Friday, October 25, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 10

Man City v Aston Villa - Home
Brighton v Everton - Home
Watford v Bournemouth - Draw
West Ham v Sheffield Utd - Draw
Burnley v Chelsea - Home
Newcastle v Wolves - Home
Arsenal v Crystal Palace - Draw
Liverpool v Tottenham - Home
Norwich v Man Utd - Draw

Chelsea have been in excellent form of late and I feel they could come crashing back to earth when they visit Burnley. There is a resilence with Frank Lampard's team as they equally capable of keeping score with any team or keep matches very close-knit and make the difference late on. However, this team is still being molded and nowhere near the finishing product the new manager expects it to be. They are bound to falter at various stages and going to Burnley is definitely a shaky ground for any team. Sean Dyche has made a semi-fortress out of Turf Moor in the last few years where visiting teams that have escaped with the win have done so through sheer hard sweat. Chelsea are coming back from a tough mid-week UCL league match at Ajax and I feel the Clarets can take advantage of their freshness advantage.This match might be decided by the odd goal but it is more likely to come from the home team.

I also like Brighton's chances against Everton. If the Seagulls are to stay alive in the EPL, they will have to garner as many points as possible at home. Everton have under-performed since the start of the season and have yet to win on the road. They have talented individuals that are simply not gelling as part of a team. It seems manager Marco Silva is at pains to get the team rolling and another defeat here will definitely make his position untenable. There is every likelihood that Brighton will get on the scoreboard but the same cannot be said of the Toffees. Which is why a home win is very likely.

Win: Brighton, Burnley

Friday, October 18, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week 9

Everton v West Ham - Draw
Bournemouth v Norwich - Home
Aston Villa v Brighton - Home
Chelsea v Newcastle - Home
Leicester v Burnley - Home
Tottenham v Watford - Home
Wolves v Southampton - Draw
Crystal Palace v Man City - Away
Man Utd v Liverpool - Draw
Sheffield Utd v Arsenal - Home

Bournemouth are giving a noble push for a top 10 place this year and they look to be a well-balanced team that will cause problems to any team they play. The arrival of lowly Norwich should provide Eddie Howe's another bagful of points to secure their place in the top half of the table. It seems to have been too much to expect from Norwich's striker Pukki after his explosive start to life in the EPL. He has been relatively quiet in the last few matches and unless he can pick pick up his form, the Canaries look well stuck in the relegation zone. The Cherries should have too much in attack for the visitors.

Leicester are in the top 4 and have strong form at home. They should prove too hot to handle for visiting Burnley. The only question mark on the home side will be Vardy's disposition as the striker will have been affected, under no doubt, by the on-going off-field antics involving Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney. Provided Vardy's head will be firmly on scoring in this match, the Foxes should bag the full points.

Finally, Spurs are due to pick up from their rotten form. Goalkeeper Lloris is gone injured for a long time but this team has enough quality in them to start picking up the pieces and find their way to the top 6 at least. Kane cannot stop scoring and if the likes of Ericksen can put away off-field distractions, Pochettino can get his squad back to winning ways. The urgency is there for them to beat Watford and I believe they will.

Win: Bournemouth, Leicester, Tottenham

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Arc de Triomphe 2019 - Immortality beckons for Enable

All eyes will be on Enable at ParisLongchamp on Sunday as she attempts to be the first triple winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Winning the most prestigious prize in Europe twice is a feat in itself that only a few have achieved; landing it 3 times would crown the daughter of Nathaniel the greatest winner of the race and arguably the greatest filly that ever ran.

There are no more adjectives to qualify Enable. She is in Frankel-esque territory, having won 13 out of 14 outings, crushing the opposition in many of them. She even did better than Frankel by winning outside of Britain by conquering France and the US. She is peer-less and it would take circumstances or an exceptional run by another horse to beat her on Sunday. Circumstances like the predicted heavy going might dent her customary acceleration but it is only a slight worry as she should tackle that kind of ground better than most.

The biggest dangers are likely to come from the 3-year old colts Sottsass and Japan. The former is the best colt coming from France and the convincing winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Niel, both big references for the Arc. The son of Siyouni has an excellent burst of acceleration and coming out of stall 1 should have him well placed as long as he does not get stuck in throughout.

Japan is the best 3-year old middle-distance colt coming from Britain. He won the Grand Prix de Paris in style and trainer Aidan O'Brien will certainly have him in optimum form come race day. There seems to be an air of confidence from the Ballydoyle camp. Both him and Sottsass will enjoy a 3-pound alleviation against the older brigade and I expect both to be very close at the finish.

The rest of the field is mainly noise in my opinion. Waldgeist is a moderate Group 1 performer that has shown his limits. Ghaiyyath is the dark horse of the race in that he can run an explosive race as well as run a stinker. I don't think he will relish the heavy ground and coming out of outside stall 12 won't give him much of a chance to dictate matters up front.

Enable should take all the beating in her unprecedented quest. As long as she has a clear run and there are no shenanigans going on during the race, she looks top notch to land the greatest treble in horse racing.

Win: Enable
Place: Sottsass, Japan

Friday, October 4, 2019

EPL 2019/20 - Week8

Brighton v Tottenham - Home
Burnley v Everton - Home
Liverpool v Leicester - Draw
Norwich v Aston Villa - Home
Watford v Sheffied Utd - Draw
West Ham v Crystal Palace - Home
Arsenal v Bournemouth - Away
Man City v Wolves - Home
Southampton v Chelsea - Away
Newcastle v Man Utd - Draw

Here's a drab draw I can think of this week-end; Newcastle v Man Utd. Both teams are dreadful in attack and have difficulty finding the net. If this game is to be won by either, it looks like it would be by the slightest margin. A draw looks very enticing though.

West Ham have found a firm footing under Pellegrini and I expect them to continue their fine form as they host Crystal Palace. One positive for the Hammers this year has been the return of Yarmalenko, who suffered a horrendous injury and long layoff last season. The Ukrainian has been on fire since the start and playing with great confidence. I expect them to enjoy the home advantage and edge the Eagles.

Bournemouth can have arguments for a value away punt as they visit Arsenal. I think the Gunners have rode some luck in their last league matches and are prone for a coming upset. The visiting Cherries have the strike force to bang in the goals and could edge a high-scoring affair at the Emirates.

Win: Bournemouth, West Ham
Draw: Man Utd/Newcastle