Friday, November 8, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 12

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home
Burnley v West Ham - Home
Newcastle v Bournemouth - Draw
Southampton v Everton - Draw
Tottenham v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Leicester v Arsenal - Home
Man Utd v Brighton - Home
Wolves v Aston Villa - Draw
Liverpool v Man City - Home

This is match of the season so far as Liverpool host Man City at Anfield. It is hard to argue against the point that the Kops are about to bring home the title that has eluded them for years. They seem to have the resilience, hunger and the team to finally claim top honours, something they have come oh-so close to achieve in recent years. The season still has a long way to go and there will be ebbs and flows but at the moment, everything seems to be going the Kops' way. Victory over their main and only challengers Man City will further kick them off in their title quest.

Man City can be mesmerizing on their best day; simply the best team in football. However, they can have their off-days and drop seemingly easy points. An off-day on Sunday against Liverpool will be fatal. Klopp's men are in unforgivable mood at the moment and they are never out until the final whistle. Shades of the great Man Utd teams under Sir Alex Ferguson or the Liverpool of the 80's! On paper, Guardiola's men are superior but the drive and hunger will be on the other side. It is hard to see the hosts losing this and I think they are very capable of winning all 3 points and opening a decisive gap at the top.

Leicester are on a roll and Arsenal are a team in doubt at the moment. This makes them very vulnerable against the likes of Vardy, Perez and Tielermans. Clearly, the coming of manager Rodgers last year has had a positive impact on the team and although I don't expect them to win the Premiership as they did a few years ago, the Foxes have a legitimate shot at a top 4 finish. At current prices, they are value to bag full points against Arsenal.


Win: Liverpool, Leicester

Friday, November 1, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 11


Bournemouth v Man Utd - Away
Arsenal v Wolves - Home
Aston Villa v Liverpool - Away
Brighton v Norwich - Draw
Man City v Southampton - Home
Sheffield Utd v Burnley - Home
West Ham v Newcastle - Home
Watford v Chelsea - Away
Crystal Palace v Leicester - Away
Everton v Tottenham - Home

The return of Anthony Martial from injury seems to have given Man Utd the wind in their sails that they badly needed to recover from their horrendous start to the season. The French striker can score but is also a perfect foil for Marcus Rashford, who has regained his goal scoring touch since Martial's return. The renewed confidence in the squad in general gives the Red Devils a good opportunity to grab another full points as they visit a Bournemouth side that has fired blanks in four of their last 5 matches. Dean Court has been proven a tough ground for the Mancunians in recent years and they were just able to squeeze out a win in injury time in last year's visit. I expect them to do the same again on Saturday.

Sheffield Utd are proving very resilient at home as Arsenal will have witnessed a couple of weeks ago. It would not be surprising if they overcome visiting Burnley. The visitors are not overly strong on the road although they have managed to squeeze out a few draws. This is bound to be a low-score affair, and at market prices, it might be worth going with the home team for the outright win.

Win: Man Utd, Sheffield Utd

Friday, October 25, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 10

Man City v Aston Villa - Home
Brighton v Everton - Home
Watford v Bournemouth - Draw
West Ham v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Burnley v Chelsea - Home
Newcastle v Wolves - Home
Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Draw
Liverpool v Tottenham - Home
Norwich v Man Utd - Draw

Chelsea have been in excellent form of late and I feel they could come crashing back to earth when they visit Burnley. There is a resilence with Frank Lampard's team as they equally capable of keeping score with any team or keep matches very close-knit and make the difference late on. However, this team is still being molded and nowhere near the finishing product the new manager expects it to be. They are bound to falter at various stages and going to Burnley is definitely a shaky ground for any team. Sean Dyche has made a semi-fortress out of Turf Moor in the last few years where visiting teams that have escaped with the win have done so through sheer hard sweat. Chelsea are coming back from a tough mid-week UCL league match at Ajax and I feel the Clarets can take advantage of their freshness advantage.This match might be decided by the odd goal but it is more likely to come from the home team.

I also like Brighton's chances against Everton. If the Seagulls are to stay alive in the EPL, they will have to garner as many points as possible at home. Everton have under-performed since the start of the season and have yet to win on the road. They have talented individuals that are simply not gelling as part of a team. It seems manager Marco Silva is at pains to get the team rolling and another defeat here will definitely make his position untenable. There is every likelihood that Brighton will get on the scoreboard but the same cannot be said of the Toffees. Which is why a home win is very likely.

Win: Brighton, Burnley

Friday, October 18, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 9

Everton v West Ham - Draw
Bournemouth v Norwich - Home
Aston Villa v Brighton - Home
Chelsea v Newcastle - Home
Leicester v Burnley - Home
Tottenham v Watford - Home
Wolves v Southampton - Draw
Crystal Palace v Man City - Away
Man Utd v Liverpool - Draw
Sheffield Utd v Arsenal - Home

Bournemouth are giving a noble push for a top 10 place this year and they look to be a well-balanced team that will cause problems to any team they play. The arrival of lowly Norwich should provide Eddie Howe's another bagful of points to secure their place in the top half of the table. It seems to have been too much to expect from Norwich's striker Pukki after his explosive start to life in the EPL. He has been relatively quiet in the last few matches and unless he can pick pick up his form, the Canaries look well stuck in the relegation zone. The Cherries should have too much in attack for the visitors.

Leicester are in the top 4 and have strong form at home. They should prove too hot to handle for visiting Burnley. The only question mark on the home side will be Vardy's disposition as the striker will have been affected, under no doubt, by the on-going off-field antics involving Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney. Provided Vardy's head will be firmly on scoring in this match, the Foxes should bag the full points.

Finally, Spurs are due to pick up from their rotten form. Goalkeeper Lloris is gone injured for a long time but this team has enough quality in them to start picking up the pieces and find their way to the top 6 at least. Kane cannot stop scoring and if the likes of Ericksen can put away off-field distractions, Pochettino can get his squad back to winning ways. The urgency is there for them to beat Watford and I believe they will.

Win: Bournemouth, Leicester, Tottenham

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Arc de Triomphe 2019 - Immortality beckons for Enable

All eyes will be on Enable at ParisLongchamp on Sunday as she attempts to be the first triple winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Winning the most prestigious prize in Europe twice is a feat in itself that only a few have achieved; landing it 3 times would crown the daughter of Nathaniel the greatest winner of the race and arguably the greatest filly that ever ran.

There are no more adjectives to qualify Enable. She is in Frankel-esque territory, having won 13 out of 14 outings, crushing the opposition in many of them. She even did better than Frankel by winning outside of Britain by conquering France and the US. She is peer-less and it would take circumstances or an exceptional run by another horse to beat her on Sunday. Circumstances like the predicted heavy going might dent her customary acceleration but it is only a slight worry as she should tackle that kind of ground better than most.

The biggest dangers are likely to come from the 3-year old colts Sottsass and Japan. The former is the best colt coming from France and the convincing winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Niel, both big references for the Arc. The son of Siyouni has an excellent burst of acceleration and coming out of stall 1 should have him well placed as long as he does not get stuck in throughout.

Japan is the best 3-year old middle-distance colt coming from Britain. He won the Grand Prix de Paris in style and trainer Aidan O'Brien will certainly have him in optimum form come race day. There seems to be an air of confidence from the Ballydoyle camp. Both him and Sottsass will enjoy a 3-pound alleviation against the older brigade and I expect both to be very close at the finish.

The rest of the field is mainly noise in my opinion. Waldgeist is a moderate Group 1 performer that has shown his limits. Ghaiyyath is the dark horse of the race in that he can run an explosive race as well as run a stinker. I don't think he will relish the heavy ground and coming out of outside stall 12 won't give him much of a chance to dictate matters up front.

Enable should take all the beating in her unprecedented quest. As long as she has a clear run and there are no shenanigans going on during the race, she looks top notch to land the greatest treble in horse racing.

Win: Enable
Place: Sottsass, Japan

Friday, October 4, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week8

Brighton v Tottenham - Home
Burnley v Everton - Home
Liverpool v Leicester - Draw
Norwich v Aston Villa - Home
Watford v Sheffied Utd - Draw
West Ham v Crystal Palace - Home
Arsenal v Bournemouth - Away
Man City v Wolves - Home
Southampton v Chelsea - Away
Newcastle v Man Utd - Draw

Here's a drab draw I can think of this week-end; Newcastle v Man Utd. Both teams are dreadful in attack and have difficulty finding the net. If this game is to be won by either, it looks like it would be by the slightest margin. A draw looks very enticing though.

West Ham have found a firm footing under Pellegrini and I expect them to continue their fine form as they host Crystal Palace. One positive for the Hammers this year has been the return of Yarmalenko, who suffered a horrendous injury and long layoff last season. The Ukrainian has been on fire since the start and playing with great confidence. I expect them to enjoy the home advantage and edge the Eagles.

Bournemouth can have arguments for a value away punt as they visit Arsenal. I think the Gunners have rode some luck in their last league matches and are prone for a coming upset. The visiting Cherries have the strike force to bang in the goals and could edge a high-scoring affair at the Emirates.

Win: Bournemouth, West Ham
Draw: Man Utd/Newcastle

Friday, September 27, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 7

Sheffield Utd v Liverpool - Away
Bournemouth v West Ham - Draw
Aston Villa v Burnley - Away
Chelsea v Brighton - Home
Crystal Palace v Norwich - Home
Tottenham v Southampton - Home
Wolves v Watford - Draw
Everton v Man City - Away
Leicester v Newcastle - Home
Man Utd v Arsenal - Away

We knew the title would again be between Man City and Liverpool at the start of the season but what is obvious is that these 2 teams are totally crushing all before them and even the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham look vastly inferior to those 2. I expect Man City to recover from their blip at Norwich a couple of weeks ago and get onto a serious winning run. It will be interesting to see how far the Kops can maintain their own winning streak to match the champions.

Man Utd v Arsenal used to be a prime fixture not so long ago but Monday's match certainly won't crown the future champion. I thought the Red Devils were terrible in the off-season not to replace Lukaku and with the injury to Rashford, are left with no proven striker up front. Sure, Greenwood looks a wonderful talent but a 17-year old cannot hope to bag in goals a la Kane or Lukaku. I feel this is Arsenal's opportunity to snatch full points here and although the Gunners themselves have suspect form, they should be able to get away from Old Trafford with at least a point.

Spurs are on a rotten form and if papers have any inkling of truth in them, Pochettino looks unsettled over there. Whether that is the case or not, I expect that team to recover their form quickly and they will relish the coming of the Saints at home. I still believe the latter will falter down the stretch towards relegation trouble and Spurs must surely be scoring full points in this match.

Win: Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham
Draw-no-bet: Arsenal

Saturday, September 14, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 5

Brighton v Burnley - Home
Man Utd v Leicester - Home
Sheffield Utd - Southampton - Home
Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home
Wolves v Chelsea - Draw
Norwich v Man City - Away
Bournemouth v Everton - Draw
Watford v Arsenal - Home
Aston Villa v West Ham - Home

Sheffield Utd are showing pretty decent form since the start of the season and the way that they succeeded a precious point at Stamford Bridge in their last match would have given them hope that they can be competitive , particularly on the road. For them to maintain their Premiership hopes, they will have to maximize points at home, and this week they have ample opportunity for full points as they host Southampton. I think the Saints will face relegation battle this year and unless things change dramatically for the better in their squad or management, they will be ripe to be taken on. The hosts here are fancied for the straight win.

Although they have had an average start to their season, Wolves are a tough nut to track at home and Lampard's men are in for a rough outing against Santo's team. The Chelsea manager is still in the process of imposing his style to the team and the new faces he's brought in will have to go through their baptism of fire. They look vulnerable on this trip and I believe getting Wolves on a straight win or on a draw-no-bet could very well be rewarding.

Win: Wolves, Sheffield Utd



Friday, August 30, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 4

Southampton v Man Utd - Away
Chelsea v Sheffield Utd - Home
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Bournemouth - Home
Man City v Brighton - Home
Newcastle v Watford - Draw
West Ham v Norwich - Draw
Burnley v Liverpool - Away
Everton v Wolves - Home
Arsenal v Tottenham - Home

Since their teetering start against Aston Villa on weekday 1, Spurs have shown that they are nowhere near hitting top form at the moment. It seems they are still hung over from their Champions League final defeat. I expect them to eventually pick things up but their away match at arch-rivals Arsenal does not bode well for helping their recovery. The Gunners are a tough beast at home and with North London derby bragging rights on the line, I expect them to take full home field advantage and inflict Spurs another defeat.

It's hard to comprehend Man Utd's decision to loan Sanchez to Inter. Sure, money was a factor but the loss of the Chilean leaves them with a lack of potency up front. Greenwood might be a talent but an unproven one. Seriously, I think Utd will be seriously lacking in goals until they bring in some fresh proven blood in attack. I still expect them to eke out a win at Southampton on the early Saturday kick-off.

Win: Arsenal / Man Utd / Man City


Thursday, August 22, 2019

EPL2019/20 -Week 3

Aston Villa v Everton - Away
Norwich v Chelsea - Home
Brighton v Soton - Home
Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home
Sheffield Utd v Leicester - Draw
Watford v West Ham - Away
Liverpool v Arsenal - Home
Bournemouth v Man City - Away
Tottenham v Newcastle - Home
Wolves v Burnley - Home

A quick rundown of this coming week-end's predictions up there. Particularly keen on wins by Liverpool and Brighton which seem the best value plays. Going for longshots Norwich and and West Ham might be rewarding as well. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 2

Arsenal v Burnley - Home
Aston Villa v Bournemouth - Away
Brighton v West Ham - Home
Everton v Watford - Home
Norwich v Newcastle - Home
Southampton v Liverpool - Away
Man City v Tottenham - Home
Sheffield Utd v Crystal Palace - Home
Chelsea v Leicester - Draw
Wolves v Man Utd - Draw

Liverpool might feel the tiredness out of their mid-week Super Cup win but they should have enough in the tank to overcome Southampton. If they are to beat Man City to the title, they cannot afford to lose any points to the likes of Soton and Jurgen Klopp will have instilled that into the players' heads.

Spurs were arguably lucky to bag full points against Villa on opening day and I cannot see them riding their luck against Man City. Sterling is truly becoming a superstar and the Citizens are firing on all cylinders at the moment. They should win this handily.

Everton had chances to beat Crystal Palace last week but were their profligacy in front of goal cost them the win. They are tipped to make amends as they host a Watford team that demonstrated many defensive weaknesses in their home drubbing at the hands of Brighton. Watch out for Richarlison to be on the scoresheet in this one.

Win: Man City, Liverpool, Everton



Thursday, August 8, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 1

Liverpool v Norwich - Home
West Ham v Man City - Away
Bournemouth v Sheffield Utd - Home
Burnley v Southampton - Home
Crystal Palace v Everton - Away
Watford v Brighton - Home
Tottenham v Aston Villa - Home
Leicester v Wolves - Away
Newcastle v Arsenal - Away
Man Utd v Chelsea - Home


Here we go again for another promising EPL season. It certainly looks that Man City and Liverpool will battle it out again for supremacy. They are the 2 best teams in the league by far and it would be far-reaching to look beyond these 2. You'd expect them to have improved over last year while there are big question marks regarding the other challengers. Man Utd are rebuilding, Chelsea are starting the Lampard era while both Spurs and Arsenal don't seem to have reinforced much. 

Everton have been busy bees during the transfer season and I expect them to perform relatively well this year. They look good enough for a Europa league spot. It is incoming striker Moise Kean who will be the object of much scrutiny, the Italian coming from champions Juventus of Serie A. So the Toffees look good value to make a potent impact while visiting Crystal Palace on opening day. The Eagles have retained Zaha against his wishes and that looks definitely a negative move that will backfire.

Liverpool should start the season with a bang as they entertain newcomers Norwich. So should Spurs against the Villains. Man Utd against Chelsea is the match of the week-end and I favour the hosts to edge this one. Chelsea will be a diminished team this year without Hazard. 

Win: Liverpool, Everton, Man Utd

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Goodwood Sussex Stakes 2019 - A Darn Hot contest

John Gosden and Franco Dettori are having a sizzling hot summer with their superstars and the trend looks set to continue when Too Darn Hot lines up for the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. The juvenile champion seems to be back to his best after having been mismanaged in the early part of the season. The easy course mile looks very well within his compass and looks good value for the win at odds against.

The rest of the field are no slouch, with the likes of Phoenix of Spain, Lord Glitters and Circus Maximus but if the son of Dubawi has maintained the form of his Jean Prat win a few weeks ago, he should have fear of no one.

Win: Too Darn Hot
Value Place: Lord Glitters


Monday, July 29, 2019

Goodwood Cup Stakes - Who can stop Stradivarius ?


Stradivarius is the turf king stayer and is the overwhelming favourite to repeat in the Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup. The son of Sea the Stars is unbeaten in his past 7 outings, a winning run that has spanned the last 18 months! This handsome colt relishes top of the ground to unwind his powerful finishing kick and it is quite a worry from connections that the probable rain forecast could mix the cards come race time.

The main danger to Stradivarius appears to be Cross Counter, the Melbourne Cup winner. Beaten convincingly albeit not too far off in the Gold Cup, the son of Teofilo will certainly prefer the shorter 2 mile distance. Being the course holder of the mile and half distance, he will certainly not find the tricky Goodwood course a problem, an issue that some others in the field might find hard to tackle. This race represents Cross Counter's best shot of gunning down Stradivarius.

Out of the above two, Dee Ex Bee represents the best form and could try to take the spoils going tactically up front.

Hard to go against Stradivarius here even at odds against. An exacta with Cross Counter, an a trifecta with Dee Ex Bee look to be the best value plays.

Win: Stradivarius
Place: Cross Counter
Exacta: Stradivarius/Cross Counter
Trifecta: Stradivarius/Cross Counter/Dee Ex Bee

Friday, June 21, 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 - Day 5

Godolphin, or more precisely Charlie Appleby, hold a strong hand on the last day at Ascot.

Pinatubo and Space Blues are among the market leaders in the first 2 races and it seems they will battle it out with the Ballydoyle contingent for the win. Blue Point has an outstanding chance of doing a 'Choisir' and be a dual winner of the Royal meeting but the main question is whether 4 days rest is enough for him.

Masar is an intriguing favourite in the Hardwicke Stakes. The Derby winner is making his seasonal return after over a year on the sidelines and the vibes from the connections could not be more positive. It is however certain that the son of New Approach will not be at the peak of his powers and will need the run. His class might be enough to get him through but there are a few others that might give him a race.

Defoe was the surprise winner of the Coronation Cup. The son of Dalakhani looked to have lost his way over the past year but seemed to have regained his form when winning convincingly at Epsom on Derby day. If he reproduces that form, he can be considered a major player.

Salouen can be a danger if the ground stays soft but his chances will evaporate as it gets drier.

Lah Ti Dar was a major disappointment in the Coronation Cup as I expected her to be among the main protagonists. The connections believe she did not like the cambers of Epsom. If that is the case, then she might be ripe for redemption at Ascot. There is still a doubt though about her; maybe she is not as good as what she let transpired early in her career.

Mirage Dancer is the dark horse of the race and without a doubt the best-bred as well. There cannot be many pedigrees beating the blood of Frankel and Heat Haze in the stud book! He comfortably won at the distance in his seasonal return and seems to be on an upward curve. Trainer Michael Stoute is a master at getting these older horses right and quite interestingly won the race last year with Crystal Ocean.

Lastly, Southern Image seems to be well backed on the basis of his last race where he went toe to toe with Stradivarius. I feel the 12 furlong distance might be somewhat too sharp for him.

If Masar comes out firing on most cylinders, he very well could win this. I see him petering out in the last furlong or so. At current odds, there might be value taking confidence in Mirage Dancer as an each-way prospect.

Each-way: Mirage Dancer