Friday, September 21, 2012

Week-end preview

Not a great second night of UCL on Wednesday as only Barcelona and Man Utd won, Braga and Lille lost at home and Benfica drew with Celtic. From the results of the week's UCL matches, it certainly looks like there are hardly any minnows anymore and that the gap between the usual elite teams and small teams is getting smaller every year. Even Barcelona had to dig deep to overcome Spartak Moscow.

Here we go for a preview of some of the week-end's matches.

Swansea v/s Everton. I like the hosts here. They should have a few missing players from last week back and I expect them to give a better showing. They can carve out the most persistent of opponents at home and should either bag 1 or 3 points here. Swansea is a draw-no-bet.

Chelsea v/s Stoke. Again, this will either go to the hosts or a draw. Chelsea have tied with Juventus in mid-week and have a strong enough squad to cope with the short rest. Stoke are no push-overs and it will be interesting to see what part Michael Owen plays for them during the season. I don't fancy many goals in this one and at current odds, Chelsea are a good draw-no-bet.

Southampton v/s Villa. It all depends what kind of Southampton team that will show up. The one that almost tied the Manchester teams, or the one that was very tame at Arsenal and Wigan. This is a perfect opportunity for the Saints to get their first points on the counter as Villa looks to be one of the 5 weakest teams in this league, in my estimate. It might be rewarding to be adventurous here and have the hosts at least as a draw-no-bet. I see them getting at least a point out of this encounter.

West Ham v/s Sunderland. This can go either way but I'm tempted to go for Sunderland with a +1 goal Handicap. The Hammers are good at home under Sam Allardyce but it will be tough for them to put a few by Martin O'Neil's organized defence. So +1 for the Cats is my choice here.

Liverpool v/s Man Utd. Both have played in mid-week although the Kops played their second team. I think they will be primed for this. They need to get their campaign started with a win and what better occasion than beating Man Utd and commemorating the Hillsborough tragedy. Obviously, it's always a risk going against Man Utd, but I see value in Liverpool either as a draw-no-bet or +1 goal handicap. Both offer good value at current odds.

Man City v/s Arsenal. This is the first serious test for the Gunners. Much has been said about their defence having conceded only 1 goal so far, but it remains how it can cope with the big guns of City. The latter are coming off a tough loss to Real Madrid but they have such a strong squad that they will not feel the ill-effects of that defeat. It's hard to see the hosts losing this, so I'll go draw-no-bet with them as well.

The Win certainties for the week-ends are Barcelona and Porto.

Win: Barcelona, Porto
Draw-no-bet: Man City, Southampton, Swansea, Chelsea
Handicap +1: Sunderland, Liverpool

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