Friday, November 9, 2012

Week-end football

Wednesday's results went as expected except for Barcelona who got dinged at Celtic. It must have been written somewhere that Celtic would come out on top on their 125th anniversary, though they were outplayed in every statistical department of the game.

The week-end games coming up look tricky and here are my thoughts.

Arsenal v/s Fulham. This is a game pitting 2 teams with very good attacks but poor defence. So there could be potentially lots of goals in this match. The pressure seems to be mounting on a weekly basis on Arsene Wenger; there does not seem much light at the end of the tunnel for the Gunners fans as far as garnering trophies after some many years of wait. Each defeat, like last week's at Old Trafford, stokes the fires of reported unrest and dissent throughout the club hierarchy by the media as regards Wenger's failing policy for the club. But Arsenal have home advantage here against a Fulham team that seems to be puffing of late. Arsenal is a draw-no-bet recommendation.

Everton v/s Sunderland. Will Sunderland finally score a goal? They might very well do it, but then it sounds hard to believe that Everton will not score a few themselves. I believe Martin O'Neil will get things sorted out for the Black Cats but going to win at Goodison Park seems too much of a tall order given their current form. The odds are that Everton will win this, or get a point from this game at the very least. The hosts are a safe draw-no-bet.

Reading v/s Norwich. There isn't much difference between these 2 teams; they will both be fighting relegation and will be keen to get 3 full points here. Can go either way.

Southampton v/s Swansea. Same as above game. Both teams are capable of the best and worst.

Stoke v/s QPR.Stoke is my value win of the week-end. Obviously, they are always good at home, and QPR looks like a team in real distress. How much longer owner Fernandes will keeping voicing his unconditional support to Mark Hughes will be interesting. It's not entirely the manager's fault. They've been hit by a slew of injuries that is the main source of their woes. Stoke for the win, is the selection.

Wigan v/s West Brom. Two teams in good form, and there's really little to choose between the two. I expect a tight game and will side with the Latics because of their home advantage. Wigan is a draw-no-bet selection.

Aston Villa v/s Man Utd. I expect the Villains to give Man Utd a tough game. They are doing well under Lambert and have put together a good string of matches lately. Man Utd always seem to find it hard when facing mid-table Premiership sides after Champions League football. This is possibly because the style of play is so different. It would be no surprise if Man Utd won this late, but it wouldn't be a surprise either if they hit an off-day and get undone by the hosts. The result can go either way.

Man City v/s Tottenham. It is clear that Man City have yet to hit any kind of top form that they displayed for much of last season. They are struggling to get results going their way either in the league or in the European Cup. Tottenham won't be an easy game for them; the Londoners should have won last year's fixture only to be beaten on a last-gap penalty. Both teams played in mid-week, so there will be fitness issues on both sides. There is no certainty in the result.

Newcastle v/s West Ham. Both teams have injury concerns going into the game. The hosts will be without their lynchpins Tiote and Coloccini, while the Hammers seem to be left with only one fit central defender. I expect the potent Tyneside team to take full advantage of the visitors' depleted defence. Newcastle is a Win selection.

Chelsea v/s Liverpool. Both teams played in mid-week, against Russian teams; Chelsea were lucky to win against a very good Shakhtar Donesk. Liverpool played their second team in a loss to Anzhi. The concern with Chelsea is their defence has been very porous with the absence of Terry. The absence of Ashley Cole looks set to add to their defensive woes. Liverpool have gathered a few positive results lately and their main problem seems to be their lack of realism in front of goal. Suarez is certainly missing an able partner up there. This could very well end up in a draw, but I'm just going to avoid having a punt on the game.

Over Europe, I see wins for Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Ajax, PSV Eidhoven and Porto.

Win: Newcastle, Stoke, Athletico Madrid, Bayern, Ajax, PSV, Porto
Draw-no-bet: Arsenal, Everton, Wigan

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