Friday, March 11, 2011

Week-end Football Preview

First, my thoughts to the Japanese people following the devastating quake and tsunami. I don't think I've ever seen such kind of devastation. There are Japanese readers to this blog, and I keep my fingers crossed for you.

On Thursday, got a great result in the shape of Braga's win over Liverpool. At odds-against, the prediction on Braga's draw-no-bet win was one of the best and most satisfying on this blog. At Meydan, as mentioned, Godolphin was dominating. Mike de Kock's Here To Win disappointed though with an unplaced finish, and coincidence or not, whenever the big trainer is not on the premises (was in Johannesburg), the results are not as positive. Alluding to this because at one time a couple of years back, Mike himself was mentioning that there was a perception that whenever he was enjoying success in Dubai, his horses based in South Africa were not doing as well.

A busy week-end of football coming up on the European front. In England, FA Cup rules with a juicy Man Utd hosting Arsenal. This is my take on Man Utd at the present. Last year they lost out on the domestic League and Champions League in a 7-day span where they hit poor form and injuries for 3 consecutive crucial games, which ended up wrecking their pursuit of major trophies. A similar script seems to be developing for them at this time. They first hit major injuries by losing Anderson, Ferdinand, Park, and now Nani. Then Vidic their defensive rock got suspended. These, coupled with indifferent form, have resulted in defeats at Wolves, Chelsea and Liverpool. So now, come Arsenal, and more importantly Marseille, and they will still be without their best 2 midfielders in Nani and Park. It does not look rosy for them in the short term, and you feel that they do need that little extra luck in games to get out of the predicament that they are presently in. Man Utd v/s Arsenal really can go either way, and I feel the Red Devils will be keeping their best team for the Marseille game next week.

I was mentioning before FA Cup matches are unpredictable and are to be mostly avoided, but when Man City is hosting Reading at this stage, I've got to recommended City at least as a draw-no-bet. The Citizens just come from a debacle travel in the Europa League, and Reading are giant killers, but I simply cannot see them overcome the massively talented squad at Eastlands. Even if Mancini plays his second team, they won't be beaten at home against the Championship side.

In Italy. I've got to go with Milan against Bari. Milan got bumped by Tottenham in mid-week Champions League and will be keen to make amends. The Serie A is their hope for silverware, and it won't come any easier than Bari. Because of their mid-week exertions, a draw-no-bet on Milan is recommended.

In Spain, Mourinho has started the mind games with Barcelona as he becomes desperate to overcome the gap with the Catalans. Madrid host Hercules, and it's a straight Win recommendation for Mourinho's men. Sevilla hosts Barcelona in what should be a pretty tight affair. I would not be surprised to see Barcelona lose points here. In fact, Sevilla are dangerous enough to create problems and win this game against a Barcelona team that might be exposed having played in mid-week. I'll abstain from a recommendation on this one.

In Germany, I see value in backing Werder Bremen as it hosts last-place Monchengladbach. Bremen are better than the lowly position they are in, and I recommend them as a draw-no-bet.

In France, Lille plays hosts to Valenciennes and I expect Lille to win this, as they are really good at home. A draw-no-bet on them should be safe.

Win: Real Madrid
Draw-no-bet: Man City, Milan, Werder Bremen, Lille

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