Saturday, January 16, 2021

Week 19 - EPL 2020/21


Wolves v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Brighton - Home

Wet Ham v Burnley - Draw

Fulham v Chelsea - Away

Leicester v Southampton - Home

Sheffield Utd v Spurs - Away

Liverpool v Man Utd - Draw

Man City v Crystal Palace - Home

Arsenal v Newcastle - Home

Spurs lost 2 precious points to Fulham in their mid-week match but their display showed that they are not far off top form. Korean superstar Son could have bagged a hat-trick in the first half with some luck. Their profligacy in front of goal eventually cost Mourinho'a men the win as the Cottagers tied in late in the game. The fact that Tottenham created enough winning chances convinces me that their machinery is well-oiled at the moment and should have enough in them to overcome the worst team in the league in Sheffield Utd. The Blades finally got their first win of the season, courtesy of a visit of hapless Newcastle. Spurs will be an entirely different proposition and the visitors will be distraught not to bag the 3 points there. They should win this.

Liverpool v Man Utd has usually been the match of the season for so many years and it is great to see the rivalry stoked up again with the recent revival of the Red Devils. The latter are the surprising leaders of the EPL at the moment and certainly have improvement into them. Whether that is enough to overcome the champions remains to be seen but Man Utd deserve some recognition going into the match. Although they are unbeaten on their travels so far in the league, I don't think they quite have what it takes to win at Anfield at the moment but they can certainly pick up a draw. This one should end either in a home win or draw, would be my take.

Win: Tottenham

Draw-no-bet: Liverpool

Thursday, December 31, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 17

Everton v West Ham - Draw

Man Utd v Aston Villa - Home

Tottenham v Leeds - Draw

Crystal Palace v Sheffield Utd - Away

Brighton v Wolves - Home

WBA v Arsenal - Away

Burnley v Fulham - Draw

Newcastle v Leicester - Away

Chelsea v Man City - Home

Southampton v Liverpool - Home

Wishing all readers a very Happy New Year 2021! 

Sheffield Utd have had a rotten start of season and will be hoping to turn over a new leaf over the new year. A visit to Crystal Palace might be the best place for them to get that all-elusive first win. The Blades have gone close over the past matches and you feel that they need that extra bit of luck to win something out of a match. The good news for them is that Palace have gotten in a rotten form as well and could be easier pickings than most. When Zaha is not firing, the Eagles don't seem to have enough in them to cause major problems in the attacking end. Lately, they've been shipping goals like crazy and it is worth looking at a visitor win at current market odds.

Win: Sheffield Utd

Monday, December 28, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 16

Brighton v Arsenal - Draw

Burnley v Sheffield Utd - Draw

Southamton v West Ham - Home

West Brom v Leeds - Away

Man Utd v Wolves - Home

Tottenham v Fulham - Home

Newcastle v Liverpool - Away

If there is a team that is scraping results these days, it's Wolves. Since the injury to star striker Raul Jimenez, they have been more involved into grinding out results than winning games convincingly. I don't expect them to be under pressure from the first minute at Old Trafford. The hosts are in rampant form and were it not for their nonchalant start to the season, they would be leaders of the EPL at the moment. Quite a shocking view for a team that has displayed quality of the highest standing to downright mediocre during Ole Gunnar's tenure as manager. But the arrival of Bruno Fernandes has really turned things around for the Red Devils. The Portuguese star is magically orchestrating things on the attacking end and with a steady defence, Man Utd can rival any team for 90 minutes. Despite their average home record so far, they should prove too strong for the visitors.

 Spurs have been lacking a step lately and it seems that they cannot fire without Kane and Son. The coming of strugglers Fulham should give the team a breather and get their title charge back on track. Whether Mourinho takes the opportunity playing a bottom-tier team to do some squad tinkering is questionable but what is clear is that getting 3 much needed points is the goal on order. Watch out for Kane and Son to work their telepathic magic again.

Win: Man Utd, Tottenham

Friday, December 25, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 15

Merry Xmas everyone! Hope you are thoroughly enjoying the festive period.

I will be brief this weekday. I think Leicester is a real steal at current odds at home to Man Utd. Truth be told, Man Utd are on an amazing roll on their away matches and are in surprise contention for the title despite multiple hiccups since the start of the season. Their away record has put them in seriously good stead. However, a few of those wins have been through the scrape of their necks and they will need more than good fortune at the King Power stadium. They do have the firepower to breach the meanest of defences but they are also vulnerable at the back. The fact that they have had to come from behind in many of their matches entitles one to think that they might very well run short on an unauspicious day. The Foxes are by no means push-overs and their second position in the league suggests that they are in for another strong season. They were masterful in getting an away win at Tottenham last week and with Vardy in rather blistering form, Rodgers' men are more than capable of causing problems to the visitors. I find them as strong draw-no-bet contenders and it won't be going too much outside of my comfort zone to go for the all home win at current prices.

Win: Leicester

Friday, December 18, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 14

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Away

Southampton v Man City - Home

Everton v Arsenal - Draw

Newcastle v Fulham - Home

Brighton v Sheffield Utd - Draw

Tottenham v Leicester - Home

Man Utd v Leeds - Away

West Brom v Aston Villa - Away

Burnley v Wolves - Home

Chelsea v West Ham - Draw

I will chance up with 2 away teams this week-end. I think Leeds have it in them to shock Man Utd at Old Trafford. I feel this is going to be a high-scoring affair and the Peacoks have proven they can outgun their opponents in such scenarios. They are masterfully coached by Biesla who will have done his homework as to how to overpower the erratic home defence. Man Utd have goals in them as well and they are certain to inflict serious damage with the likes of Rashford, Fernandes and the possible return to form of Martial. Tactics will definitely play a big role in this and in that sense giving the nod to the visitors does not seem too far off.

Aston Villa should have trounced Burnley a few days ago but were let down by a lack of luck and finishing in front of goal. They will face a very penetrable defence in West Brom although new manager Sam Allardyce will certainly put a priority in plugging the holes at the back. Villa play better on the road and this is a huge opportunity to get full points against a team that will be learning a completely new system under new management. I expect the Villains to edge this.

Win: Leeds, Aston Villa  

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 13

Arsenal v Southampton - Draw

Leeds v Newcastle - Home

Leicester v Everton - Draw

Fulham v Brighton - Draw

Liverpool v Tottenham - Home

West Ham v Crystal Palace - Home

Aston Villa v Burnley - Home

Sheffield Utd v Man Utd - Away

Some quick selcctions for this mid-week's array of fixtures. I see Aston Villa being too good for Burnley. Provided he's not still shell-shocked by his record and driving ban yesterday, I expect Grealish to play a major role in securing the win for Villa. Burnley were rather fortuituous to get the full points at ailing Arsenal but I don't expect their away vein of form to continue.

Sheffield Utd are in an absolutely horrible state at the moment and Man Utd will relish visiting the Blades. The Red Devils are capable of the best and worst but I still expect them to come up trumps at the end. With Cavani back, they have ample ammunition to do real damage to an out-of-sorts team like Sheffield Utd.

Win: Man Utd, Aston Villa

Friday, December 11, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 12

Wolves v Aston Villa - Away

Newcastle v West Brom - Away

Man Utd v Man City - Home

Everton v Chelsea - Home

Southampton v Sheffield Utd - Home

Crystal Palace v Tottenham - Away

Fulham v Liverpool - Away

Arsenal v Burnley - Home

Leicester v Brighton - Home

There are not many seasons where both Manchester teams are not playing major roles in the title charge but this year seems to be one of those years. Both have missed the start in racing terms and have ground to cover. Man Utd are reeling at the moment even though they have managed to squeeze out wins in their last few EPL matches. They have looked done and dusted at half-time in many of those matches only to roar back in the last 45 minutes. They have goals in them although Martial and Rashford have been excessively profligate in front of goal. Martial, in particular, is an out-of-sorts striker at the moment and the arrival of Cavani will help cover for the Frenchman's non-output. Man City look like they haven't yet hit full stride as well. The prolonged absence of Aguero up front has not helped as the Argentinian has always proven a source of crucial goals. But City will inevitably find their rhythm sooner than later and new players like Ferran are slotting nicely in Guardiola's setup. I feel the Red Devils will be playing with the most urgency here after their unceremonious dumping out of the UCL in mid-week. Manager Ole needs a convincing outing as job security and I expect his team to play a physical game that eventually lands them 3 points.

Spurs are on a roll at the moment and should be able to overcome inconsistent Palace at Selhurst Park. Son and Kane are forming an amazing duo at the moment and under the management of Mourinho, Spurs look set to continue leading the pack past this game week.

Win; Man Utd, Tottenham

Friday, December 4, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 11

Burnley v Everton - Away

Man City v Fulham - Home

West Ham v Man Utd - Home

Chelsea v Leeds - Draw

West Brom v Crystal Palace - Home

Sheffield Utd v Leicester - Away

Tottenham v Arsenal - Home

Liverpool v Wolves - Draw

Brighton v Southampton - Home

The Spurs against Gunners London derby is always an exciting one to follow every season and this year is no different. Tottenham have a few believers that this can finally be the year they lift the elusive Premier League trophy. They are in good form at the moment buoyed by the fantastic duo of Son and Kane. Adding Mourinho and Bale to the mix have added credence to their title tilt. I personally don't think they have the squad to do it, but if Liverpool and Man City keep faltering in the stretch, it might not be far-fetched. The Gunners have been in quite horrific form of late and Arteta's bubble seems to have burst. Much of their misfortunes seem to rest on Aubameyang not firing and no-one else is picking up the pieces. There's even clamour for forgotten man Ozil to make a return to change the fortunes of the club. I just cannot see the Gunners win this one. Mourinho is a master at getting away with at least a draw in those kinds of home encounters and I think they could very well edge this one for good measure. A home win is expected here.

Leicester are another team that looks to be on a rotten form. They were shockingly beaten at home by Fulham in last Monday's match. Then they got beaten in the Europa League in mid-week. However visiting the Blades is something they will welcome. The home team are still winless and have 9 of their 10 matches. I think there's a good reason to believe they will go under if they make no changes at the top. They are a pale reflection of the team they were last year where they had an awesome home record and making it hard for teams to break them down. Not this year, where something clearly has broken in their system. Vardy will relish this match and it should end up in an away win.

Win: Leicester, Tottenham

Friday, November 27, 2020

EPL 20/21 - Week 10


Brighton v Liverpool - Home

Man City v Burnley - Home

Everton v Leeds - Draw

WBA v Sheffield Utd - Home

Southampton v Man Utd - Home

Chelsea v Tottenham - Home

Arsenal v Wolves - Home

Leicester v Fulham - Home

West Ham v Aston Villa - Away

I see lots of home wins over the week-end. Man City and Leicester are obvious bankers. I think Chelsea will overcome Spurs. The Blues will have the benefit of an extra couple of days of rest from their European exertions than their opponents and this might give them the edge in what promises to be a physically demanding encounter. Spurs have done well of late and leading the charge at the top but I don't expect them to carry the form for long. At current odds, the hosts can be favoured to edge this match.

I also think it might be worth taking a flutter on Southampton as they entertain Man Utd. The hosts have good form and have a fighting spirit in them. They never give in until the final whistle. The problem with Man Utd is an over-reliance on Bruno Fernandes. If the Portuguese goes missing, hard to see who can pick up the pieces as Martial, Greenwood and Rashford are in terible form at the moment. The Red Devils can still nick this on their day but at current market prices, Southampon look good value to have a good go for the win.

Win: Southampton, Chelsea

Friday, November 20, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 9

Newcastle v Chelsea - Away

Aston Villa v Brighton - Home

Tottenham v Man City - Home

Man Utd v West Brom - Home

Fulham v Everton - Away

Sheffield Utd v West Ham - Home

Leeds v Arsenal - Draw

Liverpool v Leicester - Draw

Burnley v Crystal Palace - Away

Wolves v Southampton - Home

Everton is the team I have high hopes this week-end as they visit Fulham. After an electric start when they won their first 4 matches, the Toffees have now lost their last 3. I think they are due a win and a visit to strugglers Fulham is one of the best avenues to get back on track. During their losing streak, striker Calvert-Lewin has been on fire and I expect him to lead the charge big-time on Sunday. Cunning manager Ancelotti should have the right strategy to overcome any resistance from the home team.

Liverpool are in a spot of bother at the moment with injuries to defensive stalwarts Van Dijk, Gomez and Alexander-Arnold and star man Salah to mention a few. Dangerous Leicester are coming for a visit at Anfield and will really be looking to take the spoils here. Vardy will be relishing this clash and it won't be a surprise if the Foxes striker bags a few against the Kop's diminished defence. Manager Rodgers will be up against his old team and it will no surprise if the visitors edge this encounter or come away with a point. A draw-no-bet or outright win on Leicester can be rewarding.

Win: Everton

Draw-no-bet: Leicester

Friday, November 6, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 8

Everton v Man Utd - Home

Crystal Palace v Leeds - Draw

Chelsea v Sheffield Utd - Draw

West Ham v Fulham - Home

WBA v Tottenham - Away

Leicester v Wolves - Home

Man City v Liverpool - Home

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Home

A big, big 6-point match this week-end between the 2 main protagonists for the title for many; it's Man City v Liverpool at the Etihad. Neither team is rolling at full-steam at the moment and are edging encounters by the scruff of their necks. Without any fuss, I will side with the hosts here. The Kops always have a hard time when they visit the Citizens and will miss talismanic lynchpin Van Dyke at the back. Newcomer Jota has bailed them in their past few matches but getting a result against Guardiola's team without the Dutch star looks like a tough mountain to climb. A home win will put City back in the race.

I think Sheffield Utd can go get a result at Stamford Bridge. The Blades have had encouraging results lately after a dreadful start to the season. They were edged against Livepool after taking the lead and they were one-nil losers to big guns City last week. A strong defensive display against Chelsea can help them snatch at least a point; the Blues are alternating see-saw results at the moment and might not be at full fitness after a Champions League outing in mid-week. The Blades look good value at current market odds for win and draw-no-bet.

Win: Man City

Win or Draw-no-bet: Sheffield Utd

Friday, October 30, 2020

EPL 2020/32 - Week 7

Sheffield Utd v Man City - Away

Burnley v Chelsea - Away

Liverpool v West Ham - Home

Aston Villa v Southampton - Away

Newcastle v Everton - Away

Man Utd v Arsenal - Draw

Tottenham v Brighton - Home

Fulham v West Brom - Home

Leeds v Leicester - Away

Man City should start getting on a good roll if they are to keep their title challenge live. The Citizens have hardly blazed out all firing out of the starting gates and have to start accumulating full points to keep up with rivals Liverpool. Going to Sheffield Utd presents Guardiola's men to start a winning sequence; the home team are struggling and look set for a relegation battle this year if their results don't improve. The Blades will need a repeat last week's performance at Anfield where they almost snatched a point but their main problem is that they are not banging enough goals upfront. This lack of firepower will be detrimental against a City side that has the potential to go rampant against the toughest of defences; the Citizens are hard to be out-scored. Looks like a definite away win.

I expect a close match between Man Utd and Arsenal. Both teams played and won in mid-week and will be keen not to lose this one. The Red Devils found it hard to break down a vulnerable Chelsea side last week and Arsenal are proving a resilient team under Arteta. I expect this match to be determined by the odd goal if there is to be a winner, but a draw looks very much in the cards.

Win: Man City

Draw: Man Utd/Arsenal 

Friday, October 23, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 6

West Ham v Man City - Away

Fulham v Crystal Palace - Home

Man Utd v Chelsea - Home

Liverpool v Sheffield Utd - Home

Southampton v Everton - Away

Wolves v Newcastle - Home

Arsenal v Leicester - Home

Brighton v WBA - Home

Burnley v Tottenham - Away

Spurs are a team on a roll and they should have no trouble dispensing of struggling Burnley this game week. They lost 2 glaring points against West Ham last week-end, throwing away a 3-goal lead but rebounded well in midweek in their Europa excursion. Kane and Son are on fire and with Bale now in the mix, Spurs certainly have one of the most potent attacks in Europe. I mentioned before that Burnley are going to struggle this season unless they make massive reinforcements but these are not due anytime soon. Spurs should win this comfortably.

I think Fulham might finally get the win they crave as Crystal Palace come for a visit. The problem currently for the Cottagers is that they do not score enough but they seem to have done some good business during the transfer window and got an encouraging draw last week at Sheffield Utd. The visitors alter the good and the bad and depend heavily on star man Zaha for their good fortunes. If he is shackled, they become a bottom-tier team. This is a match home manager Parker will feel is up for the taking and at current odds, sound like a good win value proposition.

Win: Fulham/Tottenham  

Friday, October 16, 2020

EP 2020/21 - Week 5

Everton v Liverpool - Home

Chelsea v Southampton - Draw

Man City v Arsenal - Home

Newcastle v Man Utd - Draw

Sheffield Utd v Fulham - Home

Crystal Palace v Brighton - Away

Tottenham v West Ham - Home

Leicester v Aston Villa - Home

West Brom v Burnley - Home

Leeds v Wolves - Home

If there is one team that I think will do terrible in the coming weeks, at least before the January transfer window, is Burnley. The Clarets are 0-3 so far and things don't look to be improving soon following a rash of injuries and more importantly because of their ineptitude in the last transfer window. This is a seriously banged up team at the moment and other teams will relish to play them as they stand. West Brom have just garnered a point so far, albeit in a rather sensational match where they were leading 3-nil against Chelsea at half-time. Clearly the Baggies can score but they also have one of the most porous defences in the league. It's a big opportunity for them to bag up 3 full points against Sam Dyche's ailing team and I think they will take it.

Liverpool have crushed the life out of their Merseyside rivals Everton in recent years but tomorrow's derby might prove a different storyline. The Toffees are leading at the top of the table thanks to an unbeaten 4-game run. The turnaround in Everton's fortunes can be boiled down to 2 main factors; the arrival of Ancelloti and the renewed confidence up-front of Calvert-Lewin. The hosts won't be fazed by all the usual razzmatazz from rivals Liverpool who have been used to rolling over all lately. I can see an Everton win here, considering that the Kops are not in full gear yet.

Win: Everton, WBA

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Arc de Triomphe - History beckons for Enable

It seems the racing gods are with Enable. The heavy rains got rid of Love, the one many thought would scupper her aim for a 3rd Arc. Then, the race suffered the defections of the rest of the Ballydoyle contingent because of a feed problem! No Serpentine, Mogul, Japan or Sovereign to deal with. So what is left in the field that can potentially derail the Queen of the turf?

For that you need to find a true mud lark that will relish the heavy going of ParisLongchamp on Sunday. I cannot find any in the field. Sure, there are a few that have won on soft ground but beating Enable would require a specialist of heaving conditions. Persian King? Does not have the distance and will absolutely hate the ground. Royal Julius, Way to Paris, Gold Trip, Chachnak? Not good enough at this level. Deidre? Will not love the conditions and seems past her peak. Raabihah? Unproven on the ground and was not quite good enough to beat a respectable but no superstar Tarnawa.

This leaves In Swoop, Sottsass and Stradivarius as viable challengers. In Swoop is the German Derby winner who seems to love softish conditions. He was second to Mogul in the Grand Prix de Paris and being a 3-year old, will get some weight allowance in relation to the older generation. It's not certain he can be a force at this level but he has claims for a Top 4 finish.

Sottsass has disappointed me this year. He has won only one of this four races and his win was also not the most convincing. He finished around a length from Enable in last year's Arc and if he can reproduce that form, he can be a major force at the finish. He hit the line well in his last race against the likes of Ghaiyyath and Magical, suggesting maybe that he was coming to peak. He will need it if he is to beat Enable.

Stradivarius has been a splendid out and out stayer all this life and has shown stunning speed at a mile and a half in his career redirection. With some luck, he can certainly win at the distance at the highest level. The son of Sea the Stars is all heart and it seems the heavy going will play to his strength as he is the one with the least stamina concern. I expect him to fly at the finish as many in the field struggle to arrive home. He has won on soft going before so he should handle the conditions better than most.

Enable isn't as good a racehorse as last year according to John Gosden. It's understandable that she is past her zenith of her 5-year old season. But she has still proven an awesome force in her last couple of races and shown enough to suggest that she is near enough her best to win a top race like this. Her tactical speed means that she will be well placed throughout to produce a final flourish. She was beaten tactically in the straight last year and provided Frankie Dettori is not caught unawares again, he is still the best jockey to be on board. The heart hopes she wins, the mind thinks she will win in front of stable-mate Stradivarius.

Win: Enable

Place: Stradivarius, Sottsass