Friday, January 21, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 23

 Everton v Aston Villa - Away

Brentford v Wolves - Draw

Leeds v Newcastle - Away

Man Utd v West Ham - Home

Southampton v Man City - Draw

Arsenal v Burnley - Home

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Away

Leicester v Brighton - Home

Chelsea v Tottenham - Home

Rafa Benitez is out at Everton after the shortest-ever tenure as manager. He started the season well but a long string of winless matches sealed the Spaniard's fate. It is time to pounce against the Toffees as they are manager-less and Villa should go to Goodison Park with full guns blazing. Although he's already been heralded a managerial success, I think the jury is still out on Gerrard as manager. Who cares he won the title in Scotland? Any third-tier manager would win it either with Rangers or Celtic. Truth be said, Gerrard has started well at Villa and given his Kop background, he will need no motivation to pile on the Toffees' current misery. Villa should dominate proceedings from start to finish.

Win: Aston Villa

Friday, December 31, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 21

 Arsenal v Man City - Draw

Watford v Spurs - Away

Crystal Palace v West Ham - Away

Brentford v Aston Villa - Away

Everton v Brighton - Home

Leeds v Burnley - Draw

Southampton v Newcastle - Away

Chelsea v Liverpool - Home

Man Utd v Wolves - Draw

Happy New Year 2022!! Wish it to be very healthy and prosperous to all!

This new year starts with a bang with a monster clash between title chasers Chelsea and Liverpool. It seems that Man City has it all sewn up, so would many believe. But their 8 point lead is certainly not unsurmountable and the afore-mentioned above are the likeliest to offer the fiercest opposition. Chelsea have lost pace lately and their late abdication against Brighton in what looked like a sure 3 points have definitely dampened the mood at Stamford Bridge. They might live to regret those 2 lost precious points in the end. The return of Lukaku at the front gives them an extra edge although it is hard to make any sense of the striker's recent media outburst regarding his situation in London. The guy announced it was his dream to be back at the Bridge on his return a few months back, yet he is now whining about never wanting to leave Inter. It's an understandable wtf-wtf from the Blues fan-base. As long as he delivers on the pitch, I guess no-one would really care what is wired in his head. Liverpool have also lost a step lately, losing to Leicester in their last match, one in which they had ample chances to close and keep pace at the top. Their profligacy in front of goal, including a missed penalty was their undoing and they might live to regret these lost points. This will be Salah's last match before heading to the African Cup and it will be interesting to see if he can go out with a flourish. His level of form has slipped slightly in the recent matches, which is why I give the Blues a slight advantage in this encounter. I think they will be the hungrier team, and certainly the more dangerous one at home with an unleashed Lukaku up front. Siding with an outright Blues win could be rewarding here.

Win: Chelsea

Sunday, December 26, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 19

 Man City v Leicester - Home

Norwich v Arsenal - Away

Tottenham v Crystal Palace - Home

West Ham v Southampton - Home

Aston Villa v Chelsea - Away

Brighton v Brentford - Draw

Newcatle v Man Utd - Away

It sure hasn't been fun seeing the growing round of matches being cancelled lately and having clubs playing with decimated squads definitely has an incidence on results. Matches are kicking off in less than half-hour so I will lay out some quick pick here. Man City should continue on their title-winning form by overcoming Leicester. The Foxes have been out-of-sorts for a while now and I cannot see them getting anything from this trip. Arsenal are on a good roll and should be able to overcome lowly Norwich. I really like Spurs chances against visiting Palace, who will be without manager Viera for the match. Son and Kane have been clicking well lately with the arrival of Conte and I see them winning this match hands-down. Finally, I see Man Utd starting an unbeaten sequence as they visit relegation-threatened Newcastle. The vibes look positive with interim manager Rangnick but the Red Devils will need to translate it on the pitch. 

Win: Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 17

Norwich v Aston Villa - Away

Man City v Leeds - Home

Brighton v Wolves - Draw

Burnley v Watford - Away

Crystal Palace v Southampton - Home

Arsenal v West Ham - Draw

Leicester v Tottenham - Home

Chelsea v Everton - Home

Liverpool v Newcastle - Home

David Moyes did a fantastic job at West Ham last season and if anyone thought that was a fluke or a on-off, think again because the Hammers are doing even better this year sitting in 4th spot ahead the likes of Man Utd and Arsenal. They have proven a tough team to break down even for the top teams. And they can score as well with Antonio and Bowen leading the charge up front. The Hammers are simply a delight to watch and although they have a difficult away match against the in-form Gunners, they cannot be dismissed in the slightest. The home team have enjoyed a good spell lately and Arteta is no longer the "next manager" to be fired as the papers had peppered for a while. They currently have au Auba issue on their hands but their newly-ex captain has not been as influential to their recent success as in previous years. It is the coming of keeper Ramsdale between the posts that have kicked off their season and provided them much-needed solidity at the back to build on. This match is going to be tight from the get-go and I see it ending into a hardly-fought draw.

Draw: Arsenal/West Ham

Friday, December 3, 2021

EPL 21/22 - Week 15

 West Ham v Chelsea - Home

Newcastle v Burnley - Home

Southamton v Brighton - Away

Wolves v Liverpool - Away

Watford v Man City - Away

Leeds v Brentford - Home

Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home

Tottenham v Norwich - Home

Aston Villa v Leicester - Home

Everton v Arsenal - Draw

The leading teams may have been on a tear lately but I reckon there could be some surprising results in the offing this week-end. Chelsea are in dangerous waters at West Ham. While they have been racking up positive results in the past weeks, it seems the Blues are squeezing by rather than really coming up with dominant displays. The return of Lukaku should ease things up front but I think they might be up for a rocky spell in the upcoming matches. Playing the Hammers is never easy these days and it won't be surprising to see Moyes' team eke out at least a point out of Saturday's encounter. At current odds, it might be worth siding completely with the hosts and go for the all Hammers win.

I believe Newcastle are apt to win their first match of the season against visiting Burnley. The Magpies are arguably better off since Howe came over as manager but I persist in thinking that they will be busy playing the relegation battles all season. However, Burnley are a shadow of the solid team of the past seasons and it is a glorious opportunity for the hosts to finally bag 3 points. 

Finally, Aston Villa should see off visiting Leicester. The Foxes are an inferior team of the past seasons and they can no longer keep clean sheets as before. Very uncharacteristic of Rodgers' teams, particularly with Schmeichel in goal. They have no consistent form since the start unlike Villa, who are enjoying a nice spell since Gerard has taken over. While I don't expect their purple patch to last long, I still think the Villains are playing with better confidence than the Foxes and will make home advantage pay in this one.

Win: West Ham, Newcastle, Aston Villa

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.