Friday, September 25, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 3

Brighton v Man Utd - Away

Crystal Palace v Everton - Draw

WBA v Chelsea - Away

Burnley v Southampton - Draw

Sheffield Utd v Leeds - Away

Tottenham v Newcastle - Home

Man City v Leicester - Home

West Ham v Wolves - Away

Fulham v Aston Villa - Home

Liverpool v Arsenal - Home

After last week's surprising defeat at home to Crystal Palace, there is some kind of urgency for manager Solksjaer to put the Red Devils back on track asap. A visit to Brighton might be the tonic they need to kick-start their season. Much of the past weeks has been centered about the "Sancho or no Sancho" question and all sorts of stories revolving around the competence of Utd supremo Woodward to close deals. Looking at it from a bird's eyes view, this man has brought in Paul Pogba via a world transfer record and the likes of big-money Alexis Sanchez and Harry Maguire. So to his detractors that are crucifying him for stinginess, I'm just saying the guy hasn't been particularly reticent to splash the cash. The Red Devils still have a quality first team that should have too much firepower for the hosts on Saturday morning.

The season is still young and Liverpool have shown that they will not relinquish their title without a fight. They are playing like a hungry team gunning for more. Arsenal have improved under Arteta but going to get something at Anfield is different fodder to what they've beaten so far. I expect this match to be a high-scoring affair actually, but as Leeds found out on opening day, the Kops are hard to be out-scored. This should be a terrific match to watch.

Leeds are playing kamikaze football at the moment, having scored and shipped 7 goals from the first 2 matches. The thing is they can score at any time with their potent attack spearheaded by a Bamford in sparkling form. They visit a Sheffield Utd team full of doubt and having yet to score. Biesla will relish this kind of match with 3 points for the taking. I think if the visitors can squeeze things on the defensive end, they can count on their attack to make the difference at the other end. Leeds are the value pick of the week-end.

Win: Leeds, Liverpool, Man Utd 

Friday, September 18, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 2

Everton v WBA - Home

Leeds v Fulham - Home

Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home

Arsenal v West Ham - Home

Southampton v Tottenham - Draw

Newcastle v Brighton - Away

Chelsea v Liverpool - Away

Leicester v Burnley - Home

Aston Villa v Sheffied Utd - Draw

Wolves v Man City - Home

Leeds showed amazing tenacity away to Liverpool last week and nearly came out of the encounter with a point. I cannot think of any away team scoring 3 goals at Anfield in recent years and that shows that Biesla's men will show their mettle to many teams this year. I believe Fulham's visit at Elland Road will be one of the Peacock's easiest matches of the year. They should finally taste their first EPL victory in years.

I also see an easy home win for Everton against visiting West Brom. Ancelloti's team impressed during their visit win against Tottenham and they could be strong for a Europa League spot this year. 

Chelsea hosting Liverpool is obviously the match of the week-end. The visitors could have some upper hand here as Chelsea are a rebuilding team that has yet to fully gel. Provided the Kops do not repeat the calamitic errors in their last match, they can come out on top. 

It would not impossible for Wolves to create a shocker against Man City. Guardiola's men will start as big favourites although the Wanderers did the double on them last year. Wolves have started the season well getting an away win at Sheffield Utd and should continue to have another fine season. The Citizens will be missing defensive lynchpin Laporte and striker Aguero and after their recent debacle in the UCL against Lyon, I feel it might take a few matches for them to get in their proper rhythm. It will be a tough match for both and it won't be surprising if the host team nicks this one again. At current odds, they look a value proposition.

Win: Leeds, Everton, Liverpool, Wolves


Friday, September 11, 2020

EPL 2020/21 - Week 1

An exciting new season of EPL beckons with many questions on the line:

- Will Liverpool still be as dominant? I think it will be very hard to wrestle the title from them.

- Will Man City be able to regain their lost crown? I think they will focus rather on the Champions League.

- Is Man Utd finally ready to challenge again? Sancho or not, I don't think they are on a par with the top 2. But Ole's job is on the line and he needs a trophy and a top 4 finish to hold on to it.

- Is Chelsea a threat after their summer spending? The Blues have been overly impressive in the transfer market but it will take time for them to gel. Lampard's job depends on the Blues being at the forefront from the start.

- How will Spurs do under Mourinho? Much will depend on the goalscoring prowess of Kane. He will need to keep banging the goals for Spurs to keep pace with the aforementioned.

- Have Arsenal's fortune finally turned under Arteta? The Spaniard is doing fantastic work for the Gunners but they will need a more talented squad to aspire a top 4 finish. 

- Finally, how will Biesla fare for newly-promoted Leeds? The Argentinian maestro is considered a coaching genius and Leeds will certainly cause trouble to some of the top teams above. Expect them to nick a win or two from them and I very well see Leeds being a mid-table team at season end.

Have a great season everyone!

Fulham v Arsenal - Draw

Crystal Palace v Southampton - Away

Liverpool v Leeds - Home

West Ham v Newcastle - Home

WBA v Leicester - Draw

Tottenham v Everton - Home

Sheffield Utd v Wolves - Home

Brighton v Chelsea - Away

Win: Tottenham/Chelsea/Liverpool

Friday, September 4, 2020

Racing galore

There's the UEFA Nations League for football fans, Italian Grand Prix for Formula 1 fans, US Open for tennis aficionados but this week-end is all about, at least for me, the racing; Enable is making her last British outing before a well-deserved retirement to the paddocks, the Kentucky Derby will finally run with an emerging superstar towering over all comers, and yet another race (this time in Paris) with serious aspirations of being the "best race of the year to date". 

So the September Stakes at Kempton will see queen Enable's last outing on British soil before her attempt to racing immortality in the Arc at ParisLongchamp. There is absolutely nothing to stop her in the field. No Group 1 challenger of any sort. Prince of Arran is a marvellous stayer but not a serious caliber at the mile and a half distance. Enable will win and only the manner of her win will matter; a gauge of whether she still has what it takes to be still reckoned as a potent force in a few weeks in Paris. She can be backed blind-folded bar any freak accident.

On the other side of the pond, Kentucky will hold its delayed Derby 4 months late due to the Covid-19. Tiz the Law is the only exciting name to pick from this rather dull 3-year old crop. He's won the shortened Belmont already and is very well on his way to the Triple Crown. Ok, naysayers are pointing to his 17th stall, from which no equine has ever won! That's fine, that makes his odds even more appealing. There's always a first to everything and post 17 is better than any of the inside posts. Tiz the Law is pretty much push-button and should be close to the pace before unleashing his kick in the straight. Unless he's on an off-day for some reason, he should be very hard to beat.

We've been talking about the race of the season so many times this season but the Prix du Moulin on Sunday clearly fits the bill. I mean, all 6 participants are legitimate contenders by all means. If only Kameko and Mohaather and Palace Pied had made it, it would have been the mile race of all seasons. I feel the winner will need an ounce of luck to prevail in this one and it could very well be a blanket finish. To pick one, I will go with Siskin; the best miler from Ireland and looks not to have peaked yet. This will be a treat of a race to watch.

Win: Enable, Tiz the Law, Siskin