Friday, November 26, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 13

 Arsenal v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Draw

Liverpool v Southampton - Home

Norwich v Wolves - Away

Brighton v Leeds - Away

Brentford v Everton - Draw

Burnley v Tottenham - Home

Leicester v Watford - Draw

Man City v West Ham - Home

Chelsea v Man Utd - Home

It's impossible to know what kind of Man Utd will show up against Chelsea. I've been wrong on the Red Devils lately, thinking that they have redressed the boat but they didn't and got a rollocking at Watford last week. Out went Ole and lo and behold, the Red Devils go and win at solid Villareal in midweek. I think there is a reality that they get smashed at Chelsea. I think Tuchel is relishing at the prospect of facing the severerly-wounded visitors before new interim manager Rangnick gets in place. The Blues have been in such awe-inspiring form lately that it is hard to see anything other than a home win there. Beware, Man Utd are never beaten on paper and have enough quality and pride in them to cause an upset. But the odds are that Chelsea are playing solid all-round football and will pounce on the severe defensive deficiencies of the visitors.

Win: Chelsea

Saturday, November 20, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 12

 

Leicester v Chelsea - Away

Aston Villa v Brighton - Away

Burnley v Crystal Palace - Home

Newcastle v Brentford - Home

Norwich v Southampton - Draw

Watford v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v West Ham - Away

Liverpool v Arsenal - Home

Man City v Everton - Home

Tottenham v Leeds - Home


The question after this international break is whether some top guns can regain some sort of form that can make them a force to be reckoned based on what their squad is worth, at least on paper. Man Utd is the prime example of a club filled with marquee names but yet to hit the expected heights. They are a volcano about to erupt and although time seems to be running out for Ole, I think they will get there sooner than later. At current odds, I see them value contenders for the outright win at Watford.

Tottenham are another team whose fans hope will finally find their footing under new manager Conte. The Italian has proven to be one of the shrewdest managers in the game and his main challenge will be to unlock the potential of the squad beyond Kane and Son. I expect them to outscore visitors Leeds in a high scoring affair and outright home win looks the value bet there as well.

Win: Man Utd, Tottenham

Friday, November 5, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 11

 Man Utd v Man City - Home

Brentford v Norwich - Home

Chelsea v Burnley - Home

Crystal Palace v Wolves - Draw

Brighton v Newcastle - Home

Arsenal v Watford - Draw

Everton v Spurs - Away

Leeds v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Liverpool - Away


Bragging rights are on the line in Manchester this Saturday as Man Utd host rivals City. Guardiola's men go into the match as logical favourites; the teams might be more or less equal on paper but on the pitch, the form largely favours the visitors. The Red Devils have been scraping results by the neck and again in their mid-week UCL match, they were saved by the gong by their talisman Ronaldo. The team is still finding its feet since the superstar's return to the club and fair to say that they are yet to rock'n'roll. That time will come, it's just that it's taking a helluva amount of time for their supporters and critics. On the other hand, City are a well-oiled machine that dominate even the best teams and although they can have misteps such as last week against Crystal Palace, they will win more often that not. The characteristic that springs out is Solksjaer's winning record against Guardiola; the strategy of playing counter-attack against possession-craving City has been played to optimum effect by the Red Devils. And I suspect this is what they will resort to again on Saturday, given that their team play is not functional enough at the moment.  At that kind of game, Man Utd can be lethal as they showed in their first goal against Atalanta in mid-week. The logical mind says that City should win this match but I expect Man Utd to show some grit and fighting spirit. More than what they showed against Liverpool. Ronaldo has a good record against City and Guardiola and the hosts certainly have the individualistic qualities to match. At current odds, I like them as a draw-no-bet option although seeing their winning odds at greater than 4/1 at home is certainly appealing as well.

Win, Draw-no-bet: Man Utd

Friday, October 29, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 10

Leicester v Arsenal - Home

Burnley v Brentford - Away

Liverpool v Brighton - Home

Man City v Crystal Palace - Home

Newcastle v Chelsea - Away

Watford v Southampton - Home

Tottenham v Man Utd - Away

Norwich v Leeds - Away

Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Wolves v Everton - Away


I see value going for some away matches this week-end. Brentford have been edged out in their last 2 encounters but have the quality to snatch points at Burnley. Chelsea go as firm favourites against lowly Newcastle even without their strikeforce of Lukaku and Werner. Mason Mount picked up the pieces last week-end and Havertz shouldn't be too far off taking the goalscoring duties. Man Utd are due an urgent win and they can rebound from their debacle against Liverpool by gaining at least a share of points at Spurs. They certainly have the quality to win the 3 points. Leeds should batter Norwich, which are as bad a horror-show this league has seen. If Biesla cannot get his team to win this match, something is going on at Elland Road and the Argentinian could be on his way out of there. Finally, I see Everton rebounding from their astonishing last defeat against Watford. It was so uncharacteristic to see a Benitez team outscored in the waning minutes in that fashion. The Toffees can outscore a Wolves side that has yet to hit top gear this season.

Win or Draw-no-bet: Brentford, Chelsea, Man Utd, Leeds, Everton


Friday, October 22, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 9

Chelsea v Norwich - Home

Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Home

Everton v Watford - Home

Leeds v Wolves - Home

Southampton v Burnley - Draw

Brighton v Man City - Away

Brentford v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Tottenham - Draw

Man Utd v Liverpool - Home


Man Utd are on an explatoratory phase at the moment and with positive results difficult to come by, the pressure is definitely on Solksjaer to turn things around asap. The press certainly exacerbates things but if history is to go by, I don't see Ole being fired any time soon unless the Red Devils stop winning at all. They have too much quality for their wretched form to continue for long. Arch-rivals Liverpool certainly would be more than happy to further the current turmoil at Old Trafford this Sunday. The Kops are in championship form at the moment, driven by a Mo Salah currently recognized as the current best player on the planet. His recent performances and goals have just been scintillating and he will be relishing exploring the defensive frailties of the hosts. But this is a local derby, a match between the fiercest rivals in English football and current form is not the major ingredient. It will be mostly a battle of wills and Man Utd will not be found wanting in this department. With McGuire back, the defence has gone and will get better. They have the firepower to trouble any defence and Liverpool has shown their defensive vulnerability in mid-week against Atletico Madrid. Liverpool will score but so will Man Utd. At current prices, I see value siding with the hosts as either a draw-no-bet or as an outright win.

Friday, October 15, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Weel 8

Watford v Liverpool - Away

Aston Villa v Wolves - Home

Leicester v Man Utd - Away

Man City v Burnley - Home

Norwich v Brighton - Away

Southampton v Leeds - Away

Brentford v Chelsea - Draw

Everton v West Ham - Draw

Newcastle v Spurs - Home

Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Home


Coach Ranieri starts his spell as Watford manager this week-end and it will be interesting if the legendary Italian can make the Hornets a first-half table team. Players are typically pumped up in a coach's first match, trying to make good first impressions but Watford have their work cut out for them against mighty Liverpool. The Kops are actually in a better position than I thought they would be at this time. I still think they don't have the depth in squad as compared to the rest of the top teams but with the likes of Salah playing out of his skin at the moment, they can keep the momentum going. I suspect the Kops can edge this one.

The pressure is on for Solksjaer at Man Utd as a series of defeats have allowed the skeptics to start crying foul. All the goodwill coming out of the Ronaldo homecoming seems to have evaporated. Worse for the Red Devils, they are missing their defensive central pair of McGuire and Varane to injury. That said, I think they still have the quality to win this match against the Foxes. Ronaldo can always score and it is only a matter of time that the parts start clicking. Leicester are in a spot of bother of their own, lying in the bottom half of the table; I actually thought they would be vying for the top places at this time but they have definitely gone a step backwards from the past couple of years. I don't think Man Utd will lose this match, so might be worth going with a draw-no-bet with them or an outright win might signify more rewards for a riskier punt. 



Saturday, October 2, 2021

Arc de Triomphe 100th edition - Superstar fillies against Godolphin colts

 The 100th edition of the Arc runs on Sunday. The greatest race in the world. And the field this year is one of the best assembled in recent times. Despite the impending heavy ground, it promises to be one for the ages. Here is my lowdown of each runner in this fabulous race.

Torquator Tasso - best middle distance horse from Germany. He will out-run his odds of 320/1 but will probably finish in the middle of the pack.

Deep Bond - Surprise winner of the Prix Niel. Hasn't won a Group 1 yet. His only chance to spring a surprise is that he shoots in front and his stamina allows him to successfully withstand challenges on heavy ground. 

Broome - Does not have the class to win this.

Tarnawa - Should be the deserved favourite to win this. Ticks on all boxes; form, distance, going, course, jockey. Will be at the finish.

Love - withdrawn.

Raabihah - Her outside post has complicated her already difficult task. Her trainer thinks she has no chance with that post. She will have to replicate her finish in last year's edition to have any chance. Hard to see her do it though.

Chrono Genesis - the best middle-distance horse from Japan. Has the class to win this but needs to overcome any Japanese curse prevailing in that race. If she's in her element on the heavy going, she can win this.

Mojo Star - looks destined for placings at best in top races. Can't see him winning this.

Baby Rider - not good enough for this.

Adayar - top-class Derby winner who also destroyed Mishriff and Love in the King George. Outside post might scupper his chances but looks set to be at the finish.

Hurricane Lane - other top-class colt from Godolphin. Will need to overcome the St Leger curse to win this. Should be able to perform on the ground but I fear he will run out of stamina in the heavy mud after his St Leger outing.

Sealiway - Might be good against French colts but not in this company.

Alenquer - One of the few who will relish the heavy going. He is a level short for this type of company though.

Bubble Gift - like other French colts, need a lot of luck to figure properly in this.

Snowfall - dark horse of the race. If the Snowfall of the Oaks turns up, she will win this. If that of the Vermeille shows up, she won't even place. She will love the heavy going.


In the end, it will be the Godolphin colts against the superstar fillies Tarnawa, Chrono Genesis and Snowfall. With the deluge that looks set to hit Longchamp, I have to side with the fillies that will glide on the surface. Tarnawa or Snowfall, make both of them your picks. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 7

 Man Utd v Everton - Draw

Burnley v Norwich - Home

Chelsea v Southampton - Home

Leeds v Watford - Home

Wolves v Newcastle - Draw

Brighton v Arsenal - Draw

Crystal Palace v Leicester - Draw

Tottenham v Aston Villa - Draw

West Ham v Brentford - Home

Liverpool v Man City - Home


I'm putting faith in 2 teams to finally win their first matches of the season this week-end. Burnley won't have a better chance to get their first by beating lowly Norwich and Leeds have enough in them to overcome visitors Watford.

Burnley almost snatched a first victory at Leicester last week. Sam Dyche's men seem unable to hold a favourable result and have had vicotry taken off their hands in a few occasions. It won't get any easier than against the Canaries. Burnley for the outright win.

Hard to believe that Leeds have yet to win their first match but truth be said that they haven't had an easy path so far having crossed swords with the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd, West Ham among others. Watford do not have a solid away form, having only won points at Norwich. Leeds were rather unlucky to lose to West Ham last week-end as they opened the scoring only to be downed by 2 second-half goals including the winner in stoppage time.  At current odds, it looks worthy to side with Biesla's men to finally get that first win of the campaign.

Friday, September 24, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 6

 Chelsea v Man Ciy - H

Man Utd v Aston Villa - H

Everton v Norwich - H

Leeds v West Ham - A

Leicester v Burnley - H

Watford v Newcastle - D

Brentford v Liverpool - A

Southampton v Wolves - H

Arsenal v Tottenham - D

Crystal Palace v Brighton - A


It's still early dibs but I've mentioned this before that I don't think that Man City will retain their title this year. Winning the Champions League will be their priority but more importantly, they don't have a No 9, having missed on one of the brightest of them all in Harry Kane. Getting Grealish was an excellent piece of business but he won't give you 20 goals in one season. And I believe we can have a good glimpse of how City's season will unfold in the coming weeks as they play Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool in succession. Without a striker, they look very vulnerable indeed.

Chelsea are currently favourites to take the baton from City and they have started the season in tremendous style and in an expected fashion. A Lukaku up-front that the Blues are enjoying is what Guardiola needs for the Citizens. No more reliance on Timo Werner and his misses. Tuchel is unbeaten in 4 matches against Guardiola since arriving at Stamford Bridge and I expect the unbeaten run to continue on Saturday. How the market is equally divided among the 2 just amazes me. At home, the Blues hold no fear and I see it worth going for the outright win in their favour.

Friday, September 17, 2021

EPL 2021/22 - Week 5

Wolves v Brentford - H

Burnley v Arsenal - H

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - H

Man City v Southampton - H

Norwich v Watford - A

Aston Villa v Everton - A

Brighton v Leicester - A

West Ham v Man Utd - D

Tottenham v Chelsea - A


Burnley have only 1 point to show for so far but their odds look prohibitively high against visiting Arsenal. I believe Dyche's men are a little unfortunate to be sitting next to the bottom of the table as they could easily have gathered a few more points from their opening matches. They are a tough team to beat on their best day and they should be hitting good form soon. Visiting Arsenal do not have much better form and I think Arteta's men are an out-of-sorts team at the moment. Forget that they are not the Arsenal team of old, they are much worse than even the worst Wenger teams. This does not look a team that is going anywhere and I wouldn't be surprised if Arteta is given the boot soon. I think it's worth siding with the home team here, either a straight win or a draw-no-bet; I just don't see Burnley losing this one.


Friday, September 10, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 4

Crystal Palace v Spurs - D

Arsenal v Norwich - H

Brentford v Brighton - D

Leicester v Man City - A

Man Utd v Newcastle - H

Southampton v West Ham - H

Watford v Wolves - A

Chelsea v Aston Villa - H

Leeds v Liverpool - A

Everton v Burnley - H


Amazing that Wolves haven't yet scored a league goal so far. They could easily have had at least 2 against Man Utd in their last match, including a miracle double-save from de Gea. The problem with the Wolves attack is that Jimenez has yet to regain his goal scoring touch before his accident, Trincao is full of trickery except scoring goals and Fabio Silva is just not good enough for this league. Adama Traore can bulldoze his way through everything but goal scoring is not yet his forte. That said, I find it hard to believe that they won't score against lowly Watford. All the ingredients are there for Wolves to get their first goal to get their season started. At current odds, I find them value to outright win this match although Watford might hold this match tight.

Ronaldo makes his first re-appearance as a Red Devil after 12 years and as mentioned before, he will improve them immensely. Once the goals start coming and the floodgates are opened, Man Utd will be a hard nut to crack. Their undoing last year was their poor form at Old Trafford but I expect them to rectify this record this season. Newcastle will be the first to feel the brunt of their new powerhouse attack on Saturday. I see this match as the first of many punts on the Red Devils this season.



Friday, August 27, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 3

Man City v Arsenal - H

Aston Villa v Brentford - H

Brighton v Everton - A

Newcastle v Southampton - D

Norwich v Leicester - A

West Ham v Crystal Palace - H

Liverpool v Chelsea - H

Burnley v Leeds - H

Tottenham v Watford - H

Wolves v Man Utd - A

My oh my! Ronaldo back home to Man Utd is just seismic news... This clearly changes the league dynamics as Man Utd have now been mightily boosted with a potential 30-goal scorer. His arrival will also boost everyone around to boost their game, Utd are definitely destined for some silverware this year. I think City have missed out big time not landing the Portuguese superstar. They need a big goal scorer and missing out on Ronaldo and Kane leaves a huge void up front. They almost need to scramble to get Haaland this year, it seems.

Man Utd should complete a fantastic week by going to beat Wolves at Molyneux. They dropped points at Southampton last week but the Saints are a difficult team to overcome for anyone. The Red Devils did well to come back after falling behind on a Fred own goal and should have won the match had Greenwood been more clinical with his header, one of the few areas he has room for considerable improvement. Pogba, Greenwood and Fernandes are firing on all cylinders at the moment and should prove too much for the hosts.

Man City totally outclassed Norwich last Sunday but Arsenal should provide a slightly more robust opposition. Guardiola's men can get away without a real number 9 against weak opponents but that won't do against the leading teams. Arsenal still need to find their feet at the moment and were comprehensively overwhelmed by Chelsea in their last match. Am pretty sure they won't concede 5 like the Canaries but I don't see them going away with a clean sheet as well. It's a good time to play the Gunners at the moment and it's a must 3-pointer for the Citizens.

Liverpool hosting Chelsea is the highlight of the week. Both teams have started well and can take the spoils. Lukaku has adjusted quickly to his new team and is only going to get better. Salah, Mane and Trent Arnold are clicking as they were a couple of years back. I have to give the advantage to the hosts here as Anfield will be jam packed. However, Chelsea are not easy to break down, so I expect this match to be decided by a goal at most. Orelse, a draw could be a likely income as well.


Friday, August 20, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 2

Liverpool v Burnley - Home

Aston Villa v Newcastle - Home

Crystal Palace v Brentford - Home

Leeds v Everton - Home

Man City v Norwich - Home

Brighton v Watford - Away

Southampton v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v Spurs - Home

Arsenal v Chelsea - Away

West Ham v Leicester - Draw


Man City missed their entrance last week-end going down at White Hart Lane. The Citizens are clearly missing a No 9 but they should have no problem overcoming minnows Norwich on Saturday. Mahrez and Sterling are expected to shine and get Guardiola's team back on track. They better do because Liverpool and Man Utd have started their season brightly.

I expect Liverpool to overcome Burnley as they look very settled with Van Dyke at the back and Salah is already hitting on all cylinders. Man Utd have a more arduous road trip at Southampton and it's a match they almost lost last year until they mounted a memorable second-half comeback thanks to the likes of Cavani and Fernandes. Any poor showing like their first half of last season might doom them this time, but with the quality they have shown last week, and with a Pogba that seems very interested, they might have too much firepower again for the hosts.

Chelsea sees the return of Lukaku and the Belgian might make the difference against the Gunners. A defeat here will certainly heap the pressure on Arteta who will be missing a few key players due to Covid. Chelsea are already rocking and Lukaku definitely improves them mightily in the striker department. The Blues should get even better with matches but they have the capacity to shell-shock the Gunners in this early-season London clash.

Friday, August 13, 2021

EPL 21/22 Predictions

Man Utd v Leeds - Home

Burnley v Brighton - Away

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home

Everton v Southampton - Away

Leicester v Wolves - Home

Watford v Aston Villa - Draw

Norwich v Liverpool - Away

Newcastle v West Ham - Draw

Tottenham v Man City - Draw


Welcome back to a new season of EPL that promises to be even better than the last one. The big teams have loaded up, it won't be a shoe-in for Man City as last season. Here are my thoughts on the main protagonists.

Man City are favourites to retain their title and have added Grealish to their arsenal. They are still gunning for Harry Kane and whether they succeed in that endeavour will determine their chances of trophies this year. There is no doubt that the Champions League will be the main objective together with the league, having come agonizingly close to capturing Europe's biggest club prize in May. They will play a leading role in the league again but I have a feeling they will not come out on top.

Man Utd have beefed up with the arrivals of Sancho and Varane during the off-season. Sancho is an amazing addition and the England winger adds potency and verve to an already talented attack. I am not so sure about Varane; sure, the French stalwart has won a lot of silverware but the jury will be out whether he can master the physical challenges of the Premier League. If he can form a formidable partnership with McGuire at the back, Man Utd will play a major role this season. Solksjaer needs some silverware to keep his job and the Red Devils better start strong orelse he could be gone prematurely.

Chelsea have done a fantastic business grabbing Lukaku this week. He assures them at least 20 goals this season and after the debacle with Werner, makes them a complete team. If Kante stays healthy, the Blues will be feared. In fact, I can only see them doing better than last year and at the present, make them my favourites to win the title. Tuchel has proven he can handle the EPL and will get this team in even better prosition this year. Watch for the Blues.

Liverpool are contenders again this year with a fully-fit backline. Their season tapered away last year after injuries decimated Van Dyke and his fellow defenders. My concern for them is that they haven't reinforced adequately during the off-season and are bound to lose some stalwarts. Wijnaldum is already gone. The Kops should finish in the top 4 but I think they will miss out winning the title.

Leicester will start strong and fade as usual.. Arsenal and Tottenham won't make the Champions League.

Win Title: Chelsea


Friday, July 2, 2021

Coral Eclipse 2021 - UK Group 1 in sight for Mishriff

With only 4 participants, quality, rather than quantity, is the name in this year's edition of the Coral Eclipse. Let's discard El Drama right away as there is no way that he is going to cause any drama playing a major role in this race.

Mishriff is the deserved favourite and holds a great chance to land a Group 1 in UK to add to his stellar resume. This horse has gone through a path that no other has trodden before; winner of a Group 1 in France in the French Derby, winner of the world's richest race and on dirt in Saudi Arabia and winner of the Scheema Classic in Dubai. Winning a Group 1 on dirt and on turf is really unheard of and Mishriff is really peer-less in this category. He did convincingly beat some of the best the USA had to offer on the dirt surface of Riyad and in Dubai he beat one of Japan's best in Chrono Genesis. So, his form is solid. Provided the group is not worse than soft on Saturday, he will be tough to beat.

Addeybb is a top-class horse and will relish the softish conditions. If it gets near heavy, he cannot be opposed. He won the Champion Stakes last year on heavy ground (beating Mishriff in the process) but he really made a name for himself by winning some Group 1's Down Under. Let's be clear here; Australia's midde-distance locals are an average lot compared to the Europeans and winning a Group 1 over here does not have the significance it has in Europe. Addeybb might be rated 3 pounds higher than Mishriff on the official scales but to me, Gosden's horse is on a different, higher level as long as the ground is not bottomless.

St Mark's Basilica is a dual French classic winner having bagged the French Guineas and Derby. He is clearly among the creme de la creme from Ballydoyle and will sport some advantage at the weights against the elderly competitors. He won both Classics on soft ground so the going at Sandown will not be a problem. I still think he's not seasoned enough to take on the above two, particularly Mishriff, but I expect him to give a good account of himself.

I cannot go against Mishriff here. 98 days since his last race might be a concern but he runs well fresh and his class should see him through.

Win: Mishriff