Friday, October 28, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 10

Sunderland v/s Arsenal - Away win
Man Utd v/s Burnley - Home win
Middlesbrough v/s Bournemouth - Home win
Tottenham v/s Leicester City - Home win
Watford v/s Hull - Home win
WBA v/s Man City - Away win
Crystal Palace v/s Liverpool - Home win
Everton v/s West Ham - Home win
Southampton v/s Chelsea - Home win
Stoke v/s Swansea - Away win

It's hard to imagine Arsenal leaving any points on the table as they did against Boro last week-end. Simply put, Sunderland find it hard to get a win, let alone a goal, so the Gunners should have too much for them here.

I think Liverpool is due for some slip-up soon. They were very lucky to scrape a win in their last away match against Swansea. Palace manager Alan Pardew is certainly no stranger to upsets and I really see value in an Eagles win or a draw-no-bet firmly in their favour.

Win: Arsenal
Draw-no-bet or Win: Crystal Palace

Friday, October 21, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 9

Bournemouth v/s Tottenham - Home win
Arsenal v/s Middlesbrough - Home win
Burnley v/s Everton - Away win
Hull v/s Stoke - Home win
Leicester v/s Crystal Palace - Home win
Swansea v/s Watford - Home win
West Ham v/s Sunderland - Home win
Liverpool v/s WBA - Home win
Man City v/s Southampton - Home win
Chelsea v/s Man Utd - Away win

I see some value siding with a few outsiders here. Bournemouth are big underdogs at home to visiting Spurs and it would be no surprise if the home team wins this match. They blitzed Hull last week and their home form so far is more or less solid. Spurs are still unbeaten but there's definitely the feeling that that streak won't hold long. They have scraped draws lately and look vulnerable particularly after playing away mid-week in the UCL. For value, a win or draw-no-bet with the Cherries could reap big rewards.

I also see Swansea having a good result as they host Watford. New manager Bob Bradley is a good manager who will definitely up the fortunes of the Swans. They came close against Arsenal for his baptism of fire but I see them getting better results as the season progresses. Watford is well within their grasp and again here, an outright win or draw-no-bet should be a winning ticket.

Finally, Man City should overcome the Saints to put an end to their win-less streak. The fact that both teams played in mid-week nullifies any fitness advantage but Aguero will be all guns blazing as he was mostly on the bench against Barcelona. Southampton are a tough team to overcome but City should have too much firepower in this one.

Win: Man City, Bournemouth, Swansea

Friday, October 14, 2016

EPL 2016/17 - Week 8

Chelsea v/s Leicester City - Home win
Bournemouth v/s Hull - Home win
Arsenal v/s Swansea - Home win
Man City v/s Everton - Home win
Stoke v/s Sunderland - Home win
WBA v/s Tottenham - Draw
Crystal Palace v/s West Ham - Home win
Middlesbrough v/s Watford - Home win
Southampton v/s Burnley - Home win
Liverpool v/s Man Utd - Home win

You will have seen that I foresee a lot of home wins this week-end. Coming back from the international break is always treacherous but the fixture list has really pit many strong teams playing at home, hence the bias. There might be more value in doing some exotics or multiples here; Southampton and Man City look bankers on paper as they host Burnley and Everton respectively. Bournemouth to beat Hull is by no means certain, but can pay good dividends if coupled with the bankers.

Stoke looks a value punt on its own as Mark Hughes' men try to get their season started against Sunderland. If they can hit the same kind of home form as last year's, the Potters should comfortably overcome the equally-struggling visitors.

Multiples: Man City / Southampton / Bournemouth 
Value win: Stoke

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Arc de Triomphe 2016 - Postponed to the test

This year's Arc looks wide open with a few that have legitimate aspirations to win and the fact that Chantilly will be the temporary venue to the world's greatest race, only adds to the intrigue. I will pick 4 names from the 16-runner race, the quartet from which I believe the winner will emerge. Postponed, Found, Makahiki and Harzand.

Postponed is the deserved favourite going into the race; the son of Dubawi is unbeaten in 4 races this year and has proven himself the world's best middle-distance performer. This 5-year old is clearly flourishing with age and has been showing consistent top-class form over the past couple of years that makes him a difficult one to oppose in any race. There are not many chinks in his armor and it's pretty much a guarantee that he will be in the thereabouts at the finish. I cannot see him out of the first 4.

It is a staggering fact that Found has been runner-up in 9 Group 1 races. Much was expected of the daughter of Galileo this year after she had blown away Golden Horn in last year's Breeders' Cup. While she has only won one race out of her seven races this year, she has mostly been in the thereabouts to finish runner-up in most of them. Her not being good enough, or just being an unlucky second is a matter of interpretation, but what is beyond doubt is that she is of the top drawer and can land this race. It could very well be that she is an autumn filly; after all she was third in this race last year before brilliantly lowering Golden Horn's colours in the US. A big player in my books.

Is Makahiki the one to break Japan's curse in the Arc? Will he be the one redeeming his illustrious sire's defeat ten years ago to this day? Japan's best have always fallen short in dramatic circumstances at Longchamp and the roof will come down if Makahiki can end years of Nippon hurt. He seemed to win the Prix Niel in hand but I would have been more convinced if he had won more with more to spare; in other words, I wasn't as impressed as others were. I can't see him at the level of his sire or Orfevre but if he produces a career best and no-one else is showing on the day, maybe he is the blessed one from the land of the rising sun.

Harzand is the subject of ultra-confident whispers from the Dermot Weld camp and that is enough to decipher that the Derby winner will be at the peak of his powers on Sunday. He came out injured in his last race at ten furlongs but this will ideally suit him. A 3-year old, he will benefit from a non-negligible 3 pound allowance. He is a serious grinder and I see him punching his way through the field in the last 200 yards as the others run out of stamina. 

As mentioned, I believe the winner will come from the above. Unless some kind of Solemia strikes again. A top performance from Postponed will make him difficult to beat. On form, he should prevail and another plus is that he is drawn best of the four. Makahiki has the class to cause an upset should things fall rightly into place for him and it is by no means a stretch to think that the son of Deep Impact will finally deliver to the Japanese their Holy Grail.

Win: Postponed
Win (value): Makahiki