Friday, August 24, 2012

Week-end Preview

My week-end preview of some of this week-end's matches in Europe.

Man Utd v/s Fulham. This looks to be a hard game for the Red Devils and the danger is there that they could be shocked by the visitors if they haven't synced well as a team yet; i.e, much will depend on how the players play with Van Persie and how the make-shift defence is able to withstand the potent Fulham attack. It is very probable however that if Man Utd get some flow in their attacking game and get on the score sheet, they could open the floodgates. Man Utd as a draw-no-bet looks the safest form of punt, but it won't shock me if Fulham get at least a point from this game by exploiting weaknesses in a team that has yet to gel with some big-name newcomers.

Sunderland v/s Reading. I mentioned last week that Sunderland would be difficult to tame at the Emirates and so they proved. I really expect expect them to do well this year and possibly squeeze a Europa spot. They won't get chances of an easier 3 points than when they host Reading, who've lost in mid-week at Chelsea. At current odds, Sunderland as a draw-no-bet looks great value.

Swansea v/s West Ham. Swansea were amazing in their opening match against QPR, trouncing Mark Hughes' men with 5 unanswered goals. The hosts have made some good signings over the summer but their best signing has been their manager Michael Laudrup. He's got a great football brain and will certainly help them play good intelligent football. Provided they are not suffering from over confidence from last week's win, they should continue on their winning ways against West Ham. A draw-no-bet on the hosts looks safe as well.

Valencia v/s Deportivo. Deportivo have started their campaign well by beating Osasuna by a pair of goals while Valencia have gotten merit in drawing at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid. In fact, Soldado and could be counted as unlucky to have a valid goal ruled out for offside. The home advantage should be favourable to Valencia here although it is a team that will only get better as the season prolongs given the number of new faces in the squad. Valencia is a good draw-no-bet here.

Osasuna v/s Barcelona. The Catalans beat arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup during the week and don't seem to have lost any of their awesome style of play under new coach Villanova. Messi is already in great form and that does not bode well for the hosts. That should be an easy 3 points for the Blaugrana who cannot afford to let go of such favourable pickings. Straight win for Barca.

Getafe v/s Real Madrid. Real have possibly played their 2 toughest opponents in Spain in the last week and have failed to win in both; a draw against Valencia and a defeat at Barcelona. The team is not at its cohesive best yet since the regulars have missed much of the pre-season. However, Mourinho will be gunning for 3 important points against Getafe, who've logically lost their first match away at Sevilla. A close to must-win game for Real Madrid to keep in touch with Barcelona and I see them winning this game.

Win: Barcelona, Real Madrid
Draw-no-bet: Man Utd, Sunderland, Swansea

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