Saturday, May 14, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 36

 Tottenham v Burnley - Home

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace - Draw

Leeds v Brighton - Away

Watford v Leicester - Away

West Ham v Man City - Away

Wolves v Norwich - Home

Everton v Brentford - Home

Newcastle v Arsenal - Home

Southampton v Liverpool - Draw


I firmly believe that Spurs will capture the 4th UCL spot. They should bag maximum points in their remaining matches against Burnley and Norwich. Arsenal has a tricky visit to Newcastle and I think they will drop points there. They might also drop more against Everton in their last match in case the Toffees are still fighting relegation at that stage. But the Newcastle one is where I think they will have their hopes of UCL qualification evaporated. 

Man City also have a tricky away visit to West Ham in their quest to wrap up the title. If they win this, they will win the Premiership. Easier said than done as the Hammers are rock solid and difficult to break. The Citizens just edged this encounter in the first leg in horrendous snowy conditions but the setup will be totally different this time. Guardiola's men just have too much quality and depth squad to make the difference. I think the blue side of Manchester will party after this match.

I like Everton's chances against Brentford. The stakes are high for the Toffees and they seem to have regained some form in the last few matches. Brentford have nothing to play for and have poor form on the road. The home team should edge this one and ensure survival.

Win: Man City, Tottenham, Everton

Win 4th spot: Tottenham

Friday, May 13, 2022

Lockinge - Real World challenge for Baaeed ?

Frankel was as peer-less as any horse that ever ran on turf and it is worthy of Baaeed's rising prominence that he's being dubbed as the best miler since Frankel. The unbeaten son of Sea the Stars cemented his reputation as the world's best miler by beating top-class Palace Pier is a fantastic duel in the QE2 Stakes last year. He might not be100% race-fit for his re-appearance in the Lockinge and odds-on is not really attractive but he's definitely the horse to beat.

I am not sure why Mother Earth and Alcohol Free are the next best-fancied in the market. To me, his main rival should be Real World. This progressive miler from Godolphin is Suroor's best horse and is u beaten on turf. All his defeats have been on dirt where his trainer has persisted in running him in pursuit of the biggest glories like the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup. Clearly, this son of Dark Angel does not relish the dirt and has strong form on turf. He might not beat Baaeed but he should be close by, particularly that his Meydan runs will help fitness-wise. I see Real World as fantastic value each-way, place, and in any match-bets against Mother Earth and Alcohol Free. The first-named always seemed unlucky in her races last year and has made an alright return this year winning a Group 3 at the Curragh. I believe she is a few pounds off Real World in ability. Alcohol Free needs soft ground to be at her best and she won't get it on Saturday.

Each-way, Place: Real World
Match bets against Mother Earth and Alcohol Free: Real World

Friday, May 6, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 35

 Brentford v Southampton - Away

Burnley v Aston Villa - Home

Chelsea v Wolves - Home

Crystal Palace v Watford - Home

Brighton v Man Utd - Draw

Liverpool v Tottenham - Draw

Arsenal v Leeds - Home

Leicester v Everton - Away

Norwich v West Ham - Away

Man City v Newcastle - Home


This past UCL midweek semi-final matches might prove decisive in crowning the Premier League champions this year. Liverpool overcame nervousness and Villareal to book their ticket to the UCL final. Imagine the confidence that the Kops are riding on at the moment. Man City stumbled unexpectedly against Real Madrid when they already had one foot in the final. Imagine how devastated they must be to have given the match away against the almost-always-lucky Spaniards. From the past seasons, we know for a fact when Guardiola's men take a tumble of that dimension, they can take a few weeks to recover. So it very much hinges on this questions this week-end. Can Liverpool overcome a dangerous Spurs team this week, the latter at loggerheads with Arsenal for the 4th UCL spot ? And will Man City have recovered enough mentally to beat an improving Newcastle side, something they would have no problem doing on a normal Sunday ? If they do and in convincing fashion, then I believe they will go on and retain the title, the only trophy left for them to look forward to. 

Liverpool have an arguably tougher assignment against Spurs because of the stakes for both. I mentioned before that I expect Liverpool to flounder at this stage but they still haven't done it. The adrenalin is pulling them forward at the moment. It reminds me of the Red Devils and their Treble year of 1999. I really hope the Kops win the UCL this year because, my personal opinion, Madrid winning it will be a travesty to football! They didn't deserve to win against PSG, certainly not against Chelsea and definitely not against City. I will grant them their fighting spirit but put aside all their on-field theatrics and talk of referee bias, they are by far overrated as a team playing in a poor league.  For the sake of football, Liverpool would be deserved winners but we'll get to that in due time. Much can happen before the final as the Kops will be huffing and puffing on all fronts while Madrid will be well-rested as they have already bagged La Liga.

Win: Man City

Draw: Liverpool/Spurs

Friday, April 29, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 34

 Newcastle v Liverpool - Home

Aston Villa v Norwich - Home

Southampton v Crystal Palace - Away

Watford v Burnley - Away

Wolves v Brighton - Draw

Leeds v Man City - Away

Everton v Chelsea - Away

Tottenham v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Arsenal - Home

Man Utd v Brentford - Home


I see Spurs making a decisive step forward in the race for tthe 4th UCL spot. Man Utd are out of the picture and I don't see Arsenal going to win at West Ham. Tottenham will host Leicester who had a tough mid-week match in Europe and I cannot see anything other than a home win here. Look for Son and Kane to again deliver the goals that will seal 3 all-important points for the Londoners.

I can see Liverpool dropping points at in-form Newcastle. It won't be an easy match for the Kops and the hosts have it well within them to gather at least a share of the spoils. That will be good news for Man City who should score by the bucketload against Leeds United. City should either extend or keep their lead at the top of the table by the week-end.

Win: Man City/Tottenham

Draw-no-bet: Newcastle

Friday, April 22, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 33

 Arsenal v Man Utd - Home

Leicester v Aston Villa - Home

Man City v Watford - Home

Norwich v Newcastle - Home

Brentford v Tottenham - Away

Brighton v Southampton - Draw

Burnley v Wolves - Home

Chelsea v West Ham - Draw

Liverpool v Everton - Home

Crystal Palace v Leeds - Home


Early kick-off match Arsenal against Man Utd will be huge in deciding the 4th UCL spot coveted by the Gunners, Red Devils and Spurs. At the moment, the Gunners have the advantage and I think they will blow away any remaining hopes Red Devils fans might still harbour. I mentioned Man Utd are a team on the skids last week and they duly confirmed that with a thrashing at Liverpool in mid-week. The talent is there but I now believe that Rangnick has proven not to be the right manager to put all that talent to good use. In fact, it is very possible in my opinion that had the club kept on with Ole, the results probably would have been better. It is to be seen whether the arrival of Erik ten Hag next year will improve things but one thing for sure is that the club is spent and done for the year. On the other side of the coin, the Gunners are battling and reaped an amazing win at Stamford Bridge in their last match. The team might lack the talent that Utd have on paper but the youngsters there are working their socks off to get results. Their battling qualities means that they are favourites to down out-of-sorts Man Utd. If they could put 3 against Chelsea, they will have no problem scoring against the Red Devils. Home win for this one.

Crystal Palace are a team with good form at home and they should have enough to overcome Leeds at Selhurst Park. Leeds are in a precarious position at the moment but they are sporting good form having won 3 out of their last 4 matches. Biesla almost ran the team to the ground for much of the season and Jesse March has righted the ship so far. The home team still needs a few more points to assure safety but they are showing good resiliency in their matches and playing more like a mid-table team. I see them edging this encounter and look good value at current odds.

Win: Arsenal, Crystal Palace

Friday, April 15, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 32

 Tottenham v Brighton - Home

Man Utd v Norwich - Home

Southampton v Arsenal - Away

Watford v Brentford - Away

Newcastle v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Burnley - Home


I've been wrong putting confidence in Man Utd the past couple of weeks and there is now hardly any doubt that the Red Devils are a team in disarray. Nothing has worked for them this season. Solksjaer left but interirm manager Ragnick didn't make the team better. Ronaldo came but the wins haven't followed. Varane came but the defence is as febrile as ever. Mason Greenwood has probably thrown away a promising career. Marcus Rashford looks devoid of any confidence on the pitch. I still doubt whether they can beat Norwich on Saturday; what should look like an easy 3 points might not look as straightforward given the rotten form of the home team. Still it's hard to see them lose this match; the Old Trafford fans must believe those players have some pride in themselves to try win a match in their pursuit for the 4th spot. That spot is probably elusive now but if they need a spark, then the Canaries are one of the easiest teams to play against. One last vote of confidence on Man Utd.

Newcastle are favoured against visiting Leicester for a few reasons. The Magpies have redressed their form lately and a starting to build a decent run at home. Leicester played in the Europa Conference in mid-week and will feel it fitness-wise. Sure, they scraped past PSV in a difficult match but there is a real lack of quality in their squad to rack up a series of wins in a short span. I see an outright home win here.\

Win: Newcastle/Man Utd

Friday, April 8, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 31

 Everton v Man Utd - Away

Arsenal v Brighton - Home

Southampton v Chelsea - Home

Watford v Leeds - Home

Aston Villa v Tottenham - Draw

Brentford v West Ham - Away

Leicester v Crystal Palace - Away

Norwich v Burnley - Away

Man City v Liverpool - Home


This might not be the title decider but it is definitely a 6-pointer that will give a massive boost to the winner of the Man City v Liverpool match. The Citizens will have home advantage although that might be a double-edged sword as that might actually put a greater chip on their shoulders. Form-wise, there is no contest that Liverpool have the edge although I really think that the time has come to hit the skids. I was mentioning previously that the Kops have forged out recent wins out of sheer will and luck and I don't think they will be able to maintain such cadence until the end. City have shown to be consistently good although they haven't been racking wins at the same rate, so they look the likelier to eke out a win here. 

Tomorrow's match at Goodison Park will be a good litmus test to know whether Man Utd are able to sustain the winning run needed to secure the 4th UCL spot that is seeming more and more elusive. It will also show whether I have been wrong in my assessment that they are too good to miss out on that final spot. Everton have been out-of-sorts with or without Lampard and if the Red Devils cannot capitalize on the home side's shortcomings, they will struggle against other teams until the rest of the season. I still think value to side one more time with the visitors here.

Win: Man Utd, Man City

Friday, April 1, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 30

 Liverpool v Watford - Home

Brighton v Norwich - Home

Burnley v Man City - Away

Chelsea v Brentford - Home

Leeds v Southampton - Away

Wolves v Aston Villa - Draw

Man Utd v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Everton - Home

Tottenham v Newcastle - Home


The title race has amazingly tightened and many pundits are actually tipping Liverpool to win it all. If that were the case, it would have been a monumental collapse from Guardiola's men as they seemed miles ahead just a few weeks back. I don't think they will bottle it though. I love it that the Kops have bridged the gap as backing City for the title has been made more affordable. Liverpool have been on a terrific run of late but even the hardest Kop fan will admit that they had a few lucky run-ins along the way. I think their challenge will peter out sooner than later particularly that Salah and Mane will be feeling the effects of their recent exhausting trips back home. I say back City to beat Burnley and for the title as well.

The race for fourth place is becoming more and more interesting and if Man Utd don't win it, they will only have themselves to blame. I think they are ripe for a serious run-in for the fourth spot but they have to make the difference on the pitch. It all starts against Leicester on Saturday and a comprehensive win is needed to show their serious credentials. I think they will show it.

Win: Man Utd, Man City 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Dubai World Cup Night 2022

 Yay, exciting times indeed as Meydan hosts Dubai World Cup night, which heralds the return to the Flat season! So much to look forward again this year, with the likes of Baaeed in England, Life in Good state-side and the possible coming of the Australians at Royal Ascot, to say the least. Here are my thoughts on the Meydan card.

Mubakker looks over-priced in the Godolphin Mile and looks a good each-way punt. He was gunned down over course and distance in his last race but the winner had the benefit of the rails. The son of Speightstown has one of the most solid forms in the field and should be in the thereabouts.

Manobo is a banker bet for the Dubai Gold Cup. The son of Sea the Stars should stroll in this company and get on to serious top-level staying races in Europe. This is a name to watch over the course of the year.

Man of Promise looks a winner for the Al Quoz sprint and the main danger could be his stable companion Creative Force. The son of Into Mischief has won twice convincingly during the festival and should be hard to beat if he has maintained his level of form. Creative Force is a Group 1 winner but might need the run after a 161-day absence.

I don't have much conviction for the UAE Derby but the chances are that it will either go to an American or Japanese-trained horse, based on the history of the race. In that regard, it could end up being a match between Combustion and Pinehurst.

The Dubai Golden Shaheen usually goes to a fast American horse and Dr Schivel and Drain the Clock look very well placed here. Wondrwherecraigis could be the other American playing spoiler here.

I like Schnell Meister from Japan to take the Dubai Turf. This is a proven Group 1 winner that looks to enhance Japanese reputations as top-class middle-distance runners. I doubt the American turf champion Colonel Liam is of the same standard.

The Dubai Scheema Classic looks a fantastic race and again here the Japanese look strong but the British can hold their own too. To have to pick from the quality bunch can be an excruciating exercise but Authority, Glory Vase, Alenquer and Dubai Honour have a great chance to add to their glowing reputations.

Life is Good could prove to be way too good in the Dubai World Cup. Unless this turns out to be an upset result like the Saudi Cup, this should turn out to be a duel between Life is Good and Hot Rod Charlie. I think the former is the best horse dirt in the world and has no-one within touching distance at the moment. He should win this and give Pletcher a first World Cup.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 29

 

Brighton v Liverpool - Away

Brentford v Burnley - Away

Man Utd v Spurs - Draw

Chelsea v Newcastle - Draw

Everton v Wolves - Home

Leeds v Norwich - Draw

Southampton v Watford - Home

West Ham v Aston Villa - Home

Arsenal v Leicester - Home

Crystal Palace v Man City - Away


Although they lost their last match against Newcastle, Southampton have one of the best form of recent weeks. They cannot be opposed as they host Watford, who look decidedly set for the drop. This should be a simple home win here.

I think Chelsea will lose points against the afore-mentioned Newcastle as the Magpies are also in red-hot form and there is a big question mark with Chelsea at the moment. Not on the pitch, but rather off the pitch with the Ambramovich saga. While these players are professionals, they are bound to be somewhat affected by the events hitting the club this week and the questions revolving around the change in ownership and potential bankruptcy etc. This is a distraction the players could do without but as things stand, they also have a difficult match-up against a rejuvenated Newcastle side that is rapidly racking up wins of late. The finance from the Saudis seems to be paying dividends and the team has strengthened during the transfer window. This is going to be a tight match and a spoil of the results could very well be on the cards.

Win: Southampton

Draw: Chelsea/Newcastle

Friday, March 4, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 28

 Leicester v Leeds - Home

Aston Villa v Southampton - Draw

Burnley v Chelsea - Away

Newcastle v Brighton - Home

Norwich v Brentford - Home

Wolves v Crystal Palace - Home

Liverpool v West Ham - Draw

Watford v Arsenal - Away

Man City v Man Utd - Home

Tottenham v Everton - Home


What looked like a facile route to the title a few weeks ago for Man City is no longer that certain with the gap now to 6 points from pursuers Liverpool with the latter having a game in hand.  This title race is far from over. And things could easily move in different directions this week-end as the Citizens host their city rivals Red Devils while Liverpool host West Ham. On paper, it looks like City have the greater chance of losing points but a Kop win against the Hammers is far from being a given. Liverpool have been on a tear lately, winning the Caracao Cup in the process but they have scraped through those matches rather than dominating them. I think some kind of comeuppance is in store for them and at current odds, West Ham look great value to snatch at least a point from Anfield. Be it as a draw-no-bet or outright win, it could be rewarding to side with the Hammers, who are in good form of late in their pursuit of the 4th UCL spot.

Win or draw-no-bet: West Ham

Friday, February 25, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 27

Leeds v Tottenham - Away

Brentford v Newcastle - Away

Brighton v Aston Villa - Away

Crystal Palace v Burnley - Home

Man Utd v Watford - Home

Everton v Man City - Away

West Ham v Wolves - Draw


Let's continue piling against the Leeds bandwagon, shall we? A 6-0 drubbing against Liverpool after a 4-2 defeat against Man Utd says it all that all is not good in Biesla's realm and as I was mentioning previously, the Argentinian tenure at the club looks very precarious indeed. They are conceding by the bucket-load these days and here comes Harry Kane and Son to pile on their misery. It's Spurs all the way for the win in this one.

I will double it up with a Newcastle win against Brentford. The Tyneside club have gotten into second gear lately with an influx of above-average players after waving their newly-found riches. On the other hand, Brentford are hurting to get points and I don't see things improving for them even though Eriksen might make his much anticipated debut after the drama at the Euros. This might end up in a draw but Newcastle can equally nick this one.

Then, triple it up with a Man Utd win against struggling Watford. The Red Devils march has started as I had mentioned in earlier posts. They need the full points to keep in touch with Arsenal for the final 4th spot. They should have too much class and firepower against the lowly visitors.

Win: Tottenham/Newcastle/Man Utd

Friday, February 18, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 26

 

West Ham v Newcastle - Away

Arsenal v Brentford - Home

Aston Villa v Watford - Home

Brighton v Burnley - Draw

Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Away

Liverpool v Norwich - Home

Southampton v Everton - Home

Man City v Tottenham - Home

Leeds v Man Utd - Away

Wolves v Leicester - Home


For this week, let's stick with Man Utd, shall we? It is a matter of time before the Red Devils are ignited and become the beast the talent in their squad is heralded to be. Ronaldo is back on the score-sheet and should have had a hat-trick in their last match against Brighton. Granted, his goal itself was sensational, I believe and I don't think world-class strikers could have triggered as quick in the same position. Love him or hate him, the Portuguese deserves his title of being the greatest goalscorer of all time. That said, Man Utd have created clear chances to indicate that their offensive machine is on the march, although their defence is as suspect as ever. Given they are going to Leeds should be comforting to the Mancunians as the hosts are one of most vulnerable in the league. Biesla has somehow lost the plot with his team this year and I wouldn't be surprised if he does not come back next year. It seems the Argentinian has brought the team to its max in the past season and they are no longer responding to his tactics. Given their system, the Peacocks have the ability to score but they also can concede by the bucket load as well. I see a high-scoring affair in this one and can't see anything past a convincing Man Utd win in the end.

Win: Man Utd

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

EPL 21/22 - Week 25

 Man Utd v Brighton - Home

These are turbulent times for Man Utd and the club are in a desperate need of a change in fortune on and off the field. Never mind the shocking lack of results on the field, they have to contend with the Mason Greenwood affair, reported changing room rifts and player discontent, not to mention uncertain futures for Ronaldo and other stars and the prime question who will be the next permanent manager. And let's not forget that the Glazers dumped a huge amount of stock at a discounted price not so long back. 

The positive news is that they are not losing matches. However, they are not winning them either and draws indeed do not help their push for a UCL spot. The arrival of Brighton later today can help them go back on a winning track. The squad is way too talented to be dismissed. Harry McGuire has been feeble at the back altely but he should be back to his dominant self sooner than later. No one doubts that Ronaldo will find his goal scoring touch again. Sancho is scoring, De Gea looks back on song. 

Brighton are no slouch, they have a good record on the road. They will certainly complicate things for the Red Devils as they are resilient, as they have shown against Chelsea lately. They cannot be dismissed but I can't see the hosts losing this one. With some luck and realism in front of goal, Man Utd have every chance to edge this encounter. At current market prices, they look a good deal as an outright win.

Win: Man Utd


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