choplin, Métanire - Kashi, Lejeune, Ngbakoto, Rocchi,  Philipps , Sarr - Nsor, Sakho, Fauvergue.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

I just don't know what to do with the blog ?

Since moving to the clubgowi website, the GOWI blog has been largely redundant, however, as I
have said several times previously, it has a soft spot in my heart, after closing in on eight years and 4,100 + posts and I am loathe to just let it die a sad and lonely death. 

I have been trying to find a place for it in the clubgowi "empire", but am struggling. However, in the meantime I am going to put occasional newsletters on here, so that you can get to see what the newsletter service is all about , without the content completely clogging up the website and readers missing something current, as opposed to a day or two old material.

With this, you can kick off your shoes, pull up a chair and read at your leisure.

This is ONE day's clubgowi content, sent to subscribers across three separate newsletters last Sunday, it is not an untypical weekend day, that is what they pay the big bucks (2.7 euros per day) for !

Sunday November 3rd
Another bit of a roller coaster yesterday, but a decent profit on the day and elsewhere, there were good results for almost all of our long term selections.

I will round up the golf and our long term position on Monday.

The later football matches will be covered in the first follow up newsletter @ 12.30 UK time and the NFL in the final update @ 15.00.
Premier League:Cardiff City- Swansea City

This is big, the first ever South Wales, Premier League derby and it will have been drummed into both sets of players how important this match is (only a couple of Welsh players in each squad), but I think Cardiff with homefield advantage, talismatic team leader and fiercely patriotic Craig Bellamy back in the squad and who are better set up to play in matches like these, have the edge. The Bluebirds battle for every ball, are very disciplined and organised under Malky Mackay (as long as the owner stays out of things) and Bellamy, who was born in the city, can be key with his huge experience of derby games in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and the North East, I expect him to be influential today.

Swansea are the better team, but have played far more football already this season, have looked short of their best and remain without Welsh left back Ben Davies whom we discussed in the preview of the Swans-Hammers match last weekend ....

City were not at their best on Thursday night in the Europa League and whilst they did rotate their squad a little, several key players will have played in both and they have not looked as fluid as for most of last season. The Michu/ Wilfried Bony partnership is not yet firing and I have my doubts about it, as the Ivorian striker thrives on a quickly played long ball and that is just not the City style, but time will tell. Swansea have won two of their four starts after playing in Europe, but they came against a poor Crystal Palace and out of form, at the time, West Bromwich Albion and I expect things to be tougher today and it will be very hard for City not to have at least one eye on next week's first ever Premier League South Wales derby, with arch rivals Cardiff City. It is tough to explain exactly how big a deal that is for both clubs and especially the two sets of supporters. The hosts seem likely to still be without much admired central defender Ashley Williams ( one win and nine goals conceded in the four PL matches he has missed in the last two seasons), he returned to trained this week, but will probably not be rushed back, out for sure is left back Ben Davies (8-2-0) he has not missed a match in over 14 months and with so much City play starting from the back, is a big loss. With West Ham playing with two very wide men, this looks good news for the visitors, especially Stewart Downing on the right flank.

That ended 0-0 and Neil Taylor, who replaced Davies, was targeted from the first minute by the Hammers and especially Downing and it is very likely to be a repeat today with surely Bellamy running at the left back early and maybe Odemwingie later. I do not see a hugely motivated home side losing this and the handicap start is a bonus. 1.5 units Cardiff City +0.25 ball 1.93 asian line/Ibramarket.
Serie A:Udinese-Internazionale

We are not even a third of the way through the season, but with Roma, Napoli and Juventus already pulling away from the pack, Fiorentina in between the big three and Inter and only three Champions League spots up for grabs, it is hard to see how the visitors can be looking for anything less than three points in any game, at least until that gap is closed. Settling for a point is not really the Inter way nowadays in any case and they have already scored a whopping 15 goals in five away starts.

I did write in similar terms about them in midweek ....Inter have performed really well in these midweek Serie A fixtures, winning five of the last six, with the loss coming in what was really a meaningless fixture for them. This match is far from that and already four points off Champions League pace, they need a maximum return to put pressure on the top three, who play later in midweek. They arrive without fringe striker Ishak Belfodil who is suspended, but have scored a (joint) league high 23 goals this season, with ten different players contributing and I feel they will see the return of veteran defender Walter Samuel to the line up, after six months out and keeper as fair exchange and he will offer a calming influence to a young flat back 3 which has been conceding too freely recently. An even bigger plus will be having top class goalkeeper Samir Handanovic back between the sticks, they have conceded a goal every 212 minutes this season when he plays, one every 25 without him !

That ended 1-1, but the game was played in awful conditions and Inter lost Handanovic with injury at the break, but only the woodwork denied them the win, however, a draw was probably a fair result. Handanovic is in the squad and Javier Zanetti has travelled, the 40 yo has not played this season, but is looking for his 601st Serie A start after recovering from injury and just to have him in the group is probably a plus for Inter. Not much besides Rodrigo Palacios upfront, now they are without Mauro Icardi, who is replaced by 17 yo Romania George Puscas, who probably views Zanetti like his grandfather ! That leaves them looking very weak in the striking department, but they do pose a threat from midfield and we might see Fredy Guarin in the trequartista role.

Udinese are without suspended midfielder Giampiero Pinzi and injured right back Dusan Basta (9-0-1... who has been heavily courted by Inter) and have not looked so offensively threatening this season, as they did at the end of last, with just 11 goals from ten outings. It was a similar slow start last season, just three wins and 18 goals from 14 starts (1.28 per game), but then hit their stride with 1.71 goals per game over the rest of the campaign.

However, Udinese scored eight against Inter last season and it is hard to see them coming up short  today, the last four h2h meetings here have averaged 4.0 goals (all "over") and I once again see this likely to develop into something of a shoot out once that all important first goal comes. 1.25 units "over" 2.5 goals 2.00 asian line/Ibramarket.
Udinese:Benussi, Brkic, Kelava;Bubnjic,  Danilo, Domizzi, Gabriel Silva, Heurtaux, Naldo, Widmer;Allan, Badu, Bruno Fernandes, Jadson, Lazzari, Merkel, Mlinar, Pereyra, Zielinski;Di Natale, Muriel, Nico Lopez, Ranegie.

Inter: 1 Samir Handanovic, 30 Juan Pablo Carrizo, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 2 Jonathan, 4 Javier Zanetti, 5 Juan Jesus, 6 Marco Andreolli, 18 Wallace, 23 Andrea Ranocchia, 25 Walter Samuel, 31 Alvaro Pereira, 35 Rolando, 55 Yuto Nagatomo; Mateo Kovacic, 11 Ricky Alvarez, 13 Fredy Guarin, 16 Gaby Mudingayi, 17 Zdravko Kuzmanovic, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 21 Saphir Taider;  Rodrigo Palacio, 28 George Puscas.

Ligue 1 : Montpellier- FC Nantes

Nantes are the Ligue 1 surprise package this season, they will be no worse than 5th after this match regardless of result and a win could take them to within a point of a Champions League spot. They are a big club in France and are clearly looking to return to their rightful position challenging for honours, after four years in the Ligue 2 wilderness. They will want to keep the run going a slong as possible and arrive to face an opponent missing several key defensive players and with no real pressure on them, as they have clearly overachieved so far, in terms of what everyone else expected of them.

Hosts have been struggling for some time and won just twice (six draws ) this season and just four times in 22 starts over an eight month period, today they will be without ever present central defender Hilton ( 11-1-0..... Montpellier were 0-3-5 without him last season), left back Siaka Tiéné (6-2-0), defensive midfielder Joris Marveaux ( 7-0-0), long term injured right back Garry Bocaly and suspended midfielder Jonas Martin . They played pretty much a full squad in midweek and it backfired big time, with MHSC losing to Sochaux in extra time and picking up injuries and a red card and finishing the game, in gruelling conditions after 120 minutes, with eight men on the pitch ! That cranked up the pressure on boss Jean Fernandez, who has already been heavily criticised.

Nantes rested their key players in midweek and still managed to bounce back from a first league loss in five ( four wins previously) at home to Lille last week, to defeat Lorient in the cup.Key striker Djordjevic, winger Gakpe, both starting central defenders and midfielder Veretout, all sat out and now return refreshed and ready for action. 1.5 units Nantes +0.25 ball 1.93 asian line/Ibramarket.

Montpellier: Jourdren, Pionnier - Congré, Di Stefano, Mézague, El Kaoutari, Deplagne, Jebbour, Assoumin - Dabo, Sanson, Stambouli, Saihi, Cabella - Mounier, Herrera, Tinhan, Camara, Bakar, Montaño.

FCN : Riou, Zelazny, Aristeguieta, Bangoura, Bedoya, Bessat, Cichero, Cissokho, Deaux, Djilobodji, Djordjevic, Gakpe, Nicolita, Pancrate, Touré B., Trebel, Veigneau, Veretout, Vizcarrondo.

Good Luck.

There is a second follow up email scheduled for 15.00, I will probably cover three games, but notes will be brief and will only focus on NFL , so, if brevity and American Football is not your thing, no need to wait !

MLS Cup Playoff: Houston Dynamo-New York Red Bulls
Operation recovery mission ! 

The headline is a little misleading, as Dynamo do not owe us anything and we already have the money back from their recent regular season season loss to Red Bulls, which I previewed in detail and which is reproduced at the foot of the email.

New York won that 3-0, but the margin of victory was meaningless, the visitors led inside seven seconds ( the fastest goal in MLS history) and that allowed them to sit back, the one option that they did not really have going into the match, so everything was off kilter. Dynamo made a decent fist of it, 61% possession and winning 20-5 in terms of attempts on goal and if they had found an equaliser, they would probably have gone on to win, as it was, New York scored on the break after another hour of home pressure and the match was effectively over.

Now we are in in a two match, home and way, knockout competition and that suits Dynamo who are old hands and very experienced at these playoffs and I expect some revenge. Of course New York can sit back today, they would be delighted to take a point back to the Big Apple, they are not really set up to play for a draw , but I feel they will try and will once again hand the initiative and a lot of the ball to Dynamo, who will have learned a lot from the last game and if they are not chasing from the first minute ( please not !), Houston can dictate the pace and tempo of the game a little better. Dynamo are 9-1 in playoff games at home since moving to Texas, I expect that to hit double digits and we get a better price now than two weeks ago! 1.5 units Houston Dynamo -0.25 ball 2.06 asian line/Ibramarket.

Brazil Serie A:

I have REALLY had a good look at the Brazilian matches, including "in play" stats, but cannot come up with anything I am particularly keen on, or what looks over priced.
So I will have to pass.

La Liga : Malaga-Real Betis

Hosts have not scored in four starts, but were unfortunate not to win at Espanyol in midweek, where they enjoyed 61% possession and were denied twice by the woodwork and several more times by home keeper Francisco Casilla. They were motivated there to bounce back from that frightful 5-0 home humiliation by Celta Vigo last week and the desire to do so with be cranked up still further today, back in front of their own supporters. Malaga will be without striker Mounir El Hamdaoui (8-3-1), who missed out in midweek, but have no other new injuries. Centre back Sergio Sánchez (9-0-1) and winger Fabrice Olinga ( 5-0-0) returned against Espanyol and coach Bernd Schuster suddenly has a few more options and this is a huge game for him and his team.

Betis have not scored in two matches themselves, but missed a penalty at home to Levante on Thursday, which means they come into this not only disappointed, but with 48 hours less recovery time and having played an hour with ten men, after the first half dismissal of right back Francisco Javi Chica (10-0-0), who will miss out tonight along with a whole host of team mates. Which include centre backs Antonio Amaya (9-0-1) and Paulao (8-0-0), first choice keeper Guillermo Sara, striker Rubén Castro (34-18-8 last season), midfielders Nosa Igiebor (7-1-0) and Lolo Reyes (5-0-0), plus left back Dídac Vilà. That is eight players, all of whom would have been pushing for starts if fit/available. 1.5 units Malaga -0.5 ball 2.12 asian line/Ibramarket
Malaga: Kameni, Jesús Gámez, Weligton, Antunes, Camacho, Portillo, Santa Cruz, Anderson, Tissone, Willy, Angeleri, Duda, Eliseu, Sergio Sánchez, Samuel, Juanmi,
Fabrice, Sergi Darder.

Betis : Andersen, Javi Montoya, Caro, Jordi Figueras, Perquis, Nacho, Juanfran, Steinhöfer, Cedrick, Matilla, Nono, Verdú, Xavi Torres, Juan Carlos, Vadillo, Braian, Chuli , Jorge Molina.

Good Luck.

Very brief notes, but three selections and also a big odds suggestion which has a real chance of collecting.

Next newsletter will be at 10.00 UK time Monday morning.

1.75 units San Diego Chargers to beat Washington Redskins 1.952 Pinnacle Sports/Vegas Line.

We discussed the Redskins on opening day when I wrote ... This is an incredibly interesting game. Redskins introduce a number of rookies in key areas and quarterback Robert Griffin III, who took the Skins from 5-11 in 2011, to 10-6 last season in his rookie year, returns to action after his ACL injury last January. RG3 has not taken a single snap in any game since then, which is over eight months and he starts having missed all of pre season, which is, if not kind of unheard of, very unusual. The injury/surgery to his right knee was similar to those which kept Tom Brady out of 2008 ( Brady started seriously dating Gisele Bundchen at this time, so did not waste his time !) and RG3 also missed his 2009 college season with his first such injury. Both underperformed slightly ( by their own very high standards) the first year back, but were better than ever the following season. So, we can expect RG3 to be rusty and short of match practice, to favour his knee slightly and to fall a little off his form of last season, at least for a week or two.

Skins will start with second-round draft pick David Amerson, at right cornerback and sixth-round pick Baccarri Rambo, at free safety. The speed of the Eagles and they are as quick as any team in the NFL, is going to give them a debut to remember and the pair will have their work cut out and the speed of play will also come from the tempo and pace that new Eagles coach Chip Kelly likes to play at.

They lost that, conceding 33 points and whilst they have won twice, they have allowed an average of exactly that per game ( ok, only 32.7) and have only kept the Raiders (see below) to under 27 points. Last week they not only took a heavy beating from the Broncos, but RG3 had a night he will not want to repeat, he suffered some real punishment and a late heavy tackle saw him leave the game with an injured left knee. We already (see above) know about his knee issues and all the talk this week has been almost exclusively about trying to give him extra protection and less about how to win a ball game. Chargers are coming off a bye week and have had two weeks to prepare, Redskins just one, much of which was spent licking their wounds.
1.5 units Philadelphia Eagles +1 point (@ Oakland Raiders ) 1.96 Pinnacle Sports/Vegas Line.

0.5 unit HT/FT double result Oakland Raiders HT/ Philadelphia Eagle FT 7.0-8.0

The Eagles quarterback merry-go-round ( see last Sunday's notes) continues and we have Nick Foles back at the helm. I was not going to "invest" in Philly and Chip Kelly this week, after the uncertainty over the team leader and two disappointing performances, but not much has gone their way in terms of luck and the more I looked at this match up, the more I came to the conclusion that they would end up the winner, albeit with a bit of a roller coaster ride along the way. I am not sure how Oakland beat a poor imitation of the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, with Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor posting only 10 completions, from 18 attempts, for 88 yards through the air, which will win you nothing, but he did also had a 93 yard run from scrimmage, the longest by a QB in NFL history, with the first play of the game !  The Raiders came blasting out of the blocks and led 21-3 at the half , but rode their luck to hold on to that lead, after being outscored 15-0 in the second half. Oakland are +39 points before the break -53 points after it, over their last four starts and have been held scoreless in the second half in three of those games. If Philly can stay close, they should end this one the stronger, especially as they outscored opponents 31-3 in the final quarter in their last two wins.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans

Case Keenum starts his second ever game for Houston, he is already a fan favourite after setting the NCAA all-time passing record at the University of Houston, he was true to those roots in his first game, with 15 of 25 for 271 yards and a touchdown, six completions of over 25 yards and all against unbeaten Kansas City.

They are going to be throwing the ball that's for sure, whereas Colts quarterback Andrew Luck likes to run and with Houston missing Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Cushing, that is likely to be the case today ( in three high scoring wins over the 49ers, Seattle and Broncos, they only averaged 191 yards of passing).Especially as the Texans have the best pass defense in the NFL, but are 28th against the run. So expect Trent Richardson, Donald Brown and Luck to be running from the backfield far more often than Houston. A really interesting match up.

Pinnacle have a prop bet, Luck +29.5 yards passing v Texan's QB's, so we need Keenum , or whomever replaces him ( and the crowd would riot unless he was injured) to throw 30 yards more than Luck, well two things, if it is close both are going to stick with their preferred game plan, Colts will only go solely through the air late if trailing and by then, we could be out of sight. If Colts are ahead, they will run even more to kill the clock, in that scenario ,Texans will pass more.

I doubt that all of you will get on , but I have to put this up, 1.25 units Texans QB's -29.5 passing yards 1.926 Pinnacle Sports and as an alternative, 1.25 units Houston to score over 21.5 points 1.91-1.95 general quote.

Good Luck.

Current Month
Total bets    24
EUR    13 200
Profit / Loss
EUR    +3 623
ROI    127.43%

Current Year
Total bets    1117
EUR    580 645
Profit / Loss
EUR    +95 443
ROI    116.43%