Monday, April 4, 2011

Leaders steer clear

Strangely enough, this was a pivotal week-end in the 3 major European leagues namely EPL, La Liga and Serie A. The leaders ran away while most, including myself, were expecting some sort narrowing the gap at the top. The recommendations on Man City and Bayern were good, Arsenal and Wolfsburg were drawn and voided, and the Real Madrid one was a losing shocker to say the least.

In the EPL, Man Utd played comeback kings yet again and are forging their way towards the title. If I thought they looked good to win it in last Friday's blog, today I feel only a meltdown of catastrophic proportions can stop them this year. In Ferguson's rule at Old Trafford, no such catastrophe has ever happened and I don't think it will happen, even for a team that is still considered not-vintage material. There might be some blips on some of their away games, but things seem to indicate they will prevail at the end, considering the miserable opposition from the Gunners.

La Liga is over, in my opinion. Barcelona have won it this week-end, and consider any remaining short odds on offer for them as interest returns come the official season end. Deserving champions they are too. Going to beat Villareal with key men missing and not conceding any goal shows the deep talent of this squad. Madrid have the Copa del Rey and possibly 2 semi-final matches against the mighty Blaugrana to prevent a complete stream-rolling from their arch-rivals.

This week will be dominated by the Champions League match-ups. Tomorrow, Inter welcome Shalke, and Real Madrid welcome Tottenham. Missing Ronaldo and Benzema was clearly the reason Madrid could not score against a resolutely defensive Gijon team. Even if these 2 are still missing for tomorrow's game, they will have chances to score against a depleted Spurs defence. Plus, let's face it, even though they did it over the week-end against Wigan, Spurs are not famed for clean sheets. Their main weapon is their multi-faceted offense with the likes of Bale, Van der Vaart, Lennon etc. For statisticians, Redknapp is 0-5 against Mourinho during the latter's Chelsea days. Advantage to the Spaniards on this one, they will take advantage of Spurs' inexperience and injury problems; I recommend Real Madrid as a draw-no-bet.

Draw-no-bet: Real Madrid

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