Friday, February 4, 2011

Week-end European football preview

Baileys Agincourt was a disappointing 4th, beaten in the last couple of strides for 3rd place. There are not many things more frustrating than the horse you're favoring for a Place comes out short in 4th. This week-end is filled with interesting football matches and I have selected a few that I find value in following.

In England, I like Aston Villa's chances as they entertain Fulham. The arrival of Bent and the return of Ashley Young from injury have definitely had a positive impact on the Villains lately. This Villa team is certainly too good for the drop and I can see them improve and climb the table during the second half of the season. Fulham is a good team under Mark Hughes but they've lacked a cutting edge of late. They suffered before beating a diminished Newcastle team last week (a win that was predicted here) and Villa will have lots of ammunition at home to at least get a point out of this game. Aston Villa as a draw-no-bet is recommended.

Man City host West Brom in what should be a straight win for the Citizens. If Mancini's men can't beat Albion at home, then they can forget about winning the title. This will be an occasion for Dzeko or Tevez to increase their goal tally. A Win on Man City is recommended.

In Serie A, second-place Napoli is hosting third-from-bottom club Cesena. Napoli lost in its travel to an improving Chievo side last week, but they have good form at home and will keen to reduce the gap with leaders Milan. A draw-no-bet on Napoli is the recommendation.

In La Liga, Barcelona should win against an Athletico Madrid side that alters the good and the bad. Barcelona are in top form at the moment and had their stars rested in the mid-week Cup match against Almeira. So they should create plenty of chances against a side that has lost its last 2 away matches and that relies mainly on Forlan and Aguero for scoring. Real Madrid should also see out an average Real Sociedad side. Simply put, Mourinho's men have rack up maximum points from now on to have a realistic chance to catch the runaway leaders. So, both Madrid and Barcelona are recommended as Wins.

In France, I like Marseilles' chances against bottom-club Arles-Avignon. The hosts have been misfiring lately in the Championnat, and this game should give Deschamps the opportunity to right the ship. I can't see them lose this game, but because they are not on-song yet, a draw-no-bet on Marseilles is the recommendation.

Win: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City
Draw-no-bet: Aston Villa, Napoli, Marseilles

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